January Wrap Up 

I started out a new month and a new year with a great read about the power of family secrets. 

This really didn’t work for me.

LOVED this one, such an exciting read.

I really liked this police procedural/thriller.

I was on the blog tour for this one and liked the domestic suspense.

This was an outstanding debut.

This was a hilariously fun read.

I loved this debut, highly recommended. 

This was a dark YA novel and I really liked it.

I loved Jill’s debut novel! 

This was a dark and twisty one that I liked. 

This was a high octane thriller with a fantastic protagonist. 

This was an interesting take on a crime novel with a CSI as the protagonist. 

This was a really good historical fiction/mystery.

This was a simply stunning read.

This one was a fantastic start to a new series. 

This was a chilling, atmospheric read.

I loved this one. 

Another one from Jonasson that was fabulous.

I liked this one, it was unique and engaging. 

I loved this one. 

This one was just alright for me, I was left wanting more. 

This one was ok for me, not my favorite from this series. 

This one was awesome with an amazing twist! 

I loved this one.

This was a different type of read with uncomfortable subject matter. 

This was another stunner by Gardner.

Kind of a disappointing end to the month with this one. 

Overall 28 books, I actually listened to two more just haven’t reviewed them yet so I won’t count them, and read one more but it’ll be my first review for February. 
Great start to the new year, definitely read some really great books and my favorite was Sirens. 

Still doing good with my reading goals, here’s some highlights.

Tackle review requests: 

Still plugging away, I’m not caught up but making progress so that’s a win in my book!

Highlight more indie authors: 

Haven’t done much of this but still want to. 


Been good here except I keep getting invited to view titles so that doesn’t help! 🙈😱

Personal TBR: 

I read Between You and Me which was a personal one so on track there.

Piggy bank:

Doing awesome with this! 

Discussion Posts: 

Big fat fail here. Whoops.

Goodreads Goal: 

9 percent so that’s fine with me.


Yep, done this at least twice so far.

Say No: 

Yes, I’ve turned down several review requests. It’s hard but I did it!

TBC Challenge: 

Two books out of twenty. 

I feel good about my progress thus far, just need to shape up in a couple of areas. 

How was your month? Any must reads I may have missed? 

Review: Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: YA


Reader beware: You’ll think you know what’s happening, and you’ll think you see what’s coming next… But you’ll be very, very wrong.

Fifteen-year-old Yasmin Doner is a social misfit—obese, obsessive and deemed a freak by her peers at school. With her father dead and her mother in a new relationship, Yasmin yearns for a sense of belonging, finding comfort only in food and the fantasy of being close to Alice Taylor, a girl at school. Yasmin will do anything to become friends with pretty and popular Alice—even if Alice, like everyone else, thinks she’s a freak. 

When Yasmin notices a sinister-looking man watching Alice from the school fence, she sees a way of finally winning Alice’s affection—because how this stranger is staring is far more than just looking, it’s wanting. Because this stranger, Yasmin believes, is going to take Alice. Yasmin decides to find out more about this man so that when he does take Alice, Yasmin will be the only one who knows his name and where he lives…the only one who can save her. 

But as Yasmin discovers more about him, her affections begin to shift. Perhaps she was wrong about him. Perhaps she doesn’t need Alice after all. 

And then Alice vanishes. 


When a blurb begins by telling me to be aware and that I won’t know what’s coming, I’m expecting it to knock me off of feet. That’s a pretty bold and lofty statement, right? To be fair I didn’t have everything completely sussed out, but by the time I was at the end of this book I was so ready to just be done reading that frankly, I didn’t care much anymore.

Initially I felt really bad for the protagonist, Yasmin. She’s a fifteen year old girl with a weight problem and no real friends. She’s a loner and a very odd duck, but she’s bullied and teased and that always pulls at my heartstrings. Soon enough, you realize that Yasmin has very obsessive thoughts and compulsions, she concocts wildly elaborate fantasies that were very disturbing. She’s overly obsessed with her classmate, Alice and she would be rambling and go off on these strange tangents that made my eyes glaze over. It was all just a bit too much for.

Her innermost thoughts and rantings make up a good portion of the first half of this book, then she notices a weird older man is also watching Alice and her obsession turns to him instead. She inserts herself into his life and things turn dark and creepy, fast. Normally for me that’s a good thing, but here? Not my cup of tea. I think the overall concept of the story wasn’t anything like I expected it to be and instead of being happily surprised by this, I was frustrated and annoyed by it. It made me feel unsettled and gross, like I needed a shower by the time I got to the ending. 

I do want to give credit to Kavanagh’s writing though, she’s clearly talented, this book just wasn’t for me. 

Overall rating: 2.5/5

Thanks to MIRA for my review copy. 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly post to share what you recently finished reading, what you’re currently reading, and what you plan on reading this week. It’s hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

What I Read Last Week: 

Games People Play was a really great crime thriller. 

