Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

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Series:
DI Adam Fawley #4
Release Date: January 23rd 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
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

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203203.131When a young girl is abducted off the street, DI Adam Fawley and his team jump to investigate this horrific incident. The young girl refuses to press charges and doesn’t want to talk to the police. The team get the feeling she’s hiding something – but what could it be? Another girl goes missing and suddenly a case from Fawley’s past is back to haunt him – but could the two be linked and will they find the missing girl before it’s too late?

This is the fourth book in Cara Hunter’s hugely popular DI Fawley series. I’m actually completely new to this series, I haven’t read the other instalments. I was completely hooked on this story and am definitely going back to read books 1-3 but All the Rage can easily be read as a stand alone, and you can easily dive into the books now and go back and read the others without getting lost in the story.

Cara Hunter’s writing style is so addictive and easy to fall into, I got absorbed in this tale so quickly. I loved the mix of formats in the story, there’s tweets, court reports, maps and interview transcripts that are all added in to bring the story to life. It really added another layer to the plot and make me want to turn the pages faster and faster. I also really grew to love the characters in this story – the team are a really interesting mix and I loved that the story gave you the opportunity to see not only their police work and how they cope on the job but also peaks into their home lives.

All the Rage isn’t a small book but I ended up reading it nearly over the course of a single day because I honestly just couldn’t put the book down. The story is a fast paced one and there’s plenty going on in this cleverly executed plot. Hunter has weaved a complex tale with quite a few things going on under the surface. The book also touches on a whole range of subjects from hate crime, revenge, grief, relationships and a whole lot of things in between. All the topics are handled well in Hunter’s writing and the story has so many clever twists and turns that you absolutely will not see coming.

If you’re a fan of fast paced police procedurals with brilliant characters, an unforgettable story and plenty of shock twists, All the Rage should definitely be the next book you pick up.
5 stars
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Waiting on Wednesday: One of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Waiting on Wednesday: One of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

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Synopsis

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-07T221455.371Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday! This week I’m talking about the newest release by Karen M. McManus. One of Us Is Next is the sequel to One of Us Is Lying, the YA thriller that so many people loved. I’ve read both One of Us Is Lying and her other thriller Two Can Keep A Secret and while they weren’t my favourite reads of all time, I found them both to be quite addictive page turners. One of Us Is Lying isn’t the sort of book I would have thought would have a sequel, so I’m quite looking forward to reading it and finding out what direction she takes the story in. If you enjoy twisty turny stories with big shock endings, her books are definitely worth a read. One of Us Is Next was actually published yesterday on January 7th, so the book is out now from Penguin Books!

Blog Tour: The God Game – Danny Tobey

Blog Tour: The God Game – Danny Tobey

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Release Date:
January 9th 2020
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203428.948The God Game is the story of Charlie Lake and his friends who enter into a mysterious online game known only as the G.O.D Game. The rules are simple – if you win you win big but if you lose? You die. As the group of friends find themselves getting wrapped up in the dark mysteries of the game, they begin to wonder if they’ll ever be able to escape.

This book had me HOOKED. I picked it up expecting to read the first couple of chapters and before I knew it I was 120 pages in and I was running late. This is a fast paced wild ride and I definitely didn’t want the story to end. It’s a clever tale that blends virtual reality and real life. It’s Black Mirror meets Stranger Things and honestly I couldn’t get enough.

I loved everything about this book, the way the atmosphere starts off quite light hearted and becomes much more sinister, the misfit video game nerds that have to use everything they’ve got to survive. It’s a compelling tale which really kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters are particularly well executed and I loved the explorations of friendship, love and grief that were displayed in the story. I loved watching the characters growing and it was so interesting watching the group dynamics change as they delve deeper into the game. The science and technology is also really fascinating, and I loved the use of augmented reality.

If you’re looking for a dark and mesmerising tale that will suck you in deeper and deeper, The God Game is the perfect binge read, be warned though – you definitely won’t be able to put this one down.
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Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

Blog Tour: Black Summer – M. W. Craven

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Series:
Washington Poe #2 (Read my review of book one here!)
Release Date: December 12th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 352
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

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Review

When I picked up The Puppet Show (book one in the Washington Poe series) I had no idea what to expect. I finished up with my mind completely blown and The Puppet Show racing to the top of my favourite crime books. My expectations for Black Summer were incredibly high, I couldn’t wait to see what was next in store for Poe and Tilly and honestly if it’s possible, Black Summer is even more brilliant.

