ARC Review of Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Disclaimer: I received an eARC through the First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

Jules has not had an easy life. Her sister vanished about eight years ago. Then her mom began struggling with health problems at the same time her dad was laid off. Then both of her parents died.

Now, Jules finds herself suddenly laid off and recently split up from a boyfriend who was cheating on her. She’s having no luck finding a job, and she’s staying on the couch of a friend.

So when an ad comes up that an apartment sitter is needed, Jules jumps on the opportunity. When she arrives at the address, she discovers that it’s a storied place that was used in the setting of her favorite book. She feels that something is off when she’s offered $12,000 to stay in an apartment for three months, but the money is too good to pass up.

Within hours of moving in, Jules starts to get a weird vibe from the place, and despite warnings not to, she begins snooping about.

She learns about past disappearances in the building, and she begins to realize that something sinister is afoot.

I devoured Lock Every Door. Told in “then” and “now” segments, the “now” segments serve as short interstitial segments that serve to continue to move the story along and get the reader to wonder what has happened that led to this point.

I found this to be an incredibly fast-paced read as I genuinely accidentally read the whole thing in one night. While this is a thriller, it’s more of a slow-burn thriller in which there is first smoke seen, followed by small flames before the whole thing is engulfed. Along the way, there’s always that spark of intrigue, really helped by those interstitial segments, to engage the reader the whole way through.

Lock Every Door comes out on July 2. For fans of thrillers, this is not to be missed.

Purchase Links

IndieBound

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

ARC Review of Honeybees and Frenemies by Kristi Wientge

Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Before eighth grade begins, Flor plans for a summer with her best friend. However, her best friend Brooke suddenly tells Flor that she is going off to a band camp for the summer. Suddenly, Flor is facing a summer without her best friend.

To make matters worse, the town is having a special 50th anniversary of the Little Miss Honeybee pageant. All the past winners from the past 10 years are required to participate in a new special pageant. While Flor did win Little Miss Honeybee when she was 8, it brought about an unintended consequence: racism from a former best friend Candice. Because of these bad memories, Flor wants to decline her invite until she finds out that the invite would then go to Candice.

But she speaks up too late, and now not only is her best friend gone for the summer, she’s now forced to spend a lot of time working with Candice, her former best friend and now enemy.

Now, on top of all that, her parents’ store is having financial trouble, and suddenly, winning the pageant seems like the best way to try to save her parents’ store.

Honeybees and Frenemies is a solid middle grade novel with a look at friendships, family, and complicated former friendships. A quick delightful read.

ARC Review of Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid

Disclaimer: I received an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It’s the summer before Lu begins college, and her boyfriend Leo has just broken up with her. Immediately, Lu finds herself unable to write her normal love column for an online website. As she sits on a bench at the beginning of the story, she happens to run into Cal and then happens to run into him again at the Strand (a bookstore) where she witnesses what seems to be a break up between him and his girlfriend Iris.

Lu becomes obsessed with the idea of writing a series of columns about what couples do after they graduate from high school. Do they stay together if they are long distance? Or do they break up?

Lu finds ways to manipulate herself into meeting Iris, and then she finds ways to become friends with the two of them, who have now decided to stay together for the summer with a break up date pending for when Iris flies out to California. Over the course of the summer, she gets to know them more while still struggling with writer’s block and an impending firing date if she can’t produce a column.

I struggled with this one. I found the idea extremely interesting, but for some reason, the story just didn’t sit right with me. I can’t quite opine why though.

If the premise interests you, check it out.