The Hunting Wives by May Cobb {BLOG TOUR} | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

THE HUNTING WIVES by May Cobb is a book that has been taking over my mind lately! It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, as it combined elements of a mystery/thriller with a group of middle-aged rich women who shoot for fun. Those two things are rarely combined in one book, so I was very intrigued by the initial synopsis, and especially after hearing the very early buzz for the book. When I was contacted by Penguin Random House to read the book early and review it as part of the blog tour, I couldn’t say anything but YES!

The Hunting Wives share more than target practice, martinis, and bad behavior in this novel of obsession, seduction, and murder.
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.
(Synopsis from

WOW. This book is the definition of a delicious thriller. I read it in just about 24 hours, because I truly couldn’t get enough of it!

The characters in this novel are all very interesting, and are much more complex than they initially seem. Each characters has been through some kind of drama or trauma in their lives, or is about to find themselves in a real problem after the novel takes off. Sophie, the main protagonist, was my favourite character in this story. Out of all the other women, she seems to most real and genuine. The other women give off some very strange vibes once the reader is introduced to all of them, and because the reader is reading from Sophie’s perspective, it is very easy to root for her success in the story. That being said, a malicious girl group is something I always enjoy reading about in novels, and this one was no exception! They were all so interesting to read about, and I could honestly read a book about each of their individual lives!

The writing style of this book was quite good. I really enjoyed the pacing of the novel, and how quickly the speed picks up by the end of the book. However, at the beginning of the novel, there were some flashbacks and flash forwards that happen very quickly, which at times, was hard to keep up with. Because I read this book as an eARC, I had to keep going back to the beginning chapters to check the dates of the events that the story opens up with.

The story itself had me hooked until the very last page! As I previously stated, the story really picks up in the second half, as the murder is introduced in the second half of the novel (however, the story technically also opens up with the murder, so that isn’t a spoiler). Part of me wishes that we got more time to uncover the mystery of the murder, but then again, I understand that a lot of character building needed to happen in the first half for the reader to remain invested in the overall story.

The biggest flaw I had with this book is its predictability. I love to be shocked when reading a mystery/thriller novel, but unfortunately, I had correctly predicted the majority of the ending by the three-quarter mark. That being said, being able to properly predict the ending of any story technically means that the author properly laid out the clues and throughly explained the story to the reader.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and gave it 4/5 stars! I recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for a sexy mystery/thriller story! Thanks again to Penguin Random House for providing me with an eARC and inviting me to participate in the blog tour! If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to pick up a copy at your local bookstore or library!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal {BLOG TOUR}

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself reading books about very similar themes and/or characters. I have been on an adult rom-com kick lately, so I was happy to pick up I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, in an effort to change up my reading. Thanks to Raincoast Books for the ARC and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!

Synopsis (

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.
They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

Even though I was really excited for this book, it came up a little short.

The story was very plot driven and fast paced. I have been reading a lot of character driven stories lately, so I had to get used to the change of pace right from the gecko. The story takes place in under 24 hours, which obviously makes the story go by very quickly. I tend to enjoy books that take place over a short time frame, but I felt that due to the timeframe, we didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked to.

For me, the characters were nothing special. I thought that they were very under-developed, and I would have loved to read more about their backstories. Lena was a great character to read from/about, but she always annoyed me whenever she was talking about her boyfriend, because she kept ignoring red-flags. This felt uncharacteristic, as she is supposed to be a strong, independent teenager, although she felt very weak when it came to her boyfriend.

My favourite aspect of this book was the writing. It was very descriptive, which made me feel as if I was with the characters at all parts of this story. I could always recognize the point of view I was reading from, which is crucial when reading a book written in dual perspectives.

Upon reading reviews for this novel on Goodreads, I noticed a lot of people did not enjoy the ending. I actually quite liked it, as I typically don’t mind open endings. This one in particular led to a lot of follow up questions, so even though I didn’t mind the ending, I would have loved to have read in epilogue at the conclusion of this story. I would recommend this book for YA and Adult book clubs, as there could be a lot of great discussions that come from it.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book and gave it 3/5 stars. Thanks again to Raincoast Books for the ARC and allowing me to participate in the blog tour! Make sure you head on over to everyone else’s blogs to see their thoughts on this book!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small {BLOG TOUR}

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

From the ages of 4 until 14, I used to dance very frequently at a local dance studio. One of my favourite things in the entire world (to this very day!) is dancing, and I have been working at a dance day-camp over the past two summers! When I first heard about BRIGHT BURNING STARS, a book featuring two best friends who meet at a Ballet Academy in Paris and take us through their lives in their last year at the academy, I couldn’t resist the urge to read it. Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for selecting me to participate in the Blog Tour!

As always, this review is spoiler free!


Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.
But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other. (Synopsis provided by Algonquin Young Readers.)

This book was so different than what I expected. While the initial synopsis seems eery, this book actually turned out to be very dark. It delved into a lot of deep topics, which in hindsight, should have been expected from reading the previews.

One of the most interesting things about this story was the two main characters, Marine and Kate, two best friends that formed a close bond throughout their early days at the Paris Opera Ballet School. While they seemed similar in the beginning, they developed into two very different young women. The timing of the chaos in their lives parallels, however they deal with their issues very differently. It was almost like they were written by two different authors!

