Mini Reviews Part 2 – August 2021

I have finally gotten caught up now with this post! Phew! The month went by in what felt like a blink and I hate feeling so behind.

Thanks to the authors and publishers for any free copies in exchange for my honest reviews

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT – Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Released August 17th, 2021 – Thanks to Del Rey for the copy)

Book Description:

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

Velvet Was the Night is an edgy, simmering historical novel for lovers of smoky noirs and anti-heroes

Mini Review – 4/5 stars

Any fans of the noir, historical fiction, and mystery genres? Well, this genre mash-up will be the perfect addition to your TBR for the summer (well, technically fall now). What I have loved about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s books is that no two are alike. She dips into many different genres and seems to flow seamlessly from one into the next. VELVET WAS THE NIGHT is nothing like the two previous books of hers I have read – there are no horror elements like in MEXICAN GOTHIC and the only real similarities with UNTAMED SHORE is the time period it is set in. However, we still get the same atmospheric and immersive writing as we did in those books. The characters are well-developed, complex, and flawed. The story feels like a slow burn but at the same time it moves at a quick pace. I can’t wait to read more from this author because you always get something new and refreshing.

IN MY DREAMS I HOLD A KNIFE – Ashley Winstead (Released August 3rd, 2021 – Thanks to Sourcebooks for the copy)

Book Description:

Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Mini Review – 5/5 stars

I’ve really been enjoying the dark academia subgenre of suspense and thrillers lately. IN MY DREAMS I HOLD A KNIFE is engaging, thrilling, and will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. We get dual timelines, multiple POVs, secrets, lies – all the things you could want in a thriller. This is more of a character driven novel but that doesn’t mean the pacing is slow, in fact, I flew through it. I was impressed with the intricacies of the plot and how Winstead wove this story together. This will not be my last book by this author, I can say that with certainty!

MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW – Stephen Graham Jones (Released August 31st, 2021 – Thanks to Saga Press for the copy)

Book Description:

In her quickly gentrifying rural lake town Jade sees recent events only her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films could have prepared her for

Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges… a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.

Mini Review – 4.5/5 stars

Last year I had read THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t entirely work for me. I know that’s definitely more of a “its not you, it’s me” as a reader because I have seen such high praises from reviewers. I had heard similar things about MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW and I knew I had to give this author another shot. Let me tell you, I’m so happy I did and so mad at myself for waiting a month to read this! This truly is a love letter to the fans of the slasher movie genre. So many little nods that readers will appreciate and this really did play out in my head like a slasher film (especially that opening chapter – you just want to yell at them to stop making the decisions they were). A good thing to note, this is definitely heavy on the gore in some parts. So if you aren’t particularly fond of that, then proceed with caution. The more gruesome and gory the better, if you ask me! The only reason I took off a little bit on the rating was because a couple spots I felt a lull but you get towards the ending and it really ramps up again. Overall, highly recommend to horror fans!

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