Review: The Vanishing Hour by Seraphina Nova Glass

The Vanishing HourThe Vanishing Hour by Seraphina Nova Glass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Kira has a missing daughter. Aden has a missing father. Grace was a missing girl once. These individuals have something else in common, Rock Harbor, Maine.

Welcome to Rock Harbor, a quaint tourist town with a seedy side. The drug scene is rampant, strip clubs and sex workers lining the streets and it seems everyone is keeping secrets.

When Kira’s daughter Brooke wanted to move to Rock Harbor to live with a boy she used to know in the summers, Kira was completely against it. But Brooke is technically an adult so she couldn’t stop it.

After Brooke disappears, Kira returns to the family cabin to begin the search herself. No one else will search for her daughter like she will. They’ll consider her a runaway, or worse, a throwaway.

When Aden hears his father has disappeared, he doesn’t believe it. Surely Dad has gone fishing or something and forgot to pass the message along to Mom. 70-something year old men don’t just go missing, do they?

Even though he suspects it’s a big fuss over nothing, Aden dutifully returns to his family home in the town he happily left years before, Rock Harbor.

From the safety of the cocoon she has built for herself in the hotel she runs, Grace knows nothing of the missing people. It’s the off-season, there are no guests and she’s not talking to anyone on the outside.

Since her own horrifying experience as a missing person, Grace avoids all media outlets and really, the outside world in general. She very rarely leaves the hotel grounds.

As the Reader, you get a front row seat as these three individual’s lives are set on a collision course with one another. Who will survive the vanishing hour?

I was entertained by this one. It drew me in and I finished it quickly. While it isn’t my favorite from this author, I would recommend it to Readers who enjoy stories with a gritty small town feel, full of dark secrets, deceptions and lies.

We get to see the underbelly of Rock Harbor in this story and it’s not pretty. Also, a great example of how monsters can hide in plain sight.

Initially, I felt a little thrown by the number of perspectives. I wasn’t sure how they were related, or how they would ever be able to merge in a meaningful way.

Glass succeeded in pulling it off. I felt like I really got to know our three mains and surprisingly, I was equally invested in all three of their stories, which was a plus.

In addition to enjoying watching the perspectives come together, I liked watching their relationships evolve. As they saw a similar plight in one another, and began to open up to one another, I felt that really added to the story.

Also, I always enjoy amateur investigators and this story definitely has that!

There were some twists I found surprising and some that I was a little underwhelmed by. I did like how this one wrapped up though. It was a wholly-satisfying ending.

I will say, as someone from Maine, this didn’t feel like Maine at all, like not at all, but I understand artistic license and know that the author intended this as a fictional town.

So, I tried to pretend it was just somewhere else entirely. It felt more like the red light district of Montreal to me.

Overall, besides the fact that I was thrown by the setting, it was a pretty entertaining read and I would recommend it to people looking for a twisty, suspenseful tale.

Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am looking forward to more from this author!

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Review: The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon

The Revenge ListThe Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

In The Revenge List we follow Frankie Morgan, a single-woman living in Portland, Maine, who works as a Project Manager for her Dad’s construction company.

Frankie has had some difficult times in her life, beginning with the hit-and-run accident that killed her Mom when Frankie was just a teen.

Since that time, things have snowballed. Now Frankie finds herself a barely functioning adult, filled with anger, guilt and growing list of regrets.

It doesn’t matter where she is, or who she is dealing with. Frankie has a short fuse and zero restraint when it comes to her reactions. There’s no take a deep breath and count to ten in her playbook.

After an explosive incident at work involving a very important client, Frankie’s Dad is fed up. Her temper is having a major impact on their family and their business.

As luck would have it, a woman he is friendly with leads a local anger management group. It is arranged that Frankie will start attending; required, not requested.

At her first session, one of the tasks is to create a list of people to forgive. People who have angered her in the past that she will now forgive. Even though she thinks it a little silly, Frankie goes along with it and records her list in her favorite notebook, the one with sunflowers on the cover.

In the events of the evening that follows, Frankie sort of forgets about the list. It was just an exercise, it doesn’t mean anything, but then the list goes missing.

Shortly thereafter, individuals on her list start getting injured in very bizarre ways. At first, after the first one or two, Frankie thinks it must be a coincidence, but three? And it’s starting to get closer to home?

Is Frankie losing it, or is someone actually targeting the people on her forgiveness list?

Desperate to get to the bottom of it before it’s to late, Frankie begins to investigate the harmful incidents. Things get wild and crazy from there. Trust no one.

