Review: Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg

Genre: Thriller

Released: June 23rd, 2020

Page count: 240 pages

Summary: Based on a true story, this book explores how the murder of a college student, Sara Morgan, by her boyfriend affects a whole web of people, ranging from her sister to the lady who discovers her body.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: The author of Nothing Can Hurt You took a risk with telling a novel in so many perspectives, each character only getting a couple chapters worth of time. While it was a risk that made it stand out in my mind, I ended up not identifying with any of the characters. Just when I was starting to care about them, the perspective changed. I guess that’s because the novel isn’t truly about any of them, it’s about their connection to Sara Morgan, but I just found myself wishing the characters were fleshed out more.

It was still extremely well-written, and I do recommend it because it’s one of the rare novels that really stood out in my mind, I just wish I felt better connected to the characters. It feels a bit strange categorizing it as a thriller, even though that’s what I saw it was categorized on Goodreads – it’s much more an exploration into humanity that just happens to come after a murder, if that makes sense.

I recommend this to anyone who likes books that will stick in your mind, as well as thrillers that aren’t your typical thrillers.


Review: You Can't Catch Me by Catherine McKenzie

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Released: June 9th, 2020

Page count: 335 pages

Summary: After escaping a cult, Jessica Williams is ready for life to calm down. But after her career takes off and she is accused of plagiarism and given a large settlement, she meets another Jessica Williams, or Jessica Two. Jessica Two has the same birthday as her, and she uses that to her advantage – she manages to steal all of Jessica One’s money. Jessica One is determined to not let her get away with it, so she finds other victims and hunts Jessica two down.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I’m a sucker for a good thriller. I think everyone reading my reviews knows that by now. This one really opened up the door for some interesting possibilities of what really could happen if someone with your name and birthday got ahold of your information. It’s the type of novel that makes you want to keep flipping pages, and despite being a thriller, is pretty light reading – a good beach read, if you don’t mind sinister happenings in your beach reads!

I do think that the final twist at the very end of the novel was a little unnecessary – it only occupied a couple pages and just seemed kind of rushed and thrown in there, the other twists were fine without it. I also wish that the flashbacks to her life in a cult had been fleshed out a bit more, but overall it was a really good thriller.

I recommend this to anyone who likes thrillers that are hard to put down, or who overthinks things and is now afraid of the possibility of someone with their name and birthday stealing their money after reading the summary of this book.


Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Genre: Thriller

Released: May 20th, 2020

Page count: 320 pages

Summary: When someone dies after a seemingly beautiful celebrity wedding, this book works backwards and then forwards to figure out who has motive to want someone else at the wedding dead.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I was a huge fan of Agatha Christie when I was 14. I read through almost all her books in a very short time period, and I still re-read Murder on The Orient Express or And Then There Were None yearly. So it’s pretty safe to say I have a soft spot in my heart for books that are able to give me the same feeling as her books. And Lucy Foley did just that! Characters trapped on an island together while solving a murder? Check! No shortage of crazy ties together and motives? Check!

The Guest List kept me turning pages and guessing and re-guessing who the murderer could possibly be the whole book. I loved the fact that it was told in several different POVs, so you could get inside everyone’s head and see what they were thinking. Although I will admit the multitude of POVs was a little overwhelming in the beginning, it ended up being a very solid choice. All in all, it’s a wonderful suspenseful thriller that brought back the joy I felt when I read my first thrillers. I haven’t read The Hunting Party, the author’s first novel, yet, but it jumped pretty high up my TBR list after reading this.

I recommend this for anyone who likes Agatha Christie, or creepy islands. Bonus points if you like celebrity weddings.


Review: These Ghosts are Family

Genre: Fiction/Historical fiction

Released: March 3rd, 2020

Page count: 288 pages

Summary: Stanford Solomon reveals he’s actually Abel Paisley – he stole the identity of his friend after his friend died in a tragic accident. The effects of his secret reverberate throughout his family, and are explored in this novel.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: I went back and forth the whole time I read this book on whether I would rate it three or four stars. The gorgeous, haunting ending sealed it for me – it deserves four. Wow. The writing in this was just beautiful, the kind that stays with you for long after you read it. It’s the kind of book it feels almost painful to close. The interwoven stories about so many generations were of course beautifully written and covered such intriguing topics. It was like a gorgeous journey of a book.

Why would I give it only three or four stars, then? The dialogue. Especially in the beginning, the dialogue was phonetically written to show accents, but the dialogue stuck out so much, especially since the rest of the book was written so beautifully, that it jolted me out of the story. I had to sound it out a bit at parts to figure out what the words were, which completely transported me out of the spellbinding world. It was really frustrating. I can see wanting to show how the characters spoke, but it just felt a bit too much. I almost gave up around 15% in, but I decided to just skim the dialogue for a bit, since most of the story doesn’t include dialogue, and I’m very happy I did that.

I recommend this for fans of family sagas, or anyone interested in giving a debut author a try. As long as you can look past the dialogue issue, it truly is a beautifully written book.


