[REVIEW] Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

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I have been waiting for this book to come out for a while now. I have read the first chapter somewhere in December 2016 and got excited like crazy about it. I even put the US cover of the book as my background for my tablet (and emailed the author with it haha). I waited and waited  (good thing I had other books to read or else I’d die) until it finally came out and I immediately picked it up and read it. There has been a lot of marketing for this book even before it came out with the hashtag #WTFthatending on Twitter which I’m sure everyone has seen. Here’s the thing – whenever books are over-hyped  they seem to fail the reader in one way or the other because of their high expectations . I have to say that this book was flipping good and worth the hype.

Behind Her Eyes is the first psychological thriller from Sarah Pinborough which follows two women – Louise and Adele. While reading the book we learn their stories each from their point of views.  These women are connected through David – who is Adele’s husband and Louise’s man-from-the-bar and also her new boss. Louise works as a secretary and is a single mom of a sweet boy named Adam. One night she meets David and has a brief tender encounter with him and then he leaves the bar leaving her full of hope that she’s still got it. Louise goes to work and sees David and learns that he’s her new boss. Not much longer after that while dropping her son off to school she bumps into Adele – who she knows now is her boss’ wife. Both end up chatting and continuing their chat over at the restaurant. She begins to get close to both of them – the beautiful and angelic Adele and the good-looking and charming blue-eyed David. As she gets to know them better she uncovers that not everything is what it seems. Why is Adele’s presence fearful and anxious?  Why is she saying that David – the charismatic and magnetising David – is the reason behind it?

I have to agree with Annie from TheMisstery that the ending didn’t ‘follow the rules of its genre’ which  sort of bothered me a little. The last chapter was a surprise but ended abruptly which left me frustrated hence this rating. What I loved about it was that feel of the book – the first chapter and Pinborough’s story-telling skills pull you in and you just read on. I loved the characters because they were brilliant and had depth to them. I must say that Adele was the most fascinating because she’s nothing like ordinary people and a person can’t relate to her but with Louise it’s a different story because she’s relatable. The plot didn’t feel over-done (except that part)  and I found it really easy to read through (even tho Louise annoyed me at times). The way Pinborough created this mystery in both Adele and David and their marriage made me want to dig deeper and find out their secrets along with Louise. There’s no doubt that Pinborough is a great story-teller.

I don’t want to spoil this book by saying anything further except that this is a great book which lovers of psychological thrillers (with a little genre bending) and mystery should definitely check out!

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

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457300Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story and also the 2010 and 2014 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Novella, and she has four times been short-listed for Best Novel. She is also a screenwriter who has written for the BBC and has several original television projects in development.

Her next novel, Behind Her Eyes, coming for HarperFiction in the UK and Flatiron in the US (January 2017) has sold in nearly 20 territories worldwide and is a dark thriller about relationships with a kicker of a twist.

Find her on:  Website,  Twitter,  Instagram,  GoodReads

 

[TAG] Anonymous Bookaholics tag

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Even though we only post book reviews on here it would be fun to do a book tag so thank you to Megan (That Book Lady Blog) for tagging us.

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What do you like about new books?

Definitely the smell of them and the feel in your hands. Plus they’re shiny!

How often do you buy new books?

I used to buy books every month now I’ve limited myself to maybe 1-3 every 2 months.

Bookstore or online shopping – Which do you prefer?

It depends on whether I want the book immediately or maybe the price is cheaper online..

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

Not particularly. I love BookDepository though.

Do you pre-order books?

When I’m really really excited for them (e.g. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara)

Do you have a monthly book-buying limit?

Answer is listed in a question above.

How big is your wish list? 

Less than a 100 books thank god! It’s still big though.

Which three books from your wish list do you wish you owned right now?

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What do you like about new books?

I might get book-shamed for this, but knowing I’m about to break in a new paperback is what I like most.

How often do you buy new books?

I go to the bookstore at least once a week. And I don’t leave a bookstore without buying something.

Bookstore or online shopping – Which do you prefer?

Bookstore!

Do you have a favourite bookshop?

The independent bookstore around the corner from my house has a café inside and is my favorite spot in the city.

Do you pre-order books?

Not so much anymore, but if it’s a book I’ve been waiting for, yes.

Do you have a monthly book-buying limit?

Nope. I have no self control.

How big is your wish list? 

It’s as long as there are books in the world.

Which three books from your wish list do you wish you owned right now?

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WE TAG: Since we don’t want to pressure people, anyone can tag themselves.

[REVIEW + Q&A with the author] Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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I decided to request this book from Edelweiss because it looked very appealing + had an interesting storyline and to my great luck I got approved! First the Final Girls by Riley Sager and now this one!