I had a lot of fun reading this. I had been looking forward to it for a while, having really enjoyed previous works from Hannah Mary McKinnon.

I enjoyed the choices that McKinnon made in telling this story. For example, it felt refreshing to have just one-POV.

I feel like for the past two or three years, the vast majority of stories that I’ve read have featured dual, or multiple, POVs. And while I love that, I also liked getting the chance to just ride out this entire narrative with Frankie.

I felt like because of that choice, I genuinely got to know Frankie’s character and it felt important to hear it all from her. It gave great insight into the reasons why she was the way she was. It made her actions make sense.

In some ways, she’s not a super likable person, but I felt myself really empathizing with her and connecting with her. She’s like that friend who you love, but who always makes the stupidest choices and you just want to grab her by the shoulders and shake the heck out of her.

The best part about Frankie’s journey was watching the growth she made as a character. I wasn’t expecting much in that regard, but I loved how McKinnon gave her room to learn and change.

When you first meet Frankie she is bogged down in her anger. It literally feels like she is being crushed by it. It’s palpable. As she evolves over the course of the story, you can feel that weight dropping off. It was impressive to me how McKinnon was able to capture that feeling so well.

As far as the overriding plot went, I was super intrigued in the first half. I had no clue what was happening. Then there was a bit of a shift and I felt like the answer was then obvious, but I was still invested in following along with Frankie as she got the evidence she needed.

I would say it’s a slow-burn story, but the tension does continue to build throughout. Additionally, it gets bat-poop crazy at the end, so be prepared. Grab your popcorn and be prepared to yell at the book. I did.

And the ending!? Don’t even get me started. I mean, I can’t say anything, but like, Hannah!? Hannah Mary McKinnon!? What the?

It made me so devilishly happy, but also…

Overall, I had a fun time with this one, I really did. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. I also feel like this one is going to stick in my head for a while.

Thank you so much to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait for more from this author!

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Review: No One Needs to Know by Lindsay Cameron

No One Needs to KnowNo One Needs to Know by Lindsay Cameron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The residents of Manhattan’s exclusive Upper East Side neighborhoods, are no strangers to drama. One might say, the bigger the money, the bigger the drama.

Looking for an anonymous place to vent and share their deepest, darkest secrets, as well as occasional search for advice, residents turn to an app; as you do nowadays.

It’s called UrbanMyth and the promise is that it is 100% anonymous. No matter what you post, no one will ever be able to link it back to you.

That sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

In this story, we’re following three different perspectives, Heather, Norah and Poppy; all women who live in the UES and have children at the Crofton School.

I don’t want to give any details of the drama that unfolds amongst these women, as it is really fun to watch the sh*tshow unfold right before you eyes. Just know, it’s high octane, 1% problems, with twist after jilted twist.

As the interactions between the women and their families are reaching a fever pitch, hackers break through the walls of UrbanMyth, tearing them down and exposing all users.

After the hack, as long as you have a person’s email address, you can find everything they ever posted on the app. When an UES-parent disappears, the local law enforcement find this hack quite useful.

Will any of our ladies be caught red-handed blabbing about their evil misdoings?!

It’s no secret that I love stories involving rich people drama, so No One Needs to Know had a really great shot of making me happy, and it did!

It’s such a quick, fun read, especially if you are also down for some secrets and drama. I loved the use of mixed media to tell the story.

Cameron included various posts from the UrbanMyth app, as well as correspondence involving the lead investigator of the UES-parent’s disappearance.

I also really enjoyed the anticipation of getting to the crime. I didn’t know for quite a while who, or what, the investigation was going to be into. There were so many different possibilities with all that was going on.

I thought once the crime/mystery was revealed, it was fun watching everyone scrambling around. I couldn’t tell if they were covering up something regarding that, or just other various secrets they were trying not to have exposed.

It was genuinely an addicting storyline.

Additionally, I found the conclusion to be immensely satisfying. Cameron knew just what I wanted in the end.

Overall, this is a great popcorn suspense, that will keep you turning the pages well into the night. Don’t expect to fall in the love with the characters, but if you enjoy being a fly on the wall watching people’s dirty laundry be aired, you should definitely have a good time with this one!

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

This is the first I have read from Lindsay Cameron, but I am definitely looking forward to picking up more of her work.

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Review: Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

Before She Knew HimBefore She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Before She Knew Him our action kicks off with the meeting of two couples. Hen and Lloyd have moved to a new neighborhood outside of Boston. As they are settling in, they become friendly with their neighbors, Matthew and Mira.

