Genre: Contemporary

Recent Reads | The Last Murder at the End of the World and Past Present Future

Posted June 12, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Last Murder at the End of the World and Past Present Future

I enjoyed Turton’s debut after being pretty confused throughout the story, and the same thing basically happened here. I was expecting a weird mystery and that’s exactly what I got – it’s not the type of mystery I’d pass along to my mom to read. She would hate it lol. Turton clearly has a specialty for writing odd mysteries with extremely unique premises and I definitely commend him for that. The end of EVELYN HARDCASTLE, to me, made up for the confusion I experienced throughout. The same can’t be said for this latest release unfortunately. The story follows a post-apocalyptic society living on an island, trapped by a deadly fog. One of the scientists is brutally murdered and a villager (Emory) and her daughter (Clara) try to figure out what happened in order to save them all. The fog will inch closer and closer until the murder is resolved. It definitely had a lot of sci-fi elements in a way that makes it hard to classify. It also barely felt like a mystery novel. Yes, there IS a murder mystery at the base of the plot but there was so much other stuff with world-building that took me out of it. Emory and the other characters ask so many questions and tell random stories – it felt like a lot of telling instead of showing. She would have realizations about things that the reader didn’t see so she just talks it out and gets everyone on board. There was a […]

ARC Review: One Last Summer

Posted June 10, 2024 / Book Reviews / 0 Comments
ARC Review: One Last Summer

I absolutely loved Kate Spencer’s first book and was soooo excited to read her sophomore novel, especially when I read the synopsis. I love a friend group coming back together and anything relating to summer camp! I actually had started this back in April and was really loving the first handful of chapters. I put it aside when I got home from Disney to read another highly anticipated release and picked it back up in early May. I was never motivated to read it unfortunately, even though I generally liked it when I did make myself start reading. Honestly it put me in a bit of a slump throughout the month but I’m glad I ended up finishing it. Clara has missed the past few camp reunions at Pine Lake because of her busy job and life in the city. This year, however, her boss just requested in front of the whole company that she is suffering from burnout and needs a micro-sabbatical. There’s a huge pitch at work the following week that she needs to prep for so it couldn’t come at a worse time, but she IS ready to see her friends again. The crew consists of Sam, Nick, Trey, Eloise (and her new boyfriend Linus), and (of course – her summer crush that still works at the camp) Mack. I guess I was kind of expecting HAPPY PLACE vibes here with the group of friends but it missed the mark a lot of the time. I liked […]

Recent Reads | This Summer Will Be Different and Falling

Posted May 30, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | This Summer Will Be Different and Falling

I read both of these books Memorial Day weekend but also managed to finish one book per day across Sunday and Monday. Finally brought me current on my reading challenge! Carley Fortune has been an interesting author for me (and many other readers, as far as I can tell!). Many of us fell in love with EVERY SUMMER AFTER and all of its messiness. MEET ME AT THE LAKE didn’t quite have the same charm or affect on its audience but, to me, was still a worthwhile read. I was looking forward to checking out whatever she did next… and boy did she knock THIS SUMMER WILL BE DIFFERENT out of the park. One summer, Lucy heads to PEI to visit with her best friend and hooks up with a hot restaurant worker named Felix. The next morning, they quickly realize that Felix is actually Wolf and Lucy is Bee – she just hooked up with her best friend’s brother and she’s already landed at their summer home. The two of them end up hooking up on and off throughout the years and it’s just an occasional secret fling… or is it? I loved that this was sort of quiet and slow-moving throughout the romance/plot, despite the initial hot start between the characters. Lucy and Felix really needed to find themselves and it didn’t feel rushed at all, even though every reader probably knew exactly where it was heading. While I do think this is her actual best book, it’s […]

Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search Party

Posted May 24, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search Party

Man, Christina Lauren has truly done it again. I know I’m a relatively new reader of theirs but I just think they’re in the top-echelon of contemporary romance / rom-com writers. I noted on my Instagram caption that each year I most look forward to new books by Emily Henry, Abby Jimenez, and Christina Lauren. These gals are my top auto-read authors for romance… and none of them have disappointed. ALL three 2024 releases by them were five stars for me. THE PARADISE PROBLEM has a marriage of convenience trope, super duper rich people with inheritance on the line, a tropical setting with a wedding involved… genuinely what more could I want? Excellent characters with fun personalities, a ton of sexual tension, and really funny moments? Yes, all of those too! Anna and West got married almost five years ago to secure cheap family student housing. Anna didn’t exactly read the finer details of their contract and surprise! They’re still married and West needs her to be his guest to his sister’s wedding on a private island in Indonesia so he can collect his multi-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. While this was the usual steamy, tension-filled rom-com from Christina Lauren, there were definitely some heavier elements involved too. West’s family is…something else. The two of them were not set up for an easy trip, especially with Anna actually being a broke artist instead of the med student he thought she was when they first got married. It was so frustrating to read about […]

Recent Reads | The Reappearance of Rachel Price and Funny Story

Posted May 2, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Reappearance of Rachel Price and Funny Story

