Ever Alice by H J Ramsay

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay
347 pgs
4 Stars

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in several of my posts, I love retellings. This book follows Alice briefly during her life after Wonderland and then her return. She is living in an asylum and she still can’t convince herself if her adventure in Wonderland was real or insanity. This book had me chuckling with its slapstick humor and satire. It was written in a peculiar way that represented the absurdity of the Red Queen and how she ruled her kingdom.
Alice is convinced to join the Queen’s court to get her close to overthrow the Queen of Hearts. The writing was entertaining and the story is reminiscent of overall quirkiness of the movies directed by Tim Burton. Alice has to earn the Queen’s trust and avoid suspicion while trying to accomplish her mission.
The story didn’t end how I would’ve preferred, but the entire story overall was really enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys retellings or even anyone looking for a quirky and humorous story.

Thanks for reading!
-V

#MarchMysteryMadness TBR

I would say besides fantasy and sci-fi, mystery/thriller is one of my favorite genres. If you’re interested, here is a link explaining #MarchMysteryMadness.
https://t.co/Jko8KIQNwS
What I’m loving about this readathon is that the prompts are completely open to interpretation. If you can take a prompt and apply it to a book in a way that makes sense, it can count.

So the prompts are;
1. Old
2. Again
3. New
4. Borrowed
5. Blue
Optional Bonus: Read a mystery that features a wedding.

My first book choice for “Old” is Face of Deception by Iris Johansen. This book was published in 1999. 20 FRICKIN YEARS AGO! I’ve also had it on my TBR for awhile and actually started reading it, but I got distracted by other books and readathons.

My second book for “Again” is going to be Red Light by T. Jefferson Parker. I read The Blue Hour years ago, so I’m going to be starting this series AGAIN.

Third, for “New” I will be reading Verity by Colleen Hoover. This book is still fairly new, published in December 2018. I’ve been hearing really good things about it and I can borrow for free on Kindle Unlimited, so I figured it was a win/win/win.

My “Borrowed” prompt will be met by Witness by Caroline Mitchell. I’ll also be borrowing this book from Kindle Unlimited, but the premise looked very intriguing.

Conveniently, I will be reading The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker for my “Blue” prompt. As I mentioned, I started this series previously, but once again, got distracted by other books.

For the bonus prompt “Features a wedding” I’ve requested The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman (fun fact, I’ve never read an Alex Delaware novel) from my local library. I’m hoping to get it before the end of the month, but I also have To Have and to Kill by Mary Jane Clark as a back-up.

Will you be participating in #MarchMysteryMadness? What are some of your favorite mysteries or thrillers?

Thanks for reading!
-V

TBR for #FierceFemaleReads

I decided (2 days after it started) to participate in the Fierce Female Readathon hosted by @fiercefemreads.

See Ashley’s blog at https://fallingdownthebookhole.com/fierce-female-readathon-tbr/ to see the details!

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My first book for “Woman in the title” will be an eARC of Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry.

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My next book for the prompt “Written by a WOC” will be When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My book choice for a “fierce female rec by the book community” will be Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young.

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For the fourth prompt I chose a nonfiction book. Bossypants by badass Tina Fey

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Last, I am reading the eARC Ever Alice by H. J. Ramsay. I believe this will satisfy the prompt of a “fierce female leading a resistance”.

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If I find it doesn’t meet the criteria, I’ll choose another book later in the week.

Are you participating in any readathons this month? What are some of your all time favorite #FierceFemaleReads?

Thanks for reading!
-V

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
416 pgs
5 Stars

 

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

This story was completely engrossing. I absolutely loved this book. It was a combination of fantasy, horror, and mystery.
Several of Annaleigh’s sisters have died and at first, there doesn’t seem to be anything suspicious about them, just bad luck. When they lose another sister, Annaleigh starts believing maybe it hasn’t been just bad luck after all. Slowly, strange things start happening to her and her remaining sisters. She begins having ghoulish visions and suddenly the difference between reality and illusion are difficult to discern.

As the reader you also become unsure of what might be the reality of the MC and what is delusion. There are several twists that, imo, weren’t predictable and made the story so much more interesting. There was one element of the story that I saw coming, but THAT also had a twist that I did not predict. If other books similar to this exist, I have not read them. I loved the combination of genres to create such an interesting story.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in dark fantasies. Erin A. Craig has become an instant new favorite.

