Review: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

I have had this book on my TBR for years. Like years. Every Halloween season, I tell myself that I am going to pick this one up. It’s on all the ‘most scary’ book lists and I have heard such great things about Sarah Waters. Not to mention this book features all the creepy things that I love best in the gothic—a family fallen from grace, a crumbling old mansion, a haunted house. I mean all the things that make the gothic what it is can be found in this book or at least promise to be!

Well this year was finally they year for me to read this one. My sister and I picked this book to read for the month of October, every October we pick a couple of creepy books that we have had on our TBR and do a buddy read for the month and this was our pick. At over 450 pages, I decided to also download the Audible version too, I mean Simon Vance narrates and he always does a great job.

My sister has read other books by Waters and absolutely loves them so I had high hoped for this one and I was fully ready to be scared to death and up all night reading this one. So imagine my shock when I was literally bored to tears. This is my first and only DNF of the year and I couldn’t be more shocked. I went into this one fully ready to devour it!

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Special Feature and Excerpt: My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

This book caught my eye for so many reasons! Not only is it by a POC but it sounds freaking amazing from the summary! The dark sultry cover drew me in and made me just want to curl up in front of a fire and devour this debut novel! It sounds like the perfect fall read and guess what I am doing with this one…..I am taking it with me on our road trip vacation to read! After reading this lovely excerpt, I couldn’t be more excited if I tried!

This book has been getting a ton of advanced praise from early readers, and normally I would shy away from some of the hype for a new debut release like this, but then I read the excerpt and I was hooked. It sounds like it’s going to be a great thriller, ripe for the reading! The writing is bold and fresh, I am so excited to check this one out. I mean that cover! The girl on the cover literally has the most engaging, sinister gaze and I just want to read this book because of that!

If you are a thriller fan and are looking for something a little darker and new, then I think this novel will be a wonderful fit. Be sure to check out the excerpt below and all the details of this striking debut novel. And be watching for my review a little later this fall. I cannot wait to check this one out and devour it! What about you?

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Review: A Most Clever Girl: A Novel of an American Spy by Stephanie Marie Thornton

I started reading Stephanie Marie Thornton’s books years ago and absolutely feel in love with her story telling style! One of the things I found the most compelling was she wrote stories about women in antiquity. Women that wouldn’t be likely to have a ‘story’ that was well known. For example the Empress Theodora and the women of Genghis Kahn. I loved that she took well known women in antiquity, but were unlikely to generate mainstream stories, and then created a story for them. I adored her early books and when I saw that she was making the shift into the more modern era, I was a little sad.

That said, I have read her more ‘modern’ books which, I am happy to report, were all wonderful too! Although I am still waiting for a story about Boudica, but I have loved her modern novels. But this book was one I was looking forward to above all others to date! I have been really enjoying books set in a post WWII world that include early espionage. This book is set a little later than I was hoping (set in 1963) but still compelling in content and espionage!

This is more of a ‘Cold War’ era spy type novel rather than immediate post WWII, but the content and suspense was on fire and I absolutely loved this one! I devoured it in like a day. It was so good and Thornton’s storytelling style just keeps getting better and better. I still have a special place in my heart for the ancient history novels but this more modern novel has a lot to recommend itself!

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Review: Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan has quickly become a favorite author of mine! I have adored all of her books that I have read and I was super excited to check out her latest novel, Her Perfect Life. One of the things that I have loved about Ryan’s novels is that she always writes compelling female characters that are flawed and complex and this book sounded like it would be right up my alley!

Her mysteries are always a fun read and since Ryan is a former investigative reporter each book has this great investigative quality that feels modern and relevant. Ryan has also won numerous awards and accolades for her mysteries which gives me confidence that her novels are solid and well worth the read.

Not only is Ryan a wonderful writer with great books, she is just a general great human being! She is one of my favorite Tall Poppy Writers that I have worked with in the last few years. She is always so great to work with and I simply just enjoy her as a person and I love how her personality translates into her books. If you are even a little on the fence about reading one of Ryan’s books—just do it already. You won’t be disappointed!

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Special Feature: The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng

Typically I am not a huge sci fi fan. I have tried a few over the years and it’s just not my genre but I don’t mind thrillers that have some sci fi elements. The mashup typically works well for me and I don’t mind branching out and trying something a little on the new side. That was what drew me to this one—that unique mash up of mystery/thriller and sci fi elements.

I don’t know if I will move it to the top of my TBR list, but there is enough here in the description and in some of the early reviews to give me pause and consider a book that might be a little out of my comfort zone. Some early reviewers have called this one a little strange which would normally be off putting, however I think in this context and genre blending, I think it’s supposed to be strange.

If you are looking for a thriller with a different vibe this summer then I think this book could be just what you are looking for. I liked the concept of making a different choice with the life you have versus the one you might have had. I think this book will explore some interesting concepts and have a very unique feel right from the beginning. I am excited to see what people think of this one and of course it’s on my TBR to check out!

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