Sponsored Review: Vanishing Girls (Detective Josie Quinn #1)

Title: Vanishing Girls (Detective Josie Quinn #1)
Author: Lisa Regan
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Source: Author, Bookstagrammers.com
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

She was close enough to see that the girl had written a word on the wall in bright, warm red blood. Not a word, actually. A name…

Everyone in the small American town of Denton is searching for Isabelle Coleman, a missing seventeen-year-old girl. All they’ve found so far is her phone and another girl they didn’t even know was missing.

Mute and completely unresponsive to the world around her, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Detective Josie Quinn can get from her is a name: Ramona.

Currently suspended from the force for misconduct, Josie takes matters into her own hands as the name leads her to evidence linking the two girls. She knows the race is on to find Isabelle alive, and she fears there may be others… 

The trail leads Josie to another victim, a girl who escaped but whose case was labelled a hoax by authorities. To catch this monster, Josie must confront her own nightmares and follow her instinct to the darkest of places. But can she make it out alive?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Helen Fields and Robert Dugoni will be utterly gripped and sleeping with the lights on once they discover the first in this unputdownable new crime thriller series.

Review:

The small town of Denton gathers together to search for missing Isabelle Coleman. While they’re searching for her, Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl who she didn’t realize was missing. However, that girl is wearing a tongue piercing that matches the one Isabelle wore. She then discovers another missing person’s case which was later determined to be a hoax, but that determination doesn’t sit right with Josie. She has to investigate a string of missing girls and women, which is a lot more extensive that anyone could have imagined. 

This was a very fast paced and thrilling story! It was so well plotted. I couldn’t piece together what was happening, but it made sense by the end of the story. It was quite clever, the way everyone was connected to the plot and the mystery. Based on the many twists at the end, I’m curious to see where this story goes in the rest of the series. 

There were many scenes in this story that dealt with difficult issues. There was human trafficking, rape, sexual assault, child abuse, suicide, murder, and abduction. It was honestly difficult to read at times because the scenes were emotional and graphic. Unfortunately, there are things like this happening in the world every day. Though this book had some disturbing scenes, I am giving it five stars because it was a cleverly crafted plot. 

Vanishing Girls is a heart-pounding thriller!

Thank you Lisa Regan and Bookstagrammers.com for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

The Girl With No Name by Lisa Regan

Have you read Vanishing Girls? What did you think of it?

Happy Pub Day – August 9

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury

Cake Eater by Allyson Dahlin

How You Grow Wings by Rimma Onoseta

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall

The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis

Furysong by Rosaria Munda

Mr. Perfect on Paper by Jean Meltzer

Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz

You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa

The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

Stay Awake by Megan Goldin

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: Are You Sara?

Title: Are You Sara?
Author: S.C. Lalli
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two women named Sara each get into a rideshare. . . but only one makes it home alive. Which Sara was the real target?

Law student Saraswati “Sara” Bhaduri holds down two jobs in order to make her way through school, but it’s still a struggle. She’s had to do things to pay the bills that most people wouldn’t expect from “a nice Indian girl.” It seems like an ordinary busy Tuesday night at the local dive bar until her boss demands Sara deal with a drunk girl in the bathroom.

The two become fast friends. Why? Because they both have the same name. And despite their different circumstances, the two connect. When they both order rideshares home, they tumble in the back of the cars and head out into the night.

But when Sara awakes in her rideshare, she finds she’s on the wrong side of town—the rich side—and she realizes: she and Sarah took the wrong cars home.

With no money, Sara walks back to her apartment on the shady side of town only to discover police lights flashing and a body crumpled on her doorstep: Sarah.

Was Sarah Ellis or Sara Bhaduri the target? And why would anyone want either of them dead?

In this smart, twisty novel about ambition, wealth, and dangerous longing, the layers are peeled back on two young women desperate to break out of the expectations placed on them, with devastating results.

Review:

Sarawati “Sara” Bhaduri works at a dive bar while attending law school. One evening, her boss asks her to help a drunk customer out of the bar. That girl is also named Sarah, and they spend time together, waiting for their rideshares to arrive. When Sara’s ride let’s her out, she realizes she’s on the wrong side of town. She had gotten into the other Sarah’s ride by accident. Sara makes her way across town to her home, where she finds the police and the body of Sarah on her doorstep. Now Sara has to wonder why Sarah was killed in front of her house, and if she was the real target. 

This was the fastest book I’ve read in a long time. I read it in a day! I couldn’t put it down. The chapters were short and many ended on a cliffhanger, that kept me reading. It alternated between a few different timelines: Sara in the present, Sara in the past, and Sarah in the past. All of these storylines were fast paced. 

The premise of this story was terrifying and realistic. It would be quite a coincidence, but it’s believable that two people with the same name could get into the wrong rideshares in real life. That part was just the beginning of the story. The rest of the story was about the events that led to them both being there at the same time, as well as Sara investigating the murder on her own. The premise drew me to the story and the exciting plot kept me reading!

