Blog Tour: The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

Blog Tour: The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

Hello, Lovelies,

I usually post my book reviews on a Sunday but as I’m (belatedly) taking part in the Blog Tour for The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe, you’re getting an extra review this week!

Unfortunately, I am a few days late with this post due to unforeseen work commitments so my stop on this Blog Tour was supposed to be on the 13TH September but better late than never!

I would like to thank Pan Macmillan, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“Several years ago, your husband, and the father of your young son, disappeared. Since then, you’ve dreamed of his return; railed against him for leaving you alone; grieved for your marriage; and, finally, vowed to move on.

One morning, the phone rings. When you answer, a voice at the other end tells you your husband’s on a plane bound for home, and that you’ll see him tomorrow.

You’ve imagined this reunion countless times. Of course you have. But nothing has prepared you for the reality. For you realize you don’t know this man.

Because he isn’t your husband, he’s a complete stranger – and he’s coming home with you.

Even worse, he seems to know about something very bad you once did, something no one else could possibly know about . . . Could they?”

 

My Thoughts:

If you are a big fan of thrillers with a twist, then this is definitely the book for you.

The Stranger Upstairs may sound like a standard thriller from the synopsis, but it will surprise you like it did to me. Raabe stays faithful to the expected structure of a gripping thriller throughout the majority of the book but towards the end, the story started to transition into more of a romance. I don’t want to give too much away as the big reveal is definitely one you don’t see coming but Raabe brings something unique to the genre in this dramatic story.

The pacing of this story was quite slow which may put some people off, but I think it worked in Raabe’s favour in this case. The story takes place over the space of a few days so you are getting every action and emotion that Sarah goes through in minute detail. We think we know what’s going on the whole way through the book as we are getting both Sarah and the Strangers side of the story the entire time which is why when the plot twist is revealed, the reader is left so shocked. The one thing that let this novel down for me was the writing. This may have been down to the translation as this sometimes means that you lose an aspect of how the story is told.

Thank you again to Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book and for Melanie Raabe for writing this interesting story. The Stranger Upstairs is out now and can be purchased here.

Thanks for reading! Do you like the sound of this book? Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

Hello, lovelies!

I hope you’re all having a relaxing Sunday! This week’s review is on Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill, a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (which if you haven’t read, you definitely should!)

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr. Henry Jekyll. Only Mr. Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor – because Jekyll was Hyde.

But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming the estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life … and questioning his own sanity.”

 

My Thoughts:

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek and I still wasn’t sure how I felt about it after I finished it.

The story picks up from where Stevenson finish, following the aftermath of Mr. Hyde’s death and Dr. Jekyll’s not so mysterious disappearance. O’Neill carries on the story from the perspective of Utterson, Jekyll’s lawyer and close friend. However, the Utterson in this story is almost unrecognisable from the Utterson in Stevenson’s classic.

Having read some other reviews on this novel, I have noticed that the change in Utterson’s character has put people off this novel entirely but for me, this was one of the things that worked so well. O’Neill is carrying on the exploration into the duality of human nature. The Utterson we see in this story is the dark side of his character.

From the moment the ‘imposter’ arrives, Utterson becomes unhinged almost, distant from reality and vicious in his approach. His determination to unmask this imposter initially seems to be driven by the desire to protect his old friend’s legacy but as the story goes on, we start to see this is more about what Utterson stands to lose if the imposter gets away with it. He was set to inherit all of Jekyll’s estate, but the return of the imposter threatens this.

Utterson faces an internal battle. On the one hand, he doesn’t want to look greedy or suspicious to those around him but on the other hand, he has made plans for the Jekyll house and he believes he knows with certainty that Jekyll is dead. His inner struggle with his anger and rage lead to the outwards spiral of his sanity. As Jekyll did when he became Hyde, Utterson becomes unrecognisable, albeit in personality rather than in physical appearance.

