Sunday Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Page Count: 400 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
~
From Goodreads: Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

~

It feels like I have been seeing this YA thriller around everywhere lately, and I am a sucker for thrillers. They are my candy between fantasy reads and I just enjoy a good thriller now and again! So in this book, a girl named Andie Bell went missing five years ago and is presumed dead, murdered by Sal Singh only moments before he texted a confession to the crime along with a final suicidal farewell. The case was considered closed, but Andie’s body has never been found. Current day: Pippa Fitz-Amobi is determined to convince the police to re-open the case by starting her own investigation process as part of her Senior Capstone Project. The first place she goes is to Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, who soon becomes her partner. The interview and investigation list grows from there, as does the danger. The book is extremely plot-driven, and not much focused on character building. While we do see that our main character is very smart but quick to place names on her list of accused, and our sidekick is supportive and cheesy at times, there is not much more than that. Those who are interviewed are just all over the map in terms in individual personality and we are never drawn in to any of them really, but they are almost all people Pippa has known and been in contact with over the five years since the murder has taken place. This tragedy has just been idle for so long?

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is pretty much just that: a “guide.” I listened to the audiobook and the first quarter of the book (approximately) is interviews for main character Pippa’s Senior capstone project–casting doubt on the original murder investigation of her classmate. These interviews are recorded by different voice actors and are made to sound like actual evidential recordings. In the physical book, however, the story is told in different formats such as text messages and production logs. Basically whichever format you read, you are getting a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat “guide” to murder that really keeps you guessing!

I definitely have to award props for some great twists and turns. When I thought the book was going to be over, something new would happen. Or there would be something else that I would think “Wait, he said what now??” and we would be thrown for another loop. There certainly are a couple of potentially disturbing triggers in this book so if you have sensitivities, check out the trigger warnings at the end of the post. Overall though, I thought this was pretty darn good for a YA mystery/thriller. I’m going to leaf through a hard copy sometime, just to compare it to the audiobook and see what I missed out on. I like mixed media books so I’ll be checking that out. Until next time! 🙂

Potential trigger warnings: Mentions of verbal abuse, kidnapping, date rape drugs, selling drugs, murder, death–human and animal. 

Book soundtrack: Big Love by She Wants Revenge

Cover Reveal: Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson

I am excited to bring you today the cover reveal for an upcoming YA Fantasy Romance  described as Stranger Things meets Pretty in Pink. I am looking forward to this one, not only because of the description, but because I have followed this author for a while! Here are the details:

Lyrics & CursesTitle: Lyrics & Curses
Author: Candace Robinson
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
Release Date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis: Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.

INSTA_LyricsAuden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.

When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.

CandaceHere’s some info about the author, Candace Robinson

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas–where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!

| WordPress | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub |

And last but not least, Candace is hosting a GIVEAWAY! To participate, check out the https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Rafflecopter link right here!

ButtonXBTThis cover reveal brought to you by: XPresso Tours! Thanks for checking out this post!

signature (1)

 

The Sunday Review: Curse of Blood and Shadow by J.M. Kearl

51qnk75gkhlTitle: Curse of Blood and Shadow
Author: J.M. Kearl
Page Count: 429 pages
Release Date: April 7, 2020

| Amazon |

From Goodreads: Cursed with visions of death. Cursed to die. Cursed to be a bloodthirsty monster. One thing is clear at the Allied Kingdoms Academy, curses abound and no one is safe.

I was born a cursed princess. A curse that makes me hesitant to touch anyone, afraid I’ll foresee their death and won’t be able to stop it.

As royalty of a warrior kingdom, I’m sent to train in weapons and magic at the new academy where dangerous, deadly, and ferocious could describe any of the students, myself included. It isn’t long before I foresee the death of a student and realize I’m not the only one cursed. Something darker, hungry, and murderous lurks in the shadows, and I must find out what it is.

When the ever pompous, arrogant— gorgeous prince from another kingdom suspects I know something is wrong, he tries to convince me he can help. It doesn’t matter that we hate each other, doesn’t matter that our kingdom’s rivalry is ages old, students could die. Prince Zyacus is one of the strongest and fiercest of us all but his hard heart might have one weakness— me, and I might be a target of the creatures out for blood.

Throne of Glass meets Harry Potter! If you love swoon-worthy enemies-to-lovers romance, fierce ladies, powerful dudes, magic, swords, and talking cats in an academy setting, then this is the series for you!

