Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Recent Reads | True Crime Story and Very Bad Company

Posted June 20, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | True Crime Story and Very Bad Company

This is one of those books that has intrigued me for years and I just kept delaying picking it up. I knew it was going to (likely) be right up my alley based on its mixed media format (mostly interviews, some newspaper clippings, etc.) and topic (a girl disappearing). I knew the book was a bit meta and weird, including a self-insert by the author, and that it reads more like a true crime book than fiction. It reminded me a lot of THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE ALPERTON ANGELS and MURDER IN THE FAMILY, which are really good mixed media mysteries that also have similar vibes plot/author-wise. The book centers around the disappearance of Zoe Nolan from a university party right before Christmas, never to be seen again. Joseph Knox, the author, is a character in the story – he’s compiling all these interviews with Zoe’s friends and family along with emails between himself and the woman who begins researching what happened to Zoe. It kind of has a slow start – it’s just a lot of interviews and finger-pointing between Zoe’s friends. I like that the tension slowly built up throughout the book. Even though it felt like not much was happening and the plot wasn’t progressing, I couldn’t put this down. The audiobook has a full cast and it’s excellent, so I was frequently going back and forth to finish it quickly. I got spooked and didn’t want to read it at night! Knox did a great […]

Recent Reads | The Last Murder at the End of the World and Past Present Future

Posted June 12, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Last Murder at the End of the World and Past Present Future

I enjoyed Turton’s debut after being pretty confused throughout the story, and the same thing basically happened here. I was expecting a weird mystery and that’s exactly what I got – it’s not the type of mystery I’d pass along to my mom to read. She would hate it lol. Turton clearly has a specialty for writing odd mysteries with extremely unique premises and I definitely commend him for that. The end of EVELYN HARDCASTLE, to me, made up for the confusion I experienced throughout. The same can’t be said for this latest release unfortunately. The story follows a post-apocalyptic society living on an island, trapped by a deadly fog. One of the scientists is brutally murdered and a villager (Emory) and her daughter (Clara) try to figure out what happened in order to save them all. The fog will inch closer and closer until the murder is resolved. It definitely had a lot of sci-fi elements in a way that makes it hard to classify. It also barely felt like a mystery novel. Yes, there IS a murder mystery at the base of the plot but there was so much other stuff with world-building that took me out of it. Emory and the other characters ask so many questions and tell random stories – it felt like a lot of telling instead of showing. She would have realizations about things that the reader didn’t see so she just talks it out and gets everyone on board. There was a […]

Recent Reads | This Summer Will Be Different and Falling

Posted May 30, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | This Summer Will Be Different and Falling

I read both of these books Memorial Day weekend but also managed to finish one book per day across Sunday and Monday. Finally brought me current on my reading challenge! Carley Fortune has been an interesting author for me (and many other readers, as far as I can tell!). Many of us fell in love with EVERY SUMMER AFTER and all of its messiness. MEET ME AT THE LAKE didn’t quite have the same charm or affect on its audience but, to me, was still a worthwhile read. I was looking forward to checking out whatever she did next… and boy did she knock THIS SUMMER WILL BE DIFFERENT out of the park. One summer, Lucy heads to PEI to visit with her best friend and hooks up with a hot restaurant worker named Felix. The next morning, they quickly realize that Felix is actually Wolf and Lucy is Bee – she just hooked up with her best friend’s brother and she’s already landed at their summer home. The two of them end up hooking up on and off throughout the years and it’s just an occasional secret fling… or is it? I loved that this was sort of quiet and slow-moving throughout the romance/plot, despite the initial hot start between the characters. Lucy and Felix really needed to find themselves and it didn’t feel rushed at all, even though every reader probably knew exactly where it was heading. While I do think this is her actual best book, it’s […]

Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search Party

Posted May 24, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search Party

Man, Christina Lauren has truly done it again. I know I’m a relatively new reader of theirs but I just think they’re in the top-echelon of contemporary romance / rom-com writers. I noted on my Instagram caption that each year I most look forward to new books by Emily Henry, Abby Jimenez, and Christina Lauren. These gals are my top auto-read authors for romance… and none of them have disappointed. ALL three 2024 releases by them were five stars for me. THE PARADISE PROBLEM has a marriage of convenience trope, super duper rich people with inheritance on the line, a tropical setting with a wedding involved… genuinely what more could I want? Excellent characters with fun personalities, a ton of sexual tension, and really funny moments? Yes, all of those too! Anna and West got married almost five years ago to secure cheap family student housing. Anna didn’t exactly read the finer details of their contract and surprise! They’re still married and West needs her to be his guest to his sister’s wedding on a private island in Indonesia so he can collect his multi-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. While this was the usual steamy, tension-filled rom-com from Christina Lauren, there were definitely some heavier elements involved too. West’s family is…something else. The two of them were not set up for an easy trip, especially with Anna actually being a broke artist instead of the med student he thought she was when they first got married. It was so frustrating to read about […]

Recent Reads | The Reappearance of Rachel Price and Funny Story

Posted May 2, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Reappearance of Rachel Price and Funny Story

I never got around to reading Jackson’s previous release after the AGGGTM series but there was something about this book that called to me. I think it’s because I only listen to true crime podcasts centered around missing people and unsolved cases. I always thought about how insane it would be to have someone who was missing for so long, presumed dead, turn up VERY much alive. That’s the basis for this story – Bel Price has always assumed that her mom was kidnapped (right from the car they were in together when she was two years old) by an evil stranger and murdered. Her case became one of the more popular ones in New Hampshire and her family was in the middle of filming a documentary when the unthinkable happened… Rachel Price reappeared. I didn’t love Bel as a character – she was definitely prickly and jaded, which was fine, but just didn’t make for the most fun main character POV. There were plenty of times where she annoyed me (ex: asking someone to explain themselves and then repeatedly interrupting them so they couldn’t get a word in). There was an unnecessary romance that I wish wasn’t in there – I think it made the book longer than it needed to be and could have been tighter without it. On that subject – it IS very long for a mystery/thriller but I wasn’t able to put this down. I read it so quickly and used up a lot of my […]

Blog Tour Review: Everyone is Watching

Posted March 30, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Blog Tour Review: Everyone is Watching

Review This was, surprisingly, my first Heather Gudenkauf book! I own at least one of her others but for some reason haven’t gotten to it yet. I loved going into this one without any idea of what to expect. The synopsis really only advertised a reality show competition, a locked room murder mystery, and secret connections between characters. Big Brother meets Clue? Works for me! I really liked that the summary of the book was basic and to the point – it didn’t give anything away. The story follows a few contestants on a new live-streamed reality show, run by a couple of women (one who remains anonymous). The players were hand-picked by them for reasons that slowly become clear throughout the book. I enjoyed trying to make all of the connections and figure out how people may have known each other. Like many locked room-style mysteries, there were also some flashback scenes that provide additional color to their stories and potential connections. I didn’t really figure out the entire tangled web and just was along for the ride! I don’t think any of the reveals were super surprising or intense but I still enjoyed them. The characters were obviously not great people and they had made mistakes in the past; none of their transgressions were that unique though. I loved Gudenkauf’s writing style – I will absolutely be picking up more of her work after this! I’ve been really in the mood for mysteries this month and am pumped […]

Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for You

Posted March 28, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for You

Janice Hallett has continued to cement herself as a favorite author. Even though this was technically my least favorite of her books, she still managed to pull one over on me and keep me engaged when I was doubting it. THE TWYFORD CODE centers around Smithy, recently released from prison, recording audio files on his son’s old iPhone. The book begins with the transcript being sent over for interpretation. Smithy tries to find out what happened to his missing teacher from when he was a kid and how her disappearance may be connected to Twyford’s books. Is there a secret code in there? Intermixed in his investigation, he’s talking about his young life and how he ended up in a gang. I was really intrigued by the initial investigation and the format – the story reads as if you’re literally reading the transcripts of audio files. I love a mixed media novel but this has less of the same vibe. Kind of reads like a sort of real novel, compared to her other books with emails, texts, and articles. I lost interest a little bit toward the end but as usual, she brought me right back in with the twists! I thought the reveals were a bit lame until they weren’t 😉 Hallett knows how to write a layered and intriguing mystery. When you think you have it figured out, she finds a way to surprise you. I’m so sad to be caught up on all of her books!! Phew, […]

Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the Summer

Posted March 21, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the Summer

I didn’t love Ripley Jones’ debut for a variety of reasons (the number one is that I fully predicted the mystery/whodunnit and thought it was absurdly predictable). For some reason, I told myself I’d give their second book a shot. I ended up liking THE OTHER LOLA more, so I’m glad I did. This story centers around another missing girl from the same town as the first book. I didn’t fully realize this was a companion novel but it follows Cam and Blair, the podcasters from MISSING CLARISSA. They are approached by a younger girl at their school whose sister went missing five years ago and suddenly returned. The catch? She thinks this Lola is an impostor. Her family doesn’t believe her so she enlists the help of Cam and Blair to figure out what’s actually going on. I thought the mystery here was quite interesting but took a little while to get going. Cam and Blair are going through their own stuff, which takes up a lot of the plot. If I really think about the progression of the mystery and investigation, it honestly didn’t get as much page time. I liked the found family vibes of this one with Cam’s mom’s new boyfriend and Mattie joining in their little crew a bit. Those were wholesome chapters. This book has a ton of political references and discussions. I don’t want to get into it in depth here but I am a very liberal person, so I agree with many […]

Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

Posted March 14, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

This book was really something. I kind of have no idea what to make of it. I had previously avoided Hazelwood’s books becuase I just didn’t think they were for me. The Reylo fanfic inspiration and the continuous use of big man/small girl are just not for me. I saw absolute rave reviews for this one and thought maybe THIS is a Hazelwood I could read and get on board with. It’s a paranormal romance with werewolf and a vampire in a world where both species coexist (kind of) with humans. It took a solid 100 pages to get interesting and less confusing but I did get more hooked after that point. The book has an arranged marriage between a werewolf groom and vampire bride to help broker peace between their people for a while. Beyond that, the MC Misery (yes that’s her name) is trying to find her best friend that went missing. So there were two main elements – a romance and a mystery – and I’ll tell ya, the mystery and political backdrop are what kept me reading. The romance absolutely gave me the creeps and thanks to Ali Hazelwood, I’ll never think of a knot the same again. It was just WEIRD. I think the politics and mystery were 20x more interesting than the romance and luckily those were at the forefront of most of the book. I was genuinely surprised by the reveals and events at the end, which is why my rating is decent […]

ARC Reviews: Listen for the Lie and The Heiress

Posted February 28, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Reviews: Listen for the Lie and The Heiress

This book was exactly what I needed! I’d been slogging through HOFAS the entire month of February and kept telling myself I should just pick up a mystery/thriller and break my slump. I don’t know why I kept delaying but once I finally did it, I knew it was the right choice. LISTEN FOR THE LIE was an incredibly engaging story that I never wanted to put down. I’m sure it’ll end up on some of my best-of lists this year. Lucy’s best friend was found murdered… and then Lucy was found wandering around with her friend’s blood all over her. The town made assumptions while Lucy couldn’t remember anything from that day/night. When she finally returns to town around the same time a new true crime podcast releases about the case, she ends up working with the podcaster to try to figure out what happened… even if that means she learns she’s the guilty one. As usual, I loved the mixed media elements of this story. I don’t care what anyone says… I love a true crime podcast plotline still! There were a lot of interesting characters and connections that you learn throughout. I didn’t see the ending coming but I wouldn’t be surprised if other readers were able to. The main character was super funny and sarcastic; she wasn’t always likeable but she was very entertaining, which helps! I liked that Lucy made mistakes a lot because she felt real but she definitely could frustrate some readers. I […]