Sister, Sister was a fast paced psychological thriller. 

Dear Amy wasn’t my favorite read.

Think of the Children wasn’t my favorite book in the Jessica Daniel series. 

Between You and Me was a crazy good psychological thriller with a whopper of a twist.

The Trapped Girl was my first experience with this series but it certainly won’t be my last. 

Now I Know It’s Not My Fault was a really interesting read about a female students inappropriate relationship with her teacher. 
Currently Reading: 

Up Next: 

What are you currently reading? What’s coming up for you this week? 

Review: Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun. 

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you. 


I’m a huge Lisa Gardner fan and I love all three of her series, but Quincy and Rainie will always have a special place in my heart, so naturally I was thrilled to see her latest novel was bringing them back! One of my favorite things about getting attached to any series is feeling like I’m catching up with old friends and this dynamic duo is one of best to spend time with. 

There’s a spree killer on the loose in Bakersville and Quincy and Rainie are both called in by the local sheriff, Shelly to consult. Things quickly turn deeply personal for them when they discover that the suspect is their soon to be adoptive daughter, Sharlah’s long lost brother, Telly. As they race to apprehend Telly, things become extremely complicated and highly volatile and their main goal is to keep their daughter safe. Is history repeating itself with Telly’s anger rising to the surface? Or is there more to the case than what meets the eye?

This was one emotional story for a crime novel! Gardner has the unique ability to make the reader forge fast and meaningful connections to her characters and I had emotional attachments to all of them, but especially to Quincy, Rainie and Sharlah. Each and every individual connected to the case narrates chapters which provides an overall look at what everyone is doing, feeling and thinking. It’s very clever and adds something special to her books.

This was a fast and furious read, one that kept me flipping pages late into the night. It all just flows so smoothly with fluid writing and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes. This wasn’t a case that was so much about who the killer was, but the why? The motivation was tangled and fascinating and the truth was highly complex. The best way I can describe this one is to say it’s a thriller with a huge heart and a truly compelling read. 

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Dutton Books for my review copy. 

Review: Now I Know It’s Not My Fault by @laurieblevine @McKinneyPR

Release date: January 15, 2017

Publisher: CreateSpace

Genre: YA


“Alex is the articulate, first-person narrator of the tale; readers experience her obsession and emotional deconstruction from the inside…[Levine’s] deep understanding of “grooming” behavior…helps her to create a character that jumps off the page.” -Kirkus

Alexandra Geller is a bright, underachieving fourteen-year-old coming of age in the big hair 1980’s. Alex is from an accomplished, well-educated family. The sudden death of her mother five years ago, and her relationship with her well-meaning but emotionally unavailable father, leaves her unmoored and vulnerable as she tries to figure out who she is. Early in her freshman year, she’s befriended by Paula Hanover, a young, attractive science teacher at her high school. Paula’s irreverence and charm attracts the attention of the girls, who look up to her, and the boys, who have crushes on her. Alex is thrilled to be chosen by this woman and relishes the feeling of finally “belonging” to a mother figure. Paula’s intentions aren’t so benevolent, as she slowly and carefully draws Alex into a relationship designed to meet her own needs, not Alex’s. Desperate for maternal attention, Alex finds ways to ignore the vague sense that something is wrong. Her compelling story sheds light on a common, but rarely talked about kind of trauma which is subtle, and occurs under the radar. 


Now I Know It’s Not My Fault chronicles three years in the life of Alex Geller, a fairly typical teenage girl living in the mid eighties in Connecticut. Her mother tragically passed away when she was just nine and the absence of a female role model in her life has left a gaping hole that she is desperate to fill. When she starts high school and makes a connection with one of her teachers, she’s thrilled to have finally found someone who really understands her. Her relationship with her father is strained and as she tries to navigate the painful teenage years, she’s confident that she’s found a friend and an ally in Paula Hanover.

From the moment that Alex and Paula meet my radar was pinging and I knew there was something off about the teacher. I wanted to reach through the pages and warn Alex not to get involved with the woman as she just made me uneasy and highly concerned. I’m a thirty five year old woman with life experience though, and it was easy for me to understand why a young and vulnerable girl like Alex was so easily charmed by Paula. Part of Alex’s allure for Paula is her vulnerability, she preyed on her and wanted to be able to easily manipulate her. 

The storyline of a female abuser gripped me just as much as it sickened me. Levine has created an identifiable and empathetic character in Alex, I had such a strong urge to protect this fragile girl. As their relationship progresses, Paula’s games increase and she is wildly inappropriate in both her actions and her words with Alex. The whole process was called grooming where an individual uses extreme behaviors in order to get what they want. Think moments of high praise and love one minute and stone cold shutting them out the next. It was very confusing for Alex and allowed Paula to satisfy her own needs and wants with no regard for Alex’s needs. 

