Review: Where the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes

Where the Dead WaitWhere the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As you can tell from the 2-star rating, Where the Dead Wait was a disappointment for me. It’s my first time reading Ally Wilkes and honestly, I just don’t think their style is for me.

I’m thankful for the audiobook actually, because I may not have made it through otherwise. The narrator was great, as he somehow made his voice delivery just pompous enough to match the writing.

I won’t discuss the plot, as I had to reference the Publisher’s synopsis numerous times in order to figure out what was happening. I’ll let you read that for yourself.

I came here for Winter Horror, and yeah, I mean that was here, but it was so far buried under details and blah, blah, blah, that it wasn’t enjoyable for me. IMO, it’s overwritten.

I can’t stress enough how much I wanted it to be over…

With this being said, I recognize that I am being fairly snarky right now, and it’s most likely not 100% warranted, but I need to be honest about my experience. Otherwise, what are we all doing here?

Our experiences with books are completely subjective though, so just because this didn’t work for me, DOES NOT mean it won’t work for you!

If you read the synopsis and it sounds intriguing, pick it up. You could end up finding a new favorite Arctic Horror novel here, and if you do, I encourage you to come back and tell me how wrong I am.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Even though this didn’t work for me, I never write off an author after only one book ((pun intended)). This one just didn’t suit my tastes. Nevertheless, I would be interested in checking out more work by Ally Wilkes.

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Review: Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series #2) by Erin La Rosa

Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series, #2)Plot Twist by Erin La Rosa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Sophie Lyon is a Romance author with a big problem: Writer’s Block. After the great success of her first book, Sophie is truly struggling to get her second completed by the Publisher’s deadline.

There’s so much pressure, and she just can’t think of a way to finish it. Out at a karaoke bar one night, blowing off some steam, Sophie has too much to drink and has a breakdown with the mic in hand, confessing she’s never been in love.

The unflattering moment is caught on camera and goes ridiculously viral. How can Sophie write Romance novels if she’s never been in love?! It makes her look like a big fraud.

In an effort to get out ahead of it, and save her reputation, Sophie comes up with a plan to confess the truth on TikTok. Then she will meet up with all of her exes and talk to them about why their relationship didn’t work out.

First of all, great content. Secondly, Sophie is hoping that something in this process will help to break her Writer’s Block, and bring her closer to finishing off her novel.

Dash Montrose is from a successful Hollywood family. He’s a former teen heartthrob, who has since distanced himself from the limelight.

Dash’s sister, Poppy, is Sophie’s best friend. Dash also happens to be Sophie’s landlord. When he learns what Sophie is attempting to do, he offers to help her with her social media presence, as TikTok is a platform he is well-versed in.

Of course, he doesn’t tell her the reason he knows that platform so well is because he is a successful anonymous online crafter…

In fact, Dash has a lot of things he hides from the world and his family. The biggest being his struggles with alcoholism and the fact that he has been sober for the last 18-months.

There’s a lot of pressure within his Hollywood royal family, and he just tries to steer clear of stirring up any scandal. He lives a quiet life now, a bit of a recluse, and Sophie’s energy is sure to shake that up.

Will Dash be able to handle helping with Sophie’s exes project, while keeping a firm grip on his new found sobriety? It’s definitely a risk.

Nevertheless, the two form an unlikely secret alliance. As they grow closer, feelings and attraction begin to come into play.

Plot Twist is a solid Romance story, which plays off a friends-with-benefits scenario. This is the 2nd-book in Erin La Rosa’s Hollywood series, but you do not need to read Book 1 in order to read this one.

These are companion novels and nothing will spoil Book 1 for you if you read this one first. The MC in this novel, Sophie, is the sister of the MC, Nina, from For Butter or Worse.

I do like Contemporary stories that follow fictional celebrities. I know not everyone is crazy about that, but I find their lives interesting. The different issues that arise when someone has a certain level of fame always feels engaging to me.

Therefore, the Hollywood setting of these novels attracts me. I also enjoyed that Sophie was a author who was struggling. Her career wasn’t painted with rose-colored glasses, and Dash’s wasn’t either.

