My review: The Retreat, by Mark Edwards

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About the book:

A missing child. A desperate mother. And a house full of secrets.

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

From the bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Magpies comes his most terrifying novel yet.

My review:

I have been a fan of Mark Edwards’ books for a while now and was looking forward to this novel.

Going straight to the point, I really enjoyed ‘The Retreat’.  I loved the setting and beautiful presentation of the place. I absolutely adore Wales and the book reminded me of my travels there. I loved all the mysteries and how the plot was revealed in a good, dynamic pace. The best quality of Mark’s books is that it is hard to guess what is really going on, there are so many twists and turns that keep the reader entertained and glued to the pages. That’s what usually happens to me – if I start Mark’s book, I can’t stop until I finish it. Work and life get in the way, but I stay focused 🙂

I also enjoyed an element of the urban legends. It reminded my childhood where we all heard some old stories and were retelling them in different words to the younger ones, adding some particularly scary details. The interesting thing about the urban legends that they founded on something real that often has a simple explanation but a complex reason.

The main character Lucas is quite relatable. He struggles with writing his next horror novel, hence, comes to this new writers’ retreat. I am always curious about the life of the authors, their challenges and successes, so it was good to read a little bit about that as well.

There was one thing that wasn’t believable for me but I keep it a secret not to spoil a book for you.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller with little flashes of horror (but not too many ;). Mark’s plots always bring something new and keep you entertained.

My review: The woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

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About the book:

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

My review:

Generally, the book was quite entertaining which highly affected the score. It was an easy read, the plot is flowing well, despite obvious discrepancies and questions that never get answered, and keeping reader’s attention. It did remind a little bit of Agatha Christie’s murder style when a murderer is among a small group of people in a confined space. And that’s where the good ends for me.

I am honestly getting tired of women, the main characters, who are damaged, have psychological or substance abuse issues and who can’t get their shit together and can’t figure their own life out. It looks like the stories about ‘Girl on the train’ women attract all the action, interesting and unusual things happen to them, and it all deserves the whole plot to win readers’ hearts. Disappointing and seriously exhausting. ‘Normal’ girls (without anxiety, alcohol abuse, or broken relationships), don’t deserve to be in the books anymore. Hence, I couldn’t relate to Lo at all in this book. Couldn’t really understand or sympathise her.

The plot itself, despite being entertaining, has a lot of questions and doubts that never get resolved. It makes you think that those details were not that important if the author completely ignored answering them. Those moments also don’t make a reader wanting to fantasise about possible answers.  

My score is 3* out of 5*.

My review: The Murder of Magpies, by Mark Edwards

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About the book:

The terrifying sequel to the #1 bestseller The Magpies.

Five years ago Jamie Knight lost everything: his home, his wife and their unborn child. But at least the woman responsible, ‘Dark Angel’ Lucy Newton, was in prison, and slowly Jamie was able to rebuild his life.

But now Lucy has been freed on appeal, and before long Jamie receives a message from a desperate stranger. Lucy is up to her old tricks—ruining lives for fun.

Jamie agrees to help. But once again, he has no idea what he is getting himself into…

My review:

Mark Edwards is one of my favourite authors, and of course, ‘The Magpies’ is one of my favourite thrillers. With no doubt I couldn’t miss a little sequel to ‘The Magpies’. So, before reading it, take a look at the first book first.

I would call this novella ‘short and sweet’. It doesn’t take long to read it, but it has everything for a successful thriller: suspense, drama and a cliffhanger.

I think ‘The Murder of Magpies’ is about many things: it’s about revenge and desire to make everything right, it’s about love and what you can do for it and it’s about letting go. Probably the last was impossible for Jamie. But can you blame him after what he and Kirsty have been through?

The story is absolutely crazy which makes it even more interesting. I actually was craving for more, so it was almost a torture to finish the book so quickly.

There definitely should be the third book that I am looking forward to already, as I enjoyed the first novel and a sequel novella.

My score is 4* out of 5*, just because I would’ve really loved this book to be longer.

 

 

 

 

My review: Don’t let go, by Harlan Coben

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About the book:

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

My review:

Harlan Coben never dissappoints, that’s for sure. ‘Don’t let go’ is a quality thriller with a great storyline, interesting characters and a big secret.

I must say I found a character of Nap quite likable and relatable. I liked his natural toughness and ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude alongside with high morals and common sense. His character ‘doesn’t let go’ until he knows the truth. He is not scared of authorities or danger. At the same time he is not that ‘sickly perfect’ character and still has some flaws and can be wrong in some situations which I like very much. Nothing worse than ‘too perfect’ characters that make you cringe on every page, because they are too unreal.

I absolutely enjoyed all TV series and movies based on Coben’s novels, so would like to see if ‘Don’t let go’ to come on a TV screen. I won’t say more not to spoil the plot for you.

The story is quite tragic. It often comes to the decisions you make when you are young. At the time they seem silly and harmless, but the results can be devastating. This book is also about families and relationships. How well we know our siblings, our parents, our friends. Do we notice something is wrong at the right time? At the time when it’s not too late?

I think this book is also about the choice. The choice we make to question things. The choice to want to know and try to find out. The choice to get involved and stop some things. The choice to never let go.

My score is 5* out of 5*.

My review: Mother, by S.E.Lynes

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About the book:

Christopher would never hurt anyone. Not intentionally. Even after everything that’s happened I still believe that…

Christopher Harris is a lonely boy. A boy who has never fitted in to his family. Who has always felt something was missing from his life.

Until one day, when he discovers a suitcase in his family’s attic. Inside the suitcase is a letter. Inside the letter is a secret about his mother that changes everything.

What price would you pay for the perfect family?

Christopher finally has a chance at happiness. A happiness that he will do anything to protect…

An unputdownable thriller about the lies we tell and the secrets we keep, Mother will hold you breathless until the very last page and leave you reeling. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Apple Tree Yard.

My review:

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

I can’t say that the book is keeping you in real suspense, but the story is quite interesting. The story is about a boy, then young man Christopher who is trying to find a place where he belongs. I think many people can relate to him. The secret he learns about opens up the whole new life and new opportunity of life for Christopher.

The book is about a young man who feels lonely in his own family. What will he do with this new truth he found out? How will it all turn out?

Without any spoilers, this book is about motherhood, a relationship between a son and a mother, about family relationships in general and how much it can mean to a person.

I really enjoyed the book, despite being a bit slow at the start. To me this book is a bit of a drama than a thriller/suspense. Some things I got straight away. The final twist is good but I am a little bit in denial. I actually liked Christopher’s ‘version’ of events. Or preferred it more.

Like they say, you don’t choose your family. Well, some people do.

My rating is 5* out of 5*.