Review | Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves

Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves by Quinn Connor

The lakeside town of Prosper, Arkansas has known horror. Years ago, the town flooded after the dam failed during an unexpected storm, drowning everyone trapped in the valley – and their secrets, too.

The novel follows three women as they discover the haunting history of Prosper through their connections to relics that float up to the lake’s surface and visits from a ghost or two!

It took me a while to get into this story. The writing felt uneven in the beginning and I had trouble keeping track of the three MCs as they swapped chapters. Eventually, the story fell into a rhythm and I learned each character’s “voice”. It wasn’t until I finished the book that I learned the book is actually written by two authors, which seems to explain the trouble I had in the beginning.

Once I became familiar with these characters, I fell into the atmosphere: a hot summer in a small southern town with hauntings that will give you some thrills and chills!

Magic realism, fantasy, horror, and southern gothic combine for this haunting tale.

Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves is scheduled for release on May 30, 2023.

Review | White Cat, Black Dog

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories by Kelly Link


I adored Link’s short story collection, Get in Trouble, but this one fell far short for me.

Of the seven short stories here, I can only say I enjoyed The White Road and Skinder’s Veil.

The other five, I ended up skimming because they left me scratching my head. Random and weird, which I’m usually a fan of, but here I just didn’t get it. You know what I mean? Sometimes literary fiction has you feeling like you missed something?
I don’t think I missed anything here, there were a couple hits but more misses. Short stories can be a mixed bag and I always go into the collection aware of that.

I’ll still pick up the next Kelly Link because she’s an extremely talented writer, this one just wasn’t for me, unfortunately.

Review | The Kind Worth Saving

The Kind Worth Saving by Peter Swanson

I don’t mean to be dramatic but Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing truly surprised me and restored my faith in contemporary thrillers several years ago. While his last couple books have left me truly underwhelmed, I couldn’t help but get excited about this book and the return of Lily!

Henry Kimball has managed to reinvent himself several times after tragedy. He was once a teacher until a horrific shooting in his classroom, he was once a detective until a woman nearly killed him, and now he’s a P.I.

Now, a former student from his English class hires Kimball to investigate her husband that she suspects is cheating. During his investigation, Kimball discovers two bodies in a suburban home on the market for sale. This discovery takes the P.I. back to memories he’d rather forget and a suspicion he needs to share with an old friend who knows how to play a game of cat and mouse.

Review | Nine Liars

Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson

At this point, Stevie Bell has solved the crime of the century and she still has her senior year at Ellingham Academy ahead of her. While everyone is stressing over college applications, Stevie’s searching for what’s next for her.

The gang join Stevie’s boyfriend David in England for a brief study abroad and it doesn’t take long for a double-murder cold case to capture Stevie’s attention.

Nine friends spent a break from university at a country house in 1995. After a drunken night of hide-and-seek, two of them are found dead in a woodshed, murdered with an ax. Though the police called it a burglary gone wrong, Stevie considers the possibility one or more of the remaining seven is lying about what happened in the woodshed.

While this was a solid case in the series, the sheer number of suspects was hard to keep track of, it was a bit much, it slowed down the action in my opinion, and I am so tired of the Stevie-David relationship. David is awful and he takes up too much time from what I actually care about: the cases!

Review | Spare

Spare by Prince Harry

There are two sides to every story and the fact that Prince Harry is willing to share his has plenty of tongues wagging since he comes from a family whose literal motto is “never complain, never explain”.

I appreciated his openness about the loss of his mom, his surprising relationship (or what seemed like lack thereof) with his brother, and his frustration over the limitations imposed by his status. He spends a great deal of time discussing his military career and I actually enjoyed that because you can tell how much it meant to him; before reading this, I’d assumed it was more for show than anything.

Seems like an ordinary dude with a fascinating story considering the larger-than-life history he comes from and I believe he truly wants to carry on his mom’s legacy while forging his own identity.

Review | Killing Me

Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Amber Jamison is scared -and a little more than pissed off – that she’s about to be the latest victim of a serial killer. She’s on the table, head shaved, paint smeared on her body … when a woman miraculously appears and saves her!

Unfortunately, Amber has a past of her own that she would rather not draw attention to, so instead of being a media darling who survived a serial killer, she flees across the country and ends up in Vegas at a seedy Vegas hotel …and right in the middle of a game with a prolific serial killer!

Smart, witty, and sassy, Killing Me is a sort-of cozy mystery with a clever and captivating plot entertaining enough to allow me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride!

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Killing Me was released yesterday, May 16, 2023.

Review | Quietly Hostile

Quietly Hostile: Essays by Samantha Irby

A collection of often gross and/or hilarious essays, so it’s classic Irby!

This time around Irby shares her love for Dave Matthews and Sex and the City in extreme detail that kind of made me scratch my head. I mean, we’re talking about breaking down lyrics from a ton of DMB songs, breaking down an obscene amount of scenes from the OG SaTC series… obviously there’s some hilarious observations here but I had to skim after I was 10+ pages into these obsessions.

She’s still discussing IBS, healthcare, ageing, and plenty of relevant topics in awkward detail that leaves me cackling.

Thanks to Vintage and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Quietly Hostile: Essays is scheduled for release on May 16, 2023.

Review | The Half Moon

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Ask Again, Yes was a surprising read for me – I loved the writing, the complexity of the characters, the entire story. So I jumped at the opportunity to read an advance copy of Keane’s upcoming release, The Half Moon.

Unfortunately this novel left me restless. It’s the quiet story of a marriage, a small town, the intimacy of both and while there were several opportunities for action to accelerate or at least enliven the plot, it remains too subtle for me.

Malcolm and Jess Gephardt rushed into marriage years ago but thankfully they were meant to be – at least Malcolm has always believed so. Now approaching middle age with no children (a sore spot, mostly for Jess, after years of trying); Malcolm has purchased The Half Moon under some questionable circumstances, where he’s been the long-time bartender. Jess is a successful lawyer but still buried under student loan debt that never seems to decrease.

The pair are facing the loss of youth with little sense of direction and an uncertain future together.

Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Half Moon was published May 2, 2023.

Review | Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal

Stradal’s novels are always full of Midwestern food and family coziness and this new release is no exception!

Two families, four generations, lots of love and heartache – and it all centers around a little supper club in Minnesota! I don’t want to give anything away because this story is such a sweet legacy of well developed characters that will become dear to readers!

Thanks to Pamela Dorman Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club was released on April 18, 2023.

Review | Home is Within You

Home Is Within You: A Memoir of Recovery and Redemption by Nadia Davis

While I never want to criticize a memoir, there was quite a bit that frustrated me here. I appreciated the author’s account of her childhood, her education, the devastating loss of her father, a horrific car crash, her struggle with addiction, and her marriage … but once we get to her marriage and pregnancy – I felt like she put up a barrier with her readers. She remains vulnerable and takes responsibility for certain mistakes yet she not only holds us at arms length as she recounts the sensational headlines that she was swept up in, it begins to read in a detached way and I was no longer captivated by the story but struggling through it.
The author’s recovery is a celebration and her life and accomplishments are certainly worth reading but the abrupt change in writing left something to be desired from this memoir for me.

Thanks to Girl Friday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Home Is Within You was released on April 25, 2023.