Book Review: The House Swap – Rebecca Fleet

Book Review: The House Swap – Rebecca Fleet

BOOK REVIEW (33)
Release Date: 3rd May 2018
Publisher: DoubleDay
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me this book to review

Synopsis

‘No one lives this way unless they want to hide something.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. After the difficulties of the past few years, they’ve worked hard to rebuild their marriage for their son’s sake; now they want to reconnect as a couple.

On arrival, they find a house that is stark and sinister in its emptiness – it’s hard to imagine what kind of person lives here. Then, gradually, Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life – signs of her life. The flowers in the bathroom or the music in the CD player might seem innocent to her husband but to her they are anything but. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past.

But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget.

Review

The best suspense thrillers are the ones so twisty you never see it coming, and that’s definitely how I felt about The House Swap. After a tough few years Caroline and Francis are offered a house swap and they accept immediately. The house they come to seems completely empty but as they spend time in this new house Caroline discovers that the person they have swapped with might be much more than they seem.

book cover (5)This book was so dark and intense. It kept me hooked from the first chapter and I honestly couldn’t put it down, staying up way too late on a work night in order to find out what was going to happen next. The book is very atmospheric, building the suspense slowly and really making you second guess yourself.

I absolutely loved the plot of this book, it was different and original and extremely well executed. I really enjoyed Rebecca Fleet’s writing style and found this to be a really enjoyable and entertaining read. Caroline and Francis are really fascinating characters and I really liked seeing them react to this sinister situation.

I love a psychological thriller that keeps you guessing and that was definitely how I felt about The House Swap. I had no idea what was going to come next and there were plenty of twists and turns. If you’re looking for a thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, look no further than The House Swap.
4 stars

Blog Tour: Sleeper: The Red Storm – J. D. Fennell

Blog Tour: Sleeper: The Red Storm – J. D. Fennell

BOOK REVIEW (7)
Series: Sleeper #2
Release Date: 25th October 2018
Publisher: The Dome Press
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

Sleeper spy Will Starling has been drafted in to the SOE, joining forces with the French Resistance in the fight against the Nazis; but Will’s memory is fractured and only occasional flashbacks reveal fragments of his past. Despite this, he has not forgotten his pledge to find and rescue his sister, Rose – if she is still alive. When his mission in France is compromised, Will suspects he’s been betrayed.

Back in London he hears that VIPER are in league with the Axis powers and are developing a new and deadly weapon. As he and MI5 agent Anna Wilder set out to destroy it, their every move is anticipated by their enemies. Who is the mole in the British Secret Service? As they close in on VIPER’s Swiss headquarters, it seems no one can be trusted. Are Will and Anna able to prevent the unleashing of the Red Storm that will bring mass destruction on a scale even the Nazis haven’t dreamt of?

While Will tries to save the world, Rose has become the key to VIPER’s future plans and is drugged to dull her kinetic powers. But Rose faces danger from an unexpected enemy and her time is running out.

Excerpt

A Sniff of Betrayal

Chartres, France, 14th July 1943, the following evening,

Untitled design (22)Will Starling lies on his belly, concealed under bushes and weighed down by a backpack crammed with twenty-five pounds of Nobel 808 explosive. It is a warm summer evening, his clammy face mists up the lenses of his contact, Canadian, 6×30 binoculars. He blows on them before wiping the glass with the cuff of his shirt. Adjusting the focus, he watches the blurred shades of green and grey form into lush green meadows and the sturdy steels legs of a towering pylon, an immense obelisk transmitting power from Paris through to Chartres and beyond – power the Nazis were using to their advantage. Will takes stock of the tower, sweeping the binoculars up the ugly lattice structure. It would take a lot of explosive to bring it down.

‘Is it clear?’ asks Emile.

Will nods. ‘It’s clear.’

‘We should hurry, no?’ whispers Claudette.

‘Not just yet,’ says Will. His eyes follow the sun as it sinks and disappears behind a distant forest. The sky is brushed with an amber glow and provides enough light for them to carry out the operation without attracting unwanted attention with torches.

Emile and Claudette huddle on either side of them. Despite being the leader of this mission, he can’t help feeling like a spare wheel. His companions are newlyweds. Emile is athletic and handsome in a typical Gallic way and Claudette is pretty with dark hair and a wicked sense of humour that has Will laughing out loud sometimes. They are hopelessly in love, living each day as if it were their last. It is the perfect disguise for being amongst the occupying German forces, who find them innocuous and therefore ignore them.

Untitled design (23)Behind the smiles and sunny expressions, however, Emile and Claudette detest the Nazis, their feelings buried deep, emerging in the hidden meeting rooms of back-street bars and cafes where Will and other members of the Special

Operations Executive and French Resistance meet to discuss the latest orders from London.

‘Before we go, I have something to ask you, mon cher,’ says Claudette.

Will hands the binoculars to Emile.

‘Oui, ma cherie?’ says Emile, scouring the landscape.

Claudette snorts. ‘I was talking to Will.’

Like Will, Claudette has just turned eighteen. She has become like a sister to him and, despite remembering almost nothing about his real sister, he has, on occasion, had to stop himself from calling Claudette by Rose’s name. He knows he should have kept his distance, but Claudette’s personality, her humour and passion are just too seductive.

