Thoughts on Books (#25): THE NIGHT SHIFT • THE RESTING PLACE • INSOMNIA

“And after winter folweth grene May.” ― Geoffrey Chaucer


The Night Shift
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twisty, suspenseful, and hooked me from the start. I enjoyed trying to figure out how the past and present crimes tied together. This was one of those books that I couldn’t wait to get back to reading when real life forced me to put it down! Borrowed from the library.


The Resting Place
The Resting Place by Camilla Sten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chilling! THE RESTING PLACE is creepy-good quiet horror. I enjoyed the cold, atmospheric setting of the isolated estate that the protagonist inherits. What disturbing family secrets are buried there? The twists were delicious and disturbing! Borrowed from the library.


Insomnia
Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know this book has gotten a lot of buzz, but it was a miss for me — slow, repetitive & underwhelming ending. I’m still holding out hope for another Behind Her Eyes! Borrowed from the library.

☆ Click on the book title to read the synopsis on Goodreads ☆

Thoughts on Books (#24): RECITATIF • THE ACCOMPLICE • VLADIMIR

“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.” ― Shirley Jackson


Recitatif: A Story
Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story is brilliantly written! Two characters, Twyla and Roberta, one black, one white, but which is which? And what about Maggie? The reader is left to decide. At only 40 pages, this story really packs a punch. Highly recommended. Borrowed from the library.


The Accomplice
The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read the first half, then skimmed the second. While this book had an intriguing start, the constant timeline jumps, abrupt POV changes (even within the same paragraph), and numerous unappealing characters made me lose interest. I remember reading The Passenger six years ago and enjoying it, but I found The Accomplice to be underwhelming. Borrowed from the library.


Vladimir
Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to rate, but I think it will land at 2 stars. The more I think about it, the less I like it, so there’s that. VLADIMIR wasn’t at all what I was expecting. With the blurb and title, I assumed it would be a suspenseful homage to LOLITA with the roles reversed. Nope. Instead, we got lots of meandering thoughts from an unnamed narrator. Little dialogue, unfortunately. I never quite understood or was convinced of her fixation with Vladimir. Weird ending. BOTM selection.

Thoughts on Books (#23): THE BOOK OF COLD CASES • MRS. MARCH • A LESSON IN VENGEANCE

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ― Lauren DeStefano


The Book of Cold Cases
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

★ Publication date on March 15, 2022 ★

True crime podcasts are popular themes in thrillers these days, and in this book we have a cold cases blogger named Shea who lands an interview with Beth, the woman acquitted of murdering two men 40 years earlier. Shea has been long obsessed with this case, partly because it happened in her home town of Claire Lake, Oregon. If Beth didn’t kill those men, then who did? Beth has been reclusive for decades, hiding alone in her family’s creepy mansion, and also hiding the truth.

Usually I’m a huge fan of Simone St. James’ ghostly elements, but this time the paranormal didn’t fit particularly well. THE BOOK OF COLD CASES was more of a dysfunctional family drama with a murder mystery mixed in, and unfortunately the mystery gets solved too quickly! While I enjoyed the premise and characters, I thought the story moved slowly overall, and I kind of questioned the point of including the woo-woo. Liked this one, but didn’t love it.

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


Mrs. March
Mrs. March
by Virginia Feito
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A wealthy New York housewife is horrified to learn that the pitiful protagonist of her husband’s latest novel might be based on her.

This book was a strange experience! I’m not exactly sure when the the story is set, probably mid-20th century. I would describe MRS. MARCH as literary suspense, or maybe a character study of a woman’s descent into madness. There’s even a murder mystery mixed in.

We only know the main character as “Mrs. March” until the very last sentence when her first name is revealed. I’m not sure I get the significance of that, still thinking it over. She’s definitely unreliable and filled with inner turmoil, and her husband’s new book sets her on a downward spiral.

The writing was good, and I enjoyed the Shirley Jackson/Daphne du Maurier influence throughout. It’s not exactly a fun read, but it did keep me glued to the pages. Borrowed from the library.


A Lesson in Vengeance
A Lesson in Vengeance
by Victoria Lee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Felicity Morrow returns to the prestigious Dalloway School a year after her girlfriend’s death, but finds she’s still haunted by Alex’s memory and the school’s dark history of witchcraft and murder.

I enjoyed the gothic atmosphere, but that’s about it. For most of the book, I just didn’t get the point. Weak plot, pretentious characters. Had some intriguing twists near the end, but kind of boring overall. Borrowed from the library.

Thoughts on Books (#22): THE GUILT TRIP • COME WITH ME • NOT A HAPPY FAMILY • WHERE THE TRUTH LIES

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.” ― Henry Rollins


Happy September! My blogging break is over, though I’ve decided to go back to quick & simple “Thoughts on Books” posts for my reviews. My new job is going well, but balancing full-time work and home commitments is a challenge right now. If you want more info on the books below, just click the title. Have you read any of these?

Thanks for stopping by… I’ll be back to blog hopping soon!



THE GUILT TRIP (Audiobook) *
Sandie Jones
Minotaur Books
August 3, 2021

One-Sentence Summary: A lush destination wedding in Portugal threatens to turn disastrous for three couples who fail to keep their secrets buried.

