[ARC] Anybody Home? Michael J. Seidlinger

Link to book – Anybody Home? by Michael J. Seidlinger

Rating – 5 out of 5 stars

Huge thank you to NetGalley and Clash Books for the advanced copy of this book to read and review. 

Oh my god lord this book was fucking traumatising… I woke up at 4am one morning, and I was midway through reading this book and HONESTLY I thought we were falling victim to a home invasion, I genuinely was terrified and started to go through all these different scenarios in my head (turns out it was just my dad making loads of noise getting ready for work but this book put me on EDGE).

Seriosuly though, the entire book has made me want to just move into a lil house in the wilderness where no one knows I’m there.

Anybody Home? takes us through a home invasion, except it has a twist… It’s through the eyes of a director, a director who is instructing and advising the perpetrator on how to successfully undertake said home invasion.

I’d never read anything like it before, ever. Sure, I’ve watched a lot of horror films about home invasions, hell, some of them even scared me, but nothing, NOTHING, I’ve ever watched or read has been so excellently disturbing. It genuinely terrified me, I didn’t sleep and when I did sleep I had nightmares, it got under my skin in the best possible way.

From the get go the books intention was to put you on edge and build this atmosphere of fear and nerves and paranoia, and it certainly succeded in doing so… Despite us never actually learning the invaders names or really getting anything other than basic information about the family it still built this intense feeling of unease, and I personally think the ambiguity around the characters lent itself well to the story.

One thing I particularly enjoyed (if that’s the right word to use in this review!) was how the idea of the invaders doing these things just because they could or because they wanted to, it terrified me to my very core. It was the perfect way to keep us on edge whilst we were reading.

In the same breath, never truly knowing who the cults were that the narrator kept alluding to, and it being left open to interpretation was just the icing on the cake. Were they just horror lovers in need of a good scare? Were they people on the dark web, paying to watch? It just really added that layer of fear and unsease.

On the whole, Anybody Home? was an absolute masterpiece of writing and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Hidden, Melanie Golding – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms and friends and welcome to my blog!

Today I’m sharing my review of The Hidden by Melanie Golding, which I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of in return for a free and honest review on my blog. So thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books.

The Hidden was published on the 9th November 2021 and you can read the synopsis on Goodreads here.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

I was definitely intrigued by the blurb of The Hidden, it seemed like something right up my street, and to an extent it was…

When I first started reading The Hidden I was really struggling with the multiple POV and chapter set up, it seemed to just be causing unnecessary confusion, almost as if the author was deliberately trying to make us feel confused in our own minds. However, once I got deeper into the story I did (eventually) learn to live with the multiple POV/chapter set up.

From the beginning it was clear that the writing was going to be impeccable, I couldn’t fault the way this book was written at all. The author has a way with words that seem to draw you into the story, with descriptive phrases and paragraphs, and I felt it was so easy to immerse myself into the story and enjoy the writing.

The high quality of the writing also lent itself well to how the author managed to build up the intrigue throughout the story, although at points it did feel as though we were being led on a wild goose chase… The feeling of which was heightened by the multiple POV chapters, it felt like we were being pulled from all sides without any reason or explanation.

I don’t think the characters themselves helped with this feeling, as they were all starkly different and not developed well enough for me to connect with, I felt like they were very nondescript and hard to visualize. Which is a shame because the characters were such a HUGE part of the story, they carried it with their chapters from their POV, so it just would have been nice to have a bit more about them to form a better picture in my head.

It was a real shame as the actual writing quality and the description of the settings were impeccable, it just wasn’t extended to the characters.

That being said, the plot did redeem the book to me somewhat, the individual aspects came together to form a cleverly crafted story that included some wonderful folklore elements, that eventually came to be the main plot of the story. And I have to applaud the plot and the author because I did not see the twist coming at all! I was completely blindsided and had guessed it entirely wrong…

However, it did feel like towards the end of the story it kind of dropped off and was forgotten about, and the folklore just became irrelevant. I also felt that the ending itself was rushed, and I felt let down when I got to the end of the book.

Overall, the writing and the intrigue of this story were what pushed me to rate it 3 stars, as it was actually an enjoyable read, it just had a few aspects that could have been better developed or written to really elevate the book, these aspects were in no way terrible, they just missed the mark in comparison to the other really good parts.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Silvers Hollow, Patrick Delaney – A Review.

