What I Read: April 18-24

The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker (available 5/17/2022): This was a really interesting read, about a family of (seemingly) cursed sisters who are heiresses to a firearms fortune. I thought this would be a fictionalized version of the Winchester House story (seriously, look it up, it’s wild) but it was more of a gothic, 1950s version of The Virgin Suicides. It’s a slower burn at times (with some shocking moments sprinkled throughout) and it ends on a somewhat vague note and leaves a lot of unanswered questions. However, the atmospheric reading experience, cast of sisters and unsettling “wedding cake” house kept me interested from start to finish. Thank you Harper Collins for the ARC!

Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander (available 5/3/2022): Sometimes readers will complain that a book is all romance and no plot – well, Chef’s Kiss was somewhat of the opposite for me (but not necessarily in a bad way). Think of this more as contemporary fiction with a slow-burning romantic subplot. Simone and Ray are SO lovable (Ray is the epitome of SUNSHINE). I loved the cookbook/magazine publisher workplace setting (America’s Test Kitchen fans, this book will interest you!) and the overall plot was rich and well-developed. I think this was my first romance read with a nonbinary lead, and the representation is what matters most here. Thank you Atria for the ARC!

The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10) by Karin Slaughter: There was a point in this book where I had an idea of where Karin was taking the plot and I was so distressed and heartbroken about the mere idea of where it was going, and then SHE WENT THERE and for some reason, i’m not mad about it? After 16 books in two series that include a few overlapping characters, I think i’ve made it to the point where I would follow Karin over a cliff (metaphorically, of course). This book can be read as a standalone, but you’d be missing out on so much if you didn’t go back to the very beginning and start with the Grant County series. Did I just give you a 16-book tbr? Yes. Am I sorry? Not at all. Unfortunately, I am completely caught up with the Will Trent series now, and I only have one more Karin Slaughter book to read before I have to find another author to obsess over for a bit (Harlan Coben, you’re up next!) Thank you William Morrow and Bibliolifestyle for the finished paperback copy!

CURRENTLY READING: I’ve decided to do the simultaneous fiction/nonfiction reading thing again, so i’ve picked up The Captain of All Pleasures (Sutherland Brothers #1) by Kresley Cole alongside The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman.

REVIEW – When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

“It’s hard to live with certain truths of this world, so we ignore what we can. Choose not to look. We have to do it because otherwise we have to deal with the burden of knowing.”

Combine Kindred with Get Out and you’ll get When the Reckoning Comes – a short but impactful read about the reverberations of the past. The ghosts aren’t what to be afraid of here. There’s a gritty layer of dread and forboding smeared all over this story. Although this was a middle-of-the-road read for me, McQueen has an incredibly promising future.

Thank you Bibliolifestyle and Harper Perennial for the free book!

REVIEW – False Witness by Karin Slaughter

“If Callie could stay in this quiet moment, big sister by her side, for the rest of her life, then she would be happy. But that wasn’t how life worked.”

Karin Slaughter continues to remind me why she’s my favorite author. Time and time again I am blown away by her ability to weave an intriguing, emotional, gut-punch of a plot. The first Karin Slaughter book I read was one of her standalones, so i’m always excited when she releases a new one. I think they’re a great introduction to her writing for anyone looking to give her books a try.

False Witness is about two sisters with a long-buried secret. It provides an honest, heartbreaking look at addiction, abuse and sexual assault. It’s full of the twists and “OMG” moments you expect from a Karin Slaughter book. I won’t give too much away because it’s worth diving in headfirst, without taking too close of a look (avoid detailed reviews!)

This book does make mention of the pandemic, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it. It’s merely part of the story, instead of being a major focus. My recommendation? Definitely read the Author’s Note to get a glimpse into her thought process while writing the book.

As far as content warnings? I won’t list them all here, but please know that if you are a sensitive reader, this probably isn’t the book for you.

Thank you Bibliolifestyle and William Morrow for the free book!

REVIEW – The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

Okay, I officially want to dive into Kate Quinn’s backlist. The Rose Code was an incredibly immersive, emotional, charming piece of historical fiction. Focusing on the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, The Rose Code features three main characters – Osla, Mab and Beth – who have incredibly different personalities but become fast friends.

Throughout the course of the war, we follow the three women as they endure long shifts, battle sexist attitudes, fall in (and out) of love, and experience unimaginable loss.

The book bounces between two timelines – WWII (beginning in 1940 and moving along at an even pace) and post-war 1947, mere days before the wedding of Princess (now Queen!) Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Quinn is an incredible storyteller – I felt like I was transported into 1940s England, sitting in the room watching these amazing women work on breaking codes that ultimately could save the lives of hundreds (or thousands). The way Quinn weaves together fiction with real-life “characters” and events is remarkable, and you can tell she has done her research. The Rose Code will entertain you but it will also educate you.

Thank you to Bibliolifestyle and William Morrow for the finished copy!

COZY MYSTERY REVIEW – Murder in an Irish Bookshop by Carlene O’Connor

I can’t get enough of Siobhan and Macdara and the O’Sullivan Six and Kilbane. This series is definitely a favorite and I really want to go back and read the first few books that I haven’t yet picked up.

Murder in an Irish Bookshop has SUCH a fun murder to solve – when a visiting author is found dead in a newly opened bookshop, Siobhan has a long list of suspects to sort through (this author was…prickly. She made a lot of enemies.)

The investigation and reveal is SO clever – O’Connor’s ability to outline an elaborate and interesting murder never fails to amaze me.

Thank you Bibliolifestyle and Kensington Books!