In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews!
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Harper Collins on February 22, 2022
Also by this author: The Guest List, The Hunting Party
Format: Hardcover (360 pages) • Source: Book of the Month
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List comes a new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide…
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
While not my favorite of Lucy Foley’s three books I’ve read, it’s a bit different from them at least! Both THE HUNTING PARTY and THE GUEST LIST involve remote locations/islands where someone is murdered and everyone is a suspect. THE PARIS APARTMENT has a different setup, which I appreciated. Jess is heading to her brother Ben’s new place in Paris because she needs to escape her previous life… only when she arrives, he’s nowhere to be found. Jess begins creeping on the apartment buildings’ inhabitants and trying to figure out who knows something.
I didn’t find this one to be quite as addicting as her other books for the beginning portion at least. I did sit down and read the final third in one sitting, which is always a good thing for me! As with most mysteries, I had a few theories and felt like I knew what happened. I enjoyed that this book was paced out nicely with surprises and twists – there’s one revelation around the 50-60% mark that definitely impacted the rest of the book and made me more intrigued.
The final portion of the story was interesting and definitely ended in a way I didn’t expect! I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this book except that I appreciated the twists and suspecting every single resident of the apartment building for various reasons. Overall, I’d recommend it if you liked her previous books. Same engaging and often addicting writing style with a bit of a twist on her previous concepts.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Penguin Random House on May 3, 2022
Also by this author: Beach Read, People We Meet on Vacation, Happy Place
Format: Paperback (384 pages) • Source: Purchased
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One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming....
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
If you like Emily Henry, I don’t think this one will disappoint you! (If you don’t like Emily Henry… I don’t think this one will change your mind!)
This story is about Nora, a literary agent from NYC, and her sister Libby as they head down for a full month to a small North Carolina town (that just so happens to be the small town featured in Nora’s client’s latest bestseller). Libby is very pregnant and wants some time away from her husband and two kids before the next baby arrives. Who else happens to be from this little town and staying local to help his family’s fledgling bookstore? Charlie, Nora’s editor nemesis from the city. Cue the enemies-to-lovers romance!
I enjoyed that this book centered a lot around classic literary tropes and Nora’s experience with them in her job. The story is attempting to turn them on their head – Nora has no plans to fall in love with a local southern farmer and want to move there to save a local business.
I really love that Henry’s writing can make me laugh out loud at times. It’s a classic case where maybe the characters are a little too charming and funny, to the point where it’s not realistic, but I don’t mind when I’m reading. This is more of a hindsight issue/thought for me.
I think this book is probably my least favorite of hers, just because it was slightly boring and repetitive at times? The characters had similar conversations and were back-and-forth on things a lot. The chemistry between the main characters was good but not great. I liked the conversation about tropes and thought it added to the story.
Libby and Nora had an interesting sibling relationship and I liked how it was explored throughout the novel. Nora has always felt responsible for Libby’s happiness and protection, and we get to see how Libby feels about everything later in the story. Their bonding over grief over losing their mother was fleshed out really well too.
There were a lot of “twists” in the final chapters of the book that I honestly didn’t see coming, which is fun in contemporary romance! Things started connecting and getting pieced together toward the end. Overall, this was a really strong romance and sibling story!