Book Review · Books

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan [BOOK REVIEW]

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I had the most amazing opportunity this month! Thanks to the team at Tandem Collective UK, I participated in a #Readalong on Instagram for The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan. The book is published by the amazing team at Pan Macmillan.

And I can immediately say – this experience was, so far, the highlight of my reading year! 

Together with a number of amazing bookstagrammers, we read this book in 5 days, chatting about the plot twists and the ending. By the end of the second day, we were all in love with Karen Swan’s writing and decided to do another readalong for August. I also had the chance to participate in a Live Q&A session with Karen Swan herself and win a prize for being a runner-up to the quiz. And on top of everything, I visited my mum on the weekend, and we talked about books we’re reading. And to my surprise, she owns FOUR books of Karen Swan already! So we decided to swap some books, and I came home with four more books I want to read!

We will be reading The Greek Escape by Karen Swan in August – so please shout if you have this book and want to join us! 

I shared my readalong journey on my Instagram, and the highlights are still up, in case you want to have a look at my journey! I always share posts and stories of the books I am currently reading – so don’t forget to follow for more updates. 

Synopsis:

In the oldest part of Stockholm, Bell Everhurst is working as a nanny for an affluent family. Hanna and Max Von Greyerz are parents to 7 year-old Linus, and 5-year old twins Ellinor and Tilde, and Bell has been with the family for over two years.

One early Spring morning, as she’s rushing out to take the children to school, she answers the phone – and everything changes. A woman from a clinic she’s never heard of asks her to pass on the message that Hanna’s husband is awake.Bell is confused. She clearly just saw Max walking out of the house a few minutes earlier, but the woman mentioned Hanna by name…

When she gets hold of her employer, the truth is revealed: Hanna’s first husband fell into a coma seven years earlier, following a terrible accident. He has been in a Persistent Minimally Conscious State since and there was very little hope of further improvement. But now he’s awake. And life is going to change for them all.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book! I loved it so much, that I am unsure how to contain all my impressions in a well-written review. 

Let’s start with the setting.

It is set in Stockholm, on the coast, during summer. The descriptions about the place and the season really fit the mood. There is also a midsummer festival in the book which made me feel as if I was transported there, dancing with people from the town and enjoying the sunshine. 

The characters have that aura about them, that makes you want to know them. Or they happen to remind you of someone you know, but you can’t just recall where you know them from. They are so familiar, but distant at the same time. Each of them carrying their weight on their shoulders and each of them having their separate story. 

We meet Bell – the nanny, who has her own reasons of why she decides to become a nanny and stay in Stockholm longer than she needed to. Her love for the children, especially for Linus is so adorable, and I can understand why she is so protective of him. 

I felt for Linus.

The trauma he is going through in this book is heartbreaking, he’s introduced to his real father, but he doesn’t remember him. The way some situations are handled also doesn’t do him any favours and just contributes to his confusion and anger, and I completely understand him. It is a very difficult situation to be in. 

The most intriguing character in this book is definitely the husband that was in coma. Losing seven years of your life is devastating. One day – you have everything, and then you wake up to find out that your wife is with another person, happy, and has more children of her own with another man. And all you want to do is bring them back. Just like it was. Like time never passed. But time did pass. And people continued living… 

Very emotional read.

I had all emotions flowing in me at certain moments. Sometimes I had conflicted opinions about some decisions the characters made. I had suspicions, hopes and anticipated a lot. And I loved it. It ended on a very (for me) satisfying ending, and I got the result I was hoping to get. 

I definitely recommend you pick up this book straight ahead – it’s simply amazing! The perfect summer read with thriller elements, plot twists like you’ve never seen before and a subtle touch of romance.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan [BOOK REVIEW]

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A Wedding in December is a book that was long overdue. I was supposed to read it for Christmas, but yet, here we are in February. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience and I am so glad I finally read it. 

Sarah Morgan has an extremely good talent in human relations and relationships. She puts these relationships on paper so easily… Do you know that feeling where you can sense people’s mood by just walking into a room? She managed to capture this moment in most of her scenes – and it was a true joy to read that. 

The Synopsis

Maggie has two daughters: Katie and Rosie. While Katie has always planned everything in her life and never failed (becoming doctor is her biggest achievement), Rosie is the complete opposite. She changes her mind all the time and never knows what she truly wants. 

And one evening, Rosie calls her mum to tell her she is getting married. All of a sudden. Not in her hometown in the UK, but in some snowy mountains in the USA. For Christmas. THIS Christmas. In just a few months. 

Everything is happening so fast, and Maggie is afraid for her daughter. But most importantly, Maggie is afraid that she will finally reveal to her girls that she is getting divorced from their dad.

My Thoughts

In a lovely snowy atmosphere, we get to see this family, and their different personalities coming together, in a book where love wins in the end. Reading this book under a warm blanket and with a hot chocolate definitely gave me the true feelings of Christmas again. 

I encountered some interesting scenes, a couple of plot twists, a bit of a mystery behind one of the sisters. The importance of mental health as well, and how important is to share our troubles with someone. Anyone. 

Some of the relationships, new or current, happened at a very fast pace, which wasn’t too my great pleasure. There was some sense of unnecessary urgency which didn’t feel believable nor relatable to me. But in hindsight, a wonderful book to spend your evenings with.

If you love romance novels and you also love Christmas, A Wedding in December will probably end up being your favourite book. I highly recommend it!

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Toll by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe #3) [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

And here is my review of The Toll. We have reached the end of the series, guys.

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Read my reviews of Scythe and Thunderhead. 

I don’t know how to even start this review, because I have so many emotions still! I am so in love with this series. With this finale. I am also so sad that the journey ends here and I have to part ways, re-visiting these books but never reading new ones. 

A wonderful world, where death is no more, and two scythe apprentices, with the willpower to be great – they stuck to me, and they grew on me, and they did capture my heart. 

Rowan – a hero never understood.

Fighting for the good in a bad way. Himself against the world, not afraid to give his life for the people he cares about. I salute you, Scythe Lucifer!

Citra – a woman born to be a leader.

A powerful force that moves the Earth she walks upon. A compassion and kindness mixed with the force of unfairness. Ready to stand up when no one else does and not afraid to do things differently. I salute you, Scythe Anastasia. 

And to all the rest of the characters, and believe me, there are so many that are just as important, I also bow to you. For fighting for what you believe in, for being better humans than most and for helping a person in need. You will never be forgotten. 

Neal Shusterman, the hero of this book.

The creator of wonderful worlds. I bow to you and I thank you for giving me a world worth remembering. For creating the Thunderhead to lead us into the future, and for giving us a glimpse of possibilities and opportunities of the “what might be”. I have endless love for your writing and will continue to be excited and read every new book you write. 

I have noticed, when I really love a book and want to shout about it to everyone I know, it is quite hard to do so without spilling any spoilers. How do you write a review of mentioning all the things you loved, without ruining the story for someone else?

Let’s try it this way: 

Guys, have a look at my review of Scythe, the first book in the series. Then read the book. Then read my review of Thunderhead. Read that book as well. And then come here, read this blurb, finish the series and find me on Instagram and Twitter, so I can tell you all the spoilers! 🙂

No, honestly, if you love science-fiction with a twist of fantasy and dystopia, this will be a book you will cherish forever. 

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

A Darker State by David Young [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.
Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.
Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

I have mixed feelings about A Darker State (Karin Müller #3). It has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time, and when I finally managed to read it, I thought I would be in for a treat, for something special. But it wasn’t special. I did enjoy a bit of the mystery, but it is most certainly not a favourite of mine. 

Apparently, this is the third book of a series, and the books can be read as standalone. The only thing they have in common is the character and how it develops throughout the books. 

From the very beginning, the book came across as unrealistic. Karin has recently become a mother, and she is just getting back to her job, when suddenly, she is being promoted as the Major of the People’s Police and is put on a very dangerous case. Now I don’t know about your police forces, but ours would certainly not promote a person just like that. 

