The Push by Ashley Audrain (2021) Review

Nature x Nurture

Why I picked up the book:

Blythe Connor’s biggest fear is that history will repeat itself, and she won’t be the warm, kind, loving mother she wants to be. When Blythe gives birth to her daughter, Violet, her worst fears come to life when she starts thinking that there is something wrong with her.

To Blythe’s despair, her husband is both protective of Violet and dismissive of her feelings. When Blythe has a second child, she feels that instant bond she has always yearned for. Even Violet comes around, and Blythe begins to think that things will be alright. That is until an unfathomable tragedy happens, and the Connor’s lives change forever.

The book through my criteria lens:

 The book is mainly told from Blythe’s perspective through a long letter she has written to Fox, explaining her side of their tragic story. Blythe’s mother and grandmother were not the maternal kinds, and Blythe has always worried that this would be her fate. To explain this trauma, we get glimpses into the different mother-daughter relationships throughout the book for context. 

I feel the flashbacks were very helpful and enhanced the story, but The Push would have been as impactful with just Blythe’s letter. Her voice is one of the most powerful voices I have read in a long time. This book is a slow burner, psychological thriller, and it reads almost as a literary novel. So I think that going in with the right expectation will allow the reader to appreciate the beauty of this book.  

The women in The Push are superb. Maybe because they were all so strong, I felt that the male characters weren’t as good. I wish I had seen a few chapters from Fox’s perspective, but I understand that is me nitpicking. The Push is a fantastic novel, just the way it is.

My personal feelings:

This book has a few content warnings, so I suggest looking them up with the understanding that you might have some of the book’s intensity spoiled.

As a daughter and a mother, I could empathize with Blythe. The Push makes you think about motherhood and how traumas can be passed down through generations until someone breaks the cycle. It also invites the reader to think about the possible damage societal pressures can do to mothers.

The Push is not a light read; at least it wasn’t for me. It made me question my idea of motherhood, childhood and some of the places Audrain took me were raw, painful, and hopeless. I started crying around chapter 80 and didn’t stop until well after finishing the book—what a powerful, compelling, intense, emotional book. Don’t think that this is a book about motherhood; it is also very much a mystery, superbly written and plotted. I was on the end of my seat until the last page, hoping to get an answer.

Blythe is a woman let down by life, unsupported by those who should love her. Above all, she is a mother who gave everything she had, tried her best, and sacrificed her happiness trying to break a cycle of traumatic relationships. I would be proud to have her as a friend.

Enjoyability     10

Characters       9

Ambience       

Fairness          10

Plot                 

Execution       

My total rating: 4.92

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/bS5SMq4FegE

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Omen by David Seltzer (2021) Snapshot

Careful what you wish for

When the United States Ambassador and his wife finally get the child they had wanted for so long; they had no idea they were about to play critical roles in the most terrifying prophecy ever made.

It seems like Seltzer wrote both the book and screenplay at the same time. Although I enjoyed the movie more than the book, the book has some things to offer that the film couldn’t. Mainly characters motivations and inner thoughts. Some supporting characters had bigger roles in the book, which added to my overall enjoyment of The Omen.

In my opinion, the novelization cost the atmosphere and pacing, though. The movie is one of my favourite horrors of all time. Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, and Harvey Stephens brought such personalities and lives to the characters; I kept thinking of them when reading the book. The story, however, is very visual. The tension is on the expressions, silence, paranoia, sense of foreboding, and lack of evidence. After reading the book, I also realized how much of the tension also came from the soundtrack and effects. I wonder if I feel this way because I watched the movie first, and Donner’s direction was superb!

These are minor things, and I still recommend the book!

Enjoyability     10

Characters       8

Ambience        7

Fairness        10 

Plot                  10

Execution        8

My total rating: 4.41

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Website: Unknown

Twitter: Unknown

Instagram: Unknown

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz (2018) Snapshot

When alcohol goes straight to his head

Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #2

 Richard Pryce is a famous celebrity divorce lawyer with a respectful winning record who happens to be a teetotaler. When he is found murdered in his home, nothing makes sense: The last person to talk to them heard him say, “You shouldn’t be here. It’s too late…” to what might have been his killer; He was bludgeoned to death by a very expensive bottle of wine and painted on the wall is a very enigmatic message. 

