The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager

36626748  4 Stars

Riley Sager won many fans last year with The Final Girls. I also read the book and I liked it a lot. But personally, I liked „The Last Time I Song“ better.

Emma attended a summer camp as a young girl. There she made friends with the 3 other girls in her hut. Especially with Vivien. One night, Emma sees them sneaking out of the hut. When she wakes up the next morning, she is still alone. The three girls have disappeared and never came back. Emma blames herself and is severely traumatized. In fact, she was not entirely innocent that the girls should not return to the hut. As an adult she processes this traumatic experience by painting the girls disappearing into the wood with great success. The holiday camp then remained closed. Now the owner wants to reopen it. And she wants Emma to return as an art teacher. After initial hesitation, Emma sees it as a chance to find closure. But soon things will get out of hand again.

The book impresses above all by its eerie atmosphere. Emma feels that somebody is watching her. She starts to investigate. Vivien seems to have left her clues. There is something wrong with this camp, with the lake that once flooded the valley. Emma senses a dark secret that Vivien wanted to uncover and probably costs her life.

I liked this dark mood very much. The book is gripping and both narrative levels are interesting. We learn early that Emma is not entirely innocent. It was she who wrongly accused someone. Or was she maybe right? What kind of dark secret was Vivien uncovering? There are a lot of red herrings and twists. Emma is a difficult character. She is an unreliable narrator and not really likeable. Her paranoia and her erratic conclusions are always very impulsive.

Emma is the reason why I do not give 5 stars. Although she is a classic unreliable narrator, the further I read, the more unsympathetic she became to me. She is very impulsive and is chasing a new suspicion every day . She does not hesitate to make hasty accusations. She is obsessed with Vivien and what happened then. Personally, I find that she often overreacts and is a drama queen. I found her increasingly exhausting, and I’m not sure she truly deserves all the understanding she has received over and over again. But somehow it makes her a very interesting and human character.

„The Last Time I Song“ is a complex, gritty and thrilling thriller which I enjoyed very much.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Halcyon – Rio Youers

36343736  2 Stars

The blurb sounds exactly like a book for me. A creepy cult on a lonely island. A family decides to find their peace in this retreat after a tragic event, but soon realizes there is something unsettling behind it. That sounds promising. Unfortunately, the blurb does not mention that this story only begins after about half of the book. Before that there are two narrative levels around Valerie, the cult founder, and the family of Martin and how it came to the tragic event.

 

Valerie’s story has bored me right from the start. Unfortunately I could not connect to the family storyline either. This slightly supernatural element did not work for me despite the fact that I usually like this kind of stuff.

 

Reading this book felt like forever because it just did not grip me. In fact, I needed exactly one week to read it, and that’s really a long time for me. The internet is full of enthusiastic reviews, so I can barely understand why this book bored me so much. I still thought about stop at 70% into it. But then I decided I wanted to know how it ends.

 

For some reason, this book was not the right one for me. I could not connect with the story and this thing with Glam Moon and the supernatural aspect did not work for me unfortunately. I just did not get it.

 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Jar Of Hearts – Jennifer Hillier

36315374  4 Stars

To tell you about the content of this book in a few sentences is hopeless. The blurb says enough. You should just dive into this book without knowing much about it. Like I did.

If you like creepy and twisted thrillers, you will love „Jar Of Hearts“. We meet Georgina when she is being tried for murder. She has to go to jail for 5 years. At first I thought I found myself in an episode of “Orange Is The New Black” and wondered if I was reading the right book. But this is so much more than the blurb promises. The story is full of twists and surprises. Layer by layer is exposed by the tragic story that happened at that time between Geo, Angela and Calvin. The true trick in this book for me is above all the figure of Georgina (Geo). You are always close to her, she is the main character. She is in court, has to go to jail. You know she’s complicit. But you feel for her. But gradually the full story unfolds and I have to say that in the end I was really shocked. The book contains some dramatic scenes. But I was more impressed by how light-footed the moral integrity of the characters is dismantled. Even more than the physical abuse, the human chasms of the characters shocked me.

