Mini Review Monday: 5/21

Welcome to another edition of Mini Review Monday! I’m really excited about today’s post, because these were all titles that I felt positive about and enjoyed. I’ve been trying really hard to get through some of my backlog of NetGalley titles and feel this is the perfect way to do so. Two of these are sequels in a series, which I felt would be a flawless fit for mini reviews, as they tend to be the type of books you can’t say much about but still want to recommend with gusto. Let’s browse below what I’ve been reading and see if any of these three novels are on your TBR for this summer! ❤



Book Title: Dying Truth
Author: Angela Marsons
Series: D.I. Kim Stone #8
Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller, Police Procedural, Mystery
Pub Date: 05/18/18

When teenager Sadie Winter jumps from the roof of her school, her death is ruled as suicide – a final devastating act from a troubled girl. But then the broken body of a young boy is discovered at the same school and it’s clear to Detective Kim Stone that these deaths are not tragic accidents.

As Kim and her team begin to unravel a dark web of secrets, one of the teachers could hold the key to the truth. Yet just as she is about to break her silence, she is found dead.

With more children’s lives at risk, Kim has to consider the unthinkable – whether a fellow pupil could be responsible for the murders. Investigating the psychology of children that kill brings the detective into contact with her former adversary, Dr Alex Thorne – the sociopath who has made it her life’s work to destroy Kim.

Desperate to catch the killer, Kim finds a link between the recent murders and an initiation prank that happened at the school decades earlier. But saving these innocent lives comes at a cost – and one of Kim’s own might pay the ultimate price. 

I say this with every book that she publishes, but I truly feel this is Angie’s best novel to date. Wow. Just wow. I feel at a loss for non-spoilery words, but in short, this is precisely what a crime fiction novel should read like. It’s no easy feat to keep a series running so long that you are publishing your 8th installment to greedy readers (because honestly, we can’t get enough), but I can’t think of a single thing I would change in the writing or narrative. In short-this novel was perfection. We are given a breathtaking plot that was mysterious and sinister, one that kept me guessing until the very end, and a gut wrenching twist that brought me to tears. The entire series is a must read, and one you’ll rush through quickly if you’re new to Kim Stone, but suffice it to say it’s worth reading the first 7 books solely to experience this one. Thank you for breaking my heart in such a beautiful way Angie. ❤


Book Title: City Of Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Series: Royal Bastards #2
Genres: YA, Fantasy Fiction
Pub Date: 06/05/18

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.

You know what I love most about this series? It makes me feel like a kid again. I don’t mean it in the sense that this is cheap YA fiction that only caters to the younger crowd, but that I feel like I can let loose and bring myself back to the mindset of being a teenager while I’m in Shvarts’s stories. Tilla and her gang have been forced to work through some pretty tough thematic elements in both novels to date, and I think the author does a beautiful job of balancing the loss of innocence and naivety without making the story overtly graphic and taking away it’s age appropriate nature. These romps with the bastard children are simply a pleasure to journey alongside, and I highly recommend you pick up the first novel and jump into this series; it hasn’t received enough recognition and praise IMO. I’m pleased to know we get at least one more adventure with these kids and can’t wait to see where the author takes us!


Book Title: How It Happened
Author: Michael Koryta
Series: None
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 05/15/18

Kimberly Crepeaux is no good, a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to the rural Maine community where she lives. So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story.

Not Rob Barrett, the FBI investigator and interrogator specializing in telling a true confession from a falsehood. He’s been circling Kimberly and her conspirators for months, waiting for the right avenue to the truth, and has finally found it. He knows, as strongly as he’s known anything, that Kimberly’s story — a grisly, harrowing story of a hit and run fueled by dope and cheap beer that becomes a brutal stabbing in cold blood — is how it happened. But one thing remains elusive: where are Jackie and Ian’s bodies?

After Barrett stakes his name and reputation on the truth of Kimberly’s confession, only to have the bodies turn up 200 miles from where she said they’d be, shot in the back and covered in a different suspect’s DNA, the case is quickly closed and Barrett forcibly reassigned. But for Howard Pelletier, the tragedy of his daughter’s murder cannot be so tidily swept away. And for Barrett, whose career may already be over, the chance to help a grieving father may be the only one he has left.

It seems that I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as my fellow Goodreaders, but that doesn’t mean that I disliked it. This was overall an entertaining read, and while I had to suspend some belief in the plot’s plausibility, it kept me reading and wanting to know “how it happened”. The story did drag a bit in a few spots, and it didn’t seem to hold that creepy factor that so many of his other books have, so maybe I’m just more drawn to his books with a borderline (or full on) supernatural thread to them. I would definitely recommend this to readers who are more looking for a police procedural rather than a psychological thriller. Well written, claustrophobic, and tense, I think a majority of readers will take to Koryta’s latest novel.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing all of the above review copies via NetGalley. 

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