~

Curse of Blood and Shadow is the first book in Allied Kingdoms Academy by J.M. Kearl. I was drawn in to both the main character and the world from the very beginning and the entire story built up from there and I couldn’t get away.

gift-habeshaw-M6i3JxDn72Q-unsplashPrincess Visteal is part of the first class of students at the new Allied Kingdoms Academy, where the students of the four kingdoms come to study magic, language, and weaponry. She and her group of side characters, Legacy and Taz, make a great group, carrying on their mischief and uncovering new danger at the new school. And of course, what would a new school be without that rival prince who used to pick on you as a kid, now all grown up to torture you some more? Now Prince Zyacus is handsome and after the heart of the princess, but hearts are hard from past heartaches.

Really though, this is not a romance book (although I really enjoyed the three relationships which pop up within the story). Curse of Blood and Shadow is just as equally about the fantasy plot, which I found to be very well laid out. There was a decent mix of politics, lore/species, action, and whodunnit mixed throughout the book. I loved that this was a fairly lengthy book and I was never bored! And let me just say that, as someone who never likes fight scenes of any kind, I honestly read every single duel, battle, training session, etc. I loved everything about this book and I positively can’t wait for the next book!

Note: I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book soundtrack: Youth by Daughter

signature (1)

Wednesday Books Reader Fest!

So this week, one of my favorite publishing companies–Wednesday Books–is hosting an amazing event called WB Reader Fest. This is a weeklong virtual festival and is completely free for faithful readers and followers like me to join in at any time. Today was day 2 and I can’t contain my excitement anymore–I have to blog about it!

So today WB did a “Page Number Roulette” where they asked for random numbers and from these numbers, they selected page numbers from upcoming YA releases. Well of course, These juicy one-liners just aren’t enough. I needed to look up these books more in-depth (well-played, Wednesday!). Here are just a few of the books we have been talking about so far….

40032339The Mall by Megan McCafferty (releases 7/28/20) – A YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall. The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. The Plan: higher education and happily ever after. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

51179882._sx318_sy475_Lobizona by Romina Garber (releases (8/4/20) – Manuela Azul has been living as an undocumented immigrant on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family. One day her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Manu sets out to investigate her past, which leads her to a secret world buried within our own–a world straight out of Argentine folklore.

40144224Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (releases 8/25/20) – A group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus. As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next. The Star, The Master, and The Magician kick off the first book in a fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

So these are just three of the SEVERAL books being buzzed about by Wednesday Books this week. I’m also checking out (but don’t have time to go into right now) More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn, Mayhem by Estelle Laure, The Lost City by Amanda Hocking, and MORE! Be sure to stop by WB’s Twitter and Insta pages for all of the happenings, and check out the full schedule here so you don’t miss anything!

Current Soundtrack: I’m Ready by Sam Smith & Demi Lovato

signature (1)

First Line Friday: Crave by Tracy Wolff

4e21ccec-f19a-4f56-a611-507f7cf45230.__cr00220220_pt0_sx220_v1___My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

9e13d7ac-a917-48bd-aa1d-042e0019e896.__cr00220220_pt0_sx220_v1___Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

 

(Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads, images borrowed from Amazon)

Author : Tracy Wolff ~ Release Date : April 7, 2020 ~ Publusher : Entangled Teen Books

O
If You’re Not Living on the Edge, You’re Taking Up Too Much Space
I stand at the outer tarmac door staring at the plane I am about to get on and try my hardest not to freak the f out.
It’s easier said than done.

92517109_241311583686872_190515974632374272_nI am pulling out the first line from Tracy Wolff’s new YA paranormal novel Crave today, partly because I am curious about it, mostly because I have been seeing it everywhere for weeks now. I did read on through the first three chapters (4, including “chapter 0”) of the sample offered and here are my initial impressions:

  • The cover is so Twilight-like I almost can’t get over it. I liked Twilight when I read it several years ago, but then when I tried to re-read it, I couldn’t get into it. So I am trying to not cover judge, I just don’t get why we can’t use our imaginations anymore?
  • The writing is from a very blunt and sarcastic character point of view. To me, this makes the sentences feel shorter and often more shallow. Thus far the chapters are pretty short which leads me to my next point of…
  • I do love witty chapter titles and this book definitely has them! According to Goodreads, the book is 592 pages long so that’s pretty giant. However, it seems like the writing is pretty humorous and light.

Keep in mind, I have not read far into this book, my opinions are my own, and I have only read and quoted from a free sampler. I do love a good vampire tale though! Please feel free to share your thoughts if you’ve read it! Or any updates on your Covid? Stay safe, and read on!

signature (1)

 

Sanity Savers! – What I’m enjoying while in isolation

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme that the lovely Bionic Bookworm does. If you are interested in doing any of her topics on your blog she welcomes it! Don’t forget to check out her upcoming topics if you’re interested in participating in future Top 5’s! Be sure to check out her topics here. 

