Source: Publisher

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 […]

Review: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

Posted January 24, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
Review: Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

It’s no secret that the first EMILY WILDE book was my favorite of 2023. I had high hopes and expectations that the same could be said about the second installment. Luckily, I ended up loving it! It took me a while to read but that’s because I ended up waiting for release week to mix in the audiobook I had preordered. I really enjoyed the first audiobook so it only felt right to keep that going! We follow Brambleby, Emily, her niece, and one of the other professors at their university in the Austrian Alps. She’s working on a map book this time and they hope to track down a lost professor of dryadology while they’re there. This story was just as whimsical and cozy as the first, with a dash of intrigue and danger where appropriate! I like that Emily has become more self-aware and able to recognize when she’s struggling to related to other people. The first book took a while for her to understand how to avoid insulting the locals. Emily was aware when she was messing things up with her niece and tried her best to fix them. We got to learn more about Brambleby’s world, which was a lot of fun. There were lots of faeries to meet and discuss along the way too. I know I’ve said this before but I was obsessed with faeries as a kid. Not the ACOTAR type but these small sprites and little mischievous ones. I don’t think this type […]

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 […]

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: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Posted December 21, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Story I really enjoyed THE SANTA SUIT last year and was excited to try another short and sweet Christmas book from Mary Kay Andrews. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS followed Kerry as she joined her brother in NYC selling Christmas trees from the family farm. She hadn’t been at their lot since she was a kid – when her parents split up, her brother and father ran the tree farm while Kerry stayed with her mom. She’s feeling lost between jobs and is subbed in for her father this year, who recently had a heart attack. The characters were good – there’s a romance with a cute single dad from the building next door. I really loved meeting everyone else in the building and the nearby restaurants too. One of their neighbors goes missing and they all band together to find him in time for Christmas. It leads to an interesting new life path for Kerry that I really enjoyed reading about. I didn’t love the romance necessarily; the kid was cute but the father was a little pushy. It was off-putting to have him move so quickly on her when they’d known each other for a couple of weeks. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels NYC during the holiday season is one of my favorite settings, as I’ve mentioned time and time again. The block they were located on felt real and gave some nice Christmas feels. Christmas tree lots or farms are some of my favorite settings for holiday books. […]

Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Posted December 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Story I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one but I have to say, I enjoyed it! Becca and Harrison are neighbors on a college campus (one is a sorority house mom and the other is the football coach) who went on a date two years ago… then he ghosted her. They’ve spent the years since avoiding each other until a huge snow storm comes right as the students are heading for winter break. They end up hunkering down together due to power outages, lack of firewood, and extreme wind and temperatures. I really enjoyed their chemistry and the snowed-in style romance here. It’s so much fun to watch two people get closer from a relationship perspective while they’re forced together in those circumstances. Becca was such a fun character who tried her hardest to not let other people’s assumptions about her get in the way of her being herself. Harrison was grumpy but soft underneath, which I like. Honestly, I think Harrison got off a little too easy on the ghosting thing. There’s obviously some explanation as the two start talking about it but I think that could have been beefed up a little bit. The ending got progressively more cheesy (lots of instalove) but was still cute in general. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There’s definitely a difference between books that take place on Christmas and Christmas/holiday books. I think this story straddles the middle a little bit. The story happens right before the holiday and the […]