Mini-Review: Snare by Lilja Sigurðardóttir

snare lilja sigurdardottirRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Noir Thriller, F/F, translated fiction

Goodreads

Snare is the story of Sonja, a mother who finds herself in a nasty divorce settlement after her husband catches her in bed with another woman. To be able to pay her lawyer’s fees, she starts to smuggle drugs into the country, and finds out she is actually very good at that. She needs only a few more jobs before she has enough money saved to try to get custody of her son again – if she can survive and escape the Snare.

I did not expect to like this as much as I did, in fact – I’ve picked up so many books that ended up disappointing lately and felt like a cold, noir mystery. The writing is spare and to the point, which I really enjoyed. This is the kind of noir that I think of when I want to read noir, and although I’d have preferred it to be a standalone, I think it’s very encouraging that the books are slim. I loved the complicated relationship between Agla and Sonja, and the complexity of the situations they found themselves in both by their own doing and  by circumstance – and the scheming of others. This is a quite intense read!

eARC Review: The Sun Down Motel, by Simone St. James

the sun down motel simone st jamesRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery

Goodreads

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

In 1982, Viv Delaney disappeared during her night shift in the Sun Down Motel and was never seen again. No one knows if she’s dead or alive, and her family doesn’t talk about her. Except for Carly, her niece, who in 2017 is trying to find answers about what happened to her aunt. She finds herself drawn to Fell and the Sun Down Motel, working the same night shift where Viv worked, and finding that there is something going on there which maybe can only be explained by the supernatural. Continue reading

eARC Reviews: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, Apartment by Teddy Wayne

exciting times noise dolanExciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Contemporary

Goodreads

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Exciting Times is the story of Ava, a young woman from Ireland living in Hong Kong and working as an English teacher. She has a complicated relationship with Julian, who’s not technically her boyfriend, and things complicate further when Julian leaves Hong Kong for several months and Ava meets Edith. She does not tell Edith about Julian, and doesn’t tell Julian about Edith. Hopefully things will just sort themselves out somehow… Continue reading

eARC Review: Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2), by Tamsyn Muir

harrow the ninth tamsyn muir

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, F/F

Goodreads

I received an advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Harrow is now a Lyctor, and joins God and the other Lyctors in a war they cannot win. Her health is failing and her mind is, too – she is almost sure she’s going mad.

Harrow the Ninth is a puzzle of a book – entirely different from Gideon the Ninth, it starts exchanging between present (second person) and past (person), which I found terribly confusing. For a (fleeting) moment I considered not continuing the book at all because it was frustrating to try to keep up; while book 1 is deliciously addictive from chapter one, it took book 2 almost 70% of the book to feel the same way for me. Harrow is quite different from the first book, and the reader should be ready to be patient with it. It is worth reading through the confusing chapters, I promise, and once you start getting answers (and some of them you can try to guess yourself, which was exciting for me), it’s seriously worth it. The twists blew my mind. Continue reading

eARC Review: The Lady Upstairs, by Halley Sutton

the lady upstairs halley suttonRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Mystery, Noir, Psychological Thriller, F/F

Goodreads

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Jo has been working for the Lady Upstairs for three years , and is so close to paying her debt. She makes ends meet by finding the perfect girl to seduce a powerful, awful man and with her help, blackmail him for the things they do to the girls. Things start going wrong when one of the girls starts falling in love with her mark, and then things escalate and she finds herself dealing with a dead body. Continue reading

eARC Review: Cleanness, by Garth Greenwell

cleanness Garth GreenwellRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, M/M

Goodreads

I received an advanced copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I have not read Garth Greenwell’s other work What Belongs to You, and it was with no expectations and hardly any memory of the synopsis that I started it. What I knew of the book is that it would be an exploration of sexuality and identity, which is absolutely true. This book is very sexually explicit and beautifully written, the sentences not too flowery but still poignant. I was not sure I liked this book for the majority of it, because although I appreciated the writing and the themes, erotic literature is not quite what I normally pick up, and I felt uncomfortably like a voyeur. Basically, if you’re a prude like me, maybe skip this book. The main character, an American teacher, tells episodes of his life in Bulgaria, and how they reflected previous experiences he had in the US years before. I really enjoyed reading about Sofia and had my heart broken when learning the reality of homophobia there. Reading this a very immersive experience. Continue reading

eARC Review: A Beautiful Crime: A Novel by Christopher Bollen

a beautiful crime christopher bollenRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery, M/M

