In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware


Genre: Suspense Mystery Thriller

Shelf Location: Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★★

I purchased a copy of this book over a year ago and it has been sitting on my shelf since then. I was browsing my collection looking for something to read on my flight to New Jersey. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or author.

Final Thoughts

This book told from the perspective of Lanora, the main character. Lanora is a writer who has decided a life of seclusion is better than facing the past she tried to keep hard hidden.  Somethings cannot stay hidden forever; she realizes this as she receives an invitation to old friends hen (bachelorette party). She hasn’t spoken to Clare in over ten years, and now she is getting invited to her hen. Against her better judgment, Nora goes to the hen. The story continues with twists and turns that left me on the edge of my seat. The plot started to unfold from the moment

However, I figured out the plot halfway through the book. I felt the book could have been developed more and wished the supporting characters played a more significant role in the overall plot. I also, felt the plot was a bit lackluster, but this is because I watched an extensive amount of Lifetime thriller movies as a tween. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the backstory associated with the main character and Clare.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in a thrilling mystery that takes you for a loop throughout the story. The author uses a vast amount of details to help create a real thriller environment in the story.

You can purchase copies of this book:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Simon & Schuster

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Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

4A836698-1066-4C5A-A39D-990D4CB69D07Genre: Adult Mystery/ Thriller Fiction
Pages: Print 328
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Author:  Matthew Sullivan
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I purchased on my own.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. 

Goodreads Synopsis

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

Final Thoughts

The cover of this book is what caught my attention. This book focuses on the story of Lydia Smith, a longtime bookseller. Lydia has a passion for reading and during her time at her job she has built friendships with members of the community. The story opens with Lydia working a night shift at the bookstore, following the completion of the closing procedures she notices a missing patron. Lydia also hears a noise that doesn’t sound too promising. Lydia finds the absent customer, but when she locates him, he isn’t alive. A longtime regular customer has hung himself in the Western fiction section of the bookstore. As she struggles to come to terms with the customer’s sudden suicide, to make matters worse, she finds something sticking out of his pocket that somehow connects her to him. Lydia must unravel a new mystery while also digging up a past she has tried so hard to forget. With the help of an old friend, she uncovers more than what she bargained. In this whodunit-style mystery novel, the author continues to litter the pages with turns and twist at every page as you try to uncover the truth.

Matthew Sullivan did an excellent job with the suspense in this novel. However, I would have liked a bit more added to the end of the story and more of a backstory on the main character’s history. Also, a few parts of the story felt a bit too dramatized for my taste, and I would have liked a more realistic approach to the interactions between Raj, Lydia’s old friend, and Lydia. This book is excellent for fans of mystery novels and older teens. The violent scenes are mild, but it can be a traumatic read for some. The authors take a tame approach to describing the challenging scenes that involve murder. For victims of suicide, this book has triggers as it tries to dive into the reason why the customer, Joey, committed suicide. If you’re looking for a mystery with a lot of twists and turns, then pick up a copy of this novel.

To view purchasing options and other books written by this author,  click this link

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

img_0317Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pages: Print 544
Digital: eAdudiobook 16 hrs 02mins
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Author: Anthony Doerr
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I borrowed a copy of this book from a library in Sugarland, TX. The copy used for this review was a printed copy for the first half and the second half was an audiobook from Scribd. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 

Goodreads Synopsis

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Favorite Quotes

‘Don’t you want to live before you die?”

Final Thoughts

This book was actually recommended to me by my coworker and I adored it. I have a degree in History and I am trying to read more historical fiction. I cried, yelled at the pages, and held my breath while reading this novel. It took me over two weeks to finish because I had to keep putting it down to breath.

The book starts off near Paris with Marie-Laure in the Museum of Natural History listening to a guide explain the history of a prized jewel that is kept in the museum. The guide in the novel explains the myths surrounding the jewel and why it is kept in a special lock box in the museum. Afterwards we learn more about Marie-Laure and her fathers relationship by getting a glimpse of their everyday life and how they handle her condition. Then the author transitions to telling the story of Werner and his relationship with his family. The author develops a multi-level back story for each character sharing little details of their parents and siblings. I personally would have liked more depth in the back story of the main characters but I am confident that would have added more to the page count. The story then follows both characters through the war and details how each handles the various events. In the beginning of the book I wondered why the author would have two very unique main characters and the importance of the two. Later I realized that each character provided different perspectives of the war. The story continued on to be filled with sadness, grief, , love, happiness, family, and friendship. The  last five chapters were the hardest and happiest chapters for me. This was mostly due to the revisiting of family members of each character and the development of the supporting characters. Also, the ending shares a glimpse of the main characters and their families in the future. The author writes about how the family members of these characters were affected by the war, where they are now, and how they are dealing with the aftermath mentally and physically. The author did a fantastic job with the character development, the realism, and the overall plot of this book. I personally like a bit more violence since this is a book that focuses on World War II but I cam understand the point of this novel was to tell it from the perspective of the youth.

This book definitely takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. I recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction. I would also recommend the audiobook, the narrator is amazing. If you’re interested in reading a Young Adult Historical Fiction then I would recommend the Alex & Eliza series by Melissa De La Cruz. It’s a fictional tale of the life of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. It is laced with humor throughout the entire novel. You can find my review of the Alex & Eliza story here.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Anthony Doerr’s website at for access to purchasing links. 

Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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Borrowing Christmas by Kat Bellemore


Genre: Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: eBook 253
Release Date:
Author: Kate Beasley 
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished digital copy of this book.