My Thoughts: What a soap opera! This domestic suspense novel was an entertaining (though sometimes frustrating) beach read, narrated by Clare Corbett. She did a great job keeping me engaged with a varied cast of voices.

Billed as a thriller, THE GUILT TRIP is more a slow-burn drama with a bit of excitement at the end. A group of three couples head to Portugal for one of the couple’s wedding, but years of secrets and lies between them turn paradise into a nightmare.

A lot of misunderstanding could have been easily cleared up if they actually talked to each other! The story was told from Rachel’s POV (sister-in-law of the groom), and good grief she was naïve at times. Rachel and the bride, Ali, were the most developed characters, but the others could have been fleshed out more. I would have preferred a stronger mystery element, but the drama did make me curious to see how it all played out. [3.5/5]

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



COME WITH ME
Ronald Malfi
Titan Books
July 20, 2021

One-Sentence Summary: After his wife Allison is killed, Aaron Decker gradually uncovers her dark, hidden life with some otherworldly assistance.

My Thoughts: COME WITH ME was so well-written, with haunting (literally & figuratively) subject matter. Lots of creepy moments that gave me chills! Aaron’s wife is killed in a random act of violence, and as he’s mourning her loss, he finds clues to a dark past she was hiding. Was he married to a stranger?

The story is written in second person, with Aaron talking directly to deceased Allison (as the “you”) which made it so much more personal and tragic. I was just the tiniest bit disappointed with the twist at the end. I really thought the author was going in a different direction with whodunit. Overall — eerie & disturbing, a story that will stick with you for a long time. [4/5]



NOT A HAPPY FAMILY
Shari Lapena
Pamela Dorman Books
July 27, 2021

One-Sentence Summary: When a wealthy couple is murdered, fingers point to their adult children who stand to inherit millions.

My Thoughts: Knives Out! That was my first thought when I read the blurb. A wealthy couple is murdered, and their awful offspring (and others) fixate on their inheritance and point fingers at each other. I enjoyed most of the book, and I felt like anyone could have been the culprit, but the ending was too rushed and anticlimactic. The story had some loose ends that bugged me, but overall this was a fun domestic thriller. [3.5/5]



WHERE THE TRUTH LIES *
Anna Bailey
Atria Books
August 3, 2021

One-Sentence Summary: The worst of a small Colorado town’s dark secrets come to light when a teenage girl goes missing, and her best friend sets out to discover what happened.

My Thoughts: This book was grim. Tough to read. So at 50% I marked it as DNF, even though I did skip ahead to the end to find out what happened. The writing is pretty good, but most of the characters are horrid. Racists, homophobes, abusers & more — this book packs them all in, and in turn, the mystery of the missing teen gets lost. In addition, too many POVs and time jumps made it difficult to get absorbed in the story. [DNF]

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

What I’ve Been Reading Lately 📚 #DarkCorners #HushCollection

“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here, with summer’s best of weather, and autumn’s best of cheer.” — Helen Hunt Jackson

Instagram 📷 | Pinterest 📌 | Goodreads 📖


📙 THE SLEEP TIGHT MOTEL by Lisa Unger (★★★★★) | A Dark Corners short story from Amazon. Lots of creepy goodness packed into less than 50 pages! A woman running from an abusive ex and the police takes refuge in a roadside motel on a isolated stretch of highway. Even though Eve is the only guest, she keeps hearing weird and disturbing noises at night coming from the room next door. Is she brave enough to find out what’s happening on the other side of the wall? Highly recommended to fans of spooky motel stories.

📘 SLOW BURNER by Laura Lippman (★★★★★) | A Hush Collection short story from Amazon. An intriguing dose of domestic suspense! I loved this one. Phil was caught cheating once, and has promised not to do it again. Liz believed him, until she finds his secret burner phone that suggests otherwise. Instead of confronting him, she quietly reads his back and forth flirty texts with another woman. Realizing that he will never change, what will she do? Great twisty ending.

📙 HANNAH-BEAST by Jennifer McMahon (★★★★) | A Dark Corners short story from Amazon. Yikes. This was a horrifying and gruesome Halloween tidbit. Find out what a group of mean girls from 1982 and 30+ years of guilt will do! Enjoyable, yet disturbing, psychological suspense.

📘 I KILLED ZOE SPANOS by Kit Frick (★★★★) | Very good! This novel is a young adult psychological suspense with a Rebecca-like atmosphere and a modern twist — a teen-hosted true crime podcast. Recommend if you enjoy Gothic mystery/suspense. Read for the B&N YA Book Club.

📙 THE SEARCH PARTY by Simon Lelic (★★) | Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to review THE SEARCH PARTY. Unfortunately this book wasn’t my cup of tea. I was intrigued by the premise, and the intro sure grabbed me — until the teenagers started their monologues. Their chapters were just ramblings, and honestly I could barely differentiate between the speakers. I did enjoy Detective Fleet’s character, and it was a relief to return to his POV. The twisty ending was exciting, but overall I didn’t enjoy THE SEARCH PARTY like I did his previous thrillers.

— 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