Book deals! – I receive a number of daily emails highlighting daily ebook and audiobook discounts. Sorry to you if you limit yourself to hard copies of books. I understand your preference but apparently, I will hoard books in any form! During a typical work week, these threads are glanced at or deleted but now, I can really look at the books and discover new titles. Plus, plenty of authors are granting shelter in place deals that are great! Here are a couple of the thread and site names that I’m sure you can search and subscribe to get the deals for yourself: Bookperk, Bookbub, Chirp, and BookRebel. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2020-04-07 at 8.38.39 PMMy ‘Novel Companion’ – At the beginning of the year I started bullet journaling and that was all good and well. Now I have sort of backtracked to practicing doodling and hand lettering in it. My real go-to, though, is my Novel Companion planner from Little Inklings Design. I was so excited to finally get one and track not only my calendar (mostly my bills since I’m not really going anywhere at this time) but everything bookish. I mean, my hauls, TBR, upcoming releases, series, budget, reviews…I love it!

Secret Sister Community – This is a community of friends on Twitter who exchange letters, packages, and general cheer under the hashtag #otspsecretsister. Lately we have had threads on Animal Crossing, what’s cooking for dinner, recent book releases, and more. It is so great to have this little family of support and I feel truly blessed to be a part of this project.

Obi SleepingMy puppy! – My little Obi-mans is just now 7 months old and he is so dang adorable! He is growing so fast and has so much energy and is getting so strong! Above all though, I have to say that I am so glad we got him when we did. My family told us it wasn’t a good time and we couldn’t afford him but my anxiety told me different. Dogs are so worth it! And now that the weather is getting nicer, we are starting to play outside more and go on walks a couple times a week, hopefully more as I get up more motivation.

Books, Blogging, and Bookstagram, oh my! – I can’t choose just one last thing for my number five so I am combining everything into one. I have been working (slowly but surely) on catching up on my reviews, blogging, and posting on my bookstagram account. Head over and give me a follow if you aren’t already!

What have you been up to while sheltering in place?

I hope you are safe and healthy, or as much so as can be! đź’ś

signature (1)

 

March Wrap-up & April Goals

Happy Friday, all! Another shelter-in-place week in the books. Did you survive? We are hanging in there. Still settling in to the work at home routine–my husband and I have our shared studio-cubicles all set up. I think it is driving our puppy crazier than anybody.

peeking
Please don’t judge our mess!

The thing about working from home is that even though you’re still at home, you still have to put in the time and do the same amount of work. I still haven’t quite found my vibe to relax and get back into my reading yet and as a result, this month was DISMAL. I finished ONE book. I can’t even make a list. I have been stuck trying to get through the same rom-com since February. I have picked up and cast aside at least 2-3 books, at least one of them was an ARC (yes, I paid tribute to the author and publisher). And my concentration in general is just garbage. There has just been so much to do and so little time to focus–its all been toilet paper and germ-X and office set-up and is the family safe and are the bills paid and…you all know how it is. Complete flip side? I did haul a lot of books! Lots of deals taking place! both online for ebooks, for stores doing pickups or delivery, and even audiobook deals if you know where to find them.  So let’s take a look:

hoopeBook deals:
Survival of the Richest by Skye Warren
The One by John Marrs
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Twisted Fate by Ace Grey
Never Never (Complete Series) by Colleen Hoover
Nocturna by Maya Motayna
Killing November by Adriana Mather
Wasted Words by Staci Hart
Fight or Flight by  Samantha Young

Physical books:
* The Darkest Star & The Burning Shadow by Jennifer Armentrout
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

My goal for April is obviously to get back on track with my reading. I am in the middle of three books right now and that will help set me on the right track (in my own mind, at least). From there I have at least 2 arc’s with deadlines to read this month. And, as always, social media and blogging maintenance. I have a couple of other lofty dreams, but I’m keeping them secret for now. I’m off to blog hop and see what accomplishments and goals everyone else has been up to. Drop your links or let me know below what you have been reading, or how you have been doing. I hope you are all safe and content as can be.

signature (1)

“Quick! The Library is Closing!”…aka the Shelter Down Library Haul

Hi everyone! Let me start by saying that I hope you all are taking care of yourselves as best as you can. What crazy, unsteady times we are in, eh? Fortunately I live in  a county where our numbers are relatively low but just like everyone else, we are still vigilant. For ten days now, my local library has been closed. On a complete whim, I happened to stop in the day before the doors closed to pick up a couple of books for my grandmother and ended up grabbing an armful of books at random for myself. I wish I would have had time to plan out TBR’s for read-a-thons and just mood reading in general but it was literally grab and go! So here is my quick stack library haul of physical books:

90973287_204348811001931_7269912376810405888_nHotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Nocturna by Maya Montayne

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Broken Strings by Eric Walters

* Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

* The Handmaid’s Tale by Renee Nault, Margaret Atwood

Have you experienced similar library closings in your area? Did you make a mad dash as well? What is on your TBR for shelter in place? Let me know if you have recommendations on what to read first!

signature (1)

 

First Line Friday : Bone Crier’s Moon

FontCandy (41)

Bone Criers are the last descendants of an ancient famille charged with using the magic they draw from animal bones to shepherd the dead into the afterlife—lest they drain the light from the living.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become their matriarch, but first she must complete her rite of passage: to kill the boy she’s destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Now his vengeance must wait, as Ailesse’s ritual has begun and their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Author : Kathryn Purdie ~ Release Date : March 3, 2020 ~ Publusher : Katherine Tegen Books

Its a good day for shark hunting. At least that’s what Ailesse keeps telling me.

46249012If I didn’t already want to pick up this book for the beautiful cover or the heart-wrenching premise of the story, the first line is a prelude to shark-hunting!! Uhm, I just ordered my copy!

Have you read this? Do you recommend it, or is it on your TBR?

signature (1)

The Sunday Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

28458598Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Page Count: 380 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2017

~

Let me start out by saying that I really enjoyed “When Dimple Met Rishi.” I tend to enjoy contemporary YA fiction much better in audiobook format, and this book was no exception. The alternate points of view were great and the chosen narrators especially helped to depict the diversity.

The book begins with the ambitious Dimple Shah graduating from high school and getting ready to go to college for computer science. She values hard work and intelligence and has no plans to marry like her traditional parents want her to (“that’s what college is for after all,” they think!). When she convinces them to let her attend Insomnia Con, she is shocked by how easy it is, but it is a chance to meet her idol! On campus under….surprising circumstances….she meets Rishi Patel. Rishi is a bit of a romantic and was raised more traditionally, yet humbly. Surprisingly, the two are paired together for the contest. Push comes to shove, circumstances happen, you’ll have to read the book to find out the details, and that’s the gist.

First, characters. I admire a young woman who is career-driven and intelligent. Dimple wears her glasses all the time, despises make-up (though I don’t know think its completely the make-up as much as rebelling against her mother and dating in general), and is entitled to her opinion and her own choices. (almost to a fault) Rishi is the eldest son of the CEO of a large company, but he completely breaks the mold of the phrase “snobby rich kid.” He does, however, fall in line with his family’s traditional Indian values and he is planning to(expected to) follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue engineering and enter into an arranged marriage. In his heart, however, Rishi is an artist. He loves drawing comics and he is a romantic. Also, he is quick, witty, and loyal. (almost to a fault)

Screen Shot 2020-02-09 at 8.15.57 PM
Credit: dorothyreads

There weren’t very many secondary characters, but the ones that were around were pretty good. Celia–Dimple’s roommate–brought the little bit of ‘feminine’ and guidance that Dimple needed every once in a while, and vice versa. They were there for each other to get each other through lots of obstacles and awkward moments. Ashish, Rishi’s brother, brought in another tangle of a relationship and a fresh voice of guidance and opinion. He turned out to be more mature than I expected him to be. Then there were other contestants and Jenny Lindt herself, who seemed to be all the L.A. “hip.”

I have several thoughts on this book, especially after having read and heard a lot of the buzz surrounding Dimple & Rishi. First off, I think that we adults who read YA need to remember that Dimple and Rishi are teenagers and this book is written for teens. WE are the adults here. I didn’t have any feelings about this really until the last 30 or 40 pages, as I mentioned, from what I have read and heard people saying, I think we can give the kids a little bit of a break. There are a few gushy , cheesy parts where they are cuddling and the dialogue is just downright roll-your-eyes “really?!” but come on, we’ve all been there. Its that honeymoon stage in a young relationship! Another note re: the relationship. I loved that the two of them brought out the good in each other. Really, I thought they worked well together. HOWEVER. Dimple says “I don’t want to marry” and “I don’t want to get married” and “No, I won’t be getting married” and then 2 minutes later they are mutually saying “I love you!” and it is a completely serious relationship! So I know what I said…young love and all that…cut them slack, you never really know when you’re young. But I’m just saying. Chill out on the extremes, please. Just a bit. kthanks.

A quick quip about Insomnia Con: was the Talent Show really relevant? Was it really necessary? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe its a cute thing to put in a YA book for couples to do together but man, it does not seem to fit realistically with app building. Sorry, Sandhya Menon.

All right, those are my thoughts on “When Dimple Met Rishi.” Overall, I am super impressed at how well this book has done for a debut! Two more books have followed in the Dimple and Rishi ‘series’ since  this release so There’s Something About Sweetie and the upcoming 10 Things I Hate About Pinky are going on my TBR as well!

Book Soundtrack: Kill ‘Em With Kindness by Selena Gomez

signature (1)