Hello fellow book bloggers and book lovers! Welcome back to my blog, where I am today sharing my review of Silvers Hollow by Patrick Delaney. Thank you to NetGalley and Oblivion Publishing for the advanced copy to read and review!

Silvers Hollow was published on the 1st June 2021 and you can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

Just from the description of this book I knew I was going to be obsessed with it, and I was completely right! From start to finish I was sucked into this book, and I couldn’t bring myself to put it down.

The story was written in first person, and I became oddly attached to our main character, without even knowing their name… In fact, and this might just be me with my terrible memory, I don’t recall ever finding out their name, which I feel made the book better. It left an air of ambiguity, which completely lent itself to the plot.

Being written in first person also lent itself well to the story, because we felt as if we were the main character, as if their mind was our mind. For me, it felt as if I was living their life and experiencing their emotions and confusion.

Admittedly, I was confused by Silvers Hollow but that was a good thing, it meant that the book achieved it’s goal… It was a completely bizarre, strange, and overwhelming book, whilst also being so incredibly enjoyable (if that’s the right word to use). It was like nothing I had read before and managed to really worm it’s way into my head and made me question everything.

A lot of that has to be attributed to the writing, it was immersive, descriptive and at points eerie and haunting. The author created the perfect mix of words and sentences to build this world around us.

I actually surprised myself with how patient I was reading this book, usually I’m desperate to know what’s going on and get quite frustrated when things are taking ages to get to the point, but this was different. Because the plot was so good and so intriguing I just sat back and enjoyed the ride!

Everything within Silvers Hollow came together to create the perfect storm, the pace, the plot, the first person POV, the story itself, everything was woven so perfectly to create this excellent, immersive story that left chills down my spine and thoughts in my mind for days after I finished reading.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much I’m considering doing a reread already!

If you’re on the lookout for something a little thought provoking and a whole lot immersive and atmospheric then Silvers Hollow is the one for you.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Behind The Veil by E J Dawson – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms and friends and welcome to my blog! Today I’m sharing my review of Behind The Veil by E J Dawson, which I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of in return for a free and honest review on my blog. So thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial.

You can read the synopsis of Behind The Veil on Goodreads here.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

Straight away I knew I was going to absolutely ADORE this book, and I was right! I wasn’t sure whether to categorise this as a horror or thriller, because it had aspects of both – which definitely added to my love of this book.

We start off by meeting Letitia, who I could not fault as a character, she was deep and interesting and was the perfect main character for a story of this much mystery and intrigue. The other characters just fit perfectly with the story too, Alasdair, Mrs Finch, Imogen and Finola were all integrated into the story wonderfully and added so much value.

The only character I had an issue with was Abby, I felt the way she was written was in complete contrast to the other characters and their nature, it seemed a bit odd to me.

And talking of things adding value to the story, the atmosphere of Behind The Veil was impeccable. Whilst I was reading it felt as though all my senses were heightened, waiting for something to go bang and disturb the tension of the book.

It was the same with the intrigue that the author built up, I couldn’t fault it, at no point did the book become boring or feel like I was trying to hurry it along to get to another part of the story, it just kept that pace right through to the end.

To top everything off the writing and the plot were out of this world!

The writing was incredible, so descriptive, I felt as if I was in the story alongside our characters. The author formed the most amazing sentences and paragraphs, whether it be while Letitia was dealing with her families looking for closure, or when she was trying to help Finola, or when Alasdair and Letitia were flirting. It seemed no matter what the nature of the chapter or topic, the author was pulling it out of the bag with truly excellent writing.

And the plot, OH MY GOD it was amazing. Behind The Veil was an interesting and well-balanced read, it had everything you could want from a horror/thriller/mystery book.

I couldn’t fault any part of the story, but the last 15-20% where we reached the crescendo and ending of the book was just impeccable. A combination of plot and writing meant we finished Behind The Veil feeling fulfilled, thrilled, and full of enjoyment from what was an amazing book.

On the whole, I can’t fault Behind The Veil by E J Dawson, it had everything I could want from a book!

Again, thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this book to read and review.