At an evening get-together at Matthew and Mira’s house, Hen spots something on their customary tour of the house that jogs some negative memories. What seems like a standard, inoffensive sports trophy to others, is something much more in Hen’s mind.

The trophy is for fencing, a sport Matthew admits he doesn’t participate in. He got it at a yard sale, so he says. The fencing trophy reminds Hen of a boy from her old neighborhood who was murdered.

In fact, that boy went to the very same school that Matthew teaches at. Is there a connection? Hen knows a lot about that case and she definitely suspects that there is.

Unable to get the trophy and the dead boy out of her head, Hen returns to the house later to get another look at the trophy, but it’s gone. Thus begins this sensationally-plotted cat-and-mouse story, with twists at every turn.

I don’t want to say any more about the plot, because I wouldn’t want to spoil even the tiniest bit of this story.

I bought this when it was released in early-2019. That was the last time I read the synopsis, so I went into this with no preconceived notions about what this story was about. I loved how it unfolded. OMG, I was glued to this.

I listened to the audiobook and the narration was fantastic. It felt like a perfect match to the characters and the story, bringing life to every chapter.

It had a modernized-Hitchcock vibe and I loved the use of multiple character perspectives to add depth and logic to the plot. It was fascinating getting both Hen’s and Matthew’s sides of what was going on simultaneously.

Their character’s musings and motivations worked so well in contrast to one another. It build-out the story in such an incredible way, IMO.

With each chapter, I felt the plot was progressed beautifully. There’s no wasted time, or words. You are steadily building towards the shocking conclusion.

I was so invested in this and did not see the ending coming. I loved how this one wrapped up, it really gave me a nice full-circle feeling. Overall, I was impressed with this, enjoyed it way more than I expected and I cannot wait to pick up more from this author!

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Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing GirlsAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


All the Missing Girls is Megan Miranda’s most reviewed work and also one of her earlier novels. I feel like I have had it on my TBR forever.

Published in 2016, I have had countless people recommend this novel to me. It’s about time I got around to it.

I decided to listen to the audiobook and am so glad that I did. The narration by Rebekkah Ross is fantastic and made this story come alive for me.

The standout feature of this is the unconventional format. I loved how Miranda chose to tell this story. People had mentioned this to me before, so I am not exposing anything new here, but this story is sort of told in reverse.

Let’s see if I can paint an accurate picture. You get some info at the beginning that sets the stage. Mainly, our MC, Nic, returning to her hometown after a decade.

The the next thing you know, you’re at day 14, a lot has happened, but what happened in the interim??

Then you get day 13, day 12, day 11 and so on, until all is revealed in a beautifully-paced fashion.

I thought the mystery elements were well done. You have the past disappearance of Nic’s best friend, Corrine, but you also have a current disappearance of a woman named, Annaleise. Nic has always been haunted by Corrine’s disappearance, so that is at the forefront of her mind throughout the book.

The relationship work was well done too, particularly the relationship between Nic and her brother, as well as Nic and her ex-boyfriend, Tyler.

I also enjoy how Miranda gave us info surrounding the time that Corrine disappeared when they were teens.

It was challenging to sort of train the brain to think through the events in the sequence they were being revealed. It definitely kept me on my toes, which was fun. I actually wouldn’t mind reading it again to see if I can find even more of the connections on the second go.

Some of the choices seemed odd, like how Nic’s brother treated her. I am still sort of confused about their relationship. It’s complex and offered me a lot of layers to think through, but at times his choices as far as interacting with her seemed really strange to me.

The same thing goes for her fiance, Everett. Maybe he was just a jerk, I don’t know. Although, honestly, Nic is no angel either…

Overall, I had a great time reading this. I love Miranda’s creativity and the level of drama she brings to her stories. There are always a ton of secrets just waiting to be revealed.

I’m here for it!

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Review: The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

The SoulmateThe Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The Soulmate is the latest release from the Queen of the Whiplash Reveal, Sally Hepworth. As I quickly rediscovered with this story, Hepworth likes to keep you shook.

In this story we mainly follow Gabe and Pippa, a married couple with a beautiful cliffside home. Unfortunately, that cliffside sometimes attracts people with unsavory intentions.

Gabe has talked people off that ledge more than once. In fact it has happened so often they’ve even received coaching from the local police on the proper steps to take when they encounter a possible jumper.

