One Of Us Is Back // Book Review

About The Book
The third time’s a charm. First the Bayview Four had to prove they weren’t killers. Then a new generation outwitted a vengeful copycat. Now the entire Bayview Crew is back home for the summer, and everyone is trying to move on. Only, this is Bayview, and life is never that simple. The global phenomenon returns with the third book in the One of Us Is Lying series, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen M. McManus.
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My Rating

This is the third, and final, installment of Karen M. McManus’s ‘One Of Us’ series. Keep in mind that this review might spoil something’s in the first two books. In this book, we follow the perspectives of Addy, Nate, and Phoebe. I loved being back with the Bayview crew, because these characters are incredibly likable.

In the first book, we had a whodunit type of murder/mystery plot. The next book had a deadly truth or dare situation. However, I’m not really sure I can explain the plot of this book, because there really wasn’t much of one.

The author was trying to create a plot that brought everything full circle and connected all three books. However, I think that she lost sight of making a really engaging story. The plot just kind of lacked, and fell short for me. It wasn’t as intense or gripping as the first two books.

This isn’t to say that the book is bad, because I was interested in the story, but that could just be for my love of these characters. I did find the book to be fast paced and McManus’s writing is wonderful – as always. I was just hoping for more.

“But we all know how Simon felt about secrets, right? They have to come out eventually.”

The way on which everything was tied together wasn’t my favorite. It felt very random. As a horror movie fan, I love when sequels are tied into the first movie, making things come full circle. But, only if it’s done right. The first three Scream movies did that perfectly, yet the ‘Happy Death Day’ films took a really weird route in the second movie. But, I digress.

Overall, the plot just didn’t leave me shocked, and there really wasn’t any sort of major twist. I do like that the author went back to the ‘secrets are powerful’ message, as it was a recurring theme throughout the entire series. Nonetheless, it was a decent conclusion to the trilogy, and I will continue to support Karen M. McManus. Also, thank you for giving us more Knox and Phoebe!

In the comments, let me know which ‘One Of Us’ book is your favorite. My personal favorite is ‘One Of Us Is Next’, because I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read it. If you enjoyed this book, please hit the follow button, because it really helps my blog grow!

Until The Next Chapter,

Lying In The Deep // Book Review

About The Book
A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist. [In this new murder mystery by Diana Urban find out what happens when a semester at sea turns deadly.] Perfect for readers of Natasha Preston, E. Lockhart, and Karen McManus!
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My Rating

This book frustrated me to no end. I was hoping for a fun, fast-paced YA thriller book, but that isn’t what I got at all. In the book, we follow Jade as she is doing a semester on a cruise ship. And, if you were a teenager in the 2000s you’re probably having ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ flashbacks.

However, Jade’s semester abroad turns sour when she discovers her ex-best friend and ex-boyfriend, who are now a couple, are also aboard the cruise ship. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out if this was a petty high school breakup story or a thriller. For about, 60% of the book Jade is wining about her backstabbing best friend and pining for her ex. And every time she’d try and confront them, she’d wimp out and than start whining again.

I thought there would be more suspense and mystery, and less high school drama. Although, since they’re in high school, I should have figured they’d act like they’re in high school. Still, the writing just felt very immature and the characters were juvenile. But, being in my 30s, I can admit that I am not really the intended audience for the book.

“No better trash can for a murderer than the entire ocean.”

The book didn’t pick up until around the last 75% of the book, and that’s when I felt like the story was actually getting somewhere. But, everything started happening so quickly. It felt like nothing at all was happening, and then, suddenly, a bunch of shit goes down. What was even the point of the first half of the book?

However, once the plot picked up, it was really enjoyable. I didn’t see the twist coming, which I liked. But, the characters were really the downfall for me. I disliked pretty much all of them. Still, there was one character, Jade’s love interest, that I did like, and he called Jade out on her pettiness and whining, which was called for.

Overall, the writing and plot weren’t for me at all. Maybe, I’ve just grown out of young adult, but I think that the real issue is that I didn’t know that the book was a retelling of “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie. Correction – I have heard people say that it’s a YA “Death on the Nile” retelling, but I don’t know if that’s true. Nevertheless, I’ve heard that “Death on the Nile” has similarly slow moving, nothing’s happening type of plot.

In the comments, let me know if this book is on your TBR. If it is, take it from me and skip it. Personally, I would have had a better time watching ‘The Suite Life on Deck’. However, if you did enjoy the book, leave a comment letting others know why. Don’t forget to follow the blog for more bookish posts.