Karin’s character was too forced upon me.

At least that is how I felt. Like I needed to like her, and I needed to respect her. And I just wasn’t having it. She was not really that good of a character. Maybe it’s because I missed on reading the previous two books and don’t know her well enough. And maybe she was just a poor creation.

I didn’t enjoy the political webs and plotting. I think I prefer a much more realistic, straight up mystery novel. There was a huge lack of mystery drama, suspense, excitement or fear, which I think was crucial for me rate this book low. There were only a few actual scenes where the scene was discussed and the causes of death, etc. I wish there were more scenes like this, rather than mysterious conversation with politicians and secretive tycoons.

I loved the author’s writing and description, but I don’t think his style fits my preference, so I don’t think I will be reading any more books from this series. 

Let me know if you have read it. I would love to know what you think.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

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I am so thankful to the team at Mills & Boon for letting me a part of this amazing blog tour. It is an honour, and a pleasure! Click HERE to read the first chapter!

Virgin river robyn carr book review books goodreads blogging mills & boon mills and boon blogger diary of difference diaryofdifference

★★★★

When recently widowed Melinda sees an advert for a midwife in the quiet town of Virgin River, she decides this is the perfect place to escape her heartache and to revitalise the nursing career she loves. 

However, her dreams are shattered as soon as she arrives. The cabin is uninhabitable, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor has nothing to do with her. But when a tiny baby is abandoned on a front porch, Mel needs to make a decision.

Helped by a local barman and former marine, Jack Sheridan, Mel has to face her past, and realises that there may be a future in Virgin River after all. 

First Impression

I don’t usually go for the drama romance stories. But I do love a bit of new town girl, and I also love watching medical shows, despite knowing close to nothing about medicine. Grey’s Anatomy, The Resident, Doctor House, The Good Doctor, ER, etc. fans – please let yourselves known! 🙂

I loved this book. It has a very good vibe about if from the beginning until the end. First of all, I fell in love with Virgin River. A lovely quiet place, with amazing selfless people living in it. I would love to live in a town like that! The author described the place so well, that it made me feel like I was there, in the pub, in the doctor’s office, by the river…

Characters

We found ourselves to have Mel as a main character, followed by Jack. However, we had a lot of side characters, who actually played a crucial role in the development of Mel and Jack and their story.

Mel is a city girl, born and raised.

Always lived in big cities, most recently in L.A. and she is used to all the poshy posh stuff that come along with such a lifestyle. She was married to Mark, an emergency doctor, who recently passed away. We never get to meet Mark, but we get to know him through Mel’s memories of him. 

Wanting and needing change, she sells everything and moves to Virgin River, a promising quiet town, where she can start again. But things don’t go as planned. They never do. When struggling with challenges, she has to find a way to cope with her pain, then learn how to live with it, so she can move on and be happy in life. 

Then we have Jack, who owns a bar in Virgin River, and who is the person that helps everyone around.

When Mel arrives, he is determined to make her stay and show her that this place is not so bad after all. But as a former marine, he also has his demons, and as much as he will help Mel, he also needs her to help him get over his pain as well. 

From the side characters, I really loved Doc, the sassy old doctor, Preacher, Jack’s friend from the marines and Joey, Mel’s sister. Even though I hated Joey at the beginning, she started to grow on me as time passed by. 

Very interesting story, a lot of dramatic events that change our characters and teach them something. The plot was predictable in the sense that I knew there would be a love story between Jack and Mel, but it was still adorable and cute to read how both of them grow by each other. 

The Netflix Show

You might have heard, but now Virgin River also has a TV show as well. My plan was to read and watch them simultaneously, and I did watch the first few episodes. I love the show, and I will definitely continue watching. However, the plot is changed a lot and it is quite different from the book, so I suggest you read the book first before watching the TV show. 

Have you read this book? Have you read something similar? I would love to read your thoughts. 🙂 

Purchase Links:
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