Posted in Deanna Raybourn

Killers Of A Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn


Older women often feel invisible, but sometimes that’s their secret weapon.

They’ve spent their lives as the deadliest assassins in a clandestine international organization, but now that they’re sixty years old, four women friends can’t just retire – it’s kill or be killed in this action-packed thriller.

Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have worked for the Museum, an elite network of assassins, for forty years. Now their talents are considered old-school and no one appreciates what they have to offer in an age that relies more on technology than people skills.

When the foursome is sent on an all-expenses paid vacation to mark their retirement, they are targeted by one of their own. Only the Board, the top-level members of the Museum, can order the termination of field agents, and the women realize they’ve been marked for death.

Now to get out alive they have to turn against their own organization, relying on experience and each other to get the job done, knowing that working together is the secret to their survival. They’re about to teach the Board what it really means to be a woman–and a killer–of a certain age.


I have never read a book that wants to be a movie more than Killers Of A Certain Age. From page one, until the very end, this novel screams to be turned into a movie! It just has the perfect dose of high adrenaline and action mixed with short personal insights and equal doses of melancholy and humor. I loved it, every page kept me entertained and didn’t give me one moment to get bored.

If there’s a downside, it’s the fact that it is quite difficult to distinguish the four protagonists between each other. The book is separated into Past and Present chapters, with the present ones narrated from Billie’s perspective and the past ones written in third person. This would make you think that Billie is the protagonist but in reality, all four ladies “of a certain age” are main characters and play equally important roles. Unfortunately, it feels like the author created the contours of one character, made another three xerox copies of it and afterwards used different colors to paint each one of them. They’re all pretty much the same, just slightly different shades. And no matter how far you’ve reached into the book, the differences are not becoming more noticeable.

Despite the slightly confusing protagonists, I did enjoy the novel a lot. I noticed some GoodReads reviews making a fuss about the old ladies not acting or speaking like… well, proper old people. And I feel that those reviewers didn’t get to spend a lot of time with real old people. Growing old does not take the fun out of life. You don’t stop swearing or making faces or throwing dirty jokes here and there. You just stop doing that in public. But inside your intimate circle? You are still you, you don’t suddenly turn into a boring, complaining and grumpy “Karen”. I had the opportunity to grow up and spend a lot of time between elders. I’ve heard jokes that made me blush more often that you’d expect. I’ve witnessed the same dynamics in a group of old people that I’ve seen between young friends. I spent countless hours crying with laughter with a group of 80 years ladies, completely forgetting that they’re not in their thirties. Yes, there are more conversations about back pain and heartburn. But the society’s expectations are way more conservative and depressing than what reality is. So I honestly think that the author did a great job portraying her characters and the friendship they developed during the decades of working together.

The mystery at the base of the storyline is not breathtaking, but it is enough to create interest. The action and characters fill the gaps enough. I would have loved to find out more about Billie’s protégé, Minka. It could have been an interesting backstory and would have deserved more than just being left as a hanging thread, especially since Minka has a lot of potential to be a more important character. But that’s simply a wish and not a complaint.

My thoughts still drift to the book, days after I have finished it and I realised today that it’s been a pretty long time since a novel filled me with such joy. It’s a cocktail of spies, chick-lit and bittersweet old ladies and Deanna Raybourn did a great job mixing it!

Posted in Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink everY weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled existence. Except, sometimes, everything…


I had no idea about what to expect from Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I knew the book made a lot of waves when it was published, but it didn’t exactly seem to be my cup of tea. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t love it either, but I must admit that I’ve finished it way faster than I thought I would.

I feel like the author was indecisive and constantly oscillated between making Eleanor extra weird and making her very likeable in the same time. There’s a bit of trying too much in both directions, especially since the traits that he’s given her are quite opposite and tend to repel each other. There are also things that are so, so obviously not matching or making sense. For example, how Eleanor is such an avid reader, choosing not only fiction, but also completely random topics (like management, law or… pineapples), but she is so utterly clueless about simple things like social rules, internet, music, etc. This was especially more disturbing after I read that the author declared that no, Eleanor is not on the spectrum (which might have explained better a lot of her strange behaviours), but only suffering from depression. I did enjoy the narrative most of the time, but these disparities kept bugging me every now and then.

Overall, the storyline grows warmer and warmer as you read. It was lovely to witness such an array of lovely secondary characters, to see how encouraging and supportive they were and how Eleanor’s relationships evolved in time in such an optimistic and positive way.

I’ve read enough psychological thrillers in order not to be surprised by the twist at the end of the book. I’m not completely sure if it was intended as a bombshell, but I didn’t think it came much as a surprise. Despite that, it wasn’t disappointing at all. On the contrary, it felt more like a rational and consistent ending. Also, in line with that, I should mention that I loved the fact that the author chose not to turn the story into a romantic one. There are hints here and there, but I was happy to see an open ending and nothing clearly defined when it comes to Eleanor’s love life. This way, the story grows even more into one of personal healing on all plans, without focusing on love as the only solution for all the problems.

Posted in A.G. Riddle

Lost In Time by A.G. Riddle


When his daughter is falsely accused of murder, a scientist must travel 200 million years into the past to save her. But there are secrets waiting there. And more than her life is at stake.

From the worldwide bestselling author of Departure and Winter World comes a standalone novel with a twist you’ll never see coming.

Control the Past.
Save the Future.


I KNEW that I’m going to enjoy this book. It involves time traveling, which is never a boring concept and… dinosaurs (!!) which are one of my oldest obsessions, so I was definitely expecting to find it interesting. What I didn’t expect though, was to hold my breath from page 1 until the very end!

