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    Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs Westaway

    Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs WestawayBelieve Me by J.P. Delaney
    Published by Quercus on July 24th 2018
    Genres: Thriller, Suspense
    Pages: 400
    Format: eARC
    Source: Publisher
    Add to Goodreads
    Rating:

    In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

    A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

    Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

    Then the game changes.

    When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

    Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap? But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?

     

    I received this arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

     
    This was without a doubt the craziest and most grossly unrealistic book I have ever read and I loved every second of it.

    Claire is a struggling British actress living in New York City willing to stop at nothing to achieve her dreams (and pay the rent). Unable to get a real job due to her visa restrictions, Claire lands the role of a lifetime… luring married men to agree to affairs and catching it on film. But that’s where things get a little tricky. What happens when one man turns her down and his wife turns up dead the next day? Claire finds herself embroiled in the investigation, teaming up with the NYPD/FBI to put her acting skills to the test and bait out a dead woman’s killer. The rest as they say is not history but a mad collection of many, many, many twists and turns that will leave you wondering: what’s real? (and probably a nice helping of whiplash on top because damn, there’s a lot of twists and I’m still getting my head around it).

    Steeped heavily in references to Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, Delaney opens up an interesting dialogue on the influence of literature and media on its recipients and their actions. Can books really turn people into a psycho serial killer? In this case, it can. Sinister, alluring and complex you don’t know where this book or the killer will go next. Nothing is ever what it seems and there’s no straight road to the truth. Who can you trust? Claire is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Are we just falling for her act or is she really just a marionette on some strings? Paul is the grieving widow. Are we just falling for his sad sob story or is there really something darker beneath the surface? Delaney keeps you guessing right up until the very (explosive) end. This book may not be everyone’s cup of tea but this is one rollercoaster journey you don’t want to miss.

    TL;DR: A brilliantly absurd thriller about an ambitious actress embroiled in a murder investigation where nothing is ever what it seems and there’s no straight road to the truth. Who can you trust?

    Latest ARC Reviews: Believe Me + The Death of Mrs WestawayThe Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware
    Published by Harvill Secker on June 28th 2018
    Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Gothic
    Pages: 400
    Format: eARC
    Source: Publisher
    Add to Goodreads
    Rating:

    -- From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fourth novel.

    On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

    Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

    Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

     

    I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

    One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret never to be told.

    Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, The Death of Mrs Westaway is by far the best book Ruth Ware has written thus far (and I say this having read all of them bar The Lying Game but I’ll assume my statement will still stand after reading that one too).

    Harriet ‘Hal’ Westaway is a tarot reader at the Brighton Pier. Broke, in trouble and alone she receives a letter from a mysterious benefactor bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. With limited options and a loan shark on her back, Hal decides to fradulently claim this inheritance as her own, but when she arrives as the Westaway family home, she quickly finds herself immersed in a rich family history breaking apart at the seams. There’s something dark and sinister at bay in this family built upon betrayal and greed.

    I truly cannot rave about how much I loved this book enough. Gone was your typical unreliable (and often alcoholic) narrator and instead was Hal Westaway: brazen, headstrong and determined to survive. She had depth and relatability and was such a joy to read. I couldn’t rest until I had my answers, and even though Hal’s real father was glaringly obvious from the moment she met the Westaway’s, the reveal itself was shocking and a delightful twist.

    If Ruth Ware continues to write more books like this one then I will be impatently waiting for every new release because I need more books like The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

    TL;DR: Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, Hal Westaway learns that sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water and sometimes it is. Ruth Ware’s best book yet.

    Have you read Believe Me or The Death of Mrs Westaway?
    Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

    Anticipated September Reads 2018

    New month, new releases…

    September is such a GOOD month for releases (mainly because it includes the releases from some of my ultimate favs: V.C. Schwab, J.D. Robb and Kiersten White). I’m already 100 pages deep in Robb’s latest In Death novel and I am loooooving it. If you’ve got time to read 47 books then I highly recommend this series… tough and savvy female cop, female friendship, empowerment, love, billionaire husband. What could be better?

