Anxious People (Fredrik Backman)


Buy link:

This is a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers slowly begin opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

I absolutely LOVED the concept and idea of this book. I also loved how there were so many characters and bizarre stories tied to them but by the end of the novel I was left very underwhelmed.

But holy cow– this writing and the structure of this particular plot was a mess to me. I could NOT keep up with what the author was trying to do and how he was trying to portray it. Like, I had an idea of it but I could never be 100% sure. The writing almost seemed way to silly and whimsical for me. Not something that I was expecting at all.

Anxious People had a cast of some interesting characters but the book itself was really wonky. The style of narration made it hard for me to keep track of the said characters. It really felt like the author was just trying too hard to be poignant by the time it was all said and done.

Undeveloped (K. Leigh)

55263735. sy475

Lia Winegar and her aunt have always been thick as thieves, as close as a niece and aunt could be.

Now, fresh out of high school, Lia plans to spend her last summer at home before going away to college. But as one chapter of her life closes, another begins.
When she stumbles upon one of her Aunt Natalie’s old journals—along with a faded photograph of a man she’s never seen before—Lia realizes her aunt’s life isn’t the open book she always thought it was.
Natalie isn’t the only one with a secret, though.
Lia still hasn’t told her family just how far she plans to go; and while she unearths her aunt’s whirlwind story through a firsthand account, she discovers some truths of her own.

As the forgotten story of one summer unfolds, how much of each woman’s tale will remain undeveloped?

A super sweet quick paced read that had me wanting more from both characters and both timelines.

The thing that I really enjoyed reading the most was how the author wrote the story from both of the characters POV and how we got to see how they interacted with each other. But the way their stories intertwined really sealed the deal for me.

Everything about this book was sweet to me. It was a really cool and warm setting and the writing really shown bright through said setting. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen with both Lia and Natalie.

Undeveloped is definitely what this book is not. The characters in this story exhibit so much growth throughout the book that it was a beautiful sight to read through. This quick, sweet read will take you on a journey through self-discovery and growth.

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes (Elissa R. Sloan)


Buy link:

Cassidy Holmes isn’t just a celebrity.

She is “Sassy Gloss,” the fourth member of the hottest pop group America has ever seen. Hotter than Britney dancing with a snake, hotter than Christina getting dirrty, Gloss was the pop act that everyone idolized. Fans couldn’t get enough of them, their music, and the drama that followed them like moths to a flame—until the group’s sudden implosion in 2002. And at the center of it all was Sassy Cassy, the Texan with a signature smirk that had everyone falling for her.

But now she’s dead. Suicide.

The world is reeling from this unexpected news, but no one is more shocked than the three remaining Glossies. Fifteen years ago, Rose, Merry, and Yumi had been the closest to Cassidy, and this loss is hitting them hard. Before the group split, they each had a special bond with Cassidy—truths they told, secrets they shared. But after years apart, each of them is wondering: what could they have done?

Told in multiple perspectives—including Cassidy herself—and different timelines, this is a behind-the-scenes look into the rise and fall of a pop icon, and a penetrating examination of the dark side of celebrity and the industry that profits from it.

I liked it.
But it was long and drawn out.
A lot of things could have been removed.
That is about the jist of my review summed up in three sentences.

Now that I got that out of the way– I feel like a certain relationship in this book was completely rushed and thrown in out of nowhere. But I also felt like it was a good addition because I REALLY loved how it played into the ending. Which I noticed a lot of people didn’t love. But I did. I felt like after all I had been through the ending added a lot of spice to the book as a whole.

My absolute most favorite part of this entire book though was the setting and the timeline. It made me feel SO nostalgic and it felt refreshing reading a book that the setting resonated with me.

The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes had a vibe similar to Daisy Jones and I know that we ALL loved Daisy. Although they cover two different musical genres and timelines– I love how it felt similar to reading about Daisy and her adventures. For a debut novel I really loved Sloan’s writing style, plot, and setting. It just could have been a little bit shorter in my opinion.

