Lil Pingwing’s Cozy Corner: Dead of Winter

Lil Pingwing’s Cozy Corner: Dead of WinterDead of Winter
By Annelise Ryan
Series: Mattie Winston Mysteries #10
Source Received from the publisher
Published by Kensington on February 26, 2019

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


A new home, a new marriage, a new family. It’s a lot to sort out. But before medicolegal death investigator Mattie can smooth out the unexpected chaos of her new life, duty calls. At the local ER, a battered and bruised teenage girl has been brought in by a mysterious man who claimed she’d fallen out of a car. The staff is suspicious, but while they attend to the teenager, the unidentified man slips out. Then the girl dies, but not before informing social worker Hildy Schneider that the man had her little sister as well.

Mattie’s exam reveals forensic evidence of long-term IV drug use and physical abuse, findings consistent with Hildy’s suspicion that the girl was a victim of human trafficking. They are able to confirm her identity as a teen who went missing six months ago, along with her sister—facts that are deeply unsettling to Mattie who now shares a home with her husband’s teenaged daughter.

Working closely with Hildy and Sorenson homicide detectives, including her husband Steve Hurley, Mattie must delve into a dark underworld to stop the ruthless trafficking of human lives—before it’s too late for another young girl . . .

The Mattie Winston series is one of my favourite non-cozy series! It follows Mattie, a former nurse who desperately needs a new job after finding her surgeon husband sleeping with another nurse. She takes a job as an assistant to her friend Izzy, who is the county coroner, and helps him investigate suspicious deaths. I love the interactions between Mattie and Izzy, and find her to be such a fun, likeable character (at her first crime scene, a dirty pair of underwear falls out of the bottom of her pants and is discovered by one of the detectives. She then has to face the humiliation of it being tagged as evidence in front of everyone — I couldn’t stop laughing during that scene).

This book is the 10th in the series and I will say that it is still as enjoyable as the first. Mattie has had a lot of changes in her life (married to Detective Hurley, has a step daughter and a toddler) and it’s been fun to follow her on that journey.

I will admit that I found this book hard to read, though. While a lot of parts of Mattie’s life are humerous, the plot line of one young woman being killed as part of a human trafficking ring while her younger sister is also missing was a lot to bear. I had to push through a bit to get through that plot. This is definitely not a cozy series.

However, in spite of the emotionally challenging plot, it was still a good book and (of course) had a satisfying ending. And it still had lots of the same lighthearted moments I loved in the earlier books, it just took a bit of time to get to them.

I highly recommend the series. But just be forewarned about the emotional content as you get to the later books.


The Boneless Mercies

The Boneless MerciesThe Boneless Mercies
By April Genevieve Tucholke
Source Library
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux on October 2, 2018


A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

I had been so excited to read this book from the time I heard about it. It sounded so good! And I love the cover.

But man, it took me a long time to get into it. I feel like I should have loved this book. It had mercenary girls! Magic! Monsters! Battles! And yet. Maybe it was my cold getting in the way, but it just took me so long to get into this. The first half felt so slow, and I felt like I didn’t get to know enough about the characters to get invested.

The last half of the book picked up for me, and I generally enjoyed this one, but I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t love it more. It felt like it had all of the elements of a fantastic, exciting story but the world and characters never felt developed fully for me, and it moved so slowly. I wanted the pieces to add up to a better whole.


Week In Review

February 11 – 24

Happy Sunday! I’ve been fighting off a cold all week, so I didn’t do too much reading because I was so congested that even looking down at a book to read was uncomfortable. But I am definitely better than I was this time last week, and since my library holds keep coming in, I need to pick up the slack and get through some books.

I have been listening to A LOT of BTS the past couple of weeks. They are my new favourite band for real. I love the catchy pop music and I love their dancing, but I also really love the rap line. BTS got me through my sinus cold from hell this week.

And I’m super excited for tonight’s On Cinema Oscar Special!

New books:

Thank you to Raincoast for these ARCs!! These are two of the 2019 books that I’m most looking forward to reading!

Wicked Saints, Emily A. Duncan; and

Somewhere Only We Know, Maurene Goo (I love her books!).

I also received a copy of Kelley Armstrong’s Watcher in the Woods from Penguin Random House Canada (thank you!). I love a good mystery, and I think I can read this one even if I haven’t read the others in the series.

I picked up a bunch of library books too that I’ve been looking forward to:

The Deceivers, Kristen Simmons;

Paperback Crush, Gabrielle Moss;

The Plotters, Un-Su Kim; and

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Books read:

Like I said, I didn’t get much reading done while I was sick, but I finished three books in the last couple of weeks:

King of Scars, Leigh Bardugo;

The Boneless Mercies, April Genevieve Tucholke; and

My Sister, the Serial Killer.

Current reads:

I had barely started reading my ARC of Robin LaFevers’ Courting Darkness a couple of weeks ago and put it aside to try and work through some library books, so I’m hoping to pick that back up again.


I didn’t post too much recently because I got lazy about writing reviews for some books I’d read, but I hope to write up a few reviews today. But I did post my King of Scars review, as well as a review of Sandhya Menon’s delightful From Twinkle, With Love.

I also posted a couple of Waiting on Wednesday posts, about Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist and Wilder Girls by Rory Power.

Corrie Corner:

(My thoughts on the most recent Coronation Street episodes. Definite spoiler alert!)

I’m still waiting for the Shona/Clayton storyline to blow up, because I think it totally will. I love how David has been supportive of her but has also been able to tell her that he needs to keep his distance from Clayton.

I am glad the ‘mystery’ of Peter’s boat disaster has been revealed, because I hated that Abbi was getting blamed. And LOL at Peter for even thinking that he could try to get back together with Abbi after the way he treated her!

The Amy pregnancy storyline took a turn that I wasn’t expecting, so I’m interested to see how it plays out.

Time to write some reviews and then get some reading time in before tonight’s Oscar special!

Happy reading!

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Today my pick is Wilder Girls by Rory Power, out July 9 from Delacorte Press:

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

This is so intriguing! I am really interested in reading this and finding out what’s going on. This doesn’t come out until July, which feels so far away right now (from the depths of this cold, snowy winter).

What are you waiting on this week?

King of Scars

King of ScarsKing of Scars
By Leigh Bardugo
Series: Nikolai #1
Source Purchased
Published by Imprint on January 29, 2019


Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

I was so excited to read this book. I love Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books (the Grisha trilogy, and the Six of Crows duology). When I learned that Leigh Bardugo was writing a new duology starring Nikolai, I pre-ordered this as soon as I could!

I was really excited to read this when my copy arrived, but I was also kind of intimidated by its size. This is a big book, and I found that I couldn’t really read it unless I had a lot of time to devote to it. It wasn’t the kind of book that I could pick up and read a few pages of here and there whenever I had a spare few minutes.

I really loved being back in this world (even if I couldn’t quite remember events from earlier books and had to do some Googling to refresh my memory). Leigh Bardguo’s writing is so lovely, and the way she weaves in characters and events from the rest of this series was really impressive.

While much of this story follows Nikolai and Zoya, there was also a separate-but-connected plot centred around Nina, who I loved in the Six of Crows books. But I have to admit, when the story strayed from Nikolai and Zoya, I could feel my interest waning. That disappointed me because I really love Nina and I wanted to love her part of the story as much as I loved the rest of it, but I think I found the Nikolai/Zoya story so much more exciting and interesting that anything that took me away from it distressed me (with the exception of what was happening with View Spoiler »

I loved this book, and the ending has me SO EXCITED for the next book in the duology!


Pin It on Pinterest