ARC Review: The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble

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Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback & Hardback

Synopsis

Ellie Blackmore is making a name for herself as a young house flipper. But when her sister disappears, she can’t focus on anything but finding out what really happened. Blood on the floor might indicate that MacKenzie was killed and her body was removed.

Ellie is at odds with Grayson Bradshaw, the handsome Coast Guard intelligence officer who thinks MacKenzie faked her own death and is off enjoying her ill-gotten gains: billions of dollars in cocaine.

They both want the truth, but truth—and family—is often more complex than it may first appear.

Review

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Going into this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I am not an avid reader of “Christian fiction”, so I was a bit wary, even though the synopsis sounded very interesting. However, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I was getting into a slump whilst reading The Night Women by Sara Blædel, but then I picked this one up and finished it in just a couple of days! The writing is so pleasant, it reads like a dream 👌🏼

There are two main points of view: Ellie’s and Grayson’s. Ellie’s sister, Mac, disappears, leaving a trail of blood on her boat. Ellie is worried sick and thinks her sister might be hurt. Grayson, a Coast Guard, is following a lead on stolen cocaine and is convinced that Mac is involved and that she faked her own death. Besides these two, there are occasional POV of other characters as well, which shows us what is happening on all sides of the story.

She pressed her ear to the latch and heard the faint trickle of water. No amount of screaming would lift her voice out of this deep hole, so she didn’t waste her strength.

I really liked the main group of characters that we follow, they were a joy to read about. Oh, and I finally found a character who thinks in tricky situations and doesn’t just act out of their overwhelming emotions. Thank you, Colleen Coble, I love me a smart character🙌🏼

This story involves drug trafficking, terrorism and assassinations, and that makes for a super gripping story that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Also, a lot of current themes and issues we’re facing right now are mentioned, which just makes the book even more real and relatable, in a sense.

I’ve never really met anyone who tugged at my heartstrings.” He kissed her palm again, then moved up to her wrist. “Until now, that is.” He lifted his head and reached for her at the same time she moved toward him. His lips covered hers with a gentle yet masterful touch, and she was lost.

Throughout this year, I have barely read anything with romance in it and, to my surprise, this is a mystery with romance!! Oh my, I really missed reading about people falling in love – and now it’s all I want to read… Additionally, this is very good romance. No insta-love, no mental abuse, no manipulation, none of those tropes! The only “trope” that is present here is the “girl who doesn’t realize how beautiful and amazing she is” – but there’s a reason behind that! It was just so wonderful to read about the couples in this, I’m so happy I picked this up 😍

I did find an issue with consistency, namely regarding a character’s eye color. Most of the time, she has “golden-brown” or “amber” eyes but, out of nowhere, someone mentions her “blue” eyes. I won’t hold that against the book though since this is an ARC and I’m sure they corrected the mistake. Also, we’re human! But I did notice it, so I thought I should mention this tiny lapse.

One of my favorite parts of this story was the secrets that were revealed, stuff from the characters’ past. I’m always a sucker for a good book with tragic backgrounds and shocking revelations, and this was no exception, loved it!

I also loved the setting, it takes place in Lavender Tides, which is a coastal area. This makes for a wonderful background, full of houses right by the water, giving us summer vibes. This book is downright refreshing – in every sense of the word!

In conclusion, I am now a fan of Colleen Coble’s writing and I can’t wait to read more of her books. I might pick up the first book in this series, which follows one of the great characters I met in The House at Saltwater Point. I hope my review gets you pumped to pick it up, it’ll be out in the US in just a couple of days! 🎉

4 4/5 stars

Have you read any of Colleen Coble’s books? Which one(s) do you recommend?

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The House at Saltwater Point and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

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Review: Lies by T.M. Logan

Image result for lies tm logan book coverLies by T.M. Logan

Goodreads rating: 3.97

Pages: 432

Genre: Adult, ThrillerMystery, Psychological Thriller

Date published: September 11th, 2018 (USA)

My rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback & Hardback

Synopsis

What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child—then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It’s the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man—an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?

Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who’s always one step ahead.

My review

Firstly, I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I must say I read through this 432-page baby in NO TIME!! I started it last night and finished it today. It was all I could think about, I had to know what would happen next 😍

I hadn’t read the synopsis (or at least I didn’t know anything about the story going into it), so I went in head first, completely oblivious to what was coming my way. I must say I was most definitely not disappointed 🙌🏼

In Lies, we follow Joe, an English teacher who is married to Melissa. They have a little boy, William, who is 4 years old. One day, as Joe drives home, William spots his mom’s car and they both decide to surprise her. So, they follow her as she drives to a hotel parking lot. Then, they spot her as she meets with a man, a very suspicious interaction that makes Joe start to question everything and causes everything around him to fall apart.

