Reviews, Wrap Ups

April Wrap Up

Thank goodness half my reads were electronic because I have rubbish upper body strength and these were heavy!

Well April turned out to be an excellent reading month for me. I was expecting To get through very little due to being super busy with work but I’m also someone who reads more when they’re anxious or stressed. This resulted in me getting through 20 books in April which is frankly quite ridiculous.

This month I read the following, will add links to the relevant blogs (if they exist yet as some reviews won’t be up for a wee while…because I’ve not finished them yet. But they’re all reviewed on my vlog which is at the bottom of this post.

5 💫

The Dark Between the Trees – Fiona Barnett* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/27/the-dark-between-the-trees/

Six Crimson Cranes- Elizabeth Lim https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/13/six-crimson-cranes/

This Wicked Fate- Kalynn Bayron* ✨ My Book Recommendation of the Month! https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/09/this-wicked-fate/

Young Mungo- Douglas Stuart https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/30/young-mungo/

4 💫

The Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl- Joya Goffney* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/06/confessions-of-an-alleged-good-girl/

Deep Wheel Orcadia- Harry Josephine Giles Review Pending

Hyde- Craig Russell https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/20/hyde/

Life Ceremony- Sayaka Murata* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/16/life-ceremony/

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?-Agatha Christie Review Pending

3 💫

Empress Crowned in Red- Ciannon Smart* https://kapowskireads.com/2022/04/23/empress-crowned-in-red/

A History Maker-Alasdair Gray Review Pending

Open Water – Caleb Azumah Nelson Review Pending

2 💫 (I don’t usually post reviews about books that I award fewer than 3 stars to)

Grave Importance- Vivian Shaw

Madwoman – Louisa Treger*

The Moon, The Stars, and Madame Burova- Ruth Hogan

The Vexed Generation- Scott Meyer

Widowland- C.J. Carey

1 💫

The Assassin King- Elizabeth Haydon

The Island- C.L. Taylor

Non-Fiction

A is for Arsenic, The Poisons of Agatha Christie- Kathryn Harkup

*#gifted

Reviews

The Dark Between the Trees

1643: A small group of Parliamentarian soldiers are ambushed in an isolated part of Northern England. Their only hope for survival is to flee into the nearby Moresby Wood… unwise though that may seem. For Moresby Wood is known to be an unnatural place, the realm of witchcraft and shadows, where the devil is said to go walking by moonlight…

Seventeen men enter the wood. Only two are ever seen again, and the stories they tell of what happened make no sense. Stories of shifting landscapes, of trees that appear and disappear at will… and of something else. Something dark. Something hungry.

Today, five women are headed into Moresby Wood to discover, once and for all, what happened to that unfortunate group of soldiers. Led by Dr Alice Christopher, an historian who has devoted her entire academic career to uncovering the secrets of Moresby Wood. Armed with metal detectors, GPS units, mobile phones and the most recent map of the area (which is nearly 50 years old), Dr Christopher’s group enters the wood ready for anything.

Or so they think.

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was expecting to enjoy it but nowhere near as much as I did. This was an utter delight and I finished it over a weekend as I just couldn’t put it down.

The book was set in a creepy wood which is one of my favourite settings. There’s just something about a wood that draws my interest, both in real life and in books. I think that the woodland setting was just perfect! The woods were so dense and made for an excellent setting.

This novel had dual narrative which is one of my favourite narrative modes. The chapters alternate between an army in the 17th century who, battle weary, found themselves lost in the wood and a modern day academic who is looking into the disappearance of the army. I felt that this narration style provided some foreshadowing and explanation and I thought it was done so well! There were some parallels between the members of the different parties. Even though there were centuries between them, their similarities were very numerous.

Throughout the book there was such a creepy atmosphere of foreboding. I enjoyed the creepy ghost stories that were quoted by each of the parties.

I loved that it wasn’t initially clear whether things were happening or whether it was all in their imagination. I really enjoyed that element of doubt. I doubted myself at times.

I found this book to be creepy and chilling and I just loved it. It was scary but so much of the fear was the fear of the unknown. I already hated camping and definitely won’t be camping after reading this.

I could not see the ending coming at all. I thought it was such a fantastic ending and I really enjoyed it. This was such a compelling read. I highly recommend this book, it picked me out of a slump that I’d found myself in.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews

Empress Crowned in Red

Iraya, her revenge taken and magic unfettered, turns her sights on a bigger goal: freeing Aiyca for the Obeah. But first she must shed the guise of the rogue warrior and become the Lost Empress her people need.

