The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor

The First Time I Died

The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor


Outside myself, I saw my body drifting in the black water, still as death.

The prologue sets the atmosphere, and it wasn’t long before I was falling headfirst into the story.

First-time nerves. Next time I die, I’ll be sure to take detailed notes…

So captivating, I read deep into the night not able to stop until I knew… I had to know.

A prickle of primitive fear rippled up my spine.

Flirting back and forth between past and present keeps the mystery alive, as does Jo MacGregor’s careful and analytic writing.

And if I had my way, I’d never come back.

I loved the paranormal element, it added to the tension and rounded out the characters.

Feeling the pull of the pond, it’s frigid, watery kiss, the embracing darkness.

Jo Macgregor’s adult psychological thrillers are dark and this one is no exception, although admittedly being more of a mystery thriller it’s not quite as dark as her first Dark Whispers which I still get shivers when I think of it.

If you have only read her YA books (written as Joanne Macgregor) and you definitely should if you haven’t, you’ll be surprised at how dark her writing can get, and I love it! Links to my reviews: Recoil Trilogy (dystopian)The Law of Tall Girls – my favourite! and Scarred (contemporary), Hushed (retelling)

We have all heard the saying you should write about things you know, and again Jo Macgregor’s career as a psychologist shines through her new book. She shared her thoughts on this in a guest post earlier this year.4 star tiny flash reviews

 

 

Title: The First Time I Died 

The First Time I Died

Series: Garnet McGee # 1

Author: Jo Macgregor

Publication Date: October 8th 2018

Publisher: Jo Macgregor

Source: Review copy

 

Purchase this book 

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The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone. 

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago. 

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics. 

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence? 

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder.— Abstract from Goodreads.com

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Thousand Perfect Notes

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

I have been so excited to read A Thousand Perfect Notes. Excerpt from my June TBR post where I flail around in anticipation: C.G. Drews (aka Cait @Paperfury) is an extremely popular book blogger (slightly obsessed with cake and stabbing) who writes fun blog posts, laugh-out-loud Twitter feeds and is an amazing photographer as seen in her Instagram posts. 

Sharing music is personal because music speaks, it feels, it breathes. 

But with that anticipation came a bundle of anxiety – what if I don’t like it, and it’s Cait. Everyone knows the Paperfury and who am I to judge… I shouldn’t have worried. It was Cait’s voice, a little tamer than her blog posts, but recognisable and I loved it.

The characters are brilliant! I am so in love with Joey and August – they totally stole the show.

“… I want a knife.” Of course she does. Tiny, scary, violent child.

Is possible C.G.Drews aka Paperfury is more marshmallow than world dominator? As I anticipated cake, chocolate, knife-brandishing and stabbing are featured in the book, but not quite in the way I expected.

It’s like fruitcake but also has almonds and small explosions of chocolate…

The cover is beautiful! I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out, but when I saw the paperback in a bookshop at Singapore’s Changi airport. I just had to have it and I have been carrying it around with me just because I am not ready to let the story go.

What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands.

I questioned one aspect while reading (in the spoiler box below), but this didn’t detract from my overall experience of the story.

Spoiler Alert!

It was out of character for Beck to leave Joey to go to the hospital with their mom.  All the time he was with August I couldn’t stop worrying that social services would step in and separate the siblings, wanting to scream at Beck to go back and get her! Although I do also realise that as Joey had called the ambulance it would be difficult to explain why she wasn’t there.

[collapse]

He floods the house with music that shook the world a hundred years ago.

PS Cait’s second book is called The Boy Who Steals Houses (due 4 April 2019), Have you ever seen such a brilliant title? I love it!

People can betray you, but the piano does not.

5 star

 

 

 

Title: A Thousand Perfect NotesThousand Perfect Notes

Author: C.G. Drews 

Publication Date: 7 June 2018

Publisher: Orchard Books

Source: Purchased

 

 

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Amazon.com

Amazon(UK)

Book Depository

Worderly

Loot.co.za(SA)
 

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Goodreads

 

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

See All the Stars See All the Stars by Kit Frick

 

See All the Stars is a beautifully written story that I sank into like a comfortable armchair -one that bites occasionally just to keep you on your toes!

That we revolved around her was simply a fact.

The lyrical words felt like coming home and I wanted to stay surrounded by the characters long after the story was told.

Ret Johnson was the sun. Hot, bright, at the center of our universe. 

I love books that skip between the present and the past and See All the Stars does this seamlessly, trickling out the storyline slowly, strategically. Until desperate to know all the secrets, I let the story take over and gave up trying to live in the real world.

In my reality, there is only the aftermath, the nights when all I can hear are the scraps of his voice.

