All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam

Date of publication: September 6th, 2022

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Audiobook, Suspense, Relationships, Crime

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

The weekend getaway at the gorgeous manor hotel should have been perfect. But Becca is freshly smarting from her husband Blake’s betrayal and knows this is just an expensive attempt at an apology. She may not be ready to forgive him, but the drinks are strong, the estate is stunning, and the weekend has an elaborate 1920s murder mystery theme. She decides to get into the spirit of things and enjoy their stay. What could go wrong?

Before long, the game is afoot: famed speakeasy songstress Ida Crooner is found “murdered,” and it’s up to the guests to sniff out which of them might be the culprit. Playing the role of Miss Debbie Taunte, an ingenue with a dark past, Becca dives into the world of pun-heavy clues, hammy acting, and secret passages, hoping to at least take her mind off her marital troubles.

Then, the morning after they arrive, the actress playing Ida’s maid fails to reappear for her role. The game’s organizer–that’s Miss Ann Thrope to you–assumes the young woman’s flakiness is to blame, but when snooping for clues as “Debbie,” Becca finds evidence she may not have left of her own free will.


First Line:

The mansion changed at night, all the rigid lines and hard surfaces of the daytime melting into something softer, more secret, a little strange.

All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon

When I read the plot for All Dressed Up, I was immediately intrigued- a mystery that takes place during an immersive 1920s-themed murder mystery. I couldn’t hit that accept button fast enough. I was looking forward to reading bad puns (and yes, there were plenty) and solving the actress’s disappearance. But, this book fell short of my expectations. Not to say I didn’t like it (I did), but it was the characters (mainly Becca) who made me “meh” about this book. Everything else was perfect.

All Dressed Up did have an enjoyable and exciting plotline. The story centers around Becca and her husband, Blake. Blake had arranged a weekend getaway to an immersive murder mystery. But Becca isn’t exactly thrilled about it. Blake and herself are going through a rough patch in their marriage, and she is still furious about what happened. But once there, the magic of the mansion and the mystery draw her in. But, a real-life mystery draws her in when one of the actresses goes missing. Becca is determined to find out what happened to her. But is she getting in over her head? Can Becca solve the fictional murder mystery as well as the real-life one? And, while she’s at it, can she forgive her husband for what he did?

All Dressed Up is a fast-paced mystery that takes place on in a mansion somewhere in New York state. I didn’t catch the town’s name (or there wasn’t one). But with the talk of New York City and going upstate, I figured it was in New York.

The characters are the main reason I was “meh” about All Dressed Up. Individually, they all got on my nerves, and together, that nerve was stretched to the max. I will not discuss each character. I will focus on the main ones, Becca and Blake.

  • Becca: I had mixed feelings about Becca. On the one hand, she was a great detective (both in and out of character). She genuinely cared about the missing maid. But her detective work bordered on obsessive. However, she was awful to Blake. Yes, I get that he cheated on her, and I understood her behavior for the first 25% of the book. But every overture he made, be it doing something she liked and that made him uncomfortable, she was awful to him about. She was mean and spiteful, which didn’t gel with me.
  • Blake: Out of all the characters, I did like him the best. He acknowledged and owned that he screwed up badly. He was willing to do whatever it took to work on his marriage. But there is a line between constantly apologizing for one thing and taking the brunt of Becca’s anger for everything. Becca crossed that line before the book started.

As I mentioned above, the secondary characters got on my nerves as much as the main ones. But, they did add extra depth to the plotline and did provide a few red herrings to the mystery.

All Dressed Up fit perfectly into the mystery and suspense genres. The author did a fantastic job of keeping me guessing who the killer was in the game and why the maid went missing. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, several red herrings were thrown out by the secondary characters.

The author wrote the main storyline well with Becca, the other guests, and the fake mystery. I loved the puns (even if they were groan-worthy at times). I also really liked how the people running the show made the guests work for the clues. Because, on my end, I am also trying to figure out who the killer was. I made notes, and it wasn’t who I thought it was.

