Tag: 3.5 stars

Book Review: Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban

Lying in the Deep
Author: Diana Urban

Published: May 2, 2023
384 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  April 12- May 15, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist.

After being jilted by her ex-boyfriend and best friend, Jade couldn’t be more ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—11 countries in 4 months, all from the luxurious Campus on Board ship—and to wedge an entire globe between her and the people who broke her heart.

But when Jade discovers the backstabbing couple are also setting sail, her obsession with them grows and festers, leading to a shocking murder. And as their friends begin to drop like flies, Jade and her new crush must race to clear her name and find the killer they’re trapped at sea with….before anyone else winds up in body bags.

Jessica’s Review:

Lying in the Deep starts with a first line that pulls you in from the beginning: I didn’t realize there’d be this much blood.

From that line I was ready to see just who the victim was and why!  Then we move back in time and meet all of our cast of characters.  These characters are in college and spending a semester at sea, but they act like highschoolers! My favorite was Miguel, the wannabe influencer who focuses on how many followers he has. I heard his voice as the comedian Gabriel ‘Fluffy‘ Iglesias voices his character Miguel in his act. There was so much over the top drama with Miguel that he was entertaining for me! The main drama focuses on Jade being overly obsessed with her ex- boyfriend now with her former best friend. 

What starts out as fun on the ship and trips to various countries changes due to a murder and Jade becomes a possible suspect.  We journey with as she tries to discover who the murderer is.  Other than the YA drama, I did enjoy the story.  I wasn’t sure who the murderer was. And then things just go from bad to worse! It was fast moving as there is not much time, they only have until they get to the next port of call to figure out who did it.  The drama is what made it an average three star read for me, until we got closer to the end. Then, oh wow: We had some totally unexpected things happen and that kept going until the last few pages! With an ending like that I had to give it another .5 stars. We do have intensity because they are on a cruise ship with a killer and there are only so many places you can go!

If you don’t mind the YA drama, then you will be ready for a good who-dun-it and why! Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to read and review through Bookish First. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Mindf*ck Series: Sidetracked by S.T. Abby

Series: Mindf*ck #2

Author: S.T. Abby
Published: December 5, 2016
98 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 1-9, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

They always want to break me, but I’m too strong now. Untouchable.
Or at least I was…until her.


I’ve had tunnel vision for one main goal for so long, that I forgot there was a whole other world just outside. Until Lana.

She’s everything I never expected, and I love the fact I can never guess her every move or reaction. It’s part of the reason I keep falling. But I also know she shuts me out, hides things from me she feels she can’t share.

One day, I hope she trusts me enough to share.

It isn’t until my job puts her at risk that I realize just how fierce she is, but it doesn’t stop me from doing all I can to protect her. I should walk away to protect her better, but I can’t. Instead, I’m forced to find other ways to keep her safe.

I just hope it’s enough.

Though she is fierce, she’s still fragile…


Jessica’s Review:

Lana, oh Lana….. You are such a badass, and falling for Logan, isn’t the smart thing for you to do.  But you are… And the title of this second novella in the Mindf*ck series tells it all. You are definitely sidetracked from your original revenge plan!

Sidetracked picks up right where The Risk ended, it keeps going and doesn’t stop! We’ve got some jealousy and more that comes into the picture, let alone hunting for serial killers!   I’m really not the biggest Logan fan, but I am enjoying the hunt for killer’s aspect! And just what will happen when Logan finds out that his beloved is one he is hunting for? 

The end twist I saw coming, but we will see where this series goes from here! Will Logan finally smarten up? Will Lana????

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Audiobook Review: The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

The Soulmate
Author: Sally Hepworth  
Barrie Kreinik
Jessica Douglas-Henry
To Be Published: April 4, 2023
Audiobook: 7 hours 44 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: March 20-23, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

There’s a cottage on a cliff. Gabe and Pippa’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Night after night Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge. Until he doesn’t.

When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral…Did the victim jump? Was she pushed?

And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate…lie? As the perfect facade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel.

Jessica’s Review:

Secrets and lies is what most of this book is about! It is also a book dealing with mental health and family drama. It is seemingly being advertised as a thriller, but it is not, and I mostly enjoyed it throughout.  From the book description sounding intriguing and having read several of Hepworth’s previous novels, I was ready for this one.

We have Pippa and Gabe who recently moved to this cottage on the extreme edge of a cliff with their young daughters.  They are in for more than they bargained for since people seem to like to commit suicide on this cliff! Gabe has a knack of talking potential jumpers out of what they are doing until one lady shows up and jumps.  Later on Pippa finds out that Gabe knew the woman who jumped and many questions start to come to mind.

We have both Pippa and Amanda as our narrators.  Amanda’s narrations take place before and after her jump. Through both narrators the reader/listener find out all kinds of connections that come to a head. Some are unexpected: but remember its all about secrets and lies!

Part of the climax really wasn’t, it was more of a letdown. Ultimate motives really did not work for me.  But the ending was ultimately satisfying as everything came together despite everything that occurred.

I did have some issues with the narrators. Their voices seemed so similar for me that it was hard to distinguish between Pippa and Amanda at times. For this particular book, I would say read it. I think I would have enjoyed it more that way.

So far this is the weakest novel by Hepworth for me, but she is still enjoyable and I look forward to reading more by her!

Many thanks to the publisher Macmillian Audio for granting me an audio arc to listen to and review. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK