The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream by Dean Jobb

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you may be aware that I am a high school science teacher by trade. One of my reading goals this year (and it really has been my reading goals the last few years) is to read more nonfiction. I’ve definitely been leaning more towards science-based nonfiction books, and this one just sounded amazing. Science, mystery, murder, and thrills? Sign me up!

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

Synopsis: In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream poisoned at least ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedents. Structured around Cream’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help. Dean Jobb vividly re-creates this largely forgotten historical account against the backdrop of the birth of modern policing and newly adopted forensic methods, though most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then most police departments could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown at the time. As the Chicago Tribune wrote then, Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer, one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.”

This was a phenomenal read! Murder and obsession in it’s true form. Dean thoroughly did his research for this one. If Jack The Ripper’s story intrigues you, get a load of this one. If you like a good suspenseful mystery, then you will love this one. Thomas was so sneaky with everything he did, it’s the perfect real life suspense. It’s almost unbelievable! Highly recommend this one!

5/5 Stars

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins


This debut novel has been getting all the buzz lately. It’s slightly different than a normal book I would pick up, but I’m anxious to see what everyone’s talking about!

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

Synopsis: After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families–a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection. In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses–until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything. Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.

What a beautiful, heartbreaking story. If you loved “Where the Crawdads Sing”, I think you’ll really enjoy this one! This is more than just a typical “coming-of-age” story and not quite a mystery novel. I think that’s what I like best about it. The writing is breathtaking, especially for a debut author! This is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time. Highly recommended!

5/5 Stars

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Have you been to an escape room yet? My husband and I LOVE them! We’ve gone to quite a few in person and you can even find us playing the escape room board games! We love solving puzzles – it’s probably why I love reading mysteries and thrillers so much! You can only imagine my excitement when I saw that a thriller was written based on an escape room premise.

Thank you St Martins press for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top. When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare. The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—”now gone but not forgotten”.
This is no longer a game. 
They’re fighting for their lives. 

WOW! What a debut! I’ve had my eye on this book for months and months and months! I’m so glad it lived up to my expectations! What happens when you’re stuck in an elevator solving an escape room mystery? This time, it’s nothing fake – lives are at stake! I adore escape rooms and this was nothing short of the excitement that they bring. A bit predictable, but left me breathless the entire read.  You, as the reader, are aware of a lot of that is going on and what is about to happen, but are still surprised at certain things you didn’t see coming. Megan, I can’t wait to read more from you!

5/5 Stars

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

I was super excited to see that this was a Book of the Month pick for March 2019 and I was lucky enough to get my hands on it really quickly.

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

Synopsis from Goodreads: Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace. But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either. Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate? The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .

Are you a fan of The Couple Next Door? Then you’re going to love this one! I was a little thrown off at first because the story is told in two different viewpoints without it being labeled as such. Just like in The Couple Next Door, you find out some of your answers very early on. It still doesn’t take away from anticipation of what’s to come in the end. It wasn’t a jaw-dropping twist, but entertaining for sure! I have not read any of Peter’s books previously, and this made me want to go get them right away. He’s a talented thriller-author for sure! If you missed out on selecting this book for your Book of the Month box, then you’ll get to pick this one up in stores now!

4/5 Stars

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

I’m a sucker for time travel novels. And, isn’t this cover beautiful?! Thank you crooked lane books for my copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history. Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

I LOVED the premise of this book – a story about 4 women scientists who’ve developed the ability to travel through time (woohoo, go girl science power)! The problem with this one was how quick the story went. I wanted more detail about how their scientific discovery went in the beginning of the book. The first few chapters were so crucial, I just felt like they flew by! The story takes a quick turn to focus on a murder mystery, almost leaving the revel of discovery behind in the dust. A very unique story, but I just wanted more.  I’m not sure if I liked having to switch to the mindset of being between a sci-fi novel, contemporary fiction novel, and a mystery.

3/5 Stars

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

I’m a sucker for a good mystery/thriller involving a married couple!