Goodreads

I received an advanced copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

A Beautiful Crime tells the story of two young men who are planning the scam of their lives to save themselves from financial ruin. Nick, a handsome boy from New York, is meeting his boyfriend Clay in Venice for what will be the adventure of a lifetime – or his worst mistake. With Nick’s charming personality and Clay’s knowledge of their target, they are sure they can succeed. But can they?

I think it is inevitable to compare this book with The Talented Mr. Ripley, and the similarities in atmosphere and even the plot mirrors it a bit: two Americans meeting in Italy, scams and even murder. I had a lot of fun reading this character-driven novel! It is a mystery, and I would hesitate to call it a thriller due to the plot being definitely too slow for that, but I was positively anxious by the end of the book and just had to know what happened next. Continue reading

Mini-Review: The Man Who Saw Everything, by Deborah Levy

the man who saw everything deborah levy

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, M/M

Goodreads

In The Man Who Saw Everything, Saul Adler goes to East Germany in 1988 to do research and in exchange write a favorable report about the GDR. That is the very short description I can give about the plot of this book, but it is so much more than that.

Saul is a historian, a narcissistic, gorgeous-looking man whose narrative is deeply unreliable and it was both strange and fascinating to read. He’s clearly obsessed with himself and his own beauty, but also constantly defies gender in a nonchalant manner. He was one of the most interesting narrators I’ve seen in a long time. Little by little, we piece together what happened in East Berlin, the fate of the people in his life, but we’re never really sure if we’re reading the absolute truth. I found myself laughing sometimes, and at other times my heart broke to tiny, tiny pieces, which is a feat for a 200-page book! This engrossing, brilliant read was such a highlight for literary fiction this year for me, and I highly recommend it.

Mini-Review: Red, White and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston

red white and royal blue casey mcquiston

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: New Adult, Contemporary / Alternate History, Romance

Goodreads

Alex Claremont-Diaz is the American equivalent of a royal: his mother is the first female President of the United States, and his charisma, hard work and looks have landed him the title of heartthrob. What the press can’t ever find out is that he absolutely hates the stuffy, cold and outrageously handsome Prince of Wales, Henry. When he and the prince cause a scene during the Royal Wedding, they must pretend to be best friends in order to not damage the image of the President or the Royals.

This was a surprising mix of adorable, sexy and political that really won me over! I loved the chemistry between Alex and Henry and their banter was so funny, and actively blushed in the bus when Those Scenes showed up in the story. I loved how politics was such a huge part of this book, although I think it might have made the story a bit less appealing to people who only wanted the cute love story. If you dislike politics, don’t pick this up. I thought it was very current and made Alex more of a real person. This book is super hyped at the moment and I think it’s for a good reason! Highly recommend.

Mini-Review: Wilder Girls, by Rory Power

wilder girls rory power

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Thriller & Horror, F/F

Goodreads

Two years ago, when the Tox took over Raxter School for Girls, the entire island was put under quarantine. The disease is in the land, in the trees, in the girls, causing strange and disturbing side effects, for which the government has promised a cure, but so far all they receive is less and less supplies every time. When Byatt goes missing, Hetty knows she is still alive, and she must find her, no matter the cost, no matter the consequences.

I had lots of fun reading this book – I didn’t know I needed more horror in my life before I picked it up! I don’t have much to say about it, as I started reading it and was so engrossed I forgot to read it as a blogger and just got lost in the story. It’s a really interesting book, with such a great take on The Lord of the Flies (which I hated) and turning it into a feminist horror young adult. So, so good. I did not entirely like the writing style, it felt a little too stilted, I think I hoped for something more lush, but that is my personal taste. The mystery was great, the characters were so great –  sometimes vicious and just trying to survive, but also very loyal, and I highly recommend this book!