 I think it’s a disservice to Horowitz to deny his talent. And also a lie. This man can do anything – and well! He is a screenwriter, writes many different genres, and is a journalist. Not only that, but he has been commissioned by the Doyle’s and the Fleming’s state to write Holmes and Bond novels. He can do anything, and his technical writing is flawless (in my opinion). He has a sense of timing, pace, tension, and dialogue that is just superb. Reading his novels is like playing a movie in your head, and I just love this about his prose!

The Hawthorne and Horowitz series is also filled with wit, sense of humour, meta quality, and a quintessentially British cheekiness. No wonder I fell in love with this series from the first word. Hawthorne reminds me of Holmes because he is extremely smart and observant, quite moody and reserved, and arrogant – but unlike Holmes, I find him highly likable. Horowitz is the perfect ying to his Yang – He brings so much personality to the story; I am just in awe. 

In The Sentence is Death, we find them getting to know each other more and starting to build a stronger partnership. Horowitz is coming into his own, and you can see his confidence and a sense of purpose increase from the previous novel. I enjoyed the debates on a writer’s merits and the comedy of errors surrounding the victim’s life.  

I wish more people talked about this series. I feel it deserves more hype than it gets.

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        10

My total rating: 5

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/bS5SMq4FegE

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (2017) Review

Would you drop everything if a friends asked for help?

Why I picked up the book:

Kate, Thea, Fatima, and Isabel met on the train ride, taking them to their final year in Salten. Despite their different personalities, they became fast best friends. They indeed made life interesting by playing The Lying Game, a game complete with rules, where they awarded each other points based on how good of a lie they told others for fun. As close as they were to each other, they were alienated from others. Halfway through their school year, following the death of a professor who also happened to be Kate’s father, all four girls are expelled from school.

Twenty years later, Kate’s dog finds something during their walk that makes her panic and sends a message to the three friends she hadn’t seen in almost as long: I need you. It’s all it says. Fatima, Isabel, and Thea drop everything and go to Salten to help their friend.

The book through my criteria lens:

I adore all of Ruth Ware’s books. Her prose is the perfect mash for my reading preferences. I love how all of her books are different. A few things you can count on in any Ware book you read are her signature fair and tight plotting, engaging prose that makes it impossible for you to put the book down, and relatable, well-drawn, multidimensional characters. The Lying Game is no exception. All her characters in the book had their own unique and strong voice, especially the four main characters. Not only did I feel like I was part of their group and knew them, their relationship felt like a character in itself. If I am a bit picky, I wish I had seen more of the academic setting and the game at play.

My personal feelings:

This book was fascinating to me, and I feel selfish for wishing for more scenes in the school because that wouldn’t have added to the story as The Lying Game is, ultimately, a book about four friends, their bond, and the way they interact with the world as individuals, but also as an entity.

I felt that Ware represented how secrets have a ripple effect in your life that goes so much farther than its starting point in a powerfully subtle way. The secret the friends shared had very impactful consequences in the life of each of them, and even so, they remained loyal.

How Thea, Isabel, Fatima, and Isabel’s bond remained strong despite their distance is something that I could one hundred percent relate to. I moved away many years ago, and even when I don’t talk to my best friends for ages, we pick up from where we left. Our friendship never wavered. If any of them sent a message saying they needed me, I would also drop everything and go – no questions asked. I bet my life they would do the same. The relationship between the four women was my favourite thing in the book and portraited accurately.

Enjoyability     9

Characters      10

Ambience        9

Fairness          10

Plot           10       

Execution    10

My total rating: 4.83

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Music of Murder & Other Crimes of a Strange and Bloody Nature by Kurt Newton (2021) Snapshot

Delicious bites of horror

 The music of murder is a compilation of short stories written by a brilliantly twisted mind.

The longer stories are The Music of Murder – the story of a serial killer determined to use his victim’s pain to create the perfect symphony. And The Bleeding of Mary Cross – the horrifying story of the golden girl turned murdered.

Shorter stories include:

  • The Freak Hunter’s Casebook – is the disturbing story of a private detective looking for a missing girl
  • The Wedge, Anatomy of a Betrayal, and The Mole Trap are love triangles gone wrong
  • Visits with Mother and The Red Leaf – are stories you’d better go in blind.

