Suspense with Spice | The Girl Who Was Taken | #KimsKaffeeKlatsch

How has your reading month been? Feel like a suspense mystery with a twist or two in its tale? Buckle up, because Charlie Donlea’s The Girl Who Was Taken is going to take you on a tale full of blind corners, unexpected twists, red herring detours and an ending that you won’t see coming. Make yourself your favourite beverage – I recommend my Perfect Pairing of Moroccan Spiced Coffee *recipe at the bottom of this post* – curl up in your favourite reading corner and start reading The Girl Who Was Taken.

About The Girl Who Was Taken

Two women – one, the sister of a missing girl; the other, a victim who escaped – come together to unmask a killer in this heart-stopping thriller. 

Her truth is only half the story . . . 

Megan McDonald is a high school senior when she disappears from the small town of Emerson Bay. Hope for her safe return is nearly lost until, after two weeks held captive, she escapes from a bunker hidden deep in the woods.

Now, one year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal – Missing – has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It’s an inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail. A second girl went missing that night. Her classmate, Nicole Cutty.

Dr. Livia Cutty is a fellow in forensic pathology, training at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina. Her sister, Nicole, has been missing a year when the body of a young man – an apparent suicide – shows up in the morgue and offers Livia the first clue to Nicole’s fate. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Others girls have gone missing, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.

But Megan is reluctant. She knows more than she has revealed. As flashes of memory continue to return, she realizes her blockbuster book is filled with lies, and that digging too deeply into the night she escaped from that bunker might reveal something darker and more monstrous than anything her chilling memoir describes.

The truth is only half the story…

Just when you think you have the answers to this suspense mystery, Charlie Donlea leads you down another twisted forest path that veers you off the road. 

This is a story about a girl who was taken and her sister who cannot move on with her life without getting answers to her questions. But this is only the surface of a story that will keep on leading you down dark, twisted pathways never knowing when you’ll finally find your way out of this maze of mystery. This is also a story about how dangerous curiosity can be when taken too far. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girl Who Was Taken. I adore mysteries that are true mysteries, the ones that keep you guessing and wondering if the bread crumb the author just dropped is a clue or a red herring. Charlie Donlea successfully keeps up the mystery in this taughtly crafted suspense. The characters in this story are multi-layered and the story told through multiple view points and two parallel timelines keeps you guessing in a well plotted maze of an arc that will surprise you with its sharp curtain-drop ending.

The premise of this story is more than just a missing persons case. This is a story about how well you know, or think you know those around you whether it is your sibling, your child, your parent, your friend or your co-worker. It is a story about secrets. The secrets we keep from ourselves, the secrets we keep from others and the secrets that threaten our very foundations. This is a story that anyone can relate to. How far would you go to find a missing loved one? What questions would you be willing to ask? What answers are you willing to face? 

If you like your mysteries spiced with more than a few red herrings, and you love a good maze then The Girl Who Was Taken will be the book that will lead you down twisted paths deeper and deeper into the heart of a story that will keep you turning the pages wondering if you even have the right map. 

Charlie Donlea surprised me with his strong debut but he has delighted me with The Girl Who Was Taken. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

The Girl Who Was Taken has all the right ingredients and just enough surprising spices in a well crafted mystery suspense to get a solid 5 star Coffee rating from me.

☕️       ☕️       ☕️       ☕️       ☕️

[I would like to thank Netgalley, the Publisher and the Author for this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.]


Author Website

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Publisher Website

Buy The Book

Check out the Blog Tour

What is a good book without coffee?? What is a Kaffeeklatsch without the Kaffee…

For “The Girl Who Was Taken” I recommend a carafe of Moroccan Spiced Coffee. This is a story that at first glance seems like a standard mystery but as you turn each page the story twists your original judgement on its head and then twists it again. This coffee appears like a standard coffee, only the exotic aroma tempts you closer to draw in more of that aroma. So make yourself a carafe of this exotic deliciousness and sit down in your favourite reading corner with “The Girl Who Was Taken”.

Tell me, What book/s + coffee (Or Preferred Poison) is keeping you up at night?

On the Run… | April | #KimsKaffeeklatsch

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else? Have you ever wanted to switch lives with someone else? Have you ever wished you could just start over? It seems like an innocent enough wish but identity is more than just a name. Identity is a story we tell ourselves. But what happens when that story is more fiction than fact… How do you separate the truth of who you are from the lie of who others think you are? Today’s book The Passenger explores these intriguing questions. So sit back, get comfortable, make yourself a strong beverage (I suggest my recommended Kaffee Pairing), keep your wits about you and let’s go on the run with…

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it . . . .