This story doesn’t go where you expect it to, not in the slightest. And that’s what I loved about it. I had never read a book with a plot line such as the one in Lies, it felt rather refreshing. It’s a domestic thriller, but through the eyes of a man, unlike what usually happens, and it goes places I never even dreamed it would.

As the title suggests, this whole book is based on lies and secrets, which makes for a read that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what happened and the author keeps throwing revelations at you. You’re constantly finding out new things – it’s absolutely addicting, I could not put this book down! 😋

Since this is built upon lies, I had a ton of theories throughout the book. I took notes and highlighted stuff every time someone said something that didn’t make sense or that seemed suspicious. I wasn’t even remotely right for the most part, and I love that. I love when books aren’t predictable and keep surprising me 👌🏼 I was playing detective the whole time, which is something I love 🕵🏻‍♀️

Although this is well over 400 pages long, it doesn’t feel slow at all – there’s just a LOT of things happening 😅 There isn’t a very extensive list of characters, which is great because you’re not confused all the time. What there is is a whole lot of unexpected twists and turns – as well as inevitable situations – that keep coming at you the whole time, making this a very rich book. The main plot twist really messed with my head. I did not see that coming whatsoever, I could not believe what I was reading! 😲 It reminded me of The Wife Between Us because, although the plot twist is not even similar, I also didn’t see this one coming and I had to go back and re-read it, to make sure I was seeing right 😅

I kept saying on Goodreads that I was stressed whilst reading this. You have no idea!! I literally had to pause my reading several times because I was getting so anxious and aggravated 😨 This book has a lot of injustice in it, and that’s something that really irks me, especially when there’s literally nothing you can do about it. God, this was so damn stressful 😩 – but so worth it!!

Overall, this is a fast-paced book with an intricate and well-constructed plot that makes for a great and engaging read – especially after a bombastic plot twist!

★★★★☆ 4.5/5 stars


Update (June 14, 2018): changing the rating to 5 stars because I realized that it deserves it!

★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Have you read Lies? What did you think about that plot twist? Let me know in the comments! ♡

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Lies and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

Review: The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blædel

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blædel

Goodreads rating: 3.55

Pages: 312

Genre: Adult, Thriller, Crime, Mystery, Nordic Noir

Date published: February 3rd, 2015 (USA)

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback

Synopsis

In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. After four days, Louise Rick—the new commander of the Missing Persons Department—is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago.

Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a “forgotten girl.” But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago.

As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed—and hidden—in the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed.

My review

After a bit of a disappointing read (by a Portuguese author), The Forgotten Girls came to the rescue – a breath of fresh air! This is the seventh book in the Louise Rick series, which I have read completely out of order. I started with the ninth and latest book, The Lost Woman, which I really liked, and now I’ve gone back in time to read the previous books.

So the book begins with a rather stressful and intense prologue, in which a woman is running through the woods, escaping from someone. Then, she is found dead. As you can probably guess, I was hooked right from the beginning – which is why it only took me a couple of days to finish it. This could easily be read in one sitting though, it’s incredibly gripping!

The plot is amazing and very well thought-out. Blædel combines a creepy and cold atmosphere with asylum-related shenanigans. AND she also writes lovely characters that you end up caring for – what more could you want? I don’t know about you, but there’s something about asylums and institutions of the sort that just gives me chills, so they’re the perfect addition to a crime book.

In comparison to The Hypnotist, I enjoyed this one better. Why? Well, mainly because, as I mentioned in my review, The Hypnotist should be shorter than it is. The story drags on for too long and it’s a very descriptive book. However, I was pleased to see that The Forgotten Girls is not like that. In my opinion, a crime book should be short and sweet and straight to the point. Otherwise, you kind of distract the reader from the crime and whodunnit, don’t you? Is it just me who thinks so?

One thing I really enjoyed was how I did not predict how the case would unravel or how the story would end. The Portuguese edition is 300 pages long and I only had a suspition at about page 230. And it wasn’t even right!!! I love that, there’s nothing worse than a predictable book, am I right? Especially a crime book!

There were quite a few moments that made me laugh or chuckle – these characters are everything, I love them all! I also think Louise’s motherly worries are endearing, I liked seeing that part of her and not just the badass detective side. Also, she has such an awful but interesting and intriguing past, and I’m dying to find out more about it in the next books!!

Fun fact: Sara Blædel will be at a book signing here in Lisbon next week and I CANNOT tell you how excited I am to go there and meet her!!

Overall, this book is really freaking good. It’s disturbing. It’s gripping and addictive. It doesn’t drag on, it’s straightforward. It’s everything I want in a crime/thriller book and, for that, it deserves the highest rating!