Levine is a marriage and family therapist with years of experience working with patients who suffer from trauma and abuse and her insights were invaluable and fascinating. While there were moments that were hard and uncomfortable for me to read, I believe the subject matter is highly important and as a parent, it definitely opened my eyes to a horror I had not considered before. I would say this is an important read for teenagers, especially high school girls, it would even make a really good read for parents to read along with their children and it would open up a conversation that could be impactful. 

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Larissa at Claire McKinney PR for my review copy. 

Review: The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni @robertdugoni

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: January 24, 2017

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural 


When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. Once again, New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni delivers a taut, riveting thriller in the fourth installment of his acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series. 


As far as opening chapters are concerned, this had a very striking one. A high school kid who is illegally trying to catch crabs for extra money gets way more than he bargained for when he pulls up a crab pot and a women is trapped inside. That certainly grabbed my attention and my desire to get to the bottom of what happened to the woman never decreased. 

Tracy Crosswhite is one of those special characters that only come around every so often. She’s been through hell and back and had plenty of tragedies in her family from the death of her parents to the murder of her sister. Though she’s haunted by these events from her past, it doesn’t negatively impact how she works as a detective, instead it drives her even harder and makes her focused to find justice for victims and their families. The woman in the crab pot is initially thought to be Andrea Strickland who went missing after a hike on Mount Rainier, but things are not clear cut, and as Tracy digs into Strickland’s history, she finds that they have a lot in common. The connection she feels to the young woman only serves to make her bound and determined to solve her case, and fast. 

Dugoni’s writing style is polished and crisp, he’s crafted a story here that has a very detailed and complex plot and its chock full of the kind of twists and turns I’ve come to expect from any good thriller. I jumped into this series with this book, which is number four and I’m kicking myself for not starting at the beginning as it’s clear from just reading one of his books that this series is one not to be missed. It’s heavily character driven and Tracy is definitely the type of woman that I want to find out more about. And now you’ll have to excuse me while I go hurry and buy books one through three and frantically try and move things around in my TBR to try and fit them in.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Thomas and Mercer for my review copy. 

Saturday Shoutout: Magic Chest @MagicChests

Happy Saturday everyone! Today I have some info for you about a new book subscription service called Magic Chest. Read on for more information. 

Do you need more adventures in your life? I have the solution!

Magic Chest is about bringing more adventures in our daily lives full of phone bills, classes and jobs. It’s a subscription service where every box contains a new world to explore and the things you need to make the journeys through unknown parts of your imagination.rahmen

You can find our page at


The Story behind the Chest…

I have been a bookworm for a long time and as many of us, I found the internet more than useful to find new books. As I got older, I stumbled across shops which would sell monthly book boxes. Unfortunately, there weren’t any of those in Germany, where I live, especially not English titles.

So I went online and searched for boxes and I found quite a few but the only thing was, barely any shipped to Europe, as most of them were from the US or Canada.

At some point, I thought: Why isn’t there a book box from Europe which sends cool items and English books to people around here?

This is how this shop came to be.

This is why I include local goods whenever possible.

So the whole idea was to give people from Europe the opportunity to get English books of their favourite genre along with other cool bookish items from their region. With less shipping time and lower shipping costs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that people from other parts of the world can’t buy Magic Chest boxes. If your country isn’t on the list of possible delivery locations but you’d like to get our magical boxes too, write us an email at info@magicchest.net.

What kinds of boxes are there?m-photo

There is a monthly box, a three month subscription and a six month subscription box. Each box will contain a hand-picked fantasy book and 3-5 times. Food or drink, cards and maps, bookish items and magical surprises.

Feeling adventurous? Visit the webshop at


Know somebody who might need a magical journey? Spread the word!

And follow me on Twitter @MagicChests for latest news.


Review: Between You and Me by Lisa Hall @LisaHallAuthor

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: March 17, 2016

Publisher: Carina UK

Genre: Psychological Thriller


They say every marriage has its secrets.

But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.

And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.


Apparently I’ve been living under a rock because I didn’t read this last year when it was released. When I signed up for the TBC 2017 reading challenge and saw this would fit one of their criteria, I was excited because I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about this debut. I’m so pleased to say that I loved it just as much as my friends assured me I would!

I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet because even though this has been out for almost a year, I somehow managed to avoid spoilers and the big twist wasn’t ruined for me, phew!

Everything you’ve heard about the stunning twist here is true, it’s completely unexpected and one of those that will have you flipping back and forth to make sure you didn’t miss anything. It knocked me on my ass, I haven’t been that shocked by a twist since I Let You Go.  I kind of wanted to go back and immediately reread the entire book to see what clues I had missed previously, but alas my gigantic TBR won’t allow that. 