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.
She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret . . . can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

Let’s Klatsch about this Book

From the first line in this book I was intrigued. As the story developed, I kept on wanting to turn the pages to have my questions answered. Who was this protagonist really? What had she done to make her run? Was she someone I should sympathise with or did her story hold more lie than truth? Was she a reliable narrator of her story or was her story just another smokescreen? 

Haven’t we all, at one point or another, fantasised what it would be like to switch lives with someone else, even if for just a day? But the decision would be a very different one if you were forced to switch identities because you were on the run. 

This is what the protagonist in this story is forced to do. Most of the story will have you guessing, hypothising and constantly asking questions. You’re not told the truth or the reasons until the very end of this story. You won’t necessarily agree with every choice the Protagonist makes but if you put yourself in her shoes, you’ll understand that when you’re truly on the run – not out of desire but out of necessity – sometimes you have to go with the decision that is the quickest and not necessarily the best. 

Lisa Lutz is a new author to me and this is her first book in the “thriller” genre. In The Passenger she has crafted an intriguing premise of a story and she takes you on a journey of twists and turns, both literally as her main character crisscrosses the country and psychologically as the character’s real story is hidden between tricks of mirrors and smoke screens. 

I read this book through in one sitting. I give it a 4 stars/coffees rating because for me this was a mystery suspense and not a thriller. It also rates 4 stars because the story with its intriguing premise will keep you turning the pages. You won’t always like the protagonist and often her choices and decisions will frustrate you but you’ll want to keep turning the pages to see if she will redeem herself and if you’ll finally get to the truth of her story. Intrigued? You’ll have to just read The Passenger for yourself.

☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️


Buy the Book

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[I would like to thank Netgalley, the Publisher and the Author for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.]

Time for the Kaffee to our Klatsch

This story calls for a clear head with an extra jolt of keep-alert caffeine as the protagonist goes on the run constantly switching identities in The Passenger. It’s going to take a few red eyes to keep all the stories straight. 

The Red Eye (Also known as “Shot in the Dark” or “Eye Opener”) is the perfect coffee pairing for The Passenger.

Tell me, What book/s and coffee (or other preferred poison) is keeping you up at night?

Prepare to be disturbed… |April| #KimsKaffeeKlatsch

It’s been too long since my last KaffeeKlatsch so I thought I would resume my KaffeeKlatsch posts with a book that you won’t forget once you take the risk of reading it. As usual, I will be recommending a perfect coffee pairing to match this book. So, grab your favourite beverage, get comfortable and let’s klatsch this week’s book and what Coffee I’ve chosen for this reading session… Then I dare you to get your own copy of this book. But only if you’re prepared to be disturbed… 


A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a dark and delirious road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of Brazil’s most celebrated young crime writer.

Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn’t have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice. She’s almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she’s working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo is obsessed. He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he digs himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can’t get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together. Both tense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath, and the English language debut of one of Brazil’s most deliciously dark young writers.

This story, this main character, this writer will chill you to the bone. This is a book I’ve actually reread twice now. I don’t often do this with books. But if a thriller leaves me with too many questions or disturbs me, I tend to go back for a reread. This is one of those books.

Raphael Montes is a celebrated crime writer in his native country of Brazil but this book is his English-written debut. Wow! What a debut! In each read-through of this book, I read it in one sitting. It is unputdownable, page-turning, disturbing thriller perfection. Yes, this book is about obsession, delusion and rejection. But this book is very different from other books which feature the same themes. Raphael Montes has got a very distinctive Voice. It is this Voice and the style choices he made to tell this story that make this story a stand-out for me. He has chosen to tell the story from a 3rd person POV in a very distinctive unemotional voice. Everything that takes place in this story is deeply twisted, chilling and disturbing. Using this unemotional, almost cold and rational style to tell this story gives it an even more delusional edge. 

This is a story that will stay in your mind for a long time afterwards. Be aware that this is a book that cannot be read lightly. It is a violent story with incredibly psychopathic behaviour. But, it is a story that will haunt you. Just wait until you get to Page 198… Some books have great beginnings, some great endings, some take a while to warm up but the meat is in the middle. But for me the entire horror of the story, the full pay-off is in the first chapter of Perfect Days and the very last paragraph. I knew with the first chapter this would be a page-turner of a story but I knew with the last paragraph that this writer is a master story-teller. Perfect Days has definitely earned a perfect 5 star/coffees review from me.

☕️  ☕️  ☕️  ☕️  ☕️

Read this book if you have ever felt or been the subject of unrequited love. Read this book if you loved Misery by Stephen King or love Gillian Flynn. 