I never got around to reading Jackson’s previous release after the AGGGTM series but there was something about this book that called to me. I think it’s because I only listen to true crime podcasts centered around missing people and unsolved cases. I always thought about how insane it would be to have someone who was missing for so long, presumed dead, turn up VERY much alive. That’s the basis for this story – Bel Price has always assumed that her mom was kidnapped (right from the car they were in together when she was two years old) by an evil stranger and murdered. Her case became one of the more popular ones in New Hampshire and her family was in the middle of filming a documentary when the unthinkable happened… Rachel Price reappeared. I didn’t love Bel as a character – she was definitely prickly and jaded, which was fine, but just didn’t make for the most fun main character POV. There were plenty of times where she annoyed me (ex: asking someone to explain themselves and then repeatedly interrupting them so they couldn’t get a word in). There was an unnecessary romance that I wish wasn’t in there – I think it made the book longer than it needed to be and could have been tighter without it. On that subject – it IS very long for a mystery/thriller but I wasn’t able to put this down. I read it so quickly and used up a lot of my […]

Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the Summer

Posted March 21, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | The Other Lola and Just for the Summer

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 […]

Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

Posted January 18, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments
Recent Reads | First Lie Wins and Red String Theory

I haven’t read a lot of books centered around con women/men before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew going into it is that Ashley Elston wrote it, and I love her YA books! Happy to support any of my favorite authors if they make a genre and/or age target jump. I didn’t even read the synopsis before I dove into the story. FIRST LIE WINS follows Evie Porter as she works on her next assignment. She doesn’t really know what the purpose is but she’s meant to get close to Ryan Sumner; her mysterious boss Mr. Smith hasn’t given her anything else to go on. I liked getting to know “Evie” and unraveling her past throughout the story. I will say that the first half was fairly boring, unfortunately. I was generally curious about what was happening but that also led to the question… what is the point of all this? It took a little too long to get there for me. Elston did a really great job of connecting people from her past and linking the flashbacks to present day – it was really well done and made for a great end of the story. The final half of the book flew by for me and I was finally curious to know what was going on. There was a bit of an info dump at one point to explain a bunch of things but I guess there really wasn’t a way around it. The story […]

Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

Posted January 3, 2024 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Roundup | The Mystery Guest, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, and Raiders of the Lost Heart

THE MAID was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a roller coaster for me (which is weird considering it’s a somewhat “basic” cozy mystery). I almost DNFed if because I just wasn’t connecting with the story and didn’t really care about what was happening. As usual, a chapter or two after considering the DNF, I became a bit hooked… and I ended up giving the book 4.5 stars! I was excited by the premise of the sequel and immediately requested it from the library. I was really intrigued by a second story with Molly and loved how this one tied into her past. Molly is solving another murder mystery – this time it’s the famous author that her grandmother once worked for. The story involved flashbacks to her time spent in his mansion and all of the goings-on there. It didn’t feel like the author was retroactively adding things or changing things to make the plot work either – enough negative things were included about the victim from book one to make me feel like this was a well-planned sophomore follow-up. There are some times with these books where I start to lose interest a little bit and that’s the only reason for a 4.5 rating instead of 5 stars. I just don’t get THAT feeling unfortunately. I was sad that Juan Manuel was missing throughout this book because he was visiting family but it made sense to keep the mystery plot moving without getting the romance in the […]

Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Posted December 21, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Bright Lights, Big Christmas and Through the Snow Globe

Story I really enjoyed THE SANTA SUIT last year and was excited to try another short and sweet Christmas book from Mary Kay Andrews. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS followed Kerry as she joined her brother in NYC selling Christmas trees from the family farm. She hadn’t been at their lot since she was a kid – when her parents split up, her brother and father ran the tree farm while Kerry stayed with her mom. She’s feeling lost between jobs and is subbed in for her father this year, who recently had a heart attack. The characters were good – there’s a romance with a cute single dad from the building next door. I really loved meeting everyone else in the building and the nearby restaurants too. One of their neighbors goes missing and they all band together to find him in time for Christmas. It leads to an interesting new life path for Kerry that I really enjoyed reading about. I didn’t love the romance necessarily; the kid was cute but the father was a little pushy. It was off-putting to have him move so quickly on her when they’d known each other for a couple of weeks. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels NYC during the holiday season is one of my favorite settings, as I’ve mentioned time and time again. The block they were located on felt real and gave some nice Christmas feels. Christmas tree lots or farms are some of my favorite settings for holiday books. […]

Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Posted December 14, 2023 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Holiday Reviews: Snowed in for Christmas and The Christmas Orphans Club

Story I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one but I have to say, I enjoyed it! Becca and Harrison are neighbors on a college campus (one is a sorority house mom and the other is the football coach) who went on a date two years ago… then he ghosted her. They’ve spent the years since avoiding each other until a huge snow storm comes right as the students are heading for winter break. They end up hunkering down together due to power outages, lack of firewood, and extreme wind and temperatures. I really enjoyed their chemistry and the snowed-in style romance here. It’s so much fun to watch two people get closer from a relationship perspective while they’re forced together in those circumstances. Becca was such a fun character who tried her hardest to not let other people’s assumptions about her get in the way of her being herself. Harrison was grumpy but soft underneath, which I like. Honestly, I think Harrison got off a little too easy on the ghosting thing. There’s obviously some explanation as the two start talking about it but I think that could have been beefed up a little bit. The ending got progressively more cheesy (lots of instalove) but was still cute in general. Wintery Setting & Holiday Feels There’s definitely a difference between books that take place on Christmas and Christmas/holiday books. I think this story straddles the middle a little bit. The story happens right before the holiday and the […]