A perfectly twisty thriller from Sophie Hannah | Book Review: Perfect Little Children

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah

Publication date: February 4th, 2020 
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home.

Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn’t want to see her today, or ever again.

But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except… There’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As Beth would have expected. It’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then.

They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Hilary hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all.

They are no taller, no older… Why haven’t they grown?

Trigger Warnings: Miscarriage, Infant Death, Abortion, Child Abuse⁣

– My Thoughts –

Perfect Little Children is a standalone thriller/psychological suspense, also known as “Haven’t They Grown”, from the author of The New Hercule Poirot Mysteries and other mystery novels. Even though this book had an interesting premise, I found it a bit too far-fetched in some places.

Beth, our protagonist, takes a detour while dropping off her son at his football match. My confusion, my “head-scratching” starts from here. I wondered why would she suddenly park her car in front of her ex-best friends’ old house. Flora and Lewis Braid who were once close friends of Beth and her husband’s, have now moved to Florida with their three children. After dropping off her son at his match, Beth drives back to her friends’ old house and notices Flora Braid entering her home. However, that’s not THE surprise. The surprise is that Flora’s two children Thomas and Emily looked exactly like they would’ve 12 years ago.

The story gets crazier from here on and I had to constantly remind myself that this is fictional.

After Beth drives back home, she confides in her husband and daughter Zannah and both of them are dubious about the whole incident but Beth has unwavering faith in what she saw. So, she starts investigating and her daughter starts helping her too; soon, they realize that indeed something sinister is going on. Beth’s husband was also supportive of her need to uncover the secrets despite being aggravated by her obsession at times. There are several twists which with the pace demand your attention to the book; however, all the build-up gave way to a very dissatisfying ending.

What I didn’t like was every time Beth reminded Zannah to revise for her GCSEs, she was the one who quickly forgot about it. I would’ve liked to see Beth’s son solving these mysteries alongside his parents and sister too but we see very little of him. I have already mentioned how disappointed I was with the conclusion.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you loved Sophie Hannah’s previous books or if you’re looking for a mind-bending thriller with a unique premise.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensitive in 2011 and 2012. In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories, The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.

Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is forty-one and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s famous detective.

Thank you for reading! Will you add Perfect Little Children / Haven’t You Grown to your tbr? Have you read any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Blog Tour: The Tenth Girl, written by Sara Faring | ARC Review & Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Tenth Girl, written by Sara Faring | ARC Review & Giveaway
The Tenth Girl, written by Sara Faring | ARC Review & Giveaway

The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Publication date: September 24th, 2019 
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 464
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery
Buy: Book Depository | WorderyAmazon | B&N 

Synopsis:

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.
At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.
Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.
One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

– My Thoughts –

The Tenth Girl, written by Sara Faring quote

The Tenth Girl is described as a gothic horror set in a creepy boarding school in Patagonia. I was so looking forward to this book and it was good but failed to leave a lasting impression on me.

The story has two timelines told by two narrators; one is our young teacher Mavi and the other is a mysterious being named Angel. For Mavi, this school is her salvation as she’s got nowhere to go and even though she’s been warned of a curse on this school, she ignores it. Upon her arrival, she notices that the house..rather, the mansion is not normal. She’s advised to stay in her room at night and not to wander around the house. We’re constantly reminded of the creepiness of the mansion on top of the complete isolation and the near arctic atmosphere.

Soon, Mavi finds a student missing and strange things start happening in the house that forces Mavi to rethink the warnings she received before arriving.

The Tenth Girl, written by Sara Faring quote

I love the atmosphere the author created in this book. You’ll get chills from thinking about a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere. Even the house, it seems, has a mind of its own..so it doesn’t matter if you’re outside or inside: You’re not safe. This is own voices for Latinx representation and includes tidbits of real-life stories from the author’s family members living under the oppressive rule in 1970’s Argentina. This book also includes mythology from an indigenous group based in modern Patagonia and it adds a horror element to the story. The twist that came in the end was so unexpected that I had to go back and re-read the last pages again. I have conflicting feelings about this twist; it was unique and asks more moral questions of us but I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet.

Overall, I would recommend this book If you want to read a young adult debut with horror elements, that has a very twisted climax. Despite my conflicted feelings about this book, I’ll definitely keep an eye on Sara Faring’s upcoming titles.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author –

Sara Faring

Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City.

Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency.

Website | Goodreads |  Twitter

– Giveaway – 

Win a copy of The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring; ends on 2nd October. Just click on the button below to enter:

Tour Schedule : Click on this link to view the entire tour schedule! 

A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton

A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton

LINKS

Looking for a thriller recommendation? | ARC Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
cover(Goodreads)

  BOOK DEPOSITORY ADD ON GOODREADS WORDERY


SYNOPSIS

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…

Should You read Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton?

I gather an unnecessary breath several times, about to put voice to my confusion, but it feels as though talking isn’t allowed.


I was supposed to write a review post for a blog tour but since I didn’t like it, I’m reviewing it now..like, super late. I was about to DNF this book but I kept saying let’s read on, maybe I’ll like it … maybe …maybe.. maybe not.

First impressions, I loved the cover and the synopsis so much. I was fascinated the idea of naming people by the object they were found with. However, as the story progressed, I was confused about everything and my situation mirrored with that of the protagonist’s.

The protagonist of Smoke and Key is Key and this is her name because she was buried with one. Key wakes up from the dead, disoriented and can’t recall anything about her identity, the cause of her death or why she can speak even when she is dead. Then, some of her questions are answered by a mysterious boy called Smoke. Smoke tells her that this place she sees around her is called Under and no, it isn’t “hell”. Key is soon attacked and she just wants some answers (and so do I) but all she gets are more questions.

Just remember. you can’t kill what’s already dead.”

Then someone gets killed in UNDER, and I’m like whaaaaat?! How can you get killed when you’re ..you know.. DEAD. Then I remembered the freakin’ White Walkers but then realised oh, I’m not reading or watching GOT.. you get my point(I hope). Anyway, so everyone is panicking now and some suspect Key because theses “killings” didn’t happen until after she arrived.

Then, a lot of things happen which lead Key to discovering the reason for everyone’s deaths. Question is, ” Will Key succeed in rescuing everyone from Under before she and her loved ones die in the hands of a killer?”

I was confused throughout most of the book. It was like wandering through a maze and failing to find a way out. I reread some pages because I wondered if I my brain was fried and maybe that’s why I was so confused. When I neared the ending, I finally found my way of the maze and understood everything that was going on.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re thinking of picking this up as your first fantasy read or just in general.. I didn’t like it and I’m sorry because this book is an author’s years of hard work. I loved the unique concept of the undead, their naming, and the backstory of how they came to be undead.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

VERDICT:

Author: Connect with Author Kelsey Sutton here or here

  • Publisher: Entangled Teen
  • Publication Date: 2nd April , 2019
  • Paperback: 304 Pages

GIVEAWAY(US): SIGNED FINISHED COPY 

You can check out the rest of the tour here .

A story where the dead live and have unique names | ARC Review: Smoke & Key by Kelsey Sutton

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

A wonderful and unforgettable novel | ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

LINKS

 ARC Review: Things in Jars Jess Kidd

SYNOPSIS

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen. Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.


Why should you read THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful. She looks up at him, startled, from the bed.

– Things in Jars, Jess Kidd

I love reading historical fiction and if it has a hint of mystery and/or fantasy mixed into it, I’ll jump on it right away. This was my first time reading a Jess Kidd novel and I can’t believe I didn’t come across her writing before.

Things in Jars is set in the year 1863 when London was a cesspool of crimes and diseases. We follow the story of a female detective Bridie Devine as she attempts to rescue 6 year old Christobel, the kidnapped child of a Lord Berwick. It certainly doesn’t help Bridie that she is a female in a world of male detectives and that she was unable to prevent the death of a child in her last case.

Christobel is not an ordinary child for it seems that she has extraordinary abilities, can play with others’ memories. Her eyes see too much and she has pike’s teeth that can wreak serious damage. However, Bridie is determined not to fail another child and thus, she with her giant but wonderful maid Cora and the ghost of a prizefighter named Ruby, she sets out on a dangerous path to find Christobel.

The timelines are divided are divided into two as we go back to Bridie’s past and come back to her present. Bridie’s past shows us her coming from Ireland when she was a child, collecting corpses with Gan, her time as laboratory assistant to Dr John Eames at Albery Hall, and wearing the clothes of the dead Lydia. We learn soon enough that Bridie’s past links into her current investigation.

… the low, thick fog that has descended upon the city like an unwashed bedsheet. Oh, the unwholesome colour! Like sinus rot, and dense, like only a London Particular can be. You could scoop it into a tankard and it would mug there.

– THINGS IN JARS, JESS KIDD

I can’t sing enough praises about Jess Kidd‘s writing. Her characters are so lively and colourful that they leap out of the page and you stare at them in wonder. Besides Bridie’s housekeeper/friend Cora, the ghost of a boxer who’s in love with Bridie, we also meet characters such as the predatory and sly Mrs Bibby and the viciously dangerous Gideon.

It had all the elements of a perfect Victorian-era detective novel. There are gruesome murders, double dealing, never ending rains that threaten to tear down a city, and deadly villians that come back to haunt from the dead. In a time when medical profession was bound by any ethics, Jess KIdd immaculately describes the gruesome outcome when the penchant of curiosities knows no bound. She writes about corrupt anatomy collectors who are desperate to acquire living anomalies by any means necessary and preserve them in their jars.

Overall, I highly recommend this book not only because of its encorporation of fantasy and mystery, beautifully alive characters, and the storytelling but also because of the brilliant author who wrote it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Connect with Author Jess Kidd here .

  • Publisher: Canongate Books
  • Publication Date: 04 April 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 416 Pages

Do you think you’ll read THINGS IN JARS? Do you like reading historical fiction set in the Victorian era? Have you read any similar books or Jess Kidd’s previous books namely The Hoarder and Himself ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Newcomer by Keigo Higashino is a brilliant book if you’re new to Japanese mystery/​thriller genre

Newcomer by keigo Higashino review

Cover ( Goodreads)
Buy on Book Depository||Add it on Goodreads

Synopsis: Detective Kyochiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department has just been transferred to a new precinct in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Newly arrived, but with a great deal of experience, Kaga is promptly assigned to the team investigating the murder of a woman. But the more he investigates, the greater number of potential suspects emerges. It isn’t long before it seems nearly all the people living and working in the business district of Nihonbashi have a motive for murder. To prevent the murderer from eluding justice, Kaga must unravel all the secrets surrounding a complicated life. Buried somewhere in the woman’s past, in her family history, and the last few days of her life is the clue that will lead to the murderer.


REVIEW | WHY SHOULD YOU READ NEWCOMER ?

The only translated novel I’ve read this year -before Newcomer– was The Flowers over the Inferno by Illaria Tuti. You should check it out, btw. It is superbly written .

Newcomer is a translate Japanese murder mystery set in the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. It is the 8th book in the Detective Kaga series but you need not read the first seven books in order to read Newcomer.

The protagonist is Sergeant Kyoichiro Kaga, who has been newly transferred to a new precinct and is assigned to investigate the murder of a divorced woman. Since the woman has ties to the Nihonbashi business district, Kaga has to investigate everyone working in the neighborhood and maybe even their relatives. During the investigation, Kaga finds that everyone – from The Girl at the Rice Cracker Shop to A Detective of Nihonbashi- all have secrets, some of which may be a motive to commit murder.

I had some difficulties with the format -especially keeping track of all the characters and their stories but it didn’t take long to find my footing and to immerse myself deep into the story.

Kyoichiri Kaga just became one of my favourite fictional detectives. We didn’t get a deep insight into how he is a person but as a detective, he is brilliant. He is clever, has incredible observation and communication skills. It’s a bit difficult to put him in a neat little box, a little difficult to familiarise with him but he is a likeable and brilliantly created character.

Overall, this is a mystery novel to cozy up with on weekends and to add it your reading list if you want to read more translated and/or Japanese fiction. I enjoyed this book immensely and it was in a travel-friendly sized which I loved. I would definitely watch out for more of Keigo Higashino’s books.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Author: Connect with Author Keigo Higashino here .

  • Publisher(Translated in English): Hachette India
  • Publication Date: 10 Jan 2019
  • Paperback: 416 Pages

Have you read Newcomer by Keigo Higashino? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know all your thoughts about it?

Also,I’m happy to note that this is also my second review for the Year of The Asian Challenge 2019! If you’ve read any translated fiction ,then let me know your recommendations in the comments below .