Review: In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Title: In My Dreams I Hold a Knife
Author: Ashley Winstead
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Six friends. 

One college reunion.

One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has been invited back to her university for a reunion and she is obsessed with dazzling everyone with her beauty and success. This time when they see her, it has to be perfect because she is perfect. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.

But there’s more at stake than the delicious envy of her peers—not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. In fact, someone has orchestrated the whole weekend to trap the real killer. As the weekend unfolds and they get closer to the truth, the group finds there was more than murder hidden amongst them on campus.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is an addictive, propulsive millennial thriller you won’t be able to put down.


Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller returns to Duquette University for their reunion. She wants everyone to see how confident and beautiful she is, not the ordinary girl she had been in school. However, when she’s reunited with her friends, they’re confronted by the brother of their friend Heather. Heather was murdered during their senior year. Though all evidence pointed to Heather’s boyfriend at the time, there wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction. The group of six remaining friends must figure out all the secrets and lies that were told that fateful night to determine who really killed Heather.

This story was intense and emotional. Everyone had dark secrets and had betrayed someone at some point in the past. The story was told through alternating timelines. Jessica told her own narrative in the present, but she was unreliable because of her secrets and her inability to remember the night Heather was killed. The chapters alternated between the present and their time in school, to show exactly what they were doing back then.

There are some potential triggers in this story. There was murder, rape, homophobia, abuse, and affairs. I think these topics were addressed and punished appropriately, for the most part. Though this was an emotionally charged story, it was an intense and intricate plot.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is an intense thriller!

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison

Have you read In My Dreams I Hold a Knife? What did you think of it?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – January 31

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading The Liz Taylor Ring by Brenda Janowitz.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Review: Blackwells and the Briny Deep

Title: Blackwells and the Briny Deep
Author: Philippa Dowding
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 29, 2018
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Do you hear the distant drums? And what about that weird screaming … It’s BOOK 5 in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong series! 

Emma Blackwell used to love mermaids. Jonah Blackwell used to love pirates. And William Blackwell tried to be a good captain. Which he would be, if he could get his twin brother and sister to stop fighting long enough to sail their boat, the Peregrine, across the bay. But after the Blackwells see a phantom ship, barely survive a terrible storm, and then mysteriously wake up with seaweed in their mouths, everything changes.

They’re becalmed in fog. They run aground on a strange island. They hear distant drums, and their weird adventure begins! The Blackwells face zombie pirates, terrifying mermaids, and a shipwrecked group of cursed ship’s figureheads, including a Roman gladiator and an English knight, all led by the strange dolphin-boy, Finn.

It’ll make a great sea yarn one day, if they can just survive it.


Siblings Emma, Jonah, and William like to sail their boat, the “Peregrine,” around the bay. While sailing one day, they’re caught in a storm and are all knocked out. They wake up with seaweed in their mouths and eventually reach the shore. While on this mysterious island, the three siblings are separated. They each encounter different creatures, including zombie pirates, evil mermaids, and ghostly ship figureheads. They must figure out how to find each other so they can return to their real world.

This was a fun adventure story. At the beginning, Emma, Jonah, and William bickered a lot. Their relationship evolved when they were thrown into danger, so they learned how important they were to one another.

There was a lot of ship lore in this story. The kids knew how to drive their own sailboat. The ghostly figureheads that Emma met on the island were based on true stories of shipwrecks or curses. I’m really curious to learn more about those real stories after reading this one.

Blackwells and the Bring Deep was a great middle grade adventure!

Thank you Dundurn for providing a copy of this book.

Alex and the Other by Philippa Dowding

Carter and the Curious Maze by Philippa Dowding

Other books in the series:

  • Jake and the Giant Hand
  • Myles and the Monster Outside
  • Carter and the Curious Maze
  • Alex and the Other

Have you read Blackwells and the Briny Deep? What did you think of it?

Review: All Her Little Secrets

Title: All Her Little Secrets
Author: Wanda M. Morris
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In this fast-paced thriller, Wanda M. Morris crafts a twisty mystery about a black lawyer who gets in over her head after the sudden death of her boss. A debut perfect for fans of Attica Locke, Alyssa Cole, Harlan Coben, and Celeste Ng, with shades of How to Get Away with Murder and John Grisham’s The Firm.

Everyone has something to hide… 

Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive—her white boss, Michael.

But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael… and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.

And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.

But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…


Ellice Littlejohn has worked hard to become a corporate lawyer in Atlanta, but she has secrets. When she goes to her office to meet her boss, who she’s also having an affair with, she finds him dead in his office. Ellice doesn’t want to be brought into any investigation because her past would be uncovered, so she leaves and pretends she didn’t see anything. However, when Ellice gets promoted to replace her boss, the spotlight is put on her. She finds some documents that point to some shady business, and puts her in an ethical dilemma. The investigation becomes personal when parts of Ellice’s past is brought into question. Ellice has to face her history coming back to haunt her, while trying to save herself.

