Book Reviews

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Book Review

“Pit bull,” Pip said. “It’s pit bulls that don’t let things go.”

Holly Jackson – a Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Picture by me!
Rating: 5/5 tacks! (stars).

Synopsis

Pippa is a high school student that has chosen to work on a closed kidnapping/murder case, in her hometown, her senior capstone project. Everyone knows what happened five years ago, but Pip isn’t so sure. As she digs deeper and deeper into the case, she slowly uncovers different clues that just aren’t adding up to what the town believes happened. Pip makes it her goal to discover what actually happened in her town all those years ago, no matter what it takes!

My Thoughts (Spoiler Free)

Characters:

  • I love, love, love Pippa! She is such a strong , dedicated character and she is just perfect! She’s hard-working and when she sets her mind on something, she works hard to reach it! She’s funny and sarcastic, but kind and loving to her friends and family. Her dedication to solving this mystery is one of the aspects that had me not wanting to put this book down! Normally, a character with these traits would bore me, but it worked very well for Pippa and the plot of this book.
  • Ravi is a close second to favorite character! He’s hilarious and, despite, his family’s circumstances, makes light of situations. He and Pippa have great chemistry together and work well as friends.
  • Pippa’s Family: Love them! Her mom, step-dad, and brother have such a great dynamic. It’s not often book’s portray families in the way that Holly Jackson did. The family is diverse, loving, and doesn’t have significant drama going on. A lot of books I read, the parents are separated and only one is in the picture, a parent is dead, a parent is abusive, and so on. Not in this family! It was a breath of fresh air to read about the Fitz-Amobi family!
  • The Bell Family: This is the family of Andie, the girl that was murdered five years ago. This family rubs me the wrong way. They went through something tragic, but the way Jackson describes them, especially the dad, just poses them as creepy and not quite right.
  • The Ward Family: This is like a second family to Pippa. She’s known Mr. Ward and his two daughters FOREVER; so long that she is treated as one of their own. I, personally, loved this dynamic as well. I loved the relationship that the Ward sisters had with Pippa and how they just seemed like extended family that lived in a different home.
  • There are some other characters that I’m not going to get into! These are the ones that left the biggest impact on me (enough to want to write about anyway!).

Plot/Writing

  • I don’t really like contemporary novels as much, but I like a good mystery! I had zero clue what to expect when I read the title of this book. However, it did not disappoint! I really appreciated the mixed media format of this book. It made me feel like I was Pippa writing my own capstone project! It was fun to see how she wrote her log entries and interviews, because they were in first person. Then, when it was present timing, the story was written in third person.
  • The topic was unique. I had a billion different theories (all wrong…sigh) building up from the first few pages of the book. Jackson did a nice job investing me, the reader, in the story from the very beginning. Using Pippa’s capstone project as a way to bring back this case was creative and intriguing, especially because it was a high schooler working on it!
  • Jackson did a great job leading the reader on one path but then taking the story in a different path. I thought I had the mystery solved and then Pippa would discover something else and I’d have to start from scratch. It was fun to try and keep track of everything.

Overall:

  • I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s easy to read and follow, and will have you wanting to solve the mystery ASAP! Even if this isn’t usually a book genre you gravitate toward, give it a try!

If you don’t want to read any spoilers, stop here! If you’ve read this book, I’d love to talk about your thoughts and theories with you! It’s always fun to see what others think!

STOP: Spoilers from here on out!

Content/Trigger Warnings for this book: Murder, Suicide, Self-Harm, Adult/Minor Relationships, Sexual Assault, Rape of a Minor, drugs/alcohol, Racism, Verbal/Mental Abuse

My Theories of What Happened in 2014…

I made notes as I read this book, writing out different theories I had as I went. They were all wrong, but at least I tried! Like I said above, Holly Jackson did a great job leading me in one direction and then introducing 5 more ways that the story could go!

Theory 1: Andie faked her death and had her older lover kill Sal so that she could be with the older person. Andie then was alive and living somewhere that no one knew about her.

Theory 2: Andie’s dad killed her. I didn’t have a reason. He was described as a sketchy character and Pippa had me believing it could have been him.

Theory 3: Mr. Ward killed killed Andie. Then, I changed my thoughts to he was in love with her and he thought he saved her, but it was actually the girl that she bullied, that looked a lot like Andie. Then, Andie was impersonating that girl back in their hometown (this one is crazy).

Theory 4: For a hot minute I was worried Ravi may have played some part, but luckily it didn’t take that turn.

Theory 5: The cop killed Andie. She had slept with him and bullied his sister. He had reason to do so, especially since he would know how to hide it better than someone that wasn’t a cop.

Again…all of my theories were VERY wrong, but it was fun trying to piece it all together. I would make a horrible detective and shouldn’t quit my day job…there goes my dreams (kidding). I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it! Let’s talk about theories!

Book Reviews

Asking For It Book Review

“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”

Louise O’Neill – Asking For It
3/5 stars

I stumbled across this novel on Tik Tok late one evening and was intrigued by the heavy topic. I bought and downloaded the e-book and stayed up late, finished about 60% of it, and then finished the rest when I woke up. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, so keep reading and find out if this is something you’d like to read or not!

