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Book Review: A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge

I have been totally desperate to read this since the moment I heard about it. Unfortunately, I wasnโ€™t lucky enough to receive it as an Advance Reader Copy – BUT I obviously got it on release day instead! ** Promoted to Pick of the Month in March Wrap Up**

Itโ€™s available now on Amazon.

A Gift For Dying by M J Arlidge

Genre: Fiction/Crime Fiction/Crime, Thriller & Mystery๏ปฟ

BUG Rating: 5/5

Overall: I am a total wreck after finishing this book – I was totally absorbed, captivated and consumed by A Gift For Dying. I knew it was going to be good – heck, Itโ€™s M J Arlidgeโ€™s. But really, it was a total WOW. The storyline follows young teenager, Kassie, troubled by her curse of seeing peopleโ€™s deaths with just one look, she takes it upon herself to hunt down a serial killer after bumping into one of his victims, just hours before he was going to be killed. If you are looking for something totally gruesome, heart stopping, unpredictable and somewhat heartbreaking – look no further, you have it all wrapped in a bow with M J Arlidgeโ€™s latest thriller.

Iโ€™d talk to all of them, tell them all that โ€ฆ that time wasnโ€™t on their side and that they should kiss their kids, or that it was and that they should buy that car, that house – [โ€ฆ] even if you could help all these people, how would you choose? there are millions of people in Chicago alone.

Plot:

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything.

That is, until he meets Kassie.

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously.

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her. 

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .


I have always loved M J Arlidgeโ€™s books. I fell for them when I first stumbled upon his Helen Grace series. I was totally hooked from the first book. So naturally, I totally jumped for joy when I heard about his new book – something a bit different, I wasnโ€™t sure how I felt about the โ€˜super- natural โ€™ element but something about the synopsis just had me gripped – I just had to read it.

I like to type up my reviews straight after I finish, so the feelings and emotions are still raw – as I type this now, I feel drained. This book went well above what I expected. Obviously I expected it to be good just because itโ€™s one of MJโ€™s, but I didnโ€™t expect it to be this freakinโ€™ awesome. 

The story is set in Chicago, US and follows Kassie, a fifteen year old girl. Kassie is troubled, she has had a difficult life, lost loved ones, has been in and out of trouble with both her school and the police. Her mother is quite literally at her wits end with Kassie, unsure what to do with her.

Kassieโ€™s unruliness isnโ€™t all her own fault – she has spent her life in the shadows, avoiding friendships, avoiding people all together. Why – because she has a gift, or rather a curse. She can supposedly see how and when someone will die just by looking into their eyes. Sheโ€™s spent her whole life just surrounded by death. 

Through a number of events, linked to a serial killer haunting Chicago, Kassie ends up meeting Adam Brandt, a reputable psychologist who is the first person who vows to help her. At which point Adam has no idea how this is going to affect his life.

The storyline continues to follow the pair as they make sense of Kassieโ€™s curse and try to stop this sadistic killer from striking again.

Everything about this book was totally gruesome, haunting and terrifying. 

MJโ€™s writing was probably at his best ever – The murder scenes were described so vividly you felt you were there; watching the torture, watching the lives of these innocent individuals be snubbed out, in such a painful, horrifying way. 

I was totally immersed in this read, that literally took me around a day to devour. Not only did I love the grimness of this story, I also loved the emotion in some of the sub plots. The lives of the characters unravelled, exposed bare for us, the readers,  to examine. The way the characters lives crossed paths. The book actually made me question my personal beliefs, about fate, purpose and how long we actually have on this earth. 

MJ really did an awesome job, especially excelling in his writing of the different perspectives/thoughts of the characters, going from a dedicated psychologist, to a teenage girl, to a killer, each perspective completely different and yet so believable. This is definitely top on my favourite books so far this year and I am just dying to find out what heโ€™s going to do next – please, something soon!