This book pretty much consumed my life while I was reading it. I had a few bleary eyed days because I stayed up way too late reading it and I almost missed my bus stop on more than one occasion. Black Summer is a fast paced, addictive read. It’s a wild ride of a book, and you definitely won’t want to get off. This instalment follows Poe as one of his cases comes back to haunt him. Jared Keaton is in prison for murdering his daughter, he’s there because Poe helped convict him. But when a young woman announces she is Jared’s daughter alive and well, Poe finds himself mixed up in the investigation once again but this time it could be the end of his career.

I won’t say too much more about the plot because it’s definitely best left for the reader to enjoy. It’s a gripping story, with plenty of twists and turns that I definitely didn’t see coming. Black Summer could also be read as a standalone if you haven’t picked up The Puppet Show, but they are both highly addictive and well worth the read.

One of the things that really makes this story for me is the characters. Poe and Tilly are a brilliant partnership, it’s fascinating to watch them interact and I loved seeing their relationship develop over the course of a second book. They’re both vivid, well fleshed out and great protagonists. Tilly is definitely one of my all time favourite characters, there’s no puzzle she can’t solve.

Black Summer is an exhilarating read and if you’re looking for the perfect books to binge read over Christmas, the Washington Poe books are a must buy. Your only problem is going to be waiting for the release of book three in 2020!

5 stars

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp

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Release Date:
October 22nd 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves.

Review

Copy of book cover (88)Ghoster is the kind of book that hooks you in right from the very beginning, and absolutely does not let you go. The story follows Kate, a young woman who is moving in with her boyfriend Scott. When Scott mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing behind but his mobile phone, Kate has no choice but to start looking through his social media and online profiles. Strange things start to happen that Kate can’t explain and the deeper she digs into Scott’s past, the more she begins to realise she didn’t really know him at all.

Ghoster is a smart and engaging tale and one that I found difficult to put down. It’s incredibly well paced, heightening the tension as Kate attempts to uncover the mystery behind Scott. Ghoster really felt like a brilliant fresh perspective on the mystery genre and I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. The story is one of obsession and the effects being so present online can have on us. It’s a really fascinating read and there are some moments that will definitely send a shiver up your spine.

The story has a really realistic and plausible feel to it, and I think that’s part of what makes this story so chilling. I really liked Kate as a main character and I enjoyed watching her unravel this puzzle. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between Kate and Scott and how it has changed over time. As always with a mystery/thriller I love it when I’m completely surprised by the turns it takes, and I definitely felt that way with Ghoster. It was an intricately woven tale, and I didn’t want it to end.

Ghoster is the perfect read for a dark and chilly evening. It’s intense, exciting and unforgettable. But be warned, it will have you reading well past bedtime and you might just need to sleep with the light on.
4 stars
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Book Recommendations: Halloween Edition!

Book Recommendations: Halloween Edition!

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I’m back with a new book recommendations post. This time we’re talking spooky reads that are perfect for Halloween. I absolutely love doing a readathon on Halloween, it’s a great time to get comfy on the couch with some candles, a blanket and a cat, so I thought I would recommend some of my favourite spooky books that would be perfect this Halloween.

Copy of book cover (80)1. Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
I finished this just recently and absolutely adored it. Set at Yale University, it features magic, mystery and the dark underworld of the Yale secret societies. I got completely sucked into this story and ended up flying through it. It’s gripping, dark and deals with some really tough themes, but it was a brilliant read and definitely a new favourite of mine.

2. The Monster of Elendhaven – Jennifer GiesbrechtCopy of book cover (81)
This is quite a short little book that I ended up reading in one sitting – perfect for a readathon. The story follows a man hungry for revenge on those who wronged him, and his companion who cannot die. It has a really vivid setting, and excellent world building, especially in such a short book. It’s a gruesome and compelling tale, and one I highly recommend.

3. The Deathless Girls – Kiran Milwood Hagravebook cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932
This one isn’t so much as scary as it is captivating and engrossing. The story is a reimagining of the brides of Dracula and the events that lead them to become immortals. It’s a beautifully told Gothic tale and I was absolutely hooked. It features some stunning writing and a fantastic cast of characters. I also really liked the romance in this story – which is something I don’t say very often!

4. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley JacksonCopy of book cover (83)
I couldn’t resist throwing a classic into the mix. Shirley Jackson is an author I have been a bit hit or miss with. I enjoyed The Missing Girl, didn’t really get We Have Always Lived in the Castle and loved The Haunting of Hill House. This is by far my favourite, it’s dark, creepy and a brilliantly weaved tale.

