I was definitely in the mood for a dark thriller, when Netgalley sent me an email with this audiobook ARC. What Lies in the Woods follows Naomi when she returns to her childhood town where she was the victim of an attempted murder that put a serial killer behind bars.
The tension and dark atmosphere is thick right from the beginning and definitely drew me in with the obvious mysteries lurking in Naomi’s story. However, I didn’t really find Naomi to be a compelling character – she’s super self-destructive and honestly just frustrating sometimes – and I had trouble to connecting to her. Mostly I got annoyed when she kept actually saying out loud “I know I should go to the police BUT…” or “I know I should do the logical thing BUT…”
However, I found the mysteries here to be really satisfying, and there were definitely some twists and turns along the way that I didn’t expect (and some I did). I wish the ending had been a touch more uplifting and less open-ended, but overall I enjoyed the read (and the narration was fantastic) and would recommend to those looking for a dark thriller with few gratifying surprises.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC! What Lies in the Woods comes out today!
This romance was adorable, and I could totally go for a movie adaption. Gus and January are college frenemies with chemistry that, years later, find themselves as neighbors during a particularly difficult summer.
I absolutely loved the history-with-chemistry vibe between Gus and January, and their slow-burn challenge throughout is pitch perfect. Their relationship builds naturally, and it still goes deeper than just their romance, as they both heal from the wounds that life has dealt them. Together they pick each other up, dust each other off, and remind one another of who they used to be.
Fantastically satisfying story I would recommend to anyone looking for a wonderful romance with some deeper themes of the ups and downs of life, and how much you can truly know someone. (And the audiobook was fantastic too!)
Picked this audiobook kind of randomly since it was available at the library, so I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. Don’t Look for Me takes the reader step-by-step through Molly Clark’s abduction, and then, simultaneously lets us into the POV of Molly’s 22ish-year-old daughter, Nicole, as she searches for her two weeks after her disappearance and the case has already been deemed a walk-away.
Molly’s abduction is terrifying in its gradualness, planning behind it, and the plausible deniability up until the moment when it’s too late to get away.
Similarly, as Nicole follows the clues (and the false ones) closer to her mother, the impending dread as she gets sucked into the creepy little town, ever nearing danger, is super intense and so well done.
Along the way, Molly and Nicole reflect on what led them to this moment and the parts they played in the breaking of their family.
The climax was a little weird to me, but this dark thriller still manages to leave its characters better off than where we left them, which I always appreciate!
With believable characters, a (mostly) satisfying resolution, and a growing sense of dread that will keep you turning pages, I highly recommend this tense thriller. (And the audiobook is especially good!)
I heard great things about this one through the Twitterverse, and when I saw it pitched for my little free library contest, I knew I had it grab it. It totally did not disappoint!
Everlong is a whimsical paranormal that follows Lily as she walks to “her bench” every night to write. There, she runs into sweet Sam, and they strike up an easy friendship. From there, things get a little more complicated for the pair as they come to learn more about each other.
The writing is beautiful, and the relationship that grows between the two feels incredibly natural. If you like friends-to-lovers, this story gets it exactly right. It is sweet, and poignant, and though we are in the mysterious world of paranormal, this story uses it to cast a light on the human side of it.
After the things I’d heard about this book, I was braced for the end, but honestly I found it a wonderful, poignant end to a great love story. (No tissues required over here, but if you’re a crier you might want to be armed in case.)
This story hits right in the feels, capturing our humanity in a little jar of whimsical paranormal. I’m so glad I picked this one up and can’t wait to share it with our little free library. Highly recommended to anyone who wants paranormal romance that goes beyond the surface.
Okay, I’ve read a few new picture books today, but This Town by Mark Restaino was definitely my favorite. The story is about a little girl as she grows up in a small town, all the people she meets along the way, and how her life is connected to the town around her. The illustrations are pleasing to the eye, the prose has a nice lilting rhyme to it, and when the story comes full circle, it’s very satisfying. This is actually the second excellently poignant picture book by Restaino I’ve read ,and I would also recommend taking a look at “How Could I Ever Forget?”
Would totally recommend this for ages 2-6! Thanks to Sandra’s Book Club for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review!
