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  • The Intern

    • B+
    The Intern
    Grade: B+

    I loved this book but want to warn you first, I didn’t think the writing was very good. But: the plot more than made up for the writing. Also: I love a legal thriller and I loved that it was set in Boston. Madison Rivera is an ambitious Harvard law student. When she manages to land a prestigious internship with Judge Kathryn Conroy, she is overjoyed. Conroy is everything she aspires to be. The only problem is that Madison has a secret that could destroy her career. Her younger brother Danny has been arrested and Conroy is the judge on her case. And in a moment of nervousness, Madison lied and said she was an only child during the interview. When Danny goes missing (after accusing the judge of corruption), Madison searches for answers. She and the judge become close, developing a special bond. But what is really happening here? Is the judge really crooked? Why is a strange man always lingering outside of her townhouse? Neither woman trusts the other and a cat-mouse hunt ensues. This book is a wild ride. The plot is creative and different from other thrillers I’ve read, with a satisfying ending. I would definitely recommend it (and I loved it!), just be warned that the writing isn’t very good which makes it hard to read at times.

  • Yellowface

    • A+
    Yellowface
    Grade: A+

    I am not really sure what to classify this as but am listing it as a thriller. Oh my goodness, I went into this knowing nothing and absolutely loved it. It’s part thriller, part satire… equal parts enjoyable and uncomfortable. June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be successful authors. They came up together, top of their class at Yale. Except… June’s writing career has stalled and Athena is at the top of her game; a best-selling author with Netflix deals coming her way. When Athena dies in a freak accident (in front of June!), June does the unthinkable: she steals Athena’s manuscript, spends several weeks editing it, sends it to her editor, and passes it off as her own. But also: she rebrands herself from June Hayward to a more racially ambiguous Juniper Song. The book itself is a masterpiece, about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War 1. Of course, it is a huge success and Juniper Song becomes famous nearly overnight. But June can’t seem to get out from under Athena’s shadow, even though she’s dead. June makes for an unreliable (and deeply unlikeable) narrator, though you do feel badly for her at times. It’s compulsively readable (you will not want to stop!) and fun, while also tackling themes of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation within the publishing industry.

  • Reign

    • A
    Reign
    Grade: A

    The final book in the American Royals series! I love these books and dove right in. I don’t want to give you too much plot as that would mean spoilers for the first three books so I will just say that the final book ties everything all together. But also: it felt like hanging out with old friends. There was the usual bit of drama, scheming, etc… but it was just so good and just pure fun to read! I am sad that the series is now over but I really loved how it ended. If you haven’t read these books I would recommend ordering all four and having a good old binge read!

  • Anywhere You Run

    • A-
    Anywhere You Run
    Grade: A-

    First of all, I love this author. Her last book, All Her Little Secrets was a favorite. This did not disappoint either! While her first book was set in modern day, this one was set in the deep south in the Jim Crow-era 1960s. Two sisters have gotten themselves into hot water. Violet, just twenty one years old, has killed a white man (but only after being brutally attacked by him). Meanwhile, her older (always more responsible) sister Marigold has found herself pregnant and unwed. Violet uses her white boyfriend to get out of town, ultimately hiding out in Chillicothe, Georgia… a small, rural town. Marigold heads north, seeking a better life and no more segregation. In the process, she entangles herself with an abusive (but also lazy?) man. Both sisters are on the run, both are being chased. A man is hot on their trail. He has his own dark secrets and a disturbing motive for finding the sisters. I read this in under 24 hours as I could not put it down. It’s definitely more suspense vs. thriller, it breaks your heart at a couple moments, but it is ultimately a fun fast read with a serving of social justice. Highly recommend. There are triggers for domestic abuse and rape (neither are graphically portrayed but they happen).

  • The Golden Spoon

    • A-
    The Golden Spoon
    Grade: A-

    This was described to me as The Great British Bakeoff meets Clue (it was a reader recommendation from the comments section here on the blog) and I immediately knew I had to read it, based on that one sentence alone. It is extremely fun, a little bit dark, and utterly enjoyable. The book opens with someone turning up dead on the set of a baking competition. We don’t know who died or who did it… just that there is a body. We rewind, and get to know the two show hosts. There is Betsy Martin, celebrated baker, longtime host, and owner of the estate where the show is filmed and now there’s her co-host Archie: new to the show and seemingly willing to play a bit dirty.. We also get to know the six contestants… all apprearing to be very kind and innocent people (you’d really imagine each of them on The Great British Bakeoff! Nothing is as it seems and not everyone is who they say they are. The show starts out with just a little bit of sabotage (mixing up ingredients, swapping sugar for salt) and quickly devolves from there. There is also a side dish of #metoo. I loved this. It kept me on my toes and was a super fun read. In the beginning I had a hard time keeping the characters straight but the author does a great job having us get to know them all as the show goes on. The only reason I gave it an A- was because I felt like it went just a little bit off the rails in the end but otherwise? Loved!

