eARC Review – The Bride

Title: The Bride

Author: Wendy Clarke

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication date: May 20th, 2020

300 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The moment Joanna told me she was engaged, I had this awful feeling that something was wrong. 

We used to speak on the phone every day. Growing up I spent more time at her house than I did at my own. I’d always imagined what it would be like to see her get married, and now I didn’t even know her fiancé’s name. 

She asked me to come and meet Mark and I intended to tell her to slow down. You can’t know someone for a month and be sure that you want to spend the rest of your lives together. 

When I got to Joanna’s front door, only Mark was there. He was charming and gorgeous and nothing but nice to me, and I started to understand. 

And then he told me that Joanna was missing.

Review

**Thank you to Bookouture, Netgalley, and Wendy Clarke for an early copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Bride is a suspense filled mystery/thriller novel where the MC Alice is contacted by her long lost best friend and asked to come visit to meet her new fiance. When Alice arrives, Joanna is not there… but Mark her fiance is. It appears Joanna has gone on a vacation, after inviting Alice to stay the weekend. Mark convinces Alice to stay in case Joanna returns, but after a few days he admits that Joanna has been missing for several days. The question is… where is Joanna? And why does Alice allow Mark to convince her to stay in their apartment?

I love a thriller that can keep me guessing. There are some pretty strong hints and sketchy behavior in this book from all characters, so it’s hard to pin down what really is happening. In my opinion, this is the sign of a good mystery/thriller novel. The book is told from Alice’s point of view, at least until just over halfway through then you get a look into Joanna’s circumstances as well. Alice has her own issues, but is a fairly reliable narrator – even if she makes some poor decisions at times… Mark as a character is weird and sketchy, you never quite know what to think of him – and frankly I still don’t!

One thing I will point out is that I don’t feel like everyone’s story lines are wrapped up at the end of the book. There are still some questions I had at the end. I don’t really take this as a negative, but I do wish I had answers to some of those questions.

If you’re looking for a book filled with suspense, a mystery involving a missing wife, and a friendship that has some terrible secrets – check out The Bride!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – What Lies Between Us

Title: What Lies Between Us

Author: John Marrs

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication date: May 15th, 2020

371 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Review

**Thank you to Thomas & Mercer, Netgalley, and John Marrs for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

What Lies Between Us is a fantastic psychological thriller straight out of a 60 Minutes special. The twists and turns keep coming, with some well-placed foreshadowing and perfect dropping of hints throughout. Told in 2 POV’s (Nina and Maggie) you come to learn about the warped relationship between the two, and what happened to arrive at this situation. There a flashbacks that are actually necessary, and give much needed context to each character’s mind sets when everything is happening.

There is definitely a Mystery aspect to this novel, but it’s not a whodunnit. It’s more trying to figure out who did what, and WHY. Each new bit of information sways the blame in one direction and then back. There’s no knowing everything that happened until the very end. There were some minor mysteries I figured out, but Mars did a great job of burying the lead with all the major questions.

The characters were also written so well. Maggie adjusting to her imprisonment and accepting her sentence (but not completely) and Nina rationalizing her decision to chain her mother in the attic for 2 years. Neither character is very morally grey. Both have made serious mistakes, and it’s so fun to to see the relationship between them change and warp and grow. However, the ending absolutely stunned me. You’ll have to read it to find out what happens!

Trigger warning: abuse, neglect, physical violence, domestic abuse, elder abuse

Book Review – Magic For Liars

Title: Magic For Liars

Author: Sarah Gailey

Publisher: Tor

Publication date: June 4th, 2019

336 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life. She has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

Review

I recently read Sarah Gailey’s newest book, When We Were Magic, and LOVED it. I wanted to read another book of theirs because I loved their writing style, so I chose Magic For Liars. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it as much as When We Were Magic, but it was pretty good.

Ivy Gamble is a Private Investigator who is being tasked with a murder investigation at her twin sister’s magic school. Ivy herself has no magical abilities (a fact that she tries desperately not to be salty about). There’s no love lost between her and a her sister, but she is itching to break out of the cheating husband’s game and work her first murder investigation. When the plans goes anything but personally, Ivy has to figure out in who’s best interest it is for her to solve the case…

One GIANT pro to Sarah Gailey’s writing is the level of absurdity that I’ve noticed in the first chapter. They throw something so completely mind-blowing and shocking in that you end up being instantly hooked. In this book, it is how the women who was murdered, was murdered. It is insanely interesting to me how they hook readers, so I will continue to go back for more.

Sarah’s writing style is also very trippy and it flows spectacularly well. The descriptions and care taken to bring the reader to really get a visual of what’s happening is prime and very much appreciated. The plot structure is easy to hold onto and creates a natural rhythm. Also, the mystery aspect of the book wasn’t super easy to figure out. The storyline keeps you guessing as new clues emerge.

However. I did not connect with Ivy as a character at all. She came across, to me, petty and self serving. She wasn’t particularly redeemable as she lied to her love interest, and only connected with her sister in order to get information about the murdered woman. Also, I would have loved to understand the magic system more. To be clear, the magic system was by no means the central aspect of the plot, in fact it didn’t have much to do with it until the end since Ivy is nonmagical. But I always love a story with a clearly defined and explained magic system.

For those reasons, I didn’t enjoy Magic For Liars as much as I had hoped to. I’m positive there are others who will immensely enjoy it for the reasons that I did not, which is one of the great parts of this community!

Happy reading, folks!

April Wrap Up!

Hello again, friends!! It is already the last day of April and I lament the end of this month that was almost completely spent indoors, whether at work or at home. I have never been a huge outdoors person, but my body is desperately missing the ability to go places and just hang out. I also seem to be going through a bout of insomnia, which the internet says could be due to a lack of natural light… but the weather’s been so bad here that I haven’t been able to spend time outside! I am yearning to take a chair outside and read but nooooope not fun in almost daily rain.

Anyway, that’s how my month has been going. I’ve been reading, but it’s been a struggle and I haven’t wanted to read anything I planned to read. (Spoiler alert I did not read everything on my April TBR!) I did however manage to read 18 books this month, but 6 of them were very short, fluffy, Kindle Unlimited books – because it’s what I needed in my life at that time.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – 4/5 stars
  2. Magic For Liars, Sarah Gailey – 3.5/5 stars
  3. Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #1), Laini Taylor – 5/5 stars
  4. House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig – 4/5 stars
  5. Well Met, Jen DeLuca – 5/5 stars

NETGALLEY EARC’S

TBH I really only wanted to read books on my phone/iPad this month for some reason… I wasn’t interested in physical books at all! So strange for me, because it’s normally always the opposite! Oh well, it was good for my Netgalley ratio!

  1. The Girl with the Whispering Shadow (The Crowns of Croswald #2), D. E. Night – 4/5 stars
  2. Chasing Lucky, Jenn Bennett – 5/5 stars
  3. What Lies Between Us, John Marrs – 4/5 stars
  4. By the Book, Amanda Sellet – 3.5/5 stars
  5. A Taste of Sage, Yaffa S. Santos – 4/5 stars
  6. The Circus Rose, Betsey Cornwell – 4/5 stars

EARC FROM AUTHORS

  1. Last Memoria (Memoria Duology #1), Rachel Emma Shaw – 5/5 stars

KINDLE UNLIMITED

  1. Love at First Fight (Geeks Gone Wild #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  2. My Virtual Prince Charming (Geeks Gone Wild #2), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  3. Once Upon a Comic-Con (Geeks Gone Wild #3), Maggie Dallen – 3.5/5 stars
  4. Playing the Enemy (The Trouble with Tomboys #1), Maggie Dallen – 4/5 stars
  5. Play to Win (The Trouble with Tomboys #2), Stephanie Street – 4/5 stars
  6. Playing the Field (The Trouble with Tomboys #3), Christina Benjamin – 3.5/5 stars

So that’s that! All 18 books I read this month! I have also revamped my plans for my TBR moving forward, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s post!

Happy reading folks!

eARC Review – The Murder List

Title: The Murder List

Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publisher: Forge Books (Macmillian – Tor/Forge)

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

352 pages

5/5

Goodreads Synopsis

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Review

Hello friends! Back again with an eARC review for you from Netgalley! Special thanks to Netgalley and Forge Books for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

OH. MY. GOD. Ya’ll I stayed up half the night finishing this book. I loved every moment of this book and I had to give it ALL the stars. If I had more than 5 to give I would. The characters, the writing, the plot, the twists and turns – all of it was so suspenseful and gripping.

Rachel North is a law student at Harvard who has been assigned to her summer internship in her husband’s (also a lawyer) arch nemesis’ office. He is a defense attorney, she works for the DA’s office – it’s not the recipe for friendship. Now Rachel is working for the enemy, and Jack is not a happy camper.

This book follows Rachel’s journey in her internship, along with how it affects her marriage. Also, it dives in to the past to set up the events of how she met her husband and first became acquainted with her new supervisor, Martha. Through the deep dive into the past, you have this mystery evolve related to jury duty, murders, trials, etc. The book will keep you guessing up until the very end, where any of the character’s could be the culprit. Ryan gives you just enough information at each interval to keep you coming back for more.

This book is my definition of a good thriller/suspense novel. I related to all the characters, became invested in their story, and was totally shocked at the end how it all played out. It is the perfect murder mystery novel and if you are a fan of Lisa Scottoline, you should definitely pick this one up. Props to Ryan for putting together a book that flows through the past and present SO well. I’ve got no critiques, zero.

This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Do yourself a favor, and go pick it up.

Happy reading, bookish friends!