Arc Review: Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson

Title: Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery
Publication Date: December 27th, 2022
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Senior year at Ellingham Academy for Stevie Bell isn’t going well. Her boyfriend, David, is studying in London. Her friends are obsessed with college applications. With the cold case of the century solved, Stevie is adrift. There is nothing to distract her from the questions pinging around her brain—questions about college, love, and life in general.
Relief comes when David invites Stevie and her friends to join him for study abroad, and his new friend Izzy introduces her to a double-murder cold case. In 1995, nine friends from Cambridge University went to a country house and played a drunken game of hide-and-seek. Two were found in the woodshed the next day, murdered with an ax.
The case was assumed to be a burglary gone wrong, but one of the remaining seven saw something she can’t explain. This was no break-in. Someone’s lying about what happened in the woodshed.
Seven suspects. Two murders. One killer still playing a deadly game.” (Goodreads)

To say this one hurts to write would be an understatement. I’m just not convinced that these were the same characters and this fits into the Truly Devious series. After loving the other books I am just utterly disappointed.

The book is told through dual timelines and multiple point-of-views. The present time point-of-view comes from Stevie Bell who is off on another mystery once again, although it takes quite a bit to get there. I can’t say that I was invested in the story until around the 60% mark and even then the ending was just not it. I’m actually very upset about it lol. I think that this book tried to do too much and because of that the mystery wasn’t as exciting because nothing really happens with it until too close to the ending and even then it is so lackluster! It just doesn’t feel like the same series.

I felt more irritated with these characters than I ever have before. I hadn’t once had a problem with David or Stevie, but they were both kind of selfish and it wasn’t a vibe. All I have to say about David is that he was fine, a bit bland, but then we get to the ending and he is a dillweed. I don’t like him and I never will. Stevie was too caught up in her relationship to care about her future and when she wasn’t obsessing about that she was on the case for the mystery and lying to her friends. I can see the correlation between her friend group and the nine so I guess at least there was that. 🤷‍♀️

I also felt like this book was trying to be more upper YA and it made the book have a different vibe. I think this point correlates with Stevie’s relationship having more page time and it’s also associated with the friend group the nine. Sex is mentioned quite a lot and it just wasn’t my cup of tea, especially when I am here for a mystery.

Overall, it was okay at times but honestly ended up not being a book I liked. I’m going to be disappointed for quite some time…


WWW Wednesday | 11-30-22

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

My audiobook will be Pride and Protest by Nikki Payne but I won’t be starting it until tomorrow since it is a pick for my readathon tbr! I can’t wait!

I will be starting Death Checked Out (Larkspur Library Mysteries #1) by Leah Dobrinska. It is an arc from Netgalley and sounds very interesting. Hopefully it will be another cozy mystery I like!

  • The Do-Over by Lynn Painter (🎧) ⭐⭐✨
  • City of Time and Magic (Found Things #4) by Paula Brackston (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Nine Liars (Truly Devious #5) by Maureen Johnson (arc) ⭐⭐
  • Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I will be listening to Five Survive by Holly Jackson or A Thousand Heartbeats by Kiera Cass. Both came in today from the library!

My next couple reads will be for my readathon and they are A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross and The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas.


Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

Arc Review: The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4) by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: June 15th, 2021
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.” (Goodreads)

When I found out about this book at the beginning of the year I was so ecstatic that Stevie would have another adventure solving a mystery. Truly Devious was the first YA Mystery I read and it’s what got me out of a reading slump as well as started my love for mysteries! Maureen Johnson never disappoints and this one hooked me right from the beginning.

As with the previous books, there are two timelines as well as two-point-of-views. In the present timeline the point-of-view corresponds with Stevie Bell. The real life Sherlock who is obsessed with murder. The past timeline has a few different point-of-views as well as something else but it’s a secret and it ties everything in.