Two weeks before Christmas, Katie is kicked out of her apartment. Again. Rather than wander the streets and continue to work for a dirty cop, she decides to leave the city and disappear for good. But her car breaks down in a New Mexico town, and everything is threatened when she falls for the charming mayor.

Sam Freedman is the first bachelor mayor of Amor. After convincing the locals that having a mayor without family responsibilities means he can dedicate all his time to the community, townspeople watch his every move. Then Katie Andersen shows up. Against Sam’s better judgement, he hires her to replace his event coordinator. Now he can barely think straight, let alone run a town.

In the midst of half-truths and outright lies, Katie and Sam desperately search for the place where honesty and trust lead to love. Can they find it before the past catches up with them?

Final Thoughts

This book follows the life of the main character Katie who has been put in a challenging situation. She is forced to make fast decisions to either salvage the life she had or build a new life in a new town under a new name. She struggles to answer the following questions: 

Can she run from her past forever? Will her past catch up with her? Can she start a new life based purely on lies? 

Katie is developed as a strong character who has been given a short hand at life. She wants to run and start over but there are consequences for her actions. As she tries to restart her life in the small town of Amor, how ironic of the name as this is a romance novel, she meets a handsome gentleman who has more power than she could imagine. She continues to grow as a person and grows those around her. She grows close to the town bachelor, making enemies, friends, and making changes. Along the way she runs into problems as the lies she has told start to causing her problems. Soon she will realize she cannot run from her past forever. 

Overall I thought this novel took a unique approach to a romance. The main character is developed in a way that allowed for an understanding of her past and present. There are portions of this book that made me think, “yep this is a fictional novel, stuff like this doesn’t happen in real life.” This novel has the happy ending theme attached to it and I knew the ending before I finished based on the way the story was written. If you are looking for a fast paced romance adult novel then this is the novel for you. I personally would have loved for more of a character development and more depth added to Katie. I understand she had a hard life but I wanted to know more about her past to better understand her. I also wanted a bigger plot twist. The action/drama filled scene toward the ending fell a bit short for me. I was holding my breath the entire novel waiting for something big to happen but it fell short for me. There were also pieces that I felt was missing from the story, like how did I get from point A to point B. Overall, I thought this was a great novel and I would recommend this to anyone who is into adult romance. 

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Disclaimer: This review is solely my honest opinion. I purchased this book on my own from iBooks and checked out the audiobook from my local library. Here is a link for you to buy the book from Amazon. The opinions in this review do not reflect the views of the author.

The beginning half of this review gives you a background of the main two characters and gives away information about how the story begins but not how it ends. Proceed with caution as there is information that is not in the synopsis of the book. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is an adult historical fiction novel that follows the life of Vianne Mauriac and her sister Isabelle during World War II in France. This compelling book showcases acts of kindness, bravery, struggle, and the real meaning of family. These two ladies go through great hardships and showcase their strength by pushing themselves to the limit to do what is right and protect their families. The novel begins in America with Vianne, now old, in her home cleaning out her attic with her son as they prepare to move her to an assisted living home. She goes into her attic and finds a trunk with old items, and this is where we were taken back to France in 1939. We are transported back in time to V’s home in Carriveau with her husband Antoin and daughter Sophie. This is during the time in which we find out that Antoin has been drafted to go to serve in the war. V has never lived on her own and must learn to adjust to life without her husband. During this time we learn intimate details about V’s character, learning about her past, her relationship with her father, the location of her mother, and her relationship with her sister Isabelle. Vianne’s character is developed well in this story, and it is so heart wrenching to hear about her struggles to find a place she feels loved. The story then takes us to the point of view of Isabelle, who is a spunky eighteen years old stuck in a boarding school. She is continually trying to find her place, being shuffled from one boarding school to another. She is then expelled from her last one before she is sent to Paris to live with her father, a bookstore owner. The war is nearing France, as many hope for the end, but that is something we will soon find out is not shortly. It is after Isabelle has moved in with her father that they find out in 1940 that the Germans were coming into Paris. Isabelle’s father tells her to pack up her belongings and get ready for a journey out of Paris and head to stay with her sister. Isabelle will make a treacherous trip to Carriveau, meeting many people on the way. Throughout the rest of the story, we learn so much more about the challenges faced by many women during the war. The hardships of those who were born Jewish during the Nazi invasion of France. The women of the war made a huge impact and were underestimated by the Germans significantly. I do not want to give any more information away, but I hope the beginning of half of this review provides some background of the characters.

This book was amazing. I know that it is historical fiction, but it is one of few that I can say I enjoyed. I have a BA in History, and the tale of the Nazi’s entering France is nothing like I have read in the past. Kristin Hannah does a fantastic job of capturing the attention of the reader and bringing awareness to the war efforts made by women. These two women are amazing. Isabelle does some very risky maneuvers in this story, risking her life and the lives of others to save many. She starts out as a rebellious character and continues with this mentality throughout the entire story. She stood up for what she believes in and continued to surprise me throughout the whole novel. I loved the development of both characters and the backstory provided. I could not have predicted that through so much tragedy there could be bonds formed. I could gush about this book for hours and talk about how it was outside my usual realm of Young Adult books, but I just wanted to tell you that you need to read this. It is so wonderfully written, captivating, emotional, and thrilling that you must go get this book.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in historical fiction books or anyone looking to read something outside of their comfort zone.