Eight Perfect Murders

Eight Perfect Murders

Peter Swanson

4 / 5


IMG_4805 4
Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

If you are a murder mystery fan I encourage you to run out and get a copy of this book, now! This was my first time reading Mr. Swanson and he knew exactly what it took to make me a fan: write a story all about books. 

Malcolm Kershaw is the owner of Old Devils bookshop, he spends most of his time alone, reading mysteries since his wife died. He is shocked when an FBI agent comes asking questions of him regarding a blog post he made years ago. 

On the blog, Mal listed eight of the most unsolvable murders from literature titled 𝐄𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐌𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬. The FBI has a serial killer on the loose, and the crimes seem to be imitating the murders on Mal’s list. The agent is asking a lot of questions, but Mal only shares certain details, especially those of his past. He knows these books well and how they end. 

This was a tense and sharp mystery. I have not read any of the eight books discussed (on Mal’s list), but I want to now. Because they combed through the stories for clues, it was like reading mini-summaries of these murder mysteries. I loved all the book talk, and the scouring through the pages. There is one clue at the beginning of the book, that gave it all away for me. Was that intentional? I’m not sure, but how Mr. Swanson utilized these eight literary murders to write his own mystery is crafty indeed.

Do you have a favorite classic mystery? 🕵🏻‍♀️


The Ten Thousand Doors of January

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Alix E. Harrow

4 / 5 🌟

A gorgeous floral cover, talk of other worlds, secret doors and a strange book; how could I not love this book? That’s what I’ve been contemplating the last few days. 

This book was so different, especially for a YA read. Honestly, for about the first 100 or so pages, if you asked me what the story was about I’m not sure I could have explained it to you. I was smitten with Harrow’s lyrical writing and intrigued by where she was taking young January Scaller, so I stuck with it.

It’s the early 1900s and January is a young girl who is the ward of Mr. Locke, a wealthy collector of all things exotic and rare. January is a lover of books and all things written, but Mr. Locke calls her an “in-between sort of thing.” She doesn’t remember her mother and her father works for Mr. Locke as an agent, traveling the world collecting rare artifacts.

January stumbles across a strange book. And while January has always had a vivid imagination, this book speaks of doors that open to other worlds. As she reads further, she realizes this story is part of her own. January begins her quest for the truth but soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous chase through doors to other worlds.

This story has so many wonderful elements: love stories, books, other worlds, great characters, a secret society, and evil villains. I think what left me wanting was the “whys” of it all. Maybe this is why I don’t gravitate towards the fantasy genre often; I tend to want explanations. 

When I first closed the book, I was still unsure about how I felt. Now I see that this book has such unique qualities, and I love the poetic-like phrasing that is used at times. Most importantly, January loved her dog, and that always wins with me.

Photo by Subakka.bookstuff



Twenty-one Truths About Love

Twenty-one Truths About Love

By Matthew Dicks

3.5 / 5 ⭐

Photo taken with Focos
Photo by Subakk.bookstuff

This book caught my attention when I discovered it was written entirely in the form of lists. At first I thought – so how does that make a story? I just didn’t see how a book full of lists would allow for an engaging and fulfilling read. But when I entered into Daniel Mayrock’s world and his compulsion for making lists about anything and everything, I was pleasantly surprised.

Through lists such as:

  • Shopping List
  • Texts from Jill
  • 5 Problems with lying
  • Facts about marriage
  • Proof I’m stupid
  • Ways to keep Jill from getting pregnant
  • Reasons I opened a bookstore
  • 15 Truths about Peter
  • Dinner with Mom

I learned all about Dan, his marriage and all his insecurities.

Dan is a teacher but quits the security of his job to open a bookstore called A New Chapter. Things aren’t going so well for Dan. Now he stresses over finances, and he still competes with Jill’s first husband, Peter, who is dead. Jill wants to get pregnant, but Dan is worried. See, his dad wasn’t around for him so what kind of father will he be? And he hasn’t told Jill about their financial woes. 

Even though Dan is insecure and doesn’t always make the best decisions, he will do just about anything for the family he loves. But first he must make a list of pros and cons.