Because of this, when they spot a woman on the ledge one day, it seems almost natural for Gabe to go out and approach her. To try to help.

Pippa is initially watching her husband talking to the woman. She hopes he’ll be able to talk her back from the edge. Pippa turns her head, just for a moment and when she looks back, the woman is gone, Gabe’s arms left reaching into empty space.

As the inquiry into the woman’s death begins, it is revealed that Gabe actually knew her, unbeknownst to Pippa. What was said on the cliff that day? Did Gabe have a motive to push her? If so, what could it possibly be. Pippa is hurt, scared and confused. The couple has no secrets, do they?

I listened to this audiobook in one day. Once I started, I was quickly pulled into this web of ever growing secrets and reveals. It was impeccably told.

Hepworth drew me in from the start with a fascinating premise and an interesting couple. Pippa and Gabe were so glossy on the surface, but I just knew there was more to them both than was initially revealed. Boy, was I right!!

I love how Hepworth frames her stories. The pace and reveals are so much fun, you cannot help but be sucked into the lives of her characters.

This is the third novel I have read from this author and I have felt that way about every one of them. The plots are just so compelling, it’s almost impossible to stop. Every chapter leaves you wanting more; more answers, more drama, more revelations. It’s a whole experience.

I would absolutely recommend Hepworth’s work to anyone who enjoys twisted Domestic Dramas with enough scandals, lies and secrets to keep your head spinning.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I had a ton of fun reading this and look forward to whatever wicked web Hepworth is going to spin for us next!!!

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Review: A Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates

A Flaw in the DesignA Flaw in the Design by Nathan Oates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A Flaw in the Design follows Gil, a creative writing professor at a small, liberal arts college in Vermont. Gil lives with his wife, Molly, and their two daughters, Ingrid and Chloe.

They have a rather peaceful life; typical family stuff. That is until Gil’s sister and her husband are killed in a car accident, leaving their teenage son, Matthew, an orphan. Since Gil is the boy’s Godfather, and closest living relative, they agree to take him in and Matthew joins their family in Vermont.

At this point, you may be thinking things like, oh nooooo, what a tragedy, poor Matthew. You also may be thinking that Gil would welcome his nephew with open arms; like, of course he would lovingly take him in. He’s family.

But, no, you would be wrong on all accounts. Not poor Matthew, not loving Uncle Gil, zero open arms, forget everything your instincts tell you to think.

The truth is, Gil can’t stand his nephew. He thinks Matthew is a spoiled brat. Actually, it’s worse than that, he thinks Matthew is evil. They have a history, going back for as long as Gil can remember he has seen a wickedness in Matthew.

After an incident at Matthew’s parents Montauk estate, Gil had essentially written him off. Not just Matthew, but his sister and her husband as well. Gill called out Matthew on some unsettling behaviors and his sister refused to believe him. They didn’t see much of each other after that.

Regardless, Matthew’s legal team is fairly insistent, the boy needs to go live with them in Vermont. The buck stops with Gil. Speaking of bucks, now may be a good time to mention that Matthew’s parents were exceedingly wealthy. We’re talking tens-of-millions of dollars wealthy.

It’s all Matthew’s now. Through a series of Trusts, Matthew will live comfortably for the rest of his life and some of that may just trickle down to Gil and his family. A small detail the professor can’t ignore.

After Matthew moves in, Gil is extremely uncomfortable. He’s not being fooled by Matthew’s charming ways. He knows what the boy is capable of and he’s not letting down his guard for a moment.

As Matthew begins to win over his wife and his daughters, Gil becomes even more desperate for people to see what he sees. It becomes a bit of an obsession.

Matthew can tell his Uncle is on the brink. He likes to push. He’s happy to play with the exceedingly unnerved professor, but is it all just a game, or is Gil actually right?

This was a lot of fun to read. The tension is real. It’s a true Psychological Thriller. I was impressed with the character work and the depths to which Gil’s musings, suspicions and subsequent obsessions were explored.

Matthew was such an interesting character as well. Your quintessential rich bad boy, playing fast and loose with everyone around him. I loved the back-and-forth. It has a real cat-and-mouse vibe, but in an interesting way.

The further I progressed in the story, the more I started to second guess what was happening. Who really is the cat, who really is the mouse, or do we have a cat-cat situation happening? What’s up, what’s down?!

I made certain assumptions. I believed what the characters were telling me, but was I wrong? Was this an unreliable narrator situation? Side note, I still love an unreliable narrator. It never gets old for me.