Review: The Circus by Jonas Karlsson

Genre: Fiction

Released: January 28th, 2020

Page count: 192 pages

Summary: When the narrator of The Circus goes to the circus with his friend Magnus, Magnus disappears after volunteering for a magic trick. While trying to figure out what happened to Magnus, strange things begin happening.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Okay, I’m going to be honest. I requested this one on Netgalley because it said in the blurb, and on the cover, that this book was ‘by the author of The Room’ and it was late at night and I thought it was Emma Donoghue, who wrote Room, which is a very good book. When I went to read it, I realized I was wrong and it was by Jonas Karlsson. I hadn’t read anything by him before, and so I was a little nervous about taking a chance on it. But it was so good!

If you’ve spent some time on my blog, you probably know my love for Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – a quirky book about a misfit. This reminded me so much of that book! It was so different, and such a breezy read. It really drew me in. Both books feel almost like fever dreams, even though nothing too out of the ordinary happens. Just that feeling that things are surreal. It’s hard to explain! Just, if you’re into quirky books, read this. You won’t regret it.

There’s a ton of music references in it that music lovers are sure to delight in, too. Most of the music wasn’t my type of music, but I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there who would think the references are amazing. And if you’re like me, and barely know any music, they don’t take anything away from the story.

I recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a new read, or loves music. Bonus points if you like circuses.


Top Ten Tuesday #1: Books on My TBR List I Predict Will Be Five-star Reads

Hello everyone! I’m participating in Top Ten Tuesday for the first time today. TTT is hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, and you can check out more about it here.

Today’s prompt is books I want to read that I predict will be five star reads. So, without further ado, let’s start! If you’ve read any of these books, let me know in the comments what you thought about them!

Number one: Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

This one was on several people’s January wrap-ups, and everyone had glowing reviews about it. It’s about a gunman in a school, which no-one can leave because there’s a blizzard. It’s told from the points of view of the people trapped in the school, I believe. I put this on my TBR list the first time I saw it mentioned, and it’s risen higher every time I’ve seen people talk about it.

Number two: Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

This book isn’t out until next month, or I would’ve read it already. It seems like it’s inspired by the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard – it’s about a girl whose mother makes her believe is very sick. The mother ends up going to prison, and when she gets out, the daughter wants her revenge. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible read, and I’m really excited for it.

Number three: Reputation by Sara Shepard

I’m a little hesitant to put this one on the list. Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series was the greatest thing in literature when I read it as a preteen, but I’m nervous that this new novel won’t live up to my memories of her amazing writing. It’s about a man who is murdered, and his wife and her sister must figure out who did it.

Number four: The Deep by Alma Katsu

The Titanic fascinates so many people, because of how horrible the tragedy is. I know there’s theories human minds are fascinated by bad things because we want to understand and know how to prevent it from happening to us. Either way, I had a childhood fascination with the Titanic. This book is about the Titanic with a paranormal aspect – someone shows up who definitely didn’t survive the sinking.

Number five: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

A mother is convinced her twins were taken and replaced by other babies. I don’t know too much about this book, but I love thrillers, and I was hooked from the moment I read a little blurb about it. I really need to read this book soon!

Number six: Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

This book is another one I don’t know much about, but just looks very good. A woman whose son disappeared learns her husband is having an affair with the woman who might have kidnapped her son. She’s determined to protect him – but she learns he may be involved.

Number seven: The Ex Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty

This book is about a true crazy ex-girlfriend, who’s going after her boyfriend’s new girlfriend. I’m such a sucker for a good thriller, if you haven’t been able to tell by now from this list.

Number eight: Lock Every Door by Riley Sagar

I loved The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sagar, and I’m hoping I’ll love this book just as much. A lady goes missing in Jules’ apartment building, and she has to figure out what happened to her. Riley Sagar writes really good thrillers, and I’ve heard good things about this book.

Number nine: The Model Wife by Tricia Stringer

The summary of this book reminds me a lot of Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown, which was one of my favorite reads of January. Both involve antique books for wives discovered in the modern day. Which doesn’t sound like a big similarity, but it’s part of what made Recipe For A Perfect Wife so good, so I’m excited to read this one.

Number ten: The Sunday Girl by Pip Drsydale

This book was recommended to me based on some Goodreads algorithims, and it definitely looks good. A broken-hearted girl is determined to get revenge on the man who hurt her. This book isn’t out in the US until May, but is out in Australia now. I’ll definitely be reading it when it’s out in the US!

Well, that’s it for my first Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you guys enjoyed it. As I said above, let me know if you’ve read any of these books, or if you added any of them to your TBR list!


January 2020 Wrap-up

Hey guys! I wanted to put this post up last night, but then my fiancé and I ended up going to an escape room (we escaped with time to spare!) and out to dinner with his family, so I’m putting it up today instead.

In January I read 20 books – which I guess is a good number, considering the year. Goodreads says I’m 12 books ahead schedule to hit 100 read this year. I’m beginning to think I should’ve upped that number a bit!

