Death is in the Details by Heather Sunseri

Death is in the Details is an amazing start to a new series. Less than halfway through the book I had figured out who the culprit of the first fire was. It was super obvious. And so I knew that person couldn’t be the one responsible for all of them because I’ve read other books by Heather Sunseri and she’s never that obvious. I actually gasped when it became clear who the serial killer and arsonist was. They hadn’t been on my radar at all. That was super well done. The end was quite a jolt as well so now I can’t wait to read the second book! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 18
Pages Read in 2020: 4559
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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

The Big Break by Megan McDonald

An expanded version of the original first Julie book, The Big Break is all about the 1974 American Girl doll. The story is well-written and has lots of little callouts to the time period. The last couple pages give non-fiction information about life as Julie would’ve experienced it and explains why certain things were included (like Julie struggling with her parents’ divorce and working to get on the boy’s basketball team at school). I recommend this book to kids who enjoy American Girl books. It makes an excellent family read-aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 17
Pages Read in 2020: 4372
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Filed under Children, Historical Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

Imagine the entire Mean Girls movie written out like a Shakespeare play complete with the language and rhythms you would expect from William Shakespeare. That’s Much Ado About Mean Girls. It’s utterly fabulous. It’s so funny and reads very quickly. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Shakespeare and enjoyed Mean Girls.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 16
Pages Read in 2020: 4155
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Filed under Play, Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

Pasta, Pinot & Murder by Jamie Lee Scott

There are a lot of spelling errors in Pasta, Pinot & Murder. The author went out of her way to include red herrings. So much out of her way that they were rather obvious. The resolution kind of came out of left field like she really, really wanted the murderer to not be obvious. The writing is decent enough. I don’t particularly recommend reading it, though. There are plenty of much better cozy mysteries out there waiting to be read.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 15
Pages Read in 2020: 3991
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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Duped by Abby Ellin

The author of this book fell for the lies of a narcissist and thought she was going to marry him. This got her interested in the lies people tell and other cases of people being duped by a liar. It turns out it happens a lot. Duped weaves the stories of people who have fallen for the lies of others with facts and statistics on liars, lies, and lying. The writing style is excellent and really draws you in, somehow making the facts and figures just as fascinating as the narratives. I highly recommend this book, particularly if you have ever known a narcissist.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 14
Pages Read in 2020: 3821
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Filed under Memoir, Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

Kit: Read All About It! by Valerie Tripp

Kit is the American Girl doll from 1934. In Kit: Read All About It!, her first book, she has to deal with her father’s job loss, her home becoming a boardinghouse, and that her friend’s family doesn’t seem to be affected by the Great Depression. It’s great historical fiction for middle grade age kids. The end gives some extra factual information about the Depression and how life was in the early 1930s. I recommend this book for kids who like history.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 13
Pages Read in 2020: 3570
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Filed under Children, Historical Fiction

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Aven was born without arms and so she refers to herself as a cactus. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus finds her at the beginning of high school where absolutely nothing seems to be going her way, some things her fault, some things not. She has to learn to trust herself and others and what family really means. For about the first half to two-thirds of the book I just couldn’t bring myself to care about Aven or any of the other characters. I found most of them insufferable. They were mostly just stereotypes. Aven was especially annoying and it’s never a good thing to be really annoyed by the narrator. The last few chapters were a lot better. Still a lot of stereotypes and caricatures, but better. Overall this was just a meh book. I’d only bother to read it if you loved the first book (which I did not read).

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 12
Pages Read in 2020: 3449
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review