I highly recommend Are You Sara? for a fast paced thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book!

Have you read Are You Sara? What did you think of it?

Review: Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel

Title: Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel
Author: Amanda Quain
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley, Raincoast Books
Format: Paperback arc, Ebook
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.

But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone—Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself—that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:

– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy—helicopter-sibling extraordinaire—by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)

Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.

Review:

Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled from Pemberley Academy last year, after her boyfriend Wickham was caught selling drugs out of her dorm room, but she wasn’t because she’s a Darcy. Now everyone at Pemberley hates Georgie because she’s responsible for getting Wickham expelled. Georgie wants to gain back her friends and reputation by becoming the perfect Darcy. She changes all of her classes to AP, focuses on playing trombone in band, and even tries to match her brother Fitz with his classmate Lizzie. With the help of her friend Avery, Georgie attempts to be the perfect Darcy, until she can’t handle the pressure. 

This was a great retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read an adaptation that focuses solely on Georgiana. She’s an interesting character who wasn’t featured much in the original story, but she’s important to the end of the plot. 

While Georgie’s story was happening, the romance between Fitz and Lizzie was brewing at SUNY Meryton. I liked that this story was happening simultaneously. If you know the story of Pride and Prejudice, you can figure out what was happening between Fitz and Lizzie, with some help from Georgie. 

I appreciated the discussion of privilege in this novel. Georgie and Fitz had a lot of privilege because of their name and money. One benefit of their privilege was that Georgie didn’t get expelled when anyone else would have. Their privilege wasn’t a fault of theirs, but it did give them opportunities that they wouldn’t have without it.

Accomplished is a great contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling!

Thank you Raincoast Books and Wednesday Books for sending me a copy!

What to read next:

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Have you read Accomplished? What did you think of it?

Review: Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1)

Title: Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: July 12, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution… 

Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.

Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win… but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.

Review:

Lord Lysander Blackstone, the Duke of Montcroix, wants to grow his fortune. He has invested in railroads, and needs a particular piece of land to continue expanding it. To convince the owner to sell it, Lysander must show that he will use the land to start a family, but he doesn’t have a wife. Geneviève Valery was a ballerina in France, but when she refused to be a patron’s mistress, she was kicked out of the show. After a chance encounter, Nève acts as the Duke’s date for a night. However, he realizes that he could use her help by pretending to be his fiancé so he can finally buy the land. Lysander offers her a fortune to act as his fiancé, and she accepts so she can start over with her dance career once the job is finished. Things get complicated when they develop real feelings for each other, though neither is willing to commit to a relationship. 

Fake dating, or fake relationship, is one of my favourite tropes. When the couple starts acting like they’re in a relationship in front of other people, it’s easy for real feelings to develop. It’s always fun to see how these relationships that start out as just a ploy for society can blossom into true love. 

I found this Victorian society to be quite accepting, more than it usually is in a historical romance novel. Nève stayed with Lysander at his home, and no one criticized that decision. This seemed more modern than a typical Victorian story, which was refreshing because it can often seem like a restricting society. 

Always Be My Duchess is a fun Victorian romance!

Thank you Forever for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Dukes Do It Better by Bethany Bennett

How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish

Have you read Always Be My Duchess? What did you think of it?

Happy Pub Day – August 2

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

The Stone Child by David A. Robertson

Alliana, Girl of Dragons by Julie Abe

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Wild is the Witch by Rachel Griffin

Husband Material by Alexis Hall

Are You Sara? by S.C. Lalli

Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin

A Hundred Other Girls by Iman Hariri-Kia

My Imaginary Mary by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez

You, Me, and Our Heartstrings by Melissa See

The King Will Kill You by Sarah Henning

Bloody Fool For Love by William Ritter

It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano

What’s Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla

Don’t Go to Sleep by Bryce Moore

The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon

The Second First Chance by Mona Schroff

Long Past Summer by Noué Kirwan

No Way Home by Jody Feldman

Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw

Smells Like Tween Spirit by Laurie Gelman

Fractured Path by J.C. Cervantes

A Girl’s Guide to Love and Magic by Debbie Rigaud

Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden

Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

Title: Alliana, Girl of Dragons
Author: Julie Abe
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once upon a time, Alliana believed in dreams and fairy tales as sweet as spun-sugar clouds. Alliana wished on shooting stars, sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Then her grandmother passed away—and those dreams disappeared in a disenchanted puff.

Now Alliana’s forced to attend to the whims of her wicked stepmother—with long days of cleaning her stepfamily’s inn as her skin burns raw or staying up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. Until she meets two beings who change her life forever—the first is a young nightdragon who Alliana discovers she can magically talk to. And the second is Nela, a young witch.

Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance to break free of her stepmother’s shadow and to seize a chance at a life she’s barely dared to hope for—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Can Alliana truly make wisps of dreams into her own, better-than-a-fairy-tale happily ever after?

Inspired by the Japanese Cinderella story and set in the same world as the Eva Evergreen series, this story can be read as a standalone.