Jazmyne has crowned herself the doyenne and is prepared to go to extreme lengths—and court ruthless danger—to prove to her people she deserves the throne.

But there is more at stake than Jazmyne or Iraya know: a new threat is awakening on the other side of the island that could destroy everything they’ve been fighting for.

Trust is scarce, and betrayal a breath away. But Iraya and Jazmine once again find themselves turning to each other—after all, better the witch you know than the nightmare you don’t.

I had enjoyed Witches Steeped in Gold so was very excited to read Empress Crowned in Red. I must admit that I enjoyed the sequel a little more than the first instalment. This book had pirates, monsters, witches, and an epic battle. It was pretty exciting and I really did want to know how the journey would end.

The beginning of the book set the scene for an amazing sounding quest. I really enjoyed seeing each of the protagonists being set their own tasks in order to meet their goals

The middle of the book was where it fell a little flat for me. I felt that the middle 40% of the book was a little lacklustre. It felt quite slow and at times was a bit of a slog to get through
The last 30% was so exciting though! I genuinely applauded at one point. The battle was really quite epic and so enjoyable

At times I found myself getting a little lost with the volume of characters, there was a character list at the beginning of the book but it only listed 6 characters (4 of whom were deceased before this book started). There were so many new names and loyalties that I would have loved the character list to include more of the characters or at least the ones who featured regularly. Also, some of the names were quite similar I did find myself having to go back and reread parts.

I really enjoyed the dual narrative aspect of the book, I love a dual narrative! I must admit that I preferred Iraya’s chapters to Jazmyne’s. Iraya was always the more interesting of the two. There were times were Jazmyne just annoyed me with her very poor choices.

I also have to acknowledge that this book included a romantic moment that I misread, resulting in so much hilarity. It’s been 2 days since I had to reread that part and I still keep bursting into laughter. I’m not laughing at the book, it was my mistake but I’m grateful for that misunderstanding because I needed it!


I did enjoy this book and I would give it 3.5 but rounding down just due to the slow middle. If the middle were maybe half the length or was a bit more exciting then this would have been a 4 star read. It was just such a large period of the book that felt slow so I needed to round it down. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m very grateful to have been able to complete this duology.

Reviews

Life Ceremony

With Life Ceremony, the incomparable Sayaka Murata is back with her first collection of short stories ever to be translated into English. In Japan, Murata is particularly admired for her short stories, which are sometimes sweet, sometimes shocking, and always imbued with an otherworldly imagination and uncanniness.

In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks above all what it means to be a human in our world and offers answers that surprise and linger.

I had heard many great things about this author. I’d been told that I would really enjoy their writing as it can sometimes be quite odd or unusual and that’s something I do enjoy in a book. I thought that a collection of short stories co up d be a great way to get to know a new to me author. I think it was! I really enjoyed this short story collection and gave it 4 stars.

I had seen this collection referred to as ‘horror’ which is not usually my thing. I love a good gothic horror but my scare level is similar to that of a Victorian lady, it’s very low. These stories were horrific in parts but not in a scary way. There were moments of horror and of shock and these stories made me really think!

These stories covered topics that I perhaps wouldn’t usually read about such as cannibalism and but in a thought provoking way. This collection of short stories gave me a lot to think about and I will be seeking out more books by this author Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Often in short story collections there are some weak ones and some strong one but I am struggling to think of a weak link in this anthology. I enjoyed every story. My favourite ones where the ones that seemed linked to other stories, or maybe I was reading too much into things and making links that weren’t there. I also really enjoyed the first story, which was about a woman who was very into ‘recycled’ items made from humans but was marrying a man who was against these items. I feel that this story set the tone for the entire book as I got a grasp of what sort of horror was involved. I did also love the story about the curtain. Like I said, there really were no weak stories in this collection.

Each of the stories involved issues that was quite uncomfortable such as cannibalism or possession. However the way that they were written didn’t make me feel nauseated. The writing was very beautiful and the entire book was compelling and through provoking. This is another occasion where it turns out that I do enjoy an author that my friends thought I would.

I received this book as an ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am thinking of reading Earthlings by this author next time I read their works.

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

This Wicked Fate

How much would you risk to save the ones you love? Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate?

Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. If she is to locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage. Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Bolstered by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

I preordered this book last Autumn and have been excited about reading this since June when I finished This Poison Heart. When I saw that NetGalley had this, I took a chance and requested an advanced reader copy. I did not expect to get approved but I did and I devoured this book over a weekend because I refused to put it down. I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. Perhaps 5 stars and a kidney. I absolutely adored this book and struggled to put my thoughts into words. I felt like words just couldn’t possibly convey just how much I utterly enjoyed this book. This Poison Heart was one of my favourite books of 2021 so my expectations of this book were high and they were exceeded!

This book picked up right where This Poison Heart ended. Reading the fall out from the ending of the previous book was utterly heartbreaking. Watching people try to make sense of what had just happened and what they faced really did make me feel as if no time had passed since my last reading. This is because their reactions and fears were so similar to my thoughts at the end of the previous book.

This book gave me many strong female characters, gorgeous family and found family moments, and a pretty epic quest. There were even more strong female characters than in the first book and I enjoyed the relationships between all of the established characters and these new characters (who I also loved). The quest seemed so daunting and I was so excited while following the journey.

Tied throughout the book were pieces of Greek mythology which I’m very into. I really enjoyed the way that mythology and history emerged with the current world. There were hints peppered throughout the book so I got to get really excited by that.

This book was not overly long, it was just a pretty standard paperback. Yet it felt like so many things happened. It felt quite epic!

This book was utterly magical and heartwarming and just glorious. I am such a huge fan of this series and it makes me think I could be interested in plants despite not even being able to keep a cactus alive. I just want more of this world and these characters. I don’t know if there will be more books in this series or if it is now finished but I would definitely read more books set in this world.

I also sobbed so much during the last 20% of the book that I soaked my cardigan because I wasn’t prepared to stop reading to go and get tissues. At one point I declared that I couldn’t see through my feelings because I had tear smudged glasses. I had all the feelings during this book; I was delighted, hopeful, distraught, angry. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

This book was utter perfection and Kalynn Bayron is now one of my autobuy authors as this is the third book that I’ve read by this author and the third 5 star read. I loved this so much

I feel like I may have found my favourite book of 2022. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to receiving my physical copy in June, which I bought myself and despite having already read this I know for certain that I will be rereading this series for years and years.

Reviews

Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl

Monique is a preacher’s daughter who detests the impossible rules of her religion. Everyone expects her to wait until marriage, so she has no one to turn to when she discovers that she physically can’t have sex.

After two years of trying and failing, her boyfriend breaks up with her. To win him back, Monique teams up with straight-laced church girl Sasha–who is surprisingly knowledgeable about Monique’s condition–as well as Reggie, the misunderstood bad boy who always makes a ruckus at church, and together they embark upon a top-secret search for the cure.

While on their quest, Monique discovers the value of a true friend and the wonders of a love that accepts her for who she is. Despite everyone’s opinions about her virtue, she learns to live for herself, inspiring us all to reclaim our bodies and unapologetically love ourselves.

This book was an absolute delight to read. When I started the book, I wasn’t too sure about it as the mum and boyfriend seemed to be just awful, like your classic mean mum and manipulative boyfriend. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get past that. I needn’t have worried as by 8% I was hooked and I realised that first impressions of some of the characters were not accurate.

I absolutely loved Monique and how much she grew as a character. I really liked Sasha and totally understood her character and she felt super relatable. Reggie was silly and fun and I think 17 year old me would have wanted to be his friend. I loved the friendship story and it felt so authentic and was really supportive and sweet.

The amount of strong female representation in this book made me just so happy! Monique’s mum didn’t make a good first impression on me but by the middle/last third of the book I was cheering her on. I also absolutely adored Monique’s auntie and Reggie’s mum, it was so nice having their friendship along with the teenage friendship.

I got so annoyed during this book as some of the actions of the characters were so terrible yet were so realistic. I was enraged by Monique’s father. Monique’s (ex) boyfriend was a sleazy sleazebag and I could see that straight away. I think that’s the perk of being an adult reading Young Adult, I can see situations with my adult eyes when I know 100% I fell for some ridiculous lines in my teens (and 20s).

This book covered some very serious topics and raised awareness of a condition that affects many people who don’t even realise that it is a thing. I genuinely think that this book could change lives. I think that the way that this book discussed sex was really healthy. This is a book that I would definitely encourage my step kids to read when they’re a little older as it was a really good story about attitude towards sex and knowing your own body.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed reading this book and will be looking out for more books by this author as I lived their characters and their writing left me feeling warm and fuzzy. I also happy cried during this book.

