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: Meet Cute Club, by Jack Harbon

meet cute club jack harbonRating: ★★★☆☆

Categories: M/M Romance

Goodreads

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

The Meet Cute Club has been the one thing Jordan is truly passionate about, and he always looks forward to spending his Saturday afternoons talking about romance books and eating delicious baked things. But attendance is dwindling and the club can’t survive anyone else leaving, so when the rude new bookseller from Jordan’s favorite bookstore decides to join it, he can hardly refuse. After all, romance is for everyone, right? Even for rude, handsome Rex and his insufferable attitude… right? Continue reading

Review: A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes

a thousand ships natalie haynesRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Greek Myth Retelling

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A Thousand Ships is a retelling of the Odyssey through the eyes of the women. The narrators are, ostensibly, Muses to whom a poet prays for inspiration. But each character gets their own chance to narrate, and stories that should not have been forgotten, are finally told.

This was so enchanting, beautiful and I devoured it in two sittings. A Thousand Ships is exactly what I hoped The Silence of the Girls would have been, and I am pleased that, despite my initial hesitation towards this book, it surprised me with how good it is! Continue reading

eARC Review: Beach Read, by Emily Henry

beach read emily henryRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Romance, Contemporary Fiction

Goodreads

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

Beach Read tells the story of January, a romance writer who recently moved into her father’s secret house near the beach, where he lived with his lover, which January knew nothing about until That Woman showed up in his funeral with a letter and a key to the house for her. Now January’s life is in shambles, as her long-term boyfriend broke up with her, her father was a cheater and a liar, her mom refuses to talk about it and she can’t write her next book, which she absolutely needs to write. When she meets an old nemesis from University, Augustus Everett, and finds out he’s her new neighbor, it gets initially even worse. Except – he’s not all that terrible. As they cautiously become friends, they place a bet: he will write a romance book, and January will write a sad literary book, the kind that Gus writes. Continue reading

Review: The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel

the mirror and the light hilary mantelRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

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The Mirror and the Light is the third and final installment of the Cromwell series, which has had my whole heart since I started it a few years ago. It tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, his ascension into power and trust of King Henry VIII. In this last installment, we have seen Anne Boleyn fall from the king’s graces and lose her head – and although Cromwell has more power and wealth than ever, his enemies are gathering to plot his fall.

This trilogy takes a long time to read, not only because it’s nearly 900 pages, but also because of the sheer amount of characters, plots, subplots and the amount of attention the reader has to pay to details (absolutely worth it). It’s a series to get immersed into, and I loved spending around two weeks reading this – it’s one of my favorite series of all times, of all genres I read. Mantel turns Cromwell into a character so full of life, complexity, sharp wit, intelligence and ambition it’s truly refreshing to cheer for someone who is clearly not the classical hero in historical fiction stories. I’ve read a few Tudor books, and none have the brilliance of this series. 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

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 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: 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