I enjoyed the way Newton writes, and his narrative shines in short stories. I preferred the shorter stories to the novellas, but they were all creepy, atmospheric, and unsettling. 

The order chosen for the stories made me feel like I was reading amazing episodes from The Twilight Zone sandwiched between the most gruesome of Criminal Minds’. My favourite stories were Anatomy of a Betrayal and The Music of Murder. Even though I wish the latter’s ending had been more open. 

I’ll be checking out other stories by Kurt Newton and recommend this book to any horror fans looking for a quick read!

Enjoyability     10

Characters       9

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.83

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Website: http://kurtnewton.weebly.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kurtdnewton

Instagram: Unknown

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to NetGalley, Kurt Newton, and Unnverving for providing me with a copy of The Music of Murder & Other Crimes of a Strange and Bloody Nature.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead (2021) Review

Amici mendacium, et homicidium

Why I picked up the book:

Jessica, Jack, Heather, Caro, Mint, and Frankie were as close as possible during their four years at university. That bond was fractured when Heather was brutally murdered during their senior year, and her boyfriend, Jack, though never convicted, was the police’s main suspect. 

Ten years later, with the murder still unsolved, the rest of the group reunites at the place where it all happened. Jessica is counting the days to be the center of attention at the 10-year reunion of Duquette University’s class of 2009. Jessica’s carefully planned appearance might be put in the backburner when it becomes evident that someone else has plans of their own – to reveal everyone’s dark secrets all and finally solve Heather’s murder.

The book through my criteria lens:

Holy ambiance! I loved how the tension crept up on you and then never left; every time a chapter ended, I just needed to keep going! Even though we have one main narrator, Jessica, Winstead used different POVs organically to better the plot. Her character work is what excited me the most, I must say. We have eight main characters, and each of them had their unique voice, distinguishable personalities, a great arc, not to mention clear motivation and consistent actions. Very early in the book, I felt like I knew them and could feel what it would be like to hang out with them. 

I thought the plot was tight, well-paced, delivered to near perfection! If anything, I wish that one particular relationship had never happened because I desperately wanted one of those character’s arcs to end differently, but that is just me being invested in them. I do feel that they deserved more, though. Had that person been given a better arc, this would have been a 5 star read for me.

My personal feelings:

I don’t know if it was me or intentional, but I noticed quite a feel knife, puncture, and stab-related expressions and words in the early chapters, but somehow they fizzled out. I was enjoying them so much! I was playing a game with myself trying to spot them. But oh, well. This is neither here nor there…

Another random thing that contributed to my enjoyment of the book was that there was a content warning for physical and sexual violence! I appreciate seeing this, these are significant triggers for many people, and it allows them to make an informed decision going into the book or prepare themselves for it! I know it can be considered a spoiler most times, but the care for the readers’ wellbeing was deeply appreciated by yours truly.

Ashley Winstead managed to deliver what I love the most about two of my favourite authors. She wrote horrible people perfectly, like Lucy Foley, and evoked the most deliciously dark side of academia like Donna Tartt!

I feel that a lot of the book was true to real life, though my group of friends was way more likable than this one; I could relate to that experience of finding friends in an academic setting and walking around like the world belongs to you, because at that age you believe it does! The difference is that we were nice to other people. But being this close to others so different from you is an actual rite of passage into adulthood. 

As a non-American, I also appreciated learning about a different college experience, though I was confused at parts. Still, Winstead did an excellent job of situating the reader into specific traditions without overexplaining. I do wish I had understood better the difference between a sorority/frat house and student residency, though. I thought once you’re in a sorority, that is where you sleep!

Even though half her characters were nauseatingly unlikeable, including her main character, and the other half had evident character flaws, Winstead made me care for each of them (except for Courtney, that is)! I spent the whole book either hoping someone was the killer or wishing they weren’t! I was deeply invested in Jessica’s wellbeing, and that says a lot because she had some pretty mean and nasty moments! I can’t even explain why. I think it’s because Winstead didn’t try to hide her flaws or make apologies for them, but at the same time providing us with context. Jessica’s anger, obsession and blind, albeit occasional, cruelty clearly comes from a place of hurt and sadness.