This turned out to be heavier than I was expecting, so I would caution Readers, if you are looking for a light, fun read, this may not fit the bill for you. While it does have some fun, flirty elements, the issues, particularly that Dash is going through, are fairly heavily.

Alcoholism and struggles in recovery aren’t something to be taken lightly and feel like La Rosa does a good job of representing that here, as best as can be done in a Romance story. Because of the serious topics though, it does bring down the overall tone of the story.

If this makes sense. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with tackling serious topics in a Romance novel, I just want Readers to be aware prior to picking this up.

Firstly, for the triggers, and secondly, just to rein in expectations. The cover looks so light and fluffy, I feel like it could lead to a mischaracterization of what this is all about.

I did enjoy learning about both Sophie and Dash’s characters. Additionally, I liked them together, although it did feel a bit too instalove for me. I was very surprised at how quickly things escalated to a point where I felt like that had been communicating for 2-days and then were hopelessly smitten with one another.

I did enjoy this one a bit more than the first book, which is why I decided to round up my rating. I am a Reader who enjoys some serious topics brought into my Contemporaries, so that aspect worked for me.

I also had fun watching Dash and Sophie work together on her exes project. They even go on a road trip where there ends up being a forced proximity element that was nice and sexy.

There’s definitely some steam in this. Not the exact type that I tend to go for, but it wasn’t bad. I only cringed a couple of times. Depending on your kinks, it could end up working well for you.

Thank you to the publisher, Canary Street Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was entertained. Iff there are more books released in The Hollywood Series, I would def check them out.

I actually would love for Poppy to get her own installment!

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Review: The Rosewood Hunt by Mackenzie Reed

The Rosewood HuntThe Rosewood Hunt by Mackenzie Reed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Lily Rosewood’s family life is quite complicated, but billions of dollars will do that to you. Oodles of wealth is a tricky thing to navigate for most people.

I know it seems like it would make life grande, but ask any fictional character with an inheritance at stake, and they’ll tell you that’s far from the truth.

Lily dreams of one day running the family company, Rosewood, Inc. Her Gram, the current head of the company, has promised to teach Lily everything she’ll need to know to successfully take over one day.

When Gram dies suddenly though, Lily’s life is turned upside down. Gram wasn’t just the head of the company, she was also the formidable figurehead of their family. It was so unexpected. Lily can hardly believe it’s true.

Then Gram’s Last Will and Testament is read, and Lily definitely can’t believe that’s true…

There’s no mention of the vast family fortune; a purported quarter of a billion dollars. What? Like it’s gone? The money is missing? How could that be?

As everyone is left scratching their heads, one last cryptic letter from Gram sends Lily, along with three other teens, on the treasure hunt of a lifetime. When news of Gram’s missing fortune goes public though, outsiders join the hunt and they’re not messing around.

Soon the teens are dodging dangers left and right, as they try to be the first ones to discover the hiding place of the vast Rosewood fortune. This could change their lives, or end them. Who will win the Rosewood Hunt?

I’ll admit, it did take me a little time to commit to this one. The set-up is rapid fire. You really have no time to get to know Gram, you just learn through Lily’s musings that she was this clever lady, who enjoyed puzzles, invisible ink and things like treasure hunts.

It sort of made me wish someone would have set her up with the elder Hawthorne from The Inheritance Games when they were both alive. It seems like they would’ve really hit it off, like plotting ways to send their basically disinherited loved ones on wild goose chases for cash…

About a quarter of the way in was when I really started to sit up and pay attention. Two other teens, Leo and Quinn, were also pulled into the hunt by Lily’s Gram and I found the dynamic amongst the three teens very fun.

Lily’s best friend, Miles, also becomes part of the action and I enjoyed him as well. Lily’s cousin, Daisy, on the other hand was a total jerk, which I didn’t really understand. Eventually the contention in their relationship was explained, but something about it didn’t feel genuine to me.

Either way, I did vibe with the cast of characters overall and the way they worked together was entertaining. They weren’t really friends going into this, so it gave it a bit of an unlikely allies feel, which I enjoyed.

