Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: Death by Dumpling



Title: Death by Dumpling
Author: Vivien Chien
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: unique characters, the beginnings of romance, strong female narrators, surprise solutions to mysteries

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.

The Book:

Lana Lee is back working at her family's restaurant, but when their property manager is found dead after eating dumplings from said family restaurant, Lana finds herself embroiled in a mystery that forces her to question what she thought she knew about the place she calls home.

What I Liked:

Lana is a great, strong, funny, relatable  protagonist and narrator. She stands up for herself, but also tries to meet her family halfway, and refuses to give up on solving a mystery that directly affects her. She's surrounded by a unique cast of characters who all matter in some way to the story-her best friend is especially great.

And the (budding) romance! I was rooting so hard for Lana and a certain character (who I won't name so as not to spoil anything) to get together. I need the next book now so I can see their relationship develop.

It's also a great mystery. I honestly did not see the reveal of the murderer coming.

Anything I Didn't Like?

Honestly, this is a cozy mystery it's hard to find fault with. I just really enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading it.

So...?

This is a great first entry in a really promising cozy mystery series. I definitely recommend it.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Daughters Unto Devils




Amanda Verner is happy to have her family leave their cramped cabin behind for the prospects of the prairie. She prays that this will be exactly what she needs to leave her old nightmares behind. But when they arrive at the abandoned cabin they hope to make home, it's to find it drenched in blood and surrounded by stories of families murdered by their own kin.

I'm here to tell you, this is one creepy book. It might not seem that scary at first, and that's what makes it such a good read. The creepiness creeps up on you. It's a brilliant slow build, made especially impressive by the fact that this is not a long book. Lukavics manages to draw you in from the start by letting you into Amanda's life and mind, then begins to drop little hints that all is not well. By the time the bigger scares hit me, I was reading with my hand over my mouth in shock, totally terrified and unable to stop turning pages. This one part with scarecrows (and that's all I will say so as not to spoil anything) still has the power to make me shudder, and I finished the book over twelve hours ago.

If you want a quick, scary read that you will not be able to put down and that will stay with you after you've turned the last page, I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of this one.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Review: Bad Girls Don't Die



This is one of those books that seems to have a lot of potential, but ends up disappointing. Alexis, the protagonist, has noticed her younger sister, Kasey, is acting stranger than usual. This leads to scary confrontations, intense research, and a lot of changes in Alexis' life.

One of the main issues I had with this book is how annoying I found Kasey, before, during, and after the "event" that the back of the book pretty clearly alludes to. I know I was supposed to have sympathized with her, but since she annoyed me from the very first pages of the story, I just couldn't.

Also, I've read a lot of books with similar themes, and they were better written, and better plotted. This book felt pretty juvenile, which a middle grade/young adult novel certainly does not need to be.

There were some parts that had potential, namely in the relationships Alexis forms outside of the ones with her family. But the story itself just wasn't good enough. The ending especially, given the many, many pages of plotting that had gone on beforehand, just seemed way too pat.

I was honestly very surprised to find out this book is the first in a trilogy. To me, it wasn't strong enough for one book, let alone three.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Down the Aisle with Murder



Title: Down the Aisle with Murder
Author: Auralee Wallace
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: Janet Evanovich, humor with your mystery, unique characters to root for

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.

The Book:

Erica's friend Candace is getting married, but after a wild bachlorette party, Candace's maid of honor is found dead. Erica works to solve the case, make sure Candace has a wedding, and figure out where she stands with the love of her life.

What I Liked:

This is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series! I love the characters, I love the romance, I love the humor, and I love the mysteries. I've read every entry so far, and they never disappoint.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I wanted more Grady! I love him, and I love his relationship with Erica.

So...?

Start at the beginning of this series for sure, and I bet you will get hooked like I did!


Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: The Marmalade Murders




Title: The Marmalade Murders
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan
Publication Date: April 24. 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: cozy mysteries, mysteries with food, mysteries set in a small town

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.

The Book:

Penny is a spa owner who has solved quite a few mysteries, and has now been asked to help out at her town's agricultural show. But when something fishy happens with the entries, and a dead body is found, Penny finds herself drawn into the mystery.

What I Liked: 

The setting really is an integral part of the story. It's a place where they hold agricultural shows that the whole town attends, where marmalade competes with jam, and every child who enters the pet contest gets their own special ribbon. Duncan really makes the town come alive, which makes it even more of a shock when a corpse is found.

Anything I Didn't Like?

There were so many characters with so many connections that I did have a hard time keeping track of who was who.

So...?

While this isn't my favorite entry in the cozy mystery genre, it was still a fun read.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark




I had been wanting to read this book since it first came out, and was so excited when my dad surprised me with a copy.

And then they caught The Golden State Killer.

I dropped every other book I was reading, and went straight for this one.

The research Michelle McNamara had done before she passed is so impeccable and in depth, and mixed in with her amazing writing style, has created a book that I could not put down. There was so much care that went into making sure the book was finished and published.

Reading this, knowing that The Golden State Killer has been caught, just added another layer. Seeing where so many instincts were spot on, and reading the epilogue addressed to the killer before he was caught, was incredible.

I definitely recommend this read.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Roundup!

I always love Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, and had a great time with it again this year! My total was four books, and the start of a fifth.



Binti by Nnedi Okorafor 

Binti is traveling through the galaxy to reach Oomza University, a highly prestigious school she has been accepted to. But this means leaving her family behind to study with those who do not understand her. It also means coming into the middle of a frightening war, which will require her to call upon all her strengths to survive.

This is not a genre I normally read, but I'm definitely glad my dad and brother recommended this to me. Binti is a wonderfully strong character, and her story is absolutely one worth reading. I look forward to it continuing in the second and third books.



In Private Vegas, various stories intertwine, from two diplomats running amuck with their immunity, to the trial of one of Private's key investigators, to a man training women to marry rich and then kill. I always enjoy the Private series and Patterson's books, and while this wasn't one of the strongest entries (there was just a little too much going on), I still had a good time reading it.



This was a really great book that I'm so glad was published now. Gray draws from an extensive well of amazing women to help inspire all of us to join the fight for good. She provides immediate ways to start helping, as well as important discussions on terminology, privilege, and self-care. This is an important and highly topical read.



This was a creepy, well-done middle grade read. It surrounds three friends who have created an elaborate world of play with their imaginations, but one begins to pull away when his father and teammates tease him. But when a possible ghost enters their lives, the three friends must go on one more quest together.