Winstead’s prose is wonderful. I cannot believe this was her first novel, the care with which she treated each character’s arc, the way she nailed both the dark side of academia but also that wonderful feeling of knowing these are some of the best years of the rest of your life, the way she ended each chapter with a hook that made it impossible for you to put the book down and the tightness of the plot are superb. 

I cannot wait for her next novel!

Enjoyability     9

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.83

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/3Q2kNdkr-hQ

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/aCVzsNukUXM

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to HarperCollins Canada, Ashley Winstead, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Therapist by B.A. Paris (2021) Review

Every house has a history. This house has a mystery.

Why I picked up the book:

Alice and Leo move in together and into a house in an exclusive gated community, The Circle. Things are moving well – before long, they make friends with their neighbours, and Alice feels like she is living the life she has always dreamed of. Until she finds out the unsavoury reason the previous owner, Nina, doesn’t live there anymore. 

Alice is determined to figure out what happened to the therapist, Nina, two years prior for her peace of mind. But no one seems to want to talk about it. Are her neighbours keeping secrets? Can she trust anyone? Alice starts to doubt everything, including how perfect her life seems.

The book through my criteria lens:

Paris is a master of creating unreliable narrators (and characters); I spent the whole book suspecting EVERYONE, including Alice. 

The plot is TIIIIGHT! In my opinion, all the clues are there, but Paris hid some of them well. I cannot fault the narrative. I am used to a faster-paced book from her, but her choice to make this a slower burning book was the right one; I think it is what the plot needed. It allowed me to live in Alice’s head, which enhanced my reading experience!

I read The Therapist as an audiobook produced by Macmillan Audio and narrated by Olivia Dowd and Thomas Judd; their narration was unbelievable. They made it easy for me to immerse myself in the story and feel the rollercoaster of emotions. Their pace was impeccable, and they brought different characters and situations to life in a way that felt natural! I was impressed with this production. 

My personal feelings:

If I say so myself, I am pretty good at guessing twists. The only thing I like more than being right is having that thrilling feeling of being “got.” Well, I got got! There is one twist in The Therapist that hoodwinked me, and it was amazing! B.A. Paris IS one of my fave authors, and I am upset that I am almost caught up with all her books and will then join the waiting club!

I enjoyed The Therapist. It is twisty and turny and real. I love how the characters made choices that made sense. I always appreciate when characters don’t flip flop and remain consistent throughout. I won’t spoil the book, but my favourite time was how real Alice and Leo’s relationship was. B. A. Paris excels at drawing true to life characters that react to extraordinary circumstances in a very authentic way. 

The one thing I love the most about Paris’s books is the pure escapism it offers me. I feel very lucky that I don’t know bat sh#t crazy people like her characters, but oh boy, do I love them!! In The Therapist, I have to confess that they felt less crazy, more “normal” and I think it impacted the narrative. Of her books that I have read so far, this is the slowest paced one, but I enjoyed it just the same.

Enjoyability     9

Characters       9

Ambience        9

Fairness          10

Plot                  8

Execution        10

My total rating: 4.58

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: TBD

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Macmillan Audio, NetGalley, and B. A. Paris for providing me with a copy of The Therapist.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

Survive the Night by Riley Sager (2021) Review

Survive the Night is all that and a bag of chips!

Why I picked up the book:

After losing her best friend to a brutal murder, Charlie decides to leave her college life behind and go home to heal. She feels like she can’t wait and arranges a ride with a stranger she met on the post board. This is the 90’s way before rideshare and cell phones; keep that in mind.

As the drive goes on and they exchange stories, Charlie starts to notice there is more to Josh than meets the eye and panics as she suspects she might be riding with the Campus Killer. Will she survive the night?

The book through my criteria lens:

Where to start? In my opinion, the narrative was flawless; every time it felt like the book would come to a standstill, Sager throws a curveball. Despite all the twists and turns, he managed to play fair to the end!

The character work was also outstanding; I felt that I got to know these people and like them. There isn’t a single person whose motivations I didn’t understand or thought acted out of character.

I ADORE the ’90s, so every time I hear a book is set in the last great decade, I will check it out. This book takes place basically over one night, on a road trip, but Sager NAILED the ’90s atmosphere and vibes! I don’t know how he did it, but I was so thrilled! It was in the way characters talked, acted, thought, referenced… Booyah!

