The Red Palace by June Hur – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // a historical korean murder mystery

A historical fiction novel?

Set in 1758 Korea??

With a quadruple homicide to solve?

SIGN ME RIGHT UP!

(Young?) Adult, Mystery, Korean-Rep

The Red Palace
by June Hur

Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

Expected Publication: January 25, 2022

I’ve only read one of June Hur’s books before (currently reading The Forest of Stolen Girls after a recommendation from Ele, which thank you!), and that was The Silence of Bones. I really enjoyed that because of the historical Korean rep, and I loved the complexity of the characters and how they grew as the story unfolded. It was also very interesting to see the culture of Korea at the time and learn about the customs, conflict with religion, and the kind of life that some people lived during that time.

And now, June Hur has yet another historical Korean murder mystery, and I am so excited to delve into the past with her amazing story-telling all over again. There’s something about historical murder mysteries that is just so much more fascinating than modern mysteries (probably because it’s interesting to see/learn how they would be solved without modern tools to help), and adding a new setting and culture instantly makes it 10 times more exciting.

You know, I actually took some notes when I read The Silence of Bones because I liked it so much and I wanted to remember some details so I could write a review…but I never actually did write one which is a serious shame. I might type up those notes and post them anyway, perhaps as a mini review since I don’t fully remember the book to write a more fleshed out review.

What I know for sure is, this time around with The Red Palace, I’m going to take notes and I will make sure to actually write a review at least that’s the plan. Hopefully this book will become a favorite and I’ll be screaming at kindly explaining to you guys all the reasons why you should pick it up immediately 🙂

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of The Red Palace? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you read any of June Hur’s books before? What did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for books set in Korea (contemporary or historical)?

Chat with me in the comments below!

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf – Anticipated Reads of 2022 // muslim MC solving a mystery

I desperately want this book.

I want it so badly 😭

Words can not describe my sheer need for this.

Young Adult, Mystery, Muslim-Rep, Malaysian-Rep

Queen of the Tiles
by Hanna Alkaf

They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.

CATALYST
13 points
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change

When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.

But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.

As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.

Expected Publication: April 19, 2022

A Muslim girl.

Solving a potential murder mystery.

Not just any potential murder mystery, but one surrounding her best friend’s death.

*incomprehensible screaming*

Y’all, I am a mystery geek. I love whodunits, I love thrillers, and one thing that I’ve always wanted ever since I started reading the genre almost 7 years ago was a Muslim girl solving the mystery.

Adult mystery books are honestly not that diverse; I’ve only seen them starting to have non-white main characters in recent years, so I never got much representation with that in any way (besides the MC being a woman). And I’m not a huge fan of the YA mystery scene because it tends to be highschool related, which was too much drama for my liking. But I have read a couple of those and enjoyed them.

But this! This is the first time ever that I’m finding a female Muslim MC solving a mystery, AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT.

Also, can we please talk about how beautiful that cover is? It’s absolutely gorgeous I love it so much 🥺

April has never seemed so far away. At least I can use this to get through the next semester, because I’ll hopefully get to have this amazing book and enjoy it as the semester comes to an end.

And hopefully, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you heard of Queen of the Tiles? Are you looking forward to reading it?
  • Have you ever come across a mystery book with a Muslim main character?
  • What’s a book you can’t wait to read this year?

Talk to me in the comments below!

ARC Review: For Your Own Good // a decent and twisty thriller

Hello, friends. Welcome back to the blog! Today, I’m going to be reviewing For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing.

I was lucky to get an ARC copy of this book and I was really excited to see how Downing’s latest book would turn out. I read her first book, My Lovely Wife and enjoyed it, so I had some hopes for this one. And Downing definitely did not disappoint.

Just for some disclaimers: All spoilers will be in dropdowns, so you may skip them if you like. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review, however all opinions and thoughts are my own.

With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Continue reading “ARC Review: For Your Own Good // a decent and twisty thriller”

Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle – Review

Hello and welcome! Today I’m going to be reviewing Three Days Missing by Kimberly Belle. This was a good thriller, but I was also disappointed since it was pretty obvious who the bad guy was.

Book: Three Days Missing

Author: Kimberly Belle

Rating: ★★★★☆

Summary: It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: the call that comes in the middle of the night.

When Kat Jenkins awakens to the police on her doorstep, her greatest fear is realized. Her nine-year-old son, Ethan, is missing—vanished from the cabin where he’d been on an overnight field trip with his class. Shocked and distraught, Kat rushes to the campground where he was last seen. But she’s too late; the authorities have returned from their search empty-handed after losing Ethan’s trail in the mountain forest.

Another mother from the school, Stef Huntington, seems like she has it all: money, prominence in the community, a popular son and a loving husband. She hardly knows Kat, except for the vicious gossip that swirls around Kat’s traumatic past. But as the police investigation unfolds, Ethan’s disappearance will have earth-shattering consequences in Stef’s own life—and the paths of these two mothers are about to cross in ways no one could have anticipated.

Racing against the clock, their desperate search for answers begins—one where the greatest danger could lie behind the everyday smiles of those they trust the most.


