Blog Tour: The Game Weavers – Rebecca Zahabi

Blog Tour: The Game Weavers – Rebecca Zahabi


Release Date:
October 25th 2020
Publisher: ZunTold Publishing
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Seo is Twine’s youth champion.

We are in a darker Britain and the national sport is not football but Twine, a game where weavers craft creatures from their fingertips to wage battle against others in vast arenas, watched by thousands.

But we are living in intolerant times and Seo harbours a secret. When he is outed as gay by the media, Seo cannot use his magic to save him.

With the help of his brother Minjun and Jack, the man he can’t quite decide if he loves or not, Seo has to fight to get his life back on track whilst facing the biggest match of his career.

A fantastical yet hauntingly contemporary debut novel from Rebecca Zahabi.

Review

The Game Weavers is the absolutely fascinating debut novel from Rebecca Zahabi. The story follows Seo, a young man who is a champion at Britain’s national sport Twine – a game in which the player must create creatures that battle each other in huge arenas. Despite the futuristic game society has become even more intolerant and when the media outs Seo as gay, he has to fight to get his life back on track as well as continue to compete in the legendary game.

Zahabi has created a really fresh and unique premise, and I found this story to be incredibly gripping. I absolutely loved the idea of Twine, a fighting game similar to the idea of Pokemon in which creatures must battle each other. The story was well paced and I enjoyed learning about the game and the world that Zahabi has brought to life. I really enjoyed her writing style and it was so easy to sink into this brilliant debut novel.

The Game Weavers features a diverse cast of characters and I really liked Seo as a main protagonist. I was really rooting for him and it was interesting seeing him attempt to get his life back to normal, figure out his feeling for Jack as well as play in the game. All the characters were well created and I also really liked the sibling relationship between Seo and Minjun.

The story focuses on homophobia and as such there are some trigger warnings for this. I thought the subject was well handled and the idea of being true to yourself really shined through in the story. The Game Weavers is a well crafted novel with a unique and engaging premise. This is a very impressive debut and I’m excited to see what Rebecca Zahabi writes next.

Blog Tour: Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly

Blog Tour: Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly


Release Date:
October 20th 2020
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5

Synopsis

From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a fairytale retelling that’ll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of “happily ever after.”
Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman pulled out his knife . . . and took Sophie’s heart.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

Review

Poisoned is the new release from acclaimed author Jennifer Donnelly, author of Stepsister. Having read and really enjoyed Stepsister last year, I was really intrigued how Donnelly was going to take the tale of Snow White and turn it on its head. The story follows Sophie, a princess who ventures into the forest with the huntsman. While there he removes Sophie’s heart. The kingdom had been awash that she was never fit to rule, that she was too soft and sweet to be a good Queen and so she isn’t surprised by the assassination attempt. Sophie manages to survive and with the help of seven strangers, must face a horrifying enemy and prove that kindness can be just as strong as hate.

Much like Stepsister, Poisoned is a dark and gripping feminist retelling of a story we all know and love. I really enjoyed the way that Donnelly adapted the story and brought something new to the tale. This is such a fun feminist retelling and I ended up racing through it. The chapters are pretty short so I often found myself saying ‘oh just one more’ and then still being there ten chapters later.

The world building is well done in this story, and I loved the feminist perspective in this book. The story is obviously a bit darker and bloodier than the Disney version but it’s still full of whimsy like a traditional fairy tale. Donnelly has a really beautiful writing style and I loved the vivid descriptions of the forest and the creatures that dwell there. The one thing I struggled with was that I felt the pacing was a bit off – some parts were really fast paced and others were much slower and this threw me out of the story a little.

The thing that made this story for me was the characters. Donnelly has created some really fascinating characters and we are treated to multiple POVs in this story. All the characters felt well fleshed out and I really liked Sophie as a main character. Poisoned is a dark and compelling tale and if you’re looking for a fresh take on a beloved fairytale, this will absolutely be up your street.

Blog Tour: Ashes of the Sun – Django Wexler

Blog Tour: Ashes of the Sun – Django Wexler


Series:
Burningblade & Silvereye #1
Release Date: October 1st 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

Review

Ashes of the Sun is the first in an all new epic fantasy series from Django Wexler. This is my first time reading a book by this author and I had so much fun! The story follows Gyre, who hasn’t seen his sister since his parents sold her off to the Twilight Order. Hellbent on seeking revenge for his sister, Gyre goes in search of an artifact that will give him enough power to destroy the Order, but in doing so finds his long lost sister. She is much changed, a hardened warrior for the Order. As civil war looms, the two find themselves on opposite sides of what is sure to be a devastating fight.