Reviews

Speak Easy – A Kate March Mystery

The Roaring Twenties. A ghastly murder. A failing family newspaper business. What more could lure Katharine Ann March into playing hooky and risk missing her own high school graduation?

As a budding reporter and amateur slew, Kate has the audacity to, not only wear boy’s clothing, but to trespass into the male habitat of the newspaper business. While her best friend, Addy, prefers they go Modern by becoming flappers, Kate set her sights on saving the family newspaper by plunging headfirst into the most sensational murder scene in Hollywood.

Famed film director, William Desmond Taylor, has been shot in the back, and Kate has the inside scoop. Her dear friend and famous film star, Mary Miles Minter, fancied herself in love Mr. Taylor. With Mary’s help, Kate is set to bring a new angle to the story. Easy peasy. But not so fast.

Suspicious, late night visits to Taylor’s home, drug connections, false identities, and family secrets prompt Kate to solve the murder herself, much to the annoyance of the Los Angeles Police Department.

But something wholly unexpected captures Kate’s attention; her neighbor and childhood friend, Nicky Masino, has returned from the Great War no longer the boy she once knew. Mysterious, and explosive, Nicky is haunted by his past. After joining the LAPD, Nicky warns Kate to stay away from the Taylor murder case.

Why should Nicky care? And who are the two shadowy thugs following him? Could Nicky somehow be involved in the murder? Why is he so adamant Kate stop investigating?

Undaunted by the warnings, Kate and Addy charge unceremoniously into dangerous schemes involving salacious gambling dens and illegal speakeasies; not to mention the dark and seedy underbelly of Paramount Studios. A spectacularly wild time is had by all until Kate lands on the wrong end of a murder charge.

This book was very exciting from start to finish. The book started with Kate Marsh being interviewed by a police detective whilst having a head wound and being covered in blood! Each chapter took the format of the police detective asking a question or for clarification and then a flashback to what happened. I found this format to be really enjoyable as it was like being in the police interview room . This was an enjoyable read and I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads, 3.5 if half marks were an option. It’s definitely a high 3!

As a character, Kate was enjoyable. She was daring and like a dog with a bone. I like books with a sleuth and Kate was a very good sleuth. I liked that she was very methodical about her investigations without jumping to conclusions. She was impulsive but in the excitement of the case, I thought it was to be expected. I did enjoy the case being solved by a young woman, her housekeeper, and school friend. Three women that wouldn’t have been listened to in the 1920s. I spent so much of the book just wanting to know more about Nicky and why he was the way he was. I was very pleased with the reveal as I was worried that it wouldn’t come.

I sort of hoped for a bit more closure regarding Kate’s mum. Or even a bit more of an explanation but that didn’t come. I do suppose it wouldn’t really have affected the story in any way, I’m just being nosy.

The book was set in the 1920s and the author really did their homework with all of the references, I particularly enjoyed the cameo of Max Factor! I love a makeover montage! There were an awful lot of references to the 1920s and a lot of slang. At times it felt a little bit too much, there was no chance of forgetting that the book was set in the 1920s. I think that a lot of the drama of the flapper era was embodied and there was a ball, I love a ball scene!

There was one part of the book that I didn’t like as it felt like a character was being shamed for her romantic life and we don’t do that. However it was historically accurate so while it did happen (and still happens today) I don’t have to be happy about it. Part of this bit of the book really gave me the ick despite it being well documented that stuff like that happened and still happens. It’s so hard to fully explain this without giving a huge spoiler of the book but if you read it, you’ll know what part I mean. I think it gave me a lot to think about.

The ending, I felt, was perfect. I was worried that the book was going in a direction I really didn’t want it to. Although with the timeline I could forgive it but I wouldn’t have liked it. I was glad that the book ended the way that it did as it felt true to the character of Kate. I’m excited to read more about Kate’s future investigations.

At the end of the book there was a note from the author saying that the book was partially based on the real life unsolved murder of Paramount Director, William Desmond Taylor which remains a cold case. I felt down such a Google rabbit hole after finishing this book. I think it’s a good sign when a book leaves you wanting more!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m now so much closer to being caught up with my NetGalley books and have learned my lesson about not getting all the books at once, I need to finish some before going back for more…I say ‘lesson learned’ but I’ll probably oversubscribe myself to ebooks again soon!