This was a fast paced thriller! I was hooked on it right from the first page. This was one of those books that I didn’t want to rush through because, even though I wanted to know who did it, I also didn’t want it to be over. It was a wild ride!

There was a lot of discussion of racism, white supremacy, and misogyny. Ellice was the only Black executive at the office, and she was only one of two women in the executive department. It was clear early on in the story that the other executives were treating Ellice differently because she was a Black woman. There was a deeper conspiracy at play, but that dynamic represents many offices in the world. I appreciated that racism was addressed in this novel, because I haven’t seen it in many contemporary thrillers.

All Her Little Secrets is a thrilling debut!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Have you read All Her Little Secrets? What did you think of it?

Review: A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1)

Title: A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables #1)
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Genre: Fantasy, Novella, LGBTQ
Publisher: Tordotcom
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no one has lived past twenty-one.

Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.

USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story.


Zinnia Gray never expected to live past her twenty-first birthday. She has a rare medical condition, which destroys her organs. No one with her condition has ever lived to twenty-two. As a child, she became obsessed with Sleeping Beauty, who also had an expiry date on her life. Since it’s Zinnia’s last birthday, her best friend, Charm, throws her a Sleeping Beauty party, that ends in Zinnia pricking her finger and ending up in an alternate universe. Zinnia goes to another version of the Sleeping Beauty story, where she must save the princess to return to her world.

I love any fairy tale themed story so I was excited to read this one. I went into it without knowing what it was going to be about. Zinnia goes into the Sleeping Beauty universe, where all versions of the story live. She had to interact with a few different girls who are living through that storyline.

A big theme of this story was the toxic masculinity surrounding the Sleeping Beauty story. There are versions that are much more terrorizing than the Disney version that we all think of. The whole idea of a woman being awoken by the non-consensual kiss of a man is problematic enough, without looking at other versions where the men did more than that. This story had a good twist on that ending that made it more pleasant and feminist.

A Spindle Splintered was a great modern fairytale. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Have you read A Spindle Splintered? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 27

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is How to Survive a Scandal (Rebels With a Cause #1) by Samara Parish.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this whirlwind Regency romance, a near-death experience leads to a marriage of convenience for two unsuspecting strangers, but will their unusual meeting lead them to true love?

Lady Amelia was raised to be the perfect duchess, accomplished in embroidery, floral arrangement, and managing a massive household. But when an innocent mistake forces her and the uncouth, untitled Benedict Asterly into a marriage of convenience, all her training appears to be for naught. Even worse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this man no finishing school could have prepared her for.

Benedict Asterly never dreamed saving Amelia’s life would lead to him being shackled to the hoity Society miss. Benedict was taught to distrust the aristocracy at a young age, so when news of his marriage endangers a business deal, Benedict is wary of Amelia’s offer to help. But his quick-witted, elegant bride defies all his expectations… and if he’s not careful, she’ll break down the walls around his guarded heart.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)

Title: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)
Author: Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult
Publisher: Independently published
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 13, 2019
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny. 

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampiresfancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.


Darcy and Tory are eighteen-year-old twins from Chicago. Their parents died when they were babies so they went through many foster families who didn’t treat them well. Soon after their eighteenth birthday, a man shows up in their lives to take them to their home world. They are actually fae, and the true heirs to the throne. Darcy and Tory are taken to the Zodiac Academy, and they must pass their Awakening to earn their places as heirs. However, they don’t know anything about this world or their extraordinary magical powers. The sisters have to face bullies, hazing, and potential romances, while also learning about their powers.

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere so I had to read it. I’ve seen it described as Hogwarts as a university, with some spicy romance. It had Hogwarts vibes, since Darcy and Tory had to go to a magical school and learn about the world, like Harry Potter. However, these girls didn’t seem to have any allies in the other students, so it was more difficult for them to navigate this world.

This was my first time reading “bully romance.” I didn’t even know what that was before reading this. The men in this book were very toxic. They treated the women terribly. Yet they were physically attractive and from powerful families, so people were drawn to them. There were some moments that I thought the guys were going to redeem themselves, but it didn’t last very long.

The Awakening is a great start to this series!

Ruthless Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Have you read The Awakening? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – January 26

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli. The expected publication date is March 1, 2022.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.

Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.

With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.

Haunting and romantic, Kristen Ciccarelli’s Edgewood is an exciting novel from a bold, unforgettable voice in fantasy.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – January 25

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall

The Red Palace by June Hur

The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka

Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen

Into the Midnight Void by Mara Fitzgerald

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

The Broken Tower by Kelly Braffet

Violeta by Isabel Allende

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

Notes on an Execution by Dana Kukafka

Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Survivor’s Guilt by Robyn Gigl

Running Wild by K.A. Tucker

Seven Mercies by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – New-To-Me-Authors in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is New-To-Me-Authors in 2021. These are authors I read for the first time in 2021. Here’s my list:

1. I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt

2. Verity by Colleen Hoover

3. A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

4. The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

5. Frankie and Bug by Gayle Forman

6. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

7. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

8. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

9. Tell Me When You Feel Something by Vicki Grant

10. Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?