*Thriller. This is every parent’s worst nightmare: getting a visit from the cops in the middle of the night telling you that your child is missing. And that’s what happens to Kat Jenkins. I liked how the plot was instantly tense from the beginning, even if it was a little slow, and created a lot of anticipation as the clock ticked and Ethan still remained missing. It was also interesting to see how Stef and her family fit into the story. It made me want to continue reading, to find out what happens, even though I was pretty sure I knew the identity of the kidnapper.

*Characters. I really felt so much for Kat, and I actually grew to like Stef, even though at first she annoyed me. Kat’s fear and emotions were so real and I understood her struggle and frustration with everyone. Stef’s role in the matter, combined with her anxiety and struggle to connect with her son, were also very interesting and heartfelt to read. I also really liked Lucas and his loyalty and love for Kat and Ethan. He truly is Kat’s brother in ever way but blood.


*The reveal of the kidnapper. It was really disappointing because the moment the character was introduced earlier in the book, I knew it was them. So the reveal was pretty underwhelming. But, it was still interesting to know why Ethan was taken and how everything had gone so horribly wrong.

*Ethan. I actually liked Ethan and his relationship with his mom, but it kind of annoyed me that he had such a high IQ. Lately, it seems like most thrillers that involves a kid, is about a kid who is “different” or really “smart” or unlike other kids. It’s starting to become cliche at this point, and I don’t see why Ethan couldn’t be a regular kid. And even if he had a high IQ, it didn’t need to be mentioned so many times.


I liked this, I would recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters were interesting, the plot build-up was great, and even though I knew who the kidnapper was, I was still a little thrilled by the ending.

One sentence summary: An interesting thriller with great characters and an underwhelming reveal.

Overall, 4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Chat with me

Have you read Three Days Missing? What did you think? Have you read any other books by Kimberly Belle? Do you find it annoying when the main kid in the story has a high IQ or is “unlike other kids”? Chat with me in the comments below!

The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden – Review

Welcome back friends! I hope you are having a great day! Today, I’m going to be reviewing The Victim of the System by Steve Hadden. This was an okay thriller, but I didn’t really like the characters, and I found some the twists unbelievable. I was given a free copy of this book by Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.

Book: The Victim of the System

Author: Steve Hadden

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Summary: Twenty-two years ago, Ike Rossi’s life was shattered when his parents were murdered. He surrendered his football scholarship and returned home to find their killer and raise his sister. Now, the crime of a local ten-year-old genius, Jack Cole, threatens to unearth old wounds.

When Ike meets Jack inside the Pittsburgh courthouse, he doesn’t see a murderer but instead a boy who’s been victimized by a system that’s left them both without justice. Despite knowing the case will resurrect the painful demons of his parents’ unsolved murders, Ike agrees to clear Jack’s name. The court of public opinion and the district attorney have an airtight case. Worse, taking Jack’s side thrusts Ike into the crosshairs of the most powerful family in Pittsburgh, the Falzones.

Now, with only days before the trial, Ike confronts the Falzones’ crumbling empire to find the shocking evidence that could save Jack. At the same time, he races to decipher a series of cryptic clues from Jack’s dead father that could hold the key to his son’s freedom. But each step closer to the truth draws them further into danger, and as three fractured families collide, Ike is forced to choose between saving Jack—and saving himself.

This was a disappointing book. I liked the thriller aspect and the mystery of what Nick Falzone was trying to hide, and how the pacing picked up towards the end. However, I felt that some of the characters were unrealistic, the really minor romance aspect was predictable, and some of the twists at the end were really unbelievable.

Ike Rossi is a former, yet still famous, quarterback who is currently a private investigator. He also has a secret career as a formidable boxer. I was a bit skeptical of Ike and never really warmed to him. I liked his sister and Mac a little bit, but as the story continued, they became less involved in the story. I felt like the fact that Ike is famous, and apparently one of the best PIs (so much so that he frightens the Falzones), and also a tough unbeatable boxer was unnecessary. It seemed kind of convenient for him to be this super hero guy who never backs down and always does what is right. When he meets Jack, he has an internal battle because he wants to help him, but already has a prior contract. But he ends up doing the right and honorable thing and helps Jack out.

Jack was okay, I didn’t really care about him, and I was a little annoyed by the fact that he is “special” and very smart. His aunt, Lauren, really annoyed me. She is demanding, rude, and I absolutely loathed her when she yelled at Ike for refusing to take the job, and when he left later on. She had no right to do so, especially when he had a prior commitment, and it annoyed me that her self-centered (or well, it’s more for Jack) attitude, and little speech about “real commitment” was one of the reasons why Ike took the case. I really hated her character. The tiny romance aspect between Ike and Lauren did not help matters at all. It could have been eliminated, and the story would have been fine.

The Falzones were interesting, and I kind of liked Shannon. The dynamics between the two halves of the family and the increasing tension added to the suspense and intrigue.

The ending was okay, however, some of the twists thrown in did not make sense at all and they weren’t fully explained. The ending was going really great until those twists happened.

In the end, this was a meh thriller with disappointing characters, and some unbelievable twists.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

You can read a much more positive review here before deciding! Have you read The Victim of the System? What did you think? What was the last thriller that you read? Chat with me in the comments below!