The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

It’s been a crazy few months between balancing work and health, but it’s almost summer time, and I’m excited to finally have the time and space to catch up on reading!

Thank you Ballantine Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder. Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past. Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls. None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see. On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims. January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders. There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once. But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

I’ve read Rob Hart’s previous books and really like his style of writing. It’s very unique! The character development is strong which is always a winner in my book. I’m normally a huge fan of time travel in books, but this one was a bit more complicated than I wanted it to be. Lots of characters, lots of scene changes, not the best transitions.

3/5 Stars

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Two of my favorites are back for another mystery book and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Thank you St Martin’s Press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers. Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate. When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

These two just KNOW how to write a good mystery novel together. They just really never disappoint! The ending was jaw-dropping (as always). I literally could not put this book down for a second. This was written very much like their earlier novels, which I greatly appreciate it. They showed me that they aren’t even close to running out of ideas and stumping the reader and I’m here for it!

5/5 Stars

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski

This is one of those books that I wouldn’t have picked up on my own if not for being plugged into the book community!

Thank you Henry Holt Co for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: It’s 1999 and Samantha has danced for years at the Lovely Lady strip club. She’s not used to mixing work and friendship―after all, between her jealous boyfriend and his young daughter, she has enough on her plate. But the newest dancer is so clueless that Samantha feels compelled to help her learn the hustle and drama of the club: how to sweet-talk the boss, fit in with the other women, and make good money. One night, when the new girl needs a ride home, Samantha agrees to drive: a simple decision that turns deadly. Georgia, another dancer drawn into the ensuing murder and missing person investigation, gathers information for Holly, a grieving detective determined to solve the case. Georgia just wants to help, but her involvement makes her a target. As Holly and Georgia round up their suspects, the story’s point of view shifts between dancers, detectives, children, club patrons―and the killer. Drawing on her experience as a former dancer, Marie Rutkoski immerses us in the captivating world of the club, which comes alive with complicated people trying their best to protect themselves and those they love. Character-driven and masterfully plotted, Real Easy gets to the heart of the timeless question: How do women live their lives knowing that men can hurt them?

I think what has to be the coolest thing is that this book is based on the author’s true experiences working as a dancer herself. This is a dark novel, but with that little detail in the back of my mind, this book is unreal. It’s told from alternating perspectives which was okay (as you know by now, it’s not my favorite thing in the world). The ending was jaw-dropping for me, which makes this book a win for me.

4/5 Stars

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

I really enjoyed the thrill ride that Rachel brought us in her last book “The Wife Upstairs”, so let’s see if it can happen again!

Thank you St Martin’s Press for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: When Lux McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico, are hired to sail two women to a remote island in the South Pacific, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Stuck in a dead-end job in Hawaii, and longing to travel the world after a family tragedy, Lux is eager to climb on board The Susannah and set out on an adventure. She’s also quick to bond with their passengers, college best friends Brittany and Amma. The two women say they want to travel off the beaten path. But like Lux, they may have other reasons to be seeking an escape. Shimmering on the horizon after days at sea, Meroe Island is every bit the paradise the foursome expects, despite a mysterious history of shipwrecks, cannibalism, and even rumors of murder. But what they don’t expect is to discover another boat already anchored off Meroe’s sandy beaches. The owners of the Azure Sky, Jake and Eliza, are a true golden couple: gorgeous, laidback, and if their sleek catamaran and well-stocked bar are any indication, rich. Now a party of six, the new friends settle in to experience life on an exotic island, and the serenity of being completely off the grid. Lux hasn’t felt like she truly belonged anywhere in years, yet here on Meroe, with these fellow free spirits, she finally has a sense of peace. But with the arrival of a skeevy stranger sailing alone in pursuit of a darker kind of good time, the balance of the group is disrupted. Soon, cracks begin to emerge: it seems that Brittany and Amma haven’t been completely honest with Lux about their pasts––and perhaps not even with each other. And though Jake and Eliza seem like the perfect pair, the rocky history of their relationship begins to resurface, and their reasons for sailing to Meroe might not be as innocent as they first appeared. When it becomes clear that the group is even more cut off from civilization than they initially thought, it starts to feel like the island itself is closing in on them. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux begins to wonder if any of them are going to make it off the island alive.

While this wasn’t as big of a hit for me as her previous novel, I’m not mad that I read it. On the other hand, this novel is a little out there. There are a lot of situations in this story that just don’t seem possible or don’t make sense. It’s not enough for me to have walked away from it, but not something I would read again.

3/5 Stars

The Resting Place by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village was an intriguing read for me, and Camilla’s newest novel just sounds even better!

Thank you St Martin’s Press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Deep rooted secrets.
A twisted family history.
And a house that will never let go.

Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety. It can make you question what you think you know. When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer – a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer – and not knowing if they’d be back – overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality. Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house – a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place where her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over 50 years. Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.