It gets pretty wild. Once the outsiders swarm into town hunting the treasure the danger level amps up considerably. There are break-ins, car chases, it’s a lot. Lily definitely fears for her life, and I did too!

Through all of it, the teens start showing each other more of their true selves and they really start to bond. I think that was my favorite aspect of the whole story, the Found Family element that Reed ultimately creates. Lily feeling like she finally had friends, it filled my heart.

Most of these characters, their families were pretty crappy, so having each other to rely on meant a lot to them.

The pace hits warp speed towards the end, as a ton of new information is revealed. I enjoyed the way it wrapped up. Overall, a satisfying inheritance story. The Rosewood Hunt was a game I won’t soon forget. That’s for sure.

While it may not go down in history as one of my favorite YA books, it was still hella entertaining, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from Mackenzie Reed.

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Teen, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m so happy I finally made the time for this one. It was worth it!

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Review: The Hike by Lucy Clarke

The HikeThe Hike by Lucy Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Maggie, Liz, Helena and Joni have been a fabulous foursome for a long time. The women have history, friends since childhood, who have stuck together through thick and thin. Even when life took them in unexpected directions.

They’ve been good about keeping in touch and even have a tradition of taking trips together, just the four of them. It’s a great way to reconnect and recharge.

Their most recent excursion is going to take them far from the beach trips they are used to though. This time around, the women are heading to the majestic mountains of Norway to go hiking.

A hiking trip!? Some of them are more prepared than others, but let’s be honest, none of them are truly prepared for a serious trek through the mountains. Nevertheless, they persist and head for the wilderness.

This is a little slow to start, as we’re introduced to the different ladies and get the scope on their current life status, as well as their relationship to all the other women.

There are some strong personalities in the group, but they seem to all get along for the most part, and provide a lot of support and encouragement for one another. But no friendship group is perfect, and this one has it’s cracks.

In addition to interpersonal dramas, dangers on the trail are many; some of them coming in the most unexpected forms.

Clarke took this story in directions I definitely wasn’t expecting, and you know what, I really enjoyed it. She succeeded in keeping me on my toes and entertained.

When the women travel to Norway, they stay in a small town adjacent to their trailhead the night before they set-out on the anticipated 4-day hike. It’s there we meet some of the locals, and we do end up following some of the local drama, as well as the perspective of one of the local men.

I was surprised when we got that perspective, and initially it seemed a little odd and out of place. Clarke did bring it around and tied everything together fairly seamlessly in the end. Although, admittedly, I did have trouble differentiating between a few of the male characters.

For me the highlight of this book is the relationships amongst the women and the fact that they undertake this crazy hike. I love hiking and being out in nature, so that also tends to be something I have fun with in fiction.

There’s a lot of time to think on the trail, and if you’re with other people, a lot of time to talk and bond. I think these women were in over the heads and the pressure starts to show early. That brought out some issues that needed addressing, and boy do they get addressed.

While this did start slow, the pace steadily increases throughout. By the end, it’s going top speed, as you try to ascertain who’s going to make it out alive!?

This is the second novel that I have read from this author, the other being One of the Girls, also a girls getaway story. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as OOTG, but this has definitely solidified Lucy Clarke as a go-to author for me.

If you enjoy Travel Thrillers, or stories that involve female friendships, you should definitely give this one a shot. It’s exciting, intriguing and made me want to go to Norway even more than I already did. Job well done by Clarke.

Thank you to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m seriously sorry it took me so long to get to it.

It was a trip!!

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Review: Behind the Door: The Dark Truths and Untold Stories of the Cecil Hotel by Amy Price

Behind the Door: The Dark Truths and Untold Stories of the Cecil HotelBehind the Door: The Dark Truths and Untold Stories of the Cecil Hotel by Amy Price
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Behind the Door: The Dark Truths and Untold Stories of the Cecil Hotel is a Memoir written by Amy Price, who was the manager of the Cecil for a decade.

I really enjoyed this. As memoirs go, I feel it was quite interesting and it kept me engaged. I completely understand why Amy felt compelled to share her story.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with this historic L.A. property. While I knew that the hotel was considered a haunted place, steeped in dark history, including as the place the Night Stalker was staying during the time of his killings, I really knew nothing else about it.

