Book Review · Books

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW]

The Spiral by Iain Ryan [BOOK REVIEW] This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride.

★★

I was reading The Spiral by Iain Ryan as part of a readalong with some amazing people on Instagram. I have a few readalongs in the pipeline for 2021 for both book bloggers and bookstagrammers, and you can read more and join HERE if you want to. Reading The Spiral was a very unique experience!

Synopsis:

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

My Thoughts:

First of all, I feel the need to say that I still feel confused after finishing The Spiral. But in a good way. This book really took me on a rollercoaster and I still feel the adrenaline after the ride. And don’t let my 3-star rating put you off, because it’s a very strong 3 star. The Spiral is definitely one of those books that is bound to give you a hangover. The characters will haunt for me for a while, especially Erma.

Erma’s life changes when her assistant Jenny tries to kill her and then kills herself. With Jenny dead, Erma has no answers on why Jenny did that, and all she can do is try and follow her steps and try to reveal the reason why.

Through Iain Ryan’s amazing writing and creativity, this book takes a very unique approach. I loved how the author incorporated the “choose your own adventure” narrative not just in the book, but also as part of the book plot. It was a very new experience for me, and I had lots of fun reading it! If you are not familiar with the “choose your own adventure” format, these types of books are written with a narrative that give you an option, as the reader, to make certain choices. And they usually contain sentences like this one:

” You are standing between three doors. If you choose the red door, go to page 35. If you decide to go for the white door with blue sparkles, go to page 46. And if you are feeling brave today, and want to choose the black door surrounded by thorns, proceed to page 59.”

– Please note that this quote was a product of my imagination, and is not an actual quote from the book.

But now you sort of get the point. You go to a certain page, and then read a story based on your choices. Then you end up making more choices along the way. These books usually have a lot of different endings that you can unravel. The Spiral, however, uses this “choose your own adventure” narrative to provide more information on different character’s plotlines, but doesn’t actively impact the outcome in the end. Well, not completely. Just a little.

I still feel like there are many questions that were left unanswered, and I am currently in between two worlds. The curious part of me wants a conclusive ending, and doesn’t like to keep wondering. And the creative part of me things that this is the point of the book – to give us a chance for us to imagine how the character’s future will unfold.

The Spiral is a very dark, very eerie, very unpredictable book. It’s also full of twists, or dare I say, spirals 😂. I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you’ll give it a chance if the synopsis pulls you in.

“Memory isn’t fact. Memory is subjective and loose. A memory can get close enough to fiction that the line blurs. What good is it?”

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

The Love Letter was my first book by Lucinda Riley, and I can’t believe I haven’t read a book by this author before. This is a magnificent book, full of secrets, forbidden romances and unsolved mysteries of the past.

Synopsis:

Set in London in 1995, this book starts off when Sir James Harrison passes away. He was one of the greatest actors of his generation. During his funeral, a lot of people gather, considering how impactful he was. Among them, one old woman, that sits alone in the crowd…

Joanna Haslam is a young journalist, and she is assigned to cover the actor’s funeral. Many famous celebrities will be there, and she can’t miss this moment. But something else captures her attention. An old woman, that shares a secret letter Harrison left behind, which needs to keep a secret forever.

The closer she gets to tracking down the source, the more she realises how dangerous this secret is. Many people are interested to keep this letter a secret, and they’ll stop at nothing.

My Thoughts:

The Love Letter is a book my mum chose for me, when “Mama Pick” came up on my TBR game. It’s a book she really enjoyed and I am so glad I was able to share this with her. I am very excited to see what she’ll pick next when the next prompt comes up for her.

I find it very intriguing that there seems to be a certain mysteriousness of the censure this book received. It was mentioned in the acknowledgments that some obstacles occured with the ability to get it published, due to the fact that there is a royal family involved, even though a fictional one.

The Love Letter is mysterious from the very beginning, when Joanna meets the old lady. Little does she know that she will be involved with keeping a very dangerous secret that happened many moons ago. Things start to get very interesting when the reporter gets close to the actor’s family. Each of these individuals keeps their own little secrets too, and everyone keeps playing games to their own liking.

The storytelling, the characters and the many plot twists were incredible.

I was turning the pages so fast, desperate to see what happens next. Desperate for more. I was eager to discover all their secrets and found myself hoping for their wellbeing. The plot twists would happen in places I would least expect and I loved the ending.

The Love Letter takes you to a very different set of culture, and reading this in 2020, I could easily notice it is set in 1995. There are many small things in the book that happen, which reminded me that time has passed since, and I really enjoyed that. It has been a while since I have read something over two decades ago.

A wonderful fiction, full with secrets, drama, suspense and a bit of romance. I loved every single moment of it. Lucinda Riley is definitely an author I will read more books from in the future.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

The Flight by Julie Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

The Flight (also known as The Last Flight) by Julie Clark is a suspenseful novel, with two very different characters that share the same goal – to escape their past and start a brand new life. I am glad my fascination with planes put this book on my radar! Thank you to the teams at Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley, for providing me with an e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for my book review.