Until The Next Chapter,

August 2023 // To Be Read

Hi Friends,
It’s TBR time again! Just like last month, I’m using a prompt list I found off Pinterest to help me pick my prompts. There are 50 prompts, and I use a random number generator to help me pick the prompts. I started off by using the same random number generator to help see how many books I’ll be reading. I only do 1 – 10, because I usually don’t read more than 10 books in a month. This time around, I got 9, so I’ll be reading 9 books and picking 9 prompts!

However, just like last month I can only pick books off my physical TBR or audiobooks I own/have on the Libby app.

My first pick was number 23 and the prompt is ‘Read a Historical Fiction Novel’. Honestly, I struggled with this prompt, because I don’t really gravitate towards historical fiction, but with my husband’s help, I ended up choosing ‘The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’ by Stuart Turton. I don’t know much about this book, except that it’s a murder mystery set in the 1920s.

The next prompt is 21, which is ‘Read a Book Set in NY ’. I had a few options for this, but I decided to pick an adult thriller that I’ve been dying to get to, ‘Not a Happy Family’ by Shari Lapena. I’m not really sure what this book is about, but it does take place in New York, so it fits the prompt.

Then I got prompt 27, which was ‘Read A Book with a Happily-Ever-After ending’. The book that I will be reading for this prompt is ‘When In Rome’ by Sarah Adams. I’m not entirely sure if this has a happy ending, but it’s a romance, so I’m going to assume it does.

The next prompt was number 48, which is ‘Read A New To You Author’. I had a few options for this but I ultimately decided it was time for me to read my first Simone St. James book. I own ‘The Book of Cold Cases’, which is a thriller with a true crime element.

Next up I got prompt 20: ‘Read a Book that Starts with The’. So, the title has to begin with ‘The’, which is pretty easy, considering a lot of book do that with their titles. I’m going with a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a while, which is ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by Richard Osman. This is apparently a funny mystery book series that takes place in a retirement home.

Yay, I got prompt number 2, which is ‘Read a Book that is More Than 300 Pages’. This book is just barely over 300 pages, abut it makes the cut at 318, and that is ‘The Housemaid Secret’ by Freida McFadden. I read the first book and loved it, so I can’t wait to see if the sequel is even better.

The random number generator was nice to me and gave me number 15, which is ‘Read a Retelling’. I love a good retelling, and have quite a few on my shelf. I went with ‘The Shadow in the Glass’ by J.J.A. Harwood, a gothic retelling of Cinderella.

Luckily, I got prompt 41, ‘Read a Book you Bought’ that’s pretty simple since I have a book buying problem. Although, I’m not actually in the mood for this book, but it’s part of a series and I really want to start finishing some series. The book is ‘Daughter of the Siren Queen’ by Tricia Levenseller. I bought the beautiful special edition hardback copies of this series. I read the first book in June, so I want to get to the second book while the first one is still fresh in my mind.

Last but certainly not least, I got number 7 ‘Read a Thriller, Mystery or Suspense Novel’. This couldn’t be more perfect, because that’s one of my favorite genres. I had a lot of options, but my mood is leaning towards ‘56 Days’ by Catherine Ryan Howard. This is a suspense novel that takes place during the time of Covid and lockdown. I can’t wait for it!

Now for my book club pick! If you don’t know, I have a book club called ‘The Reading Rabbits’ over on the Novellic app. This month the book is ‘You Shouldn’t Have Come Here’ by Jeneva Rose. This is an adult mystery thriller about a woman that falls for a man that starts to become obsessive.

There you have my August TBR! I have many more books that I am in the mood to read, so we’ll see what I actually end up reading. Don’t forget to hit the follow button to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,

Friday Reads #18

Hi Friends,
This is the last weekend in July. I have been reading like crazy, and now I am kind of in a reading slump. However, I hope that these books will pull me out of my reading slump.

The Legacies by Jessica Goodman
I am 30% into this YA thriller book and hope to be done with it soon. Right now, I am not loving it, but I am hoping that it will start to pick up.

When In Rome by Sarah Adams
I have been in the mood for a cute rom-com style adult romance. This book has been on my radar for a while and I own it, which is awesome since I am trying to read more books off my physical TBR. Hopefully, I will get to it by the end of the month.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand
This book has been on many Friday reads and TBRs. I just need to finish it! Since I am becoming more of a fantasy girlie, I think that I might finally be able to binge read the last 50% of this book.

In the comments, let me know what you are currently reading. Do not forget to like this post and follow this blog before you go.

