Book Review: It’s Behind You – Kathryn Foxfield

Book Review: It’s Behind You – Kathryn Foxfield


Release Date:
July 1st 2021
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of the book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to the reality game show that’ll scare you to death! Have you got what it takes to last the night?

Five contestants must sit tight through the night in dark and dangerous Umber Gorge caves, haunted by a ghost called the Puckered Maiden. But is it the malevolent spirit they should fear … or each other?

As the production crew ramps up the frights, secrets start to be revealed. These teenagers have hidden motives for taking part in It’s Behind You! and could some of them be … murder?

Review

It’s Behind You is the chilling new YA thriller from Good Girl’s Die First author Kathryn Foxfield. The story follows a reality TV show where five contestants much spend the night in a haunted location. This time around they’re at the Umber Gorge caves, a place rumoured to be haunted by the Puckered Maiden. All the contestants have to do is last the night and the money is theirs. Everyone has their own motivations for being on the show and Lex is determined to win that money. When things start to go wrong the contestants wonder – will they make it out alive?

I absolutely love horror movies and I think I picked this up at completely the right time. I was in the mood for something fun and fast-paced and that was definitely what I got. The story also has some real spine-tingling moments and I got completely captivated by this creepy story. I read it in a single sitting, and there were quite a few surprise moments I didn’t see coming. I really liked Foxfield’s writing style and her descriptions of the dark and eerie caves did freak me out. The dark, claustrophobic setting really comes to life in the story and as the tension increased I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker, it felt like a race to know how it was going to end.

Foxfield has created some brilliant characters for It’s Behind You. They’ve all got their motivations for why they’re on the show and people are more than they appear. Our main character Lex is determined to win and she’s not above scaring her fellow contestants into quitting. At times she is quite unlikeable but by the end, I was definitely rooting for her. Jackie was another character I was fascinated by. She has everything riding on making this show a success and nothing will get in her way. This is a pretty chilling read, but there are quite a few humorous moments in there too. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and spooky read this Autumn, I highly recommend It’s Behind You.

Blog Tour: Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke

Blog Tour: Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke


Release Date:
June 3rd 2021
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The countdown has begun…

True-crime podcaster Elle Castillo has been obsessed with The Countdown Killer for decades. Twenty years ago, he established a gruesome pattern of taking and murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why he followed this pattern, or why they stopped abruptly after the eleventh victim. Most believe him to be dead. Elle knows he is not and is hellbent on serving historic justice.

When the kidnappings start up once again, Elle must confront her responsibility in forcing the killer out of hiding. She needs to stop the deadly countdown and convince both the authorities and her podcast audience before the Countdown Killer can claim his next victim.

Review

Girl, 11 is a dark and twisty thriller that follows Elle Castillo – a true-crime podcaster from the hit show Justice Delayed. After several successful seasons of the show, Elle focuses on The Countdown Killer, a case that she has been obsessed with for decades. With no leads, the case has gone cold and the killer’s pattern of murdering three girls over seven days has stumped investigators. Everyone believes The Countdown Killer must be dead, but Elle is determined to uncover the truth and get justice for the families of the victims. When the kidnappings start again, Elle knows she’s in a race against time to uncover the truth before he strikes again.

Girl, 11 is one of those books where you sit down to read a chapter or two and find yourself still completely absorbed in the story hours later. For me, I made the mistake of starting this book before bed and got so hooked that I kept reading until the wee hours of the morning. This was such a well-crafted story, with plenty of twists and turns I did not see coming. I loved the podcast angle of the story and the way Suiter Clarke weaved in the transcripts from the show. This definitely made the story feel more real and kept me turning pages faster and faster as the story progressed.

From the beginning, the story sets quite a quick pace and towards the end, the tense atmosphere had me on the edge of my seat. There were more than a few surprise moments I didn’t see coming and I felt that the podcast focus brought a fresh take to the serial killer story. Elle was quite an interesting protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her work with the police in an attempt to uncover the truth. Girl, 11 is an impressive debut and I cannot wait to see what Amy Suiter Clarke writes next. If you’re looking for a thriller that will keep you engrossed from the very first page, Girl, 11 is definitely one to check out – just don’t do what I did and start it before bed, because you’re sure to be sleep deprived the next day.

Blog Tour: Good Neighbours – Sarah Langan

Blog Tour: Good Neighbours – Sarah Langan

Release Date: July 13th 2021
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 388
Find it on: Goodreads. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to Maple Street, a picture-perfect slice of suburban Long Island, its residents bound by their children, their work, and their illusion of safety in a rapidly changing world.

But when the Wilde family moves in, they trigger their neighbours’ worst fears. Arlo and Gertie and their weird kids don’t fit with the ways Maple Street sees itself.

As tensions mount, a sinkhole opens in a nearby park, and neighbourhood Queen Bee Rhea’s daughter Shelly falls inside. The search for Shelly brings a shocking accusation against the Wildes. Suddenly, it is one mom’s word against the others in a court of public opinion that can end only in blood.