ARC – The House of Dust, Noah Broyles – A Review.

Hello fellow book bloggers and book lovers! Welcome back to my blog, where I am today sharing my review of The House of Dust by Noah Broyles. Thank you to NetGalley and Inkshares for the advanced copy to read and review!

The House of Dust was published on the 28th September 2021 and you can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

The one thing I want to say about The House of Dust before I get stuck into my main review, is to stick with this book. It’s such an incredibly slow burner, but please give it chance before you put it down, it’s well worth the read.

I feel like there is right place to start with my review of this one, because there are so many different strands to the book it’s hard to find the best thing to bring up first!

The House of Dust was like no other book I had read before, from the very opening pages where we learned about Brad and the magazine he was writing for, to the very end of the book where everything (at last) seemed to fall into place. The story itself was very slow to start with, and you’d be forgiven for being a bit confused as to what was actually going on, but once things started to unravel and make sense it was just wow.

Every page kept you guessing where it would head next, whilst also building this incredible story in your mind, of which anything could happen.

Broyles writing lent itself well to the eerie feel of the story, as the paragraphs he wove, and the words he used built up a picture of our surrounding brilliantly. The author really seemed to be able to bring the parts of the plot to life that brought the most thrills and chills, whilst also using an incredibly descriptive, but in no way boring, style of writing for the rest of the book.

Because it’s a slow burn the atmosphere and intrigue are also slow to build, but it’s as if you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, you feel compelled to keep reading.

The one thing that did let The House of Dust down was it’s characters, which is a shame as they were such a huge part of the book! I just found them really hard to keep a track of and to understand, in no way were they terribly written or were just downright awful… I just struggled with really connecting to them.

That being said, The House of Dust was a truly superb read, one that I am very glad I stuck with and continued reading, even though it took me a lot longer than it should have (that’s a me issue haha). All of the elements of this book came together to create this tense, eerie and excellent read.

Please, if you are planning on reading this book stick with it! It will make seem to slow to start with and there are time jumps (mid chapter) but once you get your head around that it’s well worth the read.

Let me know if you’ve got this on your TBR, or if you’ve read it already and what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Have You Seen Me? Alexandra Weiss – A Review.

Hello friends and fellow bookworms! I’m here today bringing you my review of Have You Seen Me by Alexandra Weiss. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this from NetGalley and Vesuvian Books in return for an honest review.

Have You Seen Me by Alexandra Weiss was published on the 17th August 2021 and you can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

From the get go, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Have You Seen Me? It was definitely a gripping book, that drew me in from the start and didn’t let up until I’d finished reading – it was like a whirlwind.

Weiss’s writing throughout the book is consistently good, from the phrases chosen to the dialogue between characters and how we would hear the characters thoughts, everything was just well written and flowed perfectly. It was a really easy book to read, and that is no criticism!

The one thing that did let this book down slightly for me though was the atmosphere, it struggled to really get going at the start of the book and if it wasn’t for the enjoyment I got from the writing and the intrigue that the author built up I would have stopped reading it. That being said, it did get better as we delved further into the story. And it ended up being really tense and eerie, it became quite the atmospheric read.

The characters were kind of average for me, sadly. They definitely were intriguing and I found it so easy to warm to Aubrey and later Mason, and eventually the kids (once I got deeper into the book) but they weren’t exactly stand out parts of the book. They had enough about them to be interesting and to help progress the story, but not enough for me to say WOW they were amazing.

The plot was the real standout of this book for me, though. It was just excellent throughout the whole book, there wasn’t a point where it reached excellence and then dipped, it was just so good throughout! Once the initial groundwork was laid, we were pulled in so many different directions and things started to get messy (which I loved). Although, I think my favourite part had to be the ending and how everything seemed to fall into place, like when you put the last piece of the jigsaw in, it just made sense.

And while the ending wasn’t this big crescendo where it shocked me to my core, it didn’t need to be, because the rest of the book was so well written and the plot was so good. It just rounded everything off so cleverly.

I can definitely say that Have You Seen Me? was a really enjoyable read that I would love to read again. It’s many redeeming qualities with the plot, the writing and the intrigue more than made up for the little things, that I felt, could have been a teeny bit better.

Again, thank you to NetGalley and Vesuvian Books for the free copy of Have You Seen Me to read and review.

