Stacking the Shelves

 Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where bloggers discuss the books that they have borrowed from the library or bought to add to their shelves. I personally think it’s a fabulous idea, so shoutout to them!

I have recently added two mystery / thriller novels to my shelf. The first one is One of Us is Lying, which I am reading at the moment. Next on my list is Watch Me Disappear. What  drew me to these books was the various reviews I’ve read on them on other people’s blog, as well as the cover of the novels. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but when the cover looks nice, it really does intrigue you!

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I’m not really enjoying One of Us is Lying so far! I’ve already lost interest in it….. I will most likely stop reading it, and move on to the other fabulous books that are waiting on my shelf!

Have you read either of these novels? If so, what did you think of them?

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How to Stay Organized

In this post I will be talking about the ways in which I try to stay organized in my everyday life. I chose this topic to write about because I ran a poll on my Twitter, and the winning option was a post on how I stay organized (as seen below). Be sure to go and follow it because I will be hosting more polls on which blog posts you’d like to see me post! Now, onto the topic of the day…..

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When talking about staying organized, I will focus more on staying organized from an academic perspective, as I am currently a university student. Of course, some of these tips can also apply to your everyday life, if you’re interested in that.

First and foremost, have some sort of planner / calendar / to-do list, or even a combination of all these things. You will be able to keep a running record of what you need to get done for that day or week, and it will give you an overview of your plan of action. In this way, you won’t forget something important that needs to get done. Hold yourself accountable when you can’t complete your to-do list and reflect on the reason(s) as to why you were not able to complete everything on that list.

Keeping a planner is all good, but try your best not to over-plan. I’m guilty of doing this! I am always over-ambitious when I’m writing my to-do list in my agenda, and in the end, when I haven’t done some of the things in my planner, I feel quite annoyed! Recently, I have begun to write two or three realistic things that need to get done in a day, and when I get them done I feel incredibly accomplished. 

To be quite honest, staying organized in all that you do will pay dividends when it comes time to review your notes for tests or exams. If you have been diligently attending lectures and taking notes, then you are able to go one step further and organize these notes into designated folders on your computer or into binders. This will ensure all your notes are kept in one location and you do not need to go scrambling last minute to get your study notes together. See the picture below which shows a little overview of how I organize all of my lecture and reading notes.

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Finally, I find that having cute stationary (i.e. pens, sticky notes, highlighters, erasers, pencils, etc.) and notebooks keeps me motivated and interested in whatever it is that I’m doing. My favourite store to purchase stationary would have to be Muji! I find Muji to be reasonably priced with top quality items. I did a mini-haul the other day, and my purchases can be seen in the picture below.

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I truly hope these tips helped you in some way! All the pictures in this post were taken by yours truly! What is a method that you use to stay organized? Please feel free to comment your tips below, I’d love to hear them 🙂 

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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

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★★★☆☆

I love how the cover of this novel goes with my blog theme! Anyway, this was an okay-ish book. Lots of twists and turns, however it was a little unrealistic for me. I had really high expectations for this book, and although the beginning of the book was fabulous, it honestly fell flat for me shortly thereafter.

Leonora Shaw is incredibly surprised when she receives an invitation to her old friend’s bachelorette party at a cozy cottage, or so she thinks. Leonora lives an isolated life as a writer who doesn’t communicate much with others. She can usually be found holed up in her house writing her novels, or sending emails to her publishers. She contacts one of her other friends, who is also invited to the party, and checks in with her to see if she is attending the party. Her friend tells her that she too has been taken by surprise after having received this invitation out of the blue. Nonetheless, Nora impulsively accepts the invitation and this simple action sets off a number of events that nobody saw coming.

Once Leonora arrives at the cottage, she notices that it actually isn’t much of a cottage. More like a creepy, sinister glass house located in the woods. As the days progress, there are some interesting interactions between the party guests, and Leonora notices that they are all not alone and that there is in fact someone else in these woods who is possibly watching their every move. Who could it be? Is it someone they know, or a stranger? 

I can’t go into too much detail otherwise I will most definitely give away what the book is about. I honestly felt as though so much more could be added to this book because it seemed to skim over the surface in a lot of its most thrilling parts, which is mainly the reason as to why I rate this book 3/5 stars.

Have you read this novel? If so, what did you think of it? 

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Cannot Wait Wednesday!!!

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Wishful Endings! This is where bloggers discuss the books that they’re excited to read, as well as those that are not yet published. This meme is a great way to inform others of books that are yet to be released, and to hype the books up!