Although O’Neill made his characters very different, he stayed true to the tone and setting of the story. From the first few pages, you are immediately immersed in Victorian London. O’Neill expertly continuous the gothic tone of the story which reads exceptionally well. His descriptions created vivid pictures in my mind and I found myself completely wrapped up in the story at times which I loved.

The one thing that let this book down for me was the ending. It was unnecessarily told from the perspective of a character we had barely taken an interest in and it felt rushed and messy. However, because this is quite a short book and was really easy to get into, I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time. Overall, I would still recommend reading this if you’re a big fan of Jekyll & Hyde or Gothic literature as I did enjoy reading it and it really didn’t take too long to read (Also, just look at that cover!)

Thanks for reading! Have you read either of these books? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

August Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Hello lovelies!

I can’t believe its September already! August was a great book month for me, even if I failed to read most of the books on my TBR challenge. I read a total of 7 books which is less than I’d have liked but I have been seriously busy.

My August Reads:

 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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My Rating: ★★★★★

You can read my review of this amazing book here.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

You can read my review of this book here.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

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My Rating: ★★★★☆

I decided not to review this book as the subject matter was quite serious and may be triggering to some readers. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this book, but it was exceptionally well written and extremely compelling which is why I have rated it so high.

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek by Anthony O’Neill

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My Rating: ★★★☆☆

I will be posting my review of this interesting little read soon!

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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My Rating: ★★★☆☆

I will also be posting my review of this best-selling thriller in a few weeks’ time.

I’ve decided not to set a TBR challenge for myself for September as I know I won’t stick to it. I already have a few books in mind that I want to read this month but I’m going to wait and see what I feel like reading after I finish each book. I also have a lot of ARCs to get through so hopefully, I will have a productive month!

Currently Reading: The Power by Naomi Alderman

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This book was on my TBR challenge for August and I’m finally getting around to actually reading it. I really hope it lives up to the hype!

Thanks for reading! Did you read any great books in August? What are you looking forward to reading in September? Let me know in the comments below!

ARC REVIEW: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

ARC REVIEW: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

Hey, lovelies!

I would like to start by saying thanks to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review. Somehow my amazing luck with ARCs continuous as this is another positive review!

GoodReads Synopsis:

‘Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.’

 

My Thoughts:

I want to start by saying that thrillers are not one of my favourite genres of books however, I had been in a bit of a reading slump and a fast-paced thriller is the perfect cure for that and Jane Doe did not disappoint.

This is probably the only thriller that I have ever read that hasn’t left me feeling slightly disappointed. I always devour thrillers as I can’t wait to find out what happens in the end and then when I get there I almost feel deflated. However, the ending of Jane Doe was brilliant. It perfectly wrapped up the story and was that satisfying kind of ending that you never saw coming.

Another reason I don’t usually love thrillers is that the protagonist is always insufferable. They are usually female and suffering from alcohol addiction, mental health issues or with some dark secret from there past which makes them unstable and unreliable. Jane, on the other hand, was such an interesting character. She is a self-diagnosed sociopath incapable of understanding or feeling emotions in the way that others do which makes her such a multi-dimensional character. She also had all the power in this story. We learn quite early on in the book why Jane is set on ruining Steven’s life, but we don’t know how she will do it which is why I think this book works so well. We’re not trying to figure out the whodunnit, we are trying to figure out how far Jane is willing to go.

I also found myself laughing out loud at times when reading this book which is definitely not my usual response to reading a thriller. Stone’s writing is brilliant and extremely witty in parts. I read this book on my Kindle and I found myself highlighting so many quotes so I thought I would include some of them in this post just to give you a taste of Jane’s voice:

“Frankly, fictional people appeal far more to me than real people do. In fiction, the choices have to make sense. The timeline proceeds rationally.”

“Erections and guilt can’t exist in the same place”

“After all, everyone knows that women are responsible for how men behave. If we’re not careful, they might decide to take what they want. They can’t help it. But somehow I’m the one with the psychological impairment.”

“Their penises are God’s divining rods, searching out evil.”

