Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 kids. 1 asshat teacher. 1 room. 1 mysterious death.

Whodunit?

This type of set up is one of my all time favorite mystery tropes. It is so nostalgic for me, bringing back memories of family games of Clue, watching Murder, She Wrote with my Mom and reading Agatha Christie books on summer vacation. Add in the fact that this cast of characters is very similar to the stereotypical characters in the Breakfast Club and you have an equation for the perfect book for Meg!

I listened to the audiobook for this and it had different narrators for the main characters. They all did a wonderful job and I flew through this book. Even though I predicted the ‘whodunit’ portion less than halfway through it was just a hunch and I did not deplete my enjoyment of this at all. I could have easily been wrong but I am glad I wasn’t because it was such a great twist to a classic tale. Getting to the conclusion was pure fun and I never got bored or felt that it was dragging.

Each chapter is from the perspective of one of the suspects – one of the four kids left alive after detention – and each chapter ended in sort of incriminating new facts related to that character. It was really well done and a ton of fun to read! I think this is easily the best YA-mystery that I have ever read and my first Karen McManus book – I am so excited for her next book to be released. If it is anything like this one, it is going to be a heck of a good time!

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Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Publication Date: March 20, 2018     |     Rating: 5-STARS!!!

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is pretty much perfection in my opinion. This book exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I went into this book knowing two things: prep school for girls/mystery. This book is so much more than that. The novel is replete with a gothic atmosphere that transports you in time and place into the storyline. It is the perfect blend of mystery/thriller with extra special paranormal goodness sprinkled the whole way through!

The main portion of the story alternates back and forth between 1950 and 2014, following different girls/women in and around Barrens, Vermont, and more importantly Idlewilde Hall. I do not want to say too much about the story itself, as I wouldn’t want to risk giving anything away to potential readers. Just know this – I put off reading this book for many months. I don’t know why – I can’t explain it – it just kept getting shuffled down the ole’ tbr. Now, I can say, I am physically distraught at not having read this as soon as I got it. Okay – that may be taking it a little far but I do wish I would have picked it up immediately. I honestly do not have even one constructive criticism of this. Because of that this will be a very short review: This book is incredible. This book wants you to read it. This book will keep you up nights after…read it!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy to review. I apologize to you, as well as to myself, that I didn’t get to it until now. I am even going to run out and buy myself a copy so that I may read it again and share it with others – I love it that much!

Review: A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart

Publication Date: February 27, 2018    |    Rating: Solid 4-Stars!!!    |     Jane Lawless #25

I received A Whisper of Bones as an e-ARC through NetGalley. The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. It’s gorgeous. I love the colors…and it’s a mystery, one of my favorite genres. I failed to note however that it was #25 in a series; completely blinded by the cover…again. However, I kept it in mind and kept checking reviews to see if I could read it as a stand-alone. I certainly didn’t have time to go back and read 24 books in order to get myself ready for this one. I was so psyched when I discovered that this series, like many adult mystery series, do not need to be read in order; think Hercule Poirot, Murder, She Wrote, etc. You could definitely read this as a stand-alone so if you haven’t read any other books in this series, please don’t let that deter you!

Jane Lawless, our MC, is a restaurant owner and a PI who is hired in this case by a young woman named Britt Ickles. Britt is looking for answers about what happened to her cousin, Timmy, who she only met once when she was very, very young. The answers dwell with Britt’s two old Aunts, Eleanor and Lena, who live together in a boarding house they own. Jane goes undercover and rents a room at the house for her investigation. Aiding her is her best friend, Cordelia Thorn, who was my favorite character of the whole book! She is an over-the-top theater director who brings so much joy and humor to the story that I laughed out loud during more than one scene that she was a part of! I seriously would read an entire series of just Cordelia Thorn books…honestly, I think the world needs that. Needless to say, a whole cast of wonderfully drawn out side characters arose, deep family secrets were revealed and it kept me involved as a reader the whole way through.

Another great element in this book, which I was unaware of going in, is the strong LGBTQ+ rep going on here. Jane is a lesbian and we get to read about her complex relationship with her on again, off again girlfriend Julia. I feel like sometimes it can be hard to find solid LGBTQ+ rep in Adult lit, particularly in the mystery genre, so this was a welcome change of pace and I definitely plan to pick up more books in this series. The good news is I have 24 more books I get to choose from! So, if you love a good mystery with a fun and engaging cast of characters and a great, classic whodunnit format, you should definitely pick up this book!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with the opportunity to read this book and provide my feedback. I am confident other mystery fans will enjoy it as much as I did!

Review: The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

Expected Publication: March 13, 2018

“It’s like my mother’s death made this huge noise a long time ago. And this murder is the echo of it”

(3.5-stars rounded up to 4) The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty is an adult thriller following female protagonist, Harper McClain, who is a crime reporter in the city of Savannah. As female leads go, I really liked Harper; I found her to be smart and believable. Although haunted by a past trauma where she stumbled across the crime scene of her murdered mother, we learn how Harper’s whole life was shaped by that one event; how she used it to fuel her passions for writing and reporting. For me, the book didn’t really pick up until about 30% into the story. The introductory phase of the characters, the city and Harper’s early life seemed just a little too drawn out for my taste before ever getting into the main point of our story – the murder and subsequent investigation of a woman by the name of Marie Whitney. Once Harper started looking into Ms. Whitney’s death, and coming to the conclusion that there was more to the story than her police friends were letting on, the action really started to pick up. Overall, I enjoyed this story and would definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur for providing me with an early copy of this book – I am excited for the release date to see what other readers think of it!