Maybe I am fangirling, but Survive the Night checked all my boxes, and if you don’t like it, you can talk to the hand! (Just kidding, I love different opinions, I just wanted to use that slang).

My personal feelings:

Nothing I can say about Survive the Night will do it justice. It feels that with every Sager I read, I think that’s his best yet, but seriously THIS is Sager’s best novel so far. I kind of feel bad for him. It must have been so painful to wait so long to share this book with the world. Hopefully, his torture has an end date – June 29th.

The opening chapter is one of the strongest I have read in a long while, definitely in my top 10 of all times. I was hooked from the first word. Sager set the pace, and it never slowed down. The quote from All About Eve was eerily accurate, and I am glad I listened and fastened my seatbelt!

Survive the Night is a book that doesn’t take itself seriously on the surface: It’s a bit cheeky, and it pays homage to some of the best movies of all time. This book is heaven on earth to any movie buff! As an homage, it is a quilt of the most beloved tropes. In the hands of any other author, this would be a disaster. But what Sager achieve was a novel that, at its core, is tightly plotted, intentional, fast-paced, witty, intense, scary, vertigo-inducing (see what I did there?), and very interactive. I was literally talking to (okay, yelling at) Charlie through the whole book. I believed her, I doubted her, I was mad at her, I worried for her. When I finished reading the last word, I dropped the book started clapping as I thanked Sager out loud for such a fantastic experience. 

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        10

My total rating: 5

This book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/bS5SMq4FegE

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Hodder & Stoughton, Riley Sager, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Survive the Night.

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (2021) Review

Haunting

Book and audio release in North America: September 28, 2021. Including the Macmillan Audio production, which is the one I am reviewing. Release by different publishers in other countries was March 18, 2021.

Why I picked up the book:

I won’t lie. What drew me to the book the most was the buzz and the fact that people who have read it don’t say much about it but give it high ratings. I wanted to be one of those people who are in on the secret and helps keep it!

In my humble opinion, it’s best to go into The Last House on Needless Street blind. But if my word is not enough, and you need a bit convincing, we meet Ted, his cat, and daughter, residents of the titular house next to the wild Washington woods.

They each seem to be more than meets the eye and are bound by a dark secret. They try to keep to themselves, but their symbiotic stasis seems to be at risk when a new neighbour moves in.

The book through my criteria lens:

I read this as an audiobook produced by Macmillan Audio and narrated by Christopher Ragland. The audiobook was excellent. Even though it is a single narrator book, Ragland was so good at giving each character their own voice and personality, I didn’t miss the full cast. His pace was impeccable, and his rendition of Olivia was beautiful, respectful, and quite honestly everything! I felt her, and I think that I wouldn’t have done as good a job with my “head voice” (what I call when I read it). For this character alone, I highly recommend the audiobook.

Catriona Ward really ticked all of my boxes with this book; her narrative delivers a punch you don’t regret getting, and it results in the kind of pain you’re thankful for. The atmosphere was so well crafted; it was dark and gloomy and scary and heavy. I do suggest having a light read lined up for after The Last House on Needless Street (unless you can handle carrying people’s despair and angst, as an empath, I can’t). We follow a few different character’s POVs, and they each bring their own emotional baggage. That being said, I loved how each character was so unique and so well developed; you get to know each of them well while not knowing who you can trust.

My favourite character was Olivia, the cat. You heard me right – a cat who loves the bible. Experiencing the world through her eyes was such a unique experience I am sure I’ll carry it with me for a long time. Ward was supernaturally inspired while writing Olivia; every single sentence made sense. Olivia’s experiences made sense; her thoughts were actually believable. Can I explain it? No, but trust me, you get her!

Even though the clues were more psychological, Ward played fair with her solution and delivered it terrifically. It was so layered that I suspect people won’t guess it all, but once you know, it makes sense and begs for a reread!

This book is unique and fresh – it’s the kind of book you didn’t even know you needed to read because your mind never went there – thankfully, Catriona’s did! It is, however, a slow burner, and as part of its originality, we have the introduction of new words to describe concepts we know (such as Ted for human, through Olivia’s POV). Even though once you get used to it, it becomes part of why the book is so brilliant until you do, it requires a bit of concentration, and for that reason, I didn’t enjoy it as much in the beginning.

