Book Review · Books

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood [BOOK REVIEW]

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood [BOOK REVIEW]

I devoured The Day Of The Accident. I loved The House On The Lake. So, naturally, I was prepared I would enjoy The Perfect Life as well. Little did I know, it would end up being my favourite Nuala Ellwood book yet!

About The Book:

The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood [BOOK REVIEW]


Pages: 313

Format I read it in: Paperback

Purchase Links:
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★★★★

Synopsis:

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE?

Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.

That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.

Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.

And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…

My Thoughts:

The manipulation in this book is brilliant. The small red flags that get often ignored turn into a bigger picture, creating a unique pressure, and as a reader, I loved it!

Vanessa is such a morally grey character, and even though I felt for her, I could never truly trust her narrative. It was like stepping on shaky stones, but having a wonderful view at the same time. I don’t experience that often, and I want to find it more and more in books now!

I could predict in which direction the book was going, and even though I could sort of predict the ending as well, it still left me satisfied. If you are looking for a quick read that will take you on a creepy adventure, you better grab a copy of this book.

Nuala’s writing is amazing! She is able to get me into the story very fast, and keep me intrigued until the very end.

TW: rape, abuse, gaslighting

About The Author:

Nuala Ellwood author The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood [BOOK REVIEW]

Nuala Ellwood is the author of three bestselling novels: My Sister’s Bones for which she was selected as one of the Observer’s ‘New Faces of Fiction 2017’, Day of the Accident and The House on the Lake. Nuala lives in York with her young son.

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Book Review · Books

All That’s Dead by Stuart MacBride [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

All That’s Dead is book number 12 in the Logan McRae series, however, each of these books can be read as a standalone, as it features Inspector Logan McRae in different situations. This was my first novel from the series, as well from Stuart MacBride, and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve only just met the hero that is Logan McRae and I’m planning on hanging out with him more in the future.

Synopsis:

Scream all you want, no one can hear…

Inspector Logan McRae is looking forward to a nice simple case – something to ease him back into work after a year off on the sick. But the powers-that-be have other ideas…

The high-profile anti-independence campaigner, Professor Wilson, has gone missing, leaving nothing but bloodstains behind. There’s a war brewing between the factions for and against Scottish Nationalism. Infighting in the police ranks. And it’s all playing out in the merciless glare of the media. Logan’s superiors want results, and they want them now.

Someone out there is trying to make a point, and they’re making it in blood. If Logan can’t stop them, it won’t just be his career that dies.

My Thoughts:

I had the pleasure to listen to the audiobook by a narrator with a Scottish accent and I loved it! It managed to bring Stuart MacBride’s humour and beautiful writing to life like I wouldn’t be able to do it myself by simply reading.

It took me a while to fully get into the story, and to be quite honest, I never truly did. Mostly it’s because the political aspect of the book was not interesting to me, and I was merely into it from the investigation side of things. This is also the only reason I gave this book a 3-star rating.

Aside from the political aspect, I enjoyed the thriller elements in the book. I was hooked on the investigation scenes, and there were many plot twists that kept me intrigued. Same goes for the storytelling. Stuart MacBride did an amazing job there. I could vividly imagine the scenes only from his descriptions and I really enjoyed his hilarious metaphors. Each character was amazingly done, with their own little storylines and personal development, all culminating into a great ending to sum everything up.

Even though my first, this book will definitely not be my last from the author. If you are looking for a gripping political mystery thriller with a witty inspector, read All That’s Dead!

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Nursery by Asia Mackay [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

If you ever wondered how James Bond would have looked like if he were a woman, this is the series you don’t want to miss. The Nursery is the second book of the Alexis Tyler series; a story about an assassin, a wife and a mother. It can be easily read as a standalone as well.

Synopsis

Lex Tyler is a secret agent. Her husband doesn’t quite know the details of her job. And her two-year old daughter has just developed a worrying love of biting.

When her colleague agents start dying and secrets are being leaked, Lex and her team have to work undercover to identify and eliminate the traitor in their midst. And this has to happen before China’s minister of Commerce gets assassinated on her visit in the UK. This is the one mission Lex can’t afford to fail.

My Thoughts:

I went into this book completely neutral, if not a bit worried that I haven’t read the first book of the series. And it blew me away! I loved the idea of a woman assassin that also has to juggle being a wife and a mum. I loved Lex’s character and her personal development, and could relate to so many things of her daily life. Even secret agents have to deal with their annoying two-year olds, and that was a relief. Lex was about to make some very unpopular life choices at one point in the book, and I was actually excited about. It was the obvious wrong choice, but her status-quo also wasn’t promising either, so I found myself rooting for the team that might raise eyebrows. The writing of this part and the build up to it was amazing.

The thriller moments in this book were phenomenal! I loved the suspense at the end of the chapters. And blimey, I did not expect that plot twist in the end. It surprised me so much, but then I realised how there have been hidden clues scattered in the book all along. And I’ve missed them all. I wanted to immediately re-read the book, just to find all the clues, and that is a proof to Asia Mackay’s amazing suspenseful writing.

I truly devoured this book, and Asia Mackay is now an author that I will keep following and whose books I’ll keep reading. Starting with “Killing It”, which is the first book of this series. The Nursery is a wonderful thriller you will not be able to put down. With a plot twist you’ll certainly remember!

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor [BLOG TOUR]

I am delighted to be part of the huge blog tour for The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor. Huge thanks to Gaby from Michael J Books, for this amazing opportunity. If you have a chance, please go and check out the other participants as well!