The whole book is narrated from her perspective which works brilliantly. Stone invites us into the mind of a sociopath, but she is a sociopath that the reader ends up rooting for. I would even go as far as to say I liked Jane. Stone set’s Steven up as such a vile character that I almost wished I could join Jane in making his life hell but deeper than this was that Steven is a character that far too many women are very familiar with in real life.  This makes his demise all the more satisfying.

This book is available to buy now and I would definitely recommend this book if you’re into thrillers (or even if you’re not as it was such an interesting read). I really hope Stone considers making this into a series so we get to read more about Jane!

 

Thank you for reading! Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

BLOG TOUR: The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

BLOG TOUR: The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

Hello lovelies!

I usually post my book reviews on a Sunday but as I’m taking part in the Blog Tour for The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney, you’re getting an extra review this week!

I would like to start by saying thank you to NetGalley and Legend Press, the publishers of this book, for sending me a Kindle version to read in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first ever Blog Tour on The Girl with All the Books and I’m so excited to be involved! I have been extremely lucky so far with the ARCs I have requested and read an The Great Unexpected was no exception.

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GoodReads Synopsis:

“If you’re going to end it, you better make it big. No slipping off bridges, it’s undignified for men of our vintage. Go big or don’t bother.”

Joel lives in a nursing home and he’s not one bit happy about it. He doesn’t like being told when to eat, when to sleep, when to take his pills. In fact, he doesn’t like living at all, and he’s decided he’s going to end his life on his terms.

When he tells retired soap-actor Frank about his dark plan, Frank urges him to go out with a bang. Together, they embark on a mission to find the perfect suicide, and along the way, discover the strength of friendship when you really feel alone.”

My Thoughts:

This book was beautiful but heart-breaking, which, let’s be honest, all the great books are. The absurdity of the plot tied with the outrageous, yet lovable characters worked perfectly, and the well-timed humour softened the edges of the serious topic.

As you will have read in the synopsis, Joel Monroe has decided he is going to commit suicide. His new and extravagant friend Frank de Selby has decided he is going to help him. For Joel this means trying to decide what he should wear to the occasion, a football shirt, his pyjamas or maybe just a nice suit? For Frank this is an opportunity to show Joel that his life is worth living. The two are the most unlikely friends yet they are perfectly matched, and I could not stop my self from smiling when reading the scenes where they bicker back and forth or where they go out clubbing with Joel’s young grandchildren. (Yes, you read that right. Clubbing!)

If you love a book with a quirky story and exceptionally well-developed characters, then this is the one for you. Joel Monroe broke my heart into pieces several times. He was infuriating yet lovable and Mooney captured such raw emotion in his character that brought me close to tears at times. It also made me think differently towards my grandparents, particularly my amazing 92-year-old grandmother who has herself complained to me about the lack of independence she has. I have seen my family treat her like a child and like Joel, I have seen her act like a child in response but now I feel like I understand her position a bit better.

My favourite thing about this book was that no character seemed to just be there to assist a plot line. They were all so well-crafted and multi-dimensional and they each brought something different to the story. This for me worked particularly well with the staff at the nursing home where Joel is living. They could all just be name tags mentioned in the escapades of Joel and Frank, but Mooney gives them all a back story. It is the little things like this that make this book feel like such a well rounded and full story.

If you have read any of my other blog posts you will know that I am a huge fan of Frederick Backman (I mention him in at least 50% of my posts). The Great Unexpected reminded me so much of the type of genius yet crazy stories that Backman comes up with and also another favourite author of mine, Jonas Jonasson. This is a huge compliment coming from me as these are 2 of my go-to authors. I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of their books and I after The Great Unexpected, I would definitely read more of Mooney’s writing.

The Great Unexpected is out now and if you’re interesting in reading this lovely book (which I hope you are after this glowing review) then you can buy it here.

If you want to hear more from this author, then follow him on twitter @danielmoonbags

Thanks for reading! Do you like the sound of this book? Let me know in the comments below!