The Last House on Needless Street is like general anesthesia – until you’re under, you fear the unknown and hope for the best. While you’re under it, completely immersed in the experience, everything is perfect and feels right. In the end, when you wake up, it feels like you have just been punched, and it takes a while for you to get your bearings but in the best possible way.

My personal feelings:

This is one of those books that is hard to review because the author has crafted a masterful immersive experience. To say anything about this book is to risk spoiling the reading experience to future readers. I know I would have been upset if I hadn’t gone along the journey with no expectations.

Ward is a master. In the Last House on Needless Street, she took some of the scariest horror tropes and spun them on their heads, making them even more frightening yet heartbreaking, poetic, and uncomfortable.
This book is so multidimensional and organic, you catch yourself turning off your brains and just giving in to your emotions – not all of them positive, but each of them intense and visceral.

To me, this book was scary. But I have a hard time putting the kind of fear it evoked in a category. Sorry to be vague, but for your sake, I have to leave it at that.

I will definitely be picking up this book in physical form (pre-order has been placed) as I want to reread it and annotate. This will make a great book club choice, as it begs to be discussed but not spoiled!

I hope this wasn’t too vague bit The Last House on Needless Street is a must-read book that you should go in prepared to face some uncomfortable feelings and to carry the thoughts the book provoked for a long time. To me, it was a similar experience as reading Shirley Jackson’s books. Amazingly sad and hauntingly beautiful.

Enjoyability     9

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot        10          

Execution     9  

My total rating: 4.83

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Disclaimer:  I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Macmillan Audio, NetGalley and Catriona Ward for providing me with a copy of The Last House on Needless Street.

Heart of a Runaway Girl by Trevor Wiltzen (2021) Review

book cover on the side

Mabel Davison #1

Why I picked up the book:

Why I picked up the book:

What you will find is a thrilling and exciting, action-packed mystery and an amazing, strong woman at the heart of it. Our protagonist is Mabel, a separated single mom of two boys and guardian of her Niece. She is the sassy and kind owner of a motel and diner in a little town in the middle of nowhere. 

Now the mystery – a girl is found dead and they arrest her boyfriend who happened to be black just because of the colour of his skin! The little town is a drug paradise, ran by skinheads who have the law in their pockets. Mabel is sure the boy is innocent and finds herself deeper and deeper into a search for truth she can not walk away from.

The book through my criteria lens:

Wiltzen is an author who can edit himself. How refreshing it was to read a book where every single word was relevant to the story. If you’re looking for fluff, you won’t find it here. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading Heart of a Runway Girl in one sitting. I loved the atmosphere Wiltzen created in his book; it was tense, thrilling, and felt like the town of Twin Peaks set in the ’80s.

All the characters were brilliant, and Wiltzen made a point to develop them all equally – they were as much part of the town and responsible for the atmosphere as the mystery. Solid debut novel executed superbly.

My personal feelings:

This book is set in the ’80s, but it also delivers social commentaries that are incredibly relevant today. Without overtly doing so, this book invites you to check your privilege and speak up for what you think is right, without dropping the entertainment ball for a second!

I freaking love Mabel! I need to meet her in person, and I NEED this to be a series – a book series AND a televised show! This book screams for an adaptation! As I read the book, I pictured Mabel as a younger Laura Dern when she was kind or Madchen Amick when she was kicking ass. And honestly, isn’t it time for an ’80’s mystery show revival?

I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the details in this book. I don’t want to spoil it, but the author addressed something that always bothered me in amateur sleuth’s origin stories, and I was here for that!

And how refreshing was it to read a book that didn’t rely on the use of technology! It helped add to the atmosphere and suspense, and Wiltzen was so careful about staying true to the ’80s. It shows he did his research!

I know I have been saying this a lot – but I happen only to pick up books I’m intrigued by – you have to read this! It is a new release and self-published, so we should support authors who are doing their best to entertain us during the pandemic!

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness       9  

Plot                  8

Execution        9

My total rating: 4.6

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: https://youtu.be/wh3hyQFJ5lE

BOOK SNAPSHOT:

Until next book, be the hummingbird!