Sunday, December 8, 2019

Review: The Family Upstairs



I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: The Family Upstairs
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publication Date: November 5. 2019
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Recommended If You Like: twisted family stories, secrets from the past

The Book:

When Libby turns twenty-five, she receives the documents she's been waiting for-papers with the identity of her birth parents, and the announcement of the empty mansion she has now inherited. She also finds out that even though she was found as a happy healthy baby in the upstairs of the house, downstairs three people were dead and the other children had vanished. As Libby explores her past, she finds it colliding into her present in ways she never expected.

What I Liked:

This book kept me guessing from the very start! Just when I thought I had something figured out, Jewell completely turned everything on its head. I startled my dog a few times by gasping out loud. Despite being completely exhausted, I curled up on my couch reading for hours to finish this book, because I had to know where everything was going.

Anything I Didn't Like?

At first, I found the jump in perspectives a little confusing. But this didn't last long, and didn't affect my enjoyment of this book.

So...?

Definitely read this book! I might recommend a hard copy edition so you can flip back and forth in the beginning if you get confused a little, but a few chapters in you will not be able to put this book down. And that last sentence...it still gives me chills.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Review: The Furies



I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: The Furies
Author: Katie Lowe
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Genre: Thriller/Supernatural
Recommended If You Like: exploration of the power and dynamics of female friendships, spells, women as viewed in ancient and modern times, the power of the past, stories centered around schools

The Book:

Violet, a teenage girl with a tragic past, is a new student at Elm Hollow Academy. She has no close friends until her art teacher, Annabel offers her to chance to join a special small study group. There she befriends Robin, Alex, and Grace, and grows almost obsessively close with Robin, whose former best friend disappeared the year before.

But as Violet learns more about the school's past, and the past of her new friends, she finds herself drawn into the world of The Furies, full of revenge, ancient spells, and deadly consequences.

What I Liked About the Book:

The book opens with a bang, the reader already being told that one of the teenage characters dies, having been found on a swing in a white dress with no indication of what (or who) killed her. We have no idea which character it is, or what happened, but we are immediately thrust into the story with Violet, our narrator. This builds up so much suspense and makes you have to keep turning pages.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I just wanted to shake all the characters, especially Violet, and tell them just to stop doing what they're doing. I also didn't really like any of the characters, which seemed like the point, but I tend to struggle with books like that.

The very last few pages also just didn't work for me. That last-minute plot development didn't really seem to fit with what came before.

So...?

I liked this book, but didn't love it like I was hoping I would. It's a creepy, eerie, suspenseful read, but it can get confusing, and the characters are so hard to like.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Mini Reviews: Small Spaces, and A Cup of Holiday Fear

I received ARCs of these books from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews. This did not affect my opinions of the books or my reviews itself.


I'm definitely a fan of the Ellie Alexander Bakeshop Mysteries, and this was another great entry. Jules Capshaw is once again a strong and likable protagonist surrounded by a unique cast of characters. This time, she must tackle a murder that threatens to disrupt a beautiful small town Christmas and all its traditions. 


Small Spaces

This is a well-done creepy read that is age-appropriate for middle school readers, but still enjoyable for adults as well. It features three students who only peripherally know each other, but must band together when they find themselves in an unexpected spooky situation on what should have been a typical school field trip. There are a lot of good scares, and the characters are ones you definitely root for. 


Friday, September 6, 2019

Review: The Long Call


I received a ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself. 

Title: The Long Call
Author: Ann Cleeves
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Psychological Mystery
Recommended If You Like: detectives with complicated pasts, mysteries with multiple threads, secrets from the past, close-knit communities

The Book:

When a body is found on a beach in North Devon, Detective Matthew Venn catches the case. Fresh from his father's funeral, a service he was only able to watch from afar due to his break from a close-knit religious community, Venn finds himself once again drawn into his past life as he works to solve the crime.

