Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

Posted January 18, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

I haven’t read a lot of books centered around con women/men before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew going into it is that Ashley Elston wrote it, and I love her YA books! Happy to support any of my favorite authors if they make a genre and/or age target jump. I didn’t even read the synopsis before I dove into the story. FIRST LIE WINS follows Evie Porter as she works on her next assignment. She doesn’t really know what the purpose is but she’s meant to get close to Ryan Sumner; her mysterious boss Mr. Smith hasn’t given her anything else to go on. I liked getting to know “Evie” and unraveling her past throughout the story. I will say that the first half was fairly boring, unfortunately. I was generally curious about what was happening but that also led to the question… what is the point of all this? It took a little too long to get there for me. Elston did a really great job of connecting people from her past and linking the flashbacks to present day – it was really well done and made for a great end of the story. The final half of the book flew by for me and I was finally curious to know what was going on. There was a bit of an info dump at one point to explain a bunch of things but I guess there really wasn’t a way around it. The story […]

First Read of the Year: Bright Young Women

Posted January 12, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
First Read of the Year: Bright Young Women

This was a really surprising first book of the year for me. I thought about making it my last book of 2023 but it was too clean and nice to end the year at 115 books instead of 116 😉 I just took a little reading break for a few days as we ushered in the new year and I got over being sick. BRIGHT YOUNG WOMEN follows two women on opposite coasts affected by the same serial killer. Pamela’s sorority house is broken into – two girls are murdered and two are gravely injured, and she is dealing with the fallout as sorority president and friend to these girls. She soon encounters Tina, a woman who believes she knows who the killer is… Her friend Ruth (the other POV we get in the book) was one of his victims before he made his way from Washington to Florida. As you may be able to tell, this story is based broadly on Ted Bundy and his horrible acts across the US. I was on the fence about reading this book and hadn’t even marked it as “to read” on Goodreads when I bought it on a whim at the store and started it within the week. I don’t follow serial killer true crime stories or podcasts because the victims aren’t at the forefront so my only knowledge of the man “featured” in this book was the Zac Efron movie (watched only because of said actor). This reads like a true […]

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted January 3, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

THE MAID was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a roller coaster for me (which is weird considering it’s a somewhat “basic” cozy mystery). I almost DNFed if because I just wasn’t connecting with the story and didn’t really care about what was happening. As usual, a chapter or two after considering the DNF, I became a bit hooked… and I ended up giving the book 4.5 stars! I was excited by the premise of the sequel and immediately requested it from the library. I was really intrigued by a second story with Molly and loved how this one tied into her past. Molly is solving another murder mystery – this time it’s the famous author that her grandmother once worked for. The story involved flashbacks to her time spent in his mansion and all of the goings-on there. It didn’t feel like the author was retroactively adding things or changing things to make the plot work either – enough negative things were included about the victim from book one to make me feel like this was a well-planned sophomore follow-up. There are some times with these books where I start to lose interest a little bit and that’s the only reason for a 4.5 rating instead of 5 stars. I just don’t get THAT feeling unfortunately. I was sad that Juan Manuel was missing throughout this book because he was visiting family but it made sense to keep the mystery plot moving without getting the romance in the […]

Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Appeal and Tide and Punishment

Posted December 8, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Appeal and Tide and Punishment

Story I really enjoyed THE APPEAL when I randomly picked it up last year on a vacation. I couldn’t put it down and found it super addicting due to the mixed media format. (I still haven’t read anything else by Hallett but I have multiple books ready to go on my Kindle!) This was a Christmas novella featuring the same Fairway Players from the initial book. They decided to put on a holiday play of Jack and the Beanstalk using a gross old beanstalk from years and years ago. The mystery unfolded in a really neat way, much like THE APPEAL. I didn’t figure it out right away but there were definitely a few elements later in the book that I saw coming. It was a pretty fun mystery in general given its length. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There were somewhat limited holiday feels in this one, partially because of the mixed media format and partially because the content itself wasn’t overly holiday-oriented. I liked the “holiday round robin” emails sent out to set the stage and time of year at the beginning, which also reacquainted us with the characters. The play of Jack and the Beanstalk is not really Christmassy… I think it was necessary for the plot and mystery that comes in later, but A Christmas Carol or literally any other holiday play would have upped the seasonal feels for me. Overall I really enjoyed this one, and think the audiobook was done well! I’d recommend readers […]

Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight Falls

Posted November 30, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Maid, Bookshops and Bonedust, and Twilight Falls

THE MAID is a book that I’ve debated reading for a while. I wasn’t sure if it would be for me but I ended up snagging a cute little paperback copy and staring at it on my shelves for a long time. I wasn’t sure what to read earlier this month and it was calling to me, so I picked it up. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get into. I wasn’t sure if I could get into Molly’s head. That ended up not being the issue but I’ll get to my thoughts in a second. This story follows Molly the maid, who stumbles upon the dead body of a frequent guest at the hotel she works at. She ends up getting mixed up in everything (a few crimes) without even knowing what’s going on. She struggles with social situations and appears to be neurodivergent (not given a name on page and everyone else seems to think she’s just quirky or “bad” at reading social cues). The book was hard to read for me in the first half. It just felt like she was getting taken advantage of over and over again by bad people, and I was really upset reading it. I don’t pick up books where people like this are being taken advantage of or bullied because honestly it’s one of those things that just hits me too hard. I contemplated DNFing multiple times because it was simply hard to read and I wasn’t sure […]

Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Guest and Emergency Contact

Posted November 20, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: The Christmas Guest and Emergency Contact

