quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green



I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for Three Drops of Blood by Gretchen McNeil from Rockstar Book Tours.  Check out my review below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Book Information

Title: Three Drops of Blood
Authors(s): Gretchen McNeil
Publication Date: March 21, 2023
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook; 336 pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
SourceRockstar Book Tours
Find ItMajor Retailers
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.  Please note the purchase links above are affiliate links.

Tour Schedule
Week One
3/1/2023 - Kait Plus Books - Excerpt/IG Post
3/2/2023 - Books and Kats - Excerpt 
3/3/2023 - YA Books Central - Excerpt/IG Post
3/4/2023 - The Momma Spot - Excerpt 

Week Two
3/5/2023 - Forthenovellovers - Review 
3/6/2023 - Thrillersandhistoricalfiction - IG Review
3/7/2023 - The Litt Librarian - Review/IG Post
3/8/2023 - gsreadingspree - IG Review
3/9/2023 - @pages.for.sanity - IG Review/TikTok Post
3/10/2023 - pluvioreads - Review/IG Post
3/11/2023 - onemused - IG Spotlight

Week Three
3/12/2023 - Dreaminginpages - IG Review
3/13/2023 - OneMoreExclamation - Review/IG Post
3/14/2023 - Emily Ashlyn - IG Review/Facebook Post
3/15/2023 - A Dream Within A Dream - Review/IG Post
3/16/2023 - travelersguidetobooks - IG Review
3/17/2023 - @bookishlifeofkels - IG Spotlight
3/18/2023 - Lisa Loves Literature - Review/IG Post

Week Four
3/19/2023 - A Blue Box Full of Books - IG Review/LFL Drop Pic
3/20/2023 - a GREAT read - Review/IG Post
3/21/2023 - Eli to the nth - Review/IG Post
3/22/2023 - Country Mamas With Kids - Review/IG Post
3/23/2023 - @just_another_mother_with_books - IG Review
3/24/2023 - @enjoyingbooksagain - IG Review
3/25/2023 - Just Another Reader - Review/IG Post

Week Five
3/26/2023 - popthebutterfly - Review/IG Post
3/27/2023 - @froggyreadteach - IG Review
3/28/2023 - @drew_ambitious_reading - IG Review/TikTok Post
3/29/2023 - Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer - Review 
3/30/2023 - GryffindorBookishNerd - IG Review
3/31/2023 - Momfluenster - IG Review/Facebook Post

The Summary

A Good Girls Guide to Murder meets Hitchcock in this novel from celebrated author Gretchen McNeil. A mundane office job takes a dark turn when a girl witnesses a double murder through the window.

Being an actress, Kate is no stranger to drama. And when her chance at a leading role gets cancelled, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get her acting career back on track even if that means getting a boring office job at her best friend's father's law firm so she can prove to her parents she can to support herself rather than go back to high school. Now, rather than living life on the big screen, she is stuck filing mundane contracts and watching the people in the office across from hers live their equally boring lives.

But when Kate sees things heat up between a woman and her assistant, her new source of entertainment take a turn for the worse when she witnesses a double murder. Now, she must get anyone to believe her and find out who this mystery woman is to get answers. But as she learns more and more about the circumstances leading to the gruesome act, she begins to realize there is a bigger mystery under the surface...

In this voyeuristic thriller filled with twists and turns, can Kate get anyone to believe her before she becomes the next victim?

My Review

A mix of contemporary and thriller, Three Drops of Blood is the latest book from author Gretchen McNeil.  YA thrillers are McNeil's bread and butter.  What makes Three Drops of Blood interesting is that it starts off reading as very much a contemporary YA.  This kind of threw me, as the cover jacket alludes to this being a thriller from the get.  

The story follows Kate, a teen actress trying to make her big break when things just go to the left.  Her co-star and the showrunner are caught in a scandal, causing the show to be cancelled.  This all leads to her parents firmly trying to squash Kate's dreams of being a full-time actor sans finishing high school or going to college.  They force her to prove to them she is capable of responsibility and making it on her own, so Kate ends up working at her best friend's father's law firm for the summer.  And that's where she witnesses something she never expected to, a woman being murdered in the office across the courtyard.

The pacing of this book is a little disjointed, as like I mentioned, the start reads just like a YA contemporary, chronicling Kate's acting journey and disagreements with her parents on her future.  As we are following Kate live her mundane life (not to say it isn't important), we get thrown into a fantastical story.  This both highlights the disjointed pacing, but also makes sense.  If a normal person witnessed a murder, it would surely fracture their lives. 