I learned so much and have a new appreciation for the complicated purpose and history of this hotel.

If you arrive with this book in your hand and you are expecting a strict True Crime story, maybe focusing on the infamous case of Elisa Lam, you may be disappointed, because that is not what this book is.

Amy was the manager of the hotel during Elisa’s stay, and she does discuss it, but it is by no means the focus of this books. It is one amongst many tragic stories that Amy watched first hand play out and relays here.

As mentioned above, I completely understand why Amy would want to tell this story. Particularly after the Netflix documentary on the Lam case released. I think it was easy for people to sort of vilify Amy as the person in charge, and say she should have done more when Elisa was exhibiting unusual behavior.

But I feel like when you hear the greater context of the hotel, its function, it’s location, the types of things that happened there on an all too regular basis, you’ll come to maybe understand that Elisa’s behavior really wasn’t that unusual at the Cecil. It was just another day.

I wasn’t reading this for the Lam case, so I didn’t mind that it wasn’t focused on. I was reading it more for the history of the hotel and what it would be like to work there.

Amy delivered those things to me very well. I walk away with a better understanding of this property that has become as infamous as The Overlook in pop culture.

Thank you to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was a quick read, and a fascinating glimpse into a place I will most likely never see first hand.

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Review: Dungeons & Drama by Kristy Boyce

Dungeons and DramaDungeons and Drama by Kristy Boyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dungeons and Drama is truly adorable. It made my nerd heart so happy and left me wanting more from this author!

This YA Romantic Comedy features a fake dating trope and lots of cute, fun and witty character moments.

In this story we follow Riley, a theater girl, who gets busted taking her Mom’s car without permission to go see a show in the city. With her best friend in tow, the girls take the risk, and sadly, don’t get away with it.

Riley gets grounded. She’s allowed no extracurriculars and as extra punishment, she has to start working at her Dad’s game store after school.

She’s barely ever set foot in the store and has no interest in games. All Riley cares about right now is getting the High School Spring Musical, currently canceled due to budgetary considerations, back on.

Her life is a mess without the possibility of the Musical. She can hardly think of anything else. Well, there’s a few other things she thinks about: her uncomfortable relationship with her Dad, her ex-boyfriend succeeding in all things theater and the fact that he’s driving her nuts.

A new co-worker at the store, cute and shy boy, Nathan, could be exactly what Riley needs. She convinces him to pretend they’re into one another. Her ex now thinks she’s moved on and the girl that Nathan likes is suddenly more interested in him, eaten up with jealousy because of Riley.

All is going to plan, until Riley realizes that flirting with Nathan is no longer much of an act. Have her plans gone too far? Is she falling for the D&D boy at the game store?

This book was so lovey. I read it in a day and got completely swept up in the story. I loved both Riley and Nathan. They were both incredibly earnest and naive, but in a way that felt natural to the story and works for the YA-genre.

I also enjoyed exploring Riley’s relationship with her Dad. As a child of divorce, who lives with her Mom, Riley has felt sort of abandoned by her Dad. He’s not a bad person, you can tell how me he loves her, but their communication at the start isn’t great.

I loved watching the time they spent together at the store have such an impact on the way they communicated with one another. I felt like that development was just as satisfying as the romantic portions of this story.

But yeah, the romance was pretty sweet. It was just so cute, I can’t think of another way to describe. I was crushing right along with Riley. Nathan is a pretty special guy.

I loved how he got Riley to join his D&D group; which was one of my favorite parts of this story. She ended up really enjoying it and was even able to channel some of her musical talents in her role as a bard.

I think as far as YA Rom-Com stories go, this has to be one of my faves. I feel like it was just really well executed. The character work was fantastic and I loved the messages and themes explored throughout.

I would definitely recommend this to any YA Contemporary Reader, particularly if you are a fan of RPGs, or the theater. This was a perfect blend of those things for me!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’m really looking forward to reading more from Kristy Boyce.

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Review: Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter Mystery #2) by Annelise Ryan

Death in the Dark Woods (Monster Hunter #2)Death in the Dark Woods by Annelise Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death in the Dark Woods is the 2nd-installment to Annelise Ryan’s Monster Hunter Cozy Mystery series.

