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.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: Never Have I Ever




I received a copy 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: Never Have I Ever
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Suspense
Recommended If You Like: twisted female friendships, secrets from the past, lies behind perfect facades

The Book:

Amy Whey seems to be living the perfect domestic existence-a big and beautiful house, a loving husband and children, and a a best friend to take walks and have book club with.

But then Angelica Roux shows up at her front door.

It starts with a seemingly simple twist on the drinking game Never Have I Ever, with the book club members confessing the worst things they've ever done. Amy won't play, but Roux insists, saying she knows the worst thing Amy has ever done-and she's prepared to use it against her if Amy doesn't do what she wants.

What I Liked:

This is a book with a lot of suspenseful moments that Jackson layers really well. Her writing style draws you in from the first chapter, linking you with Amy's world and what is happening to it. Roux is frightening trouble from the start, and from her very first entrance she makes your skin crawl.

There are so many surprising twists, with one about three quarters of the way through that completely shocked me. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, Jackson would fool me again.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I had thought that Jackson had given away too much by the second chapter, and that put me off a little bit, but I was completely wrong. There was so much still to reveal.

So...?

I would definitely recommend this book. I can see why there has been so much hype around it before it even comes out. Jackson has created a surprising, and sometimes scary, read that feels real, and that will keep you turning pages late into the night.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

ARC Review: The Turn of the Key



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 Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Suspense, Gothic
Recommended If You Like: modern twists on gothic tales, slow-burning dread, eerie isolated houses, anything else Ruth Ware has written

The Book:

Rowan couldn't resist the nanny position that came with a high salary and benefits. She thought living in a modern day mansion run by smart technology could be the fulfillment of her dreams.

But in her dreams, she never imagined she would find herself in prison, accused of murdering a child.

Told in letters to her lawyer, Rowan's story is one of days and nights in an isolated house, full of mysterious noises and terrifying incidents and children who fight her every move. Rowan insists she is innocent, but is she blaming ghosts, or is there someone else out there who brought more death to the home?

What I Liked:

This is another amazing book from Ware. She is so good at taking classic mystery situations that I've always loved and adding her own (brilliantly written) spin to them. There were so many twists and turns that were impossible to guess, but made sense looking back. I was never quite sure what was truly going on and the story kept me constantly on my toes.

Also, this was one creepy read. I've always loved gothic horror, and Ware integrates it so well. There is this slow building dread that stays with you through every sentence.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I loved this book, there was nothing not to like.

So...?

As soon as this book comes out, I highly recommend everyone go out and get their hands on a copy. I hope so much that Ware continues to write for many, many more years to come.


Monday, July 22, 2019

ARC Review: And Then There Were Crumbs



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: And Then There Were Crumbs
Author: Eve Calder
Publication Date: July 30th, 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: sweet cozy mysteries, communities coming together, small town settings, baking-centered mysteries, strong female characters

The Book:

Kate McGuire has no fiance, no job, and no future in New York. So the pastry chef packs up what's left of her life and heads to Coral Cay, Florida, to try to start over.

Once there, she finds a job at the local bakery, owned by Sam, a man who seems to have lost his spark. But when her new boss finds himself accused of murder, Kate and her newfound community of friends must work together to not only save Sam but the bakery as well.

What I Liked:

This book just felt like the definition of cozy mystery to me-full of wonderful characters who form their own family, a setting that comes alive, a hobby/job that is integrated into the story, and a satisfying mystery with a surprising ending. Kate is a great strong lead, and Calder has surrounded her with a supporting cast of colorful, unique characters that I immediately fell in love with.

Anything I Didn't Like?

There really wasn't anything not to like about this book!

So...

This was one of those cozy mysteries where everything just worked. It's a cozy warm hug of a book, an enjoyable read that will leave you feeling happy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review: A Stranger on the Beach



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: A Stranger on the Beach
Author: Michele Campbell
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Genre: Psychological Suspense/Thriller
Recommended If You Like: dueling narration, unreliable narrators, obsessive attraction

The Book:

Caroline Stark's dreams appear to be falling apart-her opulent beach house has been the scene of a very public fight between her and her husband, in front of all their friends and future clients. Despondent, Caroline sleeps with the local bartender, Aidan, a stranger she saw staring at her home from the sand. But the one night stand means so much more to Aidan, and his feelings quickly grow into obsession.

What I Liked:

There is definitely a lot of suspense to this book. Events keep building and building to create a real sense of terror. The story kept me feeling off-kilter in a positive way, where I never was entirely sure what was truly going on, especially with the dueling narrations of Caroline and Aidan. The twist at the end really surprised me as well.

Anything I Didn't Like?

While the twist at the end was surprising, once it was revealed much of what had already happened in the book didn't make much sense. The characterization felt a little heavy as well-there was a lot of repetition as opposed to development.

So...?

While I enjoyed this book, I didn't feel it lived up to the hype surrounding it. This was a good thriller, with a surprising twist and some real suspense, but I've read better in this genre.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Review: The Last



I'm not typically drawn to dystopian fiction-I'm much more into mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and true crime, and to be honest don't usually venture too far out of my genre comfort zones-but The Last was described as being Agatha Christie-like, so I had to try it. And I'm so glad I did.

I blazed through this book in less than two days, I absolutely could not put it down. It is centered around a group of guests and staff at a hotel, who find themselves thrust together among reports of nuclear attacks around the world. Life as they knew it is over, and they must learn to live together, and somehow survive.

On top of this, the narrator (a historian, which works really well as he documents each day), has found the body of a young girl in a water tank (shades of Elise Lam and the Cecil Hotel-the hotel is also clearly based off of the Cecil), and is determined to discover who killed her-and if the murderer is still at the hotel.

Everything about this book is so gripping, from the characters and their relationships, to the danger, to the mysteries. This is a book that sticks with you after you finish it. I would definitely recommend this book, even if it doesn't seem like something you would typically read.