Ashes of the Sun is a really gripping read and a fantastic opening book to the series. The world building is superb and I was fascinating by this world that is still attempting to rebuild after a magic war. I really enjoyed Wexler’s writing style and it was easy to become completely absorbed in the story. The story was well paced, giving the reader time to understand the world without being info-dumpy. There was plenty of action to keep the reader hooked and I found it particularly hard to put the book down during the fighting scenes.

Wexler has created some truly brilliant characters in this book. We are treated to the POVs of Maya and Gyre and I really liked both characters. I loved seeing the relationship dynamics change as the story progressed. Gyre in particular I found fascinating, he’s so determined to get revenge he will stop at nothing. While it is quite a serious story there are plenty light-hearten moments in the story too, particularly in the witty banter between the characters.

All in all Wexler has created a really fascinating and compelling story and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next instalment. If you’re looking for an excellently plotted epic fantasy to keep you hooked over the winter months this should absolutely be your next read.

Blog Tour: The Nesting – C J Cooke

Blog Tour: The Nesting – C J Cooke


Release Date:
October 15th 2020
Publisher: HarperFiction
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

The woods are creeping in on a nanny and two young girls in this chilling modern Gothic thriller.

Architect Tom Faraday is determined to finish the high-concept, environmentally friendly home he’s building in Norway – in the same place where he lost his wife, Aurelia, to suicide. It was their dream house, and he wants to honor her with it.

Lexi Ellis takes a job as his nanny and immediately falls in love with his two young daughters, especially Gaia. But something feels off in the isolated house nestled in the forest along the fjord. Lexi sees mysterious muddy footprints inside the home. Aurelia’s diary appears in Lexi’s room one day. And Gaia keeps telling her about seeing the terrifying Sad Lady…

Soon Lexi suspects that Aurelia didn’t kill herself and that they are all in danger from something far more sinister lurking around them.

Review

The Nesting is the beautifully haunting story of Lexi Ellis, a young woman who takes the job of nanny for two young girls at a remote home in Norway. Their architect father has just finished building the house to in the same place his wife Aurelia committed suicide. As Lexi grows closer with the young children she starts to see and hear strange things in the isolated home. When she discovers Aureila’s diary she soon begins to suspect that perhaps the cause of death was not suicide and that other things are lurking in the house.

This one originally caught my eye because I was captivated by that absolutely stunning cover. I love thrillers with a supernatural touch so I already thought I was going to love this one. Cooke’s writing style in this is brilliant, she creates that slow creeping sense of dread and this book definitely sent a shiver up my spine in more than one occasion. I loved the remote setting for the story and it really came to life in Cooke’s words.

The Nesting is full to the brim with atmosphere and I found it so hard to put this one down. I ended up reading the last hundred and fifty pages in a single sitting because I just had to know how it was going to end. The story is reminiscent of Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key but I found The Nesting to be a more addictive read. I really liked the characters in this story, they felt relatable and well developed. I really liked Lexi as a main character and I really enjoyed the way that Cooke weaved the stories of Lexi and Aurelia together.

This eerie, haunting tale is absolutely perfect reading for Autumn, it’s the kind of book you can’t tear your eyes away from. I loved every second of this book and can’t wait to read more from C. J. Cooke.

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart


Series:
The Drowning Empire #1
Release Date: September 8th
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Bone Shard Daughter I knew it was going to be a book I would love. The premise sounds fascinating and coupled with that absolutely stunning cover, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely incredible debut, and without a doubt one of my favourite books of the year.

The story is set in a world where the emperor uses bone magic to ensure his continued rule. He refuses to acknowledge his daughter Lin as heir to his throne and she will do anything she can to learn the forbidden bone shard magic and prove she is worthy. But rebellion is stirring in the kingdom and when it arrives at the palace Lin has to give everything to save her people.

I absolutely adored this book. It’s a fast paced tale that’s brilliantly executed and incredibly clever. There’s absolutely tons of action and I honestly never wanted this book to end. The world building is truly superb and I was completely fascinating by the magic system in this story. The idea of bone shard magic felt so unique and it was such a dark bloody magic to witness. The story is full to the brim with magic and revolution with a touch of romance.

The story features a number of different POV characters and I felt that they were all well created and developed. I really liked Lin and Jovis and I thought Stewart did an excellent job of giving each POV character a unqiue and compelling voice. Some of the characters are told in first person perspective and some in third – I thought this might have been a little jarring but actually worked incredibly well in the story.

The Bone Shard Daughter is an absolutely magnificent read and I’m so glad there’s more to come in The Drowning Empire series because I cannot wait to dive back into this incredible world. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I definitely recommend picking it up – you won’t be disappointed.

