Review: The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

Summary: Elka barely remembers a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in the desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other. But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.

Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind — and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight.

Genre: thriller, horror
Rating: ★★★

I went into The Wolf Road expecting a cat-and-mouse chase through the wilderness, and in some ways that’s what I got, but I also feel like there was so much more to this story than I ever could have anticipated. Elka discovers Trapper’s true identify extremely early on in the story, so the bulk of the book is about her on the run. However, along the way she meets riveting, charming, and sometimes vicious people, often getting into dangerous situations. She learns so much about herself along the way — not only about her background, but also about the type of person she is versus is not.

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Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Summary: One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop a t nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

Genre: mystery, thriller
Rating:

The Good Girl is maybe one of the worst books I’ve ever read, and there’s a lot to unpack here. Other readers have given this four stars, and while it seems like such a dramatic difference compared to how I feel about it, I will say I understand why some people liked this book. It wasn’t completely terrible at times. However, a majority of the problems lie in the very last chapter of the book.

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ARC Review: Her Perfect Family by Teresa Driscoll

Summary: It’s their daughter’s graduation and Rachel and Ed Hartley are expecting it to be one of their family’s happiest days. But when she stumbles and falls on stage during the ceremony, a beautiful moment turns to chaos: Gemma has been shot, and just like that, she’s fighting for her life. PI Matthew Hill is one of the first on the scene. A cryptic message Gemma received earlier in the day suggests someone close to her was about to be exposed. But who? As Matthew starts to investigate, he finds more and more layers obscuring the truth. He even begins to suspect the Hartleys are hiding something big—from him and from each other. While Gemma lies in hospital in a coma, her would-be killer is still out there. Can Matthew unravel the family’s secrets before the attacker strikes again?

Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: ★★★

Her Perfect Family fits cozily on the domestic thriller shelf right between authors like Tarryn Fisher and Shari Lapena. It checks all the boxes here: it’s told in alternating perspectives between the PI, each member of the Hartley family, and, seemingly most importantly, a mysterious person who is our alleged killer; the story focuses heavily on the personal lives of the characters instead of the actual crime procedural.

So is Her Perfect Family good? It checks all the boxes, which will easily draw in readers who already enjoy the genre. I just don’t know that it stands out from others on the shelf.

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September Wrap Up + Mini Reviews

September was a surprisingly busy month for me. My job became all-consuming for a little while in order for me to get a promotion I’d been after which drastically changed my daily life; I went on a week-long family vacation to Tennessee; and my witchy aesthetic girl gang started spending more time together. It was a complete whirlwind of a month, to say the least. I’ve had hardly any time to dedicate to my hobbies with how crazy things have been.

Unfortunately, that meant reading often got put on the backburner. I did read the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, and honestly managing to read seven books this month in spite of everything else I had going on is still impressive for me. I actually read both of my Book of the Month picks in the month I got them! I only read one of my three books for my monthly book club, but four of the seven books I read were ones I own that I can check off the towering list that is my tbr pile, so overall, it was a good reading month!

I decided to do mini reviews with all the books I read this month, because while some were terrible, some blew me away, and some were tucked cozily right in between, I didn’t feel I had enough to say about each of them to warrant their own separate reviews.

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Review: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Summary: From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was properly friendly but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer. But the autopsy finds no cancer. The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation. Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?

Genre: thriller, mystery
Rating: ★★★

A few months ago, I went through my tbr pile and removed any thrillers that had words like “mother,” “wife,” “daughter,” “husband” in them. I’d noticed a common trend among domestic thrillers with those keywords, and felt they were all too easy. The writing tended to lack any real substance, the plots were all the same, and they were extremely predictable. The Mother-in-Law was promptly taken off my list, and I didn’t think anything of it for a few months. When I came across it at a book sale, I grabbed it despite my internal monologue telling me not to, because it was only a dollar, and really, how bad could it be?

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