★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Have you read this book? What about the other books in the series? Let me know in the comments! ♡

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The Forgotten Girls and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

Review: Strange Medicine by Mike Russell

strangemedicine-coverforwebsiteStrange Medicine by Mike Russell

Goodreads rating: 4.03

Pages: 146

Genre: Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Anthology

Date published: May 5th, 2016 (UK)

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback

Synopsis

We recommend the following prescription: Strange Medicine – weird and wonderful stories for all that ails you. Strange Medicine is a fantastic collection of extraordinary tales of transformation by UK weird-fiction author Mike Russell. If you love the strange, surreal and unusual or if you are just looking for something different, Strange Medicine is for you.

My review

Firstly, I’d like to thank the author, Mike Russell, for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Strange Medicine is an anthology that contains eight strange short stories. When they say this book is strange, they are not kidding. Reading it, I felt like I was in one of my weird dreams that I sometimes have, in which nothing makes much sense – which I’m sure was exactly what the author intended.

The stories in this anthology are very short – one of them is 5 pages long – so this is a VERY quick read. I read the whole thing in a couple of hours, so if you’re looking for something like that, definitely give this a go.

The writing is easy to read, although in the first story, called Flock, there is a constant repetition of the main character’s full name, which kind of threw me off. But that doesn’t happen in any of the other stories, so it’s not a big deal.

On another note, the cover of this book (and Russell’s other book) is amazing, and so is the merch for StrangeBooks. If you’d like to check out the merch, click here.

Here is a very short synopsis for each of the stories:

Flock – man still goes to work every day after business closed down 12 years prior. One day, he meets someone on the train and everything changes.

Seventy-Two Bricks – man sees the same bridge in different places wherever he goes

Telephone – six weird phone calls between a man, a woman and a telephone

Mime – a story that features mime suicides and mime school; what’s real, and what isn’t?

Mr. Dennis and the Universe – man walks around with mysterious metal box; quite the morbid story 😅

Spy – hospice resident is being watched and followed

Brain – the story of a man and his stone

Shish – a story about a fish named Shish

Favorite quote

Sometimes the suffering of one individual is so great that it renders unjustifiable any purpose that the universe could possibly have.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I will say it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea 😅 These stories are all original and unusual, but since they’re strange, people might not enjoy reading them.

★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars


Have you read Strange Medicine? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments! ♡

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on Strange Medicine and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

Review: The Dinner by Herman Koch

e1a11bc317c2459690bab95630fff168-the-dinner-kochThe Dinner by Herman Koch

Goodreads rating: 3.89

Pages: 310

Genre: Adult, ThrillerMystery

Date published: November 5th, 2013 (UK)

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback

Synopsis

A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays.

But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents.

As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

My review

The Dinner is, unfortunately, my first disappointment of the year. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a bad book, it just didn’t meet my expectations 😔

I read Abby’s review of this book, and she absolutely loved it. It’s one of her biggest recommendations, so I was very excited to read it. However, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.

Firstly, although it wasn’t genius, the plot had some potential. A family’s secrets and conflicts that are revealed to us as they eat dinner in a fancy restaurant. Sure, sounds intriguing. But it didn’t keep me interested at all. The revelations weren’t as bombastic as I expected them to be, so they fell a bit flat, in my opinion.

Koch writes in a way that reminded me of Ian McEwan – it has a literary fiction tone to it. There is one part where the author reveals something to us, but he doesn’t actually tell us what it is exactly, he just hints at it. I hate it when authors do that 😅 He also goes on about things that aren’t directly related to the plot, like social issues and the way people in higher social classes act. It bored me, to be honest, I just wanted to get to the juicy stuff.

Usually, when I start a thriller/mystery novel, I can’t put it down. In the reviews I read for The Dinner, people said they could not put this book down. However, I took several weeks to finish this book. I can’t put my finger on why exactly I didn’t even feel like reading it – it just didn’t grasp me, I guess.

One thing I really liked, however, was the element of the ‘unreliable narrator’. It adds something to the story because you can’t trust them, which is a nice touch. If you have any recommendations of books with unreliable narrators, definitely leave them in the comments, as I seem to enjoy them.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it definitely isn’t a book that I loved, which is a bummer. I really wanted to like it 😅

★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars


Have you read The Dinner? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments! ♡

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The Dinner and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

Review: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

62a284_84e58a622fd844c697ff176ad240fa9fmv2_d_1803_2775_s_2The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor

Goodreads rating: 3.89

Pages: 352

Genre: Adult, Thriller, CrimeMystery

Date published: January 9th, 2018 (USA)

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback & Hardback

Synopsis

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

My review

Well, here is another favorite! From the moment I picked it up, I couldn’t get this story out of my head – I needed to solve this mystery… 🕵🏻‍♀️

The Chalk Man is a very gripping thriller that features a whole lot of fucked up characters. Each one has their own secrets, their own mistakes, and even if you don’t see it right away, absolutely everything is connected. It’s amazing, I don’t know how authors do it 😅

Never have regrets. You make a decision, and you make it for the right reason at the time. Even if it proves to be the wrong decision later, you live with it.