One More Chance (Kat Savage)

50057094. sy475

Harper Whitney is officially divorced. Ever since she signed the papers, she’s found it difficult to believe a second love could even exist. At this point, she wonders if the first was ever real.
Besides that, everything is just dandy. Her big sister is getting married. It’s wonderful—she knows—but if one more person reminds her that she needs a plus one, she might just scream.
Enter Jensen Reed, her sister’s friend’s brother. Confusing, yeah. It’s even more confusing to Harper when he’s somehow volunteered to be her date to the wedding.
The city boy lives his life far, far away from the farm that Harper calls home. The only one she’s ever known. To make things even more complicated, she’s recently decided to dip her toes in the cesspool of modern dating. And, he agrees to help her get back on the saddle, so to speak.
Neither of them exactly thought it’d be his saddle she’d choose to mount. He’s risk-free in so many ways—a traveler by profession and a carefree wanderer by design. Oh, not to mention, he’s hot as hell.
But after the wedding—when serious decisions need to be made—Harper must decide: Can she give love one more chance?

I think Kat is the best growing author I have had the pleasure to read in years. Every time she writes a book I think she outdoes herself and gets better with each story she writes. If that isn’t the type of authors that you are reading– you need to check out her books for sure.

In One More Chance, I really enjoyed how she tied in Lyla and Gentry but then introduced us to Chloe a little more in this book. The character dynamics were SO strong in this one that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from my kindle even if I did try. I loved seeing them all interact together– they just felt REAL.

Also, I didn’t come across one single LULL in this entire book. I didn’t scan any paragraphs and I read every single word my eyes met. Let’s face it– WE ALL SCAN. If you don’t, you’re lying. But in One More Chance, I read it. All. Word for word. I just couldn’t stop!

While I was reading One More Chance I could just TELL Kat was comfortable and having so much writing this story. The flow was natural, the characters all blended and played so well together and honestly the pacing was incredible. I’m so excited to see Kat growing the way that she is, it makes me so excited for her future!

The Wreckage of Us (Brittainy Cherry)


Pre-order link:

In my own Talon-opinion: Do not read that blurb. Seriously. It gives almost the entire story away and I just don’t like that. So I won’t be including it in my review.

Just when I think B Cherry cannot possibly write any more characters that I won’t fall in love with— she does just that. After all of the stories and characters that she has written I absolutely cannot believe how she can keep putting out original content. Stories that haven’t ever been wrote before time and time again.

The different scenarios and obstacles that these people come in contact with has never been repeated in a single one of her books. How she keeps it all straight is beyond me but she does an incredible job in doing so. And for that I appreciate her and her books so much.

Two very different people falling into a world that they create together. Sigh. I love it. I love how she always makes me feel all the feels. The pacing in this book was ✨ perfect ✨ seriously the slow burn between these two characters and the friendship they built first was immaculate.

Just when you think Brittainy Cherry can’t possibly write another book that will break your heart she laughs and releases and The Wreckage of Us. Bet.

The Whisper Man (Alex North)


Buy link:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

The best thing that could ever happen to me when I am reading a thriller novel is that the author makes it seem so real and believable for me. And that is just what Alex North did. If I wasn’t already hooked after I read The Shadows– I definitely am now! Every time I turned the page in The Whisper Man, it was just so well written that it felt like more than just a made up story.

The father / son relationship dynamic really felt good to me. It wasn’t perfect and for that reason alone I was enthralled with how this novel would play out between these two characters. By the time it had ended, I was not disappointed in any way.

The Whisper Man is an excellent book with some super creepy moments that will give you chills and the fact that this was Alex North’s debut novel makes this even more impressive. I feel as if when it comes to thrillers I am getting pickier– but The Whisper Man was honestly the most perfect read for me.

The Hollow Places (T. Kingfisher)


Pre-order link:

Pray they are hungry.

Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.

With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s LabyrinthThe Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Honestly this book was waaaaay out of my element and I loved every second of it! It was so different, distinct, and original that I can honestly say as I type this that I have never read a book quite like The Hollow Places!