Throughout the novel, one of my favourite features was the frequent incorporation of common french phrases and words. I haven’t been in a french class in quite a while, so it was fun for me to try and remember what these phrases meant and how they related to the events that the two characters were in. But if you don’t speak or know any French, don’t fret! There are english definitions provided for you after most of the phrases/words.

As I wrote previously, this book was much darker than I assumed it would be. There are a lot of triggering themes in this novel, including an eating disorder, mental illness, emotionally abusive friendships and relationships, discussions about suicide, abortion, and more. While I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I will say that if this book is a realistic fictional way of describing things that go on in real life ballet academies, I am so glad that I never went into one. Not only are the ballerinas constantly battling with each other to be on top of the rankings, they are also dealing with internal and social problems that occur outside of dance. It is scary to think that these things might happen regularly.

Besides the darker themes, there is a lot of cliche teenage drama. SO much drama. Including relationships, jealousy, and appearance. Personally, I could have done without a lot of it, but I understand why so much of it was left in the book.

I would have loved to have read more about their lives inside dance studios, and more about their daily schedules, routines, and course-loads, as they are not discussed majorly at all within this story. I would have also enjoyed to see more diverse characters in the novel, as I assumed that all of them were white and heterosexual.

The writing in this novel was another thing that I enjoyed a lot. I found the pacing quite irregular and inconsistent, which brought a long many unexpected twists. However, the writing style may not be for everyone.

Overall, I found this book very captivating and interesting, and I rated it 3.5/5 stars.

Now it’s time for a little Q&A!

Angela Small credit _Becky Thurner Braddock

Q: How did you write BRIGHT BURNING STARS? All at once or did you outline the story?
A: I wrote it all at once but multiple times! I’m trying to learn how to outline. Man, is it hard. My brain goes to the creative before the analytical.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why?
A: I think that the most surprising aspect of character building is that it took me years to understand and relate to Kate. I had to spend a long time with her before she finally clicked on the page.I identify with Marine because M and I both believe that any artistic success comes not from talent but from sweat and grit.

Q: What gave you the idea for BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I wrote a short story titled The Art of Jealousy and then I knew I wanted to write a larger piece.

Q: Do you have a favourite scene, quote, or moment from BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I love the scene where Marine dances to Biggie Smalls and there is a Luc scene I adore but I don’t want to give it away.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A: I would tell her never to forget about the magic of process and to always trust her instincts.

Q: What is on your current TBR pile?
A: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robbin Brown, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox, Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. I’m a sucker for books. I LOVE to read.

Q: Do you write to music? If so, what artist were you listening to while writing BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
A: I usually don’t, but as I was trying to figure Kate out I listened to Unsteady by X Ambassadors and I put on classical piano pieces, literal ballet music, while I worked on studio scenes for atmosphere and rhythm purposes.

Thank you for reading my review of BRIGHT BURNING STARS by A.K. Small! Thanks again to Algonquin Young Readers for including me in your blog tour! BRIGHT BURNING STARS officially hits shelves on May 21, and I recommend that you pick up a copy if you enjoy books focusing on dance and the dark struggles of competition and pressure.

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan {BLOG TOUR}

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Over these past few weeks, I have been craving a dark fantasy novel, and boy oh boy, Wicked Saints definitely fixed that craving! Thanks to Raincoast Books for including me in their blog tour for this novel, I’m so fortunate to be a part of it!

Wicked Saints Blog Evite

Flavia @ Flavia The Bibliophile
Joe @ Storeys of Stories
Katelin @ Pretty Little Library
Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm
Christine @ Padfoots Library
Carly @Beauty & Her Books
Rachel @ Model Who’s Read
Joyce @ The Beachy Reader
Wendy @ Cupcake and a Latte

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Synopsis (

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

This book was so dark and bloody and… great! It started off with a BANG, and the story took off from there!

The magic system and world building were my favourite parts of this book. I am always fascinated by fantasies that focus around blood magic, as I think it is a very interesting concept. And while at times I thought that it was a bit graphic and gruesome, those factors did not impact my overall enjoyment of the story. Emily wrote the magic system in the book so well, and I really enjoyed it. I also loved the world building in this novel. I enjoyed going to all of the different towns/cities in this novel, and thought that there were really interesting to read. It was very easy to visualize the different places and scenes in this novel, and sometimes I have a hard time doing that in other fantasy books.

While reading this, I could not believe that this was Emily’s debut full-length novel (and she wrote while in grad-school!!). The book was written like a seasoned pro, and some of the effortless writing that is showcased in this book makes Emily easy to place among some of the great fantasy writers in the YA spectrum.

One thing that I did not love about this novel were the characters. As other reviewers have said, you either love or hate the characters in this novel. And sadly, I didn’t really like them. I didn’t feel any sort of connection to any of the characters, and while they go through a lot in this book, I felt that they could have developed a tad more. Since characters are very important to me when reading a novel, my overall experience of reading the book was definitely tainted because of them. However, a lot of other bloggers on this tour loved the characters, so it’s definitely personal preference!

Another thing about this book that I didn’t appreciate was the use of words in another language. I definitely understand why they were included, but I think that it would have been useful if there was a small dictionary in the front of the book for readers to reference while reading this novel.

If you are a lover of fantasy, I highly recommend that you read this book! I think that this will be the next huge fantasy novel, and I can’t wait to hear other peoples opinions on it! Overall, I gave it 3.75/5 stars.

Thanks again to Raincoast Books for selecting me to participate in the blog tour! Please check out all of the other stops on the tour, by clicking on the blogs mentioned above.

Good Night Book Owls!