Mini-Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

the hunting party lucy foleyRating: ★★★★★

Categories: Thriller, Mystery

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In The Hunting Party, a group of old friends gets together in an isolated hunting lodge in Scotland to celebrate the New Year, as they do every year. Although they seem to be excited and happy to see each other, old and new grudges escalate the tensions between them, and on January 2nd, a body is found.

This is one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read! I fell in love with the writing from the first chapter, so atmospheric and engrossing. This book came highly recommended from my sister, who is the best source of thriller recommendations, honestly. Each of the characters has secrets, the guests who claim to be friends but seem sometimes to actually hate each other, and also the people working in the lodge. Every story line, every secret, every character was so interesting, I could not stop reading this! It was also super intriguing to not really know who died until quite far into the book, keeping the reader guessing who killed whom and why, suspiciously analyzing the actions of everyone. It was so fun to read and reminded me a lot of the way I devoured Agatha Christie books when I was younger. This was absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to read Lucy Foley’s The Guest List!

eARC Review: He Started It, by Samantha Downing

you are not alone greer hendricks sarah pekkanenRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery, Thriller

Goodreads

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

In You Are Not Alone, Shay Miller is a 30-something year old whose life isn’t going how she wished. She’s living with her roommate, who’s she’s secretly been in love with but is dating someone else; her job is getting her nowhere; she feels just so alone. One day, when she witnesses the suicide of a woman who looks eerily like herself, she cannot help but get obsessed: who was she? Why did she do this? Who are her friends, what was her life like? When she crashes the memorial of the woman and meets her friends… she just wants to be a part of them. Those women are so glamorous, so beautiful, so successful. And they seem to like her. Continue reading

eARC Review: He Started It, by Samantha Downing

he started it samantha downingRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery, Thriller

Goodreads

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

He Started It is Samantha Downing’s second book, telling the story of three siblings who must take a road trip together if they want to receive the inheritance their grandfather left them. Each has their own agenda and secrets. If only they can complete two weeks of travelling like they did twenty years before, they’ll all live millionaires.

I don’t think there’s anyone out there writing unlikable women in thrillers quite like Samantha Downing – our narrator Beth is cold, with quite a lot of uncharitable thoughts about everyone, manipulative and lies all the time, but I loved her so much. You don’t necessarily root for her all the time, and I think a lot of readers might side with one of the other siblings in this story. From the beginning, Beth tells you she isn’t your heroine in this story, but that is for the reader to tell, anyway. Continue reading

eARC Review: Death in Her Hands, by Ottessa Moshfegh

Death in Her Hands Ottessa MoshfeghRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Literary fiction, mystery

Goodreads

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

Death in Her Hands starts with a mysterious note Vesta finds one morning during her daily walk with her dog. The note says Magda is dead, and no one will ever know who did it. There is no body, no signature, no clues. As Vesta gets more involved, her quiet routine becomes more turbulent, and it will make her face the truths about her marriage, the death of her husband and what it meant for her freedom.

As much as I tried to make the synopsis not sound like this is a murder mystery, it still kind of does – don’t be fooled, it is not. I started this book somehow convinced it would be basically a literary whodunit, and after half of it had gone by, I started to accept that I was wrong. It was a frustrating couple hundred pages, so I warn now early in the review: this book is about Vesta, her past, her thoughts, perhaps her descent into confusion and grief; it’s not exactly a murder mystery. I don’t know if this spoils the book somehow, but I think not, as I could only enjoy this book once I understood this. Continue reading

Review: Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams

queenie candice carty williamsRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads

When Tom says he needs a break and Queenie needs to move out, she tries to tell herself it’s not as bad as all that, she’ll live for a few months in a shared apartment and then go back to he relationship, even better than before. But as her break becomes messier and messier, Queenie’s mental health deteriorates and she makes increasingly worse choices.

Whew, this book knocked me out of the park and left me a mess. It starts off rather runny, I was snorting on my lunch break, but as Queenie starts to make terrible choices and act detached from her own life, my heart started to break. I think this book hit me hard because I went through a breakdown too, some years ago, and jeopardized a lot of things in the process, including not doing my job and ignoring my friends and family, detaching myself from my life – so as Queenie becomes more unlikable and makes worse choices that a person doing okay never could understand, I couldn’t help but sympathize. We did not go through the same things at all (I’m not a black woman, for starters, and had the support of my family and boyfriend), and my heart aches so much for all the horrors she had to go through. Continue reading

Review: How We Disappeared, by Jing-Jing Lee

How we disappeared by Jing-Jing LeeRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads

How We Disappeared tells the story of Wang Di, an old woman from Singapore who’s just lost her husband before she told him her story of the war and listened to his own. Trying to find out the truth is much harder now that the war is long over and so many people are dead or missing. Her own story hurts too much and she tries to not think about it if she can – she’s never told her husband she was a “comfort woman”. On the other side of the town, Kevin finds out his grandmother found his father when he was a baby and never gave him back to the biological father she later found out still lived. Continue reading

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

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

Categories: Mystery, Ghosts

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 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

January Releases eARC Reviews: Miss Austen & How Quickly She Disappears

miss austen gill hornbyMiss Austen by Gill Hornby

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Historical Fiction

Goodreads

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

Miss Austen is the story of Cassandra Austen, who famously destroyed most of the letters exchanged with her sister Jane. I enjoyed the witty dialogues, so very like the way the books are written, and I think it’s where it shines. I was however bored with it rather soon, despite its attempts at making a (fictional) dramatic account of Cassandra’s love life, Jane’s depression and jealousy of other women. All the characters seem to be taken right out of Jane Austen’s novels (on purpose, I assume), all wit and clear heroines vs antagonists, which did not work well for this novel, in my opinion. I hoped for more well-rounded characters. I was engrossed by the story at times, but much too often I was simply bored. The predictability of the plot (which, considering it’s based on real events, can’t be avoided) was not helped by the writing, or the characters. If you’re craving some Austen in your life, I think you’ll enjoy this, especially how much you see of Cassandra in this. I itched to know more about their real lives. The novel, although witty and loosely based to real events from the Austen family’s lives, did not feel quite strong enough. Continue reading

eARC Review: My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell

my dark vanessa kate elizabeth russelRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery

Goodreads

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

My Dark Vanessa was among my most anticipated books for 2020, and justifiably so. This intense, consuming book is an exploration of the psychological effects of abuse a teenage girl suffers from when she’s fifteen all the way into adulthood, and the love story she is convinced she lived, instead of the horrific reality of the abuse. It’s not an easy read, and it’s not for every reader. It was a rewarding experience to read this – I was left destroyed and with so many thoughts going through my head, I had no idea how to write this review. Continue reading