Review: Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Eight Perfect Murders
Author: Peter Swanson
Genre: Mystery
Audience: Adult
Format: ebook
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Library (Libby)
Recommended for Fans of: classic mystery books

SYNOPSIS

“Fiendish good fun.” —Anthony Horowitz

From the hugely talented author of Before She Knew Him comes a chilling tale of psychological suspense and an homage to the thriller genre tailor-made for fans: the story of a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation because a very clever killer has started using his list of fiction’s most ingenious murders.

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. There is killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.

MY THOUGHTS

Eight Perfect Murders is written as an homage to classic mystery books, but overall it missed the mark for me.

The story started off strong. I was immediately sucked into the narrative. I found the copycat case compelling. I loved that Mal ran a mystery book store and its blog. I was intrigued by his secrets and his own investigation into the murders. I thought that most of the book was very well paced.

HOWEVER, I really disliked the moments with Mal’s narration broke the fourth wall and he spoke directly to the reader because it pulled me out of the story. The execution of some of the reveals was heavy-handed and overdone as Swanson attempted to emulate classics of the genre. I didn’t predict the killer’s identity, but I was disappointed by it, and the killer’s explanation of how he pulled it off was way too long and reminded me of a Scooby Doo villain monologue. I also disliked the ending.

This book should come with a major SPOILER ALERT for all the books on the Eight Perfect Murders list as well as a handful of other classic mystery novels. It’s not surprising that the books on the list were spoiled, and I wasn’t planning on reading most of them, but I’m still a little salty about all the spoilers.

Even though it wasn’t perfect, this was a very fast and engrossing read, and if you are already familiar with the classic murder mysteries this book is built around, you might enjoy this more than I did.

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Contemporary
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Length: 378 pages
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Library (Libby)
Triggers: suicide ideation, suicide attempt, suicide completion, death, loss of loved one, grief, PTSD, bullying

SYNOPSIS

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
 
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

MY THOUGHTS

This was a beautifully written, tragic, difficult, and important read. Violet and Finch have the quirky, intelligent, all-consuming kind of relationship that only seems to exist in YA novels. The novel alternates between their POVs.

I really enjoyed their school project visiting different attractions Indiana, and how they felt free to be themselves when it was just the two of them. Violet had been aloof since her sister’s death, but Finch helped her feel grounded again. However, Finch struggled with depression and a rough home life. The amount of things he was able to hide from his parents was staggering because they were so uninvolved in his life. He wanted Violet to be his savior, but that’s too much pressure to put on any one person. Finch needed more people to care about his well-being and his mental health.

This book deals with some very heavy and emotional topics, and I definitely shed some tears while reading. Make sure you are emotionally prepared before you pick this up, because it has a lot of potential triggers. This book shows how important it is to check up on the people you care about, pay attention, and trust your gut when something seems off because they may not be able to help themselves. At the same time, you are never singularly responsible for what goes on in another person’s head.

I did feel like the ending dragged a bit, and while this book made me very emotional, I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would’ve liked. That might be because I listened to the audiobook and I was not always giving this story 100% of my attention, or maybe I’m outgrowing this kind of YA story. Still, it was beautiful and heartbreaking, and I would recommend it.

Review: Crave by Tracy Wolff

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2
Title: Crave
Author: Tracy Wolff
Series: Crave #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 571 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Source: Giveaway win
Recommended for Fans of: vampires, paranormal fantasy

SYNOPSIS

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

MY THOUGHTS

VAMPIRES ARE BACK! For me they never left because I have consistently consumed vampire TV shows, but it has been awhile since I read a new vampire book. This gave me so much nostalgia and satisfied a craving for reading paranormal romance I didn’t know I had.

Crave was ridiculously compulsive and readable. Was it a literary masterpiece? No. Could I put it down? Also no. Grace’s narration was so easy to read and felt like being inside my best friend’s head. She had a such a strong voice full of snark and sass and humor, and I also enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek references to other vampire pop culture like Legacies and Twilight. I breezed through this book in less than 48 hours.

Jaxon was a classic tall, dark, and brooding vampire, a mysterious bad boy with both visible and invisible scars. The instant attraction between Grace and Jaxon drove much of the story. I was absolutely here for their slow burning, dangerous romance.

While this was a fresh take on paranormal romance, I still had a lot of questions at the end of the book, particularly about the supernatural lore and the specifics of the villain’s goal. I understand leaving things to be explained later in the series, but I expect more solid worldbuilding from a 571 page book.

A lot of people compare this to Twilight. They are both YA vampire romances, but other than genre and a similar cover design I don’t think they have too much in common. The combination of vampires, witches, werewolves, and DRAGON SHIFTERS is unique, and I can’t wait to learn more about how these species interact, not to mention the aftermath of that major cliffhanger, in book 2!

Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Title: Undercover Bromance
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Series: Bromance Book Club #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Andrew Eiden
Length: ~9 hours (320 pages)
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Source: Library (Libby app)
Content Warnings: sexual harassment, sexual assault

SYNOPSIS

Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

MY THOUGHTS

I want to start out by saying that this is the first audibook I listened to entirely at home during shelter in place for the COVID-19 outbreak. Normally I listen to audiobooks during my commute, but I was only able to listen to this while multitasking at home instead of giving it my full attention, and I think that took away from my overall enjoyment.

I do not think this book lived up to The Bromance Book Club, but it still had some really great moments. Braden Mack is an amazing MC; he is tough, hilarious, and has a heart of gold. I loved the development of the enemies to lovers romance with Liv (and I love that he was aware they were enemies to lovers). However, I found Liv to be very unlikeable, even though I supported her mission to expose her former boss for sexually harassing female employees at his restaurant.

I continued to love the Bromance Book Club. While the premise of a bunch tough, powerful dudes getting together to read romance novels is comical, they actually learned a lot of valuable lessons from their meetings. They learned not only how to please women, but how to respect them. While the book club helped them improve their personal relationships, it also helped them be more sensitive and supportive of all women.

While I supported the mission to seek justice for abused women, I found some of the “spy” stuff to be a bit far-fetched and farcical. I enjoyed the ending and the story overall, but I found some of the steps along the way to be unbelievable.

Review: Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Dark Skies
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: Dark Shores #2
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Length: 464 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Source: Netgalley
Recommended for Fans of: epic fantasy, Game of Thrones

SYNOPSIS

A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

MY THOUGHTS

This was my first Danielle L. Jensen novel, but it will not be my last! I was skeptical about reading Dark Skies before Dark Shores since it’s the second book in the series, but I’d heard you can start with either once since they take place in the same world at the same time but cover different characters in different places. I can confirm you do not need to read Dark Shores first to understand enjoy Dark Skies!

This is an epic fantasy that gave me major Game of Thrones vibes with all the plotting, scheming, politics, war, and shocking twists and turns, minus the extreme gore, sex, incest, and slow, dragging sections. The expansive worldbuilding was very well-integrated into the storytelling, and it only took a couple chapters for me to become fully invested.

I love how all of the characters, not just the MCs Killian and Lydia, are strong, complicated, and imperfect people who sometimes make wrong choices for right reasons, and vice versa. I even found it difficult to dislike some of the antagonists because their motivations were real and understandable.

I LOVE LYDIA AND KILLIAN SO MUCH! They are both such strong, determined, compassionate characters who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. They both struggle to reconcile their personal desires and their duty to the greater good. Their relationship was beautifully and perfectly developed. They bring out the best in each other when they are together, but countless obstacles force them apart.

The last act of the book left me breathless, gasping, and teary eyed. There were SO MANY new twists and obstacles I never could have predicted. I was floored. This book was incredible. I am so excited to go back and read Dark Shores now, and I cannot wait to see where this series goes in book #3!

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor Teen for my advance review copy of Dark Skies.

Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: Say You Still Love Me
Author: K.A. Tucker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Devon Sorvari
Length: 373 pages (~14 hours)
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Source: Library (Libby app)

SYNOPSIS

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

MY THOUGHTS

This just didn’t grab my attention or capture my heart the way The Simple Wild did. Piper and Kyle had great chemistry and I enjoyed their second-chance romance, but I just didn’t have the emotional connection to this book that I expected.

The story is told in dual timelines: present day and thirteen years ago when Piper and Kyle were camp counselors together. Chapters alternate between Piper and Kyle falling in love for the first time as teenagers and them reconnecting as adults.

I think the story spent too much time in the past. I don’t think we needed so many scenes from summer camp to understand the significance of their relationship. We also learn early in the book that Piper and Kyle got fired that summer, but I think the reason should’ve been revealed sooner to keep the plot moving.

I appreciated that there was so much more to the story than just the romance. Piper faces challenges at work and struggles to gain respect as she takes over a high-level position at her father’s company as a young woman. Her relationship with her father becomes strained. She struggles to balance meeting others’ expectations and following her heart. I think that several characters show an impressive amount of growth throughout the book.

While I don’t think this book will stick with me like The Simple Wild, I did enjoy it, and I can’t wait to read more from K.A. Tucker.

April 2020 Wrap Up

April, another neverending month, is finally over! In April I read a total of 13 books, including 6 physical books, 5 ebooks, and 2 audiobooks.

PHYSICAL BOOKS

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas ☆☆☆☆☆
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas ☆☆☆☆☆
The Guest List by Lucy Foley ☆☆☆1/2
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda ☆☆
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen ☆☆☆☆
The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black ☆☆☆☆

EBOOKS

Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆☆
Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ☆☆☆☆☆
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson ☆☆☆

AUDIOBOOKS

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ☆☆☆☆
The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1) by Rick Riordan ☆☆☆☆


2020 READING GOAL PROGRESS

At the beginning of the year, I shared my 2020 reading goals. When I post my wrap up at the end of each month, I also want to reflect on the progress I’m making toward reaching my goals.

