Sunday, May 20, 2018

Review: Down the Aisle with Murder



Title: Down the Aisle with Murder
Author: Auralee Wallace
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: Janet Evanovich, humor with your mystery, unique characters to root for

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

The Book:

Erica's friend Candace is getting married, but after a wild bachlorette party, Candace's maid of honor is found dead. Erica works to solve the case, make sure Candace has a wedding, and figure out where she stands with the love of her life.

What I Liked:

This is one of my absolute favorite cozy mystery series! I love the characters, I love the romance, I love the humor, and I love the mysteries. I've read every entry so far, and they never disappoint.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I wanted more Grady! I love him, and I love his relationship with Erica.

So...?

Start at the beginning of this series for sure, and I bet you will get hooked like I did!


Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: The Marmalade Murders




Title: The Marmalade Murders
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan
Publication Date: April 24. 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: cozy mysteries, mysteries with food, mysteries set in a small town

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

The Book:

Penny is a spa owner who has solved quite a few mysteries, and has now been asked to help out at her town's agricultural show. But when something fishy happens with the entries, and a dead body is found, Penny finds herself drawn into the mystery.

What I Liked: 

The setting really is an integral part of the story. It's a place where they hold agricultural shows that the whole town attends, where marmalade competes with jam, and every child who enters the pet contest gets their own special ribbon. Duncan really makes the town come alive, which makes it even more of a shock when a corpse is found.

Anything I Didn't Like?

There were so many characters with so many connections that I did have a hard time keeping track of who was who.

So...?

While this isn't my favorite entry in the cozy mystery genre, it was still a fun read.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark




I had been wanting to read this book since it first came out, and was so excited when my dad surprised me with a copy.

And then they caught The Golden State Killer.

I dropped every other book I was reading, and went straight for this one.

The research Michelle McNamara had done before she passed is so impeccable and in depth, and mixed in with her amazing writing style, has created a book that I could not put down. There was so much care that went into making sure the book was finished and published.

Reading this, knowing that The Golden State Killer has been caught, just added another layer. Seeing where so many instincts were spot on, and reading the epilogue addressed to the killer before he was caught, was incredible.

I definitely recommend this read.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Roundup!

I always love Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, and had a great time with it again this year! My total was four books, and the start of a fifth.



Binti by Nnedi Okorafor 

Binti is traveling through the galaxy to reach Oomza University, a highly prestigious school she has been accepted to. But this means leaving her family behind to study with those who do not understand her. It also means coming into the middle of a frightening war, which will require her to call upon all her strengths to survive.

This is not a genre I normally read, but I'm definitely glad my dad and brother recommended this to me. Binti is a wonderfully strong character, and her story is absolutely one worth reading. I look forward to it continuing in the second and third books.



In Private Vegas, various stories intertwine, from two diplomats running amuck with their immunity, to the trial of one of Private's key investigators, to a man training women to marry rich and then kill. I always enjoy the Private series and Patterson's books, and while this wasn't one of the strongest entries (there was just a little too much going on), I still had a good time reading it.



This was a really great book that I'm so glad was published now. Gray draws from an extensive well of amazing women to help inspire all of us to join the fight for good. She provides immediate ways to start helping, as well as important discussions on terminology, privilege, and self-care. This is an important and highly topical read.



This was a creepy, well-done middle grade read. It surrounds three friends who have created an elaborate world of play with their imaginations, but one begins to pull away when his father and teammates tease him. But when a possible ghost enters their lives, the three friends must go on one more quest together.



Friday, April 27, 2018

Review: The Broken Girls



Title: The Broken Girls
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Psychological Suspense/Paranormal
Recommended If You Like: strong female characters, crimes from the past, boarding school mysteries, paranormal woven in with realism

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review itself.

The Book:

Idlewild Hall has never been a happy place. In the 1950's, it was a boarding school for girls whose families had deemed them unwanted. In the 1990's, it's grounds were the location for a murderer to dump the body of Deb Sheridan. In the 2000's, it is being restored, and Fiona Sheridan is drawn to both writing a story about it and trying to solve what truly happened to her sister. But as she delves deeper into the story, shocking revelations come to light about the past--and about the ghostly woman who has been appearing at Idlewild since its inception.

What I Liked:

I really liked this book! It hits some of my favorite things to read about-(multiple) mysteries from the past, and paranormal elements. There are so many strong female characters. And St. James really kept me guessing-I would think I had something figured out, and would then find out something that turned everything I thought I knew on its head. One of the big reveals by the end I had absolutely never seen coming.

Anything I Didn't Like?

Honestly, no. This was a great read.

So...?

This book manages to be a mystery grounded in reality that also has a fantastically creepy paranormal element. I definitely recommend this read.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: Life Inside My Mind




I feel like lately I have been on here raving about well-written books that honestly depict mental illness, books that have had me nodding my head and writing down quotes and feeling so much less alone with what I go through. This is a great trend in book publishing and one that has come at a time for me when I especially need it, something I think holds true for a lot of people.

Life Inside My Mind is a collection of essays by thirty-one authors who have personal experience with mental illness. They share their deeply personal stories, to let people know they are not alone, and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

The dedication reads:


This is an important. meaningful, and well-written read that I have been recommending to everyone. I whole-heartedly recommend it to all of you.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Vacation Mini Review Roundup!

I was just on Spring Break (and am leaving for New York tomorrow for my cousin's wedding) and got a lot of reading done! I didn't quite get to all the books I brought, but here's reviews for the ones I did :)



The Blind by A.F. Brady

A story about a troubled psychologist and her mysterious patient, this book was an okay read. I had trouble connecting with the characters, and while the plot was suspenseful enough to keep me turning pages, I was able to call a lot of the major twists.

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

The lines become blurred between fact and fiction when a writer finds herself and her husband as prime suspects in a case that strongly resembles the novel she is currently writing. I really enjoyed how the lines were so blurred that I would sometimes become confused whose story I was reading-it was a really effective technique given the main plot. There were also some good twists and turns that had me really surprised.

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

This book started out strong, with a note left by a wife to her husband, suggesting she just needs to get away for a few days. But there are secrets under the surface of what seemed like a perfect marriage, that slowly leak out. I really enjoyed the twists and turns that left me really surprised. But I felt the book felt a little too long, and the ending felt too pat and not in keeping with everything we had learned about the characters.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

I'm so glad I finally read this book I had heard everyone raving about. It definitely lived up to the hype for me. It's the story about a seemingly perfect marriage, with a slow build that is so creepy it made my skin crawl. The use of flashbacks is so effective in building suspense. There are so many authors trying to make this exact plot work, and Paris is definitely at the top of the list for authors who know how to work this story line the right way.

Soulmates by Jessica Grose

This book was centered around a clever idea, a woman who sees in the newspaper one day that her husband, who left her to join a mysterious spiritual retreat, has died in a possible murder suicide. She has always struggled to let his memory go, and now she feels the compulsion to find out just what happened to him, and to understand just who he was and what their relationship truly meant. But the ending kind of drove me crazy. I see where Grose was going with it, but it just didn't seem to fit, at least to me.



What have you been reading recently?