Bookstagram

Hi friends! I recently started bookstagramming (again) and I’ve really enjoyed catching up on all the beautiful bookish photos and feeds.

I’d love to find more of you to follow along with! Please leave your Instagram handle, and/or some of your favorites, in the comments and I’ll follow back🤗

My new account is @thebookcollectiveblog

Review: The Devil’s Claw by Lara Dearman

synopsis:

Jennifer Dorey thinks she is safe.

Following a traumatic incident in London, Jennifer has returned to her childhood home in Guernsey, taking a job as a reporter at the local newspaper.

After the discovery of a drowned woman on a beach, she uncovers a pattern of similar deaths that have taken place over the past fifty years.

Together with DCI Michael Gilbert, an officer on the verge of retirement, they follow a dark trail of island myths and folklore to ‘Fritz’, the illegitimate son of a Nazi soldier. His work, painstakingly executed, has so far gone undetected.

But with his identity about to be uncovered, the killer now has Jennifer in his sights.

And home is the last place she should be.

review:

I’m not afraid of the darkness, only what it hides.

That super creepy tag line is super appropriate for this story! I found it to be a very promising serial killer thriller, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite for me.

My favorite part of this book was how much I enjoyed learning about the history of Guernsey Island – I didn’t know much about the Nazi occupation in World War 2 – and I also enjoyed learning about the folklore of the area.

I had a few issues with the structure of the book, for me personally, it didn’t work pacing-wise. There were one too many things going on and the way the chapters were broken down by characters unfortunately pumped the breaks a bit for me personally.

However, I feel that this is a strong story, if you enjoy serial killer thrillers, this one may be for you!

3 stars

Thank you so much to Crooked Lane books for providing me with an ARC!

Review: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

synopsis:

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

review:

Susan Meissner’s writing is like a warm hug or a slow dance or a good wine. It just flows seamlessly and gets you into your soul.

Personally, I have a tendency to romanticize the past – historical fiction holds such a dear place in my heart, I love that I can be entertained by fiction while being educated about a period of time. But definitely, not all of it is romantic. And in As Bright As Heaven, Susan Meissner has given a voice to so many who experienced a horrible plague, one that has seemingly been lost to history. To quote from her Acknowledgments:

<i>The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918–19 was the deadliest disease in history, exponentially worse than the Black Plague, yet most people I talk to are unaware of the breadth of its impact. Fifty million people worldwide are estimated to have died from Spanish Flu. That’s a staggering number, far more than the number of the lives lost in both world wars combined. This disease is more than just a sad moment in history; it is the untold stories of people just like you and me—and our parents, our brothers and sisters, our children. It is millions upon millions of stories of people just like us.</i>

Told from several perspectives, Meissner was able to give a voice to four different girls and women in different stages of life effectively and convincingly. And death. Death is almost a character in this story, present at all turns and ironically taking on a life of its own.

There is love and there is loss and there is the story of a family that will stick with you for a very long time. And maybe some tears. Highly recommend.

Thank you to Susan Meissner, Berkley and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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synopsis:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

review:

Here’s the thing about hyped books: some people read it and rave, the reviews spread like wildfire and you get your hopes up for some false promise of something out of this world only to be inevitably let down. I get it, it’s happened to me too. But please, reader, *try* to go into this one with an open mind and no preconceived notions and just enjoy the ride. Because it is quite a ride to enjoy.

So this isn’t really a review but more of a recommendation😆 read it, enjoy it, and let me know what you think after you have here👇

5 stars!

This was a Traveling Sisters group read and I’m so very thankful to have been able to discuss this one with the ladies, it always enhances the experience and this one was no different.

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

synopsis:

Four suburban mothers and friends conspire to cover up a deadly crime in this heart-stopping novel of suspense in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and Lisa Unger.

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

review:

This is a tightly written, suspenseful read about female friendship and the dynamics of relationships.

Certainly, as a born and raised Pittsburgher, my favorite part of this book was that it was written in my hometown. The city takes on a life of its own and almost becomes a singular character in the story. The details were well done and I loved reading about locations that I could picture in my head. Additionally, as a work from home mom, this one was very relatable.

This book will question how far you will go for those you love. There were times when I was screaming at the characters in this book – a lot of poor decisions were made – but when you can have that kind of a visceral response, you know you’re reading something good.

By the final chapters, my heart was racing out of my chest. I had no idea how it would conclude, but the ending was one of my favorite parts of this here book.

My one complaint is that, while the chapters were broken up from the perspectives of all four friends, I had somewhat of a difficult time keeping track of who was narrating. I believe it could have been a bit more focused on one or two characters perspectives to get a more fleshed out understanding of the story, but I do see why the author chose to tell the story this way.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4 stars.