What I Liked:

Matthew Venn is a great character. He's got a complicated past and an interesting present, and is passionate about his work. Cleeves has surrounded him with equally interesting supporting characters, from ones who will clearly be reoccurring in future books in the series, to one time only men and women who are provided just as equally fascinating backstories and lives.

The mystery was a really good one as well. It was just complex and complicated enough where I didn't see the ending coming, but I was still able to follow all the threads and understand everything.

Anything I Didn't Like? 

There wasn't anything not to like about this book. It was a read that absolutely flew by.

So...?

I'm really excited for this new series, and am very much looking forward to the next entry!


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Review: The Warehouse


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: The Warehouse
Author: Rob Hart
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Recommended If You Like: biting social satire, commentary on the world through fiction, fiction dancing on the edge of dystopia

The Book:

In the future, Cloud is the biggest tech company around. No one has to leave their house ever again to get quite literally anything and everything they need, a choice most people take after the cryptically referred to "Black Friday Massacres".

Outside Cloud's facilities, the world isn't doing so well. Inside Cloud's facilities, people like Paxton and Zinnia find jobs, air conditioning, beds, and clean water- a situation most people would give anything for. But Paxton and Zinnia had different intentions when they arrived, intentions that may change as they take in the truth of the world they are now a part of.

What I Liked:

This is a chillingly contemporary read. It feels like Hart's prophecy of the future. There are so many little details that just raised the goosebumps on my arms.

The characters are written well, and I really liked how they developed throughout the story, sometimes taking a far left turn from where I thought they were going. There are a lot of twists that really surprised me.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I wish the twists had been spread out a little bit more. The ending felt a little rushed because so much was going on at one time.

So...?

Hart has created a terrifyingly timely read. At times it felt like reading a really subtle horror story. I can absolutely see this book becoming a popular one.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: Terns of Endearment



I received an ARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

Title: Terns of Endearment
Author: Donna Andrews
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: nature facts, family-centered mysteries, the killer is one of us

The Book:

Meg and her family are on a cruise to support her grandfather, a renowned nature expert, as he gives nightly talks to the passengers. But suddenly they find themselves stranded near the Bermuda Triangle on a broken-down cruise ship, told a passenger is overboard, and quickly realizing the killer must be somewhere on board.

What I Liked:

Meg and her family are really fun characters, with a lot of spirit and unique personalities. Andrews has included some great humor moments among the family members and the other passengers.

I also love the killer is among us trope, and I love that Andrews set her cozy mystery on a stranded cruise ship. The ending was surprising as well.

Anything I Didn't Like?

There always seemed to magically be a character who could fulfill whatever role (no matter how out there) that was needed at the moment. This seemed pretty contrived.

So...?

This was a fun, funny book with a clever mystery. Andrews' provided a fun escapist read perfect for summer.

Monday, July 29, 2019

ARC Review: The Escape Room



I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.


Title: The Escape Room
Author: Megan Goldin
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Genre: Thriller
Recommended If You Like: escape room puzzles, people trapped together spilling secrets, thrillers surrounding the financial world

The Book:

Four financiers think they've been summoned to an empty building for a mandatory team-building session, an escape room challenge that will prove which one of them deserves to keep their job in the midst of layoffs. But when the elevator doors close and the clues begin, they soon realize they are trapped in something far more life-threatening, with ties to secrets they've tried hard to smother.

What I Liked:

I love the concept behind this, an escape room that isn't all it seems to be. This definitely creates a lot of suspense, both with the characters trapped inside trying to figure their way out, and with the reader trying to figure out along with them who could be behind it all. The end of the book was really shocking as well.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I didn't find the financial world aspect of it particularly interesting. This wasn't the fault of the book at all-I know how important a part of the story this aspect is-it's just a personal preference of mine.

So...?

The only reason I didn't love this book as much as I had hoped to was because I wasn't super interested in the world the characters' lives revolved around. The suspense and thriller aspects are very much on point and the concept plays out really well.