eARC Review: Cleanness, by Garth Greenwell

cleanness Garth GreenwellRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, M/M

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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

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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

Review: Proper English, by KJ Charles

proper english kj charles

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Historical F/F Romance, Murder Mystery

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Proper English is the story of Pat, a sensible young woman, who’s going to the country house of Earl of Witton for a shooting party. She’s also meeting her old friend, Jimmy, and his new fiancée. The problem? It might just be worst party of all time, as tensions grow and secrets are spilled out, revealing shocking betrayals, and worse – they’re all stuck together through a storm that might last several days. And Pat has yet another problem: Jimmy’s fiancée, Fen, is a lovely, beautiful girl, and Pat has never met someone quite like her. When a body is discovered in the house, Pat and Fen must do what they can do find the murderer. Continue reading

Review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

missing presumed dead emma berquist

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, F/F Paranormal Romance

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Lexi doesn’t like it when people touch her. No, that’s an understatement – Lexi flinches whenever someone touches her, because she can see how anyone will die if she has contact with their skin. She also sees ghosts, and can send them to wherever it is they should’ve gone when they died, but at great cost to her. She’s lonely and miserable, working at a night club to make ends meet where people like her are welcome. One night, she touches a woman who’s going to be murdered violently that night and when she meets her ghost, she knows she must do whatever it takes to avenge her. Continue reading

Mini-Review: Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors B A ParisRating: ★★★★★

Genres: Thriller

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Jack and Grace are a perfect couple – he is handsome and rich, she is charming and loving. But behind closed doors, things may not be so perfect after all.

This was the second B. A. Paris book I read, after The Breakdown, and I loved it so much. I am partial to books about couples that aren’t what they seem, so I was definitely inclined to like this one anyway. I listened to this in audio, which was absolutely brilliant! It was so well done, and kept the story just as (or even more) gripping and intense as reading it would have been. This is a whip-smart thriller that I highly recommend.

Review: Tangerine, by Christine Mangan

tangerine christine manganRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction

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In Tangerine, Alice is unhappy with her life in Tangier, Morocco. The beautiful, warm city cannot seem to let her breathe and she loathes to leave her flat – but the arrival of her old friend Lucy is about to change all of this, although perhaps not for the better.

This is a very atmospheric, glamorous read, one of those books set in the suffocating heat that make you feel suffocated, too. I didn’t know what to think of this book in the beginning, the plot and writing style giving off vibes of The Talented Mr. RipleyBased on a True Story and Bitter Orange, so it did not feel original. The plot twists were not difficult to foresee either and, although entertaining, I did not think the book was particularly unique or excellent. Continue reading

Review: Sadie, by Courtney Summers

sadie courtney summers

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Young Adult Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary

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When Sadie finds out her sister Mattie has been murdered, her world falls apart. There was precious little in her life to make it worth it, and now with Mattie gone, nothing will stop her from getting revenge on the man who killed her. Told in a podcast style as the journalist West McCray investigates and tells the story of Sadie and Mattie, its unique story-telling is great to listen to.

Sadie was a book I had both high and low expectations on: I’d heard the audiobook was amazing, but I hadn’t heard more on the blurb than that, so I hardly knew what the book was even about when I started it. It took me a good third of the book to really get into it – while the narration IS fantastic, Sadie’s character starts out as basically nothing but anger and thinking she’s super dangerous and is going to kill a man, but nothing in her really inspired me to believe she WAS dangerous or anything more than her anger. But as the book progresses, and her character gets fleshed out a lot more, along with the complicated, imperfect people in her life telling their sides of the story, my heart started aching for her, for all she went through and all she lost. Continue reading

Review: The Muse, by Jessie Burton

The Muse Jessie Burton

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery

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If it wasn’t for the blogging community, I would not have read this gem! If you saw my review of The Miniaturist, you know by now that I didn’t enjoy it at all. So I would not have picked up The Muse without reading such positive things about it.

The story starts in 1967, following Odelle as she received a unique offer to work as a typist, the first job offer since she came to London five years before that is anywhere close to her studies and abilities. When she comes across a peculiar painting, she has no idea of the mystery, hope, dreams and heartbreak that come with its history – but Odelle is now involved in its secrets, too.

Continue reading

Review: The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

the secret history donna tartt

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery

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The Secret History is the story of Richard Papen, a student who finds himself charmed by the small group of professor Julian Morrow studying classics  at University. Slowly, Richard is consumed by their intensity and slips into their obsessions and betrayal.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, and I’ve read so many mixed reviews I was terribly curious. I read If We Were Villains, which was compared a lot to this, so and which I enjoyed, but thought I’d enjoy it more if it had been an adult novel instead. After reading The Secret History, I definitely see the similarities and I’m quite glad I picked it up! Continue reading

eARC Review: Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim

miracle creek angie kimRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Mystery

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This was one of the books published in 2019 that I was looking most forward to reading! It’s a mystery novel with a thriller-like pacing, so gripping I almost fell on my face reading it while going home. I just needed to know what happened next.

In the small town of Miracle Creek, the Yoos run the Miracle Submarine, an alternative medical treatment to promote healing of the body by breathing pure oxygen. When the submarine one day explodes and two people died, secrets threaten to come to surface during the trial. Did Elizabeth plan to murder her own child?

This court mystery is absolutely enthralling. There was a surprising depth of humanity in the book, which talks a lot about immigration and fitting in, about autism, about the difficulties of being a parent to a disabled child and the joys of it, too. Even infertility is discussed honestly. I was absorbed by the story and read this in one day. I loved the multiple POV, which gave each character such depth. A really, really great book that I highly recommend!