Book Review: Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

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Only Daughter

Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra
Release Date: 22nd September 2016
Publisher: MIRA
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
Rating:
412

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In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.

She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen―blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched―though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.

Eleven years later she is replaced.

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.

Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.

But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter―and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

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Eleven years ago Rebecca Winter went missing. The sixteen year old seemingly vanished without a trace whilst she was on her summer holiday. On the surface she appeared to have a pretty normal life; she had a summer job, had your average teenage crush on an older boy, regularly got up to no good with her friends…
However, when a woman who is being arrested for shoplifting claims that SHE is Rebecca Winter (or ‘Bec’ as she’s referred to) things start to get strange. Is it really that easy to slip into someone else’s life and assume their identity, even if they’ve been missing for eleven years? And what really happened to Bec all those years ago? Is the ‘new’ Bec really as safe as she assumes?

When I first saw the synopsis for Only Daughter I knew I just HAD to read it. And fast. The premise is such a brilliant one and no other book springs to mind to compare the plotline to. It’s built upon such a strong and intriguing idea and the way the story played out absolutely didn’t disappoint. It’s a classic page-turner that I struggled to put down.

One of the things that intrigued me most about this novel is how you never even learn the narrator’s name. That might sound crazy, but once you start reading you will see why this works so very well and the fact that she remains anonymous adds so much to the story. Whilst you could argue that this distance makes it hard for the reader to relate to the narrator, I didn’t find this to be an issue. I still wanted to know what was going to happen to this person and I didn’t find myself caring about her any less.

Full of suspense, Only Daughter might just play with your mind a little bit. The ending was a complete surprise to me and this is one of those classic novels that will keep you guessing right up until the end. It’s also kind of creepy in parts…

The fact that this is Anna Snoekstra’s debut novel is amazing. It is so cleverly written and brilliantly crafted, all whilst being based on a thrilling premise that will really get inside your head.

Hugely enjoyable and completely captivating, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers than you MUST add Only Daughter to your TBR immediately. But be prepared to settle in for the long haul, because once you start reading you won’t be able to stop.

 

A huge thank you to Cara at MIRA for allowing me to read and review Only Daughter.

 

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Anna Snoekstra was born in Canberra, Australia in 1988. She studied Creative Writing and Cinema at Melbourne University, followed by Screenwriting at RMIT University.

Anna’s short films and music videos have screened around the world. She has written an array of published and award winning short fiction. Her debut novel ONLY DAUGHTER will be published in September 2016 (Mira).

Book Review: Lost in Static by Christina Philippou

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Lost in Static

Lost in Static by Christina Philippou
Release Date: 15th September 2016
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
Rating:
5h

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Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe? 

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. 

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence… 

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?

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Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

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As I Descended

As I Descended by Robin Talley
Release Date: 6th September 2016
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Buy: Paperback  Kindle
Rating:
5h

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Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

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Guest Post: Top 5 Writing Tips by Eva Woods

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Top 5 writing tips by Eva Woods

1. Keep going, keep going, keep going

The days when I sit down and the words flow out like water are maybe once a month, if I’m lucky. All the rest of the time is spent plodding along, trying things, seeing what happens. I aim to write a thousand words a day, without editing, checking, or worrying if it’s any good. I’m always amazed at how a book grows using this method, even when most days it feels like you’ve just typed a random assortment of words that don’t make any sense. If you keep the momentum up, your sub-conscious develops the story without you noticing.

2. Everything can be fixed in an edit

There’s always another draft you can do, so if you get stuck on something just leave it for now and keep moving forward. When you’ve done what you can, get someone else’s feedback and then start editing again. My terrible first drafts are usually unrecognisable from the final book on the shelves. Just make sure you don’t lose momentum and get stuck re-writing your first chapter twenty-seven times.

3. Story is everything

Being a good prose writer is important, as is learning to use words skilfully, like tools. But if you don’t have a compelling story as well the book won’t get anywhere. Make sure you show us change and growth, interesting characters going through interesting experiences. If necessary, give your characters a really horrible time of it. Now is not the time to be nice.

4. Dramatise, don’t summarise

In a novel it can be tempting to sum things up a lot – telling us what characters are like or explaining what happened instead of showing us, or including lots of backstory. It’s much easier to write actual scenes that are taking place on the page right now – think of it as a film if that helps. And action and dialogue are also much easier to read than long chunks of exposition.

5. Believe in yourself

Most writers start out a bit clueless, knowing nobody in the industry, and sitting alone in a room with only a dream and a pen. There’s no reason this can’t be you too, and the great news is the industry is set up to provide a path in for new writers. Your agent will help you enormously as well. Good luck!

Eva Woods

@inkstainsclaire

Huge thanks to Eva & Cara at HQ Stories. Click here to get hold of your copy of The Ex Factor.

Taking a bit of a break…

There comes a time in every bloggers life where they just need to take a teeny step back. (Or at least I hope there does & it’s not just me…) I feel as though, right now, I have reached that stage.

I love blogging & reviewing with all of my heart, but I fear I haven’t been very good at it lately. And a bad blogger is an unhappy blogger, so I’ve decided that I’m going to take this step back for a week (Or two? Or three? Or however long it takes until I think I can be halfway good at it again.)

I am by no means giving up on blogging, just taking a vacation. I will honour all tours & reviews I have signed up for & I’ll still be reading & jabbering away on Twitter about everything I’ve read. I’ll still be posting reviews as often as I can, I just think it’s appropriate for a little bit of time out right now.

I hope that’s ok. Thanks so much for sticking with me and being fabulous.