Stevie is still the same ‘ol Stevie and she is accompanied by Janelle and Nate. I have always enjoyed Nate as he is hilarious and really gives us the comedic relief. I would say that he is more present than Janelle at times but she is still always there for Stevie which I love. And of course, David does make appearances and I’m not going to lie I actually liked him a lot in this book.

Since the mystery wraps up by the end the book is pretty quick paced and I was devouring it. It was hard to set it down once the timeline changed because the chapter would leave off on a cliffhanger and I had to know what would happen next. I may have stayed up past the time I usually go to bed because I kept saying, “just one more chapter!”. I also thought I would be murdered in my sleep but that is neither here nor there, haha. I’m a chicken!

There are a lot of suspenseful moments. I also kept trying to figure out who it could be and every time I had an idea along came another plot twist! I really wasn’t expecting the reveal as well as the why. It was intense and definitely unique.

Overall, this was another fantastic book from this author! It was just what I needed and left me wanting more. I really do hope that there will be more books because I love these characters and I never want it to end.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

top ten


Hello, Lovely Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

If you follow me on Instagram you would see that I read a lot of different books from different genres. I don’t know if I’d be able to answer this specific question because I have read a few books from genres I don’t typically read and have found a new love for that genre. So, I am going to be listing books that “were” outside of my comfort zone that I ended up enjoying and now have read more books from that genre!

grey line

354299991.) YA Contemporary

Wild Blue Wonder got me into YA Contemporary. It was just really good and I loved every minute of reading it. Since then, I have picked up different YA Contemporary books and although some may not be for me I do find myself enjoying one every now and again.



405904272.) Historical Fiction

This one is a complicated genre for me. The Governess of Penwythe Hall was a book I took a chance on and was definitely outside of my comfort zone. Historical Fiction and I just don’t mix. It’s more hate than love but I do every now and again like to branch out and see if I will be able to find another that piques my interest.



44284639._SY475_3.) Romance

I decided to request Would Like to Meet from NetGalley. It was definitely outside of my comfort zone but it was just so good! I haven’t read any other Romance books yet but I am sure I will. Now, there are some I will definitely stay away from, haha.



4.) YA Mystery/Thriller

This has been one of my new found genres/sub genres. Whatever you want to call it, I love it! Stalking Jack the Ripper, Truly Devious, and any book by Kara Thomas has really made me love this genre. I am obsessed and will pick one up when I am feeling a slump coming on from Fantasy.

grey line

What is a book that was out of your comfort zone? Have you went back for more in that genre?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads


Friday Favorites: Books Outside Your Usual Genre

friday favorites


Hello, fellow bookworms!

Today’s post is a tag that was created by Something of the Book and she has a whole list of Friday Favorites to follow. They are awesome and it is a fun way to find new books with a twist and see how others have answered it!

I am one to always pick up Fantasy. It is my go-to genre and one that I don’t ever see myself not ever reading. There are times that I do venture out of my comfort and am surprised by the books I read. So here is my list of books that are outside of my usual genre!


1.) Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco Series

I have been obsessed with this series since I finished the first book. I am so excited for the third book but so sad this series is coming to an end!

2.) Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak

Here’s the thing, I tend to not like Contemporary. It’s a love/hate type of relationship. I did absolutely love this one and you should definitely check it out!

3.) Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson Series

If you didn’t see this one coming then you must not have me on Instagram, haha. I love this contemporary/mystery and can’t wait for the third book!

4.) Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

I read this one recently and absolutely loved it! Creepy at times but so good!

5.) The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Yes, another one by the same author! I have been getting into thrillers and hers are just wonderful and really help to get me out of my reading slumps.


The Vanishing Stair: Book Review

book review


Title: The Vanishing Star (Truly Devious #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Ya Mystery/Contemporaryborder

Synopsis: “The Truly Devious case—an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936—has consumed Stevie for years. It’s the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school. For her safety, they say. She must move past this obsession with crime.

Stevie’s willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. And when Stevie finally returns, she also returns to David: the guy she kissed, and the guy who lied about his identity—Edward King’s son.

