Tag Archives: book blogger

Book Review: We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin

Genre: mystery/thriller

Release date: 8/11/20

Rating: 4 stars

We Are All the Same in the Dark is a  twisty, atmospheric mystery/thriller set in a small Texas town where secrets have stayed buried for too long. Our protagonist is Odette, a police officer whose leg was amputated after a car accident when she was a teenager, on the same night that her boyfriend’s sister and their abusive father both disappeared. Now, ten years later, hardly anyone in their community has really moved on from the girl’s disappearance, especially not Odette, whose search feels even more urgent after she rescues another missing girl with mysterious origins. Past and present seem constantly on the verge of blending together as Odette delves further and further into both missing girls’ stories and doesn’t know who she can trust in either case.

I haven’t been reading many mysteries or thrillers in the past few years, but I was drawn to We Are All the Same in the Dark due to its emphasis on strong, complex female characters. Odette is a multifaceted protagonist: she’s a police officer from a long family line of police officers, and one who returned to the small town in which she had a horrific accident despite the fact that it would seem like the last place she’d want to be. She doesn’t shy away from danger in pursuit of the truth or her own flaws, and she’s struggling with a crumbling marriage alongside complicated feelings for her teenage boyfriend, who’s remained a suspect in his sister’s disappearance. Neither missing girl (Trumanelle, Odette’s ex-boyfriend’s long-missing sister, nor Angel, the mysterious girl Odette rescues) descends into a stale stereotype; both are dynamic characters even when they’re not on the page.

Heaberlin’s writing style is addicting and compelling; it took me about 50 or so pages to feel really immersed in the story, but once I did, I didn’t want to stop reading. There were just enough clues and twists to keep the story moving, and one twist in particular really blew me away. However, I did feel that the final confrontation and reveal happened a bit quickly; I’d have liked more time to explore the secrets once they were revealed.

Overall, I found We Are All the Same in the Dark to be an excellent mystery/thriller great for readers who love complex female protagonists.

I received an ARC of We Are All the Same in the Dark from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

July Reading Wrap-Up!

I didn’t read quite as much in July compared to the past few months, but I did read several great new-to-me books and re-read a favorite from last year. Let’s get to the stats and reviews!

Stats

Total books read: 6

ebooks: 1

Audiobooks: 1

re-reads: 1

#readmyowndamnbooks: 3

 

Reviews

Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsCatherine House by Elisabeth ThomasThe Worst Best Man by Mia SosaThe Heir Affair by Heather CocksLet Us Dream by Alyssa ColeSo You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews (re-read) (4.5 stars) – I wanted to re-read Sapphire Flames, one of my favorite books of last year, in preparation for the release of its sequel, Emerald Blaze, next month, and definitely held up.  Sapphire Flames is technically the fourth book in Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series, although it’s also technically the start of a new trilogy featuring the younger sister of books 1-3’s protagonist. I’ve actually just finished this one and LOVED it; I’m an Ilona Andrews superfan, but this was one of my favorites of hers. It’s set in a version of our world that features warring dynasties of magical families, and our main character Catalina has a very unique power; we follow her trying to solve a friend’s mother’s murder, protect her own family, and maybe connect with her crush, Alessandro, who has more than a few secrets up his sleeves. Honestly, this book is SO GOOD, and I think it’s also a great starting point for readers new to Ilona Andrews.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (4 stars) – Wedding planner Lina, who prides herself on her ability to control her emotions, was left at the altar by her ex-fiance Andrew, who blamed his younger brother Max for his last-minute change of heart. Fast-forward to three years later, and Lina is running her own business in D.C. but has her eye on a new position to plan weddings for an upscale hotel. The catch is that to interview for the position, she needs to collaborate with a marketing firm–whose team consists of Andrew and Max. Choosing Max as the lesser of two evils, Lina finds herself opening up to him and even falling for him, while Max is realizing that his brother’s ex-fiance might be the perfect woman for him.