You could cut the tension with a knife throughout this story and I loved the ending. I know the ending won’t be for everyone, but for me, it left a wicked little grin on my face and nothing makes me happier than that.

My only slight critique was that I felt like there were certain sections that dragged a little for me. Anything that didn’t involve Matthew directly, I was sort of rushing through to get back to the present action.

With this being said, overall, I really enjoyed this. It was so well plotted and the intensity was super fun and engaging.

I am definitely looking forward to picking up more from this author in the future. I walk away impressed.

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

This had me at the edge of my seat. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a smart, edgy, head-spinning Psychological Thriller.

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Review: The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

The Writing RetreatThe Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Picture it: you’re an aspiring writer, you’re maybe down on your luck, you’re stuck in a dead end job and then you get offered the opportunity of a lifetime.

Your favorite author, we’re talking a person whose words you have read since childhood, who has had a lasting impact on your life…

…oh, sorry. I got too much into my own head there for a moment. Anyway, this author, a ground-breaking author of feminist horror, is hosting a writing retreat for five up-and-coming female authors.

Thousands have applied. Few are chosen. You are chosen. Sure, it’s due to a technicality, but you’ll take it!

This is amazing. You get to travel to her mansion in a remote location and do nothing but write for an entire month. It’s the chance to finish a novel and be published.

Rein in your expectations though, this is a competition and every other writer there wants it as much as you do. It’s going to be a cut-throat endeavor.

Do you have what it takes to survive The Writing Retreat?

Y’all, The Writing Retreat was a journey for me and not necessarily a great one. Starting out I was intrigued by the set-up. I liked how quickly Bartz got us to the retreat, which is the focus of the story after all.

I liked meeting all of the women involved, including the infamous author, Roza Vallo. The setting is lovely. I definitely could picture it and felt the isolation and claustrophobic, creepy feel in my gut.

It’s fairly clear from the start that not all is going to go as expected for these women. This isn’t a casual, write when we feel like it, sort of place. Roza is intense as heck and has certain expectations of the women she has extended this opportunity to.

I liked how the author built the tension. I was suspicious of everyone. There were so many different occurrences that quite literally got under my skin, however, over time I began to fall out of love with all that was happening here.

I expected the interpersonal drama, which will always happen with a group of unrelated women living together under one roof, and frankly, I was living for that. The topics explored definitely went in directions I wasn’t expecting. This got darker than I anticipated, but I do love dark fiction.

I guess where I started to disconnect from the novel was jarring plot twist after plot twist after plot twist. Each one crazier and more OTT than the last. Unfortunately, each consecutive twist brought it farther and farther away from the realm of likability for me.

Let it be known, and if you’ve followed my reviews for any amount of time you know, I am generally a fan of OTT. This toed the line of, dare I say, ridiculous though for me.

I applaud the author for taking risks, that takes a lot of daring. I enjoyed the writing style very much, as well as the initial set-up, atmosphere and character work, but the plot just wasn’t for me

With this being said, my personal opinion should not keep you from picking this up. There are a ton of rave reviews and you could be one of them. If the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, absolutely give it a go.

Further, I really did enjoy the writing style and construction of this story. I will definitely be picking up Bartz’s next novel. I am sure it will be equally as surprising and creative.

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

I definitely recommend this one to fans of claustrophobic feeling, OTT-Thrillers!

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Review: Bright and Deadly Things by Lexie Elliott

Bright and Deadly ThingsBright and Deadly Things by Lexie Elliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bright and Deadly Things is the latest release from Lexie Elliott, one of my go-to authors. I was so excited for this release and it did not disappoint.

This story follows Emily, an Oxford fellow, who recently lost her husband and is battling overwhelming grief. As she is getting her life back on track, she gets an offer to attend a retreat at the Chalet des Anglais in the French Alps.

This is a bit of a tradition for Oxford fellows and scholars. It’s looked on as a ‘reading week’, where they can go and engage in any academic pursuit they so choose. They live in the Chalet together, drink, dine and engage in what are hoped to be enlightening discussions.

Of course, when you get a bunch of adults living together under one roof, you’re also sure to get a lot of drama.

Also attending are Emily’s BFF, Jana, as well as other friends and coworkers of her and her late-husband’s. There are also a few students, who although Emily doesn’t know them personally, all seem interesting enough.

Most interesting is a girl named Sofi. The kind of girl who all eyes go to when she enters a room. She seems to be the black sheep of the bunch, but is sure to add some entertainment value and a bit of uncomfortablity as well.