Review:

Alliana dreams of going to the Royal Academy and meeting the Queen. When her grandmother passes away, Alliana is left with her stepmother and step siblings, who make her do all the dirty work at their inn. Then, Alliana meets two friends. One is a dragon named Kabo, who Alliana saves from battling dragons. The other is a witch named Nela, who wants to help Alliana escape from her stepmother. Alliana must find a way to break free from the prison get stepmother has created. 

I really enjoyed this Cinderella story. I liked that Alliana’s goal wasn’t to marry a Prince, like in many Cinderella stories. She wanted to follow her dream of going to the Royal Academy for herself. She didn’t want to rely on anyone else because the people closest to her didn’t treat her well. This is an inspiring message for middle grade readers!

Alliana, Girl of Dragons is a great Cinderella story. 

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe

Have you read Alliana, Girl of Dragons? What did you think of it?

Review: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)

Title: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)
Author: Lynette Noni
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

Review:

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is the healer at the prison Zalindov, where she was taken as a prisoner with her father ten years ago. When the Rebel Queen arrives at the prison critically ill, Kiva must keep her alive to do the Trial by Ordeal. The Trial by Ordeal is a series of challenges with earth, water, air, and fire for the most dangerous criminals. The Rebel Queen is too ill to even stand, never mind complete the trial, so Kiva volunteers to do the trial in her place. However, Kiva doesn’t have the elemental magic required to beat the challenges. Kiva must take on this impossible task while also investigating a virus sweeping through the prison and spending time with an irresistible new inmate. 

I read this book while I was sick with Covid, and it kept my mind off being sick. This story was an original take on a “chosen one” story. Kiva didn’t seem like a typical hero, until she volunteered to take the place as the Rebel Queen in the trial. The tasks seemed impossible, which made it more exciting when she succeeded. 

The twists at the end of the story blew me away! I missed the hints of what was coming throughout the story, but after I knew what happened, I could see the clues. 

The Prison Healer is a fantastic young adult fantasy!

What to read next:

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

Other books in the series:

  • The Gilded Cage (The Prison Healer #2)
  • The Blood Traitor (The Prison Healer #3)

Have you read The Prison Healer? What did you think of it?

Happy Pub Day – July 26

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Accomplished by Amanda Quain

Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

Team Chu and the Battle of Blackwood Arena by Julie C. Dao

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

Nobody’s Princess by Erica Ridley

Master of Iron by Tricia Levenseller

Into the Sublime by Kate A. Boorman

The Witchery by S. Isabelle

Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke

Beasts of Ruin by Ayana Gray

Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee

The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda

The Valkyrie’s Daughter by Tiana Warner

Knot Again by Kwana Jackson

Boys I Know by Anna Gracia

The Comic Book Lesson by Mark Crilley

After Life by Melissa de la Cruz

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: Gouda Friends (Ponto Beach Reunion #2)

Title: Gouda Friends (Ponto Beach Reunion #2)
Author: Cathy Yardley
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Montlake
Source: Thomas Allen and Son
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 22, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two high school BFFs reunite and endeavor to fix each other’s lives in this geeky romance from the author of Love, Comment, Subscribe.

Tam Doan dumped her boyfriend after he threw away her gourmet cheese. Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that, but the point is, he had it coming. Newly single and unemployed, Tam calls up her best friend from high school and utters the emergency code word—goldfish. Next thing she knows, she’s on a plane back home.

Josh O’Malley was a troubled, unconfident teenager. Now he’s the successful owner of a multimillion-dollar ghost kitchen. Tam, his high school BFF and fellow member of the Nerd Herd friend group, was instrumental in building his self-esteem. When she calls him out of the blue, he jumps at the chance to return the favor.

Josh and Tam immediately get to work fixing her life—but again, it’s complicated. Their close friendship was always a lifeline between them; a blooming romance might confuse things. Still, at least one thing is for certain: their chemistry is un-brie-lievable.

Review:

Tam Doan dumped her boyfriend when she found him in bed with his ex, and then discovered that he threw out her favourite cheese. She immediately called her childhood best friend, Josh O’Malley. Josh got her on a plane to his home in Ponto Beach, where he runs a successful ghost kitchen. Tam and Josh had always been best friends, but sparks start flying when they’re reunited. Josh wants to help Tam fix the problems in her life, but his love for her is so strong that he wants her to be with him too. They have to figure out how to balance their work lives and their undeniable chemistry. 

I don’t read many friends-to-lovers story but I think I should. Tam and Josh had such a beautiful friendship. They would drop everything to help each other no matter what. It was destiny that they had to be together. They made such a sweet and heartwarming couple. 

I didn’t like Tam’s ex-boyfriend at all. He didn’t have any redeeming qualities, and it didn’t make sense that they were together for so long when they had nothing in common.

Partway through the story I started to guess who the couple would be in the next book in the series. I looked it up and I’m so excited to be right! Ex Appeal is scheduled to come out in November and I can’t wait to read it!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley

Other books in the series:

Have you read Gouda Friends? What did you think of it?