Review: One Night on the Island

One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub Date: 2/15/2022

Thank you to Random House for the free advanced copy and PRH Audio for the advanced listening copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Spending her thirtieth birthday alone is the last thing that dating columnist Cleo wanted, but she is going on a self-coupling quasi-sabbatical–at the insistence of her boss–in the name of re-energizing herself and adding a new perspective to her column. The remote Irish island she’s booked is a far cry from London, but at least it’s a chance to hunker down in a luxury cabin and indulge in some quiet, solitary self-care while she figures out her next steps in her love life and her career.

Mac is also looking forward to some time to himself. With his life in Boston deteriorating in ways he can’t bring himself to acknowledge, his soul searching has brought him to the same Irish island in search of his roots and some clarity. Unfortunately, a mix-up with the bookings means both solitude seekers have reserved the same one-bedroom hideaway on exactly the same dates.

Instantly at odds with each other, Cleo and Mac don’t know how they’re going to manage until the next weekly ferry arrives. But as the days go by, they no longer seem to mind each other’s company quite as much as they thought they would…

Written with Josie Silver’s signature warmth, charm and insights into the human heart, One Night on the Island explores the meaning of home, the joys of escape and how the things we think we want are never the things we really need.

Review: One Night on the Island is a contemporary romance that dives into small island life, self discovery, forced proximity love trope, and the meaning of home. Overall, this was my least favorite Josie Silver book and it just wasn’t for me. Both main characters were well-developed. The author has a way of creating these flawed characters in complicated situations that makes you curious about how they’ll navigate through the story, but this time it didn’t work for me. Cleo came off as immature while Mack seemed like he didn’t know what he wanted. I just couldn’t get myself to really empathize or care what was going on in the story. I should have DNF’ed but I was already 50% that I needed to figure out what happened which wasn’t worth it. Aside from this book, I would definitely read more work from this author as I loved her other two books.

Review: The Replacement Wife

The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane
Publisher: William Morrow
Pub Date: 12/28/2021

Thank you to William Morrow for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancée, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman’s safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh’s missing fiancée.

Searching for clues means investigating her own family. And she doesn’t like what she finds. A laptop filled with incriminating information. Other women.

But when Elisa becomes friends with Josh’s new girlfriend and starts to question things she thinks are true, Elisa wonders if the memories of a horrible incident a year ago have finally pushed her over the edge and Josh is really innocent. With so much at stake, Elisa fights off panic attacks and a strange illness. Is it a breakdown or something more? The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family… or is there?

Review: The Replacement Wife is a domestic suspense novel that explores manipulation, gaslighting, family dynamics, and lies. Overall, I enjoyed The Replacement Wife way more than Pretty Little Wife (I ended up DNF’ing Pretty Little Wife). The men in this book are so manipulative and toxic. I felt for Elisa, but at times, I wanted to shake her and tell her to trust her instinct. I understood why the author made Elisa’s character the way she was though. Though this suspense novel is a bit predictable, there were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming which made the journey of the story enjoyable. Overall, I give it 3.5 stars but rounded to 4 stars on GoodReads.

Review: The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Publisher: William Morrow
Pub Date: 2/22/2022

Thank you to William Morrow for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

Review: The Paris Apartment is the third book I’ve read from Lucy Foley and this was one of my most anticipated reads this year! This locked room mystery sets place in Paris and explores troubled pasts, secrets, and disappearances. I came into this book not really knowing much of the plot and ended up enjoying it! The Paris Apartment is more of a character driven story. There are a quite a few characters and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives. I really liked the short digestible chapters. Though I was only able to read the book, I have a feeling this would be great on audio. Even though all the characters were unlikable, I was intrigued by the storyline. The story starts off a bit slow at first, but the pacing makes sense. There were twists in here that I wasn’t anticipating which made this locked room mystery fun to solve. The only part I didn’t like was how neatly wrapped up it was at the end, but overall, I liked the writing style. If you enjoyed Lucy Foley’s other books, then you’re definitely in for a treat to read The Paris Apartment.

Review: The Roughest Draft

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Pub Date: 1/25/2022

Thank you to Berkley Romance for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their cowritten books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.

Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.

While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.

Review: The Roughest Draft is the first book I’ve read from this husband and wife author duo. Apparently this book is their adult romance debut as they usually write YA romance. This romance contains former friends to enemies to lovers and forced proximity tropes. The authors touch upon gaslighting and emotional infidelity. Overall, my emotions were all over the place on what I thought about the book. I really loved the premise of the story. At first, I was intrigued by the story and liked the tension, but then it felt the tension was too dragged out by the time I was 50-100 pages in. I liked the alternating perspectives of Katrina and Nathan along with the past and present insight. I didn’t really care for either of their characters. Sometime their thought processes annoyed me at times, but I understood that was part of their characters. The one part I wish we could have read was glimpses of the actual story they were writing. In terms of the ending, I felt like the last 100 pages was a bit rushed. I wished that part was in the middle and more drawn out. Overall, I had a really difficult time rating this one. It was a 3.5 star rating for me, but I rounded to 4 stars on GoodReads.