Review

Good Neighbours is the dark and sinister story of the residents of Maple Street, a suburban street that appears on the surface to be pretty perfect. When the Wildes move in the other residents quickly feel that the family don’t fit in and tensions begin to mount. When a sinkhole erupts in Sterling Park and one of the residents falls inside, it quickly brings accusations and secrets to the surface. As tensions climb higher it becomes one family against another – but will everyone survive unscathed?

Good Neighbours is the perfect book to read on a warm summer day. The creeping, uneasy atmosphere is brilliant and I loved the way the tension began to build slowly and then quicker and quicker as the story reached its end. I was completely fascinated by this tale – how a group of seemingly normal families can end up in this situation. Langan really brought to life the dynamics of the families and each character is well crafted. All the residents of Maple Street have their own motivations and secrets, I loved seeing how things changed as the story progressed. The families felt quite relatable and that made the story all the more creepy and unsettling.

One of the things I liked most about Good Neighbours is the addition of the articles and reports that are written after the events on Maple Street. It brought another side to the story and definitely had me turning pages more and more, I just had to find out how it was going to end.

The story focuses in on a number of topics include trauma, families and friendship. Good Neighbours is one of those books that’s quite a slow burn story but ends up being an incredibly quick read because you don’t want to put it down. This story had me completely hooked from the get-go. If you love thriller stories brimming with suspense, this is absolutely a must-read.

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter – Angeline Boulley

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter – Angeline Boulley


Release Date:
March 16th 2021
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 496
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

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Review

Firekeeper’s Daughter is a book that caught my eye because of that absolutely beautiful cover. The story follows Daunis a young biracial woman who struggles to fit in with her community. She hopes to go off to college and study medicine, but with recent family tragedies, she decides to stick around for another year to help her family grieve. When she meets Jamie, the new star of her brother’s hockey team, Daunis feels there might be a light at the end of the tunnel but when she witnesses a murder and becomes tangled up in a criminal investigation, Daunis finds herself becoming a confidential informant for the FBI. As she attempts to uncover who is bringing drugs into her community, what she finds could tear her world apart.

This book has been everywhere recently and it absolutely deserves the hype. This own voices story is incredibly gripping and I loved following Daunis as she attempts to protect her community and the people she loves.  I really enjoyed learning the history and traditions of the Native American people. There is a strong sense of community in the story and there were a whole host of fascinating side characters. I particularly liked the Elders and Aunt Teddie. The characters in the story are all really well developed and I definitely found myself rooting for Daunis. She was a brilliant protagonist. She’s smart and determined, but also struggling with her identity and place in the world.

As Daunis delves deeper and deeper into the mystery of who is bringing the drugs into the community, I found myself coming up with lots of different theories as to who was responsible. They all ended up being wrong and I definitely did not see that ending coming. The story has a really hopeful ending and I am so excited to see what happens in book two. If you’ve been intrigued about Firekeeper’s Daughter I would absolutely recommend picking this one up.

Book Review: Her Last Holiday – C. L. Taylor

Book Review: Her Last Holiday – C. L. Taylor


Release Date: 27th April 2021
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC via Netgalley
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

You come to the retreat to be healed. You don’t expect to die.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong.

Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna.

Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

Review

C. L. Taylor is one of my favourite thriller writers so I always go into her books with the highest of expectations. Once again I was completely sucked into this fast-paced tale full to the brim with suspense. The story is set around a Soul Shrink retreat in Gozo that went horribly wrong: two people died and another committed suicide. We follow Tom Wade, the man behind Soul Shrink, who has just been released from prison, his wife Kate as they attempt to put the past behind them and Fran the sister of the girl who committed suicide. Fran is trying to uncover the truth behind her sister’s death, so when Tom and Kate announce a new Soul Shrink retreat, Fran signs up. But what she uncovers might be far more than she bargained for.

This was such a compelling read. I made the mistake of starting this quite late at night and then ended up glued to the book for several hours. Taylor has a brilliant writing style and a way of sucking you in right from the very first page. The story was full of twists and turns and like all C. L. Taylor books had an ending that I absolutely did not see coming. The plot is pretty fast-paced and that definitely had me turning pages faster and faster.

C. L. Taylor always writes such fascinating characters and Her Last Holiday is no exception. The different perspectives were so intriguing as we follow Kate, Tom and Fran in the present and Kate and Jenna in the past. The characters were all complex and well creating, dealing with a variety of things: Fran with the loss of her sister and all the things she did not get to say, Kate with the breakdown of her marriage and everything she has worked for and Tom with the death of his clients and his time in prison. The characters are brilliantly created and because of them, the story was so engrossing.

Her Last Holiday is a fantastic new page-turner from C. L. Taylor. If you’re looking for a story to get completely lost in, this is definitely a must-read.