Blog Tour: The Resident – David Jackson

Blog Tour: The Resident – David Jackson

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Release Date:
July 16th 2020
Publisher: Viper
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly provided me with an E-ARC to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Thomas Brogan is a serial killer, and he has nowhere left to hide. At least until he finds an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he discovers that he can access three other houses through the attic space, the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Brogan enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…

Review

Copy of book cover (86)David Jackson has taken my worst nightmare and brought it to life. Thomas Brogan is a serial killer on the run and he seeks refuge in an abandoned house. While hiding out he discovers that he can access the attic of the neighbouring houses and so decides to have some fun with his latest victims.

This book is honestly a brilliant read. It’s dark and gripping – the kind of novel that will send a shiver up your spine. I think part of the reason that I loved this so much is because it freaked me out so much. I live in a mid-terraced house with an attic and it’s a really old building so it made the story feel infinitely believable. Every time I heard a noise in the house whilst reading this it made me nervous – if that’s not the mark of a brilliant read I don’t know what is.

The Resident is a creepy read, one that will have the reader on the edge of their seat. This is my first book from David Jackson, but it absolutely will not be the last. Thomas is a fascinating character and he makes for a very compelling protagonist. He’s a serial killer but you sort of grow to like him a bit as you learn more about his life.

There is plenty of tension and atmosphere in this one and the tension continues to climb towards the ending. I ended up reading the last hundred pages in one go, I absolutely could not look away from the book. If you’re looking for a chilling and unsettling read that will no doubt have you reading long into the night, The Resident is definitely one to check out.
5 StarsThe-Resident-tour-banner

Blog Tour: The Cry of the Lake – Charlie Tyler

Blog Tour: The Cry of the Lake – Charlie Tyler

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Release Date:
July 21st 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke Books
Pages: 263
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review for the blog tour
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A gruesome discovery unravels a dark trail of murder and madness.

A six-year-old girl sneaks out of bed to capture a mermaid but instead discovers a dead body. Terrified and unable to make sense of what she sees, she locks the vision deep inside her mind.

Ten years later, Lily is introduced to the charismatic Flo and they become best friends. But Lily is guilt-ridden – she is hiding a terrible secret which has the power to destroy both their lives.

When Flo’s father is accused of killing a schoolgirl, the horrors of Lily’s past come bubbling to the surface. Lily knows that, whatever the consequences, she has to make things right. She must go back to the events of her childhood and face what happened at the boat house all those years ago.

Can Lily and Flo discover what is hiding in the murky waters of the lake before the killer strikes again?

Review

Copy of book cover (85)The Cry of the Lake follows the story of Lily and her best friend Flo. When a girl from their school is murdered, Flo’s father is accused of killing her. Lily is hiding a number of secrets about her past and wracked with guilt over the murder, Lily knows she has to make things right, but can she face the truth before the real killer strikes again?

The Cry of the Lake is one of those books that sucks you in from the very first page and doesn’t let you go. I started this one on a quiet Sunday morning and ended up reading it in one sitting. Dark, addictive and with a cast of really compelling characters, The Cry of the Lake is not to be missed.

The Cry of the Lake is quite a short book, but it certainly packs a punch. The story has plenty of twists and turns but the thing that really made this one for me was the fascinating characters. I really liked Lily and Flo and I found Grace to be a really interesting protagonist. and I enjoyed the alternating POVs between the different characters, it gave you the opportunity to see things from different perspectives and it definitely helped to ramp up the tension.

The Cry of the Lake is a dark and gripping psychological thriller, full of twists and turns.  If you’re looking for an unputdownable thriller to read this summer, The Cry of the Lake should definitely be on your wishlist.
4 Stars
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Blog Tour: Hinton Hollow Death Trip – Will Carver

Blog Tour: Hinton Hollow Death Trip – Will Carver

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Release Date:
June 12th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: Anne at Random Things Tours kindly sent me an EARC to review for the tour.
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard about if none of this had happened.

Hinton Hollow. Population: 5,120.

Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from Hinton Hollow.

Because something was coming.

Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.

Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.

Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not alone. Evil had a plan.

Review

Copy of book cover (77)Hinton Hollow Death Trap is the third instalment in Will Carver’s Detective Sargent Pace series. In this instalment Pace is returning to his childhood home of Hinton Hollow, but all is not as it seems. Narrated by Evil himself, the story follows the townspeople as they are gently nudged by evil to show their true selves – encouraged to steal, to cheat and even to kill.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is completely unlike anything I have ever read before. It’s a unique and compelling tale, and it gripped me from the very first chapter. I loved the way this story was told, narrated by Evil who is incredibly upfront and honest about the way he influences people. It’s a brilliant story, following a variety of townspeople as their lives are irrevocably changed over the course of the five days.

