All These Bodies by Kendare Blake

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

Description from the Publisher

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series and Anna Dressed in Blood, this new standalone crime thriller was in part inspired by the Charlie Starkweather murders and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Perfect for fans of Courtney Summers, Karen McManus and Holly Jackson. Set in the 1950s, we begin with a lone victim, found on his front porch with his throat cut and his body drained of blood. By the time it’s over, the Bloodless Murders leave a trail of sixteen bodies littered across the Midwest, with no suspects and no witnesses. Only questions: how were the victims chosen? Why didn’t they fight? And where, where is all the blood? Michael Jensen yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town life. When the Bloodless Murders come to sleepy Black Deer Falls, the only suspect in the case is found with them in the house that night: fifteen-year-old Marie Catherine Hale, unharmed but covered in blood. She claims the murderer abandoned her at the scene, and though her story is suspicious, no one believes her capable of committing the crimes on her own. When Marie refuses to talk to anyone but Michael, he agrees to record her side of the story. But how can he trust her confession when it calls into question everything that he holds to be true? Marie knows that her time is running out. But she chose Michael for a reason, and his search for answers gives her one last chance to tell her truth.  

My Review

This is my first time reading a book by Kendare Blake. While reading, I did forget that the timeline was set in the 1950s as there wasn’t much that created that setting. One of the main characters, Michael, seemed to be younger than he was supposed to be.

The story itself is more of a behind-the-scenes journalism project. There wasn’t much to the thriller component of this story. It read quickly and it was a good story but it wasn’t what I anticipated it to be.

Overall, I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this E-ARC through Netgalley from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Missing Hours by Julia Dahl

Publication Date: September 13, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

From the critically acclaimed author of Invisible City and ConvictionThe Missing Hours is a novel about obsession, privilege, and the explosive consequences of one violent act.

From a distance, Claudia Castro has it all: a famous family, a trust fund, thousands of Instagram followers, and a spot in NYU’s freshman class. But look closer, and things are messier: her parents are separating, she’s just been humiliated by a sleazy documentary, and her sister is about to have a baby with a man she barely knows.

Claudia starts the school year resolved to find a path toward something positive, maybe even meaningful – and then one drunken night everything changes. Reeling, her memory hazy, Claudia cuts herself off from her family, seeking solace in a new friendship. But when the rest of school comes back from spring break, Claudia is missing.

Suddenly, the whole city is trying to piece together the hours of that terrible night.

My Review

I am a fan of Julia Dahl’s other books and was so excited to see that she was releasing something new. I jumped at the opportunity to read an early copy of The Missing Hours. I am sorry to say that I was disappointed. Although the writing style did not disappoint, the storyline did.

The main premise of the story is a tough subject to tackle. Claudia as a main character wasn’t a likable one for me. Although I read this quickly, it felt a bit disjointed to me.

I could not give this book more than 2 stars.

I received this E-ARC from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Necklace by Matt Witten

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

The clock ticks down in a heart-pounding crusade for justice

Susan Lentigo’s daughter was murdered twenty years ago—and now, at long last, this small-town waitress sets out on a road trip all the way from Upstate New York to North Dakota to witness the killer’s execution.

On her journey she discovers shocking new evidence that leads her to suspect the condemned man is innocent—and the real killer is still free. Even worse, her prime suspect has a young daughter who’s at terrible risk. With no money and no time to spare, Susan sets out to uncover the truth before an innocent man gets executed and another little girl is killed.

But the FBI refuses to reopen the case. They—and Susan’s own mother—believe she’s just having an emotional breakdown. Reaching deep, Susan finds an inner strength she never knew she had. With the help of two unlikely allies—a cynical, defiant teenage girl and the retired cop who made the original arrest—Susan battles the FBI to put the real killer behind bars. Will she win justice for the condemned man—and her daughter—at last?

Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Harlan Coben

Optioned for film—with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer

My Review

This is the first book that I read by Matt Witten and after looking into the author’s biography and finding out that he was a writer for screen productions, I can see why this book was so atmospheric. I found myself envisioning the scenes clearly and getting absorbed into the plot.

Although the nature of the crimes of this book were troublesome and not for everyone, I was captivated by the story and was in it until the end. This story had twists and turns and led to many visible facial expressions that my family witnessed.

If you can stomach the content, I highly recommend this fast-paced read.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

A Library Reads Pick

June Jones emerges from her shell to fight for her beloved local library, and through the efforts and support of an eclectic group of library patrons, she discovers life-changing friendships along the way.

Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.

Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer’s feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won’t believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.

To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she’s determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.

My Review

If you are an avid reader than I would assume that you have a love of libraries. Although this book takes place in the UK, maybe libraries around the world are threatened with losing funding. This story is about one such library but it is about so much more than that at the same time.