    There are some other interesting titles out this month i.e. Strange Grace which has such an enticing summary. I’m always game for anything a little dark and devillish.

    But that is enough babble from me… check out all the summaries below and see which books tickle your fancy and find their way onto your evergrowing tbr piles.

    Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
    Published 6th September 2018 (UK)
    Add to Goodreads ● Buy from Book Depository

    Lieutenant Eve Dallas puzzles over a bizarre suicide bombing in a Wall St. office building in the latest in the #1 New York Times bestselling series…

    For the airline executives finalizing a merger that would make news in the business world, the nine a.m. meeting would be a major milestone. But after marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, the headlines told of death and destruction instead. The NYPSD’s Eve Dallas confirms that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive was saving his wife and daughter―but what was the motive of the masked men?

    Despite the chaos and bad publicity, blowing up one meeting isn’t going to put the brakes on the merger. All it’s accomplished is shattering a lot of innocent lives. Now, with the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.

     

    The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
    Published 25th September 2018
    Add to Goodreads ● Buy from Book Depository

    Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

    Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

    But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

     

    Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
    Published 25th September
    Add to Goodreads ● Buy from Book Depository

    The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

    Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

    Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

     

    Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton
    Published 18th September 2018
    Add to Goodreads ● Buy from Book Depository

    Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? Find out in this lush, atmospheric fantasy novel that entwines love, lies, and sacrifice.

    Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

    Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

    Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.


    What book are you anticipating this September?
    Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    August Wrap-Up

    Another month, another Goodreads challenge completed with four months of the year left to go! Aaaaaaaaaahhhh. I’ll be intrigued to see how far over that 50 book target I can get by the end of December.

    So… onto this month’s books! I went in thinking, ‘yes, let’s get these ARCs out of the way and dive into some long-overdue fantasy’. What happened instead? I read only two of the books I told myself to and a whole bunch of other stuff (only one of them being a YA Fantasy and the rest being a lot of Thrillers). Whoops? I can now feel myself drifting into a Gothic novel binge in September and I’m not even mad about it.

    Another 6 short stories to add to the ‘Deal Me In Short Story Challenge’ I’m taking part in this year (of which I realise that I haven’t updated the actual post in a long, long time). But according to the very organised book spreadsheet I’ve started keeping (seriously, who am I?) there’s only 28 short stories to go until I’ve hit my goal of 52. If you’ve got any recommendations then let me know in the comments.

    1. A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez ● rated 3 stars
    2. Till September Petronella by Jean Rhys ● rated 3 stars
    3. The Summer People by Shirley Jackson ● rated 4 stars
    4. The Daemon Lover by Shirley Jackson ● rated 3 stars
    5. King Pest by Edgar Allan Poe ● rated 3 stars
    6. The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving ● rated 3 stars

    1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay ● rated 4 Stars
    A traumatic and chilling tale of a family and a group of stangers who must save the world. Highly recommend if you like pain and crazy turns of events.

    2. Legendary by Stephanie Garber ● rated 5 Stars
    We return to Caraval for more magic, deception and mystery. Told from Tella’s point of view, Legendary is a vast improvement on Caraval and you will not stop reading until you’ve reached the end and squealed in excitement for Finale.

    3. Lady Susan by Jane Austen ● rated 3 Stars
    An Austen heroine like you’ve never seen her before. Lady Susan, the devilish femme fatale, of 35 years using her charm and vivaciousness to scheme and leave emotional wreckage in her wake (and a trail of men hungering for her).

    4. You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke ● rated 5 Stars (ARC Copy)
    A brilliantly paced, suspenseful and chilling tale of a woman on the cusp of losing everything and a past that threatens to break free. It starts with a trickle and ends with a bang. Full review here.