I leave you with the quote that Raphael Montes has chosen to include at the beginning of this story and that perfectly sums up the beating heart of this story.

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness. | Friedrich Nietzsche”

[I would like to thank Netgalley, the publisher and the Author for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]


Author Website (Site is in Portuguese)

Author Twitter

Author Facebook

Publisher Website

Buy The Book – Available in Hardback / Paperback / Ebook 

What is a good book without coffee?? What is a Kaffeeklatsch without the Kaffee…

 For “Perfect Days | Raphael Montes” I recommend pairing this unputdownable book with a few cups of the sinfully delicious Toasted Coconut Mocha. As this book takes you on a twisted road trip of Brazilian pieces of Paradise so it’s time to get in a Paradise mood. Just be warned, Paradise always contains illicit danger…

Tell me, What Books and Coffee (or other delicious poison) are keeping you up at night?


Rusting Leaves, Falling Rain Drops, Coffee & Books #amreading | April 2017

It’s April already. April in my corner of the world means rusting Autumn leaves, soft rain on my window panes, still warm days but cooler nights and lots of hot drinks…especially my favourite hot drink of coffee. I love Autumn. Autumn is my favourite time to curl up on my favourite couch and get lost in a story. I’ve got quite a few netgalley reads outstanding and two lovely new netgalley reads to get lost in this month. So this April it’s time to dust off my digital bookshelves.

What I’m reading in April

Tell me, What are you reading this April?

Birthing Stars

One of my favourite writing friends, Julie Christine Johnson, just published an evocative post “Atmospheric River” on her blog. (Aside* Do yourself a favour and visit Julie’s blog. It will lift your spirits and inspire you.) I had never heard of the term “Atmospheric River” before but it just zings with me now. Julie speaks of awakening from a winter of the soul, one which I know well and so much of what she shares in this post echoes what I am feeling right now.

A couple of days ago I celebrated a birthday. In many ways it was a difficult Birthday because it was my first without one of my oldest friends, someone who is a part of my soul. But also because of A and how much she treasured life, even as it slipped out of her fingers like the broken silken threads of spiderwebs, I also was determined to truly appreciate the day. It ended up being both a terrible and beautiful day, much like life itself. Terrible in that someone, in a six degrees of separation way, was buried on my birthday morning. Beautiful in that a precious new human, the first longed-for son of one of my soul-friends, was born on the evening of my birthday.  A burial in the morning and a birth in the evening on my birthday. An ending in the morning and a beginning in the evening of my birthday. This paradox of tragedy/beauty and death/birth made me think of the life of a star.

The past and all its little deaths of finished moments births our present…

There is nothing more magnificent than looking up at a night sky and trying to count all the stars one sees. But the stunning paradox is that many of those bright stars that we see in our galaxy are reflections of their past. Many of those stars that look so bright with life are stars that have died but because of their immense distance from us, we are actually seeing their past in our present. Isn’t that how it is with our memories and our own lives? We see the past in our present, hope for the unknown future but all we do know is the past. The past and all its little deaths of finished moments births our present. The past beauty of stars gives us our present vision of the night sky.

Black holes birth stars

The above article was published a couple of days ago. Ironically it was published on my birthday. 

“A team of astrophysicists has discovered that supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies aren’t just destroyers of stars, but can also be their creators…”

This artist’s impression depicts a galaxy forming stars within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at its core. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

This article filled me with thrills of excitement and it zinged with the epiphany I’ve had this week. I’ve been in my own black hole both creatively and emotionally. For the longest time I haven’t only not been inspired but I didn’t care that I didn’t want to create when life felt so destructive and chaotic. This black hole kept sucking me further and deeper into its vacuous depths. But very slowly a tiny, minuscule creative spark was being birthed in all this destruction.

This personal supermassive black hole had destroyed the stars of my creativity and ripped asunder the fabric of my night skies, forever changing the galaxy of my life, pulling it all into this consuming black nothingness that is grief. But where there is death there has to be life. This black hole I have found myself in has birthed beautiful, vibrant, sparking creative energy. The immense blackness has birthed exquisite light. 

This black hole has birthed stars. Out of chaos, beauty. 

I am birthing stars again. The synapses of my imagination are sparking with a fiery energy as they are born out of the very thing that was their destroyer. For the first time in the longest time, ideas are flying through me and streaming out my fingers into the ink on a page. Old words are reawakening. New words are taking their first breath. Finally I am creating again. This act of creativity/creation is awakening my very soul and stitching the broken pieces of my grieving heart  together again into something stronger and beautiful. The ideas are flying so fast and so abundantly that it is all I can do to capture them in the net of my page.