 

If you like well-written, gripping, complex and fathomless stories, you should definitely put „Jar Of Hearts“ on your wish list. You will find hardly a better one.

You Were Made For This – Michelle Sacks

38905969  4 Stars

What a depressing story. If you are intend reading this book, be prepared for a very dark story. Almost a bit dreamlike the three main characters Merry, Frank and Sam tell us the story. Their perception of things is quite different. All three have their flaws and even serious mental problems. Nobody is sympathetic. In fact, they are all three very dreadful and disturbed personalities.

 

Sam gets his pregnant wife Merry to move with him to a small house outside Stockholm. Sam has just lost his job, although he tells everyone that he wants to change his career. Merry has had many different jobs. Basically, she drives through life and lets her respective partner influence her wherever she is going. She is a passively aggressive character. She likes other people to make decisions for her. Sam and Merry pretend to each other that they are the perfect little family with their little son and their nature-loving life in Sweden. Then Frank, Merry’s childhood friend, comes to visit them for a few weeks. The two have a toxic relationship. They bring out the worst in each other.

 

I found the story very depressing. Especially from the beginning I felt so incredibly sorry for the little boy. Whether Merry suffers from depression or lack of empathy, I do not know. All three characters are disturbed in their own way. And their relationship to each other is anything but friendly. The story is really appalling, but as a reader I was spellbound and kept reading. It’s not a fun read. But as a creepy and atmospheric psycho thriller, the book actually works very well.

 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Moor – Sam Haysom

40023909  4 Stars
„The Moor“ is an entertaining and easy-to-read scary novel. Four 13-year-old boys and one adult, the father of one of the boys, go on a weekend hike in the moor. On the first night, the father tells a scary story that causes nightmares among the boys. But even in reality, things are going somehow wrong. The first night, one of the boys disappears. First, the others assume that he just hiked forward. But then another of the boys disappears.

The story is told on multiple time levels and multiple POV. Horror stories are always tricky. The resolution is often a problem. Here, the author does not make the mistake of expanding his story too much or of searching for plausible explanations. He tells a straightforward horror story without much adornment and explanations. The atmosphere is dark all the time. The horror is real and present. „The Moor“ is a precise and gripping horror story which makes you flying through the pages.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke

35442765
DNF. I really tried. But I’m just forcing myself to read this book. From the beginning I had problems finding into story. It starts very confusing and unfortunately it stays that way. Too many topics, too many people, the time levels change very often and unfortunately the tension remains on the track.

I’ve tried up to 56% but I’m breaking it off now. It’s just boring and lengthy. If I ended it, the review would only be at most 2 stars. In addition, I caught myself daydreaming instead of reading. Unfortunately, this book is not for me. Too bad, because the blurb sounded exactly to my liking.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Other Woman – Sandie Jones

36212848   2 Stars

Emily meets the man of her dreams in a bar. Her romance is very serious very quickly. Everything would be fantastic if it were not Adam’s mother. Already from the first encounter Emily feels that Pammie does not like her. With all the tricks she tries to torpedo the relationship.

The summary sounds irresistible. Who is better suited as a villain than a mother in law who maliciously tries to alienate her son from his girlfriend. Unfortunately, I have no patience for whiny and submissive women. And Emily is such a person. Very quickly red flags appear everywhere and show very clearly that with the whole family, including Adam himself, something is wrong. But Emily thinks she is very smart and tough and thinks she can handle it. Unfortunately, she is in no way. She is naive and completely fixated on marrying this great man by her side.

There was a point in the book where I seriously considered stop reading. Emily became humble and obedient to me at some point. But instead I just flew over a few pages and read on. The book is written in a simple and fluent way so that it just flows by. In addition, Emily luckily came to a point where she then had too much of the whole messed-up family. My hopes got up. Unfortunately only for a short time.

Finally, I did not foresee the twist during my speed reading. But it was also so awkward and unlikely that I would have never imagined it. There could have been another possibility for this whole crude story. The twist was pretty much unbelievable.

Emily is really no example of emancipation and female strength. She is one of those characters for whom all the other characters in the book feel just worship, but as a reader I just think how fragile and whiny she is. Once again a very weak protagonist spoiled a book for me.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review