Review: Tripping Arcadia

Rating: ★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Dutton Books) for promotional purposes. 

This book had such a great premise. I love gothic novels, however, the execution could have been better. 

The book started off strong. As soon as the main character, Lena, started working for the mysterious Verdeau family, I was intrigued and was excited to see where the story would go. The book held steady until the last 1/3. The story seemed to be losing its momentum by that point, like it didn’t quite know where it should go. By the end, I felt let down. I was expecting a big reveal or twist but nothing shocked me or made me have an “aha” moment. 

One thing I did like about the book were the supporting characters of the Verdeau siblings, Audrey and Jonathan. They were both fascinating characters with well developed character arcs. Audrey was stuck in the middle trying to balance what she wanted versus what her dad wanted, while Jonathan was such a melancholy and tragic character who was obsessed with death. Their separate relationships with Lena was also interesting to see unfold. They each had such different relationships with Lena. It made for a nice juxtaposition. 

The author’s writing style worked with the overall vibe of the book (gothic with a touch of dark academia), although it could be a little wordy at times. 

As a whole, the plot itself was on the weak side, but the strong supporting characters helped the story. If you’re into gothic novels or stories about poison (this book is all about poison), then I would still say to give the book a shot! It might work for you. 


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Review: Fake

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Books) for promotional purposes. 

I previously read the author’s debut book, The Boys’ Club, and loved it, so I knew I just had to read this one. Once again, I was not disappointed! 

Like her previous novel, this one is highly engaging. From the very beginning it takes you on a roller coaster of a ride through the glamorous world of high art. 

The storyline unraveled at a steady pace. The use of the interview transcripts at the beginning of each chapter were a great foreshadowing tool. The book was a little predictable towards the end, but it was still an entertaining read. 

The characters are all fascinating and dynamic. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of Emma’s three friends, Sienna, Leah, and Jules. It was interesting to see her friend dynamic with each of them since they all came from different art backgrounds. 

I enjoyed the theme of being a “fake” and how it was explored throughout the book. I liked how the book incorporated being an Instagram influencer. I found its portrayal of what is “real” and what is “fake” to be so relevant and current. 

Overall, I found this book to be an enthralling read. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!


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Review: The Maidens

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Celadon Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

First off, I just want to preface by saying that I have not read the author’s other book, The Silent Patient. I cannot speak as to how this book compares nor did I have any expectations going in. I have heard from other reviewers that this book is set in the same universe as The Silent Patient, so if you’ve read that there are probably some references to it in this book. 

There were some things that I really liked about this book, and some things I did not like.

I really liked the dark academia setting and aesthetic. I thought it was very well done and had the perfect tone to create the dark academia atmosphere. 

The incorporation of greek tragedy and mythology was also well done. 

I also liked the short chapters. It helped the book flow so nicely and made reading the book a breeze. 

Now onto what I didn’t like. 

For a book called The Maidens, there was little time actually spent on the Maidens. We never really got to see what they did in their secret society, nor were the girls themselves explored that deeply. I felt like this was a missed opportunity and could have added to the mystery. 

When it comes to thrillers, the endings are often a hit or a miss. The ending of this one was a miss for me. The ending seemed a little out of left field and also felt rushed.

Overall, this book had a lot of potential but it fell a little flat for me. 


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Review: Plain Bad Heroines

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (William Morrow Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a unique read! 

The best part of this book was definitely the overall vibe and aesthetic. It had a slightly creepy and gothic feel that ran throughout the entire book, even the present day parts. There was also a fair amount of humor and satire that worked well with the gothic vibes and made for an interesting juxtaposition. 

The structure of the book was very clever. The story within a story element was well done and very engaging. I also liked the footnotes. They were very entertaining and added even more humor to the story.

The story started out very strong, but I was a little disappointed at the end. It didn’t live up to my expectations. I was expecting more of a big reveal or an “a-ha” moment. There are still some things that I am a little confused on. 

This book is classified by horror, but many other reviewers say they find it to be very light on horror. I agree with that and I would say that it is more of a gothic horror. The horror is more of a gothic creepiness than any sort of gore or violence. 

The book also has illustrations throughout the book which I found to be a nice touch. There is even a map of the school which made navigating the story easy. 

Overall, I enjoyed the aesthetic of this book the most. I recommend it if you’re looking for something a little different to read.


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Review: The Shadows

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Celadon Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I just want to start off by saying that I haven’t read The Whisper Man so I cannot say how this book compares to that one. Because of that, I didn’t have any expectations going into the book. I ended up really enjoying it.

At first, I was a little hesitant to read this because I didn’t know how scary it was going to be. It ended up only being a little scary (at least to me). So if you’re a little bit of a scaredy cat like me, you should be able to handle this book.

The strongest part of this book was definitely the writing style. It was so effortless but still managed to create a creepy vibe. I liked the use of short chapters since it made the book easy to digest. There is some back and forth between past and present which was done really well. It wasn’t confusing at all since it was done in short spurts. I never felt like there was a huge information dump which can happen with dual timelines. 