Reviews

Mall You Need is Love

Jaded-by-love Amara Hart owns a retro-style gaming arcade in the local shopping mall that is bustling full of people who’d rather play Pac-Man than have a candlelit dinner with the charming Casanova store owner next door. Despite her cynicism toward anything roses, Amara finds herself agreeing to help Valentino Rossi when his store is robbed a few days shy of Valentine’s Day—his biggest annual moneymaker.

Valentino believes in endless love and has made it his mission in life to help others express that love through romance and custom-made jewelry. Silly little love songs are what make him get out of bed in the morning, and meeting the anti-Valentine Amara has thrown him for a loop. Determined to prove love me tender is more than a retro ballad, Valentino sets out to give Amara a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget.

As Amara feels her rough edges begin to soften, she begins to wonder what would happen if she asked the man next door to…be mine, Valentino.

What a super fun read! I was really in the mood for lovely sweet romance and this gave me exactly what I was looking for. I gave this book 4 stars because I just really enjoyed it and can see me reading more books by this author as this was so delightful and quite an innocent little romance.

I honestly think that grumpy sunshine romances may be my new favourite trope and this book gave me that. Val was a Casanova who had been linked to various women within the shopping mall, he was almost arrogant and definitely standoffish. Mara was whimsical, friendly, and chirpy. They seemed like such an unusual pairing but they really brought out the best in each other. Despite this being a novella, the main characters of Mara and Val were full of layers. I was rooting for them from the beginning.

I really enjoyed the two main characters having to work together which let them get to know each other. They were thrown together as they had to work overnight security at the mall…I only know of the shopping centres we have in Scotland but they tend to have security staff. Especially the big ones but I didn’t mind that this was perhaps a little unrealistic because the setting of the mall was very enjoyable. I love the shop names – Barber Streisand, Tequila Mockingbird, Son of a Bun Bakery. Plus the mall had an arcade and a cheese based food truck…it sounded dreamy!

The epilogue me happy cry because that’s what I hoped would happen. I thought this was a nice addition to the story as it still would have worked without the epilogue but it made me so very happy. I am such a sucker for a happy ending and with romance stories, I expect them and this really did leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. It wasn’t realistic at all but that’s ok!

This book just made me so happy! I smiled throughout the whole book and am very glad that I read it. For full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m now almost up to date with my ARCs, like a lot of people I’ve spoken to, I requested way more than I had budgeted time for and now I feel really behind. This book comes out on 11 February 2022 so I’m super pleased with myself for finishing this gem before it comes out.

Reviews

Double Deception

In the thrilling world of celebrity lookalikes, nothing is what it seems…

A new crime thriller author has come onto the scene with her first book in the genre of Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper. The story revolves around Belinda, a Director of a Lookalike Agency, and the camp and exotic world she inhabits.

The author delves into the mysterious, dark side of fantasy and crime, going behind the scenes of the show business world of lookalikes and tribute acts. Filled with deceit, scandal and lies, the reader gains an in‐depth perspective of their lives and glamorous jobs. The drama, combined with a host of intriguing characters, including the Mafia, is themed around a powerful love story with many twists and turns along the way. This gripping crime, sometimes comedic book, will leave you on the edge of your seat, wanting more.

I chose this book based on the blurb. It sounded exciting and fun. While the book was fun, it wasn’t as thrilling as expected. My enjoyment of this book came more from this book being so silly and ridiculous at times. I felt that this book was part Jackie Collins and part Rocky Flintstone. The romantic scenes were very Rocky Flintstone, I am a huge fan of his so this is a intended as a compliment! I gave this book 3 stars as it gave me such a good laugh.

There were a lot of characters and a lot of party scenes with even more characters. At times, the characters were just listed but as many of them were silent or just not involved in the story, I could have lived without them. At times characters were described or anecdotes provided that didn’t add to the story.

A lot of interesting things were built up and then happened off page. If I’m reading about the planning of an elaborate crime, I’d quite like to read about it actually happening, not just the aftermath. I was a little disappointed as I was very much looking forward to reading about it. The book actually started with something very exciting but that sort of fizzled and didn’t really go anywhere.

