Magpie Review

by Elizabeth Day


*** There are no “real” spoilers in my review but if you haven’t read Magpie yet and intend to, maybe skip this review as I do elude to the WAY things happen in the book, which could take away some of the suspense if/when you read it and I don’t want to be responsible for that. WAH ***

Magpie was my very first approved ARC and I was just so unbelievably excited and honored to read it. I took my time with it, really allowing myself to pay attention and savor it so I could write a thorough review for NetGalley.

TW: infertility

What I Liked:

  • It’s an easy, fast-paced read. I was excited to get to the next chapter. I purposely made myself take my time with this, but I could’ve easily finished in a couple of days.
  • I am always a fan of alternating POVs and alternating timelines. Magpie has a bit of both and they’re used quite well.
  • I was legitimately SHOCKED once. Like mouth fell open, swore under my breath SHOCKED. Who doesn’t love that in a thriller??
  • I don’t want to give anything away but WHOO, one character is FUN to hate. I disliked them but I ENJOYED disliking them.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • This is a bit hard to put into words but… the story is messy (in a good, chaotic, fictional way). Infertility is messy, emotions are messy, people are messy, LIFE is messy. But the moments where things all come to a head in Magie are so… CLEAN. From a book full of so much great suspenseful mess, I was genuinely surprised at how neatly it all tied up.
  • I think this book being labeled as a “thriller” ultimately does it a disservice. For me, it falls soundly under a domestic suspense but not a thriller.

It took me a day or so to figure out what I wanted to rate this. I think reading this as an ARC made me overthink it – at the end of the day, this is a fun to read, surprising domestic suspense… and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it.

Have you read this one? If not, have you read any ARCs?

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Review


by Ashley Winstead

I read this as a buddy read with my mom. At first, it was slowgoing because I was reading at her pace. She would text me, “I finished chapters 5 and 6!” and I would text her, “I’m caught up!” Then, 55% into the book, she texted me, “I finished it.” And I really think that sums up IMDIHAK perfectly. You just CANNOT STOP reading this book!

What I Liked:

  • Both my mom and I had total shock when the killer was revealed.
  • The secrets and twists and suspicion never really stops. You think you have your suspect and then you read the next chapter and you think it’s someone else and so on and so on.
  • It’s SMART. I don’t want to give anything away but the way seemingly insignificant details come back to tie together is just *chef’s kiss*. I even got goosebumps at one point.
  • It’s a story about murder and secrets, yes… but it’s also about friendship and ambition and families and honesty and love.
  • Coop. The amount of heart-eyed emojis my mom and I texted each other about Coop… here is a spoiler-free excerpt of our texts towards the beginning of our read:
actual text with my mom

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The title is long to type. That’s it, y’all. It’s a really, REALLY good book!

I rarely give thrillers 5 starts. Though it’s my favorite genre, one of my very specific requirements for a book to be 5 stars in my eyes is that I would reread it in the future and most thrillers, once you know who the killer is, are not something you’d want to reread. But IMDIHAK absolutely is! I look forward to reading this again, knowing all of the secrets and intricacies and seeing what I missed the first time around.

Have you read this? What did you think? Were you all [heart eyes] over Coop??

A Man Called Ove Book Review

by Fredrik Backman

My first 5 star read of 2022! And what a read it was. 5 starts is not enough for this sweet, gentle, sad, heartwarming story.

This was my first-ever audiobook and I picked a GREAT one. I’ve read a lot recently about how the narrator can make or break an audiobook and George Newburn’s reading is beautiful; I was completely entranced by the combination of the words and his voice.

What I Liked:

  • I know “everything” feels like a cop out but truly, I loved everything. I felt everything.
  • I love grandpas/old men. My grandpa was my best friend in the world. Even though Ove is nothing like my mischevious, little-boy-charm gramps, this still tugged on my heart strings just that extra bit.
  • In the audiobook, George Newburn does a great job of differentiating the characters as they’re speaking.
  • EVERYTHING. Seriously, this is a perfect book/story.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Absolutely nothing. This book is perfect from start to finish.