This book has so many sweet moments, and a lot of really great discussion about what it means to be emotionally vulnerable, and how hard it can be to confront our assumptions about ourselves. It’s funny while also letting itself dive into more serious topics, and I really loved Max and Lina’s dynamic and how they brought out the best in each other. It’s also one that I think would make an amazing movie; fingers crossed that happens one day! If, like me, you’re finding yourself picking up a lot of romance lately, definitely add this to your list.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (4 stars) – Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is a moody, atmospheric, Gothic-inspired book centered on a mysterious and unconventional Ivy League school at which our protagonist unexpectedly finds herself after her troubled teenage years. It fits perfectly into the dark academia subgenre (which is one of my favorites!) while also remaining unique. I don’t want to share very much about its plot; I went in with essentially no prior knowledge, and I think it’s best that way, but I will say that it’s full of strangeness and friendship, and deals with concepts of feeling like an outsider vs. belonging. It’s haunting and eerie, and there’s an overlying feeling of dread that suffuses each scene, and I really loved the experience of reading it. I did feel that the ending was more anticlimactic than I’d have preferred, and I wish that certain areas had been explored further, but I overall really enjoyed this one and am very excited for whatever Elisabeth Thomas comes out with next.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (4 stars) – An informative and accessible nonfiction book about many different aspects of racism that provides insight and nuance to different frequently discussed topics. It’s a book that I’d recommend to pretty much everyone, since it’s smart and incisive but with a conversational tone that’s also great on audiobook.

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (3 stars) – I thought there were a lot of directions the authors could have taken this sequel to The Heir Affair, and unfortunately the direction they actually went with just wasn’t the most interesting one. The premise of these books–it’s basically a Prince William/Kate Middleton romance retelling–is fun, as are most of the characters (particularly Freddie, the Prince Harry character), but this book was too long, and in my opinion focused on the wrong things. I think it could have been a more interesting book if instead of a direct sequel we got a Prince Harry/Megan Markle romance retelling, or even if the sequel itself had been more streamlined and faster-paced. That being said, I did enjoy revisiting these characters and their constant drama, although I definitely prefer the first book.

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole (3 stars) – A historical fiction novella set during the women’s suffrage movement in New York, Let Us Dream follows cabaret owner Bertha and chef Amir as they learn from and teach each other about political engagement, dance, and love. I didn’t find this book quite as strong as some of Alyssa Cole’s other works; I think I would have liked it better if it had been longer and more developed, but it did have a great sense of atmosphere and a fantastic female protagonist in Bertha.

August TBR: ARC August and Tome Topple

I have two main goals with my August reading: I want to catch up on reading ARCs I’ve received, and I want to participate in another round of one of my favorite readathons, Tome Topple, which was created by Thoughts on Tomes and  focuses on reading books over 500 pages long. ARC-wise, I have 3 physical ARCs and 3 NetGalley eARCs I’d love to get through, and for Tome Topple, I’m setting the less ambitious goal of reading one tome, a newly purchased first-in-series epic fantasy. If I somehow read all of those books, which is a big if, there are a few other books I’d really love to get to–we’ll see how it goes.

Physical ARCs:

The LightnessWe Are All the Same in the DarkWhere Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1)

The Lightness by Emily Temple (release date 6/16) – One of my most anticipated 2020 releases and a literary fiction debut focusing on female friendship.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin (release date 8/11) – I haven’t been reading a lot of mystery/thrillers in the past few years, but I was hooked by the description of a strong, complex female main character driven to solve the long-ago murder of her childhood friend.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (release date 8/25) – I’m SO excited about this YA fantasy inspired by the Phantom of the Opera and featuring a magical competition.

eARCs:

Fable (Fable, #1)Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2)Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

Fable by Adrienne Young (release date 9/1) – This is probably the ARC I know the least about. It’s YA fantasy, set on the high seas, about a girl finding her strength and place in the world, and it’s been getting great reviews.

Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross (release date 9/8) – This is the sequel to the fantastic Wolf Gone Wild (check out my review here) , which I read earlier this year, and I’m psyched for another installment in a series set in modern-day New Orleans and populated by witches, werewolves, and vampires, among other supernatural creatures.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (release date 9/22) – A contemporary romance and the last in Bailey’s Hot and Hammered series, which is set on Long Island and involves house flipping.

Tome Topple

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1)

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope – I’ve heard that this epic fantasy series also has a healthy dose of romance, and the few reviews I’ve seen on BookTube have made me anxious to pick it up. It’s been awhile since I’ve read an epic fantasy, as I tend to be very picky about them, but I have a really good feeling about this one.

Other books on my radar

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)Slay

Last week, on a whim, I started reading Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones, and although I really need to prioritize my ARCs this month, I’d love to have a chance to finish it since it’s really great so far. I’d also like to have an audiobook option during the month, and I’ve been hearing great things about Slay by Brittney Morris.

 

What’s on your TBR for August?