Until The Next Chapter,

Rock Paper Scissors // Book Review

About The Book
Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after. Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.
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My Rating

I didn’t know what to expect when going into this book, but I had heard that it was a wild ride. In this book, we follow a couple, Adam and Amelia, that wins a trip to Scotland. This trip will either fix or break their already strained marriage. But, the couple soon realize this gateway might not be just for the two of them.

The book has an isolation setting plot, which I have learned that I’m not the biggest fan of. Yet, I think it worked well for the plot. The book is also somewhat of dual timelines. We get letters written to Adam by his wife, for each of their anniversaries. These letters help piece together what has lead their marriage to the breaking point.

Another interesting aspect is that Adam has face blindness. I had never even heard about the illness until this book, and it is very interesting. And, it really added another element to the story that was needed to tie everything together.

For me the plot was super interesting,= and the characters were written well. My biggest complaint is that the book was slow moving. I wanted it to be more fast-paced, and have things progress quicker than they did. But, I think that’s just my preference when reading thrillers.

“If every story had a happy ending, then we’d have no reason to start again.”

There were some twists, and the ending was shocking to say the least. I didn’t actually see the last twist coming at all. Maybe a more skilled thriller or mystery reader would have figured things out, but I was just along for the roller coaster that is this book.

I have heard from other people that Alice Feeney is a very hit-or-miss author, but I think that’s the case for a lot of thriller writers. It really depends on the approach they take with their plot twists and characters. However, the same could be said for pretty much all books.

Overall, I had a good time reading the book, and I’m glad that I finally got around to picking it up. If you like a good plot twist and isolation setting thriller, then I’d give this one a read. I’m for sure going to be reading more by Alice Feeney in the near future.

In the comments, tell me which of Alice Feeney’s books is your favorite. Don’t forget to like and share this post with others! If you enjoy book reviews, then follow the blog to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,

Reading Wrap-Up // Summerween 2023

Hi Friends,
The Summerween readathon is over, and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should go read my Sunmerween TBR post. But, for the week of Summerween, I ended up reading 3 books, and completing all the prompts.

Lying in the Deep’ by Diana Urban
I was originally going to read ‘Every Last Fear’ by Alex Finlay for the ‘Read a Thriller’ prompt, but I had this audiobook on my Libby, so I decided to pick this one up. It’s a YA thriller/mystery, more mystery than thriller, but it is categorized as a thriller, so it counts. I did end up finishing this book, but it wasn’t my favorite read.

Fence’ Vol. 2 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad
I have become a big fan of this graphic novel series, so for the ‘Read a Graphic Novel, Manga, or Novella’ prompt I knew that I had to read volume 2. I finished this quickly, and enjoyed it.

The Haunting of Aveline Jones’ by Phil Hickes
This book filled two prompts: ‘Read a Book That Takes Place in the Fall’ and ‘Read a Book With Black and/or Orange on the Cover’. I really like this spooky middle-grade, and I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.

On the last day of the readathon, I ended up starting ‘Every Last Fear’. I only got about 20% into the audiobook, but so far it has me intrigued.

Let me know in the comments, if you participated in Summerween. Also, I vlogged each day of the readathon over on my TikTok account (@BooksWithBunny). Before you go hit the follow button, so that you never miss a post.

Until The Next Chapter,

Queen Of The Tiles // Book Review

About The Book
They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in this thriller set in the world of competitive Scrabble, where a teen girl, Najwa, is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend, Trina, when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages. As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.
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My Rating

I hadn’t heard anything about this book before going into it. Also, I don’t really know anything about Scrabble, except that I would probably lose in a Scrabble competition. In the book we follow, Najwa who is competing in her first Scrabble tournament since her best friend’s death. Her best friend, Trina, was known around the teen Scrabble circuit as the Queen of the Tiles.

As you can probably guess, with this being a mystery thriller and all, that Najwa starts to wonder if her best friend was murdered for her ‘Scrabble crown’. Like in any sport, people will do anything to be number one. Najwa was an okay character, yet a little on the naive side, for my liking. But, we got to know a lot about her and her best friends relationship.

Let’s just say that in their friendship Najwa wasn’t the main character. However, Najwa didn’t really seem bitter about being the supporting character, but should could understand the desire to dethrone the scrabble queen. But, you could tell that she was still grieving the loss of her friend, and winning the scrabble competition, in honor of her BFF was her way of coping.

The mystery was interesting, and I didn’t want to put the book down. However, the plot in general was slow moving, and nothing really gripped me. Although, I did like learning more about Scrabble. It’s a pretty competitive and strategic game. One I’ve actually never played.