This book was exactly what I thought it would be, and that is incredibly satisfying. If I Could Turn Back Time follows Amelia as she inherits her grandfather’s “haunted” cabin and tries to settle in a new town in a bit of a rough part of her life.
This book is light, but not shallow, funny, romantic, and all-in-all just the type of book that leaves a smile on my face. The time-traveling elements are well done, and the characters were likable, developed naturally, and had great chemistry. In general, the plot just flowed super well. The romance moves fast, but I think it skirted insta love territory (Steam level maybe a 4 out of 5.)
Basically, I think this would make a stellar chick flick, and I’d be stoked to watch it. Although it is technically it’s part of a series, I didn’t read the first one and this book reads well as a stand-alone. I totally recommend this for romance fans who like a little steam, and I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.
Thanks to the publisher and Booksirens for the free ARC!
Zoo of the Dead was a fantastic first read of 2022! I don’t usually pick up short story anthologies, but this one caught my curiosity… and then totally held it till the last page. Everyone one of these unique stories really embodies the best parts of the horror genre from a variety of angles. They kept me guessing while giving me those creepy, suspenseful, disturbing (hello, “Checking Out”) and in some cases, goofy (I’m looking at you, Dead Jimmy) vibes. I also really enjoyed the author’s note at the end of each discussing where she got her inspiration (Justice for Twinkie!)
Highly recommend for anyone looking for some great horror short fiction, and I will definitely read more from Iseult Murphy in the future. Minor content warning for body horror and suicidal scenes.
A Heart Worth Healing follows Dr. Ellie Lennox as she goes out west looking for a fresh start after an incident in the East turns her life upside down.
Honestly, what’s NOT to like about this book? It’s loosely inspired by a frontier physician Dr. Susan Anderson, it has a clean, slowburn romance, the protagonists are completely lovable, the conflict feels real and well-paced, and it really gives you a feel for the frontier west. It also leaves plenty of room for the sequel, which I will totally be picking up.
Highly recommend for any fans of historical fiction and clean romance!
This was *such* a cute rom com! The Fastest Way to Fall is about Britta, a journalist that’s reviewing a fitness app, and her fitness coach, Wes, as they do everything they can to resist crossing professional lines and falling for each other.
There’s so much to love here. The MCs are super likeable and were totally brought to life in the audiobook. Britta is funny and lovable, Wes is sweet and sincere, their predicament is traditional romcom goodness, and I was cheering for them the whole time. Their relationship growth and chemistry felt super natural and even the side characters felt real. I also loved the body positivity in this book as well as the growth of the female coworker relationship. Honestly Britta’s fictional journey had me alternatively smiling and wanting to hit the gym. (Although, full disclosure, I am a gym rat, so I may be biased.) Also, speaking of disclosure, there is one steamy scene, and also trigger warnings stated in the beginning for eating disorders, addiction, and fat phobia.
This book was heartfelt, sweet, fun, and it just felt super real. Honestly, now that I’ve read it, I’m surprised I hadn’t heard of it before I picked up the audiobook from the library. Since it’s near the end of the year, I can say with confidence that this is my favorite romance of 2021 (and… I have read quite a few), and I *highly* recommend it for anyone looking for feel-good fun.
This is one of those middle grade novels that makes me want to read more middle grade. This Last Adventure follows Archie as he navigates eighth grade while his grandfather and role model is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As his grandfather’s condition worsens, Archie grapples for ways to help him hold onto his memories, learning about his grandfather’s triumphs, tragedies, and regrets along the way.
Beautifully told, This Last Adventure is about family, bravery, and what it means to be a good person. Archie comes across as a very believable eighth grader—dealing with crushes, school projects, peer pressure, as well as the weight of his grandfather’s illness. But I love how the story never underestimates Archie, and his emotions and realizations come across as thoughtful and heartfelt.
Neither too heavy or too light, the poignancy of this coming-of-age tale leaves you with a feel-good ending and plenty to think about. I’d definitely recommend to upper MG readers and those looking for a reflective tale that fully captures the uncertainty of growing up.
Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the free ARC! This Last Adventure comes out 1 Feb 2022, and you can preorder here. (OMG – I actually read a book before it came out, I know we’re all shocked.)