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Book Review: In A Cottage In A Wood by Cass Green

The ‘Boring’ Book Info:

Book Title: “In A Cottage In A Wood” by Cass Green
IBSN: 9780008248956
Published: September 2017
Book Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 314

I must admit, In A Cottage In A Wood was something that I’ve wanted to read in a while. I’ve seen it around on Goodreads, and it sounded really interesting.

The story starts with thirty-year-old Neve, who wakes up in a hotel room after a one-night stand with a man – who claimed to be in London for a conference. Feeling ‘shit-faced’, tired, and the prospect that she’ll get a lecture from her sister, she heads home and walks across Waterloo Bridge.

From there, she has a surprise encounter with a girl named Isabelle on the bridge, wearing nothing but a black dress. In the short time they speak, Isabelle hands Neve a brown envelope – a “gift” – before jumping to her death into the Thames. A few days later, Neve was told by the police that Isabelle had sewn lead tape into the hem of her dress, causing her to sink quicker.

With increased tension with her sister and brother-in-law, plus with the fact that her life has essentially gone to pieces, she receives a letter from the police to visit her solicitors ‘in her interest’, where she goes and finds out some shocking news; the woman she saw commit suicide has given her the gift of a cottage in Cornwall.

This seems like the PERFECT opportunity to all of her problems – she can leave London, live on her own and soon enough, she can sell it on the market and gain extra money and solve her financial issues.

However, when she arrives at the property, she realises, with horror, that this isn’t the pretty little cottage she had in her mind. There’s bars on all of the windows. A dead magpie lives on the doorstep. There are multiple locks on the door. Everything about this sinister-looking building is screaming “Sell the house as fast as you can. Then GET OUT OF THERE”

And it appears she’s not the only one who wants her to leave…

But before she sells, Neve wants to find out more about Isabelle. Who was she? What is her past? What caused her to jump off the bridge that December? And why was Neve the ‘chosen one’ for the house?

 

With In a Cottage In a Wood, I was expecting a non-stop psychological thriller, where there is constant suspense and tension throughout – and with it being it a short book, I was expecting it to be finished it with four or five hours, and be like “OMG THIS WAS FUCKING INTENSE AND INSANE”

However, whilst I was reading this, I thought “Hang on. This is more of a mystery than a thriller… oh. :/”. Which is fine, if that’s the kind of books you like reading.

But, I wasn’t expecting a ‘slow-burner’ mystery that only got exciting towards the last thirty pages. Sure, there were little moments throughout the book that made it a little interesting – but I just felt like it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged.

As far as ending’s go, it was great at tying loose ends together, even if I may have suspected the potential plot twist towards the middle of the book (well, I got one out of two – does that count? 50% is a pass, right?! :D).

 

I don’t know, maybe I was expecting something different or had my expectations set too high. However, if you’re looking for a slow-burner mystery where it all becomes clear at the end, this is the book for you. If you’re expecting an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller with an extra side dish of horror like myself, then I’d suggest reading something else.

Overall review: 4/10

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Book Review: The Bone Keeper by Luca Veste

Boring book info:

Title & Author: “The Bone Keeper” by Luca Veste
IBSN
: 9871471141416
Published: March 2018
Book Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

 

Synopsis:

“Now Jordan Henderson… What can England do here from this counter attack? He finds Trippier on the wing, who passes it back to Ashley Young… England are looking PROMISING as Young runs down the flank… Looking for the cross to Harry Kane, who controls it… shoots towards GOAL… OH MY WORD! WHAT AN UNBELIEVABLE SAVE BY THE BONE KEEPER!”

“Absolutely! It’s an unbelievable save! Ashley Young crosses it into the box to Kane, who’s got LOADS OF SPACE – where are the defenders? They should be rushing forward… NOW. But instead they sit back, and Kane gets the opportunity to hit the sweet spot, but HOW THE BONE KEEPER got his hands to the ball, I DON’T KNOW!”

