Posted in Reviews

DNF Review: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
DNF @ 65%

Recommended: not really, but maybe for you
For folks who love a story that suits audiobook format really well, for folks who love investigative reporting, for folks who enjoy lots of short-form formats mixed together (this is an easy book to read in small chunks because of the natural breaks)

Summary

Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public imagination is stronger than ever. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha always had to be the responsible one, taking over their mother’s hair salon and building a quiet life for her beloved daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, tapped to host a podcast devoted to all things Violet, who is determined to finally get his big break–even if he promised to land an exclusive interview with Sasha, the one person who definitely doesn’t want to talk to him.

As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all seem to lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.

Thoughts

After not coming back to this for about a week, and forcing myself to pick it up for about 20% prior to that, I am finally calling it on this book for me.

I think this might be a better experience as an audiobook, particularly as I’ve read a few audiobook reviews that said the production value was great with unique narrators for characters and such. Considering about 30% of the writing is from a “podcast” style, this makes a lot of sense to me that it would be effective to be read aloud.

Continue reading “DNF Review: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane

The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane
Recommended: eh
For a thriller that relies on mental health issues for the instability of the narrator, for a lot of potential suspects, for a mystery rife with clues

Summary

Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancée, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman’s safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh’s missing fiancée.

Searching for clues means investigating her own family. And she doesn’t like what she finds. A laptop filled with incriminating information. Other women.

But when Elisa becomes friends with Josh’s new girlfriend and starts to question things she thinks are true, Elisa wonders if the memories of a horrible incident a year ago have finally pushed her over the edge and Josh is really innocent. With so much at stake, Elisa fights off panic attacks and a strange illness. Is it a breakdown or something more? The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family… or is there?

Thoughts

If I had to pinpoint the one thing about this that most made me feel fairly ambivalent about it, I’d say it was that there were TOO MANY potential clues and points of confusion. I feel ridiculous saying that about a thriller where the point is to try and solve it through the clues. But man, I felt like I had whiplash with how many little secrets and questions and hints and possible angles came at me during it.

Continue reading “Review: The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa (8/9/22)

You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa
Expected Release Date: August 9, 2022

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOY! This was WAYY better than I expected. Kudos. What a ton of fun this was to read!

Recommended: yep
For a flashback timeline mystery, for a tricky narrator, for a mystery where everyone has motive

Summary

When Amaya is invited to Kaavi’s over-the-top wedding in Sri Lanka, she is surprised and a little hurt to hear from her former best friend after so many years of radio silence. But when Amaya learns that the groom is her very own ex-boyfriend, she is consumed by a single thought: She must stop the wedding from happening, no matter the cost.

But as the weeklong wedding celebrations begin and rumors about Amaya’s past begin to swirl, she can’t help but feel like she also has a target on her back. When Kaavi goes missing and is presumed dead, all evidence points to Amaya.

However, nothing is as it seems as Jayatissa expertly unravels that each wedding guest has their own dark secret and agenda, and Amaya may not be the only one with a plan to keep the bride from getting her happily ever after…

Thoughts

The book is almost entirely set in Sri Lanka besides a few portions of current day and flashback that are set in the United States with Amaya. An important note right there: the story does have a good number of flashbacks. You could in fact argue that almost the whole thing is a flashback, as it starts with Amaya being detained and picks up at that point late in the book after establishing how everyone got there. It also intersperses narrated chapters with interview transcripts of people in the story, usually one seen in the previous narrated chapter. I loved this, as I find some variation in the type of text gives the story a lot more texture (texture 😁).

Continue reading “ARC Review: You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa (8/9/22)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Such A Good Mother (8/2/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar!
Expected Release: August 2, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1As much as I’m not interested in ever being a mother, I seem to freakin’ love domestic thriller-y stories about intense moms who seem to have their shit 100% together and do social media beauty shots, BUT — there tends to be a dark AF underbelly and I relish it.
  • Y’all the super mom clique is literally called The Circle and if that’s not the most obvious delightful name ever I don’t know what is. They aren’t pretending AT ALL to not be stuck up and awful. I can’t wait. I wonder if they actually are awful people? Hmm.
  • When the blurb has already prefaced the story with a death — a MYSTERIOUS death — I can only imagine what else is coming. Did she not wear pink on Wednesday and they made it so she couldn’t sit with them EVER?

Summary

Rose O’Connell is barely surviving. Her relationship with her husband is on the rocks and their son has isn’t fitting in at his new school, the prestigious Woolf Academy. Their tiny flat in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood–the very place Rose grew up as the daughter of an infamous local con artist–can barely contain her family. Rose can’t catch a professional break either, trapped in the same junior bank teller role for years. Life as the only mom in a nametag and uniform at The Woolf’s shiny school gates isn’t easy.