This debut from Daniel Cole follows not just one character but quite a few – even though Detective William Fawkes is at the center of the book – interesting characters. Detective William Oliver Layton-Fawkes called ‘The Wolf’ has just got back to his position as a detective after being suspended for four years because of an incident that happened at the trial of ‘The Cremation Killer’. This trial along with the serial killer Naguib Khalid was the most shocking media covered trial in London. The reason behind William’s suspension was his unprofessional outburst in court. Along with his career went his personal life, his marriage with a gorgeous journalist Andrea and his interpersonal relationships.

William gets called to a crime scene by Detective Emily Baxter – his old friend and partner from the days when he was a detective – and when he gets to the crime scene which was situated right across his apartment he comes upon a bizzare and gory sight – unlike any he has seen before – it is six body parts attached to each other with an arm pointing to his apartment. From this point on Fawkes begins to suspect that this has something to do with him. His ex-wife Andrea receives an anonymous list of names  – a hit list – that contains dates of the victims’ doom days but what strikes her as odd is that the last person on the list is her ex-husband Detective William Fawkes.  She makes sure that Fawkes gets the list and the detectives Emily Baxter and her trainee partner Alex Edmunds start working on figuring out who the killer is and why these murders are happening. This is the moment when Fawkes realises that his past might be what’s pushing the ‘Ragdoll’ killer to commit these murders.

First of all I must say that Cole’s writing and switching between narratives is what I look for in books. I always try and figure out what is going on in the characters’ head and this book gives a great insight into that. Once you start reading it you just can’t stop. William Fawkes was a very well crafted character along with his backstory which played a huge part in the novel. Cole gives a voice to many other characters (e.g. Andrea – Williams’ ex-wife was a refreshing character because we got to see the things from the perspective of the media and not just the POV of the police)  in the book which I highly appreciate.  This book made me laugh with characters’ funny comments and it made me scared for the victims. The executions of the victims were very interesting because of the ways the author did them. The ending could’ve been done better but I guess it needed to end that way because without it there wouldn’t be a sequel.  Cole has a way of pulling the reader into the story and not letting go of them until the very end. There will be two more novels in the future which I am very much looking forward to read! The TV series based on this novel is in the works and I hope that they stay true to the book and don’t ruin it.

Ragdoll’ is an engaging, funny, filled with plot twists kind of a thriller which everyone can enjoy.

Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Collins: Ecco and Daniel Cole for granting me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

Add ‘Ragdoll’ to your TBR:   goodreads-logo-square

*Purchase ‘Ragdoll‘ by clicking here: amazoncom-inc-logo

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**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

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At 33 years old, Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing.

He has received a three-book publishing and television deal for his debut crime series which publishers and producers describe as “pulse-racing” and “exceptional”.

Daniel currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two in the Nathan Wolfe series instead.

Ragdoll is his first novel.

Find him on:  Website (publisher),  Twitter,  GoodReads

 Click below to read my interview with the author.

Continue reading

[REVIEW] The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore

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The novel is set in San Francisco, like the first novel ‘The Poison Artist’ (2016). It is said that there will be one more novel called ‘The Night Market’ (2018) also set in San Francisco. These three books are stand-alones and can be read which ever way you want. I will begin this review with a summary of the novel and then I’ll explain why I gave this rating.

Our main character is SFPD inspector Gavin Cain who gets called during an exhumation – ‘digging of the grave’ into a different case that involves the San Francisco’s mayor who is being blackmailed. The mayor got a package containing four photographs:  the first, a blonde woman (who looks like Lauren Bacall y’all); the second, pills and handcuffs on a nightstand; the third, the woman drinking from a flask; and last, the woman naked, unconscious, and shackled to a bed. These photographs are accompanied with a note that says that if the mayor doesn’t kill himself there will be more ghastly things coming his way. The story sets off from that point on, onto a crazy ride of mystery – who’s the woman in the photographs and why have these photographs been sent to the mayor of San Francisco?

First of all I must say that ‘The Poison Artist’ was much better than this one. I had problems with this novel because it didn’t reveal much/or anything at all about what happened in the first novel. The plot itself was well thought of but not done as good as I had hoped Moore would. The characters were fine and there were interesting backstories to some of them but overall the characterisation was weak. I wish I’d seen more depth in the characters. I feel like the end of the story was sort of rushed but the plot twist at the end was very well done (even though it was sort of predictable).

If you’re new to Jonathan Moore and want to start with this book I would not recommend it. Start with ‘The Poison Artist’ and then go decide if you want to read this one. I will wait and see if his third one will be good or bad.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstar

Add ‘The Dark Room‘ to your TBR: goodreads-logo-square

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Jonathan Moore is a Bram Stoker Award nominated author of dark thrillers.

Before graduating from law school in New Orleans, he lived in Taiwan for three years, guided whitewater raft trips on the Rio Grande, and worked as an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. He has also been an English teacher, a bar owner, a counselor at a wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and a textbook writer.