My only critique of this book was the ending. I wasn’t wowed by it. I thought the reveal was going to be mind-blowing but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad ending. It just didn’t have the impact I was expecting. 

Overall, despite the ending, this was still a solid thriller. I would definitely recommend it. 


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Review: Anxious People

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Atria Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was my first book by Fredrik Backman and I was not disappointed. I didn’t have any expectations going in and this book ended up taking me for a ride. There were a lot of twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t know that this book was a little bit of a mystery so I ended up being pleasantly surprised. 

The author’s insights into the human condition are so insightful. He really delves into the choices people make and what motivates them. He has a talent of saying so many poignant things in such an effortless way. I can definitely see why so many people love his books. 

The cast of characters were probably the best part of the book. They were idiots, but lovable idiots. I don’t have a favorite because I loved them all. They all had something about them that I found compelling. 

I loved how the story all came together. There are a lot of little random things that get mentioned, especially in the beginning, that you don’t quite know what to do with yet. But by the end, it all makes sense and there is that a-ha moment where everything falls into place. 

Overall, this book lives up to all the hype! 


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Review: The Lion’s Den

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the Publisher (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

Wow. What a crazy ride! This book really took me on an adventure through the lives of the rich.

This is a summer mystery novel that kept me guessing until the very end. All throughout the novel you know something is up, but it won’t all be revealed until the end. The way it all came about was very smart and clever. I liked how there were small little mentions of things that would later become integral to the plot and mystery. 

One small issue that I had was that the book felt a little slow in the beginning. It took a bit to really get the book rolling. This was in part due to the flashbacks. The flashbacks were very important, but in the beginning I was super eager to learn more about the present day situation. As the book went on, I enjoyed the flashbacks more because they provided more insight into what was happening. 

Additionally, I wanted to know a little bit more about what happened to some of the supporting characters afterwards. The book wraps up everything with the main character, but not for the supporting characters. 

Overall, I recommend this book for anyone looking to get lost in a fun summer read! 


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Review: Catherine House

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Custom House) for promotional purposes. 

I know not a lot of people liked this book, but I oddly liked it. It’s not going to be an all time favorite of mine, but I was satisfied with it. 

A lot of people say that nothing happens in the book and there is some merit to that. There are a lot of scenes that aren’t that important to the book because they are kind of mundane. To me, I liked those parts because it helped highlight what life was like at the school. The school is the core of the book, so those parts were necessary. 

Speaking of the school, the author did a tremendous job giving Catherine House a voice and personality. Catherine House was a character itself. 

As for the ending, I liked it. It was a little ambiguous which I typically don’t like, but for this book it worked. The book is mysterious and I liked that it kept that element through the end. 

I really liked the writing style. There was something about it that pulled me deeper and deeper into the story. It was haunting and mesmerizing.

One critique I have is that the book didn’t do a good job explaining plasm. I still don’t fully understand that part. I understand what it is generally, but don’t grasp how it works.

Overall, this book will not be for everyone, so I recommend you read it for yourself and see what you think! 


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Review: Big Summer

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Atria Books) and a finished copy from BookSparks for promotional purposes.

I went into this book pretty blind which I think is the ideal way to read this book. The book description doesn’t give a whole lot of information. The only thing I really knew about this book was that it had a lot of unexpected twists and turns. That is 100% true. I can truthfully say that I did not see any of it coming. 

I found the pacing of the book to be a bit off. It gets off to a really slow start. It didn’t capture my interest until around page 90. There were a lot of flashbacks in the beginning that I felt slowed the book down. Fast forward to the last 90 pages, and that was incredibly fast paced. 

My favorite character was actually Drue. She reminded me a lot of Fallon Carrington from the CW’s reboot of the show, Dynasty. They had similar personalities to an extent. 

As for the plot, I still don’t quite know if I liked it or not. It was fun because it was unexpected, but at the same time I didn’t love it. 

Overall, I do recommend this book because of the unexpected surprises. It makes for a fun reading experience. This is not your typical summer beach read, so if you’re looking for something a little different, try it out! 


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Review: Siri, Who Am I?

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I just want to start off by saying that you have to suspend your disbelief to fully enjoy this book. If you go into the book thinking it’s going to be super realistic, you’re not going to enjoy it. There are lot of things that are pretty unbelievable. So if you read this book, just follow Mia and just go with it. Don’t think too much about it. 

The premise and storyline was really fun. Using social media to discover who she is so current and such a millennial thing to do. I loved following her on her quest to find out who the heck she is. 

The book had footnotes throughout and I found them to be a really cute touch. They added a lot of humor to the story. 

There’s a brief mention of Keanu Reeves on page 55 that I loved. Keanu Reeves is my favorite so any mention of him is a plus in my book. 

I was a little underwhelmed at the end. Once I found out what happened to Mia and who she was, I didn’t have any sort of reaction to it. I felt a little let down. There was a lot of build up, but ultimately it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. 

Overall, if you are looking for something quick and light (and kind of ridiculous) to read, this book may be for you. 


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