Okay, I’m joking. This book isn’t about a skeleton who rises from the dead and becomes the world’s greatest goalkeeper and stops England from winning the World Cup. (Besides, as if England will ever reach the World Cup final).

However, I would rather have a skeleton in goal than this abomination:

And yes, being an England fan, I feel that I should be obliged to use this train of thought to remind you that the ball was CLEARLY OVER THE LINE (and completely changed the dynamic of the game. You know, if that goal ACTUALLY counted, it would have brought the game back to 2-2 and the outcome of the match would have been different. You never know, England *might* have gone on to win the match or lose on penalties. But because the goal wasn’t given, the players’ mentality was affected, and Germany went on to win 4-1. AND NO, IM STILL NOT BITTER ABOUT IT. NOT ONE BIT. IT’S FINE. DON’T CARE, MATE. IT’S IN THE PAST. Besides, who cares who wins? Football’s the real winner.)

Anyway… shall we actually get to the *proper* synopsis?

 

The “Actual” Synopsis/Blurb:

The Bone Keeper’s coming.
The Bone Keeper’s real.
He doesn’t stop.
He doesn’t feel.
He’ll snatch you up.
And make you weep.
He’ll slice your flesh.
Your bones he’ll keep.

x

As a child, Louise Henderson knew this song.
Then, she knew not to play in the woods.
Then, the Bone Keeper was never seen
but everyone feared the name.

x

As a police officer, Louise’s job is to catch criminals.
Now, bodies are being unearthed in local woodland.
Now, she has no choice but to go into the woods.
A childhood memory is about to become a terrifying reality.

x

So this book starts off with four kids, about twenty years prior, doing what any kid would do if there was a “suspected sighting” of an urban myth – “The Bone Killer” – in the woods. Go and try to find it. Even though that you’re between the ages of eleven-to-fifteen, and there’s a chance that if this myth is, in fact, real, you could DIE, but…

Sorry, maybe I’m being too harsh; I mean, that is what a kid is about, I suppose. Exploring. Finding things. Proving you’re “not scared” to do something, yet deep inside, you’re actually shitting bricks. I’ve been there.

But I’ve read enough books now to know that it’s a terrible idea, and something bad is going to happen. And sure enough, four people enter the tunnel, three people leave, and one disappeared, never to be seen again.

Then, we go forward in time to present day, where DC Louise Henderson is having a panic attack and an almost post-traumatic flashback with fire, before being called by her Sergent to deal with a crime, where a woman had been assaulted in the woods, before singing “The Bone Killer” song, according to an eye-witness report.

So… is “The Bone Killer” real? Is it a fan, a copycat, someone using the myth’s name to scaremonger the local community? Find out more… by reading… this… book (Ha! Thought I was going to tell you the ending? Sike!)

 

The Bone Keeper is the second book that I’ve read from Luca Veste so far – the first being “Then She Was Gone”, which I could have almost sworn that I’ve reviewed before on this blog; however, I think I might have accidentally deleted it – which is a shame, because I enjoyed the book :/

Nonetheless, I honestly prefer Then She Was Gone compared to this book. Don’t get me wrong, the idea surrounding this standalone novel is interesting – I mean, although I’m not sure if any exist in my hometown (and hope not), but the concept surrounding local, urban myths was something that immediately brought my attention to the book. The tension built up towards the start and end of the book, and the book itself was so fast-paced that it’s such a quick read, even when things were starting to prolong.

However, the main issue I found with this book was that it was so confusing. Like, towards the end, I got to a point where I was like “well, I have no idea what the fuck’s going on anymore, but there’s a lot of things happening all at once, and things are really interesting, so I can’t put it down”.

I think this was meant to be confusing – once you find out the ending, it makes more sense. However, there are so many POV changes that it’s almost impossible to keep track of all of the characters and plot points at times. Which I think lets it down a little bit.

