The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter

Thank you to One More Chapter Publicity Team for allowing me to read this book ahead of its publication in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

There are books that have a very strong sense of place…

There are books that have characters that you simply can’t stop loving them…

There are books that leave you wondering until the last page who the killer is…

Then there is The Dinner Guest by B P Walter that conveniently crosses off boxes in all the before mentioned categories. Throughout reading this book I couldn’t help to feel transported into a different world that looked and smelled and felt like a parallel universe to the Desperate Housewives universe, the characters were like-able enough for me to root for them and although I had a sneaking suspicion of who had committed the murder from the first few pages, the writing was good enough to put me off my trace.

B P Walter is a master at making his readers want more, teasing them with every piece of the brilliant puzzle he created.

Beyond the cover readers can expect a thrilling and twisted story. Walter uses two timelines through which he carries his readers. The structure of past present fits the story like a glove and doesn’t get to feel repetitive as the story evolves really quickly. Also another element that Walter is a master of, is making his readers wanting more, and then not give them to it. This is incorporated really well in the split timelines so much so that I didn’t know if I wanted necessarily to find out who the murderer was but more to find out how everything fits in together before the killer is revelead.

The story is mainly told out of the three main characters perspective. We follow Charlie, Matthew and Rachel through the events that lead up to the night were at the dinner party organised by Charlie and Matthew, Matthew ends up dead. I don’t want to spoil to much of the plot in my review however there are many twists and turns throughout the story that will keep you engaged and guessing who did it. My advice for readers going into this story? Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

Overall I think that B P Walter establishes himself as someone to look out for in the psychological thriller genre. He is a master of concocting plots then fragment them into a jigsaw puzzle and calculating where every piece should be dropped into the story.

The Dinner Guest comes out on the 1st of April and is an excellent read for anyone looking to escape the mundanity of lockdown life.

All The Little Things by Sarah Lawton

Thank you to Canelo for providing me with an advance copy in exchange of an honest review.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

All The Little Things by Sarah Lawton one of the twisted books I read this year. Filled with suspense, this book promises you to grip you from the beginning and will keep you wanting to read more and more and more until you finish it and then realise that it’s over.

There were moments in this book where I had to stop and consider for a moment just what and how Lawton came up with the idea. However I liked the fact that she didn’t shy from the possibility of a mother and a daughter sharing a love interest.

Throughout the novel we follow Rachel (the mother) and Vivian (her daughter) and how the past is always there to remind you that what is gone is not forgotten.

All The Little Things is the type of novel that will leave you shocked and starring into the distance trying to wrap your mind around what you just read.

There were moments in the book where I couldn’t predict where the story would go. I think this was due to the two timelines between present and the past and my mind wanting answers too soon. However in the end when the two timelines connected I understood the structure choice and actually agreed with it. Certain premises have to have a certain structure. And in the case of All The Little Things it made sense to have the two timelines connecting towards the end.

Character wise, Lawton executes them flawlessly. In the beginning I often found myself being annoyed by Vivian’s actions but the more I thought about it, the more I understood that it was true to her character. Also the whole idea of a popularity contest–which in itself happens a lot when you are in high school–gave me a bit of a headache but once again, it didn’t bother me too much because it was softened due to understanding the character.

In the end I did foresee a reveal however it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story because the ending is just… mind blowing. In a sense I suspected that it had been a choice to take away from the surprise reveal and focus on the next big thing as it wouldn’t have been guessed.

Overall, All The Little Things is a perfect read for those who enjoy domestic thrillers with a twist. I enjoyed it a lot and in the end and found myself needing a moment after reading the book to assimilate what I had just read because as I said before Sarah Lawton doesn’t shy away from putting uncomfortable subjects to the forefront of the novel.

Best of February 2021

Although February has long been and gone I wanted to still make a post about the best books that I’ve managed to read in February. However please bear in mind that although some full reviews might still be pending and will shortly appear on the blog, the criteria for me to include books in a “Best of” is that the books have been read in that particular month.

Without further ado, here are the top 3 books I’ve read in February.

3rd Place – Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Will Carver is one of the best Noir writers (if not the best Noir writers in the UK) and it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of him and his writing.

Good Samaritans by Will Carver is plotted to perfection, the pacing is marvelous and the twists are at every corner. I gasped out loud when I read this book because it swallowed me whole and by the time I came out on the other side, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Good Samaritans came out in 2018 published by Orenda Books and is really really worth checking out. This can be ordered wherever you shop for books.