Have you read this or others by Fredrik Bachman?

The Night She Disappeared Book Review

by Lisa Jewell

This book was my JAM! It took me a long time to finish it but that’s by no means the book’s fault… I joined Bookstagram and immediately had to read so many books because Booksta said so. SMH

What I Liked:

  • Alternating timelines. I’m a total sucker for alternating timelines and/or POVs. It’s used masterfully in The Night She Disappeared, in a way where you actually pay attention to the month and year.
  • I truly had no idea how it was going to end! I had a couple of theories here and there but I never actually settled on one (and even if I had, I would’ve been wrong lol).
  • Lisa Jewell is such a master of suspense. She has a way of weaving the story and laying the backdrop without the story ever feeling boring or drawn out.
  • The genuine emotion in the story. I cried a wee bit!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The end, the part you’re waiting the whole book for, felt super rushed. I would’ve really enjoyed certain parts (trying to be spoiler-free!) be expanded on and drawn out a bit more.

Have you read this? What’s your favorite Lisa Jewell book?

Finlay Donovan is Killing It Book Review

by Elle Cosimano

I’m going to be completely honest… I had no interest in the Finlay Donovan books. I’d seen the hype all over Booksta but I am generally not a fan of humor with my suspense. But I realllllly wanted to join an IG book club who were reading Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead and I had enough on an Amazon gift card to buy both for Kindle… so I sighed and bought them.

Verdict? I admit it, Bookstagram… YOU WERE RIGHT. What a fun, crazy ride!

What I Liked:

  • I was promised it was a quick, easy, fun read and it is absolutely all of those!
  • It’s clever and it’s quirky and it’s LOL funny.
  • Even when it got outlandish (which it does in the best way), it always felt relatable. This, in particular, is what I liked best about Elle Cosimano’s writing and what has me looking forward to Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead!
  • Julian. I mean… enough said.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • There’s really not much I didn’t like. The only thing I will say is that I had a hard time getting into it in the first couple of chapters simply because I don’t usually enjoy a combo of humor + suspense. This is absolutely not the author’s fault; this is just me. So, if you’re like me, push through it. It will get there for you, I can almost guarantee it!

I know many of you have read this… Team Julian or Team Nick?

Girl A Book Review

by Abigail Dean

Funny story about this one! I saw it on some list or other and added it to my TBR. Later that SAME DAY, my mom sent me a Kindle book on Amazon… Girl A! Was she psychic?! Turns out, she was not. It was an entirely different book with the same title. [LOL] So, alas, I had to wait for this one from the library.

What I Liked:

  • he chapters are broken up into short, easy to digest sections so you can pause easily.
  • It alternates time frames from the past to the present, which I am a sucker for!
  • The sections describing the past and how the abuse escalates are horrible, yes, but they are fascinating.
  • It’s well-written; I didn’t realize how invested I was until well into the book when suddenly, I was crying. The relationships between the siblings are fascinating and heart-wrenching.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The chapters are long. Like LONG. Like a hundred pages long.
  • The present storyline of the kids inheriting the house is a bit dull in comparison to the sections about the past.

Have you read this? What did you think?

Those Who Prey Book Review

by Jennifer Moffett

For Christmas, my best friend/roommate/platonic life partner and I decided to only buy each other ONE gift: a book we think the other one would like. This was her pick for me – she knows I’m a SUCKER for cult fiction.

What I Liked:

  • I really was sucked in almost immediately. The format has chunks of a publication interview at the beginning of each section and it’s a great way to pique interest without giving anything away.
  • The chapters were short and it was easy to read.
  • It’s well written in that I absolutely understood how Emily fell for everything, for that feeling of belonging, of being part of something.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • It’s long; by the end, I didn’t feel like it needed 400 pages.
  • It felt a bit anti-clamactic. I thought the story was building and building and then… the end.

Have you read this? Do you have any other cult fiction recommendations?