Fierce Little Thing by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Are you burning alive where you live, or is it just me? This summer heat has me begging for fall, and what better way to get in the spirit than with a good thriller!

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

Synopsis: Saskia was a damaged, lonely teenager when she arrived at the lakeside commune called Home. She was entranced by the tang of sourdough starter; the midnight call of the loons; the triumph of foraging wild mushrooms from the forest floor. But most of all she was taken with Abraham, Home’s charismatic leader, the North Star to Saskia and the four other teens who lived there, her best and only friends. Two decades later, Saskia is shuttered in her Connecticut estate, estranged from the others. Her carefully walled life is torn open by threatening letters. Unless she and her former friends return to the land in rural Maine, the terrible thing they did as teenagers—their last-ditch attempt to save Home—will be revealed. From vastly different lives, the five return to confront their blackmailer and reckon with the horror that split them apart. How far will they go to bury their secret forever?

This is a unique read as it’s written in both first and second person viewpoints. I’m not a huge fan of alternating point of views in books, and this was a tad hard to follow. The topic and premise of this book was unique and engaging, but I’ll warn that there is some intensity to it. It’s traumatizing for the characters which may be a bit triggering for some readers. Even though it’s an engaging read, it was a bit too slow for me. There were only a few times where I would fly through the read, but other times I wanted to skip past things. The twist at the end makes a lot of these things a worthwhile binge-y read for your summer list!

3/5 Stars

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

Paris is one of those must-buy authors for me. If you’ve read one of her previous novels before, which is your favorite?

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

Synopsis: When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive…As Alice is getting to know her neighbors, she discovers a devastating secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before. Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbors are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem…

I loved this book way more than I thought I would! I have read a few therapist-type thrillers in the past and was afraid this would be similar to those. That wasn’t the case! This was a wild ride and had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. I even tried to figure out the ending of this, and was shocked at the twist. That, my friends, is a great thriller!

4.5/5 Stars

Fox & I by Catherine Raven

I’ll never forget my interactions with the wildlife at my old house in the mountains. I had squirrels walk up to me at my back door feeding out of my hands and black bears walk around my porch close enough for me to touch. While many people thought I was crazy for interacting so closely with them, it’s something I will never forget. This book brought me right back to those moments.

Thank you Spiegel & Grau for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: A solitary woman’s inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window onto the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent. Catherine Raven left home at 15, fleeing an abusive father and an indifferent mother. Drawn to the natural world, for years she worked as a ranger in National Parks, at times living in her run-down car (which lacked a reverse gear), on abandoned construction sites, or camping on a piece of land in Montana she bought from a colleague. She managed to put herself through college and then graduate school, eventually earning a Ph.D. in biology. Yet she never felt at home with people, and though she worked at various universities and taught field classes in the National Parks, she built a house on a remote plot of land in Montana and, except when teaching, spoke to no one. One day, she realized that the fox who had been appearing at her house was coming by every day at 4:15. He became a regular visitor, who eventually sat near her as she read to him from The Little Prince or Dr. Seuss. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself—and he became her friend. But friends cannot always save each other from the unconstrained forces of nature. Though this is a story of survival, it is also a poignant and dramatic tale of living in the wilderness and coping with inevitable loss. This uplifting fable-like true story about the friendship of a woman and a wild fox not only reveals the power of friendship and our interconnection with the natural world but is an original, imaginative, and beautiful work that introduces a stunning new voice. 

What a beautiful memoir! It truly was a captivating story about human interactions with wildlife and the similarities and differences between the two. Catherine’s writing style is different than what I would normally read – a bit all over the place, but is still very poetic and tells a poignant tale. This book has a special place in my heart as I am a biologist by trade, but may not be someone’s cup of tea if animals just aren’t your thing.

4/5 Stars

A Lot Like Love by Jennifer Snow

How can you go to the beach without a good romance novel in hand? I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to do so!

Thank you Entangled Publishing and Books Forward for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: When Sarah Lewis inherits a run-down B&B from her late grandmother in coastal Blue Moon Bay, the logical thing to do is sell it and focus on her life in L.A. But when she learns that interested buyers will only tear it down in its current state, she feels a sense of obligation to her grandmother to get it back to the landmark tourist destination it once was…even if that means hiring the best contractor for the job, who happens to be her old high school crush. Wes Sharrun’s life has continued to unravel since the death of his wife three years before. Now with a struggling construction company and a nine-year-old daughter, he sees the B&B as an opportunity to get back on his feet. Unfortunately, despite trying to keep his distance, his daughter has taken a liking to Sarah, and his own feelings are tough to deny. As they spend more time together painting, exploring a forgotten treasure trove of wine in a basement cellar, and arguing over balcony placement, the more the spark between them ignites. But will saving the B&B be enough to convince them both to take a second chance at love? 