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Lies She Told by Care Holahan

I requested this novel on NetGalley, but unfortunately I was declined! Nonetheless, I’m still super excited to read it once it’s published on September 12th, 2017. The following summary is taken straight from Goodreads.

Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Jones has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing down in both her professional and her personal life, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone providing for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, Beth sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the river.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the Hudson and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.” 

I was intrigued right away after reading this summary, and I knew I had to get my hands on this book once it is published! What do you guys think of the summary? Does it seem of interest to you?

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The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker

The Fourth Monkey by J. D. Barker (★)

Woah! What. A. Book. Literally speechless, it’s that good. I was only a few chapters in when I realized that this book is honestly so good. It hooks you in from the beginning. Some chapters give an intimate look into the life of the unforgiving, horrific serial killer known as the ‘Four Monkey Killer’, or the 4MK. I found these chapters particularly interesting because they were written from the killer’s perspective and were truly frightening, as they scared me to the core. It’s the kind of novel in which you honestly have no clue what the ending is going to be. Usually, when I read crime thrillers, I have a pretty good idea of what the ending will hold, but honestly I had no clue what was going to happen and I’m not complaining. If you’re a fan of cliff-hangers at the end of chapters, as I am, this one is for you.


The Four Monkey Killer has been killing people for the past five years. Not one person can identify who the killer is, not even the investigators. However, there’s a break in the case when a man is killed by a bus. He was carrying a black box tied with a white ribbon, which is the Four Monkey Killer’s signature. Additionally, in his pocket, a diary is found and in this diary, a psychopath’s life can be unravelled.


Sam Porter, the lead investigator on the 4MK case, begins to read this twisted journal and the reader also gets a glimpse into the diary entries. The chapters alternate between the investigator’s perspectives, the victim’s perspectives as well as the journal entries. I believe that having the journal entries as separate chapters made the book all the more interesting. These entries were chilling, sick and included many twists and turns.


In fact, the whole book was full of twists and turns, and the ending will seriously leave you speechless. I feel like I say that for a lot of books that I read, but one thing is for certain. This has been the creepiest, most intriguing page-turner I have ever read! This novel is definitely for adults and not for the faint-hearted, as it’s quite brutal!


I had a strong liking for Sam Porter, the lead detective. He’s an intelligent, fast-thinking individual who has a good sense of humour. Although he is battling his own demons throughout the novel, he is strong and hardworking. He is always focussed on the end goal and will do whatever it takes to get there!


Also, I really loved how there was a huge focus on the journey to finding the killer, rather than the procedural police work. This kept me hooked on the book, and I found myself not being able to part from the book until I finished the last page. I had a lot of trouble writing a review for this novel because I didn’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoyed it. Leave a comment below if you’ve read this book already or if you’re going to add it to your TBR list. Happy reading!

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Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas (Review)

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas (★☆☆)

This was quite an interesting read. What drew me to read this novel was its cover. I thought it looked quite eerie, yet very intriguing. I have also heard many good things about this novel, along with Claire Douglas’ first novel, namely The Sisters, which I have yet to read. I saw Local Girl Missing on the ‘fast-lane’ shelf at my local library, so I thought that I might as well give it a go. I read it in less than two days, mostly because I didn’t really have anything else to do during that time. I enjoyed it, but found myself getting REALLY annoyed at some parts. I’ll get more into that in a bit. 

Sophie Collier vanished many years ago, yet no one truly knows what happened to her. Her family and friends have never had any closure. Until remains are found near an old pier of her small town. Her brother, Daniel, informs Sophie’s best friend, Frankie, of these remains that have been found. He tells Frankie that he believes that someone killed Sophie all these years ago, and he wants Frankie’s help in getting to the bottom of his sister’s disappearance. Although reluctant to go back to her hometown, since it holds so many bad memories, Frankie decides to head back to the town in which she grew up to finally put her mind at ease and figure out what happened to her best friend.

Once she’s there, she has many out of the ordinary experiences. First off, she feels incredibly isolated yet she also feels as though she’s being watched. Who could it be? Why would someone be watching her? Frankie, with a propensity to compartmentalize, realizes that her comfy, luxurious lifestyle might be at risk now that she has step foot back into her hometown.  