Synopsis:

Two women. Two Flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook lives a perfect life. On paper. She is married to a political figure, lives in a lovely place full of staff. She is surrounded by elegance, her days are planned and her future already known. But when no one is looking, nothing is as it seems. Her perfect husband has a bad temper, and he’s tracking Claire’s every move, making sure she lives up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has been planning for months on how to disappear.

At the airport, she somehow encounters a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they choose to make a last-minute decision to switch their plane tickets. Claire takes Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva now has a ticket to Puerto Rico. They believe this swap will be the final action they’ll have to take to finally leave behind their identities. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realises it is no longer a head start, but a completely new life. Cut off and out of options, with news surrounding her death in the media, Claire now has to pretend she is Eve and live as her. But when what Eve told her on the airport is a lie, and she has no clue who Eve was, Claire has new challenges facing her. Challenges full of danger.

My Thoughts:

The Flight follows these two different characters and their lives, as destiny connects them at the airport. They both have their own story and they both need to escape from something. While we know from the very beginning what Claire is escaping from, we know nothing about Eve’s secrets. And as we go along the story, the dynamic stays the same. Claire’s future combines with Eve’s past, as we follow a present narrative. And this part was very interesting to follow and read, and it was all I ever wanted it to be – intense, mysterious and exciting!

“That sometimes, the death of a dream can finally set you free.”

I am and have always been fascinated with planes, especially plane crashes. There is an irrational fear I always have when I am flying, and because of this I have spent many hours of doing research, learning about planes and how they work, as well as reading about the most unfortunate plane crashes. This was the main reason I chose to read this book. Somehow, I had the feeling that the plane and the crashing, or even the airport scenes would be more prominent in the book, but this wasn’t the case. The airport was just a pit stop for the plot to thicken, and not realising this at the beginning is on me. This is the main reason why I probably didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped to. But this also doesn’t mean that the book is not good, because it truly is!

“But what I’ve learned in life is that in order for true forgiveness to occur, something has to die first. Your expectations, or your circumstances. Maybe your heart.”

The characters are very well written and they are likeable.

I couldn’t connect to them enough to care, but both their stories were really intriguing. I have never been in association with rich people, or a victim to violence or surveillance without consent to be able to identify with Claire. Additionally, I also didn’t experience the type of life Eva had either, so that might have been the case. I did, however, really loved Danielle, who plays a critical role at the end of the book.

The writing was great and the intensity kept increasing as I kept reading, which I loved. It was very easy to read and I finished it very fast. The ending wasn’t predictable, but it also wasn’t as intense as I hoped the climax would be. The Flight was definitely a solid read and it kept me engaged all the way through. If you love suspenseful novels with vivid characters, I highly recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan [BOOK REVIEW]

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan Book Review readalong books blog blogging pan macmillan tandem tandemcollective romance thriller

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:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |


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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Sisters by Michelle Frances [BLOG TOUR]

Sisters by Michelle Frances BLOG TOUR Pan Macmillan book review mystery thriller suspense

I am extremely happy and excited to be part of the blog tour for Sisters by Michelle Frances. Thank you to the team at Pan Macmillan – for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Check out the other book bloggers that are part of the tour as well: 

Sisters by Michelle Frances BLOG TOUR Pan Macmillan book review mystery thriller suspense

Synopsis:

Is blood really thicker than water?

Abby and Ellie were never close as children. Now in their thirties, they each harbour deep-rooted resentment for the other – Abby for her sister’s looks and her status as their mother’s favourite. Ellie meanwhile is envious of Abby’s perfect husband and picturesque home, a villa on the sun-soaked Italian island of Elba.

When Abby invites Ellie to stay, both sisters see the break as a chance to relax and put aside their differences. But with their mother Susanna there too, all the simmering tensions of the past quickly rise to the surface. And Ellie suspects that Abby and their mother are keeping a dangerous secret . . .

But after a shocking act, the sisters have only each other to rely on. Vulnerable and scared, trusting each other will be the biggest risk of all . . .

My Thoughts:

Sisters by Michelle Frances was a very enjoyable and exciting ride for me. Not having read her previous books, I started reading without any expectations, hoping to enjoy the story for what it was. Two sisters – trying to improve their relationship, hopefully without their mother interfering. 

What I got instead, was so much more! The suspense keeps building up from the very first chapter. The tension between the sisters is really awkward. The relationships between the mother and both daughters is very different and very concerning. 

And then everything changes. 

We have a surprising plot twists, and from that moment on, we are on a wild adventure. Old secrets will start coming up, things people thought were forgotten in the past. I did not know, and couldn’t guess who the real villain is until the very end, and that was quite enjoyable for me! Everyone will tell you stories, everyone will say their own point of view. To you, everyone will seem like a villain and a victim at the same time, and this uncertainty will make you keep turning pages until you find out. Until the end. 

I am glad I read Sisters by Michelle Frances. Another amazing suspense now added to my list. I highly recommend it to mystery, thriller and suspense fans, especially the ones that enjoy family drama. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |


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