Find him on:  Website,  Twitter,  Facebook,  GoodReads

[REVIEW] The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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As someone who has struggled with depression and is also attending the same women’s college as Plath did, this novel was very real for me.  Sylvia Plath struggled with depression and ultimately ended her life, so it makes sense that she would be able to write about the mental illness with such veracity.  From the reactions of those around Esther to the way she can’t get out of bed to go visit with friends, these are all things I have experienced and really appreciated in the novel.

Aside from the strength of this theme, this novel is an excellent exploration of the social conditions at the time and sadly, now.  Esther has many different encounters with the men and women in her social group.  Through these encounters, she sifts through the complexity of what it means to be a woman in her society and the disparities for men and women in themes of sexuality and class.  The writing was very simple which I enjoy as it is able to get the point across much more effectively.

What I really appreciated about this novel was the disconnect and isolation Esther goes through.  Starting off in a very social setting with friends, she slowly descends further into a state of isolation and dissociation that I have experienced myself.  Her experiences with suicide attempts are all very detached.  Often, storytellers tend to want to make suicide attempts very emotional and overdramatic.  This is not the case most of the time, and in my experience, this detachment to the experience that Esther describes is much more real.

Obviously, The Bell Jar is a classic, and I am only restating what everyone else has said when they implore you to read this book.  If you have struggled with depression, this book might be triggering, but it could also be a reminder that you are not alone in this struggle.  If you do not know what it is like to suffer from mental illness, I recommend you read this book to understand a little more.

My Rating:PINK STARPINK STARPINK STARPINK STARPINK STAR

Add ‘The Bell Jar’ to your TBR:   goodreads-logo-square

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Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.
Known primarily for her poetry, Plath also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar, under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The book’s protagonist, Esther Greenwood, is a bright, ambitious student at Smith College who begins to experience a mental breakdown while interning for a fashion magazine in New York. The plot parallels Plath’s experience interning at Mademoiselle magazine and subsequent mental breakdown and suicide attempt…more.

 

[REVIEW] Final Girls by Riley Sager @riley_sager

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First of all THIS book – WOW – this is a strong and immersive debut novel.  I have been hearing about this book for a while but didn’t pay much attention to it until I came upon it again and started reading the reviews and following the reviews on Goodreads (daily). I decided to check NetGalley for it and to my luck I requested and got approved for this novel. I am so grateful to have gotten a chance to read it now!

This book focuses mainly on Quincy Carpenter who is a ‘Final Girl’ – the sole survivor of a massacre.  Ten years have passed since the massacre at Pine Cottage hapened and Quincy has a boyfriend and a baking blog but she still can’t shake the feeling of that horrible night and the cottage in which she lost her friends. There are three ‘Final Girls’ – Lisa Milner, Samantha Boyd and our protagonist Quincy Carpenter. Then something horrible happens to Lisa Milner which causes an unease in Quincy. Quickly after the death of Lisa Milner, the second ‘Final Girl’ Samantha Boyd appears in front of Quincy’s building. This is where the story starts to thicken and all hell breaks loose. Being a ‘Final Girl’ has it’s consequences and the women who experienced that terrible fear and shock possess something that others don’t.

An amazing debut novel from Riley Sager. It is compared to ‘Gone Girl’ which no book can beat but this book has it’s own power which makes it unique and a MUST read. Riley Sager writes really well, she gets under your skin with scary scenes. This novel is full of twists and turns which are cleverly done.  I must say that at one point I did predict what was going to happen but the last 100 pages were so fast-paced, gut wrenching and wonderfully done. Also I really loved the references to Old Hollywood movies (Vertigo..) and stars (Grace Kelly, James Stewart..).  Riley Sager has become one of my top authors now.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone – especially lovers of mystery/thriller genre. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by this book!

The novel comes out on July 11th 2017 so make sure you pick it up!

Thank you to NetGalley, Ebury Press and Riley Sager for granting me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstarhalfstar

Add ‘Final Girls’ to your TBR:   goodreads-logo-square

*Purchase the book by clicking here: a-co_-uk_logo_rgb-630x301

*Purchase the book with free worldwide shipping: the_book_depository-svg

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

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  A native of Pennsylvania, Riley Sager is a writer, editor and graphic designer. Riley now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

In addition to writing, Riley enjoys reading, movies and baking.

Riley’s first novel, FINAL GIRLS, will be published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than a dozen territories around the world.

Find her on:   Website,  Twitter,  Instagram, GoodReads.

[REVIEW] An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

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I have been interested in mental disorders for a while now – mainly because they affect a lot of population. I have read a few memoirs with similar topics as this one but this one is the most memorable. This is an autobiography of Kay Redfield Jamison – she is a clinical psychologist whose work mainly centers on manic depressive disorder (generally known as bipolar disorder). The characteristics of manic depressive disorder are mostly mood swings – a person’s mind tends to switch moods from over-the-moon happy to terribly sad.

