THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths {Review}


Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


Death lies between the lines when the events of a dark story start coming true in this haunting modern Gothic mystery, perfect for fans of Magpie Murders and The Lake House.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary:

Hallo Clare. You don’t know me.

Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?


THE STRANGER DIARIES was creepy good fun! Clare is a high school English teacher, as well as a scholar of 19th century Gothic novelist R.M. Holland, who once lived in the building where she teaches. When one of her colleagues is murdered, mysterious events begin to mirror those in Holland’s famous short story, “The Stranger.” Is there a flesh and blood killer on the loose, or is there a connection with the restless spirit rumored to haunt the school?

I enjoyed this book very much. All of the characters were unique and realistic. I liked the alternating POVs between Clare, her daughter Georgie, and DS Kaur. There was a 4th voice too — the “Stranger” from Holland’s story. It was a mystery within a mystery. The old haunted school by the sea was the perfect Gothic setting. Loved it!

Elly Griffiths is a new favorite author, and I’m looking forward to checking out her other books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BLOOD ORANGE by Harriet Tyce {Review}


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: February 19, 2019
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★★


A young lawyer’s outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise–she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything…


BLOOD ORANGE is a book I discovered via my Instagram friends, and I’m so glad I moved it to the top of my TBR stack! The main character Alison is such a hot mess even though she may appear to have it all. Watching her go down a self-destructive path was not easy to read, but at the same time I could not look away. This is a complex, dark, and edgy thriller about poisonous relationships and destructive behavior. The ending was a shocker. An impressive debut from Harriet Tyce!

Quick Thoughts on Nine Years of Book Blogging ~

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since I launched my book blog! On Saint Patrick’s Day back in 2010, I threw together a quick “hello” post, not even sure if I was serious about blogging. Before the day was done, I had a couple of followers, and the pressure was on to post some book reviews!

All in all, running Book of Secrets has been great fun, and I’m glad I stuck with it. The book blogging community has changed over the years, maybe waning in popularity a bit. Some bloggers I’ve followed have slowed down or stepped away, and that’s understandable. It can be very time consuming, and I’ve taken a few blogging breaks over the years to catch my breath.

It seems there’s been a shift from traditional book blogs to Instagram, and I follow lots of Bookstagrammers. My photography skills aren’t the greatest, but it’s still fun! About other social media places: I still love Goodreads, and I’d be lost without it. I’m on Twitter, but mainly to share review links. Pinterest has become my new online obsession. And finally, no more Facebook, personal or blog page. We were long overdue to part ways.

I’ve read hundreds of books over the past nine years (wow!), and it’s very difficult to narrow it down to one favorite per year. Here is my attempt to do that:

2010: GOODNIGHT TWEETHEART by Teresa Medeiros (So sweet)
2011: WILDFLOWER HILL by Kimberley Freeman (A dual timeline tear-jerker)
2012: THE KINGDOM by Amanda Stevens (A creepy modern Gothic)
2013: THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton (I’m still wowed)
2014: YOU by Caroline Kepnes (Listen to it on audio)
2015: THE STORYCATCHER by Ann Hite (A Southern ghost story)
2016: I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh (I did NOT see that coming)
2017: THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne (Disturbing and fascinating)
2018: WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens (Deserves ALL the stars)

Have you read any of these? Agree or disagree? Thoughts on book blogging & social media? Please share! Thanks so much for visiting my blog & Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! ~ 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