Review: Vladimir

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: 2/1/2022

Thank you to Avid Reader Press for the free advanced copy on NetGalley and Simon Audio for the advanced listening copy on LibroFM in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: “When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.”

And so we are introduced to our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.

With this bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured debut, author Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and wildly entertaining, Vladimir perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.

Review: Vladimir is Julia May Jonas’s debut. This dark academia literary fiction explores desire, obsession, feminism, and society expectations. I initially heard of this book through Book of the Month and was intrigued by the premise and the interesting cover.

Before I go into my review, I say the cover is interesting and not “unfortunate” as others have mentioned because it’s not what we typically see on covers. It kind of reminds me of those historical fiction or smut romances back in the ‘90s when they had people on covers. Do I agree with the cover choice? Maybe not, but because of the conversation around it, it did make me more interested in the book which I have to say was a clever and powerful move from the publisher from a marketing perspective. If you want to learn why the U.S. cover was picked, go check out the video “our CEO explains how a book cover is made” on @simonandschuster. I found this video to be extremely fascinating and loved learning more on what their vision for the book was.

Now onto the review, I actually really liked this book! When I was reading the first chapter in the ebook, I was intrigued by the story, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I started listening to the audio and absolutely loved the audiobook narrator, Rebecca Lowman. She really brought out the narrator’s perspective for me. In terms of the storyline, this is a very character driven story and liked the pace of it. I also really enjoyed the writing style as well. The perspective is from a late 50s college English professor where her professor husband is under investigation for inappropriate relations with his students. In the midst of that, she starts becoming infatuated over a new celebrated married novelist in his 30s, Vladimir. The narrator explains her open relationship with her husband, her desires, and her innermost thoughts and reflections. Though the unnamed narrator is unlikable, her perspective is fresh, bold, pushes boundaries, and explores the gray area between desire and power. I definitely recommend this to readers who love dark academia! I would recommend reading a sample of the first few pages to see if it’s right for you.

Review: Dating Dr. Dil

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
Publisher: Avon
Pub Date: 3/15/2022

Thank you to Avon Books for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Kareena Mann dreams of having a love story like her parents, but she prefers restoring her classic car to swiping right on dating apps. When her father announces he’s selling her mother’s home, Kareena makes a deal with him: he’ll gift her the house if she can get engaged in four months. Her search for her soulmate becomes impossible when her argument with Dr. Prem Verma, host of The Dr. Dil Show, goes viral. Now the only man in her life is the one she doesn’t want.

Dr. Prem Verma is dedicated to building a local community health center, but he needs to get donors with deep pockets. The Dr. Dil Show was doing just that, until his argument with Kareena went viral, and he’s left short changed. That’s when Kareena’s meddling aunties presented him with a solution: convince Kareena he’s her soulmate and they’ll fund his clinic.  

Even though they have conflicting views on love-matches and arranged-matches, the more time Prem spends with Kareena, the more he begins to believe she’s the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. But for Prem and Kareena to find their happily ever after, they must admit that hate has turned into fate. 

Review: Dating Dr. Dil is a romcom inspired by Taming of the Shrew and dives into themes of familial expectations, community, love vs arranged matches, and being true to yourself. Overall, this was a fun read, but it wasn’t for me. I haven’t read Taming of the Shrew so I wasn’t really sure if it lived up to the inspiration of it. I really loved Kareena, but I was not a fan of Prem at all which kind of turned me off from the story. I enjoyed the storyline and there were some laughable moments. I also loved the Taylor Swift references and inspired playlist in the back which was a nice touch. I liked how the author was able to capture the cultural expectations and family dynamics in the South Asian community in the storyline. If you like the fake dating trope in romcoms, I’d recommend picking this up. 

Review: The Accomplice

The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub Date: 1/25/2022

Thank you to Random House for the free advanced copy and PRH Audio for the advanced listening copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Owen Mann is charming, privileged, and chronically dissatisfied. Luna Grey is secretive, cautious, and pragmatic. Despite their differences, they begin forming a bond the moment they meet in college. Their names soon become indivisible–Owen and Luna, Luna and Owen–and stay that way even after an unexplained death rocks their social circle.

Years later, they’re still best friends when Luna finds Owen’s wife brutally murdered. The police investigation sheds some light on long-hidden secrets, but it can’t penetrate the wall of mystery that surrounds Owen. To get to the heart of what happened and why, Luna has to dig up the one secret she’s spent her whole life burying.