I don’t always pick up romance novels, but when I do, this is the kind of book I want to be reading! It was absolutely perfect in every way. The character development was phenomenal and made you feel real emotions for these characters. This book just had the perfect plot formula for romance lovers all around. Highly recommend reading this one this summer!

5/5 Stars

Lies My Memory Told Me by Sacha Wunsch

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What if you had the ability to view other people’s memories? I’m in!

Thank you Inkyard Press for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. That’s where Nova comes in. She can pick up the slack for them—and she doesn’t mind. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift, and its value outweighs its costs. But Kade says Nova doesn’t even know the costs. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and he’s strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling like there’s something she’s forgotten. But there’s danger around every corner, and her own home might be the most dangerous place of all.

I had high expectations for this one. The premise was so unique and sounded amazing, but was not executed well. The writing was extremely basic and juvenile and very repetitive. I got bored quickly and even predicted the entire rest of the book. This was a hard pass for me.

2/5 Stars

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell

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Oh, David Bell…I am forever in debt to your amazing writing. So excited to be reading another book of yours this month!

Thank you Berkley for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman. There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him. Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma–admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.

Another phenomenal book by David. Honestly, he is definitely one of my top five favorite authors of all-time. He never ceases to fail! His stories always grip you right from page one. This book is no exception. If you are a fan of mysteries or suspense novels, don’t even hesitate on this read – pick it up ASAP! I can’t wait for his next thrilling tale!

5/5 Stars

Final Girls Support Group by Grady Hendrix

I’m not one for scary movies, but them premise of this book had me hooked from page one!

Thank you Berkley Publishing for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Albeit a little more gory than I wanted it to be, but this book was awesome. I was biting my nails, hanging on the edge of my seat, from the very beginning. While it may be hard to relate to a “final girl”, these characters somehow are totally relatable! Their emotions and fears are so real, it gave me chills! Highly recommend this read! Just don’t stay up too late reading it 🙂

4/5 Stars

Small Favors by Erin A Craig

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This year, all my book choices have been on a whim. I picked this up during my quick weekend beach trip and I’m so glad I did!

Thank you Delacorte for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned. As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

Erin is such a beautiful writer. This story was gorgeous and captivating from the moment I started reading it. Oddly enough, I have had a dream that is somewhat similar to the relationship Ellerie has with her twin brother in this story. That made me swoon all the more for it. The characters are well developed and you feel so attached to them from the get-go. It’s unique yet I think will be loved by anyone who reads it! Highly recommended!

5/5 Stars

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

I’m bringing another highly anticipated read this evening. This author is the same one who wrote the infamous thriller, The Silent Patient.

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

Synopsis: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld? When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

This was totally different than I expected. The story was really far fetched for me in most aspects of the book. On the other hand, I really loved the Greek mythology touch. It made this story really unique which is hard to come by these days in the world of mystery books. The chapters are short which lets you fly through this read. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I really did have a hard time connecting with the characters, so the short chapters were nice to have.

3/5 Stars

Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams

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This author may sound familiar to you….it’s the same author as the famous thriller “No Exit”. I was honored to get an early look at this book which is now available to read.

Thank you William Morrow books for gifting me an ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Three months ago, Lena Nguyen’s estranged twin sister, Cambry, drove to a remote bridge sixty miles outside of Missoula, Montana, and jumped two hundred feet to her death. At least, that is the official police version. But Lena isn’t buying it. Now she’s come to that very bridge, driving her dead twin’s car and armed with a cassette recorder, determined to find out what really happened by interviewing the highway patrolman who allegedly discovered her sister’s body. Corporal Raymond Raycevic has agreed to meet Lena at the scene. He is sympathetic, forthright, and professional. But his story doesn’t seem to add up. For one thing, he stopped Cambry for speeding a full hour before she supposedly leapt to her death. Then there are the sixteen attempted 911 calls from her cell phone, made in what was unfortunately a dead zone. But perhaps most troubling of all, the state trooper is referred to by name in Cambry’s final enigmatic text to her sister: Please Forgive Me. I couldn’t live with it. Hopefully you can, Officer Raycevic. Lena will do anything to uncover the truth. But as her twin’s final hours come into focus, Lena’s search turns into a harrowing, tooth-and-nail fight for her own survival—one that will test everything she thought she knew about her sister and herself…

This book is a highly anticipated read this year by many readers. This, unfortunately, fell a little flat for me. Multiple point-of-view stories are a bit tough for me to get into, and this was one was rough around the edges. It was hard to differentiate which story line was true or in Lena’s head. I just couldn’t invest myself into the story because of this.

3/5 Stars