All Posts, book-reviews

ARC Book Reviews: Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz & our house by Louise Candlish

Book info:

Hellbent (Orphan X, #3) by Gregg Hurwitz
Published: January 2018
Publisher: Penguin
our house by Louise Candlish
Published: April 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

“It’s a bit late, innit? I mean… ‘our house’ came out two months ago… I mean, we can let it slide, but you’ve been slacking a bit lately, haven’t you?”

Very true.

And then you look at Hellbent.

“JANUARY? Er, helloooo? Care to explain? Care to explain WHERE THE FUCK YOU’VE BEEN?! HUH?! It’s been what – FIVE MONTHS? YEAH. FIVE. MONTHS. AND IT’S AN ARC AS WELL??! WOW! CONGRATS! YOU REALLY ARE A CERTIFIED C-

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to CALM DOWN, otherwise I’m going to have to call security and escort you off the premises”

“No. Nope. I WON’T CALM DOWN. I. AM. CALM. See? Oh what, I’m not allowed to say what I THINK NOW? God, freedom of speech and all that. I’m sorry, but I’m just saying what everyone is thinking BUT NEVER SAYS! I mean… what he’s doing, it’s…it’s  GODDAMN UNACCEPTABLE! That’s what it is! It’s AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE! I

“NO! GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME! DON’T TOUCH ME! LET GO OF ME! LET ME GO!

HEY! YOU CAN’T WALK AWAY FROM ME LIKE THIS! COME BACK! COME HERE RIGHT NOW! I’M TELLING YOU, YOU’LL NEVER GET AWAY WITH THIS! I’LL BE BACK! AND THE NEXT TIME I SEE YOU YOUR BODYGUARDS WON’T BE HERE TO STOP YOU! I WILL PROMISE THAT THE NEXT TIME WE MEET I WILL MAKE SURE THAT

Damn. Sorry ’bout ‘dat.

Although I should really be apologizing for not getting my review out sooner. You know, when you’ve got exams, you kinda push everything aside, you think “ah, I’ll do it when I have spare time”, and then three months later, you’re like “… ahhhh fuck”

And also, the Fifa World Cup update came out recently, so you know what it’s like, in the weeks coming up to the finals. Actually, I’ve got a pretty good team at the moment – you know, there are a few positions that do need work, like the fullbacks and keeper, but my attack is decent – Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane up front, Eden Hazard just behind them in the CAM position.

But you know what they say, don’t you? Every cloud has a silver lining. And this silver lining is that you get TWO REVIEWS INSTEAD OF ONE! THAT’S RIGHT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT’S A SPECIAL OFFER! BUY ONE GET ONE FREE! BUT WAIT! IF YOU ORDER NOW BEFORE 8PM, YOU’LL GET A FREE COMPLIMENTARY DVD AND AS ALWAYS, YOU’LL RECEIVE OUR 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE! THAT’S RIGHT – IF YOU’RE NOT SATISFIED WITH OUR PRODUCT IN THE NEXT 30 DAYS, WE’LL REFUND YOU WITH NO QUESTIONS ASKED! ORDER NOW ON 0800 457 1048

Two for one special offer ends 11/06/2018. Calls and texts cost £3 per minute plus your standard network rate. Please do not call after this date otherwise you will be charged treble and you’ll look like a complete idiot. You must be 16 or over. Please seek bill payer’s permission before calling. While stocks last. See boring terms and conditions online here.

Anyway… shall we just get on with the actual reviews now?

Not. Yet. (We negotiate their terms of surrender, I see George Washington smile, We escort their men out of Yorktown, They stagger home single file. TENS OF THOUSANDS of PEOPLE FLOOD THE STREETS, There are screams of churchbells singing. And as our fallen foes retreat, I hear the drinking song they’re singing. The world turned upside down…)

I feel like this would be a good time to say that the only reason why I was lucky enough to receive these ARCs (in the first place) was that I won these via the “Goodreads Giveaways” system. Therefore, I would like to thank Penguin/Michael Joseph and Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read these books for free. Thank you so much <3

 

Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X, #3)

Synopsis:

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After he broke with the Orphan Program, Evan disappeared and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, a man spoken about only in whispers and dedicated to helping the truly desperate.

But this time, the voice on the other end is Jack Johns, the man who raised and trained him, the only father Evan has ever known. Secret government forces are busy trying to scrub the remaining assets and traces of the Orphan Program and they have finally tracked down Jack. With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: find and protect his last protégé and recruit for the program.

But Evan isn’t the only one after this last Orphan— the new head of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is mustering all the assets at his disposal to take out both Evan (Orphan X) and the target he is trying to protect.

 

The premise of the series is interesting – like the synopsis says, Evan Smoak became part of the Orphan Program from a very young age, where he learnt all of his skills needed to become a deadly assassin. He became known as Orphan X, and quickly became a “prodigy” for the program – the best of the batch, the poster boy, essentially.