  • None of This is True

    • A
    None of This is True
    Grade: A

    Lisa Jewell is the master of dark thrillers. She is not afraid to kill everyone, she’s not afraid to go dark… her books usually come with at least a few trigger warnings (this has one for domestic abuse, pedophelia, and child abuse). I don’t know what it says about me that I dove right in and couldn’t put it down. Alix Summer is a popular podcaster. One night, she’s out celebrating her 45th birthday. She meets Josie Fair, also celebrating her 45th birthday. They laugh about being birthday twins, born on the same day in the same hospital. They meet again, outside Alix’s kids school. Josie has a proposition. She is about to make great changes in her life and wants Alix to document it for her podcast. As the episodes unfold, we learn Josie’s dark secrets. Before we know it, Josie has wormed her way into Alix’s life and home, and there is nothing Alix can do about it. I don’t want to say anything else as it will spoil the book’s many twists, but this is a good one. I got up at 6am to finish reading it and I am not a morning person!

  • The Girls of Summer

    • A-
    The Girls of Summer
    Grade: A-

    This book was very dark but also very good. Before we dive in there are trigger warnings for self-harm and sexual abuse. It is sort of a mashup of Tell Me Lies with Before We Were Innocent... with a bit of Jeffrey Epstein and #metoo thrown in. Set in dual timelines, I could not put it down. Rachel has been in love with Alistair for 15 years. She’s married now, but still thinks about him daily. The only thing is that she was a teenager when they met (she was just 17) and he is twenty years older. It begins with Rachel and her friend taking a trip to a Greek Island. They start out on vacation but she meets Alistair and decides to stay longer. Their nights are long, drugs and alcohol are plentiful, and some of her memories are a little hazy and feel off. Fifteen years later, despite being married, she tracks Alistair down. I don’t want to say much more for fear of ruining the story but it deals with a lot of themes: power and consent being two big ones.

  • Bye, Baby

    • A+
    Bye, Baby
    Grade: A+

    Oh my goodness. THIS BOOK. First of all, it’s not out til March and I truly am so sorry for reading/reviewing so early but it could not be helped. My ARC arrived in the mail and all hope was lost, I had to start reading it immediately. Plus, pre-orders are incredibly helpful for authors! This is such a good one. It’s all about a very toxic friendship. Cassie and Billie are childhood best friends. Together, they endured (and supported each other) through terrible things. But now, in their mid thirties, everything has changed. Cassie has married into a very wealthy family and spends her days as an influencer/running her vanity project boutiques. Her husband is a bit of a jerk but she doesn’t seem to care, and she has an entirely new friend group. Billie plans luxury travel for a startup and is always off on her next trip. And she can’t seem to bring herself to settle down, especially reeling from a tough breakup years earlier and knowing that shed doesn’t want children. The book opens with Billie sitting in the apartment below Cassie’s: having just kidnapped Cassie’s baby. I mean, what an opener. Told from both women’s perspectives, in dual timelines, it’s fast paced and unputdownable. I loved it so much. I think it may be Carola Lovering’s best which is saying a lot: I LOVED Tell Me Lies!

  • Tom Lake

    • A+
    Tom Lake
    Grade: A+

    I haven’t loved a book so much in a long time. Just thinking about it gives me all of the warm and fuzzy feelings. It is the spring of 2020, and Lara + her husband Joe own a cherry orchard in Northern Michigan. Their three adult (early twenties) daughters return to the farm. While picking cherries, the daughters beg her to tell them about Peter Duke, a now extremely famous actor. Before Duke was every famous, Lara had shared a stage with him (in the performance of Our Town at a theater company called Tom Lake. They had also been romantically involved. The girls are fascinated by their mother’s romance and want every detail. The beauty of Patchett’s writing is that this very simple plot is so much more. The way that she crafted this family’s relationships, and the little bits of truth about young love, married love, and family are just so accurate and wonderful. I feel like I may be a little bit biased as I am one of three girls, so at times I pictured Lara as my own mother. But at other times, I pictured myself as Lara. It’s a beautiful, intelligent novel. I may actually also listen to it. While I opted to read this one, Meryl Streep narrates, which sounds absolutely wonderful.