Kay Redfield Jamison gives us an insight of her childhood and how the darkness consumed her and her way of living with mental illness. Within this pages you will experience what it is like being bipolar and get to know the story of this brilliant doctor. I have to say that this is really an essential book for everyone interested in psychology or manic depressive disorder. Kay Redfield Jamison is really brave for sharing her story with the world and I feel grateful to have read it. This autobiography deals with a lot of subjects which are important and executed really well. As I’ve said at the beginning of this review more than a half of the population suffer or experience depression and there are those who are affected by it every day for all of their life.  I truly believe that this book helped people realise that they are not alone – mental illness doesn’t define a person. This book gives hope to people who suffer from manic depressive disorder to continue fighting and know that they are worth it.

A powerful and poignant read that changes your perception of mental disorders specifically manic depressive disorder.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

[REVIEW] The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

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This is my second novel from Peter Swanson and dare I say it didn’t disappoint. I first heard about his 2015The Kind Worth Killing’ – read it immediately and became interested in this author. I must also say that his second novel ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ is still my favourite of his.

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart follows George Foss and the mysterious  relationship he has with his college sweetheart who disappeared after the first semester. George finds himself sitting in a bar with his on-and-off girlfriend Irene when he sees a woman who reminds him of his college girlfriend Audrey Beck/Liana. He dismisses this fact and continues with his conversation with Irene – still having that woman on his mind – after telling Irene that he isn’t feeling well and leaving the bar he comes back to the bar with certainty that that’s his college girlfriend Audrey/Liana.

His intuition turns out right and they start having a chat where she tells him she needs a favour from him. He hesitates but agrees to do the favour even tho he knows about her troubled past and secrets she holds.

This was a great thriller which I expected it would be coming from this author. I love his writing and how he creates tension and twists. What bothered me was how quickly he believes her and trusts her to do what she asks of him. It don’t understand what kind of person can do that in an instant, I do get that he was in love with her even though she disappeared.  She left her mark on him which after twenty years never got healed. But nevertheless it was a fast thriller with interesting characters. As for recommending this book – If you’d like to read Swanson you better start with ‘The Kind Worth Killing’ and work through the rest. Looking forward to his next book ‘Her Every Fear’ which is out this year.

My rating is:ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

[REVIEW] The Likeness by Tana French

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After reading In the Woods I wasn’t really looking forward to reading anything else by French, but I read some reviews and asked some people if the second one is worth reading. Because of the fact that it’s similar to The Secret History by Donna Tartt I decided to read it.

The book focuses on Detective Cassie Maddox, now former partner of Det. Rob Ryan since she left the Squad. She has a new relationship, she moved to domestic crime section and is getting settled into her new life until she gets a call to attend a crime scene. Now this is the part where you have to let go of your biases and believe in the story. The murder victim looks exactly like her and is identified as Alexandra Madison which is the alias that Cassie used.

The Squad gets a mad idea to send her into the house in which Alexandra/Lexie Madison lived and find out who might’ve killed her. With a lot of hesitating she agrees and becomes entangled into the lives of Lexie’s housemates and her her issues as well.

I loved the fact that it was similar to The Secret History because I adored that book. The feel of a group of friends who are mysterious and quite terrifying in the eyes of others makes me like this book. Even though the plot of the book was bonkers, once you get past it, the book gets better. I think that this book was 10 times better than her first one. Again, her writing is flawless, her setting is magical and she gets into the psyche of her characters’ really well. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

My rating: ratingstarratingstarratingstarratingstar

[REVIEW] In the Woods by Tana French

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I have been hearing about this book for ages, it has great reviews and it is loved. So I decide to check it out. This book a Detective Rob Ryan who is the only child who got back from the woods in the summer of 1984.  The story is set in Dublin, Ireland which makes it even more compelling.

As you can predict Rob is tortured by his past and the happenings of that dreadful summer. One day he gets called into the same suburb his friends went missing to investigate a homicide of a twelve year old girl. Now that he’s back at the ‘scene of his nightmares’ he must conquer his trauma whilst working on a case in a small suburb of Dublin. He works alongside his partner Detective Cassie Maddox in order to solve this crime and find the person/people who committed it.

I love French’s writing style, it’s very rich and beautiful. She has a great way of getting into her characters’ psyche. French created a character with a troubled past who feels like a real person when reading the book. The story is good but the happenings in the novel were a bit too much for me. I didn’t like it as much as everyone else. Although I thought the book was great it wasn’t a ‘wow’ book. If you are a fan of mystery/thriller books I’d recommend it.

My rating is: ratingstarratingstarratingstar