This series features cryptozoologist and specialty bookstore owner, Morgan Carter, who helps investigate mysteries that may be linked to potential cryptid activity.

The beauty of this series is that it combines two of my very favorite things: creepy vibes and cozy mysteries.

I really enjoyed the 1st-book, A Death in Door County, when I read it last year and was looking forward to going on more adventures with Morgan and her lovable dog, Newt.

While that first story featured a potential lake monster, in this one, Morgan travels a little farther from home to help investigate possible Bigfoot sightings.

Specifically, the Bigfoot sightings have occurred around the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest area of Bayfield County, Wisconsin. When a man is found dead, with an injury to his throat not thought to be cause by a human, a local warden, Charlie, calls Morgan for help.

Morgan is excited that her cyptid hunter business is finally getting some traction after gaining notoriety following the lake monster case. She’s more than happy to assist Charlie.

Nevertheless, Morgan is a skeptic at heart, so it’s gonna take solid proof for her to claim a Bigfoot is responsible for the fatal attack they’re investigating.

Morgan and Newt travel there and meet up with Charlie, who introduces them to their comfortable temporary lodgings, and then they get straight to work.

Morgan immerses herself in the small town, questioning numerous people about their experiences and opinions when it comes to the area’s Bigfoot legends.

It’s true that some claim to have seen Bigfoot type creatures, but that’s not the only thing Morgan uncovers. She reveals a trail of secrets and lies that could end up having more to do with the recent murder than anyone seems to be suspecting.

As the pressure starts to build, will Morgan and Newt be able to sniff out the killer before they strike again, or could Morgan end up being the next victim?

I had so much fun with this. I actually enjoyed it even more than the 1st-book. I loved that Morgan was traveling away from home, and that she was sort of inserting herself into this new place and digging around, trying to figure out whatever she could.

I loved learning about the local area along with her and meeting the various colorful characters of the small town.

Jon Flanders, the Police Chief, who asked for Morgan’s assistance in the 1st-book, appears in this one as well, as their relationship has continued to grow.

There have been some sparks between them and I love the way the chemistry is continuing to build. They both have some traumas in their past, so I like that it’s moving slowly, at a pace that seems realistic. It makes sense.

I also liked the dynamic between Morgan and Charlie. Charlie, as the local girl, has her own very strong opinions on the Bigfoot legends and I liked how Morgan didn’t let Charlie really sway her one way or another.

The highlight for me though is definitely the relationship between Morgan and Newt. I absolutely adore and appreciate the way that Ryan writes their connection.

As a Dog Mom, who frequently spends the majority of a book worrying about any doggie characters who may be involved, it was so nice to just sit back and enjoy the fact that Newt got to participate in pretty much everything Morgan does.

And I never worried about him! You can tell that Annelise Ryan is a dog person, and I just knew that she wouldn’t take it anywhere uncomfortable. It was freaking great!

At this point, I’m not sure what the long-term plans are for this series, but I really hoping for more books. There’s so much left to explore with Morgan, both as far as potential cryptid mysteries, but also with her personal life.

I am properly attached to Morgan, Newt and even Jon. Keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be getting news of a 3rd-book soon!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I recommend this to Cozy Mystery fans. It’s a unique series and a lot of fun. I’ve never read anything quite like it!

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Review: Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Didn't See That ComingDidn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Didn’t See That Coming is a companion sequel to Jesse Q. Sutanto’s 2022-YA Rom-Com, Well, That Was Unexpected, a book I loved with my whole freaking heart.

It ended up being my favorite Romantic Comedy of that year, and in fact is probably my favorite ever. In fact, I stated in my review that I would fall on a sword for it. I stick by that.

I just want to get it out of the way early that I am a huge Jesse Q. Sutanto fan. If you frequently read my reviews, you probably know this already, and may even be sick of hearing me singing her praises.

Too bad, I say, because if she keeps cranking out wildly-enjoyable stories like this, those praises are going to continue raining down for a long time to come.

