Thoughts on Books (#26): A SECRET SHARED • BURIED IN A GOOD BOOK • THE SHADOW HOUSE

Hello! The school year is wrapping up this week, so hopefully I’ll have more time to post and blog hop very soon. I know I’ve missed a lot, and I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone! Do you have your summer reading list ready?


A Secret Shared
A Secret Shared
by Patricia MacLachlan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A SECRET SHARED is a sweet middle grade story about adoption and the meaning of family. Twins Nora and Ben discover that their little sister Birdy has different ancestry than they do from a secret DNA test. If Birdy isn’t their biological sister, then where did she come from, and why are their parents hiding the truth?

I liked the message that family goes beyond DNA, and it’s best to be upfront about things because the truth has a way of coming to light. I wish there had been more character development and more emotion given the situation. I also thought the parent/child dynamic was a little odd. I just can’t believe Gen Alpha kids would interact with their parents like they do in this book. They seemed rather old-fashioned? This book would probably be best for the youngest middle grade readers as it’s written pretty simply and straightforward. Nice message but felt lacking in depth.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.


Buried in a Good Book (By the Book #1)
Buried in a Good Book
by Tamara Berry
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

After a messy divorce, successful thriller writer Tess brings her teen daughter Gertie to a cabin in the woods that she inherited from her grandfather. Tess is hoping some rustic living — no internet, electricity, or running water — will get Gertie’s mind off the fact that her dad doesn’t seem to want her in his life anymore. Instead of peace and quiet, they find themselves wrapped up in a murder investigation when body parts are found in the pond behind the cabin.

I enjoyed the dynamics between characters, especially with Tess and Sheriff Boyd, who reminds her very much of her own fictional character Detective Gonzales from her hit thriller series. There were parts of the book I found silly (Bigfoot?) and the culprit was a big surprise, didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Overall though, BURIED IN A BOOK is a fun start this new cozy series.


The Shadow House
The Shadow House
by Anna Downes
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Ultimately I liked how the mystery played out, but it took a long time to get there. The eco-village was an odd setting to me. For some reason it took away from the creep-factor. Surprising twists toward the end, but I struggled to stay interested for a lot of the book. Borrowed from the library.

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

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.