Secrets. Secrets. Trust. Secrets. Jealousy. Oh, and even more secrets. That’s basically what this book is FULL of. The chapters alternate between Frankie’s perspective and Sophie’s diary entries. I liked that this book showed both perspectives because I feel as though the reader gets to see that there are always two sides to a story. I found myself getting VERY annoyed by Frankie. She just seems SO pretentious at times, and needy. The reason as to why I gave this book 3/5 stars is solely because of how annoying Frankie was. Now, I realize that her character was made to seem this way for a reason, but I couldn’t help but cringe at Frankie’s constant whining and I honestly felt like putting the book down on more than one occasion. 

Other than that, there were many fantastic twists and turns, which are very important in a good thriller / mystery novel. I felt satisfied when I put the book down in the end as it met my expectations, but definitely did not exceed them. Until next time….Happy reading friends!

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Unsub by Meg Gardiner

I have heard many great things about this author, and as this was my first Meg Gardiner book, I was definitely not disappointed! Unsub was intense and frightening. The vivid descriptions made this novel beyond terrifying. It is so well-written that I was at the edge of my seat the entire time. The book was detailed, yet it got to the point and exceeded my expectations. 

Caitlin Hendrix has been haunted by the Prophet since her childhood. The Prophet is a relentless serial killer who ruined Caitlin’s father’s life, who was the main investigator on the Prophet case in the 1990s. The Prophet was never found at the time, and soon disappeared from the Bay area. The Prophet is an UNSUB, which means he’s an unidentified subject. He is an intelligent, clever individual who leaves distinct messages behind at the crime scenes. He leaves written notes, as well as the Mercury sign (as seen on the cover of the novel). 

Now 20 years later, the Prophet has reemerged, and Caitlin is part of the investigation team of this case. The Prophet leaves behind a string of brutal murders. Is the real Prophet from 20 years ago back? Or is it a copycat?

Caitlin must race against the clock to capture the serial killer before he strikes again. Will the Prophet ruin Caitlin’s life, just like he ruined her father’s? Who is the Prophet? 

There’s just something about this book that is so realistic. The descriptions, the relationship between the characters may explain how realistic it is. This novel reminded me of a few crime thriller shows that I have watched. If you’re into these kinds of shows, the book will definitely be of interest to you! 

This novel was fabulous, and it was suspenseful until the last page. It’s a wild ride all the way to an outstanding conclusion. I give it a solid 5/5 stars! This is definitely not my last Gardiner book!

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About the Author

Meg Gardiner is an award-winning author, and her writing focuses on crime. She attended Stanford University where she received a BA in Economics, and she later studied Law at Stanford University. She practiced law, and later began writing thrillers. Her Evan Daley books are her best-known novels. For more information about Meg Gardiner, check out the Official Website of author Meg Gardiner.

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Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

WOW! I am 100% speechless! Here and Gone is an action-packed, page-turner that takes the reader on a thrilling ride! It’s suspenseful right off the bat and I can assure you that you will most definitely be intrigued right from the first chapter! Haylen Beck did a wonderful job crafting a novel that keeps you reading, as you simply can’t put the book down! It’s that good!

The novel begins with Audra Kinney trying to get away from her husband with her two young children, Sean who is ten years old, and six year old Louise. Audra’s life has been rough, she’s had a messy past, and she needs a break. She just wants to get away. Her destination is California. She stops at a convenience store to get some water, but little does she know that she is about to be in a whole load of trouble. As she leaves the store, she realizes that she’s being tailed by a police cruiser. Everything is about to turn upside down.

A bag of drugs is found in the trunk of her car once the police officer pulls her over to the side of the road. Next thing she knows, she’s being arrested, her children are being taken away, and her car is being towed. 

When Audra is in a jail cell, she asks the officers where her children are. The two officers, who were on the scene when she was arrested, claim that there were no children in her car when they arrested her. In fact, they are adamant that no one else was in the car with Audra when they arrested her. Audra begins to question herself. Is she going crazy? Then, when a new character is introduced, she realizes that she is in fact not crazy at all. Something far more sinister lurks in the distance. Why are the cops lying? Will she ever find her children? Are they actually, truly, missing? 

I found a few themes to be quite prevalent in this novel. Corruption, the hunger for money, the effects of abusive relationships on an individual as well as how strong a family bond is, are re-appearing themes. If any of these themes spark your interest, I highly recommend that you read this book.

The characters complement each other quite well, and in the end, the conclusion is bittersweet. I finished this book in less than two days, so you must have figured out that I enjoyed it! I give it a well-deserved 5/5 stars! Just fabulous! 

