“The Holdout” by Graham Moore

81lcu8C-rjLThe Holdout was one of the Book of the Month picks for February, and as an avid true crime fan, I knew this was one for me. (Join Book of the Month here and get your first book for $5! It’s one of my favorite book clubs in the world.)

Maya Seale was the titular “holdout,” the only non-guilty voter at the start of months-long deliberations in the case of The People vs. Robert Nock. Bobby Nock had allegedly killed his teenaged student, Jessica Silver, after having an alleged sexual relationship with her. However, the details were not clear, because Jessica’s body was never found. The defense argued that because of this lack of a body, as well as many other unclear details, Bobby Nock should not be found guilty of murder. There was a reasonable doubt. Maya believes this, and argues ad nauseam with her fellow jury members, until they all agree. There was enough reasonable doubt to conclude that Bobby Nock should not be found guilty.

Flash forward 10 years. Having been fascinated by the procedures of the court, Maya Seale is now a highly-sought defense attorney. She’s defended some of the most notorious alleged criminals in Los Angeles. But one day, one of the other jury members, Rick, seeks her out to ask her to come back to the Omni Hotel, where they were sequestered for months, to film a documentary with the help of a popular true crime podcast.

Maya is hesitant, because she knows Rick still harbors major resentment for her due to her “cajoling” the rest of the jury to change their verdicts to not guilty. He thinks Bobby is guilty, and he claims to have new evidence that will prove he is right. After initially declining Rick’s invite, Maya decides that it’d be better to be there, to be involved, than to see the results later and not have any way to share her feelings, regardless of if she was “right” or “wrong” 10 years ago.

This book has TWISTS for days. I read it in under 24 hours, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve been sucked into a story like that! If you like true crime, mystery, whodunits, you’ll like The Holdout. Think Serial meets Twelve Angry Men meets And Then There Were None, and you’ll only have part of this roller coaster of a story.

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Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Sadie” by Courtney Summers

IMG_0235It’s no secret to those who know me — I love a good mystery. I enjoy true crime books, shows, and podcasts (My Favorite Murder ๐Ÿ˜), not to mention mystery books and detective stories, be they true or fiction.

So at BookExpo in May, when I heard about a YA mystery called Sadie, I was all in.

The story follows two threads:

The first thread is Sadie’s story, in which she vows to avenge her younger sister Mattie’s unsolved murder. Growing up in a trailer park with an addict mother, Sadie was neglected early in life. When Mattie was born, Sadie took over the role of mother, promising herself that Mattie would have a loving childhood to look back on.

The second thread follows a podcast called The Girls that reminded me of Serial andย Up and Vanished. The host, West McCray, does his best to track down Sadie, doing research and interviewing those who knew her before, as well as those who meet Sadie on her quest for justice. Another cool thing to note: the podcast is actually real — it’s called The Girls: Find Sadie (find it anywhere you listen to podcasts). It follows the first several “podcast chapters” in Sadie, and man, is it chilling and well-done.

Sadie is equal parts thrilling, tragic, fascinating, and horrifying. There’s a murder, all kinds of abuse, road trips, new friends, new enemies, and ultimately, a mystery that you won’t be able to put down.

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Buy the book here.
Listen to the podcast on Apple here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

I HAD to have it…but why haven’t I read it yet?

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of books you are anticipating the release date of, all the time. I am always excited for something big coming out, and most times I’ll have them pre-ordered to guarantee release date delivery and to take advantage of any pre-order incentives!

Yet, I find myself looking at my shelf, wondering why all of these highly-anticipated books remain unread! I have a feeling that it may be something of a worry that the book won’t live up to my hype-levels. Plus, there’s just so many AMAZING books coming out all of the time. LIKE SLOW DOWN Y’ALL, there are only so many hours in the day!

So here are the books that have been sitting neglected on my TBR pile, waiting to be read. If you’ve read any of them and liked them, please YELL at me in the comments to get on it!

  1. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
  2. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  3. City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
  4. Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley
  5. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  6. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  7. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
  8. This Savage Song *and* Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  9. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
  10. Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  11. A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
  12. Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  13. Armada by Ernest Cline
  14. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  15. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
  16. The Hazel Wood byย Melissa Albert
  17. Saga Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan

Now having looked at these…many of them are sequels or in a series! I hate having to try to remember a year ago and what happened in a book to read the newest installation! Sometimes I’ll even wait for more than one to come out so I don’t have to do that!

So what do you think? Are you shunning me yet? Which of these do I NEED to read, and which should I just skip?

“Ace of Shades” by Amanda Foody

30238163New release Tuesday! Take a card and stake your soul with Ace of Shades, book 1 in The Shadow Game series.