Maybe it was also the fact that this was a standalone novel, so characters didn’t feel as fully developed as they did in the Murphy & Rossi series.

But it’s difficult to explain because… whilst this is a good thriller, there’s just that *little* something that is preventing it from me saying that it’s a “great” thriller, you know? And the annoying thing is… I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it the characters? The length of the book? The writing?

I just don’t know

 

Overall rating: 6.5/10

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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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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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Book Review: Congation by Teri Terry

Hey guys! Today I’m going to be sharing a quick review of Contagion – a YA novel (by @TeriTerryWrites) that I was lucky enough to receive from entering (and winning :D) a recent Goodreads giveaway! So first of all, I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to the author and anyone else who was involved in the giveaway.

Callie, an eleven-year-old girl, went missing just over a year ago. In the midst of being chased by bullies, Shay catches glimpse of a flyer, triggering a memory of the missing girl seeing Callie getting into a car on the date of her disappearance. Realising that she could have been the last person to see her alive, she calls Callie’s brother Kai, who they both find out the mystery behind Callie’s disappearance, whilst trying to survive a deadly epidemic that is rapidly spreading across the UK.

That’s the basic plot… and I mean basic because I don’t feel like I can give you any more information than this.

I will say this, though; this book is bloody intense! This was such a fast-paced and gripping book, with constant plot twists and unexpected turns. And with the constant change in POV between Shay and Callie, it just adds to the suspense and makes me want to read more and more.

Overall, Contagion was a combination of multiple genres: YA, science-fiction, mystery… even a bit of romance (which is cute and all, but not really my cup of tea).

However, I was seriously hooked by the cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment of the Dark Matter trilogy.

 

*Finally, just one more thing. While I was reading this book – about halfway through – I felt ill (both physically and mentally), which, I don’t know about you, seems like a massive coincidence… just sayin’… 🤔😂

 

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Book Review: Crime Song by David Swinson

*I won Crime Song in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so before I start my review, I’d like to quickly say a massive thank you to Hodder Books for running it and allowing me the chance to read this book 👍*

Synopsis:

Frank Marr was a former cop in the D.C. police after he was forced into early retirement due to his drug addiction. Now a private investigator, he takes on a case close to home – to spy on his cousin Jeffrey as a favour for his aunt, who suspects that he was dealing drugs. After a long night of surveillance in a nightclub, he returns home to find that his house has been burgled, and his possessions have been stolen – his laptop, his flat-screen TV, his turntable, his vinyl and CD collection and his .38 revolver. At the crime scene, a body has been left on the kitchen floor, and it doesn’t take Marr long to recognise who it is. It’s Jeffrey. In Crime Song, Frank Marr unravels the mystery towards what happened to his stuff (and Jeffrey), taking him deeper into a network of thieves, crooked cops and drug addicts, in a mission which could get him killed.

Review:

Crime Song is different to most crime thriller novels that I’ve read recently. It’s more of a “let’s cut the bullshit out, and get down to BUSINESS”, one man solving a case with virtually zero fucks given. Like some nitty-gritty crime series that the BBC would show (just without 99% of the swearing)

The pacing of this story was really good – everything didn’t happen at once, nor did it become so slow that it became unbearable to read. It was right in the middle and was consistent throughout the entire story.

The main character, Frank Marr, was also easily likeable, despite his flaws, such as his drug addiction and saying ‘fuck’ every other sentence, which was annoying to read at first, but you get used to it eventually.

The side characters were pretty interesting too – even if they have their flaws like Marr, I noticed that I started to feel empathy and anger towards them at the end. I suppose that being an ex-cop himself, Swinson knows about this stuff well, and how good people can get themselves involved in bad situations, and his previous knowledge as a cop really showed in Crime Song.

I think that’s why this book stood out for me – it’s not just a simple case of finding out “who dunnit?”, it actually goes much deeper, and if it wasn’t for exams, I could have easily finished it in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I need to read The Second Girl in the near future too.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

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