Monday, June 24, 2024

REVIEW: I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai


I Have Some Questions For You was recommended to me be a few people and seeing some compare it to The Secret History intrigued me. It blends podcasting with true crime with social commentary with some introspection and carried over teen angst. 

Most of this novel is set at a boarding school and centers around Bodie Kane's suspicion that the person in prison for the murder of her high school roommate was wrongly accused. Decades after she's graduated, she's back to teach a two week session and while there delves into various aspects of the murder and the case that followed. The vast majority of the novel takes place in those two weeks and it's a little arduous. I think that made it a little bit of a slog was that she was so hung up on who she was back then that she can't always see that she's not that person anymore...or at least she's progressed past her adolescence. So while I was hoping for more revelations about the crime, the vast majority of the time I was reading about her struggle to marry who she was to who she is. But it wasn't all a slog and the last fourth of the novel really picked up steam and delved into who might have committed the crime and how and why. 

All in all a 3.5-4 star read for me. Interesting but a little *too* plagued with the angst of the ghosts of high school, for me at times. 



Named a Best Book of 2023 by The Washington PostPeopleUSA Today, NPR, EsquireGood HousekeepingReal SimpleThe Boston GlobeCrimeReads and more

“A twisty, immersive whodunit perfect for fans of Donna Tartt’s 
The Secret History.” —People 

"Spellbinding." —The New York Times Book Review

"[An] irresistible literary page-turner." The Boston Globe

The riveting new novel — "part true-crime page-turner, part campus coming-of-age" (
San Francisco Chronicle) — from the author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers

A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

REVIEW: Honey Cut by Sierra Simone


OHMYGOD. I loved this book even when I wanted to throttle Sierra Simone for torturing her characters and her readers in the way that she did. It hurt so good. And now?!Now we wait for the final novel to be released months from now and try not to die from curiosity about how she's going to get us to that HEA. I suspect it'll be the most beautiful torture ever ...and I cannot wait. 

But I digress, you should know a little, but not too much, about Honey Cut

The thing about a middle book in a series of 3 books is that it's really hard to write a review that doesn't spoil things too much. So of course, I'll remind you that you absolutely need to read the novella and the first book, Salt Kiss, to understand everything in Honey Cut. In this novel, we pick up right where we left off; Isolde and Tristan have finished their yacht trip and Mark is there waiting. They must somehow pretend that they mean nothing to each other while being in the presence of each other and Mark, a man they both want (and don't want) to love and want him to love each of them. It's a mess. It's torture. It's lovely and painful and angsty and messssssy. I loved it. And I loved all the things that happened with all of them after the wedding. MESSSSSSY. So messy. So tortured and loving and sweet and terrible. It's like the latest Taylor Swift album. Angst filled, hope filled, loved filled, hurt filled. And all alone that would have me hooked, but then Sierra Simone had to go and throw in the whole subplot of intrigue with Isolde's work for her uncle and Mark's mysteriousness too. 

Sierra Simone is just too good, y'all. She absolutely ruins me for weeks. Every novel that comes after hers are never as good and always leave me unsatisfied because all I want is her next thing and it's never ready right then. It's the problem with reading her novels as soon as they're released, rather than waiting until the full series is out; you are DYING for your next fix. You want to be fully immersed in the worlds she's built and all of the emotion and angst that fills you as you're reading. I never ever finish her novels slowly; I devour them and then just suffer until I get a little time and space and distraction. Kudos to Sierra Simone for all that she does, and especially for writing the middle book of a series so well. I know it must be hard to write just enough and give us just enough to keep us hungry without giving it all away, and she did it. That ending. All I can do is shake my head and try not to wish my life away waiting for the final book. 

The end. 



I have one job in this arranged marriage, and that’sto seduce my husband.

It should be easy; I’m the heiress to a transatlantic fortune, bred and raised to make a good match. I’ve spent a lifetime building up my endurance, my discipline, my dedication to my god and my church. The danger lies in falling for the devil who put his ring on my finger—a mistake I made years ago, and can’t afford to make again.

There is one more danger: handsome and green-eyed, emotionally wounded. Tristan Thomas, former soldier and my new husband’s bodyguard. A hero who stole my heart with salt-soaked kisses on the sea.

But Lyonesse is not like other places, and this isn’t like other marriages. Soon Tristan, Mark, and I are tangled in a knot of vicious jealousy and gorgeous wickedness, where suspicion is an aphrodisiac and secrets and vows are one and the same.

And there is something far darker at play than my real purpose, than the machinations of the Church I serve. Darker even than the twisted longings of my own heart. Because my husband has secrets of his own, and the reason he’ll stop at nothing to possess me could slice my soul deeper than the honeysuckle-hilted knife he gave me once upon a time.

Because when it comes to Mark Trevena and his games, the first cut is more than the deepest—it’s the sweetest.

And he always leaves you begging for more…

Honey Cut is the second book in the Lyonesse Trilogy.


Monday, June 17, 2024

REVIEW: This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune



I *think* this may be my favorite Carley Fortune novel to date. 

As you can see from the synopsis Lucy and Felix's love story wasn't ever really meant to be. He's her best friend's brother and off limits. She's his sister's best friend...and off limits. So after their first night together they decide to proceed as friends only. Except that they clearly have chemistry and long for each other and despite what they think, they aren't really good at hiding these things. But they try. For five years, they try really hard to obey the rules. They fail, but vow to try again. 

We learn all of this through the drama of the day with Bridget alternating with the flashbacks of those previous five years and how Lucy and Felix become who they are to each other. I loved reading about their fleeting meet ups as much as I enjoyed reading about who they were and who they were becoming. As unlikely as it seemed-that these two could fall for each other over a series of sporadic meetings-I actually believed that it could happen. 