But larger issues are at play. Where did the murderer hide? What’s the meaning of the riddle Albert Ellingham left behind? And what, exactly, is at stake in the Truly Devious affair? The Ellingham case isn’t just a piece of history—it’s a live wire into the present.” (Goodreads)border

My Review:

If you read my review for the first book in this series, you will have noticed that this one was rated one star higher. This one totally deserves that extra star and I will tell you why!

This book doesn’t start off right where the first left off. It talks about events that happened after that but not reactions from the characters that were a apart of that moment. I was a little confused by this approach in the beginning but in the chapter following it made it more clear as to the events that happened after that epic cliffhanger.

One reason this book rated higher is because I was finally able to connect better with the characters. Truly Devious introduced the characters to me but The Vanishing Stair took their emotions/actions and ran with them! I felt connected during a certain scene with Stevie and David. It was a quite intense scene at that. The other characters are still present and a couple new ones are introduced as well.

As for the plot, the mystery is still ongoing! You think it will be resolved and then you get to the end which has a bigger cliffhanger than the first and realize that the third book doesn’t come out until January 2020! Yes, I am bitter, haha. The mystery has really evolved and new clues and even bodies have come forth. Honestly, the plot keeps me so entwined that I had a hard time putting it down to sleep or even for a couple minutes. It is just that good!

I definitely recommend this series for fans of YA mystery. Even if you aren’t, I still recommend it. It is not a genre I pick up but I am hooked!

Truly Devious: Book Review

book review


29589074Title: Truly Devious
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Mystery/Contemporary

Synopsis: “Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.” (Goodreads)

My Review:

Since I have been in a reading slump for awhile, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try books I normally wouldn’t pick up. Truly Devious was one of those books and I am actually grateful for that reading slump because I would have missed out on this fantastic book!

One aspect of this book that I really liked was how the chapters were separated by past and present. It helped to really bring the mystery to life and suck you in! It sucked me in so much that I read it until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and then continued to binge read it when I woke up. The past and present chapters also made the plot quite intriguing from the beginning because of the past being the first thing you read about.

The plot twists were ones I didn’t see coming. This is great when this happens because I want to be surprised as I read. Of course, I had speculations and even when I thought I knew who the culprit might be it only covered the surface. Let me tell you, that ending was insane!

As for the characters, I didn’t feel too connected with Stevie Bell but this book doesn’t make it a hit or miss when it comes to connecting with characters because to me it is more plot driven. I did enjoy reading about Stevie because she is obsessed with crime and wants to solve the case. She is full of determination and its one quality that I love about people. Although she never would have imagined the mystery going the way it did.

Overall, this was a great read. If you are into mysteries then I would suggest checking this book out!


May Wrap-Up

monthly wraup


monthlyreads.jpgHello, Lovely Readers!

It’s that time again for another monthly wrap-up. This month my reading wasn’t the greatest. I had a major reading slump and am slowly coming out of it. I didn’t finish all that I wanted to accomplish but such is life. I still read, right?

I did manage to at least read 9 books and 2 mangas.

Here are the titles, author and rating:


5 stars:
A Pack of Vows and Tears by Olivia Wildenstein
The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson

4 stars:
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Heartwood Box by Ann Aguirre
Warcross by Marie Lu
Seraph of the End Vol. 1 (Manga)

3 stars:
Wild Ones Vol. 1 (Manga)
Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton
The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

WWW Wednesday (5/22/19)


Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading:
I don’t have a current read at the moment since I am still deciding on what to read next. I think I am going to start The Vanishing Stair because I really enjoyed the first book and am curious to see what happens next!




Recently Finished:
I recently finished Truly Devious. YA Mystery/Contemporary isn’t a sub-genre that I dive into but honestly, it has been getting me out of my reading slump. I couldn’t put this book down!



Reading Next:
I am very behind in my reads and so I have a lot to choose from which makes it hard! I think I will read Gods of Jade and Shadow because it is arc that is coming out soon!