I have reviews for about half of these up (and some scheduled to go up when they release in the future), so feel free to look through my blog if you’re curious about my thoughts on any of them.

Several books that really stood out to me in January were:

This book was just so different and fun and quirky! I haven’t ever read anything like it, and I devoured it even though it was so different than the books I usually read. Highly recommend! You can read my review here.

This book was just an outstanding thriller. If you know anything about me, you know I love thrillers. It’s hard for one to really stand out and creep me out, but this one did! You can read my review here.

This was another book that was different from my usual reads, but incredibly charming and well-written. I don’t typically like dual perspective novels, but the author was really able to pull it off. I’ll have my review up for this one tomorrow!

This book isn’t coming out in the US until March 3rd, I believe! I got an advanced copy via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is another thriller that managed to stand out to me – so good! Another genuinely creepy one, with plenty of twists. You can read my review here. (Okay, okay. I put up my review for this one a liiiittle early. I was just so excited to talk about it!)

Please let me know in the comments what your favorite reads of the month were, and if you’ve read any of the books on my list.


Review: In Her Eyes by Sarah Alderson

Genre: Thriller

Released: November 14th, 2019

Page count: 320 pages

Summary: Ava’s life seems to be picture perfect. Her husband’s finally made enough money for them to live in a large, beautiful home, and her daughter managed to beat cancer. Then a home invasion leaves her daughter fighting for her life – and it seems like the perpetrator may be closer to home than she could ever imagine.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: In Her Eyes was a thoroughly enjoyable thriller! It definitely kept you guessing, and the twists were very well thought out. I just didn’t find myself connecting with the characters very much – I didn’t feel a sense of urgency to find out what was going to happen to them, so I wasn’t really racing forward in the book, which I usually do with thrillers. I couldn’t even really get invested in the plight of June, the daughter. Also, who forgets to feed their hamster until it dies? Maybe I’m a bit too much of an animal lover, especially small animals, and I do realize the characters were a little busy, but that just made the main character seem a little heartless. I don’t know. Maybe I’m too invested in the plight of hamsters! (Humans dying in books? Fine. Animals dying in books? No!)

Overall, it was a good thriller. Right when you think you’ve figured it out, the rug’s pulled out from under you and the book is heading in a different direction! I just wish I liked/connected with the characters a bit more.

I recommend this novel for anyone who likes thrillers, and probably bonus points if you don’t like hamsters/are able to handle animal deaths better than I am.


Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Genre: Psychological thriller

Released: February 5th, 2019

Page count: 297 pages

Summary: After allegedly shooting her husband, Alicia goes mute. She refuses to defend herself, or to speak about anything at all. Her only method of communication with the outside world is through a painting she does shortly after the murder. Enter Theo. A psychotherapist, he’s determined to get Alicia to speak, so he can unravel the mystery of what really happened the night her husband died.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Did anyone else grow up playing the George Stobbart Broken Sword games? A good portion of the beginning of the book is Theo going around speaking to people who knew Alicia, and I was delightfully reminded a bit of the way the Broken Sword games go, when you’re speaking to people trying to gather information. Anyway, I won’t dwell on that for too long! It just gave me a pang of nostalgia when I was reading it.

I was really nervous about starting The Silent Patient because of how hyped it is. Everyone was telling me that it’s the best thriller of 2019 – it was even voted that by the Goodreads community – and, I’ll be honest, when I started the book I really didn’t agree with that. I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, but it didn’t seem like some literary masterpiece. It definitely was fast-paced and suspenseful at the same time, and left you guessing with the mystery, but I was expecting something… more.

Then, at the end of the book, I got it. And whoa, what a ‘more’ it was! I really didn’t expect the ending at all – which I feel dumb for, since looking back you did get clues – and it completely blew me away. I think The Silent Patient does deserve its hype and the spot of best thriller of 2019.

I recommend this novel for people who grew up playing The Broken Sword games, or who like thrillers, or who like painting. Bonus points if you like all three – you’ll definitely enjoy it!


Review: The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao

Genre: Fiction

Released: January 21st, 2020

Page count: 272 pages

Summary: While in a coma, Gwendolyn looks back on the events and secrets that led her sister, Estella, to poison their entire family. Set in the 1990s in Indonesia, their family is incredibly wealthy – but also powerful and determined to protect their wealth.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Review: My official rating is 3.5 stars, even though I’m giving it a 3 star rating. I was hooked by the first couple pages – what would lead someone to poison their entire family? I expected it to have a pretty big mystery or thriller aspect as the truth was unraveled. I stayed hooked for a while, but it faded as I realized not much else was happening. The book staggered on, despite the plot not really being there to carry it forward.

It is much more family saga than a mystery or thriller, but a family saga with pretty much no redeemable characters – or characters that you care about. The writing was good, but it was beautiful writing that didn’t advance a story. The twist at the end did try, but it left me with a lot of questions and didn’t really wrap things up nicely. It was interesting to think about, though.

I recommend this to people who are especially interested in sister dynamics, or in what life was like in Indonesia in the 1990s for extremely rich families.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.