Trigger Warnings for this book: rape, attempted suicide, self-harm, bullying

Synopsis (no spoilers)

Emma is a beautiful, confident 18 year old that all the boys pine after. Being your typical teen, Emma and her friends head to a party one evening. Drinking and mischief ensues. Suddenly, it’s the next morning and Emma wakes up on her front porch. She doesn’t know how she got there, what happened last night, or why she is currently in a bunch of pain. Pulling out her phone, she notices she has A LOT of Facebook notifications. There are explicitly detailed pictures of her that were taken the night before and now everyone knows what she got into at the party. Even with photo evidence, people don’t believe what happened that night and Emma has to battle with her peers, her family, her home town, the country of Ireland, and her own soul.

My Thoughts

Writing:

  • I was not a fan of the writing style of this author. I struggled a lot following the story because there was a lack of transitions. I almost DNFed this book 3 times within the first 30 pages. There were a lot of times, after that, that I wanted to stop reading. However, I felt strongly about the topic and was invested in that, not the writing.
  • I struggled forming ‘relationships’ with the characters because of the writing. Sometimes I felt like I was reading someone’s drunk diary entries and I wasn’t able to grasp concepts of the character’s personalities. I managed to understand the main character and a few of her friends, but it was very difficult.

Characters:

  • I knew very little about the characters going into the book, but I absolutely could not stand the main character, Emma. She was unlikable, a terrible friend, and at times, cruel. Her mother was also a terrible person. She was all about appearance and the status-quo; dress to impress type of woman.
  • Emma’s friends were also all over the place. I think I liked Maggie the most, but again, it was hard for me to get a feel for them because of the writing styles.

Plot:

  • The plot was definitely realistic and something that, unfortunately, happens all to often to young women and young men. Emma was raped at a party and, even with photo evidence, people used her persona to try and say she was asking for it. This is the case too many times and it’s ridiculous. Some of the details were very explicit and were hard to read, but they were real. All I could think was “this has happened to someone, maybe even someone I know, and I can’t imagine how they feel that no one believes them…especially when all the signs are right in their faces.” My heart did go out for Emma, because no one deserves what she went through. I do think that O’Neill handled a hard topic to write about very well.
  • The ending was not the ending I wanted, but again, it was an ending that so many people have experienced. We don’t live in a perfect world where a case like this will <always> be solved and everything will resume for the victim. So, kudos to O’Neill for giving us a realistic ending and not one that we wanted.

Overall

  • In the end, this book was a heavy hitter, but for me, the writing made it difficult for me to feel its impact. I wanted so much to understand the situations that are happening day by day, but I struggled. I also can see how this book could be very triggering for someone that has gone through this experience themselves. I hope if anyone is wishing to read this book, reads someone’s review before hand, even if it’s just to see trigger warnings. Mental health is SO important, and it’s easy to lose ourselves, in good and bad ways, when we read books.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book. I’m interested to see what other people think of the writing and content!

You can purchase Asking For it here!

Personal

Smutty Goodness!

I’ll be honest, I quite enjoy a good smut every now and again (okay, maybe all the time). However, I’m very picky when it comes to reading smut. So, I’m going to go through how I’m going to start rating the deliciously smutty books that I read, because I can’t hold them to the same standards as my normal reads! Scroll to the bottom if you just want to see some recommendations!

My Raunchy Ratings

Plot

*gasp* Who reads smut for a plot? I do! It’s strange, I know, but I can’t read a book if I’m not invested in what’s going on, no matter what the book is about. I don’t need an in depth plot, but I need to at least be able to have a story to follow (or else I’ll lose interest). It can be simple and include typical tropes found in these books, as well as plot twists and new ideas which are always welcome. I enjoy the plot of “Lingus” by Mariana Zapata because it’s something I had never read before and it lends itself to a great, steamy, comedic story.

Characters

I need the main couple to be like-able. I enjoy a bad boy and strong female character. A lot of times the female is symbolic of someone who needs to let go and find a partner to show her who she is…I don’t need that but I’ll deal. If the chemistry is good, the smut will be good (that is, if it’s well written). “Wallbanger” by Alice Clayton has some bangin’ (hehe) characters. I love them and was invested in their stories from the start!

Smut Level

Obviously, if I’m reading smut, I expect there to be a fair amount of sexy times! I find myself disappointed a lot of the times because I’m really into the book and there’s one or two sex scenes in the whole thing. I don’t need back to back pages of sex, (though, I wouldn’t object) but I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted my time reading a smutty book because of, well, lack of smut! The book, literally titled “Smut” by Karina Halle is probably my favorite in terms of sex. The scenes are pretty detailed and there’s an abundance (hence the title). I love this book so much and highly recommend it!

Writing

In terms of writing, I’m not too picky when it comes to this genre. The only part of the writing I’m really critical about is the sex scenes. There are certain words that just make me cringe during these scenes. One off the top of my head: feasting *gag*. I can’t ever imagine writing sex scenes, so credit to everyone that does, but I think if you wouldn’t use a word to describe a person’s anatomy or acts to someone, it probably shouldn’t be used in a book. To each their own I suppose!

So, these are the four categories I’ll use to rate my smut reads here on out. It’s way less intricate than what I use for other books, but I feel like smut is its own world, and deserves a different set of “skills”.

My Favorite Smut Filled Books

Thanks for following along! I’d love to hear what your favorite smutty reads are!