MURDERS AND METAPHORS by Amanda Flower {Review}


Series: A Magical Bookshop Mystery, #3
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


Niagara region booksellers Violet Waverly and Grandma Daisy sleuth the slaying of a sommelier whose book signing turned into her sayonara.

January means ice wine season in the Niagara Falls region, but the festivities leave Charming Books owner Violet Waverly cold, still reeling from a past heartbreak. A past heartbreak who will be present at the annual midnight grape-harvest festival, and no magic in the world or incantation powerful enough could get Violet to attend. But Grandma Daisy, an omniscient force all on her own, informs Violet that she’s already arranged for the mystical Charming Books to host celebrity sommelier Belinda Perkins’s book signing at the party. Little do either Waverly women know, the ice wine festival will turn colder still when Violet finds Belinda in the middle of the frozen vineyard—with a grape harvest knife protruding from her chest.

Belinda grew up in Cascade Springs, but she left town years ago after a huge falling-out with her three sisters. One of those sisters, Violet’s high school friend Lacey Dupont, attends the book signing in the hope of making amends with her sister, but Belinda and Lacey end up disrupting the signing with a very public shouting match and Lacey quickly becomes the prime suspect in the sommelier’s murder.

Violet is sure Lacey is innocent, and to keep her friend out of prison, Violet asks for guidance from her magical bookshop. The shop’s ethereal essence points her to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but what have the four March sisters to do with the four Perkins sisters? If she can’t figure it out, Violet, herself, may turn as cold as ice. Violet, Grandma Daisy, Emerson the tuxedo cat, and resident crow Faulkner are back on the case in Murders and Metaphors, USA Today bestselling author Amanda Flower’s enchanting third Magical Bookshop mystery.


I’m thrilled that the Magical Bookshop Mysteries found a new home at Crooked Lane Books, because it’s one of my favorite cozy mystery series. With a little magic, a little romance, and a quaint bookstore setting, I was hooked.

How many bookshops have an enchanted tree growing right in the middle of the store? This ancient tree provides the store’s magic that helps Violet solve mysteries with messages through its books. This time around it’s Little Women that Charming Books wants Violet to focus on. Her good friend Lacey is in hot water after Lacey’s estranged sister is found murdered in a local vineyard. What clues are hidden in the passages of the classic novel that will point Violet to the killer?

I enjoyed this third installment in the series. It was fun to be back among the interesting characters of Cascade Springs. The murder mystery was solid and not easy to figure out. I liked learning more about Lacey and her family, and also learning about ice-wine! Before reading this book, I had no idea frozen grapes could be harvested and turned into a sweet dessert wine. Looking forward to the next in the series!

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

HER ONE MISTAKE by Heidi Perks {Review}


Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Source: Review copy from Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★★


What should have been a fun-filled, carefree day takes a tragic turn for the worse for one mother when her best friend’s child goes missing in this suspenseful, compulsively readable, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter…

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.


HER ONE MISTAKE is a fast-paced and nerve-racking domestic thriller, centering around the disappearance of a four-year old girl.

Harriet is a nervous mother who has never let her daughter Alice out of her sight. Hesitantly, she agrees to let her friend Charlotte take Alice (along with Charlotte’s three children) to a school fair. In the blink of an eye, a day of fun turns tragic when Alice goes missing.

Can you imagine the horror of losing your friend’s child? Charlotte is mortified, and Harriet is devastated. Could a friendship survive such a thing?

The search for Alice is a complex, twisty puzzle that had me hooked! I could easily empathize with Harriet and Charlotte, and definitely shared their tension. There’s not much I can say about the plot without the risk of spoilers, so I’ll just say that HER ONE MISTAKE was an exciting, suspenseful, and thought-provoking read. Enjoyed!

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


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THE PARTING GLASS by Gina Marie Guadagnino {Review}


Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


Devoted maid Mary Ballard’s world is built on secrets, and it’s about to be ripped apart at the seams, in this lush and evocative debut set in 19th century New York, perfect for fans of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin.