The other storyline was well written, with Becca investigating the actress/maid’s disappearance. The author did keep me guessing about what happened to her. I did figure out what happened by the middle of the book, but I didn’t expect who. Talk about a big twist in the plot there. A “no freaking way” was thrown out when it was revealed. And the reason this person did it was heartbreaking.

The end of All Dressed Up was typical of the genre. I liked how the author revealed who the killer was in the fake mystery, why the maid disappeared, and who was behind it. As I mentioned above, it was a twist that I didn’t see coming. Also, what I didn’t see coming was something to do with Becca and Blake. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but it did tie up that storyline.

Three Reasons You Should Read All Dressed Up:

  1. The murder mystery storyline.
  2. The puns. As bad as they were, I was dying laughing when they came up.
  3. The twist at the end of the book. I didn’t see that coming..

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Read All Dressed Up:

  1. Becca. I felt terrible for her, but I couldn’t stand her.
  2. Blake. I explained why above.
  3. The other characters. They got on my nerves.

I would recommend All Dressed Up to anyone over 16. There is no sex, mild language, and mild to moderate violence.


If you enjoyed reading All Dressed Up, you will enjoy reading these books:

December 2022 TBR

November has flown by for me (I don’t know about you guys). It was a busy month. Here is what I am planning to read for December.


Indie Authors

From Novel Cause
From Author
Author Request
Author Request
From Novel Cause
From Novel Cause

NetGalley


Goodreads Giveaways

Kindle winner
Paperback winner

November 2022 Wrap UP

Here is what I read/posted in November.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

No review
No review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 1st
Review coming December 27th, 2022
No Review
Review coming January 3rd, 2023
Review coming January 10th
Review coming December 9th
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review coming December 2nd
Review coming December 10th
No Review
No Review
No Review
No Review
Review Coming December 3rd
Review Coming December 4th

Books I got from NetGalley:

Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
It was a limited-time Read Now book
It was a limited-time Read Now book
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
Publisher Invite
SMP/Minotaur Influencer Program
SMP Widget invite
SMP Widget Invite

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

From Author
From Novel Cause
Author Request
Author Request
Author Request
From Novel Cause
From Novel Cause

Goodreads Giveaway

Paperback

Books Reviewed:

The Last Huntress by Lenore Borja (review here)

Alias Emma by Ava Glass (review here)

A Broken Clock Never Boils by C.J. Weiss (review here)

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu (review here)

A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor (review here)

Shadowed Intent by Reily Garrett (review here)

Death in a Dark Alley by Bradley Pay (review here)

Conviction by Michael Cordell (review here)

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang (review here)

Wicked Bleu by E. Denise Billups (review here)

A Maiden of Snakes by Jane McGarry (review here)

Mostly Human 2 by D.I. Jolly (review here)

Shampoo & Condition by M.L. Ortega (review here)

Spies Never Lose by M. Taylor Christensen (review here)

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (review here)

Bookish Travels—November 2022 Destinations

I saw this meme on It’s All About Books and thought, I like this!! So, I decided to do it once a month also. Many thanks to Yvonne for originally posting this!!

This post is what it says: Places I travel to in books each month. Books are wonderful and take you to places you would never get a chance to go. That includes places of fantasy too!!

So….enjoy!! Please let me know if you have read these books or traveled to these areas (other than the fantasy….lol).


United States:

New York (Brooklyn), Louisiana (New Orleans)
New York (New York City), Texas (College Station, Bryan), North Carolina (Raleigh), Washington D.C.,
California (Los Angeles)
Colorado
California (Orange County)
Georgia (Atlanta), Alabama (Birmingham)
Utah (Salt Lake City, Hill AFB), New York (Long Island, Manhattan, New York City), New Jersey (Glenn Rock), California (San Francisco, Lake Tahoe), Washington (Seattle), Missouri (Branson), Michigan (Detroit, Ann Arbor), Florida (Tampa), Ohio (Columbus), New Mexico (Albuquerque)
Alabama, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pittsburg), New York (New York City), Washington (Seattle)
New York
New York (Long Island, Lake Ronkonkoma), New Mexico (Los Alamos)
North Carolina (Asheville)
California (Los Angeles), Georgia (Atlanta, Isle of Hope, Savannah, Beaufort)
New York (New York City, Manhattan)
California (Berkeley)
Vermont (Lake Salem), New Hampshire, Connecticut (Hartford, Mercy Hills)
Nevada (Las Vegas)
New York City, New York
New York (New York City), Wisconsin