Honestly, this isn’t the type of format I would choose to read, but it did work. Some of his lists were just silly, like “places I urinated today,” but others truly made me LOL. As the story unfolded, I was utterly amazed at how invested I was. I needed to know how this turned out. Would Jill and the baby be okay? Is Dan going to pull off his crazy idea to bring in some money?

And for me the best part was the lists of books. Dan owns a bookstore and he loves books. Therefore, he makes lists about books to read, what not to read, and things said by bookish people. One of my favorite comments was: “It’s hard to hate a person with a book in their hand.”

Thank you to @netgalley and @stmartinspress for this ARC for review.

Publish Date: 11/19/19

The Library of Lost Things



The Library of Lost Things

By Laura Taylor Namey

4 / 5 ⭐

Photo taken with Focos
Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

I adored this story. For those of us who “get lost in books and stories,” Darcy Wells is a very relatable character. The voice of Darcy rings true to that of a lifelong bookworm, but also one of a girl with big secrets. So where does she find her solace and refuge? Books.

Darcy loves books, she brilliantly devours the words, and she even works at a bookstore. Books are where she can run through the story freely, no pretenses, no lies. In the real world, Darcy has to hide, pretend, and lie. For years she has been hiding what is right behind her front door. Darcy’s mother is a hoarder. There are only goat tunnels from one room to another through stacks, piles, and tubs of stuff. Very few people are aware of “The Hoard” except Darcy’s grandma and Darcy’s best friend Marisol.

But the status quo is about to be shaken. There is a new building manager and the lease is coming due. Darcy is turning eighteen soon and her wealthy grandma, who has been supporting her, is threatening to cut off her allowance. Then a copy of Peter Pan with notes and poems scribbled in it mysteriously finds its way into Darcy’s hands. The notes seem to become a guiding force in Darcy’s life. Best of all, into her life walks Asher, a boy who just may be her Prince Charming.

Ultimately, this is a love story. Not just young love, but also Darcy’s struggle of dealing with her mom’s mental health issue, “The Hoard”, and loving her mom through it. Darcy has to come to a self-realization that she too has been hiding behind things, as well as, building her own walls. With the help of her wonderful friend (everyone should have a Marisol) and Asher, Darcy discovers that she needs to write her own story.


Thank you to @Netgalley and @Inkyardpress for this ARC for review.

Publish Date: 10/8/19


The Last Book Party

The Last Book Party

By Karen Dukess

4 / 5 ✰

Photo taken with Focos
Photo by Subakka.bookstuff

As a voracious reader, I have to admit the title of this book grabbed my attention. From chapter one, though, I was delighted to find it was about so much more than just books. It tells a story of a struggling writer trying to find her voice while watching more experienced writers struggle not to lose theirs.


Eve Rosen is the editorial secretary for Malcolm Wing at Hodder, Strike. What she really longs to do is write, and become an author herself. Eve’s confidence in her writing is rock-bottom. Having not led a charmed life, nor a tortured enough life, she feels her ordinary life could not possibly afford her a story worth telling. 


Yet, being a secretary to Malcolm does allow Eve the opportunity to attend many parties in the book world. At one such party, Eve meets the Greys and many of their friends. Henry, Tillie and their adult son Franny, are eccentric and seem to live by a different set of rules. Eve becomes entangled with these creative people and the crowd they run with. Some will encourage and support her as a writer, others will challenge her with truth and boldness. But her personal decisions may give her the best stories of all.


As a reader and a writer, I truly appreciated this book. First off, Karen Dukess has an easiness to her writing, where I could personally relate to Eve. And, being set mainly on the shores of Cape Cod, her descriptions were vivid, but not overdone. Second, since it is a book about books, my TBR list grew with the many book references. And I would love to attend a book party such as the last book party that Henry and Tillie threw. But here’s what I really appreciated, Dukess did a nice job of adding the human factor. She reminded me that behind the books are people with families, with heartaches, with insecurities, with dreams. That gives me hope.

Thank you @Netgalley and @Henryholtbooks for this opportunity to review this ARC.