 

Review: The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

Expected Publication Date: March 2018

*I received an ARC-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars – I had so much fun reading this book! Originally, I went into it thinking, historical fiction, but quickly discovered it is really so much more than that. The book does weave a bit of historical fiction into what is actually more of a modern day murder mystery. The main storyline takes place in Deeprath Castle, a very old (and possibly haunted) castle in the County Wicklow, Ireland, which has been in the Gallagher family for generations. Our protagonist, Carragh, is an archivist hired on to inventory the extensive historical library prior to the castle’s potential sale. There she finds not just books but mystery, suspense, gothic settings, a potential love match, long guarded family secrets and an unsolved murder that sees its investigation rekindled.

Throughout the book the chapters shift between present time, the late 1880s and the 1990s. In addition to Carragh, we meet a full cast of Gallaghers, as well as some outside players. I loved this aspect of the book and enjoyed watching the multiple generations of storylines eventually tie together. Many of the characters were extremely likable and I wouldn’t mind reading more about them in the future- particularly Aidan and Carragh- I know their stories can’t end here!

There is so much to love about this book and I am hoping that many, many readers get to enjoy it as much as I did – a big thank you to Ballantine Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

Status Update: The Darkling Bride

Hello book friends!  I just wanted to give a quick status update on my progress through The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen.  As I may have mentioned in a earlier post, I received an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher, Ballantine Books, in exchange for an honest review which has an expected publication date of April 2018.

I am currently just over 60% through this book.  I am loving it!  Originally, I went into the book thinking, historical fiction, but I have discovered it is really so much more than that.  The book does weave a bit of historical fiction into what is actually more of a modern day murder mystery.  The main storyline takes place in a very old (and possibly haunted) castle in the County Wicklow.  Our protagonist, Carragh, is an archivist sent to the castle to archive their extensive historical library.  There she finds not just books but mystery, suspense, gothic settings, a potential love match, long guarded family secrets and an unsolved murder that sees its investigation rekindled.

There is so much to love about this book and I am hoping that many, many readers get to enjoy it as much as I am once it is published in the Spring!

Review: Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright

Publication Date: 10/12/2017

Good morning bookworms!  Well, I finished Sitting Murder last night!  (after staying up way past my bedtime in order to do so – I regret nothing!)

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Endeavor Press, in exchange for an honest review. The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover – it’s beautiful! Luckily, this book is a lot more than a pretty cover. When I started this book I was not aware that this is actually book #4 of a currently 4 book series. I didn’t realize that until about a quarter way in – I loved the writing and thought, why have I never heard of this author before? This is really good. I look it up on Goodreads and that is when I discovered it is actually a full series. I did not feel that not having read the first three books I was missing any information – I think you could easily read this as a stand-alone story or read the earlier ones out of order. I definitely plan on seeking out the other books in this series.

The setting is in a small village in Victorian times which is quite gothic -something I love. You can almost feel the cold streets, the flickering candlelight and the hardships of the characters. There is a girl acting as medium, seances, a murder – what is not to love about all that? This was a completely enthralling mystery, classic in the sense of Christie or Sayers, complete with strong, smart detectives cracking the case. My only slight criticism would be that I wish there had been a bit more character development for some of the main characters, particularly Brennan and Jaggery; that is but a minor thing however and perhaps that is something that was taken care of in the earlier books. I am genuinely happy that I had the opportunity to read this book – thank you to Endeavor Press – I would definitely recommend Sitting Murder to anyone who loves a good mystery!

What are your favorite mystery writers?  I am always looking to discover new series in this genre – there is so much to love about them!

Status Update: Sitting Murder

Good afternoon guys & ghouls!  Sorry, I’m still a bit in the Halloween spirit – Last night I made a lot of progress in the book, Sitting Murder by A.J. Wright.  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher Endeavor Press in exchange for an honest review.

First off, the cover – that is what attracted me to this book; it’s gorgeous!  This is apparently book #4, in a currently 4 book series called the Lancashire Detective Mystery series.  This being said, I was unaware of the earlier books prior to starting this and I don’t feel that it is inhibiting my enjoyment at all.  I don’t feel like I am missing any pertinent information.

I have noticed there is not a lot of really strong character development – it is a pretty standard police procedural with the classic, whodunit, format.  However, it is a historical fiction mystery, being set in Victorian times which is fabulous!  I love the atmosphere the book has created thus far – it has such a gothic feel with a girl acting as a Medium, seances and a murder!  Seriously, what’s not to love!?

I was surprised when I checked on Instagram that there were no posts regarding this author or this series.  It is really well written, I wish it were getting a bit more attention.  You know I’ll be posting it once I am complete with a review – I am looking forward to finishing this one up!

Happy Reading!