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In My Dreams I Hold a Knife: TikTok made me buy it! The breakout dark academia thriller everyone's talking about

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Shelf Awareness “A complex and deftly crafted psychological thriller of a mystery novel, "In My Dreams I Hold A Knife" showcases author Ashley Winstead's remarkably impressive narrative driven storytelling style. This reunion at Duquette, then, is more than just a chance for old friends to catch up—it’s also a chance for someone with close ties to the group to unmask a killer in their midst. They all gather back at the prestigious Duquette University for their ten year Homecoming reunion, and secrets hidden begin to come to light. As the book progresses, the author’s expert ability to dole out subtle clues and craft convincing red herrings will keep readers fully invested; this is one of those books where everyone has a dark side and seems like they might just be capable of murder.

I loved the writing style with the jumping back and forth in time, and I love that it’s mostly told in Jessica’s POV but we also get singular chapters from some of the other characters. Coop is my favorite character represents Judd Nelson’s bad boy character John Bender from Breakfast Club. At one point I suspected each of the six friends, and that is exactly how I want my thrillers to play out! No cost is too great, and, as readers will discover, Jess is plunged into some very dark depths indeed in pursuit of her goals. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.BLOOD SISTERS is a gripping mystery about a Cherokee archeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs who is summoned to rural Oklahoma to investigate the disappearance of two women…one of them her sister. With its compelling puzzlebox structure and delightfully ruthless cast of characters, this twisty dark academia thriller will have you flipping pages like you’re pulling an all-nighter to cram for a final. Especially last two flashbacks involving Jess’ birthday party with her family and and her talk with Heather where do they see themselves ten years later were the best flashback chapters of the book shook you to the core. Winstead expertly explores group dynamics through her book’s central characters, delving into the shifting allegiances and closely guarded secrets that can exist within cliques— and exploring the lasting impact these group dynamics can have long after individuals have gone their separate ways.

I found everything I crave in a thriller (multiple POV, two timelines and a clever plot) AND the characters were well-developped. As a student at the prestigious Duquette University, she was obsessed with getting perfect grades and establishing a place for herself in the school’s social scene, a goal she accomplished by dating her class’ golden boy and ingratiating herself into a friend group known as the “East House Seven. Fans of books such as The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will find this book captivating, as will anyone who enjoys being led down a winding, frightening path. I also listened to this playlist of dark academia music while I read the book and it was LIFE CHANGING: https://youtu.But an individual with close ties to the group has plans for Jess and her friends, and this college reunion is going to be about much more than reliving glory days gone by. Mystery and intrigue are on the weekend agenda, and Jess and her friends might just be walking unwittingly into a trap. The pacing is quick, but still gives the reader plenty of insights into the insecurities of the characters and how those same insecurities still haunt them, as their carefully hidden secrets, are brutally exposed one by one. This brooding book exemplifies so much of what I love about dark academic suspense: its authentic and immersive university setting provides the perfect competitive, pressure-cooker environment for its compelling cast of characters and increasingly urgent central mystery.

An astonishingly sure-footed debut, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is the definition of compulsive reading. Perfect for fans of dark academia, the well-drawn characters will remind many of their own college days. She’s self centered, ambitious, broken, over achiever, competitive, a true self destructive person showing sociopath tendencies.

It's an addictive story, dark academia at its best, but also it’ll leave you with a shadow of nostalgia for something that happened but it's now over. In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is required reading for fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Amy Gentry's Bad Habits. They are each distinguished well and the developing cracks in their relationships add a lot of dark, brooding suspense in an already sinister-feeling mystery.

Because of her wasted childhood, her warped moral compass, she cannot see what her true purpose and her father’s entire life goals replace her own dreams. One character is a jock, another a nerd, a spoiled rich girl, a girl from a religious family, a rebel etc. However, readers who are looking for thrills and tension right off the bat may find that it takes a bit of patience for that element of this story to fully kick in. The characters and their friendships with each other were so dark and gritty, each one more than what they appear on the surface. The different timelines and perspectives impressively illustrated exactly why these characters were as 'effed up' as they were, making the characters even that much more authentic!Now she is an Upper East Side girl named partner at one of the most sought after positions at a consulting company in NYC. Taut and atmospheric, with scenes from Jessica's childhood and college years interposed with the dramatic events of the present day, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife will keep readers guessing until the very last moment. I cannot wait to discuss this one with more readers, and I believe it will be in my Top Ten Reads of 2021 wrap-up as well.

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