Kate tries to tell people, her parents, the police, etc. but no one believes her.  With it being a take on Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock, that makes sense, otherwise we wouldn't have this junior sleuth opportunity for Kate. The thriller portion of the book is really what shines, as McNeil is great at crafting twists and anticipation.  I feel like if the life issues Kate experienced were cut a little so readers could get to the murder, this book would've been a solid 4 stars.

Overall, this is a fun, modern update to a classic thriller.  Kate proves herself to be a capable, smart, and strong lead.  While you have to suspend disbelief, I felt it was a fun world to sink into once Kate started her investigation.  McNeil proves herself to still be able to craft an engrossing thriller, and I would recommend this to fans of thrillers and mysteries.

Final Rating



KATE SAT AS STILL AS SHE COULD IN THE FAUX LEATHER ARMCHAIR, sweat pilling up on her forehead and chin beneath the intense heat of the two thousand-Watt open face Tungsten flood lights while Marielle,  her makeup artist, stood at her shoulder, powder brush poised and ready. 

Kate was used to these moments of forced stillness. After three months in production on the Dirty Pretty Teens series, she’d gone from acting novice to seasoned pro, and she’d learned to sit quietly between takes and let the professionals do their jobs. 

At first, she’d wondered why they couldn’t, like, turn off the damn lights so it wasn’t as infernally hot while the actors held in place, but since the rest of the cast—all television veterans—were unfazed by the uncomfortable heat, Kate kept her thoughts to herself. Eventually, she realized that the grips frequently scuttled around resetting and rearranging the entire lighting apparatus during brief interruptions as the A.D. and cinematographer tweaked their setup. These pauses in the action were only a pause for the actors. Everyone else was still in motion. 

But this hold was different. Instead of the usual flurry of movement, most of the crew was focused on a corner of the coffee shop set where the director and producers were huddled around a small playback screen. 

Even blonde, teen sensation Belle Masterson, the star of Dirty Pretty  Teens who rarely paid attention to anything that wasn’t directly related to Belle Masterson, was interested in this coterie. Sure she’d whipped out her phone the moment the director yelled “cut” and had pretended to swipe through screens to avoid human interaction, but though her chin was tucked down, her pale cheeks had flushed pink and her blue eyes were fixed on the production team. 

Or on Dex Pratt’s ass. 

Which was essentially the same thing. 

Kate was new to the entertainment industry, but she was pretty sure  that seventeen-year-old actresses throwing themselves at their married, thirty-eight-year-old show runners was frowned upon. Not that it stopped Belle. She took every opportunity to touch Dex—a hand on his arm, a  brush against his shoulder, a playful shove like prepubescent kids who were learning that even negative touching was still touching. When Belle wasn’t eliciting skin-to-skin contact with Dex, she was flirting with him  from afar with signals even Kate’s cataract-ridden great-aunt could have spotted from fifty paces. 

That girl was wild bananas. 

Marielle made her finishing touches on Kate’s nose, her eyes straying  to the brain trust in the corner. “They’d better made a decision soon. You’re going to pumpkin at the top of the hour.”

Kate wasn’t supposed to move when getting her face touched up, but she always smiled when someone on set used “pumpkin” as a verb. It meant she, as a minor, was about to hit the end of her work day when the director would lose her for the next twelve hours. She was the only official minor on the production—Belle Masterson had miraculously passed her California High School Proficiency Exam at sixteen which meant she could work on set as “legal eighteen” without fear of pumpkining—and working around Kate’s availability under California labor law was a huge concern for the production. Usually, everyone moved at lightning speed as Kate’s pumpkin hour approached. 

But not today. 

Marielle swept her long jumbo box braids behind one shoulder and stepped back to check her work. “All set.” 

“Thank you!” Kate said, smiling. Marielle had been a huge help to Kate throughout the production, especially the first week on set when she’d offered gentle nudges and suggestions when Kate had no idea what she was supposed to be doing. Kate was pretty sure she’d have been fired if not for the kindness of her makeup artist. 

The scene they’d just shot was a poignant reminder of Kate’s bewildering first day on set. She and Belle—or rather their characters Noelle and Piper—at a coffee shop, arguing over their romantic entanglements, a mirror image of the first scene they’d ever shot together. She and Belle had sat in those same sticky, slick chairs, morphing from near strangers to BFFs the second the cameras started to film. Kate recalled how desperately nervous she’d been sitting across the table from the former Disney Channel star in her form fitting body con mini dress while Kate’s size sixteen curves were camouflaged by an open plaid blazer that couldn’t have buttoned over her ample chest without popping a seam. Even with brand new highlights in her reddish-brown hair and Marielle’s contouring skills, Kate had felt like a double-wide trailer parked beside a Ducati, and she was positive someone would realize she wasn’t actually an actress and that casting her had been a horrific mistake. 