How do you net stars? 

I can’t net all the stars and some of these words, some of these ideas, like the stars in the night sky will die even as their trailing light births new words, new ideas and new stars of creativity. But I don’t need to net all the stars flying past me at light-year speed. It is enough that there are stars being birthed and that even as some will die, more will be born. My galaxy looks different now, forever changed. Life is chaotic and messy, tragic and broken. But life is also beautiful and precious, hopeful and whole. The seasons of a life are many and constantly in flux, changing even as they change us. The seasons of Creativity are also constantly in flux, ebbing and flowing, dimming and brightening. Life and creativity is a paradox of opposites, of winters and summers, of rusting leaves and fragile blossoms, and that is a beautiful reality.

I will net enough stars out of this black hole, enough stars to remind myself that I am breathing, that I have this time, this present moment. This present moment is all that we have but what lies in our control is what we choose to do with it. For me, right now, I am birthing stars.

Out of destruction, creation. 

Out of death, birth.

Out of darkness, light.

Out of grief, hope.

Out of chaos, stars.

Writing on the Go

Three things I love and use every day:

  1. My iPad Mini
  2. Scrivener 
  3. Stationery (Especially the delicious lure of NEW stationery)

In this post I get to combine all three of some of my favourite things.

Writing Essentials: iPad mini/Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard + Macbook + Scrivener/iOS + Paper Notebooks (Nanami Seven Seas Crossgrid + Moleskine + Hobonichi) + Bag full of Pens/Pencils + Coffee + Water + Private Writing Space + Spacious Desk + Ergonomically comfortable chair #onmydesk #onmydesktoday #inkslaying #drafting #writersdesk 

Scrivener iOS + iPad Mini

This month I finally downloaded the Scrivener iOS app on my iPad Mini. I adore my Macbook but my iPad mini is never far from my side. I have had the “MacGyver of Writing Tools” Scrivener on my MacBook for 6 years now and it is hands down my favourite writing software. But it had one drawback, it did not have an iOS app. Until now. So until now, and because my iPad mini goes everywhere with me, I wrote on the Write for iPad app and then copied and pasted from the Dropbox sync folder into my Desktop Scrivener. Until now. Until this month. At the beginning of this month I finally downloaded the magical Scrivener iOS app. WOW! I’m not sure what I was really expecting but I had thought the iOS version would be a bared-down-minimal version of the desktop version. I was right and wrong. 


  • Yes. In that it is a minimalistic, distraction-free and beautiful digital writing space. 
  • No. In that this is the Full Monty of Mobile apps. This is not a “mobile” version in that it lacks from the desktop. It is a “mobile” version purely because it is 100% Scrivener on a smaller screen.

Finally I can write on the go, anywhere and it is synced through to my MacBook Scrivener. No more copying and pasting. All my research/drafting/edits/notes at my fingertips whether on my MacBook at my desk, or on my iPad on the go.

As much as I love Scrivener and love my digital technology, I can never say no to the delicious lure of new stationery. For me paper and pens are my essential favourite things. I am especially obsessed with the magic of Tomoe River Paper. Since getting into the world of fountain pens I realised the many different qualities of paper. My first experience with Tomoe River Paper was through my favourite planner: Hobonichi. Tomoe River Paper has three amazing features: It is all Ink/Watercolour friendly, it is very thin, smooth Paper and it shows off sheeting fountain pen inks. 

Then I heard about Nanami Paper. An online maker/supplier of notebooks and stationery, most importantly they made big notebooks full of Tomoe River Paper. The only issues were the limited quantities available. These notebooks are so amazing that the minute there is availability they are sold out by the second minute. So I have waited patiently until there was stock available. Finally I was able to snag one of these elusive notebooks for myself: The Crossfield.

Nanami Seven Seas: The Crossfield

There are three different types of Seven Seas notebooks. The Standard, the Writer and the new Crossfield. The Standard is blank Tomoe River Paper. The Writer is lined Tomoe River Paper. Both of these options are an ivory coloured paper. The newest Seven Seas notebook is the Crossfield. This is an open-cross-grid Tomoe River Paper and the colour of this paper is white. I tend to choose either blank or grid paper and prefer white paper over any other colour so the Crossfield was the perfect option for me. Another fantastic feature of this notebook is that it is a 480 page notebook but the magic of the Tomoe River Paper is that it is exceptionally thin paper so the notebook itself is not much thicker than one of my hard-backed moleskine notebooks. The Crossfield comes in the A5 size which is my favourite drafting notebook size.

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