In this book we are following Kiki, who is the cousin of Sharlot, the leading lady from Well, That Was Unexpected. Kiki is attractive and popular, just your typical teen girl in Jakarta, except Kiki has a secret.

She’s a fabulous gamer, but no one in her real life really knows how good she actually is. After running into hugely sexist attitudes in the gamer community, Kiki changed her username to one where all of her teammates and opponents will think she’s one of them, a bro.

Playing anonymously has allowed her to just play, instead of having people treat her differently because she is a girl. She’s even made some good friends, in particular, one boy whose username is Sourdawg.

When Kiki’s parents make her transfer schools to an elite private school, her world is flipped upside down. Once the popular girl with a horde of IRL friends, Kiki is now at the bottom of the pecking order.

The school’s golden boy even singles her out, gives her the atrocious nickname of Crazy Kiki and ends up harassing her every day. It’s terrible. Kiki can’t believe that the other kids just sit back and let this little despot control them all.

She ends up turning to her now normal interactions with Sourdawg for comfort during this difficult transition period. Then the unexpected happens. As it turns out, Sourdawg, who she thought lived in an entirely different country, actually lives in Jakarta and goes to her new school!

But who is he? And what will he do when he finds out that Kiki is Kiki, a girl! He’s opened up to her, thinking she was just a bro. It’s too late for her to come clean, she’s in too deep. He’ll hate her. This throws Kiki into a tailspin, as over the months, she’s fallen for him hard.

I really enjoyed my time with this story. It had actually been so long since I first read the synopsis, I had forgotten that it was a companion novel. I was very happy to be with Kiki again, because I thought she was so dynamic and fun in Well, That Was Unexpected.

I listened to the audio and highly recommend that format. The narration was very well done and brought Kiki to life for me. I felt like I was listening to her tell me her story.

Additionally, this ended up being a lot more than a light and fluffy Rom-Com. It surprised me the level of thoughtful substance Sutanto brought to the page.

I would love to hear Sutanto talk about her inspiration and process for this one. As I feel like this story, as far as the gaming elements, the sexism experienced as a female player, really came from the heart. I’m left wondering how much of her own experiences she channeled into this.

Sutanto’s signature humor and style were still here on full display, but it also tackled some fairly serious topics. I feel like Kiki’s story, read at the right time, by the right Reader, could hit real hard.

Overall, I found this to be a super cute, engaging story of a girl trying to find stability and her place in an entirely new landscape. The romance was well paced and I’m so happy with the ultimate outcome.

I’d love to see another companion novel in this series. The setting of Jakarta is fun and I love just this entire group of characters. I definitely think there are more stories to tell among this group of young people!

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Review: The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club #4) by Richard Osman

The Last Devil to Die (Thursday Murder Club, #4)The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Last Devil to Die is the 4th-installment in Richard Osman’s wildly-popular Cozy Mystery series, The Thursday Murder Club, following sleuthing retirees.

This is the most emotional installment yet, and I’m left wondering, if this is a Cozy Crime Mystery, why am I crying!?

The answer is simple. It’s because of the way Osman writes his characters. I feel like it would be impossible to read this series, and not come to love Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim, like they’re your own grandparents.

I absolutely adore them. The humanity and humor that is brought to these stories brings them to life in a natural and engaging way. It’s so enjoyable.

In this installment, one of Stephen’s old friends, Kuldesh Sharma, an antiques dealer, is killed. Shot in what looks like a professional hit. Shocking to say the least.

Unable to let a good murder pass them by, the Thursday Murder Club decides to investigate. Who would want to kill dear old, Kuldesh? It doesn’t make sense.

This multilayered mystery is fun and fast-paced. There’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of characters. We’re thrown into a world of oft-corrupt antiques dealers, art forgers, and most entertainingly, believe it or not, heroin dealers.

In addition to the mystery, I feel like with each installment we are given more info on the backgrounds of our MCs. We get to know them a little more with each mystery.

I loved seeing Joyce come into her own in this one, as Elizabeth is preoccupied with some personal issues. Joyce really stepped up to fill the void and it was nice to see how much her confidence has grown since the 1st-book.