“And the idea that Scrabble is still there for me, grounding me through everything that’s going on, is comforting.”

Grief is a being topic in the book, which is a little strange for a murder mystery. And, I think the fact that it was such a huge plot point in the book could be why it felt so slow. More on the side of a contemporary vs a mystery. But, I will say that at its root it is a solid mystery thriller.

It’s hard to say if I liked the ending or not. Because, I’m someways it was completely expected and easy to see coming. On the other hand, it was a little shocking, especially since there were times when we were giving the element of an unreliable narrator. So I’m torn.

Overall, I found the book to be a pretty good read. The writing was nice and the plot was very well done. Although, I’m not sure if I liked the writing style enough to read more from this author. But, if you are newer to the YA mystery genre, I’d recommend this book.

In the comments, let me know if you enjoy a good game of Scrabble. Don’t forget to follow the blog to get notified whenever there’s a new post!

Until The Next Chapter,

2023 Mid-Year Book Freakout // Book Tag

Hi Friends,
Today I’m doing the classic ‘Mid-Year Book Freakout’ Book Tag! This tag is a very popular one among the book community. If you’d like, you can check out my 2021 and 2022 editions of this tag.

I’m going to say ‘Belladonna’ by Adalyn Grace. This is a young adult fantasy that I couldn’t put down. I can’t wait for the sequel to be released! Other than that, I feel like my reading year hasn’t been the best.
Related Post: Belladonna // Book Review

Because I’m terrible at finishing series, I haven’t read too many sequel. So, there’s only one answer for this question and that would have to be ‘Finale’ by Stephanie Garber. It’s the conclusion to the ‘Caraval’ trilogy. I enjoyed how the ending, but it wasn’t my favorite book in the series.
Related Post: Finale // Book Review

You Shouldn’t Have Come Here’ by Jeneva Rose is an adult thriller about a woman that rents an Airbnb ad falls for the owner of it. But, their romance goes from sweet to obsessive. It was released back in April of 2023 and I still haven’t had the chance to pick it up. I haven’t read anything by this author, but I tend to have good luck with adult thrillers, so I have high hopes for this book.

This is a no brainer! It’s is, for sure, ‘One of Us Is Back’ by Karen M. McManus, which will be released on July 25th. I loved ‘One of Us is Lying’ and ‘One of Us is Next’, so I’m very excited for the next book in this YA thriller series of companion novels. Hopefully we get to see more of Knox and Phoebe relationship.
Related Post: One Of Us Is Lying // Book Review

Probably, ‘Five Survive’ by Holly Jackson. I’m a pretty big fan of the ‘Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ trilogy by this author, but this book was a fail. It was my first read of the year and put me in a reading slump. The whole premise behind the book was subpar and the writing wasn’t up to her usual standards.
Related Post: Five Survive // Book Review

I’m going to have to say my biggest reading surprise of the year, so far has been ‘With and Without You’ by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley. I have read all of their YA novels, and only ever truly liked one of them. But, this book shocked me and was a 5 star read. It was such a cute YA contemporary romance that had a long distance relationship element, which isn’t something you typically see in YA books.

I’ve apparently been sleeping with regard to Kara Thomas’ young adult thrillers. I read ‘The Cheerleaders’ and it was a really captivating mystery. The writing was wonderful and it’s made me want to pick up all of her books.

I’ve got two answers for this question. The first being, Patrick from ‘With and Without You’, because if I was a teen girl, I would be swooning for this boy. And, the second is Four from ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth. What can I say I guess I have a thing for quiet, strong, serious guys.

Vera from ‘Shady Hollow’ by Juneau Black is a great main character. Yes, she is a fox, but I love her personality, and she’s become one of my new favorite characters.
Related Post: Shady Hollow // Book Review

So far, I actually haven’t read a book that has made me cry. But, I did find ‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell really sad. Honestly, for a mystery thriller, it’s pretty heartbreaking.
Related Post: Then She Was Gone // Book Review

The Stand-In’ by Lily Chu brought a smile to my face. It’s an adult romance that I adored. The entire plot and writing was great, and I had a really fun time reading it.

The special edition of ‘Daughter of the Pirate King‘ by Tricia Levenseller. I pre-ordered it, so it isn’t released until my birthday (June 27th). But, I’m still counting it as the most beautiful book I’ve bought this year. And, yes I did pre-order the rest of the series special editions as well. Before you ask, no, I haven’t read the series yet.