I love this author’s writing. Love it. I feel like it’s strategic and clean. It makes the plot of the already interesting story-line that much stronger. There is nothing better than picking up a new to me author and finding out they have impeccable writing. It doesn’t happen often so that when it does I get really giddy and obsessive.

The Hollow Places was a fast paced, entertaining, and honestly smart story that I enjoyed every minute of. I loved the characters, the references and metaphors, the depressing atmosphere– all of it! I am immediately checking out her book The Twisted Ones that I keep seeing so much about.

Five Total Strangers (Natalie D Richards)


Pre-order link:

When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight.

As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another.

Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.

Okay. This book ended up being exhausting. Draining. On and on and on. Very anti-climactic and underwhelming. What started out as such a promising story-line ended up being just– ridiculous. I was hoping for something similar to No Exit by Taylor Adams but that is what I get for hoping.

So much kept happening but the same time nothing happened. If that makes sense. That is the best way that I can put it. I know one of you out there will get what I am saying. I wish the book would have been more than just… people in a car. Because when that is your plot-line there is only so much these characters can go through and talk about.

Five Total Strangers has a stellar cover, a promising premise, and a ton of really great characters but all in all it fell really flat for me after about 30%. For a YA it had some strong writing and strong “mystery” but it wasn’t anything special in my opinion. Nothing really reached out and grabbed me.

Black Flowers, White Lies (Yvonne Ventresca)


Buy link:

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. New found evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

With its intriguing title and extremely beautiful cover, Black Flowers, White Lies immediately drew me in and promised to be a great “thrilling and paranormal” story from the get go. A “frightening psychological thrill” is also what I was promised when I picked it up but I just think that is waaaay too much for this simple (and very short) story. After I finished, it was just okay to me. Nothing blew me away except for the cover.

The story itself could have been executed in a much nicer / neater way. Organization is key, guys! A strong plot is also a huge plus for me with these types of genres and I thought this one was just all over the place. I think because of the way the writing presented itself to the reader– it came off very sloppy as a whole.

The way this book is portrayed is a pretty big order for a very small book, so when I was feeling disappointed in the end it didn’t come as a big surprise to me. Five years ago– I think this book would have been a complete hit with me. But now, it just fell super flat knowing how much my tastes in thrillers / paranormals have changed.

The Last to See Her (Courtney Evan Tate)

Pre-order link:

A woman disappears into the dark city night…

Gen is on the verge of a divorce from her cheating husband. When her sister, Meg, has a convention to attend in the Big Apple, she invites Gen along to celebrate her newly found freedom. But the perfect sisters’ getaway quickly goes awry when a tipsy Gen defiantly throws her wedding ring off the hotel room’s balcony. Then, wanting some fresh air, she decides to take a late-evening walk alone and vanishes without a trace.

The investigation that follows uncovers secrets—and betrayals—between sisters and spouses that will twist the truth in on itself until nothing is clear.

What really happened to Gen and who, besides Meg, was the last to see her?

I didn’t think there was anything special or anything that stood out about this book. But I did have a hard time putting it down so I’m giving it four stars for that fact alone. Once I started reading– I was hooked!

*The biggest part to remember when you read this book is you will need to realize that some of the things that happen– are very unbelievable. Or maybe even questionable. And of course that is just my personal opinion.* 

I also wouldn’t classify this as a “domestic thriller”. I have read those types of genres before and I just don’t think I can compare The Last to See Her as that type of book. I also want to say that this is one of the few times that I actually LIKE the female main character. A lot of times I have a hard time connecting but with Gen I found myself completely captivated!

I will end with this: the ending was my favorite part. The epilogue gave me goosebumps and I smiled so damn big.

I always love the type of stories Courtney comes up. Whether she’s writing as Courtney Cole or Courtney Evan Tate, they’re original and creative and keep my pages turning everytime I pick one of them up! The Last to See Her was no different than her others. This book will be a hit with a lot of people.