The Netherlands

Rotterdam

France

Strasbourg, Southern France, Paris
Paris

Brazil

Brasília

Switzerland

Geneva, Zürich

Ireland

Dublin

Belgium

Brussels

Russia

St. Petersburg
Vladimir, Murimstevo Castle
Lake Chebarkul

Italy

Monferrato, Naples
Orvieto, Rome
Naples and Capri
Venice

Norway

Bergen, Borgefjell

Poland

Krakow

Canada

Syn Island
Prince Edward Island (Georgetown), Quebec

Japan

Tokyo, Mako Island, Tomo Island

Australia

Australian Coast, Lord Howe Island
Cairns
Melbourne

Uganda


Ignisia

Forest of Ghosts (Flamehaven),

Germany

Lindenmuhle

Spain

Granada, Carboneras, Barcelona, Cantabrian Mountains (Torre Cerredo), City of Lights (fictional)

England

Regency London
1970’s London
Cambridge
London, Reading
Little Hanting, Cumbria (Carlisle)

Outer Space

Mars (Carson), Eden

Khazinth


Rynne


Avenlor

Dagor, Gammod-Dhol

Mor


Antarctic

South Georgia Island

New Zealand

Akaroa
Christchurch

Ilarius

Capital

Belarus

Minsk

WWW Wednesday: November 16th, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

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


Personal:

Wednesday (after last week’s post went live): I took Tony (my youngest cat) to the vet. I noticed that his pupils were two different sizes, and the eye with the smaller pupil was cloudy and bulging out. When I got to the vet, there was nothing wrong. His eye was slightly inflamed, but other than that, it was fine. I told the vet that I wasn’t imagining things. She agreed….lol.

Thursday: Nothing happened. It was a chill day, and I folded a lot of laundry.

Friday: Kids had off due to it being Veterans Day. It rained out, and we were stuck inside.

Saturday/Sunday: Nothing was done other than our usual stuff on Saturday. Sunday, Miss R had a make-up horseback riding lesson at 3 pm.

Monday/Tuesday: This was a repeat of the last week.

The longest book I read this week was: Kaiju Survival Guide.

The shortest book I read this week: A Wicked Game (it took me 2 hours to finish)

I decided to look at the books I had on my NetGalley’s Not Active shelf. I added a few books I had forgotten the last time I went through that shelf. I also double-checked to see if I had books on my Kindle (and, surprise, I was missing 4!!). So, that changed my reading list quite a bit.

I am slightly behind with my reviews. I am 6 reviews (2 will be written this week) behind. When BK is home, I can’t concentrate enough to sit down and write a review. He is worse than my kids when constantly interrupting me (and he knows it).

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:


What I am currently reading:

Nineteen-year-old Emily Díaz is lost, left to wander in a familiar landscape devoid of life. She is lost in a world in which her friends, her loved ones, the entire human race has moved into the future without her. Racing to catch up, she finds herself in a shocking new world, a futuristic world of incredible advancements. Medicine is extending human life, giving scientists reason to believe that immortality will one day be a reality. Famine and poverty have been eradicated. World peace has been achieved. Humanity is reaching deep into the cosmos. It is all so perfect…perhaps too perfect. Emily is skeptical. She begins asking questions. As she finds cracks in the utopian facade, a powerful force from a distant world begins to call to her, begins to beckon her. It wants her, and it will not give up until it has her. She finds herself torn, both terrified and entranced by this mysterious force. She wants to run from it but is inexplicably drawn to it. She doesn’t know what it wants or why it only wants her, but as time marches on, her compulsion to face it begins to take precedence over her fear. Her determination to face the mysterious force sets her on the path toward an unexplored planet sixteen light-years away…where it waits for her…waits to answer the questions she has been asking…waits to show her what it has in store for her…waits to fulfill her destiny. Emily Díaz has a date with destiny. It is a destiny that will have a monumental impact on the fate of humanity.