Every chapter brings a more surprising turn, every new discovery is mind blowing, every page makes your heart beat a little faster. I cannot express how much I’ve loved it, although later the whole time traveling process becomes so complicated that my brain wasn’t even keeping up with all the scientific explanations. So yeah, I’m surprised by how a book can make you feel so stupid, yet keep you so hooked on in the same time.

I honestly cannot think of any negative aspects. I loved the fact that all secondary characters have their own demons, their own secrets and stories and they’re more than just decorum in the book.
I enjoyed the relations between the characters, how fragile the balance is and how every small detail changes the way they see each other and also how you, the reader, suddenly switch your perspective of them. You trust someone in one chapter, only to turn the page and see them in the villain role.

The novel already starts with such an intriguing premise, but it’s unbelievable how much more complex it turns later. All while continuing to give logical and credible explanations for all the factors that we might consider a bit too much, like the amount of money the characters have, the unlimited resources, etc. The author doesn’t dive too deeply into those clarifications, but what he offers is kind of enough and I was happy to see he didn’t leave any loose ends.

I didn’t encounter in a very long time a novel that would keep me so entertained. I had the same feelings that I used to have as a child, while reading adventure books. Lost In Time gave me Jules Verne/Arthur Connan Doyle vibes, while bringing a lot more in terms of psychological suspense.

Posted in Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying (One Of Us Is Lying #1) by Karen M. McManus


Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


I’m not sure if I’m completely past the YA trend or if I have perhaps chosen the wrong book to immerse myself again in this genre. There was actually nothing wrong with the story or with the characters, the plot was interesting enough and the pace perfectly balanced. But somehow, despite all the good things about the book, the overall feeling that I’m left with is just… meh. Ok. Not bad, not great either. I didn’t feel the urge to devour the book in one seating, I didn’t get attached to any of the characters and I didn’t have that addictive feeling that WOW books create.

I love psychological thrillers, mystery novels, I (used to?) love Young Adult books, so I was expecting that the combination of all of these would blow my mind. It… very much didn’t. But in the same time, it was an enjoyable and pretty surprising read. Both from the plot and mystery perspective, but mostly, from the way the characters were built. I keep hearing lately that the present generation of kids and teenagers are… well.. different than the previous ones were. That they are kinder, more emphathetic, more supportive to one another. That schools nowdays are seeing less bullying, less teasing or looking down, less “Mean Girls” vibes. And One Of Us Is Lying is, I think, the first book that I read that shows us exactly that face of today’s teenagers. Of course, it’s a fantasy work, but it’s overlapping perfectly over the image that media is portraying in reality about Gen Z. I actually googled the author’s age, thinking that perhaps she’s part of this generation, that’s how realistic this aspect seemed. Yes, there are, obviously, some bad apples between the secondary characters, but the main ones surprise you by how kind and understanding they are to each other and to everyone around them.

Light and mildly entertaining. That’s how I would describe the book. Not memorable, but probably enjoyable enough to make me read the second book in the series at some point. I was hoping it would make me turn back to YA books with the same fervor that I was reading those a few years back, but it doesn’t seem like it was a lucky draw.

Posted in Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys


Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

A gut-wrenching, startling window into communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation, from the number one New York Times best-selling, award-winning author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray.


My blood was trembling in my veins during this entire read. I’m familiar with Ruta Sepetys’ work, so when I found out that her next book is about the Romanian communism and revolution I didn’t know how to get it faster. I have no idea if her new novel will impress readers from other countries as much, but as a Romanian born during the communism, I have to take my hat off to the impressive work the writer has done. I’m in an awe that such a well documented book can be written by someone who not only is not Romanian, but had absolutely no previous connection to Romania until just a few years back. I can’t imagine how many years Ruta worked in order to aquire such amount of information, but the fact that there is a list of five (5!!) pages of sources at the end of the novel, gives you an idea about the amount of documentation needed in order to create such a realistic story.

It’s not just the romanian words that are thrown everywhere in the book. If the writer wouldn’t have used any, the impact would have been exactly the same. But every single description of the places, the atmosphere, the interactions or the feelings is literally screaming “Romania”. The book might not impress by the amount of shocking events. Or at least not until the last few chapters. But it builds such a dense tension that you can feel it covering your soul, your thoughts, just by recreating the normality of those years. The scepticism, the doubt, the constant feeling that you’re being watched and heard, the habit of always looking over your shoulder. The hunger, the darkness and the cold. The whispers, the suffocation. And over everything, the fear. The constant fear, the paralyzing fear that never goes away since you are a child and until you die. In you and in every single person around you. The fear becomes as normal and everlasting as your breathing, crushing your mind, your will, your dreams, your voice, bending you as a human being, bending an entire society.

Any revolution is a fight for freadom, a scream against suffering and distress. But what we often forget and what this book emphasizes is that a revolution is not only agains the system. It’s also against your deepest fears, agains your survival instinct that tells you to stay hidden, to stay safe, against your mother telling you not to go out, because outside it’s dangerous, against you leaving your friends in danger in order to go out there and confront an even greater danger. Because it’s not just about you, it’s about everything and everyone around you and all the generations following.

Between the pages of I Must Betray You are decades of pain that an entire country had suffered. Things that, depending on our age, we either lived or heard so much from our parents or grandparents that seem almost normal or unimpressive. For us, this is just how things were, that’s it. But for readers born in countries that were always free, for people unfamiliar with what communism meant, all our normality will look appalling. Ruta Sepetys doesn’t offer a history lesson. She literally takes you from your comfortable present and throws you in the past, in the middle of the history, living and feeling along with the characters inside the book.