Although this is the third book in the series it is actually my first book by Will Carver, so it can absolutely be read as a standalone. After finishing though I’m definitely going back to read the other ones in the series because this is definitely one of my favourite new crime reads.

Hinton Hollow Death Trip is a clever and inventive tale, Carver weaves a story about real people and the choices they make. I found this book really difficult to put down, it’s a fast paced read and makes some really fascinating insights into what it means to be human. Each of the characters in this story are well created and fleshed out, making the story all the more compelling. Hinton Hollow Death Trip brings a fresh take to the crime novel, and it’s one you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
4 Stars
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Blog Tour: If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

Blog Tour: If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

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Release Date:
July 23rd 2020
Publisher: Viking Books
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

A glitteringly dark and unsettling debut novel about four young women struggling to survive in South Korea

If I Had Your Face plunges us into the mesmerizing world of contemporary Seoul – a place where extreme plastic surgery is as routine as getting a haircut, where women compete for spots in secret ‘room salons’ to entertain wealthy businessmen after hours, where K-Pop stars are the object of all-consuming obsession, and ruthless social hierarchies dictate your every move.

Navigating this hyper-competitive city are four young women balancing on the razor-edge of survival: Kyuri, an exquisitely beautiful woman whose hard-won status at an exclusive ‘room salon’ is threatened by an impulsive mistake with a client; her flatmate Miho, an orphan who wins a scholarship to a prestigious art school in New York, where her life becomes tragically enmeshed with the super-wealthy offspring of the Korean elite; Wonna, their neighbour, pregnant with a child that she and her husband have no idea how they will afford to raise in a fiercely competitive economy; and Ara, a hair stylist living down the hall, whose infatuation with a fresh-faced K-Pop star drives her to violent extremes.

Review

Copy of book cover (59)If I Had Your Face is the dark and gripping tale of four women living in contemporary Seoul. In this society looking beautiful is the most important thing, and plastic surgery is commonplace. K-Pop stars are more than just celebrities, they are an obsession. Social hierarchies rule all and these four women must do everything they can to survive in this ruthless society.

This book was so easy to get lost in. I got completely wrapped up in these four characters and their lives. It’s quite a slow burn story, following each character in their day to day lives as they work and live in Seoul. It’s a gripping tale and I found all four women fascinating and relatable. It touches on a whole range of topics from plastic surgery, sexism, obsessions with celebrities and class. Each topic is deftly handled by Cha and I quickly became completely addicted to this book. Although it is quite a short a book it packs a punch and I found myself thinking about this book even when I’d put it down.

I found myself wanting to know more and more about these women. I was fascinated by Ara – a hairdresser who is non-verbal and Kyuri – a room salon girl in debt for plastic surgery. We are treated to each of the four characters points of view, giving the reader the chance to learn more about their history and life. It’s a compelling tale and one I think lots of people will love. Cha has a easy writing style that I really enjoyed and she creates incredibly life like characters. If I Had Your Face is a book that completely transports you to the setting, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I highly recommend this one and I can’t wait to see what Frances Cha writes next.
4 Stars

Blog Tour: The Girl From Widow Hills – Megan Miranda

Blog Tour: The Girl From Widow Hills – Megan Miranda

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Release Date:
July 2nd 2020
Publisher: Corvus
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: I kindly received a copy of this book from the publisher via Random Things Tours
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.

Review

Copy of book cover (38)The Girl From Widow Hills is the latest dark and enticing thriller from Megan Miranda, author of All the Missing Girls. The story follows Olivia Meyer, a young woman who has ran way from her past as Arden Maynor –  the girl who was swept away during a storm and survived three days in a storm drain. Haunted by her past Olivia does everything she can to forget about it. But when the body of a man from her past winds up in her yard, she knows things will not stay secret for long.

The Girl From Widow Hills is a fast paced and gripping psychological thriller, and one that grips you right from the outset. Miranda weaves a clever tale, getting the reader to root for Olivia whilst simultaneous also question if she killed the man in her yard. The story is peppered with transcripts from news reports at the time of her disappearance as a child, something that I found really interesting that also lent an air of authenticity to the story.

The story in this book unravels slowly, and has plenty of twists and turns. The ending was absolutely not what I saw coming and I ended up reading the last chunk of the book in one sitting. There are a number of really fascinating characters, and I really liked our main protagonist Olivia. She’s determined to escape her past, but her sleep walking and lack of memories surrounding the events in her childhood also give her an unreliable narrator feel.

The Girl From Widow Hills is a suspenseful mystery with a tense atmosphere that builds and builds towards the final reveal. If you’re a fan of gripping psychological thrillers this is definitely one to get reading.
4 Stars

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