We also learned more about Ibrahim and got some insight into his past. It was touching to see him feel comfortable enough to open up in the way he did here.

As you can tell from the above-statements alone, these books are about so much more than just the murder mystery. Small note of advice before you dive into this one, be sure you have some tissues handy.

I’m actually not sure what the plans are for this series. I’m hoping this isn’t the last book. There were some aspects of this that felt conclusive, but there’s still a lot of life left to live for these characters, nonetheless.

If you haven’t started this series yet, let me assure you, the hype is real. You don’t want to miss out on this!

I definitely recommend these to anyone who enjoys Cozy Mysteries, character-driven stories, or stories following older characters. Just be prepared to feel things…

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Review: I’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto

I’m Not Done with You YetI’m Not Done with You Yet by Jesse Q. Sutanto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Jesse Q. Sutanto has rapidly become one of my favorite authors in the last few years. I’ve read 9-novels from her and IMO, she has excelled in all three major genre spaces: Middle Grade, YA and Adult. That’s impressive.

She’s a freaking unicorn!

I’m Not Done with You Yet is an Adult Psychological Suspense novel. At it’s heart, it’s an intense story of a toxic friendship.

I thought it was fun and incredibly well-plotted. I flew through it so quickly. I just couldn’t put it down!

In this story we mainly follow, Jane, a midlist writer, who is presently not exactly stoked with her life. Her marriage is passing, at best. Her career is essentially nonexistent and she feels like she is living a life she doesn’t want.

Reflecting back on her best times, her happiest times, Jane always thinks about the start of her Creative Writing program at Oxford, and of Thalia. So much Thalia.

The girls were growing very close that first year. Thalia’s friendship had a huge effect on Jane, but eventually other people started to get in between them.

Then on one particular night, tragedy struck and Thalia and Jane were there for one another. Jane assumed surviving this trauma would draw them closer together, but it actually had the opposite effect.

Thalia abruptly left school and Jane never heard from her again. Years have passed and Jane has never been able to track Thalia down. She’s like a ghost.

That is until the day Jane spots Thalia’s name at the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. And that’s the only breadcrumb she needs.

From there, Jane easily discovers Thalia will soon be attending a Book Con in NYC. Jane will stop at nothing to get herself into that Con.

Even if it means selling her worldly-possessions in order to get funds enough to make the trip. Even if it means making up a fake story to sell her husband on the idea. Even if it means dragging along said husband, who she can barely stand most days. She’s going.

Jane is excited about her mission. She’s going to find Thalia again and once she does, she’s never letting go.

Y’all, this is such a wild ride. There are a few different layers, including past and present timelines. The present, described above, provides the impetus for the main events. The past perspective follows the friendship, from their first meeting, until that final fateful night at Oxford.

The back and forth between the two timelines, beautifully builds out the bigger picture of this relationship. I was absolutely hooked. It’s so intriguing.

Sutanto writes obsession incredibly well. In a way that makes you uncomfortable, yet you can’t look away. Even though her thoughts were messed up, I was drawn to Jane. I was so willing to go on this journey with her.

The twists kept coming and as Part III began, I was floored. There was a reveal that I didn’t see coming, not from a mile away. I think Sutanto had completely lured me into thinking everything was a steadfast, linear course to a particular ending, but life is rarely that way, is it?

These characters were really well done. Not just Jane and Thalia, but also the side characters, including Jane’s husband. They felt believable.

This story kept me on my toes and engaged the entire way through. I thought it was fun that we got to follow two writers, who were at different levels of their career. This does discuss publishing a bit and I was curious how much of Sutanto’s own experiences she brought to the page here.

I do feel like I enjoyed the present timeline a little more than the past, but everything included in the past perspective was necessary in understanding what was happening in the present. Obviously, Sutanto knows what she’s doing.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a twisted and intense story of toxic friendship. Bonus points if you enjoy stories with a college setting, or stories that include insight into the publishing industry.

If you follow my reviews at all, it’s no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Jesse Q. Sutanto. I will continue to pick up every single thing she writes. Keep ’em coming, Jesse!!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am really enjoying Sutanto in the Adult space. There’s nothing she can’t write!

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