    5. Believe Me by J.P. Delaney ● rated 4 Stars (ARC Copy)
    A brilliantly absurd thriller about an ambitious actress embroiled in a murder investigation where nothing is ever what it seems and there’s no straight road to the truth. Who can you trust?

    6. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware ● rated 5 Stars (ARC Copy)
    Deeply atmospheric, and steeped in the Gothic, Hal Westaway learns that sometimes blood isn’t thicker than water and sometimes it is. Ruth Ware’s best book yet.

    7. Love Poems by Peter Washington ● rated 4 Stars
    A beautiful collection of poetry exploring various aspects of love, from loss to infatuation to longing. Featuring poetry from the likes of Pablo Neruda, Christina Rossetti, E.E. Cummings, John Donne, Shakespeare and a whole lot more.

    I managed to read two out of the four books that I set out to read in last month’s wrap-up, and that sounds like a success to me because I never stick to my list. I’m not too fussed about reading Grace and Fury though I need to because it’s an ARC, and The Poppy War will be read at some point because it sounds amazing.

    September has a couple of releases that you know I’m not going to miss and will 100% make sure I read even if it kills me. Those two being Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab. Two of my fav writing ladies releasing new books into the world *bursts with excited squees*. The other two titles on the list are ARC’s due to be released in October. My most anticipated being Melmoth by Sarah Perry, a loose reimagining of Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer. I am quite honestly dying to read this book. I’ve never read a Sarah Perry book but if the book is anywhere near as good as the summary then I know I’m in for a treat (I’m also a sucker for anything Gothic and Perry is a self-confessed Gothic Queen).
     

     
    1. Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
    2. Melmoth by Sarah Perry (ARC Copy)
    3. Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (ARC Copy)
    4. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab


    How was your bookish August?
    Read any of the books above or choosing to this September? Got a book you think I’ll be interested in? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    ARC Review: You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

    ARC Review: You Let Me In by Lucy ClarkeYou Let Me In by Lucy Clarke
    Published by HarperCollins on August 16th 2018
    Genres: Thriller, Suspense
    Pages: 400
    Format: eARC
    Source: Publisher
    Purchase from: Book Depository
    Add to Goodreads
    Rating:

    Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

    I’M IN YOUR HOUSE

    There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

    I’M IN YOUR HEAD

    Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

    AND NOW I KNOW YOUR SECRET

    As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…

     

    “After all, who owns a story? The person who tells it? The person who reads it? The person whom it is about? Or all of them?”

    I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

    I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book and up until the 25% mark I wasn’t wholly invested but by the time I reached the end, I could barely put the book down. Elle is an internationally bestselling author freshly returned from her writer’s retreat in France and on the cusp of a deadline but after renting out her apartment on Airbnb something seems amiss, and when odd little things keep happening… Elle has to wonder: is somebody in my house?

    This book isn’t predictable in the slightest. I’ll admit, I got to about the 43% mark and had two suspects in mind: it was either the most obvious person in the planet (just because they hated each other) or the other person purely because they said something a little odd that had me thinking “hang on a second, that wasn’t right”. I was wrong. Both times.

    Clarke doesn’t rely on big twists and thrills to get you on the edge of your seat. There’s an art of subtlety to You Let Me In, it starts with a trickle and ends with a bang. That unease you feel brewing in your stomach is gradually built up throughout the novel until you’re left frantically flicking through the pages of your book asking yourself: Is Elle lying?, Is she paranoid? Who is it? What do they know?

    By the end of it, I was deeply unsettled and felt a lot of ways about the reveal of Elle’s stalker and the relationship between them. Many feelings I won’t discuss for fear of spoiling the twist but can definitely see many people relating to the her stalker in some way or another…

    TLDR: A brilliantly paced, suspenseful and chilling tale of a woman on the cusp of losing everything and a past that threatens to break free. It starts with a trickle and ends with a bang.

    Will you be reading You Let Me In?
    Let me know in the comments below.