Thanks for reading!
-V

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

4 Stars

Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town – and desperate for some kid-free conversation – she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

I’m always looking for thrillers that are engaging. This book hooked me from the beginning and the story contained twists and turns that made the story gripping. Each character has their own personality and the reader learns enough of their backstory without having to trudge through too much filler.
Det. Gabby Watkins becomes involved professionally and personally in several cases that become entwined. The story begins with an au pair possibly being raped at a house party. It then moves to 3 couples renting a beach house for a week. They are all neighbors and haven’t been friends long. One of the neighbors is found murdered and we follow Gabby’s investigation into the murder and possible rape.
I did get to a point where I found it suspicious that so much of the story and characters were intertwined, but I decided to look past it.
I became quite invested in the story and wondering what would happen next. I wasn’t surprised or shocked by the ending, but I also didn’t find it easily predictable. Overall I gave this book 4 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it and relished the book as a whole, I just didn’t get that shock factor I expect from thrillers. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an enjoyable mystery.

Thanks for reading!
-V

The Last Good Guy by T. Jefferson Parker

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Last Good Guy by T. Jefferson Parker

352pgs

4 Stars

In this electrifying new thriller from three-time Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestseller T. Jefferson Parker, Private Investigator Roland Ford hunts for a missing teenager and uncovers a dark conspiracy in his most personal case yet.

When hired by a beautiful and enigmatic woman to find her missing younger sister, private investigator Roland Ford immediately senses that the case is not what it seems. He is soon swept up in a web of lies and secrets as he searches for the teenager, and even his new client cannot be trusted. His investigation leads him to a secretive charter school, skinhead thugs, a cadre of American Nazis hidden in a desert compound, an arch-conservative celebrity evangelist–and, finally, to the girl herself. The Last Good Guy is Ford’s most challenging case to date, one that will leave him questioning everything he thought he knew about decency, honesty, and the battle between good and evil…if it doesn’t kill him first.

I requested this book not realizing it is part of the Roland Ford series. I was still able to enjoy this book without having read the first two. There are some parts and references to past situations that are probably in those first books, but was explained well enough in this book for the reader to still follow the story. I do recommend reading them if you have the opportunity primarily for consistency and avoiding possible spoilers from this book.

Roland Ford is a PI hired by a woman, Penelope, to find her younger sister who has gone missing. The story instantly grabbed me with the mysteriousness of this woman and the circumstances of her missing sister. As the story progresses, more details are revealed. The supporting characters’ stories and secrets are revealed and kept me engaged.

I find Parker is essentially my James Patterson or Nora Roberts, but more sophisticated. His books are fairly easy reads, but they keep me interested and entertained. I feel Patterson’s books (at least the one’s I’ve read) give the impression that they were written in a week. I don’t feel that way with Parker’s books. His books usually can be categorized as Crime, Thriller, Suspense and/or Mystery.

I would recommend this book and this author for anyone looking to read an entertaining book with any of those elements.

Thanks for reading!

-V

My TBR for #Polarthon

Hey everyone!

I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, so I decided to participate in #Polarthon hosted by @JadeyRae. She made this adorable map for the prompts.

You start at the bottom by choosing one prompt and then follow the footsteps up to the top prompt “Polar Fantasy”, for a total of five books. It will be held February 4-10.

My first book will be Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft for the “A Journey Ahead” prompt.

This is the second book of The Books of Babel series. Senlin and his wife become separated during their honeymoon and in this second book, he continues his journey to find her.

My second book will be for the “Northern Mythology” prompt. I chose Entombed in Glass by Stacey Rourke.

I’m cheating a little with this book. it’s not actually about Greek mythology, but Vanessa (Ursela) is the daughter of Poseidon and sister of Triton. Hades also makes an appearance in this book. This is the second book in the Unfortunate Souls series, which is about the background story of how Ursela the sea witch came to be.

My third book will be for the “Set in Winter” prompt. I will be reading The Shack by William Paul Young.

This seems to have mixed reviews, so hopefully it will be bearable. I think I picked it up at a library sale because I knew they made a movie about it and the synopsis sounded intriguing. Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40874325-the-shack?from_search=true

The next book, for the “Snowy Cover” prompt, is City of Thieves by David Benioff.

I think someone had recommended this book to be awhile ago, so I added it to my TBR. This book is about two prisoners who have the opportunity to save themselves by finding a dozen eggs in a wartorn Leningrad where these “luxuries” are hard to come by.

Lastly, I will be reading The Bear and the Nightingale for the “Polar Fantasy” prompt.

I’ve been hearing really good things about this book and series, so I’m pretty excited to read it. For the synopsis click here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25489134-the-bear-and-the-nightingale?ac=1&from_search=true

I tried choosing some shorter books, so hopefully I can finish all 5 books. I also requested some arcs from NetGalley recently, so hopefully I can get out of the slump!

Thanks for reading!
-V