Posted in Contemporary Fiction

Don’t Miss: Flying Solo

What secrets would you leave behind?

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the complimentary audiobook for review.

Laurie is tasked with handling the estate of her late Aunt Dot. Among all the photos and books, Laurie finds a wooden duck that sets up a mystery. Laurie wants to figure out why this duck is so important to her aunt, so she enlists the help of a “bereavement declutter”. With the help of her best friend, June, and her (maybe not so much) ex-boyfriend, Nick, she navigates this loss in her life and tries to decide how best to move forward.

Once again, Holmes writes rich characters who are believable and likable. There’s a tug at the heartstrings learning about Laurie’s relationship with her Aunt and how she modeled her life after her Aunt’s. It is what makes finding this wooden duck so special. She just knew there was a story behind it and she wanted to learn about that part of her Aunt’s life.

While the romance between Laurie and Nick is expected, it was a very slow burn. For me, the mystery of the duck is what gives this novel all its charm. I needed to find out what it represented.

I love the way Holmes spins a story and gives us substance in her characters and message. Julia Whelan’s narration is flawless, as always. Definitely a must read!

Posted in Horror, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Don’t Miss: The House Across the Lake

Can curiosity kill you?

One of my favorite things about Riley Sager’s books is his use of classic films as an inspiration. So when I saw this was inspired by my absolute favorite Hitchcock film, Rear Window, I knew I was in for a great read.

Casey, a widowed actress with a drinking problem, takes an interest in her neighbors across the lake, Tom and Katherine Royce. When Casey saves Katherine from drowning one day, they become friends and Casey’s spying helps her realize that maybe not everything is as happy with the couple as it appears. Then Katherine disappears and Casey makes it her mission to find out what happened to her.

Unfortunately, there’s not much I can say about the plot without giving things away. I will say that I have seen many mixed reactions to the twist in the book. Some people found it to be mind-blowing and caused them to love the book! I thought it was a little hard to digest. Maybe my comparisons to Rear Window made it seem outrageous to me since I loved the spying part of the book. It didn’t take away the enjoyment entirely though!

Although Bernadette Dunne does have a distinctive voice, the narration didn’t seem to fit the main character’s voice in my head. 

What Sager always delivers is a unique reading experience with surprises you can’t imagine. This delivered on that for sure!

Posted in Contemporary Romance

Don’t Miss: Birds of California

Do you believe in second chances?

Thank you to Harper Perennial and Netgalley for the complimentary digital copy for review.

Former teen TV actor Fiona St. James has kept hidden from the spotlight since the famous crash and burn that ended her career. Now years later, in the age of TV reboots, she is contacted to reprise her role. Meanwhile, Sam Fox, her TV brother learns his current show is being canceled. Sam is all for the reboot, but it’ll only happen if Fiona is on board. Can he convince her?

When I was starting this book, I thought I would be reading about the bad behavior of an actress, but it was so much more. Fiona’s character is deep and there are a lot of layers to her life even from when she was a teen. It actually made me sad and think of child stars like Britney Spears who had to grow up in the spotlight. How is it possible to know who wants to be with you for you or for your fame? 

Learning about Fiona’s past and present through Sam’s eyes was interesting. Fiona questioned his motivation for wanting to hang out and even had me questioning it.  

Letting us know that not everything on the surface or in the media is real or what it seems, this book was an impactful read!

Posted in RomCom

Don’t Miss: The Lifestyle

How far would you go to save your relationship?

Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for the complimentary audiobook for review.

Lawyer Georgina walks in on her husband, Nathan, in a compromising position with a junior associate in their law firm thus puncturing the perfect image Georgina had of her life. In order to try and save her marriage, she suggests that she and Nathan become swingers. She drags along her friends Felix, Norah, and their partners so they don’t have to do it alone. Makes perfect sense, right?

I was both intrigued and dismayed by the swinger aspect of this novel. Not knowing much about how the “Lifestyle” works, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. While there was some interesting and silly parts in relation to the sex clubs, most of the novel was about exploring friendships and learning about themselves in relationships. It was funny at times, and serious at times. A great blend of both. I enjoyed following Georgina’s journey to find what she deserves and to ultimately do what is best for herself.

Posted in Romance, RomCom

Don’t Miss: As Seen on TV

Do Hallmark small towns really exist?

Thank you to Forever (Grand Central Pub) and Netgalley for the complimentary digital copy for review.

Struggling writer Adina Gellar is looking for the perfect story to land her a full-time position as a staff writer at Tea digital magazine. When she hears about a big-time developer planning to build an obnoxious condo development in small town Pleasant Hollow, she sees her chance. After all, it’s a Hallmark movie come to life. She even has her very own meet-cute with Finn Adams right after she arrives in Pleasant Hollow. What can go wrong?

Billing this as Hallmark Movies meets Gilmore Girls had me jumping at the chance to read this. After all, those are two of my favorite things. However, we quickly learn that Pleasant Hollow is the antithesis of all things Hallmark. Adina struggles to find people who will actually talk to her for her story, and when it’s not working she decides to switch her story focus. Finn turns out to be integral to her time in Pleasant Hollow, first as a supporter and then as a friend. I really liked the relationship between Finn and Adina. Adina’s mom and best friend were also great. Dialogue was fun and there were a lot of heartwarming moments. Although not what I initially expected, this was definitely worth the read!