Carley Fortune created these two characters that I really adored. I loved Lucy's dream for herself and I loved Felix's ambition and drive. I loved Bridget's part to play in it too. And, I loved that as much as this was a story about Lucy and Felix, it was just as much a love note to Prince Edward Island ...a place I'd never really thought about much and now feel like I should go visit. 

I'm all over the place in this review and I really don't care to or want to fix it, so I'll just end with this: This Summer Will Be Different was hard to put down because I cared about the characters and wanted them all to be happy by the end. I loved that it was sweet and kind and romantic and it hurt so good. It's one of those novels I could definitely read again and not feel bored. 


This summer they’ll keep their promise. This summer they won’t give into temptation. This summer will be different.

Lucy is the tourist vacationing at a beach house on Prince Edward Island. Felix is the local who shows her a very good time. The only problem: Lucy doesn’t know he’s her best friend’s younger brother. Lucy and Felix’s chemistry is unreal, but the list of reasons why they need to stay away from each other is long, and they vow to never repeat that electric night again.

It’s easier said than done.

Each year, Lucy escapes to PEI for a big breath of coastal air, fresh oysters and crisp vinho verde with her best friend, Bridget. Every visit begins with a long walk on the beach, beneath soaring red cliffs and a golden sun. And every visit, Lucy promises herself she won’t wind up in Felix’s bed. Again.

If Lucy can’t help being drawn to Felix, at least she’s always kept her heart out of it.

When Bridget suddenly flees Toronto a week before her wedding, Lucy drops everything to follow her to the island. Her mission is to help Bridget through her crisis and resist the one man she’s never been able to. But Felix’s sparkling eyes and flirty quips have been replaced with something new, and Lucy’s beginning to wonder just how safe her heart truly is.

The story of Lucy and Felix had the perfect amount of tension and conflict and romance. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

REVIEW: Lips Like Sugar by Jess K Hardy



I found Jess K Hardy when I read Come As You Are and as soon as I saw Lips Like Sugar I grabbed it like it was my job. I love everything about this series, but I especially love that our couples appear to be older adults. These aren't characters just starting out in life, in their early 20s trying to figure things out; no, these are people in their 40s or older and have *some* things figured out and are still figuring out other things...just like actual people. 

In this novel, we have Mira, a single mom + caretake to her mom + owner of a bakery, and Cole, dad to an adult daughter + famous drummer + owner of a music studio. Their meet cute is adorable but it's the relationship that follows that makes this novel impossible to put down. They get to know each other through in person dates and texting and phone calls so that when they go to their friends' wedding, them dating will seem believable. Their chemistry is palpable and the way they interact at the wedding, and other dates, just screams that they should be together in real life. 

Both Mira and Cole bring some issues to this potential relationship, which seems natural, considering their age and experiences. Mira has some serious abandonment issues, as does Cole--though they impact them in different ways. And while those issues could definitely ruin things between them, thankfully they have people in their lives that make them see how foolish it would be to let this happen. 

I hope there are more books in this series because it's quickly becoming one of my favorites; if you haven't tried it, pick it up today.



Fake Date. Real Feels.

Mira Harlow has finally lost it. Between running her bakery, parenting her 14-year-old son, and taking care of her mom, she’s a stretched-thin mess. But kissing a total—and totally gorgeous—stranger before begging him to be her date to the biggest wedding her small town has ever seen so her ex won’t think she doesn’t have one? That’s a whole new level of chaos, even for her.

The last thing Cole Sanderson expects when he drives into the ski town of Red Falls, Montana is to score a date to his best friend’s wedding. But since his ex-rocker life in Seattle is stagnating, when the gorgeous, green-eyed bakery owner propositions him to play the role of her long-distance boyfriend, stirring his punk-shenanigans roots to their core, he doesn’t hesitate to say, “Hell yes!”

Mira hopes for a fun night with her fake date, but when their wedding weekend turns into a genuine connection, when Cole returns to Seattle and she tries to go back to her normal life, she wonders if she missed out on something real. But Cole isn’t done with her yet, and when he finds his way back to Red Falls, she’ll have to decide what’s more important: clinging to the neat and tidy life she’s struggled to maintain, or taking a risk, embracing the chaos, and maybe even falling in love.

Lips Like Sugar is book 2 in the Bluebird Basin Romance series but can absolutely be read as a standalone. This story features two main characters in their fifties, lots of laughs, plenty of open-door steam, and so many butterflies.

Monday, June 3, 2024

REVIEW: The Fury by Alex Michaelides



This is the second book I've read by Alex Michaelides and I'm going to be honest and say that while the writing can be engaging, at times, I was never surprised by the twist. I predicted the ending in both the novels I read and that, my friends, was just ugh. That coupled with the annoying characters made this read a mildly entertaining slog. A solid three stars but I feel like the only thing I'll remember about this one is that I, once again, predicted the ending! Gah. 



This is a tale of murder.

Or maybe that’s not quite true. At its heart, it’s a love story, isn’t it?

Lana Farrar is a reclusive ex–movie star and one of the most famous women in the world. Every year, she invites her closest friends to escape the English weather and spend Easter on her idyllic private Greek island.

I tell you this because you may think you know this story. You probably read about it at the time ― it caused a real stir in the tabloids, if you remember. It had all the necessary ingredients for a press a celebrity; a private island cut off by the wind…and a murder.

We found ourselves trapped there overnight. Our old friendships concealed hatred and a desire for revenge. What followed was a game of cat and mouse ― a battle of wits, full of twists and turns, building to an unforgettable climax. The night ended in violence and death, as one of us was found murdered.

But who am I?

My name is Elliot Chase, and I’m going to tell you a story unlike any you’ve ever heard.

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