Then, after deciding to separate himself from the Orphan Program, Evan “vanished into thick Smoak” (ha! get it?!) and became “The Nowhere Man”, an urban legend where people with problems can call him on his ‘special number’ – 1-855-2-NOWHERE – and he’ll help. And no, I’m not talking about problems with their washing machine. I’m talking things like people being threatened by a gang because a drug deal went south, or someone’s been kidnapped and is about to be sold on the Dark Web to the highest bidder.

So after he sorts it out, punches and kills a few people (you know, the usual), he also has to evade capture from evil-Bond-sounding-villain “Charles Van Sciver”, who has been trying to assassinate Evan since the first book.

Following on from this, I will also add that Hellbent CAN be read as a standalone, even though it is the third installment in the Orphan X series, but I’d highly recommend that you read the previous two books beforehand. Not only will you get a greater understanding and backstory regarding the main protagonists, but they’re bloody good books. Especially the second book *hint hint*

In the end, I think I finished all three books within two weeks or so? I can’t remember. But it wasn’t long, that’s for sure. Not that that’s a bad thing – if anything, it’s the opposite. It’s full of action from the moment you open the book, and you won’t want to stop reading until the end. At 2 in the morning. Because that’s what I did.

Overall rating: 9/10

 

our house (in the middle of our street…) by Louise Candlish

(Yes, I spent 90% of my time doing this. And yes, I am just easily amused by small things…)

Synopsis:

On a bright January morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they’ve just bought in Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that.

Except it is your house.

And you didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern co-parenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.

 

Wow. What a tense read that was. Of course, I can’t really give too much away, but that ending; my god, was that completely unexpected! I loved it.

The concept of the book itself was interesting – you have Fi talking about her story on “The Victim”, a nationally acclaimed podcast where listeners can tune in to a weekly episode – this week being #VictimFi, of course!

And also, you’ve got Bram’s perspective, who has written a Word document explaining what happened. Although, in my opinion, it’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of Bram (I thought he was maybe a little neglected/underdeveloped at times), he’s a crucial part to the story, as he basically “fills the reader in” with more information, to give the true, full picture. And it works, to be honest.

Well, most of the time, it works. Sometimes we do get some instances where we read something from Bram’s perspective and then fifty pages Fi talks about it in the podcast. Which, I understand, given that this is asynchronous – the timelines aren’t exactly “lined up”, as expected – and the fact that the listeners don’t get Bram’s POV; however, at times, it just… took the surprise away.

Even though I sound critical and like I’m just shitting on this book at this point, I should add that I thoroughly enjoyed reading our house. The plot was great – not particularly too sure if it’s believable or realistic, but it’s terrifying enough to send shivers down your spine. I mean, I too would shit myself if I was ever in a position like Bram, that’s for sure.

Overall rating: 8/10 

 

 

So, there you go, guys! These were my reviews for Hellbent and our house. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, because I honestly had SO much fun writing this!

If you want to read more reviews in the future, then please feel free to stick around! I mean, I can’t promise anything, but I would like to start doing more of these again in the near future. And by “near future”, I mean… in about seventeen years, but…

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All Posts, book-reviews

ARC Book Review: While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt

Book publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: March 2018

Synopsis:

It begins, they say, with a woman screaming…

On a remote Scottish island, the McBride house stands guard over its secrets. A century ago, a young widow and her son died mysteriously there; just last year a local boy, visiting for a dare, disappeared without a trace.

For Zoe Adams, newly arrived from America, the house offers a refuge from her failing marriage. But her peaceful retreat is disrupted by strange and disturbing events: night-time intrusions; unknown voices; a constant sense of being watched.

The locals want her to believe that these incidents are echoes of the McBrides’ dark past. Zoe is convinced the danger is closer at hand, and all-too-real – but can she uncover the truth before she is silenced?

 

My Review:

First of all, before I say anything about the book, I have to say a massive shoutout to Harper Fiction for giving me the chance to win an ARC copy of While You Sleep via a Goodreads giveaway. If you’re reading this – thank you so much! ^_^

This book seemed to have a mixture of everything. It’s a mystery-suspense thriller, combined with gothic-horror and elements of paranormal activity, with added romance and references towards mental health. Phew.

At the start, you think you know what’s going to happen. You’re just going to read a horror story, featuring the cliched young woman living in a haunted house on her own, and she’s going to run away, or get brutally killed by someone – or something, like an evil spirit or a dead woman.

Yeah, no. That didn’t happen.

I can’t spoil the plot… but what I can tell you was that While You Sleep was a completely suspenseful read. It’s rather slow-paced, but as you read through chapter-by-chapter, you’re constantly on edge, when you realise something’s about to happen. But you don’t know when.

Or more importantly, what’s going to happen, because there are so many twists and turns in the book – plus unexpected moments where you have to put your hand over your mouth and mutter “Jesus Christ, what did I just read?” – that it’s almost impossible to guess what happens. Especially the ending!

Seriously, if you’re into horror, suspense, thrillers and/or romance, then you will have no problem reading this. This was a great read.

Overall rating: 4/5

 

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