Book Review: I Didn’t Do It by Jamie Lynn Hendricks

I didn't do it book cover on a wooden backdrop with an open notepad nad black pen on the left, a bright yellow rose on the top left, a stack of papers torn from a book in the middle top, and a stack of books on mysteries and investigations on the top right.

cover278265-mediumTitle: I Didn’t Do It 
Author: Jamie Lynn Hendricks
Genre: Thriller, mystery
Date of Publication: May 23, 2023
Publisher Scarlet


Synopsis

A murder at a suspense writer convention makes everyone a suspect―especially the victim’s literary rivals. Murderpalooza, the premier thriller writers conference, is meant to be an exciting celebration of the genre and its preeminent writers. But when bestselling author and industry favorite Kristin Bailey is found dead in her hotel room, four rival authors―a midlister, an egomaniac, a has-been, and a newbie―also get targeted by an anonymous social media account and wonder if they’re next.

First, they find themselves bonding to try to find out who’s behind it. As the account taunts them, it slowly reveals secrets that each of them have connected to Kristin―secrets that make them a suspect in each other’s eyes. Soon, they are turning on each other and silently accusing each as a killer. With time running out until the awards ceremony where the social media account has promised a big reveal, the only thing they know for sure is that no one is better at both creating and solving a mystery than the people who write them for a living.

Jaime Lynn Hendricks gives the reader a thrilling peek into the thriller writing world and those that inhabit it in this gripping suspense novel.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

I Didn’t Do It takes course over just a couple of days at the popular “Murderpalooza”, a thriller author convention that writers attend for workshops, networking, and an awards ceremony. There’s always plenty of excitement and surprises, but nobody expects this year’s event to kick off with… a murder! 

This is such a fast-paced, wild ride. It’s told in first-person, present tense from FOUR character POVs. These are four authors who came to the convention, each possessing a unique voice, a compelling backstory, and a potential motive for murder. After Kristin Bailey, a famous author who’s up for a prestigious award, is killed, all four of them are suspects. They each have mysterious connections to the deceased. Not only that, but they’re all receiving mysterious text messages from someone who claims to know all their secrets. They have no choice but to unite and work together to try to figure out who the killer is, before one of them is targeted next. But what if the killer is one of them??? 

Continue reading “Book Review: I Didn’t Do It by Jamie Lynn Hendricks”

Advertisement

Book Review: Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates

Dead of Winter book cover in front of an open book held by a hand on a wooden backdrop, with a ruffled white blanket draped to the left, a black lantern and a black skull on the right

dead of winter cover webTitle: Dead of Winter 
Author: Darcy Coates 
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Date of Publication: July 11, 2023
Publisher Poisoned Pen Press 


Synopsis

From bestselling author Darcy Coates comes Dead of Winter, a remote cabin in the snowy wilderness thriller that will teach you to trust no one. There are eight strangers. One killer. Nowhere left to run.

When Christa joins a tour group heading deep into the snowy expanse of the Rocky Mountains, she’s hopeful this will be her chance to put the ghosts of her past to rest. But when a bitterly cold snowstorm sweeps the region, the small group is forced to take shelter in an abandoned hunting cabin. Despite the uncomfortably claustrophobic quarters and rapidly dropping temperature, Christa believes they’ll be safe as they wait out the storm.

She couldn’t be more wrong.

Deep in the night, their tour guide goes missing…only to be discovered the following morning, his severed head impaled on a tree outside the cabin. Terrified, and completely isolated by the storm, Christa finds herself trapped with eight total strangers. One of them kills for sport…and they’re far from finished. As the storm grows more dangerous and the number of survivors dwindles one by one, Christa must decide who she can trust before this frozen mountain becomes her tomb.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates is explosive and unputdownable right from the start! 

This isn’t one of those books where the plot gets bogged down by information dumps. The novel starts right in the action, expecting the reader to piece together information as the plot plunges forward. I appreciated this approach, though I did feel a little confused earlier on. Who is the main character? Why is she on this trip with her boyfriend? It didn’t take long for the answers to these questions to be revealed, and I was hooked! 

There are quite a few suspects in this locked room mystery. Most of them are quite unlikable, and I loved to hate them. All nine characters were cleverly crafted, each with secrets of their own, and I kept bouncing from character to character in my quest to figure out who was the killer. 

The heroine, Christa, is strong, yet vulnerable. Right at the beginning, her boyfriend, Kiernan, goes missing in the snowstorm. She’s determined to find him–despite the other survivors’ callous disregard for his life and safety. 

Continue reading “Book Review: Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates”

Book Review: My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine

Book cover on top of a rustic wooden background, surrounded by a little lit crescent moon, a buffy pillow, a buffy funkopop, and other cutesy vampire paraphernalia

My roommate is a vampire webTitle: My Roommate is a Vampire
Author: Jenna Levine 
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Comedy
Date of Publication: August 15, 2023
Publisher Berkley


Synopsis

True love is at stake in this charming, debut romantic comedy.

Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it’s a tough way to make a living. On the brink of eviction, she’s desperate when she finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood. Cassie knows there has to be a catch—only someone with a secret to hide would rent out a room for that price.

Of course, her new roommate Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is far from normal. He sleeps all day, is out at night on business, and talks like he walked out of a regency romance novel. He also leaves Cassie heart-melting notes around the apartment, cares about her art, and asks about her day. And he doesn’t look half bad shirtless, on the rare occasions they’re both home and awake. But when Cassie finds bags of blood in the fridge that definitely weren’t there earlier, Frederick has to come clean…

Cassie’s sexy new roommate is a vampire. And he has a proposition for her.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

My Roommate is a Vampire is a delightfully quirky romance. It’s a little slow to start, but the humour picks up as soon as our heroine, Cassie, meets her new roommate. Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is not at all what she was expecting when she answered the Craigslist ad. He’s painfully attractive and painfully awkward. He’s old fashioned and severe, but utterly clueless about how the world works. The reason for all of this? He’s a vampire, of course! 

The author makes good use of the reader’s double vision throughout the beginning of this book. We, as the reader, are fully aware that Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is a vampire, and we see all the signs, but Cassie remains understandably clueless. Frederick is quite literal, which adds quite a bit of the humour in the story. That said, while the book has funny parts, it’s never deliriously funny. 

Continue reading “Book Review: My Roommate is a Vampire by Jenna Levine”

Book Review: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six book cover on a rustic wooden tabletop, with a stack of old books on the left, and a lit old-fashioned candle on the right

Secluded Cabin Sleeps SIx book cover with blue fir trees and yellow textTitle: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six 
Author: Lisa Unger 
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Date of Publication: November 8, 2022
Publisher Park Row 


Synopsis

Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is a compelling thriller that centres around a fairly new premise: DNA tests, finding out your origins and where you come from. If you took a DNA test, would you be surprised by what you find out? 

This book follows several points of view and a couple of timelines, but it’s a testament to Lisa Unger’s writing style that I was never even slightly confused. First, we get the point of view of Hannah, who’s heading up to a secluded cabin getaway with her husband, her brother and his wife, and her best friend and her boyfriend. We also have the point of view of Cricket, her best friend. We also meet the owner of the cabin, and have numerous scenes from his point of view. Next, we have the point of view of a mysterious woman who’s watching them. Her chapters are the only scenes that are written in first person, an approach that I’m sure was intentional and was quite spooky–though I think that the author could have used this opportunity to mislead the readers about her identity and even gender. And finally, we have the point of view of a boy named Henry, starting from when he was a child twenty years ago. It’s very unclear how his storyline connects to present-day events, and while his chapters felt like merely filler at first, I quickly grew invested in what was going to happen to him. 

Continue reading “Book Review: Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger”

Book Review: The Alice Curse by Megan Van Dyke

The Alice Curse book cover on a wooden background, surrounded by vials, a quill, a chest, and a black book

Alice Curse book cover smallTitle: The Alice Curse
Author: Megan Van Dyke
Series: Reimagined Fairy Tales Collection # 3
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Date of Publication: April 25, 2023
Publisher City Owl Press 


Synopsis

Wonderland must always have an Alice, and Eliza Carroll is the next.

Eliza flees her parent’s political machinations only to stumble into another world and the arms of a man named Finn, who declares her the next Alice. Finn, nicknamed the White Rabbit for the form he can shift into, was sent to find the new Alice and bring her to court, for only she can declare whether Red or White reigns. Not to mention he’ll lose his head if he fails.

For Eliza to get home and Finn to survive, they’ll have to navigate two treacherous courts and their growing feelings for one another, while trying to unravel the curse that forces the Carroll women to journey to Wonderland. But a path to freedom for them both may be more than the magic of Wonderland can conjure…even for its new Alice.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

The Alice Curse is a clever reimagining of the classic Alice in Wonderland tale. It’s whimsical, yet dark and rife with compelling worldbuilding, romance, and political intrigue.

This book is told from two points of view. First, we get Eliza Carroll, a woman whose grandmother has just passed away, and she’s inherited her house. There, she meets Finn, our other protagonist, a white rabbit shifter who abducts Eliza and whisks her away to Wonderland. Her grandmother has passed on to her the title of “Alice”, and it’s her duty to choose who will reign over Wonderland–the red court or the white court. Both courts are vastly different, and both are extremely dangerous… 

Continue reading “Book Review: The Alice Curse by Megan Van Dyke”

Book Review: Death’s Touch by Mase Evans

Picture of book cover on a wooden backdrop. A toppled white vase with dark purple roses is pouring down the right of the book, a black skull is on the top left, and a paper bookmark of Wednesday Addams is on the left

Screenshot 2023-04-01 123154Title: Death’s Touch
Author: Mase Evans
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Date of Publication:  May 1, 2023
Publisher: Self-published


Synopsis

Thana is the strange sixteen-year-old girl who no one wants anything to do with. Everyone who looks at her sees the quiet gothic girl who hates the world and everyone in it, which is just how it needs to be. The only people who know the truth, that she can kill with just her touch, are her family members. So, she spends her days alone, and keeps her distance from everyone around her because it’s the only way to keep them safe.