Carver has also a new novel coming out this year with Orenda Books called The Beresford which I can’t wait to read before I get Will Carver Withdrawal.

2nd Place – The Friend by Charlie Gallagher

The Friend was the first book I read by Charlie Gallagher. Shame on me as he is a brilliant author who managed to grip me with this novel.

I’m not going to go into many details about the plot and characters because the novel is coming out very very soon and I can’t wait to be able to speak with people about the brilliance of this novel.

Gallagher will definitely be one of the authors I’m going to follow when it comes to Police Procedural novels.

The Friend comes out on 01/04/2021 from Avon Books and can be pre-ordered everywhere good books are sold.

1st Place – The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Gosh, I loved this book. The way Catriona Ward writes just so enthralling and refreshing. The Last House on Needless Street is the type of book that you have to cancel your plans for the day and prepare yourself for a ride.

The multi-layered plot is brilliantly executed because there are red herrings peppered through it. Ward plays a fair game, giving you enough hints for you to be able to figure out the mystery at it’s heart but because her descriptions are so vivid I wasn’t able to guess in advance the plot twist.

I wouldn’t be surprised if The Last House on Needless Street will be considered the epitome of gothic and even psychological thrillers of this decade.

The Last House on Needless Street is out today, 18/03/2021 from Viper Books and can be bought everywhere good books are sold.

March has been as amazing as February so far and I have a few other highly anticipated reads lined up for this month which I know will give me trouble to make the Best of March. Nonetheless, keep on reading <3.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Thank you to Viper Books for providing me with an advance copy in exchange of an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every once and again, I stumble on an amazing book that manages to enter my heart and never leave. The Last House on Needless Street is one of those books.

When I picked this up I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. The fact that Stephen King had reviewed the booked as “haven’t read anything this exciting since Gone Girl” I had very high expectations. There aren’t that many books that would get that review by Stephen King let’s be honest. In fact is one of the few that I found that got such high praise from him.

I didn’t need much time to finish this book simply because it was so engrossing, striking the best balance between intrigue, descriptions and mystery in my opinion. Also the structure was flawless, never revealing too much.

Catriona Ward has probably executed what will be known as one of the best books of this decade.

The book begins with Ted who in the beginning we are being told that he’s done something despicable. The way Ward executes this is intriguing and peaks the interest of the reader in wanting to understand who this Ted character is and what he’s done. The set up in this book is amazing which in itself makes the book ten times better. If the set up had been a miss I think that the whole novel wouldn’t have worked.

We’re quickly introduced to a crime that sits at the center of this this story, other POVs that are either linked to Ted or the crime and I found myself guessing throughout the book how it would end. I can safely say, that the ending surprised me–having been unable to guess who had committed the crime–but I don’t know if it is because I was so enthralled and captivated by the vivid writing or whether it was due to the want and need for the story to continue.

The Last House on Needless Street is definitely a stand out to me when it comes to thriller novels this year simply because it’s written and executed so uniquely. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book will be considered as one of the best of the decade. Ward sets the bar for thrillers very high, and I could only wish to be able one day to be able to execute a novel at the level at which she is right now.

Simply a brilliant novel that needs to be read by everyone. You will not be disappointed. Catriona Ward is establishing herself with this novel as someone to watch out for.

Two Wrongs by Mel McGrath


An Arc was sent to us by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of this book. Thank you to HQ Publicity team for allowing us to read this and review it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What would you do if you found out that after having a fight with your best friend she had attempted suicide? Would you try to convince yourself that there was more to her intention than the fight with you? Or would you blame yourself?

What if you were the mother of the daughter that is now battling with remorse? Would you try to understand what would go through your daughters mind? Or would you simply just trust the child you had brought up and hope that if she needed someone to talk to she would come to you?

What if you were the dean of the university and now you’re being faced with making the decision of whether to go public with the story or try to brush it under the carpet? Would you do what would be best for you in that situation? Or would you try to do what was right for the girl?

Two Wrongs by Mel McGrath is a captivating story about revenge, family and secrets. The story is told from three points of view and doesn’t shy away from hitting some very hard hitting subjects in my opinion. When I first found out that I was chosen to read this book, part of me was ecstatic. I hadn’t read anything by Mel McGrath. Something about discovering a new author always is exciting for me, especially if it isn’t an author I heard about before.

