Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the Summer

Posted March 21, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the SummerThe Other Lola by Ripley Jones
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 12, 2024
Also by this author: Missing Clarissa
Format: eARC (307 pages) • Source: Publisher
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What happens when the people you love the most are the people you can trust the least?

In the months after Cam and Blair broke their small hometown’s legendary missing-girl story and catapulted to accidental fame, they vowed never to do it again. No more mysteries, no more podcasts, and no more sticking their heads where they don’t belong.

Until Mattie Brosillard, a freshman at their high school, shows up on their doorstep, begging Cam and Blair for help. Mattie's sister Lola disappeared mysteriously five years ago. No trace of her was ever found. Now, she's back--but Mattie is convinced the girl who returned is an impostor. Nobody believes Mattie's wild story--not Mattie's brother, not Mattie's mother, and not even Cam and Blair. But something is definitely wrong in the Brosillard family. And Blair has her own reasons for wanting to know what really happened to Lola while she was gone.

With Cam and Blair still struggling with the aftermath of their first mystery―and with new secrets swirling between them―the stakes are higher than ever in this can’t-miss sequel to Missing Clarissa.

I didn’t love Ripley Jones’ debut for a variety of reasons (the number one is that I fully predicted the mystery/whodunnit and thought it was absurdly predictable). For some reason, I told myself I’d give their second book a shot. I ended up liking THE OTHER LOLA more, so I’m glad I did.

This story centers around another missing girl from the same town as the first book. I didn’t fully realize this was a companion novel but it follows Cam and Blair, the podcasters from MISSING CLARISSA. They are approached by a younger girl at their school whose sister went missing five years ago and suddenly returned. The catch? She thinks this Lola is an impostor. Her family doesn’t believe her so she enlists the help of Cam and Blair to figure out what’s actually going on.

I thought the mystery here was quite interesting but took a little while to get going. Cam and Blair are going through their own stuff, which takes up a lot of the plot. If I really think about the progression of the mystery and investigation, it honestly didn’t get as much page time. I liked the found family vibes of this one with Cam’s mom’s new boyfriend and Mattie joining in their little crew a bit. Those were wholesome chapters.

This book has a ton of political references and discussions. I don’t want to get into it in depth here but I am a very liberal person, so I agree with many of the things that Cam regularly brings up due to her mom and girlfriend’s influence. That’s not my issue. There were a ton of places where she would go on a rant (again, which I generally agreed with the content of) that didn’t fit in with the plot or progression of the story. It often felt more like the author was just inserting some of their political beliefs in here. I wouldn’t say that it took me out of the story but just reads very heavy-handed. This was true of the first book as well but I feel like I really noticed it here more.

I predicted a good portion of the ending but not as much as MISSING CLARISSA, so I would consider that a win and general improvement in their sophomore novel. I’m on the fence on if I would read any upcoming novels at this point but we’ll see.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the SummerJust for the Summer by Abby Jimenez
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Hachette on April 2, 2024
Also by this author: The Friend Zone, The Happy Ever After Playlist, Life's Too Short , Part of Your World, Yours Truly
Format: eARC (432 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Justin has a curse, and thanks to a Reddit thread, it's now all over the internet. Every woman he dates goes on to find their soul mate the second they break up. When a woman slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with a plan: They'll date each other and break up. Their curses will cancel each other’s out, and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. It’s a bonkers idea… and it just might work.

Emma hadn't planned that her next assignment as a traveling nurse would be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka.

It's supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer. But when Emma's toxic mother shows up and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they're suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected–including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time Fate has actually brought the perfect pair together?

Another perfect book from Abby Jimenez. I just know she’s going to bring a five-star classic to the table every time. I was starting to have a bit of a slump and this broke me out. Well… it broke me out because I wanted to keep reading this, but now I’m a little ruined for whatever book comes next!

I saw Abby at a book event when YOURS TRULY came out and she gave a little teaser about the premise of this book. I absolutely loved it from the jump and knew it would be perfect. It all starts with an AITA post – am I the asshole for naming my super ugly rescue dog after my best friend who moved out early, screwing me into a horrible living situation? Oh, and by the way, I’m cursed.

Justin (writer of the Reddit post) and Emma realize they share the same curse – everyone they date and eventually break up with goes on to find their soulmate immediately after. They decide the only way to break the curse is to date each other, so when they break up, they can each find their soulmate. Perhaps you can tell where this is going! Emma moves to Minnesota for her next travel nurse assignment, dragging her BFF/sister with her, on a mission to have fun with Justin and break the curse.

I absolutely adored this. Their chemistry was great and Justin was SO sweet. The epitome of “if he wanted to, he would.” He made date surveys and invitations and was so incredibly cute with his siblings. It was fascinating to watch a nomadic travel nurse with a closed-off heart try to reconcile falling in love with a man who had to take over custody of his siblings and remain fully rooted for ~6 years.

The book covered some heavier topics including multiple complex relationships with moms. Emma’s mom is a whirlwind who left her alone so often she ended up in foster care. Justin’s mom is going to prison for a white collar crime and leaving him to take care of his younger siblings. Both of them had interesting relationships to unpack but Emma’s mom was something else. It was hard to read but it wasn’t frustrating to read, if that makes sense. I could FEEL Emma’s empathy and understood where she was coming from. YOURS TRULY had enough of the miscommunication trope to last 2 books so thank goodness that wasn’t the main issue in this.

This book, like many others, includes characters from Abby’s previous books. There’s a lot of STUFF at the end that I will not spoil but I *FULLY* encourage that you read at least her previous 2-3 books before diving into this one. It makes a good portion of this story soooo much better. I was squealing and shocked as I finished reading late one night.

Overall, this had serious and heartbreaking moments mixed in with humor and chemistry. In other words, everything I’ve come to expect from Abby.

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