At least, she does her best to until Chase comes around. Unlike the other kids at school who cast her skeptical, sideways glances in the hallways, or bully her over her appearance, Chase is the first to make a genuine effort to become her friend. And, as dangerous as that is, Thana has a much harder time avoiding him than she wishes she did.
She knows the risks of having a friend who she has to keep such a big secret from, but she’s never had a real friend before, and the companionship, and the way he’s able to so easily make her feel carefree and happy is something she’s never experienced in this way before.

But what happens if she gets too close to him?

What happens if she kills him?

Goodreads

My Thoughts

I devoured this spooky young adult romance in one sitting! 

Death’s Touch is the story of a girl whose touch means death. Everything she touches turns gray. She dresses all in black, wears gloves, and keeps to herself. Her favourite pastime is going to the abandoned houses near her neighbourhood and spending hours there, alone. But one day, she meets the new boy in school, Chase, who isn’t put off by her hostile manners and loner vibes. But can she even have a friend? And what if she wants something more? 

Continue reading “Book Review: Death’s Touch by Mase Evans”

Book Review: Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez

Yours Truly book cover on a wooden background, with a stack of romance books on the right, a yellow rose on the top, and a candle on the top left.

61918816Title: Yours Truly 
Author: Abby Jimenez 
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication:  April 11, 2023
Publisher: Forever 


Synopsis

A novel of terrible first impressions, hilarious second chances, and the joy in finding your perfect match.

Dr. Briana Ortiz’s life is seriously flatlining. Her divorce is just about finalized, her brother’s running out of time to find a kidney donor, and that promotion she wants? Oh, that’s probably going to the new man-doctor who’s already registering eighty-friggin’-seven on Briana’s “pain in my ass” scale. But just when all systems are set to hate, Dr. Jacob Maddox completely flips the game . . . by sending Briana a letter.

And it’s a really good letter. Like the kind that proves that Jacob isn’t actually Satan. Worse, he might be this fantastically funny and subversively likeable guy who’s terrible at first impressions. Because suddenly he and Bri are exchanging letters, sharing lunch dates in her “sob closet,” and discussing the merits of freakishly tiny horses. But when Jacob decides to give Briana the best gift imaginable—a kidney for her brother—she wonders just how she can resist this quietly sexy new doctor . . . especially when he calls in a favor she can’t refuse.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Abby Jimenez always manages to simultaneously make me laugh while tugging on my heart strings.

Briana is at the tail end of a nasty divorce after her husband of ten years cheated on her. Dr. Jacob Maddox is the latest hire in the ER where she works, but nobody seems to like him. The truth is, he suffers from severe anxiety, and the fact that he’s moved to a new workplace where he doesn’t know anybody and they all expect the worst doesn’t help. He makes a terrible first impression with Briana, and to apologize, he writes her a letter. What follows is a series of letters they leave for each other–at their lockers, on their charts, in the breakroom… Both Briana and Jacob have been unlucky in their pursuits of love, but maybe this time love will sneak up on them both.

Continue reading “Book Review: Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez”

Book Review: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Love Theoretically book cover on a light wooden backdrop, with a mug that says "Reading is Sexy", a stack of Ali Hazelwood books with "The Love Hypothesis" on the top, and a notebook with a blue, yellow, and pink pen, matching the colours of the book cover

61326735Title: Love, Theoretically
Author: Ali Hazelwood
Genre: Romance
Date of Publication:  June 13, 2023
Publisher: Little Brown Books


Synopsis

Rival physicists collide in a vortex of academic feuds and fake dating shenanigans in this delightfully STEMinist romcom from the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis and Love on the Brain.

The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.

Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And that same Jack who now sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job.

Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

Goodreads

My Thoughts

Another hit by Ali Hazelwood! 

My absolute favourite part of Ali Hazelwood’s books is how the books are set in academia, and this novel is even more academic than the previous ones. Typically with romance books featuring professors or researchers, the setting is secondary. But with these books, the setting really comes to life, and you can tell that the author has ample experience in this realm.  The university politics are all there—and for readers who think that the truth was stretched–it really isn’t. This is what it’s like in academia. Even the days-long interviews and the exhaustion that accompanies them. I don’t miss that! At least I got more than the one allotted bathroom break! 