By day, Mary Ballard is lady’s maid to Charlotte Walden, wealthy and accomplished belle of New York City high society. Mary loves Charlotte with an obsessive passion that goes beyond a servant’s devotion, but Charlotte would never trust Mary again if she knew the truth about her devoted servant’s past. Because Mary’s fate is linked to that of her mistress, one of the most sought-after debutantes in New York, Mary’s future seems secure—if she can keep her own secrets…

But on her nights off, Mary sheds her persona as prim and proper lady’s maid to reveal her true self—Irish exile Maire O’Farren—and finds release from her frustration in New York’s gritty underworld—in the arms of a prostitute and as drinking companion to a decidedly motley crew consisting of a barkeeper and members of a dangerous secret society.

Meanwhile, Charlotte has a secret of her own—she’s having an affair with a stable groom, unaware that her lover is actually Mary’s own brother. When the truth of both women’s double lives begins to unravel, Mary is left to face the consequences. Forced to choose between loyalty to her brother and loyalty to Charlotte, between society’s respect and true freedom, Mary finally learns that her fate lies in her hands alone.

A captivating historical fiction of 19th century upstairs/downstairs New York City, The Parting Glass examines sexuality, race, and social class in ways that feel startlingly familiar and timely. A perfectly paced, romantically charged story of overlapping love triangles that builds to a white-knuckle climax, this is an irresistible debut that’s impossible to put down.


THE PARTING GLASS is a beautifully written and heartbreaking tale of Mary Ballard, an Irish maid who becomes the unfortunate side of a love triangle with her mistress and her brother. The book is gorgeously written and well-researched, and really brings to life New York City in the 1830s and the struggle of Irish immigrants at the time. This is a strong character-driven novel that wraps up with a surprising ending. A bit long in parts, but well worth taking the journey with these unique characters. Impressive debut!

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


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THE LIAR’S ROOM by Simon Lelic [Blog Tour Review]


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


A new spine-tingling thriller from the author of The New Neighbors that takes place over the course of a therapy session, in which neither patient nor therapist are who they claim to be.

Two liars. One room. No way out.

Susanna Fenton has a secret. Fourteen years ago she left her identity behind, reinventing herself as a therapist and starting a new life. It was the only way to keep her daughter safe.

But when a young man, Adam Geraghty, walks into her office, claiming he needs Susanna’s help but asking unsettling questions, she begins to fear that her secret has been discovered.

Who is Adam, really? What does he intend to do to Susanna?

And what has he done to her daughter?


THE LIAR’S ROOM is a dark and unsettling thriller about a woman’s secret past that returns to haunt her.

Susanna is a therapist and mother to 14-year old Emily. Years ago she ran away from her old life after a devastating incident, hoping no one would find out. For 14 years her old identity stayed hidden, until a session with a new client named Adam threatens to destroy everything.

This was a fast-paced, enjoyable (yet disturbing) book that put me on edge. Who is Adam really? What is Susanna is hiding? I may have jumped ahead to get a quick peek because the suspense was killing me! Both main characters are downright flawed, so often times I wasn’t sure who I should sympathize with. To me the ending was sad yet satisfying, probably the best case scenario considering. I couldn’t put this one down!

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


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THE EXES’ REVENGE by Jo Jakeman {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


A wickedly dark debut thriller about three women who’ve all been involved with the same man and realize the one thing they have in common is that they all want revenge against him…

Divorces are often messy, and Imogen’s is no exception. Phillip Rochester is controlling, abusive, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. When he shows up without warning demanding that Imogen move out of their house by the end of the month or he’ll sue for sole custody of their young son, Imogen is ready to snap.

In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable–something that puts her in control for the first time in years. She’s desperate to protect her son and to claim authority over her own life.

But she wasn’t expecting both Phillip’s ex-wife and new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women–and unlikely allies–reluctantly team up to take revenge against a man who has wronged them all.


I love a delicious tale of revenge, especially when the villain is as deserving as the one in THE EXES’ REVENGE. Phillip is an abuser, control freak, and master manipulator. He continues to make life miserable for his exes and current girlfriend, until finally the three women reach the tipping point.

THE EXES REVENGE is a gripping dark domestic thriller. It’s entertaining, fast paced, and hard to put down, though also rather disturbing at times with the instances of domestic violence. The things that Naomi, Imogen, and Ruby went through put my stomach in nervous knots. Some of the things they did made me want to scream, but the tremendous stress they were under made me empathize with them.

This is an impressive debut novel from Jo Jakeman, and I’m eagerly anticipating her next book!

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