2 Comments

  • Megan | Ginger Mom and Company
    March 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    So glad to hear you enjoyed this one, especially with how eager you were to read it ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t heard of it before but now I’m intrigued and will likely be picking it up as soon as I get a break in my current review copies. Great review!

    Reply
    • bookedupgirl
      March 23, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks, Megan! Iโ€™m sure you will enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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๐Ÿ˜ฌ It is a fast pace, binge worthy thriller- you will be ok the edge of your seat!
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๐Ÿ–ค I really enjoyed the story (๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป swipe for plot) and it was full of twists and turns, but I did find some parts a little far fetched.
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โœ๐Ÿป Iโ€™m obsessed with the duos writing style and loved getting to know all the characters through the alternating POVs with each chapter.
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๐Ÿ‘€ If youโ€™re looking for an intriguing suspense novel, look no further โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ Out next month ๐Ÿ“†
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  • Itโ€™s my birthday ๐Ÿฅณ I love to read a birthday themed book for it, and last night I binged on this gem ๐Ÿ’Ž
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๐ŸŽ‚ The story follows Eric and Morgan, whoโ€™s friendship is bound by being born in the same hospital, on the same day, at the same time! The book spans several years and how their friendship and lives change over this time (๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป Swipe for plot)
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โœจ Itโ€™s a truly incredible book. @_myfictionalworld recommended it a while ago and Iโ€™ve only just got round to it ๐Ÿ™ˆ. I cried a lot, I smiled a lot. I loved this book ๐Ÿ˜ญ The story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Itโ€™s a powerful story of friendship, love, grief and self discovery/acceptance.
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๐Ÿคง An important must read book, I canโ€™t recommend it enough โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read this one? Tell me how much you loved it ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • Nearly didnโ€™t post today ๐Ÿ˜ฒ just feeling so unwell from antibiotics/steroids, but here I am, dedicated to #bookstagram ๐Ÿ˜‚ (and luckily found a draft post Iโ€™d still not added ๐Ÿ˜‹)
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๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธAfter being obsessed with the new Netflix docu series, Cheer, I wanted another sports fix! ๐Ÿ‰ Funny, well-paced- the perfect brain candy after a few harder reads! I literally got through Intercepted in a few hours.
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โœจ Itโ€™s such a quick read, full of drama and romance. It had major Mean Girl vibes! Despite enjoying overall, one thing that really bugged me was the constant hashtagging ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Do you like sports romances? Any must reads? ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • Only TWO days of work for me this week ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ
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๐Ÿ“š My TBR stack is HUGE and I have a large number of buddy reads to get through this month ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… so hoping to be spending most of this week reading ๐Ÿค“
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๐Ÿ“– Reading update: Just finished A good girls guide to murder by Holly Jackson, a @the_spines rec which I REALLY LOVED ๐Ÿ–ค (review up soon) and Iโ€™ve just started You are not alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Whatโ€™s everyone reading this week? ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • Isnโ€™t this the CUTEST gift? ๐Ÿ˜ I absolutely love the idea of โ€œblind datesโ€ with books and @wearehownovel offers just that! ๐ŸŽ
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๐Ÿ“š Thereโ€™s loads of different genres/themes to choose from! โœจ Pictured is the Deadly mystery box ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ To get 10% off your first order, head over to @wearehownovel and use code: bookedupgirl10 ๐Ÿ›’
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๐Ÿ’ญ Do you love surprises? Can you guess the title based on the clues? ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • After loving Outlander so much, I pretty much started book 2 straight away โ€“ Dragonfly in Amber ๐Ÿ˜…
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๐Ÿ’“ I LOVED this book. I have totally fallen in love with Gabaladonโ€™s writing style and have really enjoyed losing myself in the last two books. The story and cast of characters are so well crafted, rich and highly addictive! ๐Ÿ’˜
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โœจ The book was full of magic, passion and heartbreak (including many death and sex scenes!)