Just prior to the trip, Emily walked in on an intruder who had broken into her house. Even though nothing was taken, she’s left rattled by the encounter. Later she hears her office building was broken into as well.

As her time in the French Alps begins, she cannot shake the feeling that someone is after her, or spying on her, or worse. Is it just nerves, brought on by grief and the break-ins, or is it something more?

Bright and Deadly Things had a great set-up. I really enjoyed meeting Emily and going on this journey with her. The rest of the cast were very intriguing as well.

When it starts to feel like someone is after her, messing with her really, I suspected everyone of having it in for Emily.

I really couldn’t suss out who could be behind the mysterious occurrences. I also considered a Murder on the Orient Express scenario; that’s how well Elliott disguised the truth behind what was happening.

You might be wondering, what is the actual mystery here, is there a murder, etc. I don’t want to go into any of that specifically, as I feel it’s best to go into this one knowing as little as possible.

I will say that it is a whole host of things that contribute to a general overriding feeling of dread and anxiety. Here they are at this very remote location, cut off from the world with no phones, wifi, or even electricity. Tensions run high in a competitive academic environment and feelings, amongst other things, are bound to get hurt.

I was really feeling for Emily. A lot of the things happening to her are quite scary. I don’t know what I would have done in her shoes; probably would have just kicked some butt and asked questions later.

One of my favorite things about Elliott’s writing is her deep sense of place. You always know where her stories are set, the environment, local area, vibe, etc. All these aspects are an important part of her storytelling and I love that.

Honestly, I always want that. I want to be able to feel like I am there too, right along with the characters, no matter what they are going through.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable reading experience for me. I always enjoy Lexie Elliott’s writing style. Her sense of place, character work and slow-burn suspense is very well suited to my tastes.

I was pulled into this one from the beginning. I was invested all the way. Elliott kept me in the dark enough to keep me engaged and guessing throughout. I also liked the light ‘is it supernatural, is it not supernatural’ vibes.

The setting and academic atmosphere were great as well. This takes dark academia on a bit of a field trip. We live.

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to see where Lexie Elliott takes us next!

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Review: Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra

Such Pretty FlowersSuch Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

‘Get it out of me.’

That was the last text Holly ever received from her brother, Dane. She was out with friends, dancing, drinking, living it up. Her brother was ending his life.

Holly is overwhelmed with grief and guilt in the days following the discovery of Dane’s mutilated body. She knew he was struggling with his mental health. She feels guilty for not being more available to him.

Running through events in her mind, Dane’s tumultuous last months, Holly begins to suspect that his suicide isn’t as straight-forward as everyone believes. Seeing her brother’s mysterious and beautiful girlfriend, Maura, at his funeral does nothing to quell those fears either.

In fact, it only makes her suspicions grow.

Determined to figure out the truth behind Dane’s tragic death, Holly sets out to learn more about Maura and her relationship with Dane.

Holly befriends the younger woman and before long, circumstances allow them to spend a lot more time together. That’s when things begin to get weird; really weird.

Maura is a very successful florist in the Savannah area. She owns a gorgeous home, she’s so put together, but she’s also creepy as heck.

At first, Holly is drawn to her, attracted to her, but she’s also scared of her and she can’t quite pinpoint why. As their relationship grows, Holly begins to fear that she could turn out just like Dane if she’s not careful.

Compelling, addicting, eerie and creepy are just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe Such Pretty Flowers.

Anddddd while it wasn’t perfect, it definitely got my anxiety up and kept me glued to the pages!

I went into this under the mistaken idea that this was a YA-story, but it’s definitely not. It’s got more of a New Adult vibe. It gets pretty dark and graphic, even including some body horror, which I always enjoy. I was here for it.

It was also super suspenseful. You can tell that there is something going on with Maura. It was so interesting trying to figure out what. It also gets pretty stressful and intense, like in a Single White Female kind of way.

It’s like one of those intense feelings where you just want to shake the protagonist. Like, why are you making these crazy decisions, just get out of there!!

Holly was determined though. She tried so hard not to let silly fears overwhelm her, even when they didn’t seem quite so silly. Maura was just a girl, younger than her even, she had no reason to be intimidated by her…right?

Overall, I found this to be a clever and compelling work of Dark Fiction. There were a few areas that could have been explored a bit more, in my opinion, but I feel like this is still a solid, engaging story.

Thank you to the publisher, Bantam, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had a lot of fun with it and look forward to reading more from this author.

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