The library itself is just a building but it is what happens inside of that building that makes the library so very important. I adored each and every quirky character in this novel and instantly connected with them in some way. The debut novel is top-notch and I can’t wait to see what else Freya comes out with.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward Audiobook and Physical Book Review

U.S. Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Description from the Publisher

Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking and immersive listen perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Haunting of Hill House.

“The new face of literary dark fiction.” —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

“The buzz…is real. I’ve read it and was blown away. It’s a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end.” —Stephen King

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Nightfire

Narrated by Christopher Ragland

“A chilling and beautiful masterpiece of suspense.” —Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2

My Review

If you don’t read any other part of my review but this, I would be okay. DO NOT READ SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK. GO INTO IT BLINDLY!

I was able to both read and listen to ARCs of this book and, in complete honesty, I preferred the audio version over the actual reading experience. The narrator did an excellent job distinguishing between the characters’ voices and with the physical reading experience, it did not have the same impact.

When you do pick this book up in any format, stick with it through the end. You may feel the need to not finish this book however, it does come together in the end. Trigger warnings are aplenty in this book. Without giving anything away, I can say that this was not my favorite read of this type of novel.

Overall, I gave the audio format 3.5 crowns and the physical version 3 crowns.

I received these ARCs from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

Publication Date: August 3, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

In the vein of the Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick The Other Woman, Sandie Jones’s explosive new novel The Guilt Trip will have listeners gripped to the very last chapter. A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

They went away as friends.
They came back as suspects.

Rachel and Jack. Paige and Noah. Will and Ali. Five friends who’ve known each other for years. And Ali, Will’s new fiancée.

The three couples travel to Portugal for Ali and Will’s destination wedding. Arriving at the gorgeous clifftop villa, the weekend away is a chance to relax and get to know Ali a little better. A newcomer to their group, she seems perfectly nice and Will seems happy after years of bad choices.

But when Rachel discovers a shocking secret about Ali, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them holds begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel.

In Sandie Jones’s explosive new suspense novel, jumping to conclusions can become the difference between life and death.

My Review

I have been able to read early copies of Sandie Jones’ latest releases and was excited to be approved for both the E-ARC and the Audiobook for this book.

I struggled with the audio of this book but I feel that it was because my focus wasn’t completely there. There were many characters that appeared at once and I had a hard time keeping them straight. Once I switched to the physical edition as was able to read it, I was fine. This was no fault of the narrator of the audio edition and strictly my own lack of attention.

The storyline was interesting as it dealt with adult topics that some may not want to read about. The characters did come off as a bit immature and obnoxious and this was not my favorite read from Sandie Jones. By no means was this a bad book, it had its twists and turns and startling conclusion. Overall, I gave this 3 crowns.

I received the E-ARC and the Audio ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Claimed by: J.R. Ward


Description from the Publisher on Goodreads

A heart-pounding new series set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, with a scientist fighting to save the timber wolves—and getting caught in a deadly trap herself…

Lydia Susi is passionate about protecting wolves in their natural habitat. When a hotel chain develops a tract of land next to the preserve, Lydia is one of the most vocal opponents of the project—and becomes a target.

One night, a shadowy figure threatens Lydia’s life in the forest, and a new hire at the Wolf Study Project comes from out of nowhere to save her. Daniel Joseph is both mysterious, and someone she intrinsically wants to trust. But is he hiding something?

As the stakes get higher, and one of Lydia’s colleagues is murdered, she must decide how far she will go to protect the wolves. Then a shocking revelation about Daniel challenges Lydia’s reality in ways she could never have predicted. Some fates demand courage, others require even more, with no guarantees. Is she destined to have true love… or will a soul-shattering loss ruin her forever?

My Review

I will not given anything away about J.R. Ward’s new book in this review. Yes, it does take place in the same world as the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and you may, like me, get a bit spoiled about some of the characters in that series if you, like me, are not up to date BUT… really isn’t that big of a deal if you read this before catching up with the previous series.

This was really a slow burn but I enjoyed the storyline. There was a bit of mystery and suspense with J.R. Ward’s intense romance. It left off on a cliff hanger and now I have to wait until Summer 2022 to see what happens. I guess this is the perfect opportunity to catch up a bit in the BDB series!

I gave this book 4 crowns.

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding

Publication Date: August 10, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

The bestselling author of the The Swap explores what happens when a seemingly perfect family is pushed to the edge… and beyond in this “propulsive, constantly surprising” (Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here) thriller.

Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home.

Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….

This twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending.

My Review

It has been a bit of time since I read a book so quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have read almost all of Robyn Harding’s recent backlist and they have all been 4 star reads for me. This particular book exceeded my expectations.

What is seemingly a “normal” family from an outsider looking in, there are secrets at every turn that can put the lives of each family member in jeopardy. The pacing of the storyline is fantastic and the story is relatable.