My TBR is far too long for this question. However, I’m really hoping to complete some book series that I’ve started. One that is high on my list is ‘Our Violent Ends’ by Chloe Gong, since I really enjoyed ‘These Violent Delights’. It should be easy to get a few duologies finished by the end of the year. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.
Related Post: These Violent Delights // Book Review

In the comments, let me know if you have done this tag too. Don’t forget to like and share this post. Also, hit the follow button to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,

Kill Joy // Book Review

About The Book
Pip is not in the mood for her friend’s murder mystery party. Especially one that involves 1920’s fancy dress and pretending that their town is an island called Joy. But when the game begins, Pip finds herself drawn into the make-believe world of intrigue, deception and murder. But as Pip plays detective, teasing out the identity of the killer clue-by-clue, the murder of the fictional Reginald Remy isn’t the only case on her mind.
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My Rating

This is a prequel to Jackson’s ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ trilogy. If you are a regular reader of the blog, then you know that I have a love/hate relationship with that series, and Holly Jackson’s books in general.
Related Post: A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder // Book Review

In this book, we follow Pip, as she is a guest at a murder mystery party. I absolutely loved the concept of the book. It was such an easy and fun read. It felt like a true murder mystery game among friends.

The book might have not had all the suspenseful twists and turns as the other three books in the series, but I didn’t mind. The mystery was very straightforward and simple.
Related Post: Good Girl, Bad Blood // Book Review

I loved being inside Pip’s mind as she tries to put all the pieces of the murder together. Honestly, she’s every competitive person playing a game. Also, it was nice to see her in a more light hearted situation.

“It was almost like the town itself was defined by the murder of Andie Bell, both usually uttered in the same breath, inextricable from the other.”

The ending had a nice small twist that I found so realistic when it comes to the logical aspects of a game. Now I don’t know if I wouldn’t consider this a cozy mystery but I do think for some readers it could fall somewhere along those lines.

My favorite thing about this book is all the foreshadowing of the main trilogy. We got to see Pippa realize what her final year project should be. We saw characters from all the other books, and it was just a very full circle moment.
Related Post: As Good As Dead // Book Review

Overall, the book wasn’t anything spectacular, or the best story I’ve ever read. Yet, it is wonderfully written, and a fast-paced, good read. If you are looking for a mystery story that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, then I’d pick this one up.

If you’d like to share this post that would be amazing. And, giving my blog a follow would make my day!

Until The Next Chapter,

People Like Us // Book Review

About The Book
Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. Debut author Dana Mele has written a taut, sophisticated suspense novel that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
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My Rating

I thought this book was going to be your typical prep school, mystery/thriller type of YA novel. I will say right up front that I haven’t loved many of the books I’ve read that follow this format. However, I am happy to say that I did actually enjoy this one!

The main character Kay is likable and interesting. She has a secret that she has kept hidden for years, but after discovering a body in the lake on Halloween, someone is threatening to expose her past. The skeleton in the closet aspect of the book reminded me a little of ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ by Stephanie Perkins, but it was done way better in this book.

This book was so intense! There was murder, blackmail, and it even touched on how the police are usually more concerned about closing a case than actually solving it. Racial profiling was mentioned, student teacher relationships, cheating, suicide, revenge porn, and the list goes on.

I for one couldn’t put the book down! I had to know what was going to happen next. The writing was so good, and the plot just kept getting better. I didn’t really feel like it was another prep school rehashed. Although Kay was the stereotypical non-rich girl on a scholarship, which is a running theme when it comes to the main characters in most private school mysteries.

“Does someone who does one bad thing, even one really bad thing,
deserve bad things to happen to them?”

I had my suspicions on who the killer was and I will admit that I was wrong at first. It was a slow build up to the reveal, but the reveal was done very well. The ending was amazing! By the end, you realize that there were many tiny hints throughout the book that lead you to the murders identity.

I will say that the ending was kind of sad, and had a lot to do with bullying and mental health. That being said, I liked how the story was wrapped up even though some people might guess the killer from early on. So, if you aren’t someone that minds a little predictability than you’ll enjoy this book.

Overall, this book gave me ‘Pretty Little Liars’ meets ‘Gossip Girl’ vibes. However, I did read a review calling it a ‘fucked up sapphic mean girls book’ and I think that describes it way better. But, it is a great read for spooky season, and I did get a kick out of the ‘A Christmas Story’ Ovaltine reference.

I highly recommend checking out trigger warnings —(find here)— before picking thing book up. Don’t forget to like and share this post with others. If you are a book lover (like me) hit the follow button to get notified whenever there’s a new post.

Until The Next Chapter,

People Like Us by Dana Mele