The relationship between Belinda and Frank was odd. Somehow they fell utterly in love but didn’t really speak…lust, yes but love? I didn’t buy it. They went weeks without talking and then a text here and there, I think I’d have counted that as a relationship when I was a teenager. The majority of dialogue between Belinda and Frank was during their sexy times which were rather hilarious to read. He kept pulling her bra up to her neck…why Frank? Belinda was having an affair yet was very judgemental towards other people who had affairs.

I found it very difficult to get a grasp of the timeline as the celebrities mentioned were all quite dated, I couldn’t imagine being at a party where my friends would go wild for a Boy George impersonator like the revellers in this book did. Near the end of the book it was revealed that the book took place in 2019 but honestly, other than a few references to smart phones and One Direction, the book could have been set in the 90s. I think I would have preferred it if it had.

The sexual assault part of the story felt like it came from nowhere and didn’t feel like it added to the plot in a way that couldn’t have been achieved differently. I’m not a fan of books that include sexual assault especially if the resulting event could have been achieved in another way. I definitely think that this wasn’t needed. I also felt that the other Marilyn storyline was a bit unnecessary. Like trying to provide shock value but in an upsetting way.

The mysterious society was so intriguing but it was never really explained. The blurb of this book told me that the Society was the Mafia but without that, I wouldn’t have known until 3/4 through the book. However as soon as this was revealed I realised that each of the members was very stereotypical which was a bit disappointing as I’d hoped for more excitement than was given. The members of the society were pretty inept which did make the book entertaining.

This book was silly and fun, I found it to be entertaining and laughed so much while reading this book. I may pick up the sequel as the book ended on quite the cliffhanger. If you are looking for a quick and easy read, then this may be the one for you. Thank you to NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Please note that while this book was mostly light, it did include references to suicide and sexual assault.

Reviews

#FollowMe for Murder

Meet 28-year-old influencer and celebrity blogger Coco Cline, who has started her own social media consulting firm in her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware. Her new clients, Sean and Olivia Chen, are ten days away from the grand opening of their specialty consignment shop when Coco stumbles across their store clerk Stacy dead behind the register.

Worried that a cloud of suspicion will ruin their chances of a successful business launch, the Chens ask Coco to work alongside the inexperienced Central Shores police force to speed up the investigation. Using her celebrity status and social media savviness, Coco realizes Stacy’s seemingly ordinary life was all an act.

Following a trail of cryptic online posts, confusing timelines, and muddied gossip, Coco and her friends discover Stacy’s questionable relationships just might be the reason for her untimely demise.

Until the 50% mark I thought this was a 3 star read and then suddenly I was hooked and audibly gasping at the reveals. The first half of the book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t gripping. However by half way through it really got going and was a thrilling read for the remainder of the book.

I absolutely love reading murder mysteries but don’t read a lot of tongue in cheek mysteries. This was definitely more Agatha Raisin than Agatha Christie and that’s what I fancied reading at the time.

This book was a very light and fun murder mystery. Is that a thing? The murder happened really near to the start of the book and we didn’t previously meet the victim so I wasn’t emotionally attached. Although I did feel some annoyance towards the characters judging her romantic life.

I don’t think I necessarily liked any of the characters, the main characters were pretty self centred and were focussed on their influencer life. They were all also pretty well off and I suppose I just couldn’t relate to any of them. I did think it was weird that a long term and live in boyfriend would have their own flat…in the same area…either you live together or you don’t . It felt a bit odd to me. Despite not really liking the characters, they were fun to read about. Sort of in the same way I used to watch The Hills or The City, I couldn’t relate but I loved to see the fashion.

Coco and her band of friends were just hilarious and turning Miss Marple in the current time should not have worked. They obtained information that should have been private and ultimately cracked the case. I expected the police to refuse information but nope, they have loads of vital information to these amateur sleuths and just told them not to go snooping…If you enjoy some realism in your murder mysteries then this element may annoy you but I was looking for something fun and this was it.

This book was cleverly done! I didn’t start putting all the pieces together until the last third when it all came together and suddenly it all made sense. I did not see the big reveal coming and guessed two other killers before choosing the right one (a chapter before the reveal so it doesn’t count).

Extra points for not ending the book in the boringly predictable way that I feared it would. This is the first in a series and I’m really excited to see where the series goes and will be keeping an eye out for the next instalment! I do kind of wish I’d read this book in summer though because it was weird reading about a lovely sunny beach while there was snow up here in the North East of Scotland but that’s just a personal preference

Thank you to NetGalley who provided me with a this free ebook in exchange for an honest review