  • Main Character Energy

    • B+
    Main Character Energy
    Grade: B+

    This is a light and fun read. It isn’t my usual genre, but after getting back from vacation I just wanted to cozy up with something cute and happy. This delivered. The main character bugged me at times (she self-sabotages a lot which is equal parts annoying and relatable) but I ultimately enjoyed it, reading it in just a couple days. Poppy is in a bad place. She dreams of becoming a writer, but instead writes listicles for a content factory type of site (it felt like a mashup of Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog). Meanwhile, her brother is a successful, famous author. Her relationship with her mother is fraught at best, and she’s become convinced that as a plus-sized woman, if she just looked differently, her life would be so much easier. Everything changes in an instant. When her glamorous and mysterious aunt passes away, she is set to inherit her aunt’s mysterious writing retreat in the south of France. The only caveat? She must finish writing a book in six months. Poppy takes off for France and her whole life changes. She’s finally able to put her writing first. She meets a few different handsome men. She’s making real connections. But her tendency to self-sabotage gets in the way. I will say no more, but the end is very satisfying! I ultimately enjoyed this a lot.

  • Gone Tonight

    • A
    Gone Tonight
    Grade: A

    Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorites for thrillers and I could not wait to read this one. It did not disappoint. I am not going to tell you too much as it would be easy to provide spoilers, so I apologize for being vague. The net takeaway is that this is a different sort of domestic thriller; between mother an daughter. And that I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend. That’s what you need to know. It alternates between the perspectives of mother and daughter Ruth & Catherine. Ruth was a teen mom and is now 41, Catherine is 24. For as long as Catherine has been alive, Ruth’s main priority has been keeping her daughter safe. Ruth has a past, having run away from her family as a teenager. As cracks begin to emerge in the carefully constructed world Ruth has created for her daughter, trust erodes between the two of them. I will say no more than that, just trust me, this is a good one!

  • The Guest

    • A
    The Guest
    Grade: A

    Oh my. This book was very polarizing according to my DMs. Half of you loved it, half of you hated it. This is one of those books you keep thinking about well after it’s finished. I read an article saying that people in the Hamptons are freaking out about this book, which makes sense as that is where it is set. And I kind of think you have to have spent considerable time out there to appreciate how well Emma Cline captured it (in a beautifully written, satirical sense). Alex is twenty two years old and after a relatively minor mistake at a party, has been dismissed by her (much older, mid fifties) “boyfriend” Simon and sent to the train station. The thing is, she is in trouble back in the city and doesn’t have anywhere to go. So she spends a week grifting along. Crashing on the beach, at parties, wherever she can. Her phone is dead, everything she owns is on her back. I was conflicted in that nothing really happens but it’s kind of perfect? I did not love the ending but also can’t think how to better end it. I think what I liked most about it was how well Cline captures Hamptons-esque archetypes. The wealthy middle aged man with the fragile ego, the young girl drifting along, the transactional nature of some relationships… she captured it so well that you almost cringe a little bit as you’ve met these people.

  • The Summer of Songbirds

    • A
    The Summer of Songbirds
    Grade: A

    Kristy Woodson Harvey’s books are just the best. Imperfect, wonderfully relatable characters… always set in these idyllic small towns in the South (I loved the Peachtree Bluff books too!). And like an Elin Hilderbrand novel, everything always works out, making her books perfect to read when you are stressed or anxious. They’re the book equivalent to a big mug of tea or chicken soup. Wholesome! This one was no exception. It’s about three best friends (and an aunt), and feels like hanging out with best friends (and made me a little bit sad that I don’t have any friends I’ve known since age six). There is Daphne, a single mom/lawyer, who has struggled with addiction and has sworn off love. Lainer is a bookstore owner, struggling between her fiance and her first love. (Lainier’s brother is Daphne’s first love). And then there’s Mary Stuart, who has just gotten married. All three women help each other through their “hard things,” (this is such a cute idea, you’ll learn more in the book), but then one big hard thing happens. Their beloved summer camp, run by Daphne’s Aunt June, is in danger. The women cannot imagine losing the place that brought them together and was so much more than a summer camp. And so, they band together to try to save the camp. This is such a great friendship story. It’s sweet without being saccharine, and one of those books you don’t want to put down. I wish these women were my IRL friends!

  • What Lies in The Woods

    • A
    What Lies in The Woods
    Grade: A

    This is a very dark, very twisty thriller. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn or Riley Sager. I couldn’t put it down! I guessed a few of the twists but sometimes that is satisfying. Twenty two years ago, Naomi, Cassidy, and Olivia were the best of friends. Just eleven years old, they did everything together but especially: playing in the forest. They had their own game: The Goddess Game, which became their own little world. But when Naomi is viciously attacked (stabbed 17 times), that little world comes crashing down. Miraculously, Naomi survives the attack and is able to identify the man who nearly killed her. Now back in present day, her would-be-killer has died and the women reunite. They’re holding onto secrets. Olivia wants to tell the whole story. But then she disappears. Naomi becomes obsessed with figuring out what really happened that day… and if she identified the right man. I was on edge the whole time I read this. As I said, it’s very dark and borderline scary. I will be thinking about these characters and what they did to each other for a long time.