The plot is not a leading part of this book, I consider this to be a character-driven book. There are five central characters in this book – one of them, Eddie, is our main character and narrator. Eddie and his friends Hoppo, Gav, Mickey and Nicky are around the age of twelve in 1986, which means half (maybe more) of this book is about a group of kids and set in the 80’s. This makes it have a similar feeling to It by Stephen King, or the Netflix show Stranger Things. If you’ve seen either the movie or the show, you will most likely be reminded of them as you read The Chalk Man.

Never assume. Question everything. Always look beyond the obvious.

The quote above sums up the way this story should be approached. No one is who you think they are – which is something I love in books – and everyone has deep, dark secrets. It’s a great cast of characters, all extremely fucked up.

The whole book has a cold and creepy atmosphere to it that reminded me of Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I remember having the same chilling sensation when I read that one, which I am rather fond of. I like it when thrillers transport you to an alternative reality in which you just get lost in the story and what’s happening, and you constantly have shivers because everything is so eerie.

Never have regrets. You make a decision, and you make it for the right reason at the time. Even if it proves to be the wrong decision later, you live with it.

There is a great deal of murder, religion/religious discussions, and also abortions, as one of the characters is a doctor who performs them. The fact that it is set in the 80’s means some of the prominent themes of this book are extremely controversial, as was the reality in said time period. There is also an emphasis on the dichotomy between Christian belief and abortions, as you would expect. There are also serious bullying and rape situations that occur in the story, so you should be aware of that before going into it.

Right at the end of the book, there is a huge and shocking revelation that completely blew me away, and made this story SO much better. Amazing, twisted ending!

Secrets are like arseholes. We all have them. It’s just that some are dirtier than others.

Amongst all the creepy happenings and descriptions, I actually found myself laughing a lot through this book. The characters are hilarious, they kind of have the same sense of humor as me, so that made me enjoy it even more. This book has it all!!

★★★★★ 5/5 stars


Have you read The Chalk Man? What did you think about the horrid ending? Let me know in the comments! ♡

I strongly recommend that you pick up this book, it’s an amazing thriller that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. They’re not kidding when they say this is the thriller of the year 😄

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The Chalk Man and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡

Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

the-wife-between-us-1-800x1221The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Goodreads rating: 4.07

Pages: 352

Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Date published: January 9th, 2018 (USA)

My rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads // Buy this book: Paperback & Hardback

Synopsis

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

My review

Trigger warnings: domestic violence, stalking, controlling and manipulative behavior, alcoholism

Going into this book, I was expecting a stalking story – a wife who stalks the woman her husband left her for. Boy, was I wrong! The Wife Between Us is a domestic thriller with an intricate plot and web of characters, and it completely blew me away. I am sure this one will be one of my favorite reads of the year.

Starting with the characters, no one is who you think they are, so there are like dozens of moments of realization, which made it incredibly gripping for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book and how fucked up the situations in it were. Each character plays an important role, even if you dismiss them as insignificant.

Just a side note: this story had a few elements that were eerily similar to my own life, and that was freaky 😄 For example, one of the characters is named Vanessa and she used to have a German Shepherd named Duke. I AM NAMED VANESSA AND USED TO HAVE A GERMAN SHEPHERD NAMED DUKE. WHAT THE FUCK!?!? Ok, rant over hahaha I just had to mention it 😋

The writing was very nice, the whole book read quite quickly. I’m not sure whether both authors wrote different chapters, but I didn’t really notice much of a difference in the writing from chapter to chapter. The writing is very flowy and fast-paced, which I definitely appreciate in thriller novels.

To me, the plot of this book is its strongest point. The authors did an INCREDIBLE job. I didn’t see most of the twists coming, neither did I ever think the story would go where it went. Also, there are several times in which the authors connect two completely distinct situations, and that’s when you have a “HOLY SHIT!” moment. Amazing.

That ending, though. Oh my god. No one would EVER suspect this was where it would go. And if anyone saw it coming, you are a fucking psychic and I worship you, because that was the best, most mind-blowing ending the authors could have come up with.

 

★★★★★ 5/5 stars


Have you read The Wife Between Us? What did you think about that mind-blowing ending? Let me know in the comments! ♡

In conclusion, I definitely recommend that you pick up this book, it’s a GREAT domestic thriller that will surely mess with your mind.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The Wife Between Us and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!


Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