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About the Author

Haylen Beck, more commonly known as Stuart Neville, is an internationally recognized crime writer. He has won many awards, such as the LA Times Book Prize, and his novels have even made an appearance on the best-of-year lists in the NY and LA Times! Read more about Haylen Beck by clicking here.

 

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19 Souls by J. D. Allen (NetGalley)

I would like to thank Midnight Ink for approving my request to read and review this novel! This was made possible through NetGalley! Now, I will honestly review this book which will be published in February 2018! 

First off, it took me a few chapters to actually get into the book. To be quite honest, I was not hooked from the start. However, once the pace started picking up, I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns. The cover of the novel is what enticed me, as well as the summary of the novel. 19 Souls by J. D. Allen is a fast-paced thriller, and a great start to the Sin City Investigation series. 

Sophie has been obsessed with Daniel since her childhood. But due to Sophie being far younger than Daniel, he always brushed her off. That hasn’t stopped Sophie. She will do whatever it takes to be with Daniel, even if it means killing anyone who gets in her way. 

She has had difficulty locating Daniel for a few years, so she hires Jim Bean, a private investigator, to help her find him. She has to make sure the PI doesn’t get suspicious of the reason as to why she wants to locate Daniel. So, Sophie tells Bean that Daniel is genuinely missing, and that he owes his mother a lot of money. How does she go about doing this? She pretends that she’s Dan’s sister by killing his real sister and taking her identity. Sophie tells Jim Bean that Daniel is a drug addict and she wants him to go to rehab, rather than jail, so as to ensure that Jim does not get the police involved. Sophie’s hope is that Jim will lead her to Dan, at which point her sinister plans will take heed.

But the story can’t end there……… right? 

Inevitably, Jim figures out that Sophie is not Dan’s real sister, and that she actually means to do harm. What does Jim do to protect Dan? Can he protect him from a psychopath killer? What is Sophie’s next move?

I found Jim Bean, the private investigator, particularly interesting. He is a clever, fast-thinking investigator, which I admire. Sophie, on the other hand, is a manipulative woman who is in fact very intelligent and is at odds with a voice inside her head throughout the novel. She argues with this voice, and has discussions with it regarding the rationality of her actions and decisions. This ‘voice’ added another dimension to Sophie’s character, which definitely made the novel more suspenseful. Will she give in to the voice’s demands?

In conclusion, I definitely enjoyed this book and give it a well-deserved 4/5 stars (as seen above)! You’ll love the ending, I am sure! Make sure you get yourself a copy once it comes out on February 8th, 2018! Thanks again to NetGalley & Midnight Ink for an advanced digital copy of this novel. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. D. Allen attended Ohio State University where she received a degree in forensic anthropology and creative writing. She had dreams of publishing mystery novels one day, and these dreams have come true as she is set to publish the first novel of the Sin City Investigation series in 2018. She has a significant interest in crime scene investigation, which she speaks about publicly as a member of the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention National board. (This information was taken from J. D. Allen Books, check it out!)

 

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Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors was truly a captivating novel. It hooks you from the start and doesn’t let go. It leaves you speechless. B. A. Paris once again wrote a novel that made me stay up late at night to read! It is a very well-written mystery thriller with lots of twists and turns that make it all the more exciting and it honestly messes with your mind, as it’s quite horrifying! The book is written in such a way that the chapters switch between the past and present of the married couple’s relationship, and it flows quite nicely. I honestly don’t know how to write a summary for this novel without spoiling it, but nevertheless, I’ll give it a go. 

The story begins at a dinner party hosted by Jack, a successful lawyer who has never lost a case and his wife, Grace, who is a stunning, gentle home-maker. To the outside world, they have the perfect life as they live in a beautiful house and they go on vacation often, and it also seems as though they have the perfect marriage, but looks can be deceiving, as we all know. Why are Jack and Grace inseparable? Why does Grace not have her own cellphone? Why does she not have a job, even though she is a very intelligent woman? 

I found that I did not have to read between the lines to understand what was going on in the book because everything was black and white, or in other words, it was unambiguous. However, this led me to believe that some parts of the book lacked depth, and I kind of wished that there was more to the conclusion of the book, which was my only issue with this novel.

Other than that, I had high expectations for this book after reading The Breakdown by B. A. Paris, and I’m happy to say that my expectations were met! Great novel, by a very talented writer! I know my review is rather short for this one, but honestly, all I can say is that if you’re into psychological thrillers, this one is for you! Let me know if you end up reading this one or if you have already read it!

 
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