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๐Ÿ˜ฌ I was beside myself at the end โ€“ the most intense of all cliffhangers โ€“ be warned! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I am so ready to dive into book 3 to see what happens next!
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๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป Also, swipe to see the Outlandish Companion ๐Ÿ“– My early birthday gift (๐Ÿ˜˜ @quirkychristine ) which has EVERYTHING and MORE about the first 4 books, including detailed synopsis, character deets! I love it!
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๐Ÿ’ญ Are you an Outlander fan? ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • The perfect book title for today ๐Ÿ–ค Emmanuel over at @4thestatebooks has been spoiling me with amazing books lately! Thank you for this one ๐Ÿฅฐ
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๐Ÿคช Definitely not a love story, but OMG it sounds so good! Deets โคต๏ธ
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๐Ÿ”Ž Itโ€™s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the townโ€™s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow.
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๐Ÿ”Ž In the early hours of the morning after Valentineโ€™s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramรญrez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whiteheadโ€™s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil fieldโ€”an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Out in June - whoโ€™s going to be adding this one to their TBR? ๐Ÿ“š ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • Another March release ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs ๐Ÿฆด Thanks to @simonschusteruk for my advance copy ๐Ÿ–ค
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๐Ÿ“บ I was a HUGE fan of the TV show Bones and was devastated when it finished ๐Ÿ˜ญ So I was very excited to see this new book from Kathy Reichs (TV show is based on her books!)
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๐Ÿ”Ž This is my first read by Reichs, and given there are 18 books before this one, I didnโ€™t get the most out of this book. Many of the characters and relationships were different to the TV show so it was hard to follow.
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๐Ÿ”Ž The case side was riveting ๐Ÿ˜ฌ, but there was far too many passages/detail on the relationships to try and follow - which normally Iโ€™d love! ๐Ÿ˜” I would definitely recommend reading previous books first so you donโ€™t feel as lost as I was ๐Ÿคช โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read this series? Thoughts? ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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  • I wasnโ€™t going to post this for a while BUT it was SO good, I just had to let you guys know! Thanks @michaeljbooks for my advance copy (out next month) ๐Ÿ–ค
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โœจ So, first off, as itโ€™s not clear from the photo - this is Recovery of Rose Gold by @stephaniewrobel (aka Darling Rose Gold in ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ)
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๐Ÿ–ค Secondly, I LOVED this! I received my copy before Christmas but was hesitant to actually read it. I thought it was going to be very similar to The Act, TV show, based on Gypsy Rose (this book is unrelated), and wasnโ€™t sure Iโ€™d be able to handle reading all the details of the abuse inflicted on Rose Gold by her mother with munchhausen by proxy ๐Ÿ˜ข
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๐Ÿ”Ž I was pleasantly surprised! The book focuses mainly on the time AFTER Rose Goldโ€™s mother, Patty, is arrested for child abuse ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป
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๐Ÿ”Ž The chapters alternate between Rose Goldโ€™s and Pattyโ€™s POVs, which I really enjoyed. Flipping between past (Pattyโ€™s time in prison, and Rose Gold adjusting to life without her mother - and LOADS of other stuff ๐Ÿค) to present (Pattyโ€™s release and relationship with Rose Gold)
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๐Ÿ”Ž I donโ€™t really feel like this fits into the thriller category ๐Ÿค” Itโ€™s more of a domestic drama with some real tension and twists ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I think if you enjoyed My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing you will like this! โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ
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๐Ÿฅ Also, I just want to acknowledge @aliceliveing AMAZING recipe for White chocolate + cinnamon croissant bake - it was SOO GOOD (pictured) ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค
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๐Ÿ’ญ Are you marking your calendars ๐Ÿ“† and adding to your TBR? ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป
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  • Last month saw the release of American Dirt, which caused quite a stir ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I did really enjoy it but I also wanted to check out some of the amazing own voice books that have been recommended! ๐Ÿ“š
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๐Ÿ’ญ Have you read any of these? Thoughts ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป
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