Kate kept trying to remind herself of how awesome this opportunity was—the role of Noelle in the Dirty Pretty Teens books was certainly not written as a plus size person, and how often did actresses who looked like Kate get to indulge in frothy, soapy roles like this? But instead of calming her down, Kate had only increased her stress, feeling the pressure of  representation. She’d been sick to her stomach with it and the only thing that had saved her were her dad’s parting words when he’d dropped her  off that morning: “All the world’s a stage, Katie-Bear,” he’d said in his deep, booming bass-baritone. “When in doubt, look to the Bard.” 

Usually, Kate rolled her eyes at her dad’s insistence that every situation in the entire universe from asking someone on a date to negotiating global disarmament treaties could be solved with a simple “look to the Bard,” as if Shakespeare was a soothsaying prophet like Nostradamus and his plays were merely blueprints for the centuries that followed. Mack Williams— Shakespearean scholar, former amateur actor, and adjunct professor of Jacobean literature—was biased, but that day, his advice had struck a chord with his daughter. As she’d sat nervously at her makeup station, frantically going through the upcoming scene in her head, she’d started to panic. She was dropping words, reciting her lines out of order, forgetting her blocking. What was her motivation? Why was her character doing any of this bullshit in the first place? None of it made sense. When in doubt, look to the Bard. 

Kate had focused on her character Noelle Wagner, spunky best friend of Belle’s Piper Payne. Noelle was trustworthy and brave, though she harbored a secret crush on Piper’s on-again off-again boy toy Sebastian who had once asked Noelle out before falling for Piper. Meanwhile, Wyatt, the guy Piper really wanted, was pretending to be interested in Noelle in order to make Piper jealous, driving a wedge between the two friends that fueled most of the series’ plot points. It was a ridiculous and convoluted soap opera, and Kate was thankful that she’d never read the young adult novels on which the series was based because there was no way she’d have been able to keep a straight face at the audition if she’d known what was coming. 

Still, convoluted or not, the story lines were reminiscent of the four Athenian lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Piper, Sebastian, Wyatt, and Noelle were easily juxtaposed onto Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander,  and Helena. 

Helena, whose boyfriend falls in love with her best friend. Helena, who sees her best friend turn on her after the gods make both of the men lust after her. 

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, 
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. 

In an instant, years of Kate’s dad drilling Shakespeare into her unexpectedly paid off as the entire role of Noelle had come into focus. What she wanted, why she wanted it. For the first time since Kate had been cast, it all made sense. 

Maybe Shakespeare really was a prophet? 


Time and again over the past few months, Kate had returned to  Helena and A Midsummer Night’s Dream when she felt lost. Even now,  on the last day of shooting, in this final scene, a pivotal confrontation between best friends, Helena was a beacon. 

Is all the counsel that we two have shared, 
The sisters’ vows, the hours that we have spent
When we have chid the hasty-footed time 
For parting us? Oh, is all forgot? 

“Act three, scene two,” she said under her breath. 

“What?” Belle turned to her sharply, eyes narrowed, as if she’d caught Kate talking shit behind her back. 

“Oh, um, nothing.” 

“Did you say something about my acting?” 

Not everything is about you. “I was quoting Shakespeare.” “Why?” 

As someone who didn’t care how the sausage was made, the word “why” never came out of Belle’s mouth. Kate was momentarily thrown. Most of their interactions had been Belle monologuing about herself or giving unsolicited advice to her co-star, neither of which required much of a response. Which was fine. When Kate wasn’t sure how to respond,  she usually stayed quiet, and that seemed to be what Belle wanted most of the time anyway. 

Now Belle was looking at her intently, eyes pinched with suspicion, waiting for an answer. 

“I just...I use Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as inspiration for Noelle.” She paused, wondering why she felt the need to explain herself, but couldn’t stop talking. “My dad says you can solve almost any problem by looking to the Bard.” 

It sounded super corny when she said it out loud. 

Belle was silent for a moment, eyes still locked on Kate. “Hot or not?” “Shakespeare?” 

“The chick. Helen.” 

Belle’s priorities were so out of whack. “I guess Helena’s hot?” “You guess.” Belle dropped her phone to her lap, suddenly interested. “And who am I?”

That was a loaded question, but Kate decided to stick with Shakespeare. “I suppose that makes you Hermia.” 

“Awful name,” Belle said, wrinkling her upper lip. “Is she hot?” Kate needed to extricate herself from this conversation before her brain exploded. “Well, she has two different guys in love with her at the beginning of the play.” 