Not so for those in the elite and secretive Circle, a tight-knit group of mothers who rule the school, led by the charismatic and glamorous Amala Kaur. In exchange for supporting The Woolf’s relentless fundraising and public image drives, the women enjoy lucrative business opportunities, special privileges for their children, and the admiration of the entire community.

After the mysterious death of one of The Circle’s members, Rose dares to hope that filling the vacancy could set her family up for success. And when Amala makes the shocking decision to invite Rose into their clique, her fortunes, self-esteem, and status soar. But the deeper Rose gets inside The Circle, the darker the secrets lurking within every perfectly Instagrammable life. Far from being a dream come true, being inside The Circle could prove Rose’s worst nightmare…

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Recommended: yessss
For a story within a story (within a story?), for a lot of twistiness around writing and text and authors, for a good old fashioned murder mystery, for a lovely exploration of Boston!

Summary

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

Thoughts

THIS. WAS. SO. GOOD. By chapter two or three I was so giddy with excitement over all that this book was already promising. There’s a text within the text, and it allowed me to come up with 4 or 5 wildly different theories as to what the resolution of the story would be. I got real creative, LET ME TELL YA. And that last line? BOY DO I HAVE THOUGHTS.

Okay. Obviously it’s a murder mystery, so I’ll keep the spoiler talk out (and/or hidden under a spoiler tag at the end). It was freaking fantastic though! It seemed like everyone at one point or another was a suspect. There was one point about 80% of the way through that made me go “OH okay, it’s obviously X.” And then the characters slowly came to that conclusion. But still — I had an extremely fun time all the way up to that point waiting to see what would happen.

Continue reading “Review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill”
Posted in Chatty

June 2022 TBR: somehow I have a pile

Hey y’all! It’s DAY ONE of June, and for the first time in a really long time (maybe ever?) I have my TBR already planned out AND posted! 🎉 The reason — and theme — for this is “oh wow, I actually have all these books to read, when did that happen?” It certainly wasn’t on purpose, but somehow I have a bunch of books lined up ready to be read. So here they are!

Thanks, local library!

Two out of these three are also Fast Forward Friday featured books, but the main tie for these is that they’re all new releases and they’re all ones I have a library hold coming up for in the next week or two! I got really lucky with some of these to have copies so soon! But that also means I ended up with three books with a time limit to read. xD

Continue reading “June 2022 TBR: somehow I have a pile”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: I Am Margaret Moore, 3/15/22!

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin!
Expected Release: March 15, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Honestly, all I need at this point if the name Hannah Capin on the cover and I’m going to read it. Foul is Fair / Golden Boys Beware is my — wow am I really saying this? — favorite book. The #1. The constant re-read that gives me shivers and goosebumps with every reading.
  • I get vibes like “We Were Liars” by e. Lockhart with this, but probably a lot darker. Murder and mystery and not being sure who to trust, set in a dark and punishing (yet kind of fancy and luxurious?) place.
  • The duality of the main character intrigues me. Proclaiming to be a monster entices me to figure out how that’s meant. Is she REALLY to blame? Does she just have a burden of unearned guilt? Is she actually a siren of the depths? I want to know.

Summary

Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.

Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.

But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.

Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman

The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman
Expected Release Date: February 15, 2022

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Thoughts

I started this one for the different countries and the traveling, and I stayed for the question of who knew what, exactly. I honestly couldn’t tell for the majority of this book what was going to be the end. I did have a suspicion, but I wasn’t confident in it, just thinking that it was the most reasonable and likely ending based on what I had to work with.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Replacement Wife, 12/28/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane!
Expected Release: December 28, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • 1 I guess I’ve become interested in domestic thrillers a little bit, considering that I’ve actually read a few of them in the past year. They do seem to be kind of shades of the same (usually some secret about the wife… or wives….) but I’m reading them nonetheless.
  • The idea that this one is about a woman trying to figure out if her brother in law has been murdering his multiple girlfriends / wives makes me think of those episodes of Forensic Files where this happens. By which I mean, the plot sounds real which is freaky and compelling.
  • AND YET: the blurb also hints at the idea that maybe there’s something wrong with Elisa herself! She has panic attacks and anxiety, and it seems to suggest that there might be something other than that affecting her. Then again, that could be a red herring of emotional manipulation. Either way, I want to know!

Summary

Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancée, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman’s safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh’s missing fiancée.

Searching for clues means investigating her own family. And she doesn’t like what she finds. A laptop filled with incriminating information. Other women.

But when Elisa becomes friends with Josh’s new girlfriend and starts to question things she thinks are true, Elisa wonders if the memories of a horrible incident a year ago have finally pushed her over the edge and Josh is really innocent. With so much at stake, Elisa fights off panic attacks and a strange illness. Is it a breakdown or something more? The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family…or is there?