He often thinks about Rose and wonders if she is like Claudette. In his dreams she appears in snapshots. She seems innocent, fragile, but also stubborn – nothing unusual in any of those traits. However, Rose was not like other girls. Will had acquired secret research papers authored by his father, which revealed a little more about his past. His father had worked for Teleken – a VIPER-funded, scientific organisation that had developed a wonder drug, which allegedly gave the user kinetic powers. Will’s father had championed it and his mother had agreed to be one of the guinea pigs. However, the drug had been a failure. None of the guinea pigs had developed anything other than the need to vomit for three hours after taking it. All except Will’s mother, that is. She had vomited the morning before taking the drug, unaware that she was pregnant with Rose.

Neither Will’s father nor his mother could have anticipated what fate had in store for them. The drug had fed the foetus and seemingly modified Rose’s genetic make-up. Will’s father had no explanation as to how this could have happened. A miracle of modern science, he had concluded.

In the paper, Will’s father described how, at the age of five, Rose had lost her temper and her scream had caused all the windows in the house to shatter. Reading this had stirred an uncomfortable and frightening memory for Will. He remembered his parents being confused, scared even, and recalled a terrified Rose sobbing and apologising for something she knew she had caused but had not been able to control.

In another episode they had been in a local park on a sunny afternoon. Their mother had been unpacking a picnic and an eight-year-old Rose watched on as Will and his father tried out a new cricket bat. His father had bowled a googly, catching Will off-guard. Will had whacked the ball with fervour and accidentally sent it spinning towards his mother. As he panicked and cried out, the ball suddenly stopped in mid-air and spun slowly before flying obediently into a smiling Rose’s waiting hands. To his parents’ horror, other people had witnessed this event. This had been the beginning of the end. Soon after that, the agents of VIPER had come for Rose and the family.

Review

Sleeper: The Red Storm is the second instalment in the series following sleeper agent Will Starling as he attempts to fight against the Nazis in World War II. The first book in the series is an explosive, action packed story and I was so excited to find out what was in store next for Will and his friends. If it’s possible The Red Storm is even more of an intense wild ride, and I loved every second of this thrilling story.

The story picks up several years after the events in the first book. Will has grown but he’s still searching for his sister. The plot hits the ground running and doesn’t let up the entire time. There’s twists and turns and plenty of exciting moments. I really enjoying getting to see the characters I’ve become familiar with, especially seeing Will continue to grow and learn new skills. Along with the old faces there were a few new characters which added another dynamic to the plot. The characters, like the plot are well developed and expertly created. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for them.

In this series J. D. Fennell has created a really fantastic setting. Europe during the Second World War really comes alive and you can easily become completely absorbed in the explosions, fighting and espionage. I certainly found myself saying ‘oh just one more chapter’ more than a few times in my desperation to know what was going to happen. It’s intense, action packed and unputdownable. The Red Storm certainly lives up to the first book in the series and ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, making me desperate to know what’s coming next in this well crafted series.
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Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

BOOK REVIEW (5)
Release Date: 9th October 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 391
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

After moving into a new house, journalist Harry Hendrick wakes up with tattoos that aren’t his…

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.

Review

Untitled design (12)This is a hard hitting thriller that is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story follows a journalist struggling with his career who one day wakes up with a tattoo he has no memory of getting. He believes it to be a drunken mistake but as more tattoos begin to appear he learns that something much darker is going on. The idea of tattoos appearing that weren’t yours really intrigued me and I’m so glad I picked this up. It’s a dark mysterious story that hooks you from the very first chapter.

The plot is intricately weaved and incredibly clever. It’s a mystery/thriller with a pinch of horror and a dash of romance. It mixes together to create a really memorable and enjoyable read.

Harry is a really fascinating protagonist. His job at the Chronicle leaves much to be desired and things aren’t really going his way. I really enjoyed watching him progressed as the story went on, and there’s an impressive amount of character growth in this story. He’s a complex character and one that readers are really going to grow attached to.

The story is pretty quick paced with short chapters that make you keep saying “one more chapter.” Strange Ink’s original concept, gripping writing and beautiful cover should certainly make it top of your wish list this autumn.
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Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

BOOK REVIEW (4)
Release Date: October 16th 2018
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 352
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was given an ARC of this book at YALC.

Synopsis

Secrets and revenge run rampant in the Internet age—Easy Prey keeps you guessing until the final reveal.

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Review

Untitled design (11)Easy Prey is a perfect autumn read – it’s dark, mysterious and absolutely unputdownable.

The story follows three students who are accused of leaking racy photos of a teacher on Twitter. The three students are completely different – the geeky brainiac who is whizz with computers, the popular athlete and the good girl turned rebel after her own racy photos were leaked online. They all claim their innocent, but if they didn’t do it who did?

The one thing about psychological thrillers if that you can often tell what the ending is going to be, for that reason I don’t read too many thrillers, however with Easy Prey I would never have guessed the ending in a million years. It was an excellent twist and I definitely raced through this intense book because I was dying to know how it was going to end.

I really liked the characters. The story was told in alternating points of view with each of the three students and it was fascinating to see things play out from different perspectives – it definitely added to the mystery surrounding which one was guilty. The characters are much more than their stereotypes of the geek, jock and rebel girl and I loved that as the book continued you learned more and more about them. They are definitely morally grey characters and nothing is what it seems in this story. The book also really delves into the issues of leaked photos and privacy on the internet – something that really needs to be discussed more in books.

Easy Prey is absolutely a five star read for me. If you’re looking for something mysterious and fast paced, this book is perfect for cuddling up on a dark autumn night.

5 stars