Enne (pronounced like the letter “N”) has no choice when her mom, Lourdes Alfero, doesn’t come back from her trip. She has to go to New Reynes to find her. With her handy tourist guidebook, she sets off to find Leviย Glaisyer, the only name her mother left behind.

New Reynes is called the City of Sin for a reason. The South Side of the city is considered “safer” — this is where rich tourists go to vacation. The North Side, where Levi is the Lord of the gang called the Irons, is dangerous. There’s other gangs (the Scarhands and the Doves), plus notorious mafia casino families. Enne’s guidebook strongly advises not going to the North Side. But she must.

Ace of Shades switches from Enne’s and Levi’s perspectives. While Enne needs Levi to help her find Lourdes, Levi needs Enne to pay him for his help in order to pay off a large debt that if left unpaid, will cost him his life.

Told over the 10 days Levi has to pay back his debtor, we follow him and Enne through this magical, dangerous, Vegas-meets-carnival adventure. If you liked Caraval, and want more of the same, you have to pick this one up.

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Buy Ace of Shades here.

I also highly recommend Foody’s debut, Daughter of the Burning City – click this link to buy!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“I Stop Somewhere” by T.E. Carter

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New Release Tuesday! I Stop Somewhere is a very emotional, sad, and gripping book. In the vein of novels like The Lovely Bones, we follow Ellie as she watches her murderer from the afterlife as a ghost of sorts. Where it differs, is that this book alternates between the past leading up to Ellieโ€™s murder, and the present as she watches girl after girl be assaulted just like her, unable to do anything to help.

Finally, one of the victims speaks up. It isnโ€™t easy, as the two assailants are the sons of the most powerful man in town, the one buying up all the foreclosed houses and remodeling them to keep the town from shriveling up and dying. Ellie watches as the girls struggle with the repercussions of their attacks, the boys scramble to save themselves from prison, and the police struggle to solve Ellieโ€™s now long-cold case.

This book is very graphic, but it is also very addictive. I flew through it, pausing to reflect on how sad the story was, getting pissed at the bad guys, and wishing I didnโ€™t have to do real life things instead of reading.

Here is an excerpt of the Walt Whitman poem “Song of Myself” that the title was taken from:

I depart as airโ€”I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule

1262745The Stranger Beside Me was originally published in 1980, and it had a 20th anniversary edition that came out in 2000. Itโ€™s been on my to-read shelf for…… longer than I care to admit.

Ann Rule, as you may know, is an acclaimed true crime author known for many of her works. Back in the 80โ€™s, there was a suspected serial killer sexually assaulting and bludgeoning young women to death. The case was in full swing when Ruleโ€™s publisher asked her to follow the story and write a book about it.

A short time before this, Ann had done some work for a suicide hotline to honor her brotherโ€™s memory (he had committed suicide many years before). She became close to another volunteer there named Ted Bundy. Bundy was kind of a charmer, and Rule felt almost sisterly love for him, giving him rides and attending events together.

As Ann followed the serial killer case, she began to hear things that brought Ted to mind. But no, nice Ted that she worked with would never do something that horrible! Eventually, Ted was caught and sentenced to death by electrocution. Rule continued to communicate with Ted, even with him knowing she was writing this book, up until when he was executed.

Doesnโ€™t that sound like an amazing, unbelievable story? In case you didnโ€™t catch it, this is a T R U Eย  S T O R Y. You could not make this stuff up.

This is a very solid read, even with its age. If you like serial killers and well-researched procedural and mystery books, you should definitely put this on your list.

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Buy the book here.

“13 Minutes” by Sarah Pinborough

Out today in the United States!

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Sarah Pinborough is one of the reigning queens of the thriller, right up there with Gillian Flynn and Paula Hawkins. Her other title, Behind Her Eyes, released earlier this year, and I was skeptical of its promotional hashtag of #wtfthatending. It was so unbelievably accurate I was blown away. So, having loved that book, I knew I had to get my hands on 13 Minutes.

Tasha is technically dead for 13 minutes when she is pulled from the freezing river and revived. No one knows how she ended up there or if it was foul play. The story switches between viewpoints, and is such a good whodunit, with lots of threads leading to dead ends. No matter where you think the story is going, you’ll be wrong. It’s just a given, and that’s what I adore about Pinborough’s books.

The more I thought about this book as I was reading it and after I finished, the more I thought it was comparable in nature to Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia. The characters are young, there’s been a horrible crime committed, and they both use technology (e.g. texting) to convey parts of the story.

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Purchase 13 Minutes here.

Also, purchase Behind Her Eyes and Reconstructing Amelia. You won’t regret it!

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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.