Let me know if this one has made it on to your TBR and what you thought of my review!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Perfect Life, Nuala Ellwood – A Review.

Hello friends and bookworms, I’m here to share with you my review of The Perfect Life by Nuala Ellwood. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Penguin General UK in return for an honest review.

The Perfect Life is due to be published on the 5th August 2021 and you can read the synopsis here.

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

I wanted so badly to absolutely love this book, but sadly I just couldn’t bring myself to do so.

Throughout the book I found myself getting increasingly confused with which time frame we were in, there were at least 3 different time frames that we switched between. Which would have been fine had there been some clear indication of it, but it just felt muddled.

Which is a real shame, because the writing was so well done, and each different time frame was incredibly written, it was descriptive and invoked so many different emotions. There were points that I felt as if I was in the book with the characters watching it unfold as if it was real life, in front of me.

For me, because we flitted so much between the different time periods it felt as if there wasn’t a clear plot or story, if someone was to ask me what The Perfect Life was about I wouldn’t be able to give a clear answer because I don’t think there was a plot so to speak.

And character wise, I struggled to really engage with them, there was just too much going on, we were being fed too much information about each person and it got very difficult to distinguish how the author wanted us to view the characters.

The ending was clever, but it felt as if it was from a different book, it just didn’t link with the rest of the plot…

Without giving too much away, I struggled with a couple of conclusions that were reached and why characters just suddenly reappeared with no explanation, they could have been woven into the story better.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy The Perfect Life, it’s more so that I enjoyed the individual aspects of it, which apart were really well written and descriptive, but together just didn’t gel in the right way to make the story. There was too much going on and not enough to link everything together.

Let me know if you’ve read The Perfect Life and what you thought, I’m interested to hear what others thought of it!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Neighbor, by London Clarke – A Review.

Hello friends and fellow bookworms! I’m here today to bring you my review of The Neighbor, written by London Clarke and published by BooksGoSocial on the 10th March 2021. You can read the synopsis here on Goodreads.

Also huge thank you and shout out to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for the ARC of this one to read and review!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

From the start the atmosphere of this book was tense and frightening, set in a secure community it’s made even scarier by the thought of something going wrong and spoiling the idyllic lifestyle they’ve all made for themselves. I love the whole secure/gated community thing, it makes it feel so much creepier when things start to go wrong…

We’re introduced to Claire (who seems like she’s one bit of bad news away from becoming completely unhinged) and her family of 4 girls. Throughout the book the 5 of them play key roles in making the story, the children act like proper children of their age too, which gave it a real relatable feel.

And then once we start to meet others in the community and Steel… Well, the characters just absolutely made this book for me. They were so well crafted and linked with each other and the story so well. I felt as if I knew them personally, which made it easier for the rest of the book to influence me.

As the backstory builds, so do the creepiness levels, shadows and bumps in the night become frequent, and the book started to really unnerve me. I’m not usually easy to scare but this book definitely managed to scare me.

The author did an excellent job with setting the scene and making us feel as though we were there, we were hearing things go bump in the night, we felt the way Claire did, we too were drawn in by characters in the book that we shouldn’t have been…

And the supernatural element was weaved so effortlessly into the story that even someone who doesn’t believe in those kinds of things couldn’t help but be drawn in and enjoy the rollercoaster that was this story.

I did worry as we got deeper into the book that there may be too much going on, too many strands and plot lines to bring together, but as we neared the end of the book and it eventually reached it’s conclusion everything just seemed to fall perfectly into place.

The whole story from start to finish, including the smaller plot lines were absolutely made to work together and flowed perfectly. Every single plot used within this book was superb in it’s own right.

I finished this book and felt not only a profound sense of fear, but also a sense of awe. I hadn’t read anything so scary for a very long time, I was covered in Goosebumps towards the end and read it with my eyes open so wide I’m surprised they didn’t pop out of my sockets!

On the whole, The Neighbour by London Clarke was a superb read, and I will definitely recommend it anyone who is in need of a good thrill…

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – The Face At The Window, by Ruby Speechley – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms, I’m here to bring you my review of The Face At The Window by Ruby Speechley, published on the 28th July 2021 by Hera Books. And you can read the synopsis on Goodreads here.

A big thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC of this one to read and review!

Overall rating – 3 out of 5 stars.

TRIGGER WARNING – Domestic violence. This topic is heavily featured in this story, so please be aware before searching out this book and reading my review.

This book was just not it for me, it didn’t do anything wrong as such it just wasn’t as good as I was expecting… Individual aspects of this story were brilliant, but as a whole book it just missed the mark. The Face At The Window was good, but it just wasn’t good enough.

The plot could have worked so well, if the author just focused on the idea of a woman scorned and the baby being taken from his Mother, but it kind of drifted away from that as we got deeper into the story. To the point where I felt the ending could have been a completely different book, it added no value whatsoever to the rest of the story.

There was a point far earlier where the book where it could have naturally been concluded, that I thought would have made the book better.

I also guessed pretty much the entire basis for the plot within the first couple of chapters, it was glaringly obvious and I felt really disappointed by how easy it was to figure out where the story was headed.

I just wasn’t intrigued by this book, in the way I thought I would be, but I think that comes from having guessed the basis of the story early on. If that was hidden better I think I would have felt differently.

The writing style did elevate my feelings towards this book though, the author clearly has a flair for building up the atmosphere and the tension. I did feel anxious reading this book, and it really pulled at my heartstrings when I thought about everything that Gemma was going through.

Plus,. the two POV did add an extra layer to the story that I enjoyed, it did prevent the book from becoming stagnant, which it could easily have done, given that in Gemma’s POV there wasn’t a lot going on.

Character wise, Gemma was possibly the only character that I warmed to throughout the story, she felt real and relatable. But the others, Nick especially, were just irritating and in Nick’s case, downright dickheads. Because the book was split between two POV it did mean I didn’t enjoy the book that much, as I found Scarlett’s chapters to be far less enjoyable.

I thought that the author could have also introduced the minor characters more as well, we were left to fill in the gaps a lot with Becca (Gemma’s friend) and Amy (Scarlett’s friend). The author could have focused more on introducing them to the story than other aspects.

Especially as towards the end of the story it started to feel like it was two separate books, almost as if the author was trying to justify the way Scarlett behaved… It just felt like it didn’t fit with the rest of the story, or the blurb for that matter.

I wanted so badly to love this book but I just couldn’t. The writing of the main story was good, but with the whole plot being given away early in the story and annoying characters it definitely had areas to improve.

Let me know if you’ve read this one and what you thought in the comments!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Ariadne, I Love You by J Ashley Smith – A Review.

Hello fellow bookworms! I’m pleased to bring you my review of Ariadne, I Love You by J Ashley Smith. Due to be published on the 20th July by Meerkat Press. You can read the synopsis for Ariadne, I Love You here on Goodreads.

Also, a huge thank you to NetGalley and Meerkat Press for the ARC of this book to read and review!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

The shorter length of this book lends itself incredibly well to the story it has crafted for us to read.

I want to say I enjoyed this book, but I’m not sure if that’s the right way to explain it, yes I thought it was a good read, but to enjoy something implies (to me) that it brought fun and delight to me while I was reading it. This book brought neither of those things, but in a good way…

Ariadne, I Love You was a haunting read, not in a scary way, but in a way that it will stick with me long after I’d finished reading it. It was as if someone had laid a blanket over you and wrapped you up in it to keep you warm, except the goal was to make you feel as haunted and as hollow as possible – that’s how I felt when I finished this book.

Throughout the story we descended into madness alongside Jude, we felt his desperation and yearning for Coreen through the pages and you could feel the heartbreak that Jude felt for his lost love.

All in all, the emotions of this book started as a steady stream before bursting into the sea, with waves that crashed over you forcing you to feel the same way that Jude felt. It really got under your skin.

The ending of this book was something else, and it left me with this taste that there was more I wanted to read but I would be terrified of doing so because I just would not know what to expect.

I loved this one for how ambiguous it was, at several points it was open to our own interpretation as a reader and I liked that, it felt like it allowed us to put our own stamp on the story, and led me to enjoy it even more.

On the whole, Ariadne, I Love You was a truly atmospheric read, forcing emotions to crash over you until you had no choice but to feel every aspect of the story, and watch yourself as you crashed into madness alongside Jude.