This details an abusive relationship and was reminiscent of Behind Closed Doors to me with a villain that made my skin crawl. Sal and Charlie are married and Sal stays at home with their daughter, Maggie while Charlie is a lawyer. Charlie is a monster and a controlling bully and has no respect for Sal and doesn’t think that staying at home with a child is worthwhile, however insists that Sal does it anyway. That’s just a taste of the type of horrid person Charlie is. 

My nerves were shot by the time I finished, this was a highly addictive read and I seriously keep wondering what took me so long?! Had I read this last year it would’ve definitely made my top reads of 2016 list. The only good thing about waiting so long is that Hall’s second novel is already available! 

Overall rating: 5/5

Review: Think of the Children by Kerry Wilkinson 

Release date: January 26, 2017

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller


One boy is dead. A killer is free. Who is next?

Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is first on the scene as a stolen car crashes on a misty, wet Manchester morning. The driver is dead, but the biggest shock awaits her when she discovers the body of a child wrapped in plastic in the boot of the car.

As Jessica struggles to discover the identity of the driver, a thin trail leads her first to a set of clothes buried in the woods and then to a list of children’s names abandoned in an allotment shed.

With the winter chill setting in and parents looking for answers, Jessica must find out who has been watching local children, and how this connects to a case that has been unsolved for 14 years.


This is the fourth book in Wilkinson’s Jessica Daniel series and though you don’t have to read them in order, I would recommend that you do. There is quite a bit of character development and backstory by this point and I think that will have a richer experience if you start with book one. 

When the book begins, Jess witnesses a car crash and is the first officer on the scene. One of the drivers is dead, and when she does a cursory search of his car, she discovers the body of a young boy. He’s been missing for a few weeks and she instantly recognizes him. Unfortunately she doesn’t have any idea who the driver is, and then when there are possible links to a historical similar case, she struggles to find a solid connection.

By this point, reading about Jess and crew is like catching up with old friends. Jess is still hot headed and temperamental, and she’s still working alongside Dave. She’s gotten even more daring and takes some series risks in this book in order to find answers, I love how gutsy she is. All the previous cast of characters make appearances here and all show signs of personal growth and depth that I loved. This was my favorite aspect of the book as I wasn’t quite as engaged with the plot as I would’ve liked.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a different type of case for Jess and team because usually they have a ton of leads to chase up, but this time there is virtually nothing. She’s constantly grasping at the most tenuous straws to try and figure out what’s going on, and honestly the lack of action left me slightly bored and wanting more. 

Overall, this was an average read for me, as much as I loved checking in with Jess, if it was the first book I had picked up in the series I doubt I would’ve been impressed. I’m still a fan of Wilkinson’s writing style, the city of Manchester was experiencing a huge amount of rain and that added something dark and sinister to the novel. I’ll definitely be continuing on with this series, I’m just hoping for some more action and excitement in book five. 

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to Bookouture for my review copy.

Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan 

Release date: January 26, 2017

Publisher: Michael Joseph Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller



Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Enquirer. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy, 

I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. 

Please help me soon, 

Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .


I loved the idea behind Dear Amy, a girl that’s been missing for almost twenty years suddenly resurfaces? I’m all over that premise, and while there were aspects that I liked, overall I wasn’t as impressed as I would’ve hoped to be by this one. 

Margot Lewis writes an advice column for the newspaper, Dear Amy. Most of the letters are run of the mill, then she begins receiving correspondence from Bethan Avery who was last seen seventeen years ago. Is Bethan really alive? And if so, how is managing to get letters mailed if she’s in danger? Simultaneously, Katie who is a student at the school where Margot teaches has also vanished. Plenty going on here, but unfortunately it mostly feel flat for me.

I liked the general idea and this was a quick read for me, I finished the whole thing in just two settings. Clearly it’s a page turner and it had some elements I need in a good psychological thriller. The tension was always climbing higher and mounting and Callaghan’s writing style was fluid. That’s about where the good stuff ends for me.

The biggest letdown for me was that I could see the big twist coming a mile away. That’s always a disappointment, yet there was something that made me keep reading so I have to give some credit where it’s due. The pacing was on the slow side for me, though the tension gradually amped up, it took awhile to get there and the chapters were pretty long. I prefer shorter, snappier chapters in thrillers, just a personal preference. I’m all for things being far fetched, but for some reason it went too far for me here. I can’t really elaborate more in order to remain spoiler free. 

Overall this was a mediocre read for me, I can’t say I really liked or disliked it. Maybe with the sheer amount of psychological thrillers I read it’s just getting harder and harder to shock me. I would read something by the author in the future as I did enjoy her style and feel that she’s a talented writer, I just wanted a sharper and tighter plot.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.