• Book Review

    Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister | Book Review

    Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister | Book ReviewJust Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister
    Published by HarperCollins Publishers on August 1, 2023
    Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Crime
    Pages: 496

    Twenty-two-year-old Olivia has been missing for one day...and counting. She was last seen on CCTV, entering a dead-end alley. And not coming back out again.

    Julia, the detective heading up the search for Olivia, thinks she knows what to expect. A desperate family, a ticking clock, and long hours away from her husband and daughter. But she has no idea just how close to home this case is going to get.

    Because the criminal at the heart of the disappearance has something she never expected. His weapon isn't a gun, or a knife: it's a secret. Her worst one. And her family's safety depends on one thing: Julia must NOT find out what happened to Olivia - and must frame somebody else for her murder.

    If you find her, you will lose everything. What would you do?

    This clever and endlessly surprising thriller is laced with a clever look at family and motherhood, and cements Gillian McAllister as a major talent in the world of suspense and a master of creating ethical dilemmas that show just how murky the distinction between right and wrong can be.

    I read and loved this author’s previous book, Wrong Place Wrong Time, and so I jumped at the chance to request Just Another Missing Person when it was put up on Netgalley. Gillian McAllister clearly has a talent for plotting and introducing mind bending twists. Because I didn’t bother to read the synopsis for this one before jumping into it (out of excitement!), I didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if it would have similar speculative elements to Wrong Place Wrong Time or if it would just be a flat out thriller. Just Another Missing Person is the latter, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.

    Just Another Missing Person has a very slow start. It took me about 50% of the book to start caring about any of the characters because it just dragged. Admittedly, once the twists start happening the novel picks up and heads in several different directions, and so I flew through the last half of the book. It’s just such a shame that it took me forever to get into it in the first place, because I was so excited for it!

    I think reading Just Another Missing Person will be a whole new experience upon a reread. There are definitely things that you can pick out from the first 50% that lead up to the twists in the latter half of the book, and I think it would be very interesting to go back and reread now that I know the twists. I’m going to have to wait for the paperback release for that!

    I always seem to enjoy the way McAllister tackles family relationships, particularly marriage and mother-child relationships. I was a bit shocked when I read the acknowledgements and found that she doesn’t have children herself yet, because the way she handles these relationships seems to speak to her own experiences. Maybe she’s just very empathetic!

    Overall, I really enjoyed Just Another Missing Person. Particularly the last half and all the juicy plot twists and drama. It’s not as strong of a plot as Wrong Place Wrong Time but I found this one to be very clever and I was in awe of the twists in some places.

  • Book Review,  Books

    Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood | Book Review

    Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
    Release Date: 13th June 2023
    Genre: Adult, Romance
    Source: Publisher, NetGalley
    Rating: ★★★.5

    The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.

    Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and broody older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And that same Jack who now sits on the hiring committee at MIT, right between Elsie and her dream job.

    Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

    You know what, I was really struggling with this book in the beginning and I was even contemplating putting it down for a bit and possibly not returning. Fortunately, I persevered, and I ended up really enjoying Love, Theoretically! It’s definitely not Hazelwood’s strongest book. I think a lot of readers will struggle at the start because the romance takes so long to get going. But if you are already a fan of her works, like I am, and have faith that it will get better then I would recommend continuing on through the somewhat difficult first few chapters.

    It took about 100 pages for me to really get into this book and start liking the romance. While we’re introduced to the main character and her love interest and their dynamic quite early, it took a long time for me to connect with and understand their energy. But I loved it once I got used to it!

    Of course, there are the usual tropes of the guy being Just So Big and the female main character being super tiny. I was expecting this from Hazelwood at this point, and I had a good laugh with my spouse about the “oh I’m so tiny” comments because we may or may not know some real people who come out with that in real life.

    Also, I’m pleased to say that I think Hazelwood has improved in the sex scene department! After THAT scene in The Love Hypothesis, I kind of lost hope, and I can’t remember really being into the love scenes in her sophomore book. Thankfully, I ended up quite enjoying the scene in this one. It’s still slightly cringey and not really my thing, but it wasn’t as bad as the scene in her first book.

    All that to say, I really enjoyed this because it was a fun, light read while also tackling slightly deeper topics, but not so much that it’s going to ruin your evening.

  • Books,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

    Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Every Tuesday the book community comes together to create a top ten list on a particular topic and we blog hop around and comment on each other’s posts.

    This week we’re all sharing our fall/autumn TBRs. I’m fully leaning into the spooky season this year and I’m planning to read a whole bunch of horror, thriller, and paranormal books. I’ll probably dip into some fantasy books as well if the mood takes me, because I have a lot of fantasy series that I’m supposed to be reading by the end of the year. Let me know in the comments which books are at the top of your fall TBR!

    Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

    book covers for the books listed below

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
    I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while because I’m a huge fan of the show and I’ve heard Jackson wrote some incredible horror books. I’m excited to finally dive into this one as part of a vlog I have planned!

    Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Canas
    This is another book I’ve planned in for a reading vlog on my Booktube channel. I’ve never read anything by this author before but I’ve heard The Hacienda is incredible so I thought I would give this one a try.

    In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead
    I’m in the process of reading through Winstead’s backlog and deciding which book I think is best. I’m really hyped for this one!

    Suddenly a Murder by Lauren Munoz
    Honestly, I picked this one up on a bit of a whim because I wanted a fun YA thriller book and I liked the title.

    The Changing Man by Tomi Oyemakinde
    I just loved the cover! It’s so creepy!

    A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing
    I’ve read all of Downing’s other books so of course I had to pick up her newest release.

    The Measure by Nikki Erlick
    Of course, this one is actually a sci-fi/dystopia sort of deal, but the premise sounded pretty horrific to me so I’ve added it to my fall TBR.

    The Whispers by Ashley Audrain
    I already have this one out from the library so I’m probably going to read it quite soon! I really enjoyed The Push, and I’ve heard this one is more of a literary suspense so I’m looking forward to it.

    Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    I really need to get cracking with this series! I really enjoyed the first one when I read it a few years ago, but I struggled to get into the audiobook of this one as I’m not commuting as much as I was before. I’ve got my hands on a physical copy now though so I’m ready to dive in!

    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
    I’m planning on reading this one before the movie comes out. This is a non-fiction, and covers a topic I’ve not learned much about so I’m looking forward to learning more.

  • Book Review

    Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin | Book Review

    Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
    Release Date: 22nd February 2022
    Genre: Adult, Dystopia
    Source: Publisher, NetGalley
    Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.

    Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.

    After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics―all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.

    Look at that cover! It’s the whole reason I picked this book up because it’s just excellent. Unfortunately, the book itself was not. In fact, it was pretty awful. And I’m really sad about it.

    I was really into this book at the start because I was so intrigued by the premise. I think the idea itself was a good one and had a lot of potential, but ultimately I felt like the plotting throughout was very basic and jumpy. I don’t feel like the book flowed very well at all.

    I also found the characters’ dialogue to be very disjointed, which leads me to believe these issues are just down to the author’s writing style being blunt and to the point rather than them being inexperienced as a writer. It just wasn’t the writing style for me.

    This book is super gory, which I didn’t really have a problem with since I was expecting it (again, see the cover!) but I just didn’t like the way it was written.