This one was dark and twisted and oh so good! Face blindness in a thriller?! You can’t go wrong! It’s such a brilliant plot idea! Despite the multiple characters introduced in this story and the dual timeline, I was still completely engaged. I love the short chapters and twists and turns at every corner. You can kind of figure out the ending of the story by the clues she leaves, but it was a wonderful thriller in my opinion!

4/5 Stars

The Heights by Louise Candlish

Louise is, hands down, one of my top favorite authors. I’m so excited to share her latest installment!

Thank you Atria Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him. But that can’t be because he’s been dead for more than two years. You know this for a fact. Because you’re the one who killed him.

This is one of those books where you have to just keep reading to make it all worth it. The book is divided into multiple parts, and each part gets better and better and better! What I love about Louise is that she always delivers a sucker-punch ending. The first part to the book was a little too long for my liking, but we get a lot of backstory here. This wasn’t my favorite novel by her, but I am so glad I got the chance to read it and add it to my library!

4/5 Stars

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

I always get so excited when I get the chance to catch an early glimpse at a book that Reece Witherspoon picks for her book club.

Thank you Harper for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Everyone’s Dying to Join . . . The Home Group is a glamorous collection of celebrity members’ clubs dotted across the globe, where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media. The most spectacular of all is Island Home—a closely-guarded, ultraluxurious resort, just off the English coast—and its three-day launch party is easily the most coveted A-list invite of the decade. But behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point: the ambitious and expensive project has pushed the Home Group’s CEO and his long-suffering team to their absolute limits. All of them have something to hide—and that’s before the beautiful people with their own ugly secrets even set foot on the island. As tempers fray and behavior worsens, as things get more sinister by the hour and the body count piles up, some of Island Home’s members will begin to wish they’d never made the guest list. Because at this club, if your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out.

Like lots of characters and lots of backstory? Then this book is for you. For me? It was just too much. My eyes got tired of rolling at some of these characters. I also felt like it took forever to get to the really crux of what was really going on. The multiple point of views and history of each of these characters just had my brain in a jumble. Was not a fan, but I know other readers really do enjoy the multiple viewpoints. Take this with a grain of salt. If you choose to read it, let me know what you think!

2.5/5 Stars

This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg

I mean, when you are obsessed with DNA stories, love Young Adult Fiction, AND love Thrillers, how could you NOT pass this book up?!

Thank you Flatiron Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice. When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality. Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

This was a super fun read for me. It was a drama-filled story that kept me wanting to come back for more. I read it in one sitting – like I was watching a movie shoving popcorn in my face the entire time. Yeah, some parts weren’t as riveting as I had hoped for, but the writing is excellent and the characters were so well developed, it was worth every moment. With an ending such as this one, I’m hoping we get to hear more from this family in the future!

4.5/5 Stars

At The End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

I love that I can continue following authors that I have read when I first fell in love with reading! I read one of Marieke’s first novels years ago, and I’m so excited to be able to read her latest installment!

Thank you Sourcebook Fire for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist. Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all. As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

I feel like it’s my duty to immediately share with you that Marieke writes some seriously emotional books! In a good way, of course! This is kind of like an apocalyptic/dystopian novel, at least in my opinion. I actually love those kind of settings! I think the drama really captivates me. This was way more action-packed than some of her previous novels, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just something I wasn’t expecting! It’s not a happy, wrapped up fairy tale ending, but I never expect that in Marieke’s novels. I highly recommend going into this novel with anything more than this information, because that would make this read all the more entertaining for you.

4.5/5 Stars

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund

The greatest thing about being plugged in the book community is being exposed to books I would never read ever before.

Thank you Atria Books for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Though Owen Tanner has never met anyone else who has a chatty bird in their chest, medical forums would call him a Terror. From the moment Gail emerged between Owen’s ribs, his mother knew that she had to hide him away from the world. After a decade spent in hiding, Owen takes a brazen trip outdoors in the middle of a forest fire, and his life is upended forever. Suddenly, Owen is forced to flee the home that had once felt so confining and hide in plain sight with his uncle and cousin in Washington. There, he feels the joy of finding a family among friends; of sharing the bird in his chest and being embraced fully; of falling in love and feeling the devastating heartbreak of rejection before finding a spark of happiness in the most unexpected place; of living his truth regardless of how hard the thieves of joy may try to tear him down. But the threat of the Army of Acronyms is a constant, looming presence, making Owen wonder if he’ll ever find a way out of the cycle of fear. A heartbreaking yet hopeful novel about the things that make us unique and lovable, The Boy with a Bird in His Chest grapples with the fear, depression, and feelings of isolation that come with believing that we will never be loved, let alone accepted, for who we truly are, and learning to live fully and openly regardless.

Yes, I normally read mysteries and thrillers, but the premise of this book just captivated me immediately. This was absolutely beautiful! Fair warning – this book covers a lot of sensitive topics such as gender identity, bullying, and family drama. I loved the magic realism touch to this story, and honestly was so impressed that this was a debut novel by the author. I cannot wait for more to come!

4.5/5 Stars