5. Tunnel of Bones – Victoria SchwabCopy of book cover (84)
This is the second instalment in Victoria Schwab’s middle grade ghost hunter series and if you haven’t read book one I highly recommend both.  The first is set in Edinburgh and the many haunted places within the city. This instalment is set in the creepy Paris catacombs and really brings these places to life, I really loved following Cassidy and her ghost best friend as they tackle ghosts and save the world as we know it.

6. Sanctuary – V. V. JamesCopy of book cover (40)
I still think about this book even though I finished it months ago. A story of murder, revenge and witchcraft, this book will have you on the edge of your seat right till the very last page. In a world where witches live and work alongside humans, the murder of a young high school student leads everyone to start pointing the finger at witches. But who really did it? and was Daniel as innocent as he seemed? Full of twists and turns, this is one of my favourite books of the year.

7. The Furies – Katie Lowebook cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250
This is another book I could not put down and is absolutely perfect for Halloween reading. The story of a group of high school students who believe they have ability to cast spells and enact revenge on those who wronged them. This is a stunning debut with vivid characters and an unforgettable plot.

8. Night Film – Marisha PeshlCopy of book cover (56)
I was a bit late to the Night Film party but my god I’m glad I finally picked this book up. The story follows disgraced detective Scott McGrath as he attempts to understand the suicide of Ashley Cordova, the daughter of a reclusive film maker. As he delves deeper, he learns it might not have been suicide and Cordova might have been messing with something far beyond our understanding. This story felt so real I wanted to google the characters so I could watch the movies.

Copy of book cover (60)9. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
Looking for a crime thriller fix this October? The Puppet Show definitely has you covered. The first in a new detective series, this book is full to the brim with shock twists I would never have seen coming and is full of plenty gory moments. It also features a brilliant crime solving duo and I can’t wait to pick up the next instalment in the series.

10.  Dead Voices – Katherine Arden Copy of book cover (82)
This one is a bit of an honourable mention because I’m actually in the middle of reading it now. This is the second instalment in Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces series. This middle grade series is so fun and full of spooky goodness. The first book features plenty of eerie, spine tingling moments and I am loving Dead Voices so far.

So there you have it! Those are my recommendations for spooky reads this Halloween. If you’ve read any great creepy reads recently I’d love to know what they were, and if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Spookathon TBR!

Spookathon TBR!

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Things have been pretty busy at the moment and I haven’t been posted (or reading) as much as I’d like, but I’m hoping a Halloween themed readathon will be just the thing to get my reading back on track. I’m going to participate in Spookathon, the readathon run by BooksandLala, running 14th-20th of October. My TBR is going to be these beautiful books:

Read a thriller: Final Girls – Riley Sager
Copy of book cover (75)Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
 
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Read something with red on the cover: This Lie Will Kill You – Chelsea Pitcher
Copy of book cover (76)Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Read something with a spooky word in the title: The Witch of Willow Hall – Hester Fox
Copy of book cover (77)Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there’s still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn’t even know it.

Take this as a warning: if you are not able or willing to control yourself, it will not only be you who suffers the consequences but those around you, as well.

New Oldbury, 1821

In the wake of a scandal, the Montrose family and their three daughters—Catherine, Lydia, and Emeline—flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall. The estate seems sleepy and idyllic. But a subtle menace creeps into the atmosphere, remnants of a dark history that call to Lydia, and to the youngest, Emeline.

All three daughters will be irrevocably changed by what follows, but none more than Lydia, who must draw on a power she never knew she possessed if she wants to protect those she loves. For Willow Hall’s secrets will rise, in the end…

Read something set in a spooky location: The Lost Ones – Anita Frank
Copy of book cover (78)Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

Read something you wouldn’t normally read: Unexplained – Richard Maclean Smith
Copy of book cover (79)Based on the ‘world’s spookiest podcast’ of the same name comes Unexplained: a book of ten real-life mysteries which might be best left unexplained. . .

Demonic possession in 1970’s Germany.

UFOs in Rendlesham forest.

Reincarnation in Middlesbrough.

To this day, these real life mysteries and very many more evade explanation.

Based on one of the most successful paranormal podcasts ever, with over 10 million streams and downloads to date, Unexplained consists of ten chapters focussing on a different paranormal event, from Australia to Germany, the UK to Zimbabwe, using the stories as gateways to a journey beyond the veil of the uncanny, exploring what they reveal of the human experience.

Taking ideas once thought of as supernatural or paranormal and questioning whether radical ideas in science might provide a new but equally extraordinary explanation, Unexplained is The Examined Life meets The X Files.

So those are the books I’m hoping to tackle for Spookathon! If you’ve read any of them I’d love to know what you thought, and if you’re participating, definitely let me know what you’re planning to read!