Read 75 books: 47/75 (23 books ahead of schedule!)

Explore more genres: I’ve been focusing on comfort reads this month, but I’m getting frustrated with thriller/mystery books so I’m planning to take a break from those in May.

Buy fewer books: I bought Aurora Rising and preordered Aurora Burning but I think those were my only purchases in April.

Finish more series: I finished The Folk of the Air series! And I made great progress on a few others.

Reread more: The Sword of Summer

Read at least two classics: Not yet, but I’m planning to read one next month!

Read one graphic novel each month: Saga, Vols. 3-6


Overall, I’m proud of the progress I made in April. This is the highest number of books I’ve read in one month so far in 2020 (probably because I read so much Saga, but still). I have a few more weeks of distance teaching to go, and then I am out for summer! I’m hoping the life can slowly start going back to normal, but it’s hard to say right now. One thing I know is that I will definitely have even more time to spend reading during summer break.

How did your month go? What was the best book you read in April?

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Length: 565 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Source: Purchased

SYNOPSIS

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight.

MY THOUGHTS

After reading House of Earth and Blood and starting to reread ACOTAR earlier this year, I need more Maas in my life and finally had the motivation to continue reading this series. I thought Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight were good, but the series really picked up in this book. It was different having Celaena separated in Wendlyn from Chaol and Dorian back in Adarlan, but she needed that separation from the other characters in order to come to terms with her past, master her Fae powers, and accept her true identity.

I LOVED Rowan. It was exciting to finally meet a full-blooded Fae after two books reading about how they’ve all left the continent. He challenged Calaena, but he also sought to understand her. He felt genuine remorse for times he was insensitive and sought to truly understand her past experiences and how they impacted her without judgement. I can’t wait to see how this relationship develops in future book.

I also really liked the introduction of Manon and the witches. These witches are SO FREAKING COOL with their iron teeth and nails and their wyverns. I’m very curious when and how Manon’s story will intersect with the main storyline.

I had been on the fence with this series, but after reading Heir of Fire, I am completely sold. Sarah J. Maas can do no wrong, and I’m honestly grateful I still have so much of this series left to explore.

Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆
Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird
Author: Josie Silver
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 369 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Book of the Month
Content Warnings: death, grief

SYNOPSIS

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.

MY THOUGHTS

This is the lowest rating I’ve ever given a book that made me cry so much. This is a testament to the emotional content and effective writing, but overall the plot was lacking.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird offers a raw and real look at grief. This is a book you need to take your time with to process, but it will also suck you in and make you feel all the feels as Lydia struggles to discover who she is without Freddie.

I was really intrigued by the concept of the “dream world” Lydia visits where Freddie is still alive. She has the opportunity to spend more time with her lost loved one, but can dream Freddie live up to her expectations of what their life together should look like?

While I felt a strong emotional connection to Lydia and felt her loss, the plot really dragged. The story begins the day Freddie dies and spans the next almost two years. I think the way Lydia struggles to deal with her grief and get back to “normal” life is realistic, but it is not particularly engaging to read through her stages of grief in what feels like real time.

While the dream world concept was unique, I thought many of Lydia’s actions toward the end were cliche and unoriginal. I have witnessed other grieving characters follow the same patterns. I feel harsh writing so critically of what I thought was a very realistic depiction of death and grief. Lydia did grow a lot throughout the story as she better understood herself and her relationship with Freddie, but I just wanted something different.

This is a book that I know some people will really, really love based on the emotional response it evokes, but the overarching plot just wasn’t enough for me.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

BOOK STATS

Rating: ☆☆☆☆1/2
Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Series: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1
Genre: Thriller
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Source: Purchased
Recommended for Fans of: true crime podcasts, Veronica Mars, Karen M. McManus books

SYNOPSIS

For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn’t add up, and a girl who’s determined to find the real killer–but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

MY THOUGHTS

There is something so refreshing about reading a YA thriller. YA thrillers still deal with dark and heavy content, but there is a sort of lightness and a sense that justice will be served. This is the perfect book for readers who grew up reading Nancy Drew, watching Veronica Mars, and are now obsessed with true crime.

This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning. It’s the first book I binged in a weekend in quite some time. The mystery was very complex, and I loved how the narrative included interviews, emails, and journal entries from Pip’s project.

I loved Pip’s dedication to finding the truth and clearing Sal’s name. What starts as a school project becomes a bit of an obsession and takes over much of Pip’s life. I loved her chemistry with Ravi. They make a great crime-solving duo and I hope to see more of them together in the rest of the series!

This book had so many twists and turns to keep me frantically flipping pages. I did predict one major thing, but I was honestly surprised when I turned out to be right, so that did not take away from the impact of the reveal. And the twists kept coming even after it seemed like everything had been figured out! This book will keep you on the edge of your til the very end, and I’m so glad it’s going to be a series.