  • The Legacies

    • A
    The Legacies
    Grade: A

    I am a big fan of Jessica Goodman’s books and I think this may be my favorite book of hers yet. That is saying a lot as I’ve loved everything she’s written. This is going to be perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and All These Beautiful Strangers. I’ve been describing it as Gossip Girl with a little bit of Big Little Lies mixed in? The Legacy Club is an exclusive club in New York City that equates to a lifetime of access and power. Every year, six seniors from each of the six most prestigious Manhattan schools are nominated. Bernie, Isobel, and Skyler are all shoe-ins. They have the family pedigree, the wealth, the actual legacy. They also each have secrets that would destroy their flawless reputations. Tori Tasso on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise: the scholarship kid from Queens. None of the other kids know how she managed to snag a recommendation. The book opens the night of the Legacy Ball. This night is supposed to have been the best night of these students’ lives. Except… there’s been a murder. I will say no more than that and just tell you I loved this book. It’s a fun, fast paced thriller with loads of rich unsupervised teens… (you know that’s my favorite!).

  • One of Us is Back

    • A
    One of Us is Back
    Grade: A

    You know I love this series! I called the first book, One of Us is Lying, a modern The Breakfast Club but with murder. These books are technically written for teens but to me they appeal to adults so much as there is all the nostalgia from our younger years (it reminds me of those teen movies I loved), and it’s twisty! We are back at Bayview. It has been two years since Simon died (if haven’t read the first book, this isn’t a spoiler, it happens early in!). Everyone seems to be doing well. Bronwyn and Nate are together and happy, the younger kids are all doing great. But then we find out that someone from the past is coming back. Someone dangerous, someone we all hate. And when a billboard proclaims, “Time for a new game, Bayview,” everyone thinks it’s a sick joke at first. No one takes it seriously until someone disappears.. and then… a whole lot more happens but I won’t give away anything else away. Also: if you have not read the other books in the series just order all three at once. You’ll read the whole series in a weekend; they are fun books!

  • A Court of Frost and Starlight

    • C+
    A Court of Frost and Starlight
    Grade: C+

    I don’t want to be a jerk but if you are spending all of that time reading the ACOTAR series, I think this book is pretty skippable. You get to know the characters a little better but… it’s boring!? No action or adventure, not much steaminess. I posed the question on Threads and several people said they skipped it and didn’t miss a thing, while others called it “The ACOTAR Christmas Special,” which is both hilarious and very accurate. I just don’t really see the purpose of this book when all the other books are so fantastical. Maybe she just really wanted 5 books? Maybe to cool us off after book 3 and prepare us for book 5? IDK. I love this series but this book feels unnecessary.

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin

    • A
    A Court of Wings and Ruin
    Grade: A

    Book 3! While Book 2 was the steamier one, this one is action packed: all about war. I really enjoyed it, maybe even more than Book 2! As with Book 2 I am not going to say much as I don’t wan to give away spoilers for the other books, just know that the third book is full of adventure and battle.

  • A Court of Mist and Fury.

    • A
    A Court of Mist and Fury.
    Grade: A

    Book 2! I am not going to tell you much about this (to do so would give away so many spoilers from the first book etc) so I will simply say that I could not read this fast enough. I loved it. It’s even better than the first book (which everyone said, but I wanted to say that I agree!), and I read all 600 pages of it within maybe two days. There’s a huge twist!!!

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses

    • A
    A Court of Thorns and Roses
    Grade: A

    Alright. I am finally reading these books and of course, the first one was great. I am always really intimidated by these sorts of multiple book editions as I know myself and know that they’ll take over my whole life. The week of July 4th is always a little slower with work (and social plans as everyone goes away) so I dove on in! The first 50-60 pages are a little slow and then it picks up. And shortly after it picks up, it becomes addictive. Feyre is 19 years old, living in poverty with her family. One day, she spots a deer in the woods but in its path, a wolf. And so, she kills them both. Shortly after, a terrifying beast turns up at her door, demanding retribution. It is either death, or exile to a magical land she knows nothing about. She chooses exile and is in for a surprise. The beast is not a beast after all. Instead, he is a lethal, immortal faerie. She finds herself developing feelings for him; realizing that the faerie world is nothing like what she had been taught in her human world. I feel a little bit embarrassed even talking about these worlds but just trust me, if you somehow have not yet read these books, you really must. They are so fun.