Thank you MIRA for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Natalie and Will had a cute first date back in law school – talking dreams over drinks. They got into silly conversations, even joking about how they would be able to get away with murder with all their knowledge from law school. Little do they realize that it would bite them in the back later on in life. Flash forward 17+ years where Will and Nat are married with a son named Charlie. They soon learn of a horrible incident that happens to their son at his school with someone they thought they knew pretty well. What lengths will Will and Natalie go to protect their son?

This was a really fast-paced novel that I enjoyed in one night. I stayed up a little too late to finish it, but I’m not complaining! I felt like the author spent a lot of time hyping up the marriage struggles between the two, forgot about it during the big reveal of the major incident, and rushed to come back to it in the end. Otherwise, the book was well written and it had me engaged the entire time.

4/5 Stars

The Night Before by Wendy Walker

If you’ve been following my posts for awhile, you will know that I’ve enjoyed books by Wendy Walker in the past (ie. Emma in the Night). Once I saw this book was going to be realeased, I had to jump on it!

Thank you St Martin’s Press for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Laura has been through a lot in her lifetime. She has just recently broken up with a boyfriend and moved in with her sister Rosie. To get back into the game, she decides to go on a date with a guy she met online, borrow her sister’s dress and car, and head out on the town to make an impression and move on from the past. 4 am comes around, and Laura is no where to be found. Rosie is starting to freak out and enlists the help of her husband and a long time family friend. What happend to Laura? Is she safe? Better yet, did Laura do something that she’s going to regret? The past is coming back to haunt her, and it’s not looking good…

The book was a little slow to start, but the last 30% of it made my head spin in all different ways. WOW. What a wild ride this book was! I went into it completely blind (meaning I did not read any synopsis of the book beforehand) and I really loved doing that. I really enjoyed the fact that you were reading about the entire night as it was happening (in Laura’s point of view) and also reading it after the fact (in Rosie’s point of view as she was trying to find out what happened to her sister) all at the same time.  There are multiple twists in the end that I didn’t see coming. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what was happening as I was reading it. One reveal lead to another, and my husband caught me screaming out loud in amazement. That, my friends, is when you know it’s a fun book to read.

4.5/5 Stars

Guess Who by Chris McGeorge


If anything reminds me of the board game and movie Clue, I’m in!

Thank you Harlequin and netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Morgan Sheppherd wakes up handcuffed to a bed in a hotel room with 5 people around him. He doesn’t remember how he got there, or who anyone is in the room. Soon enough, he learns that his therapist is laying dead in the bathtub of the hotel room and one of the five people in the room killed him. He has three hours to figure out who did it before the entire hotel gets blown up.

The movie Clue meets Jerry Springer – what an interesting and super engaging read! The chapters are short and keep you at the edge of your seat. I read this book in one sitting! You are following right along with Morgan, trying to see if you can solve the crime before he does. The only thing that kept me from loving it was the ending. I didn’t like the story of why the murder was committed and thought it could’ve been a little more exciting. All in all, I still would totally recommend this read to everyone!

4/5 Stars

The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles


I had seen a lot of talk about this book and wanted to read it for myself. It already has rights to become a movie!

Thank you netgalley and Hanover Square Press for allowing me to read this in exchange for my review.

Samuel is a quirky nine year old who lives in a wondrous estate and is being taken care of by his housekeeper Ruth. Samuel’s mom has gone to America on a “business trip” and Samuel has not heard from her in a long time. He gets postcards from his mom when he’s seeming to question her whereabouts more often than other days. Samuel speaks with his friend Joseph who suggests that something has happened to his mother. His mom did leave months ago without saying goodbye…so maybe something bad HAS happened to her! Ruth seems to dismiss this, so naturally Samuel thinks she is up to no good. What happened to his mother? Is Ruth responsible for her long stay away?

I thought the author did a great job at incorporating the voice of a nine year old boy. It’s not an easy task and I truly felt like I was in his head the whole time. I felt the story dragged on longer than it needed to. It could’ve been a really good short story. Most of the book was Samuel’s sneaking around trying to find clues as to what happened to his mother. I was hooked in the beginning, but felt like I was being dragged through most of the storyline. The ending? Not my favorite at all. It was predictable and boring to say the least. I thought this had a lot of potential, but I digress…

2/5 Stars