Story This was my first holiday-themed mystery and I’m really excited for the others I have on my TBR now! This story follows Ashley, an American girl studying in England, who is invited to her friend’s family estate for the holidays. She immediately falls for her friend’s charming older brother and is brought into their cold, not-so-comforting home (and family) for the holidays. The brother, Adam, has been accused of murdering a local girl but this doesn’t really deter Ashley. Surely he had nothing to do with it? This is a story-within-a-story where someone is reading  a diary years and years later. I really enjoyed the twist in this one! After it was revealed, I did lose interest for a few pages, but Swanson brought me back in somewhat quickly. I think the story took a few interesting turns and I really enjoyed how everything was revealed. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels The holiday feels are interesting in this subgenre. Yes, it was creepy and gothic and had a mystery element. But it definitely also had cozy scenes in pubs and festive decor around the dinner table. It was a fun mix, to be honest! It creates a different kind of holiday feel but the setting was cold and wintery for sure. Overall I’m really glad that Swanson made this short as a novella – I truly think it was the perfect length and format for this kind of story. The twist packed more of a punch for me. Going […]

Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

Posted November 10, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 3 Comments
Review Roundup | The Brothers Hawthorne, Project Hail Mary, and The Pumpkin Spice Cafe

I’m really bummed by this one to be honest – it was really just FINE. I’ve loved this series so much and was excited to get into the heads of a couple of the brothers for this “spinoff” fourth book. It follows Jameson and Grayson as they embark on their own individual journeys. (It may have been more fun to follow Nash and Xander instead because they were featured less than Grayson and Jameson in other books.) Grayson’s part of the story was more interesting as he learned more about his father and the family that he never knew about. There was a little mystery there for him to solve and some lovable new characters introduced. Jameson is also dealing with his father and more games/riddles. I thought the concept behind his part of the book was good but not executed in a way that made me want to keep reading? It took me all of September to read this one because I just kept being more interested in other books. I did end up reading the final section pretty quickly and was curious to see how things would wrap up. I’m glad there’s another book and I’m hoping it’ll be more interesting than this one was. I really enjoyed THE MARTIAN despite not usually reading adult science fiction. (Even YA sci-fi is lower on my list unfortunately, despite enjoying them!) I kept seeing insanely positive reviews for this one and decided I should give it a try. The audiobook […]

Series Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart

Posted November 2, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Series Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart

I was a huge fan of the CARAVAL trilogy and can’t really think of a good reason for not reading this spin-off trilogy until the same year the final book was released! I kept seeing amazing reviews where so many people read and loved this (without even reading CARAVAL). My expectations were pretty high. I decided to finally take the plunge and read all three books in October (right after another series binge by a favorite author). I didn’t remember anything from CARAVAL really but definitely found that you don’t need to. I think the backstory on Jacks and the previous trilogy as a whole were helpful in understanding the world for sure, but I can see why many people jumped right into these books. I would honestly recommend reading CARAVAL first though – that’s just my opinion! Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART trilogy. I was shocked at how quickly I read this book, considering that fantasy usually takes me a looong time to get through. I would absolutely recommend this series (as well as CARAVAL) to anyone who is curious about fantasy but nervous about understanding a new world. This is super accessible fantasy that anyone could read and enjoy IMO. Garber has a great writing style. This story follows Evangeline Fox and Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, from the first series. I really like that the synopsis doesn’t give away nearly anything in the book! You only learn that […]

Series Review: The Naturals

Posted October 19, 2023 / Book Reviews / 1 Comment
Series Review: The Naturals

My introduction to JLB was well before THE INHERITANCE GAMES was published with some of my favorite reads: THE FIXER and its sequel THE LONGE GAME. (Still wish more books were added to that series…) I had always planned to go back and read THE NATURALS series (which was published before those books) but ended up getting swept up in her new releases as they were all coming out. I read LITTLE WHITE LIES followed by THE LOVELY AND THE LOST followed by DEADLY LITTLE SCANDALS (sequel to LWL). I just kept going with all of her new books from 2018 and beyond. Then, the mother of all series started with THE INHERITANCE GAMES in 2020. I had high hopes because of how much I adored her writing in allll of these other books, and this series (now 4 books with the 5th and final coming next year) knocked my socks off. Her popularity really took off with that series because of booktok and generally because it’s excellent. I kept thinking I should buy THE NATURALS books at some point and give them a read but I kept delaying… which worked out in my favor, since they rereleased all of them with new covers this year. NOW was the time. I preordered the new covers and made a plan to binge-read the series in October of this year. It was the most open month based on other reading commitments coming to an end. All that to say… I’m finally caught […]

Review Roundup | Sister of the Bride, Drowning, and Murder in the Family

Posted September 27, 2023 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | Sister of the Bride, Drowning, and Murder in the Family

I’ve enjoyed Morrill’s YA books before – they’re usually nice and bantery, super easy to read, and a lot of fun. I was so excited when I saw she wrote an adult contemporary romance and requested it immediately. SISTER OF THE BRIDE is apparently a Father of the Bride retelling (?) but I haven’t seen the movie. I loved the premise of a girl having to plan her sister’s wedding while falling in love with her best friend. This is the kind of book that you could easily sit and read in one sitting so I’m a little annoyed it took me so long to finish it! I started it right before my birthday weekend, which always gets too busy for reading. In any case, the Italian food and Boston vibes were immaculate in this book. I’m from Connecticut so Boston is an hour and a half from where I live. It was fun to see what they included and how they presented the story. It was a really unique situation for the MC Pippin and it was fun to see how she would move on with her life after literally everything changed. She was occasionally frustrating but I have to say, the lack of drama and miscommunication in this one (especially in a few key areas near the end) was just perfect. She would get annoyed about something and freak out, then come back to earth and apologize. It was refreshing that she didn’t let things get to her for too long and […]