  • The Paris Daughter

    • A
    The Paris Daughter
    Grade: A

    Ooh, this was a saga (in the best way possible!). Another great recommendation from my mother (she’s had me reading a lot of historical fiction lately!). This one is heartbreaking (but don’t worry, it also puts your heart back together). It’s 1939 in Paris. Juliette and Elise meet in the park, both pregnant, and become fast friends. They both have little girls, close in age, and wind up becoming incredibly close. As Germany encroaches upon their city, neither woman thinks their life will be affected much by the war. Both end up being very wrong. Elise’s husband is a well known artist, aiding the resistance movement. When Elise realizes that the Germans are coming for her, she makes the excruciating decision to leave her daughter with Juliette and her family and flee for the countryside. But Juliette experiences her own loss: just before the war ends, her beloved bookstore is blown to pieces. When Elise returns to Paris to find her beloved daughter, nothing is as it was and Juliette and her family seem to have vanished without a trace. Elise searches frantically to find her, only to wind up in New York. The rest… you’ll have to read! I read this very quickly as it was fast paced (and really sad at times!). I loved it!

  • I Could Live Here Forever

    • A-
    I Could Live Here Forever
    Grade: A-

    This book was a reader recommendation (thank you Katie Herklotz!) who told me that it had Tell Me Lies vibes and not to read anything about it, just to order it as the description of the book has spoilers. So do that! I will warn you, it broke my heart several times. I’m going to try to describe it without giving anything away. Leah Kempler is living in Madison, Wisconsin, doing a two year long writing workshop. When she meets Charlie Nelson in line at the grocery store, there is an immediate spark. The attraction is immediate, and he is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. She describes him as a cross between Jake Gyllenhaal and Johnny Depp. They fall for each other hard and fast. But Charlie is peculiar. He makes grand proclamations of love and wanting a life together. But he’s 31 and still living with his parents. He often sleeps all day. He meets friends at odd hours of the night. As Charlie’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, Leah often feels unsafe and her friends worry. The book is incredibly vulnerable and sad, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in under 24 hours and while it did make me sad, I really loved it.

  • Social Engagement

    • C+
    Social Engagement
    Grade: C+

    I have to be honest, I hated this book for a lot of the time I read it. I just wanted to know what happened, so I kept going. Don’t be like me. I should have DNF’d but curiosity killed the cat. I’d had high expectations for this for some reason, thinking it would be the perfect summer read. It wasn’t. I haven’t actively disliked a book so much since Fleishman is in Trouble? Also please know: there are huge triggers for eating disorders and body image stuff, so just be forewarned if these things trigger you and you still somehow want to read this after reading my review. The book opens in a honeymoon suite in Watch Hill (one of the most desirable wedding venues in Rhode Island). The (deeply unlikeable) bride Callie Holt is laying in a bathtub, eating pizza, sauce all over her dress. Her groom is passed out and she knows their marriage is over. She decides to shift through her phone to pinpoint where things went so wrong. The book takes us back over the past year through secrets and resentments. I think I just struggled as the bride (and all of the characters, for that matter) were extremely hard to like, the weight and body stuff was wayyyy too much, and the plot was like watching a train wreck in slow motion. There was nothing redeeming. I did like the ending but that was maybe two paragraphs. I like dark commentary but this ain’t it. Skip this.

  • The St. Ambrose School For Girls

    • A-
    The St. Ambrose School For Girls
    Grade: A-

    Oh my. This one was pitched to me as Heathers¬†meet¬†We Were Liars, and that is pretty spot on. Right off the bat, a massive TW for mental health (especially bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts). If those things are going to bother you, I’d avoid this book. Sarah Taylor is a smart, complicated loner, struggling with bipolar disorder. She spent the summer hospitalized and is now starting her first semester at an elite boarding school in Massachusetts. From her first day at school, beautiful, popular Queen Bee Greta Stanhope makes her her mark. The pranks start small and get bigger. Luckily, Greta has support. There is her roommate Ellen “Strots” Strotsberry, and her handsome RA Nick Hollis. But when a scandal unfolds, and someone ends up dead, things begin to unravel. I struggled for the first 150 pages. Sarah’s character is really struggling and I found a lot of it really upsetting (we are taken through manic depressive episodes, a suicide attempt, etc.) It’s very raw and vulnerable but hard. to read. After that, the book veers more juicy and dark (and for me) became more enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this, just know that it’s dark!