If you are looking for a family drama with suspense and thrills, pick this book up!

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom

Publication Date: August 3, 2021

Description from the Publisher on Goodreads

Northwest Washington State, 1985

For years, Harris Hayes has taught his daughter, Aggie, the ways of the northern woods. So when her mother’s depression worsens, Harris shows the girl how to find and sketch the nests of wild birds as an antidote to sadness. Aggie is in a tree far overhead when her unpredictable mother spots her and forbids her to climb. Angry, the ten-year-old accidentally lights a tragic fire, then flees downriver. She lands her boat near untamed forest, where she hides among the trees and creatures she considers her only friends—determined to remain undiscovered.

A search party gathers by Aggie’s empty boat hours after Celia, fresh off the plane from Houston, arrives at her grandmother’s nearby farm. Hurting from her parents’ breakup, she also plans to run. But when she joins the hunt for Aggie, she meets two irresistible young men who compel her to stay. One is autistic; the other, dangerous.

Perfect for fans The Scent KeeperThe Snow Child, and The Great Alone, Sugar Birds immerses readers in a layered, evocative coming-of-age story set in the breathtaking natural world where characters encounter the mending power of forgiveness—for themselves and for those who have failed them.

About the Author

For most of her life, Pacific Northwest naturalist, photographer, and award-winning author Cheryl Grey Bostrom, MA, has lived in the rural and wild lands that infuse her writing. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the American Scientific Affiliation’s God and Nature Magazine, for which she’s a regular photo essayist. A member of the Redbud Writers Guild, she has also authored two non-fiction books. This is her first novel. She currently resides near Lynden, WA.

My Review

This was an interesting read. As a debut novel, Sugar Birds is very detailed and well thought out. As a coming-of-age story, it was also well written. Each young character had to struggle to find their way and their place in the world. You can clearly see the peer pressure and uncertainty that Celia faces and deals with. Burnaby struggles with social cues and interactions in general as he is on the spectrum but he to finds his way when others arounds him adapt and do what is best for him. Aggie is a strong, determined, and brave young girl that lives with a falsehood that could kill her.

As this is classified as a fiction read for adults and I struggled with that as all of the main characters are young. I would have loved more of a backstory about Aggie and Burnaby’s parents as well as Grandma Burke. I felt that this was a bit young for my taste. This may do well for young adults and those that are in their 20’s but as a 40 year old reader, I struggled with the content.

Overall, I gave this book 3.5 crowns.

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

A young woman’s escalating obsession with a seemingly perfect man leads her down a dangerous path in this novel of suspense brimming with envy, desire, and deception.

“I inhaled Just One Look. I was going to read one chapter, then one chapter became the whole thing. YUM.”—Caroline Kepnes, New York Times bestselling author of the You series

Eyes aren’t the windows to the soul. Emails are.

Cassie Woodson is adrift. After suffering an epic tumble down the corporate ladder, Cassie finds the only way she can pay her bills is to take a thankless temp job reviewing correspondence for a large-scale fraud suit. The daily drudgery amplifies all that her life is lacking—love, friends, stability—and leaves her with too much time on her hands, which she spends fixating on the mistakes that brought her to this point.

While sorting through a relentless deluge of emails, something catches her eye: the tender (and totally private) exchanges between a partner at the firm, Forest Watts, and his enchanting wife, Annabelle. Cassie knows she shouldn’t read them. But it’s just one look. And once that door opens, she finds she can’t look away.

Every day, twenty floors below Forest’s corner office, Cassie dissects their emails from her dingy workstation. A few clicks of her mouse and she can see every adoring word they write to each other. By peeking into their apparently perfect life, Cassie finds renewed purpose and happiness, reveling in their penchant for vintage wines, morning juice presses, and lavish dinner parties thrown in their stately Westchester home. There are no secrets from her. Or so she thinks.

Her admiration quickly escalates into all-out mimicry, because she wants this life more than anything. Maybe if she plays make-believe long enough, it will become real for her. But when Cassie orchestrates a “chance” meeting with Forest in the real world and sees something that throws the state of his marriage into question, the fantasy she’s been carefully cultivating shatters. Suddenly, she doesn’t simply admire Annabelle—she wants to take her place. And she’s armed with the tools to make that happen.

My Review

Cassie is the female version of the infamous Joe from You. Cassie obsesses over most things in her life and Forest is just the latest person to cross her path. This book increased my anxiety a bit but I guess you can say that makes it a good read. If the reader is immersed into the story to the point where their anxiety increases, then the suspenseful classification fits.

I did get into the storyline although I did find my thoughts wandering a bit. The end threw me completely but was reminiscent of Caroline Kepnes’ works.

I gave this book 3.5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.