The Blonde Bookworm

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager -- Review

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Title: Lock Every Door 
Author: Riley Sager 
Pages: 384
Publishing: July 2nd 2019 by Dutton 


No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid's disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building's hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.


I absolutely love everything Riley Sager touches. Seriously, both of his previous books were so entertaining and Lock Every Door is his best book yet! I loved it from the first page to the very last. The setting was eerie and captivating, and the characters had me drawn in instantly. I was really hoping Sager's novels would continue to get better and better... and so far he has not disappointed me. Lock Every Door is filled with suspense and intrigue from the first page to the very last sentence. I wanted to read it all in one sitting! 

I would highly recommend this read if you are a fan of suspense novels or if you've read either of Sager's previous novels. I don't give out five stars very frequently, but this novel definitely deserved it. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 5/5 

Recursion by Blake Crouch -- Review

Thursday, June 20, 2019


Title: Recursion 
Author: Blake Crouch 
Pages: 336
Publishing: June 11th 2019 by Crown Publishing Group


 Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them? 


What wild novel! I was so excited when I saw Crouch had a new novel coming out. I absolutely loved Dark Matter, so this was definitely at the top of my list this summer! As in Dark Matter, there is a time travel/memory component to Recursion and it is super twisty and mind bending. I had to re-read a couple of pages and go back to a chapter or two to make sure I was catching everything, but it was definitely worth it! I love the mind games that Crouch puts his readers through and it makes for an incredible reading experience. 

All in all, this was an amazing read and I would highly recommend it to readers of all genres. It had romance, history, drama, action, suspense, and science fiction. I could just go on forever, but I'll just let you pick it up and read for yourself! Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for sending this novel in exchange for and honest review. 

Rating 5/5

City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts -- Review

Title: City of Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Pages: 377
Publishing: June 5th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion


Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend Zell and best friend, Princess Lyriana.

So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city's prestigious University.

Then, Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate, a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she's suggesting is impossible... and treasonous.

But Tilla can't, won't, let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire Mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla’s presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.


I was a huge fan of the first novel in this series, so I was really looking forward to reading City of Bastards. All of my favorite characters were back, but this time we were transported to a new world in the City of Lightspire. I loved the world building in this novel and could picture the city perfectly. It was such a fun setting and it made me really wish I was in the world with the characters. I really enjoyed Tilla's character in this novel and her always spunky attitude was back, but it was a little dampened by trying to fit into a new city. That added an extra level to her character and I enjoyed the added complexity. 

This novel was a lot of fun, fast paced, and full of twists and turns. I would highly recommend reading this novel if you enjoyed the first in the series or if you enjoy YA Fantasy novels. I would definitely read the first novel prior to picking this one up because you may be a little lost if you don't read it first. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5

The Night Before by Wendy Walker -- Review

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Title: The Night Before 
Author: Wendy Walker 
Pages: 320
Publishing: May 14th 2019 by St. Martin's Press


First dates can be murder.

Riveting and compulsive, national bestselling author Wendy Walker’s The Night Before “takes you to deep, dark places few thrillers dare to go” as two sisters uncover long-buried secrets when an internet date spirals out of control. 

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…


This was definitely an interesting read and not exactly what I was expecting! The whole time I was really questioning Laura because she and Rosie had such different personalities and I found her to be a bit of an unreliable narrator. But that ending... I kind of saw it coming but then again... I don't know if I did. I was caught off guard for sure, but maybe not so surprised? Does that make sense? The story was interesting although I think it was a little basic and I don't know that it will be that memorable. 

The Night Before was an entertaining read that kept me hooked while reading, but I don't know if it one that I will continue to think about. I would recommend it as a fun and light suspense novel - perfect for a weekend summer read, but I don't think it is one that would be at the top of my must read list. It was definitely entertaining and fun though so check it out! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey -- Review

Friday, May 31, 2019


Title: Waiting for Tom Hanks
Author: Kerry Winfrey 
Pages: 320 
Publishing: June 11th 2019 by Berkley


Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.


A rom-com about a girl who is obsessed with rom-coms, is writing a rom-com, and meets a boy while working on the set of a rom-com... OH I AM SO IN! This novel was so cute and had so many great nods to old romantic comedy films and I loved every second of it. It definitely had its cheesy moments and classic romantic comedy cliches, but it was really enjoyable and fast paced. The characters were really cute and I was truly cheering for Annie by the end of the novel. 

All in all, it was a fun, fast paced, and entertaining read. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy rom-com novels! Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review! 

Rating 4/5 

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg -- Review

Monday, May 27, 2019

Title: The Kingdom
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Pages: 352
Publishing: May 28th 2019 by Henry Holt & Company


Welcome to the Kingdom... where 'Happily Ever After' isn't just a promise, but a rule. 

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species--formerly extinct--roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful "princesses" engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time... love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana's memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty--and what it truly means to be human.


Disney World meets WestWorld. That's all I could think in this novel. I absolutely loved the worldbuilding and I could picture every scene and every exhibit perfectly as if I was there in the room. The story was absolutely fascinating, fast paced and I loved that I didn't know what would happen next. The only negative thing I could find about this novel was that it was just a little too short and rushed. I wish there was a little more buildup. Other than that, it was an amazing read! 

I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy YA fantasy. It was a lot of fun and kept me on my toes from the very first page to the last. I loved the futuristic feel and it made me really think about what is morally right when it comes to artificial intelligence in the future. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Fierce Reads for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley -- Review

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Title: The Royal Secret
Author: Lucinda Riley
Pages: 528
Publishing: May 21st 2019 by Atria Books


In this suspenseful and heart-pounding novel from New York Times bestselling author Lucinda Riley, an ambitious young journalist unravels a dangerous mystery that threatens to devastate the British monarchy. 

Keeping secrets is a dangerous game.

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five, he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, it could rock the English establishment to its core.

Joanna Haslam, an up-and-coming reporter, is assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral, attended by glitzy celebrities of every background. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind—the contents of which many have been desperate to keep concealed for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that she’s close to uncovering something deadly serious—and the royal family may be implicated. Before long, someone is on her tracks, attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.

Full of salacious scandal, shocking twists, and captivating romance, and written in Lucinda Riley’s signature “vividly drawn and lushly atmospheric” (RT Book Reviews) prose, The Royal Secret is “a full-throttle escapist adventure” (Lancashire Evening Post).


This novel started out with a bang. I loved how there was a mixture of romance, mystery, and history. I really liked the first half of the book, but I had a little difficulty following the story as it went on. There were a lot of portions where the characters would imply certain things instead of saying them outright, and that became a little confusing as the book went on. I really enjoyed the novel, but it was a little hard to follow at times. 

The characters were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed getting to know each of their pasts and some of the secrets they held. This novel was entertaining and kept me on my toes, but it was a tiny bit too long and confusing at times. I would still highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy romantic suspense novels. Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5
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