Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

the guest list lucy foley

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery, Thriller

The Guest List was among my most anticipated reads for this year, after falling in love with Lucy Foley’s writing in The Hunting Party. The Guest List follows two days in a small, beautiful but haunted island in Ireland where the biggest wedding of the year will take place: Jules Keegan, successful founder of The Download magazine, and Will Slater, a TV celebrity. On the wedding day, just after the cake was cut, a body is found, and everyone is a suspect.

This was a very engaging read, and I love that Lucy Foley keeps you guessing who’s victim and who’s the murderer until the end, it’s just such fun (I got both wrong). Her writing is so beautiful, not too flowery but just enough to give the perfect creepy atmosphere. I wanted to savor this for several days but could only manage to do that for 2-3 days, and devoured the rest in one sitting. I also loved the setting in a mysterious, haunted island during a storm, it was an incredible atmosphere.

It is difficult to tell if I would have given this 5 stars if I hadn’t read The Hunting Party first, but I think not, since my 5-stars are for books which leave me in awe, and this was a great read but it lacked a sense of more urgency – I just did not quite believe a lot of the characters could be the murderer at all, and only in the later part of the book do tensions actually go high enough for me to consider that one of them could actually murder the other. The Hunting Party was more gripping, the stakes felt higher and the sense of danger more concrete. I actually felt that anyone could murder or be murdered, and it was fun trying to guess, whereas in The Guest List I felt that the potential victim was pretty much narrowed down to just a few characters. I think The Guest List does some things better though, namely the writing and who the murdered person was (which I found a bit frustrating in The Hunting Party), and all in all it’s an intense, enjoyable read which made me feel the same “oh my god this is great I have to know what happens next!!” feeling that I did as a child and teen reading Agatha Christie.

eARC Review: Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos

throwaway girls andrea contos

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: YA Thriller, F/F

I received advance copies via Edelweiss and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In Throwaway Girls, Caroline’s best friend has gone missing. The day she disappeared, Caroline was supposed to meet her, and the guilt is suffocating. As she tries to get over a painful breakup and the loss of the one person who made life worth living, Caroline now must find her best friend – she knows the police isn’t looking in the right places, and as they try to frame a teacher, Caroline knows he’s not guilty. It’s someone else – someone who’s been taking girls no one cares to look for.

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Mini-Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

the hunting party lucy foleyRating: ★★★★★

Categories: Thriller, Mystery

Goodreads

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: You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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

Review: The Body Lies by Jo Baker

the body lies jo baker

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Thriller

Goodreads

In The Body Lies, our unnamed narrator takes up a job at a University to teach Creative Writing, she is excited about moving to the countryside and being far away from London, where she suffered a violent assault years earlier and could not feel safe again. But when one of her students disappears from class and starts sending her his work, she realizes he’s writing about her, that he’s been watching her in her own home, all alone with her three-year-old.

The Body Lies is a perfect mixture of Literary Fiction and Thriller, the pacing too slow and too character-focused to be called purely a thriller, and still, it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Sharp, intense and an eerie commentary on the violence against women in real life and as depicted in books, it’s completely incomprehensible to me how this has a 3.5 star rating in Goodreads as of now – this is brilliant! 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

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!

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!

Review: Magic for Liars, by Sarah Gailey

magic for liars sarah gailey

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: Fantasy, Thriller & Mystery, wide LGBT rep (incl. F/F)

Goodreads 

Ivy Gamble is a private detective. She hasn’t spoken with her sister for years, her talented, more beautiful twin who was born with magic, while Ivy… wasn’t. When there is a gory murder at the magical University where her sister works, Ivy is hired to investigate it. She is suddenly caught in that world, the dangerous magic and the more dangerous secrets, and she must somehow find the culprit.

This was kind of all over the place for me! I had quite a mixed experience with this book, which is why I’m giving it 3 stars. First of all, I loved how queer this book was! So many characters casually being lesbian and pan, it was really cool. I love the idea of a magical school, like Harry Potter but modern, and way more LGBT+. I think that was my favorite thing about the book: the idea of it. Continue reading