McGrath turns everything you thought you knew on it’s head by executing a masterful story about loss, revenge and family.

We follow the story being unravelled from the points of view of Nevis—a student at Avon University, Honor—Nevis’ adoptive mother and Cullen—the dean of the university at which Nevis attends. We are being transported straight in the heart of the story and the heavy subject which it surrounds: the suicide attempt of Nevis’ best friend.

As the story progresses and the story unravels in front of our eyes, I couldn’t help but appreciate how well the book deals in with the dynamic between Nevis and Honor. Nevis is aware of the fact that Honor isn’t her biological mother and Honor struggles with the truth of why Nevis’ mother committed suicide many years ago.

The pacing of the first half of the book I believe could have been improved. There was a lot of set up focused elements in the first half which made the book towards the end feel rushed. However, in hindsight I prefer the book this way rather than having a good pacing at the beginning of the book and a soggy middle. There were enough elements to keep my interest in the first half but do go in expecting the pay off to be really, really good.

The twists of the novel—which for obvious reasons I am not going to spoil—was predictable in my mind. There were so many elements foreshadowing the reveal of the twists that I absentmindedly made the connection before I actually got the pleasure of reading the reveal. Nonetheless a small part of me did a happy dance when I read that my anticipation was correct, but I also understand that there are a lot of people that are put off by this.

McGrath is definitely a writer to watch out for. This ambitious project has solidified her in my view as one of the upcoming authors in this genre.

Whisper Island by Carissa Ann Lynch

An Arc was sent to us by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of this book. Thank you to One More Chapter Publicity team for allowing us to read this and review it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What would you do if all your friends invite you to go for a trip on a secluded island? Would you give in to the peer pressure and accept to go? Why wouldn’t you since you can live there rent free, since one of your friends friend owns the place. After all you don’t know yet that soon one of your friends will end up dead…

Whisper Island by Carissa Ann Lynch was thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is snappy, the chapters are short, the viewpoints are plentiful and the premise is promising.

I admit it, I was some what sceptical when I started reading it. Something about the story didn’t add up and felt at times that this might be a book in a series, as there were references to characters pasts that wouldn’t be revealed until later on. After realising that it was a writing style choice, of hinting at something obivous in the characters pasts that would later on come in to play, I understood that I was overthinking it.

Carissa Ann Lynch is a master at tone and setting, placing the right words in the right place.

Whisper Island has a straightforward plot. Friends gather on an island to stay there rent-free for how long they want to, to work on their art. Then suddenly one of them ends up dead. Something about the plot felt very Agatha Christie-esque to me and I couldn’t help but make the connection to ‘And then there were none’.

Although it reads as a cozy mystery at times, Whisper Island tackles the theme of revenge and I think that it does so well enough to be enjoyable. Carissa Ann Lynch is in my mind a prolific author, having published over nine mystery novels, finished two series and contributed to two anthologies. Because of this, I was expecting a bit more. The story is fairly linear and we follow the POV of different characters—which added a layer of complexity to the story but left me craving for more.

I have enjoyed reading Whisper Island but I also think that it would have been a 5 star rating if we could have seen Mia’s past rather then be told about it as it would increased the tension and the stakes in the story. In conjunction with this same would be applicable to Riley’s background. It would have added a layer of ‘i-wonder-what-will-happen-next’ that I found the story was lacking towards the end.

The pacing is great, as it should be for a thriller. Characters were defined and fleshed out enough to know who was who from the start however would have loved the conflict in between the characters to be introduced earlier on so that when we get to the middle of the novel the reader can anticipate something wrong will happen rather than rely fully on the tone and setting.

Speaking of tone and setting, I think Carissa Ann Lynch is doing an amazing job of choosing her words carefully adding a layer of flair in her tonality and characters voice. She crafts setting with ease, in a few sentences, without going to much into unnecessary details and strikes a perfect balance between underwriting and overwriting.

Whisper Island is perfect for anyone looking for a quickly paced thriller that can be read in one sitting with a good premise, good tone and setting and a great twist at the end. I would recommend it to newer people to the genre that want to see what a mystery thriller is and how enjoyable it can be.

Whisper Island is coming out 5th of February 2021 from One More Chapter in the UK which with this new addition are setting themselves up as an engrossing, thrilling and definitely to watch out for Imprint in the thriller genre.

The Kingdom by Jo Nesbo

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Jo Nesbo, for me, is one of the best scandinavian writers up there with Ragnar Jonasson. There is just something about his Harry Hole series, besides the amazing plot and characters, that draws me in instantly when I see that there is another book being translated and published.

However The Kingdom has somehow managed to sneak past me and was surprised after Christmas to find that the book had been published and is available to be bought. So I didn’t linger too long on the Waterstone’s webpage and acquired it.

Now, to a certain degree, because it carried his name, I went into this book with a certain expectation. Expectations that usually Nesbo manages to match if not exceed. Yet after finishing The Kingdom I found myself longing for something more. Something that I couldn’t place my finger on.

Jo Nesbo does thriller well because he understand his readers.

I believe that once you publish as many books and carry the success that Nesbo has carried, something needs to be changed from time to time. You can’t simply carry on without challenging yourself as a writer, whether that means changing the genre in which you’re writing or by telling different stories from the ones that brought your success. I liked this about his books. I like that he doesn’t stick with a pattern and tries new things that probably excite him as a writer.

However as a reader, there is a reason why I return to Nesbo. Whether it is for the flawed characters (which The Kingdom has plenty of) or whether it is for the actioned packed plot, you return because you liked what you read. Right? There is something that appeals to you. It can be anything.

I mentioned in a previous post that Harry Hole for me is the stable for crime thrillers however I should have probably looked into the book more. Maybe then I wouldn’t have been disappointed to find a domestic thriller about two brothers that have had a difficult childhood and now that they are grown up they find themselves pushed with their backs against the wall when a cold case from when they were children gains the attention of the current police detective.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed The Kingdom however it isn’t what I expected when it came to a Jo Nesbo novel. It is definitely a more character driven novel than a plot driven novel than his Harry Hole series. There is a clear path set out for the protagonist from the beginning. You as the reader discover things from his perspective and understand why he is the way he is. Because of this the protagonist (if he can even be called a protagonist…) is the most striking feature that is still with me now that I read the book.

Nesbo does thriller well because he understands his readers. He understands that every promise he makes in the first part of the novel requires to have a reveal and a pay off (regardless if the reader agrees with it or not) towards the end of the novel. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who has enjoyed Nesbo in the past but also to new readers to the Nordic Noir genre who want to be gripped by a beautiful, pristine setting. I also would recommend this novel to aspiring authors who want to read and understand how a flawed character should be written.

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

An Arc was sent to us by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of this book. Thank you to Quercus Books Publicity team for allowing us to read this and review it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What if you were a parent and your child would be missing for thirteen years? What would you do? Would you give up hope? Or would you try to convince everyone around you that your child is still alive?

What if you were a child and all you knew of a family are the two parents that live with you? Would you find it odd that it is always only your mother that is still there? Would you ask yourself if you didn’t know anything else if your parents are happy? Or would you cling the normality you’ve been brought up with?

What if you were kidnapped and would be forced to live your life in a cabin? Would you try to escape even though you are locked inside, and there are no windows? What about the two children that are with you? If you managed to escape would you take them with you? Or would you leave them behind?

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann tackles these questions head-on. The story is masterfully structured with fragments of the story given at the right time and the right place. Throughout reading the book, I realised more and more just how brilliant Hausmann pieced together everything for me, the reader. It was like seeing a puzzle being built in front of my eyes. Clinging to every word that she had set on paper, trying to see underneath it, to make sure there were no clues buried underneath. Although this is Hausmann’s debut on the English market, this is her second novel, her debut being Marta schläft (trans. Marta sleeps).

Romy Hausmann’s writing will wrap you and pull you in a story that would leave you brathless and wondering until the very end.

Originally published in Germany and topping the charts, Dear Child is the perfect psychological thriller for new readers to the genre that are looking to see what a good and well-written novel can do. Still, it also pleases the readers that love the genre because it hits all the right notes.

Translated by Jamie Bulloch, I believe that credit needs to be given where credit is due. Bulloch captures perfectly the tone set by Hausmann and conveys it in English perfectly. Although the dialogue, to native English speakers, might sound off (or would require some adjusting to) I would remind them that the tonality and the structure are linked to it being a foreign book and needs to read as such.

I think—having studied German and living there—that Bulloch does amazingly and manages to make this translation make sense without sacrificing the german flair in which people would normally talk. This is noticeable, in my opinion in the way Matthias interacts with Gerd. Gerd being in the position of police officer there is an undertone of respect (even though Matthias disagrees strongly with the actions undertaken by the Police in the case of his missing daughter) when speaking with him.

But I digress. Dear Child is an instant favourite, which many will enjoy. The book is out with Quercus Books in the UK. Under normal circumstances, I would say that this book would be perfect for a holiday by the pool with the sun shining down on you. Still, regardless of where you are, Romy Hausmann’s writing will wrap you and pull you in a story that will leave you breathless and wondering until the very end.

I hope that Quercus will in the near future in translate Romy Hausmann’s debut novel, Marta schläft as well because I’m definitely in desperate need of more of her writing.

The Dinner Party by R.J. Parker

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What would you do if you were at a party with your best friends and suddenly someone suggest you should play a game where you deepest, darkest secret could be revealed in front of the people you love the most? Would you join in? Why wouldn’t you since everyone else already agreed to do it. If you back down now, then you definitely have something to hide. And you wouldn’t want people to know that would you?

Let me tell you, The Dinner Party by R.J.Parker took me on a journey, my poor heart wasn’t ready for. There wasn’t even a warning to buckle my seat belt. No one told me what I was getting myself into. No one told me to take the day off and cancel all my plans because this book would devour my whole attention.

R.J. Parker is a master pacer, delivering a suspenseful story, without revealing too much, leaving readers wanting more.

Once I read the first chapter, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. I had to know what the hell was going on and I think that an amazing thriller does exactly just that. The Dinner Party follows a fairly simple premise. A couple throws a party for their friends. Once everyone has arrived and had a drink or two one of them suggest a game. What can possible go wrong?

There were so many moments in this book where I was happy that I’m and introvert and that I don’t usually go to parties. The idea of being so naked, so exposed in front of people especially from the perspective of the characters in the story who have secrets hidden, made me feel anxious. R.J. Parker develops the story at a very quick pace but without giving anything away. The characters are so morally grey that when the next day they find out that one of their guests had been murdered you expect that any of them could’ve done it.

Throughout the book, which I luckily picked up on a Saturday morning and finished it on the same day, I found myself saying the publishers name without even realizing. Published by One More Chapter (a division of HarperCollins) the book delivers just that. A nail-biting thriller that hits home with every chapter leaving you wanting more. The Dinner Party in my opinion solidifies this publisher as one to watch out for. Especially if you enjoy this genre as much as I do.

The Institute by Stephen King

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I have been hearing about this a lot in the book community on Instagram and YouTube. I haven’t gotten around to read a lot of King’s works but I did enjoy a couple of his stories that he had published under the name of Richard Bachmann. If you haven’t checked out the Running Man I would highly recommend it.

Now, when it comes to stories that King writes, I automatically expect two things: either to be biting off my finger nails or to read a seemingly fiction novel with a few twists of the fantastical.

Although I have managed to get a copy of Misery I’m still trying to bring myself to read it. It isn’t because I’m afraid that King will disappoint. On the contrary. I’m afraid that it would hit all the right notes and keys and will cause me a couple of sleepless nights.

The Institute definitely falls in the later half of the two. The seemingly normal story we are following, at least in the first part of the story is thoughtfully written. We follow an ex-cop that moves, by coincidence to a small town in the south and stays there. Then we are being introduced to what I like to call the actual protagonist of the story, Luke Ellis who is a gifting young man. At the beginning when it was pointed at the fact that Luke is gifted my fight or flight senses kicked in. There were so many stories written about people who possess supernatural abilities that I loved but also that I didn’t enjoy.

King is great at telling you a story and selling it to you, making even the outrageous feel possible.

In King’s case, he played it smartly. Gifted meant that Luke was very smart and he would soon attend university although he was just twelve. Yes. Twelve. I kept wondering while I was reading when the two story lines would intersect. The idea was compelling enough and at times I found myself wondering whether such a place might actually exist. Whilst the reasoning behind why the Institute would exist was a bit of a stretch, the plot and the characters were written with taste and sense that overall I found myself by the end of the book to buy it.

King is a master at plot. Everyone knows that. King is great at telling you a story and selling it to you. The Institute is testament to his abilities and if anyone has thought that his crown would be taken away, in my opinion King is a leading example of how strong writing and a strong idea can create the most magical of places without too many magical elements required.