Belle gasped. “That sounds just like me!” Then she picked up her phone and went back to watching Dex while pretending to swipe. And I have to shoot a whole second season with her...
Movement and raised voices from the corner of the coffee shop forced everyone to attention. Dex shook hands with the A.D. then slapped the director on the back before turning around to address the entire room. He smiled broadly, an unfamiliar expression and one that made his overly tanned face seem more cheerful than shrewd. For half a second, Kate got what Belle saw in him. He was handsome—sure, like, whatever. This was L.A. Everyone was hot. And Dex’s brand of hot was “white frat boy” laced with a privileged douchebaggery which negated the hotness. But his authoritarian power on the set was, at the very least, arresting, and paired  with a cheerful smile, Kate kinda sorta understood the appeal. 

Except, no, ew. He was, like, almost as old as her dad. 

“Well—” Dex began, then paused dramatically, stretching his arms wide, holding everyone’s attention in his embrace. “That’s a wrap on season one!” 

Belle bolted to her feet, rapidly clapping her dainty hands like a mad pair of hummingbird wings, and let out a high-pitched cheer. It was the signal to celebrate, and the rest of the crew hugged and high-fived on a job well done. 

Dex made his way through a shallow sea of assistants and technicians, shaking hands and slapping people on their backs as if they were all his close, personal friends. He caught Kate’s eye and made a beeline for her. “Excellent job, Kate,” he said, flashing that Hollywood smile—dazzlingly white teeth against overly tanned skin. 

“Thank you.” 

He opened his arms, inviting a hug. “Bring it in.” 

That’s a first. Dex usually kept his cast at arm’s length, which was fine because Kate wasn’t exactly the touchy-feely type, and as he squeezed her shoulders, she felt her body tense. 

“I, uh, can’t believe it’s over,” she said awkwardly. 

“Only season one!” Dex lingered, holding Kate in place long after  she’d have been comfortable pulling away. “I get the pleasure of seeing you again in just a few months.” 

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Belle snarl. 

Dex tugged on her shoulders, pulling her body into his. A fatherly gesture, but Kate didn’t love how her double d’s smushed into his abs. “I’m so glad your friend dragged you to that audition.” 

“Uh, me too.” 

“So. Glad.” He tightened his embrace with each word, his arm dropping from her shoulders to her waist. 

Kate tried to express “I’m stuck here against my will” with just her face, but Belle was all daggers as she rounded the small table that buffered  Kate from her rage. 

“Are you done?” Belle practically spit out the words. 

Kate wasn’t sure if they were meant for Dex or herself, but Dex took  his time releasing Kate from the forced embrace, slowly letting his arms fall away. She scampered aside, smoothing down the lines of her shirt.  “Thanks, Mr. Pratt,” she said, intentionally formal. “I appreciate all of  your guidance.”

Belle stepped between them, honed on Kate like a cheetah on a wildebeest. “I’m sure you do.” 

“You’re very welcome,” Dex said, ignoring the starlet’s jealousy. “See you at the wrap party tomorrow, yes?” 

“Of course.” Suddenly, the Dirty Pretty Teens wrap party was the last place on the planet Kate wanted to be, but she couldn’t no show. She’d promised to take Rowan as her plus one and her best friend would never forgive her if she backed out. “See you then.” 

Dex opened his mouth to respond, but Belle tugged on his arm, shutting him up. Kate headed for her trailer, her actor’s high from shooting the final scene of the season dimming as she struggled with the weirdness of her encounter with Dex and Belle. 

She ventured a glance back at them as she slipped through the door into the tepid February sunshine. Belle was still pouting, hands crossed over her chest like a toddler on the brink of a meltdown. Dex leaned down, whispering, his lips close to her ear. Then just as he was about to pull away, Dex paused. 

And Kate thought she saw him plant a kiss on the arch of Belle’s porcelain neck.

About the Author

About the Author:
Gretchen McNeil is the author of #MurderTrending, #MurderFunding, #NoEscape, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Possess, 3:59, Relic, and Ten, which was adapted as the Lifetime original movie Ten: Murder Island in 2017, as well as Get Even and Get Dirty, adapted as the series "Get Even" which is currently streaming worldwide on BBC iPlayer and Netflix.  You can find her online at www.GretchenMcNeil.com, on Instagram @Gretchen_McNeil, and on Twitter @GretchenMcNeil.

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THREE DROPS OF BLOOD, US Only.

Ends April 7th, midnight EST.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by; I love to hear from you!

Happy reading!!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...