This is the book. My favourite 2018 read. Not without faults, I have a couple of unanswered questions and the main character was occasionally frustratingly naïve. In a way that only added to the story because in real life it’s often easier to ignore the obvious to avoid confrontation and pain.

But that day I was the moon, dark and cold without the sun’s light.

5 star

 

 

 

Title: See All the Stars See All the Stars

Author: Kit Frick

Publication Date: 14 August 2018

Publisher: McElderry Books

Source: Review copy

 

 

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It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The fact that I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my review copy and may not appear in the final version.

The Date by Louise Jensen 

The Date by Louise Jensen

The Date by Louise Jensen

 

This has to be a nightmare.

 

The Date by Louise Jensen is an exceptionally scary thriller, I haven’t been this spooked by a book in a long time. 

Fear beats its wings.

 

Totally unpredictable,  the horrifying twists kept coming.

 

My bones turn to dust and I sink to the floor.

 

I loved this book which kept me captivated. Until the ending, which was disappointingly weak in comparison.

4 star tiny flash reviews

 

 

Title: The Date

Author: Louise Jensen 

Publication Date: 21 June 2018

Publisher: Sphere

Source: Review copy

 

 

Purchase this book 

Amazon.com

Amazon(UK)

Audible(Audio)

Book Depository

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Something bad has happened to Alison Taylor. 

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. 

By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. 

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her…  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Misleading Book Covers #2

Misleading covers

Misleading Book Covers #2

 

Another fun round of misleading book covers. At least 90% of what I choose to read is based on the cover of the book and sometimes I wonder just what the author/publisher was thinking…

 

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was pretty sure this was going to be a thriller or at least a murder mystery. I was looking forward to a bunch of hapless, naïve fools (maybe from a knitting club?) charging off to their death… like the supposed ending of the poor Dodo.

 

What it’s actually about

A rather more sedate YA contemporary about a girl too afraid to take chances and the boy who inspired changes in her life.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was hoping for a retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with exploding candy, but I guess I should have realised from the title that was one of the big lies.

 

What it’s actually about

It’s a suburban ‘behind the scenes’ story with explosive secrets *suddenly realising why the lollipop is exploding*, and evil undertakings.

PS: to those who have watched the miniseries without reading the book – go back and read it, it’s really worth it!

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)  Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A massacre where a murder of crows descends on the pile of blood-splattered corpses… or maybe a red cloud at night as in a shepherd’s delight…?

 

What it’s actually about

A sad, but with unexpected humour, the story is about a lonely, insecure girl who corresponds via letters with a stranger on death row. He just happens to be an older man (yes I thought it was creepy too).

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)  Book Depository    Worderly   Loot.co.za

 

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Drowned girls under the ice on a frozen lake – maybe a mass suicide? Or very cold and somewhat creepy mermaids…

 

What it’s actually about

A YA contemporary about two girls with anorexia competing with each other to be the thinnest.

It’s relatable, emotional, horrifying and I loved it.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

This cover really threw me totally off! I was expecting a friendship/romance, possibly a fatal one like Romeo and Juliet, and surely somehow the goldfish were involved? Maybe they are poisonous…

 

What it’s actually about

A YA contemporary featuring a dyslexic boy who persuades an author to write his love letters.

I really liked the way dyslexia was handled positively with sensitivity and respect.

My review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Really badly behaved children whose babysitter tried out staring them before wiping them out one by one… *suddenly realising that murder is on my mind – should I be worried?*

What it’s actually about

Toxic high school friendships, jealousy, disappearances and a whole bunch of lies.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

 

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A lonely girl left behind by the winter girls and is about to throw herself into the water to join them.

 

What it’s actually about

Complex family relationships and adoption.

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

 

Midnight at the Electric

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

I was so wrong about this one! I was expecting a carnival or night circus, possibly magical or haunted…

What it’s actually about

This was a really odd book that combined sci-fi and historical fiction and seriously lacked the carnival atmosphere.

My Review

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

 

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

Misleading Book Covers

 

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A cottage on the edge of a dark scary wood where predators are stumped by the characters camouflaging ability – you know like zebras stripes… Perhaps a Hansel and Gretel retelling?

 

What it’s actually about

This children’s book stars adventure, escaped fugitives and family secrets.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)   Book Depository   Worderly   Loot.co.za(SA)

 

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Misleading Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Again with the drowning. A girl who drowned her friend and is just having a relaxing moment with their memories while waiting to make sure the body stays down.

 

What it’s actually about

A girl with amnesia following a car accident.

 

Goodreads   Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Audible(Audio)  Book Depository   Worderly    Loot.co.za(SA)

 

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