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

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

The Cage by Bonnie Kistler

Another locked room mystery? Sign me up! I’ve been on a kick with locked room mysteries lately, and it’s the best!

Thank you Harper books for my gifted book in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: On a cold, misty Sunday night, two women are alone in the offices of fashion conglomerate Claudine de Martineau International. One is the company’s human resources director. Impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed, she sits at her desk and stares somberly out the window. Down the hall, her colleague, one of the company’s lawyers, is buried under a pile of paperwork, frantically rushing to finish. Leaving at the same time, the two women, each preoccupied by her own thoughts, enter the elevator that will take them down from the 30th floor. When they arrive at the lobby, one of the women is dead. Was it murder or suicide? An incredibly original novel that turns the office thriller on its head, The Cage is a wild ride that begins with a bang and picks up speed as it races to its dramatic end.

This was a really fun read. Even though we know a lot of what happens from the get-go, I was still intrigued throughout the whole book. This definitely reads more of a legal drama, but it was really well done. It was almost the perfect mix of a locked room mystery and a legal drama all together. I don’t see that quite often in books, so this kept my attention the entire time. It’s an easy read as the ending is surprising and intriguing in every way.

5/5 Stars

Stolen by Tess Stimson

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I’m back on my mystery/thriller run, and I’ve got one you may have missed in your January reads!

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

Synopsis: Alex knows her daughter would never wander off in a strange place. So when her three-year-old vanishes from an idyllic beach wedding, Alex immediately believes the worst. The hunt for Lottie quickly becomes a world-wide search, but it’s not long before suspicion falls on her mother. Why wasn’t she watching Lottie? Alex knows she’s not perfect, but she loves her child. And with all eyes on her, Alex fears they’ll never uncover the truth unless she takes matters into her own hands. Who took Lottie Martini? And will she ever come home? 

This may be tough to read as a mother of a young daughter like myself, but I read it much like the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson. It was adventurous as such towards the middle of the story, but fell flat in the end for me. If you suspend your disbelief, I think you may be okay with how the book ended, but it’s a bit far fetched. Not a bad read, but not one I would read again.

3/5 Stars

The Maid by Nita Prose

This is a book that has gotten a lot of attention lately. It was featured in multiple book clubs this past month! I’m excited to get the chance to share my thoughts with you.

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

Synopsis: Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection. But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

I thought this was a great cozy mystery. Does it live up to the hype? Not so much. It didn’t grab me in as much as I wanted it to. While I think it’s great to have a neurodivergent character in a story, I’m not sure it’s a great idea to push it to be something so cool just to get people to fall in love with the story. At least, that’s the vibe I got from reading it. It was a slow start, and a bit of a predictable finish. I think there are other locked room mysteries that deserve a read over this one.

3.5/5 Stars

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Is it any surprise that I would reach for a thrilling space story? I think not!

Thank you Tor Nightfire for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate. What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right. Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

What a thrill of a ride! I absolutely devoured this book. This is a locked room mystery novel that gave me Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone vibes. It’s everything I want in a novel such as this. It had me biting my nails until the very last page. If anyone has other books like this to recommend, send them my way because this was such a fun read for me!

5/5 Stars