★★

The Burning Girls was the first book I read from C. J. Tudor and it didn’t disappoint. I loved the horror elements, as well as the multi-layer mysteries over the years, and the many plot twists. It is definitely a thriller you will not want to miss this year, and I’ll certainly pick up more books by the author. I was only disappointed with the very end of the book, and I’ll elaborate more on the why’s below:

Synopsis:

500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest…

My Thoughts:

From the very first moments, The Burning Girls grips you and doesn’t let you go until you’re finished. I started this book very late, and was quite certain I’d miss my blog tour deadline as well. But I was so intrigued by it, that I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a day.

I loved Jack and Flo, and their mother-daughter relationship.

It shows quite well that it doesn’t matter what profession the parent might be having, the children always treat you the same. The need for attention that they’ll never admit to, the secrets they will keep from you, and the mischievous ideas they are going to come up with.

When they move into the new village, they both feel both excited and sad. It’s never easy to leave behind a life you’ve created, especially for a teenager like Flo. Going into a new school, meeting new friends, being distant to the old friends – it’s all very scary at first. And through Jack, we can see how she feels about it all as well – not happy that she’s leaving, but also trying to make it the best experience at the time.

The horror and mystery elements come very early in the book, which is something I really enjoyed. I was very intrigued with not one, not two, but three mysteries that were going on, all in the same town, and all not quite resolved. Those parts, where more clues would come, or something supernatural would happen would be my favorite scenes in this book, and I was eagerly waiting for more. The atmosphere was spooky and very uncomfortable at times. I mean, you only need to imagine a chapel, burning girls and paganism, and you get the idea.

I also liked the town setting, and their behaviour.

Everyone in the small town seemed to be hiding their own secrets, and doing their best to protect them, and this part reminded me a bit of Tana French’s The Searcher. You could feel the townspeople’s animosity in every interaction, and you can’t help but get the chills.

To conclude, this book did satisfy my needs for horror, mystery and plot twists. I definitely did not expect all of those plot twists that came my way, and the book just kept surprising me in a spectacular way. I definitely recommend it to all fans of horror, mystery and thriller, it’s a book that you will devour!

The Disappointment:

My disappointment at the end of the book was huge, and it was the only reason this book went from 5-stars to 3-stars. I can’t share my full thoughts, because of obvious spoilers, but I will do my best to do this right. If you have read the book and want the full notes, please send me a message.

As soon as I read the last few chapters, we end up finding an answer to a mystery that was lingering from the very beginning of the book, and throughout. But knowing what we know now, it feels as if the whole book was a lie, and I cannot really trust a particular character because of it. The knowledge made me question my whole opinion of the book and left a bitter taste in my mouth, and that’s the only reason why I can’t give this book a higher rating. I feel that many things could have been written in a different way, and from other people’s perspectives.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

The Push by Ashley Audrain [BOOK REVIEW]

The Push by Ashley Audrain [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I read The Push by Ashley Audrain as part of a global readalong. Huge thank you to tandem and to Michael J Books, for sending me a hardcover copy of this book so I can join the readalong. The Push really intrigued me from the very first start and it was one of those books I devoured in a day, needing to know the next chapter. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, it will not let you down.

Synopsis:

Blythe is afraid that history will repeat itself when her first child, Violet, is born. Having a complicated relationship with her own mother, she is dedicated to give all the love and attention to Violet.

But Violet is not an easy child, and something is not right. She doesn’t smile at all, and no matter how much Blythe tried, Violet seems to not like her at all. Blythe’s husband, Fox, is certain that Blythe is just imagining this. But he cannot understand what Blythe has experienced as a child.

Fighting a battle that she might never be able to win, Blythe is on the verge of losing her daughter, her family, her husband, her marriage, and everything she does seems to be wrong. Is her child really evil, or is she just being delusional?

My Thoughts:

The Push was certainly a different book, unlike anything else I’ve read. Many people in our group have compared it to “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver, because of the style of writing. I haven’t read that one, so I couldn’t compare it, but it’s definitely on my radar now.

The Push is written in a first person perspective, where Blythe is telling her story to her husband, Fox. There are also parts in the book where we follow the stories of Blythe’s mother and Blythe’s grandmother. These parts help us learn more about those relationships and help us understand Blythe better, as well how her childhood plays a part in her relationship with her daughter, Violet.

The relationship between Blythe and Violet was presented in such a unique way, full of anxiety. Their interactions made me uncomfortable many times, but I enjoyed that. It’s not often that a book can push me out of comfort zone like that and I hope to find more books like this in the future. I am not a mother myself, but this book might be a hard read for parents. Especially during certain scenes, I could barely read chapters without taking a break.

The short chapters and the many plot twists are what made The Push unputdownable for me.

I was staying up all night, flipping pages and I loved that. I mostly felt for Blythe, because of what she was going through. no one should have to experience that and she should have received more support from her husband. However, there were also instances where she was neglecting Violet as a child and I wonder whether this had any consequences to Violet’s personality later on, as well as her development.

I loved the suspense of The Push, as well as the fact that we can never truly trust Blythe to tell us the truth, because this is her story, but it may not necessarily be completely true. The only part that I wanted more of was the ending. It didn’t finish as concluded as I’d hoped, but that’s just my personal preference. I also hoped to see Violet’s point of view, as well as what was going on through the husband’s mind – I feel like this might have brought more plot twists, or make people choose sides and discuss this.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Push.

It was a very interesting and dark psychological thriller. Extremely fast-paced and full of plot twists. If you are looking for something to keep you on your toes, look no further.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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