What books I think I’ll read next:

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins comes a deliciously wicked gothic suspense, set at an Italian villa with a dark history, for fans of Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware.

As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.

Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.

As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.

Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.

Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.

A totally gripping thriller about a desperate mother with a troubled past.

One year ago, Isabelle Drake’s life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally.

Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year.

Isabelle’s entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle’s past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust… including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

Before the days of men, there were elves. In a time they were great and powerful, the first dwellers, the brightest ray of dawn upon the earth. They brought light and music to the world and every breeze that stirs and wave that crashes still echoes with the wonder of the fair folk.
But a foulness is brewing in the east, where men deal in sorcery. They summon dire forces, unleashing a terrible power into the world. And the elves, once immortal, now fade from the earth. But knowing that all sorcery comes from Runes that were carved ages ago, Efkin, a young elf lord, races to find and destroy the hidden Runes before all is lost. He sets out to recover the horn of his ancestors that long ago summoned the forces that shaped the world. Only the horn has the power to break the Runes. He journeys into the east, but comes too close to the heart of sorcery and does not dare blow the horn. If he is tainted by the poison of the Runes the horn will sound a ruinous note that could spell the end of the earth.

Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Jed Hawthorne.

But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Jed?

With Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris takes the psychological thriller to shocking new heights. Now she’ll hold you captive with this stunning new thriller about one woman wed into a family with deadly intentions.

WWW Wednesday: November 2nd, 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

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


Personal:

  • Thursday: I took Vinnie in to get his microchip. The head vet of the shelter came out and apologized to me. She said she would make sure that it didn’t happen again. Vinnie was a little miffed at me for taking him, but he got over it.
  • Friday: I had a doctor’s appointment. I walked in thinking the worse thing that would happen to me would be a flu shot. I walked out with a referral for a mammogram, a pamphlet for a colonoscopy (bleh), and a referral for an MRI (I am having unexplained dizzy spells). Oh, and I got the flu shot, too…lol. Miss R had horseback riding, and she did very well. She was the only person in her lesson and got personalized attention from her instructor. It was dark when we were done, and we had to use flashlights to see the pasture we were turning the horse into.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Miss B had a sleepover with 6 people. I had 7 teenage girls stuffed into my tiny living room. It was cramped, but they all had a blast.
  • Monday: It was Halloween!! Also, Tony went to the vet to get his last kitten shots. Thank God that I don’t have to go back until next year. I think they were sick of my face. Miss B had 3 friends come over to trick or treating with us. Speaking of that, Mr. Z’s plague doctor costume was a huge hit. He was asked a few times for pictures. Miss R went as Samara from The Ring, but she refused to wear her wig (we got her a long hair, black one). Miss B was a greaser. Everyone got a ton of candy.
  • Tuesday: Miss R stayed home from school. She was complaining of a stomach ache and wasn’t feeling the best. Since she did so well on her report card (A honor roll), I let her.
  • I am killing it with my reading. I am almost done with my author/indie publisher requests for this month (I have 3 left). I am also a week ahead with my reviews. I am beginning to feel the way I did before Covid hit!!
  • My longest book this week was the Hell Hath No Fury Anthology. It took me from last Wednesday to Sunday night to read it.
  • My shortest book this week was Death in a Dark Alley. I read it in a couple of hours yesterday.

So that’s the essential things for this past week. How was your week?

As always, let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books!!


What I Recently Finished Reading:

I have two this week (since I finished both last night)


What I am currently reading:


What books I think I’ll read next: