It’s been a while since I’ve read the Truly Devious trilogy, but I remember liking it (except maybe one thing… but I can’t remember what it was—oh well) so when I saw the audiobook pop up in the library, I picked it up. And for the first 50% I was so thrilled with it! Stevie is fun, Nate is my favorite EVER, the writing is voicey and FANTASTIC, and I love the way the present and past intertwine to build the mystery of the cold case.
Then at around 75% I remembered EXACTLY what I didn’t like about the first trilogy, and his name is DAVID. Ugh. While I don’t exactly hate David, I hate how Stevie acts when she’s around him, and honestly I think they make each other worse. The conflict between them seemed a little manufactured, and then I feel like we really didn’t have a resolution to their relationship plotline. Blah.
BUT! Everything else was still excellent. So while I won’t be picking up book 5 (because, ew, David) I’ll definitely be looking into what Maureen Johnson writes next, and I’d still recommend this to fans of the first three books (especially if you don’t mind David.)
I picked up this mystery on the recommendation of a friend, and definitely enjoyed this modern murder mystery. I liked the main character, Molly’s, unique voice and her moral compass made the narrative interesting to puzzle out. The side characters were all fleshed out well, and even the hotel seemed to have a character of its own from Molly’s eyes. Her growth and resolution were both strong and satisfying, but the only thing that really threw me at the end were a few missing pieces (are there no video cameras in the hotel? No alibis?) that I kind of had to suspend my disbelief for. Overall though I found this to a fun murder mystery with a unique perspective and a few fun twists.
Ah yes, how shall I start this ode to the newest Sunshine Vicram book, except it was absolutely *amazing.* Please just inject this series into my veins. I loved the audiobooks of the first two entries in the series, and the cliffhanger at the end of book 2 just about killed me, so when I saw the ebook for #3 on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity, and was NOT disappointed.
However, for the sake of the uninitiated (please start with the first audiobook and then we can all squeal together), I will try to keep my gushing spoiler free.
All of the elements we love from the first two books are here and in force: the witty banter is fun and a joy to read, Del Sol is as quirky and weird as ever, the muffins are back, The Dangerous Daughters and Sinister Suns are at play, the stakes are high, there’s a mystery to solve, and Levi plays his biggest part to date.
There were a lot of plot lines from the first two books (specifically regarding Levi & Sunshine) that came to a really satisfying end here. However, I am a little torn, because I’m seeing that this is supposed to be the end of the trilogy, and I feel like there is so many more questions/loose ends to tie up. So basically, if this WAS the end of the series, I think I would feel just a tiny bit disappointed because I’m still hoping to see a little more of Auri & Cruz, Hailey & Quincy, and the Dangerous Daughters.
But even if this is the last one, honestly, I can’t even hate, because I do feel like this *could* be the end of Levi & Sunshine’s story and it totally left me with such a gooey, satisfied feeling, I am TOTALLY okay with it.
Let’s just say, regardless of what Darynda Jones writes next, be it Sunshine or something else, I will *definitely* be reading it. Five wholeheartedly glowing stars.
Thanks so much to NetGalley for the free ARC! A Hard Day for a Hangover launches on 6 December!
I’m a big fan of Ken Follett historical fiction and WWII novels, so I can’t help but feel like this book should’ve held my attention more than it did.
It details three women who go to work as codebreakers in Bletchley Park in England in WWII. The story is spliced between them during their time at Bletchley, and them a few years after the War ended… in which they are rather miserable.
Initially the work is freeing for them, each in their own way, and they become close friends. However, as they go on, the story really goes into the sacrifices they have to make to keep their secrets… which ends up tearing them apart and leaving them all with their own invisible wounds.
While the book ends on a positive note, I still thought it was kind of a downer. Specifically there’s an event that happens in the middle that I really just couldn’t get over. (Feel free to Twitter DM me if you want the full rant.)
The author’s notes at the end of where the direct inspiration came from was super interesting, but overall, I thought the book was a bit too long and too slow for my taste. But if you want heavily researched historical fiction about the women of Bletchley Park, than I recommend you give it a look!
Watch out for about the 60% mark though… it’s a doozy.
The Night She Disappears follows three POVs: Tallulah (a 19yo mother, who mysteriously goes missing along with her boyfriend), her mother, and a mystery novelist who’s just moved to the area.
While the premise was interesting—couple disappears with out a trace—and there were a few little twists and turns I didn’t expect, I had a hard time falling in love with the characters. Particularly, I found Tallulah’s passiveness rather frustrating, and overall I found the tension just a little low. I’m not sure if that’s because it seemed overlong, or because the sense of danger wasn’t really there.
If you’re looking for a solid mystery in the English countryside that takes it time, it might be worth a look.
Beneath her Skin by C.S. Porter follows Kes Morris, a hardened homicide detective called to a small seaside town to investigate a disturbing murder. This a fast-paced murder mystery that hits all the right beats. It’s a gripping story, tugging you along as the time clicks down on the clock with an underlying sense of creepiness laced in with every scene.
Kes’s take on getting into the killer’s head is really interesting, and the intensity increases right up to a satisfyingly finale. Although the murders are definitely disturbing, I wouldn’t classify them as exceedingly gory or gritty, which is about right on my level. The descriptions, setting, and atmosphere of a small town living in the shadow of killer were vivid and drew me right in to the scenes. While I couldn’t predict the plot twists, they felt really natural and were well-executed. . Kes is a smart and no-nonsense character, but I wish I’d gotten to see a little more of the side characters.
Overall, this was a quick read that I definitely enjoyed, and would totally recommend to crime thriller fans! (Content Warning: Child Abuse.) Thanks so much to the publisher for the free review copy.
Okay, you got me. I was totally prepared for a twist, but I still didn’t guess it! Love it when that happens. Still, this book leaves a strange aftertaste. The premise follows a couple with a strained relationship that’s won a free vacation in a creepy, restored chapel in the Scottish highlands and are using the getaway to try to put their relationship back together before it ends in divorce.
Meanwhile, we get their history through a series of letters written on every anniversary. We also get the POV of a third player at work here, who has unknown intentions for the couple.
It is really hard to review this one without giving anything away, but suffice to say, all the characters have secrets, and at the end, I’m pretty sure I don’t like any of them. 😂 Still, I enjoyed the ride, and would recommend to anyone looking for a fast-paced suspense. However, I will say, if you already know the twist, I don’t think it would be nearly as fun.
Okay, continuing my Darynda Jones marathon. I *loved* the first two books of the Sunshine series, I thought the first two books of her Charley Davidson series were okay, so I picked up Betwixt.
This story follows Defiance as she comes in to a rather large inheritance in the town of Salem with lots of paranormal fun involved.
Once again, the author’s strengths shine here with lots of voice, an interesting world and setting, and lots of banter. But… once again the romance veered into insta-love territory that fell a little flat for me (Although I like Roan more than I like Reyes from Charley Davidson).
To add to that, about 70% of this book is someone telling the MC to do something: watch this video, do this other thing, we don’t have a lot of time and you’re in GRAVE danger – to which the MC finds some way to put off said thing she needs to do, OR she keeps getting interrupted by someone knocking on the door. Seriously, someone interrupts her by knocking on the door probably about 10 times! It was driving me insane!
I didn’t think the MC was quite as likeable as Charley or Sunshine, and some of the plotline (mainly not being able to afford the house) seemed a little contrived. And there’s a cliffhanger, which I’m not super a fan of. Overall, while I think the sequel has potential (there was a lot of set-up in this one) I don’t think I’ll be picking it up. However, the writing voice is fun, so if you’re into quirky paranormal, I still recommend you might try it from the library… although I think I’d point you to the author’s other series first.
Second Grave on the Left has most of the charm of the first book: humor, banter, great voice, and the return of our funny, badass grim reaper heroine. But once again we have another rather forgettable “solving a murder” plot and the insta-love romance with the dark & otherworldly Reyes didn’t really grow as much as I would’ve hoped. The additional world building was interesting with Charley’s powers growing, but although I’d say I enjoyed it (once again the audiobook narration is great), I expect the sequel to be more of the same, so I think I’ll probably stop the series here. If you really loved the first one though, I think you’ll also totally be into this one.
I picked this book after falling completely in love with Darynda Jones’s “A Bad Day for Sunshine.” While this one still sparkled with humor, fabulous banter, and a gutsy, kickass heroine, it didn’t quite capture me like Sunshine. I definitely liked the concept: a sassy grim reaper constantly plagued by the dead to solve their problems uses her powers as a private investigator. I loved finding out more about Charley’s powers and the back and forth with her sidekick, Cookie, but the central “solving a murder” plot seemed less memorable and the insta-love romance from a “bad boy” types didn’t really work for me. (Especially they’re initial meet-cute was just super weird to me) Still, the narration of the audiobook was great, and it kept be interested enough to read the sequel, so I’d definitely still recommend for those looking for a fun, voicey paranormal mystery with a side of bad boy insta-love.