Hazelwood writes awkward heroines, and Elsie is no exception. She’s spent her entire life adjusting her personality to fit the needs of whomever she’s currently interacting with. She doesn’t want to be seen as a burden, which stems from her childhood when she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Even now, her family overly relies on her to be the peacemaker, even when she’s interviewing for a top job at MIT! 

Continue reading “Book Review: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood”

Book Review: The Murder of Madison Garcia by Marcy McCreary

Book cover surrounded by a black skull, binoculars, beige flowers, a book stack, a chest, and a black crow figurine

The Murder of Madison Garcia book coverTitle: The Murder of Madison Garcia
Author: Marcy McCreary
Series: Detective Susan Ford #2
Genre: Mystery
Date of Publication:  March 28, 2023
Publisher: CamCat Books


Synopsis

Sometimes the truth doesn’t set you free—it gets you killed.

Detective Susan Ford notices a missed call on her phone from a number she doesn’t recognize, and when Madison García, a woman with past ties to the town of Monticello, New York, is found stabbed to death the next morning, Susan realizes that Madison was the one who had called her. But why?

Susan teams up with her father, retired Detective Will Ford, to find the killer, and their investigation soon threatens to uncover the García family’s secrets—an inheritance, accidental death, money laundering, extramarital affairs, and family rivalries, just to name a few—and they don’t appreciate the Fords digging into their business.

As the investigation twists and turns, the Fords discover that Madison was planning to confess to a long-kept secret, but someone brutally silenced her. Everyone she knew is a suspect. Anyone could be her killer.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

The Murder of Madison Garcia is a police procedural that effortlessly blends dry humor into a serious mystery plotline. 

I was absolutely thrilled to see the father-daughter pair teaming up again to solve yet another mystery! This book is told primarily from Susan Ford’s point of view. She’s got a cold, and she’s still going to work–but it’s okay since the book is set in 2019 and we didn’t know better back then! We also get to read diary entries written by Madison Garcia–the victim. They start off benign enough, providing insights into the side characters as they come up in Susan’s investigation, but they gradually become more ominous as the reader is clued in on the fact that something isn’t quite right… 

Continue reading “Book Review: The Murder of Madison Garcia by Marcy McCreary”

Book Review: Psycho Academy by Jasmine Mas

Picture of Psycho Academy book cover on a wooden background with a black skull, a glowing moon, a set of fake vampire fangs, and a paper dagger

Psycho Academy book coverTitle: Psycho Academy
Author: Jasmine Mas
Series: Cruel Shifterverse #4
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Date of Publication:  February 28, 2023
Publisher: Self-published


Synopsis

I’m disguised as a boy…at a supernatural war academy.

But it isn’t school, it’s combat training.

And I didn’t count on the three Kings who want to make my life a living hell. Seven foot tall, covered in tattoos, and angry at the world, they’re like no men I’ve ever met before. Then, there are my male instructors…enemies from my past.

They all think I’m weak.
Pathetic. Powerless.

Just wait till they find out I’m secretly the rightful ruler to the seat of death–the missing Fae Queen.

I’m the daughter of a monster.
There’s violence in my veins.

They keep trying to break me….but dictators are born from pain.

Welcome to my reign.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

I’ve been waiting for months for this book to come out, and it did not disappoint! 

Arabella is the daughter of the mad fae queen. Disguised as a boy, she escaped from her mother’s psychotic clutches when she was sixteen, only to be dragged back to her home realm in the original trilogy of this series. Now, she’s still disguised as a boy and there’s a bounty on her head, and she’s been thrust into the Elite Academy to train to be an assassin. 

While this book is the first of Aran/Arabella’s story, it does immediately follow the original Psycho Shifters trilogy featuring Sadie and her psycho shifters. That said, Mas has a super helpful recap at the beginning of the book–which probably could bring new readers up to speed, but I found it super helpful as a forgetful person, who literally read (and obsessed over) the original trilogy only two months ago. 

This book was everything! I loved it so much. Aran/Arabella is just as out there as Sadie, and I love her so, so, so much. This book touches on quite a few triggers, but the main trigger is clearly its depiction of mental illness. Aran has severe PTSD, she’s reckless to the point of suicidal, and she definitely has had issues coming to terms with who (and what) she is. This is a slow burn romance, and honestly, nothing really happens between her and the love interests. For a good chunk of the book, I wasn’t even sure who exactly her love interests are (I had my suspicions, but I kept second-guessing myself). 

 I can’t wait for the next in the series! Time to go nurse my book hangover. 

Picture of Psycho Academy book cover on a wooden background with a black skull, a glowing moon, a set of fake vampire fangs, and a

*Thank you to the author for the ebook to review*

Five stars

Find the book:

Goodreads | Amazon