The Accomplice examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering if you ever truly knew the only person who truly knows you.

Review: The Accomplice is a thriller that dives into best friends, secrets, shared history, and trust. This is the first book I’ve read from Lisa Lutz and enjoyed this! I really liked how character driven this story was. I surprised by a few of the twists. However, I did feel that there were a bit too many subplots which made it difficult to keep track. I loved the alternative past versus present chapters. But I did feel that the middle of the book was a bit slow for my liking. Overall, I’d recommend picking this up if you’re a thriller lover.

Review: The Way We Weren’t

The Way We Weren’t by Phoebe Fox
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 11/9/2021

Thank you Berkley Pub for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: You trying to kill yourself, or are you just stupid?

Marcie Malone didn’t think she was either, but when she drives from Georgia to the southwestern shore of Florida without a plan and wakes up in a stranger’s home, she doesn’t seem to know anymore. Despondent and heartbroken over an unexpected loss and the man she thought she could count on, Marcie leaves him behind, along with her job and her whole life, and finds she has nowhere to go.

Herman Flint has seen just about everything in his seventy years living in a fading, blue-collar Florida town, but the body collapsed on the beach outside his window is something new. The woman is clearly in some kind of trouble and Flint wants no part of it–he’s learned to live on his own just fine, without the hassle of worrying about others. But against his better judgment he takes Marcie in and lets her stay until she’s on her feet on the condition she keeps out of his way.

As the unlikely pair slowly copes with the damages life has wrought, Marcie and Flint have to decide whether to face up to the past they’re each running from, and find a way to move forward with the people they care about most.

Review: The Way We Weren’t is the first book I’ve read from Phoebe Fox. This contemporary novel explores unexpected friendship, moving on, and finding yourself. The author touches upon heavy subjects of miscarriage, death of a child, grief, family member abandonment. When I initially read the summary of this book, it kind of reminded me of A Man Called Ove and The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysuckle (both wonderful books and highly recommend reading if you haven’t done so already) so I was intrigued to read this. Overall, I had mixed feelings about is book. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t expect miscarriage to be in this book which I don’t mind, but I think there should have been content/trigger warnings either in the summary or in beginning of the book. Also I felt that something was missing or maybe the book just wasn’t my cup of tea. I kept switching from reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook from the library book. In terms of characters, I really liked Flint and his backstory. I really loved the male audio narration and he brought Flint’s perspective alive. I really tried to like Marcie and tried to be sympathetic to her situation, but I found her unlikable and could care less about what was going on with her. I’d recommend reading this only if it’s on your TBR and keep in mind of the content warnings listed above.

Review: In a New York Minute

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer
Publisher: Forever
Pub Date: 3/15/2022

Thank you to Forever for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: A clever, tender, and romantic novel for readers of Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Sophie Cousens, this laugh-out-loud debut is a perceptive reminder that fate can have a sense of humor, and that love can happen…In a New York Minute.

Franny Doyle is having the worst day. She’s been laid off from her (admittedly mediocre) job, the subway doors ripped her favorite silk dress to ruins, and now she’s flashed her unmentionables to half of lower Manhattan. On the plus side, a dashing stranger came to her rescue with his (Gucci!) suit jacket. On the not-so-plus side, he can’t get away from her fast enough.

Worse yet? Someone posted their (entirely not) meet-cute online. Suddenly Franny and her knight-in-couture, Hayes Montgomery III, are the newest social media sensation, and all of New York is shipping #SubwayQTs.

Only Franny and Hayes couldn’t be a more disastrous match. She’s fanciful, talkative, and creative. He’s serious, shy, and all about numbers. Luckily, in a city of eight million people, they never have to meet again. Yet somehow, Hayes and Franny keep running into each other—and much to their surprise, they enjoy each other’s company. A lot. But when Franny’s whole world is turned upside down (again!), can she find the courage to trust in herself and finally have the life—and love—she’s always wanted?

Review: In a New York Minute is the first book I’ve read from Kate Spencer. This adorable romcom definitely gave me ‘90s romcom vibes which I adored. In a New York Minute dives into a charming meet-cute, strong friendships, small business life, and NYC living. I really loved the meet cute between Franny and Hayes. The first half of the book caught my interest and was well paced. The second part of the book was a bit too slow and a bit cheesy for my taste. Highly recommend picking this up if you’re looking for a cute lighthearted funny read!

Review: The Golden Couple

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen 
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: 3/8/2022

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the free advanced ebook copy on NetGalley along with the advanced listening copy from LibroFM in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in 10 sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. Her successes are phenomenal–she helps people overcome everything from domineering parents to assault–and almost absorb the emptiness she sometimes feels since her husband’s death.

Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple–until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.

When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.

Review: The Golden Couple has been one of my most anticipated 2022 reads! Overall, I enjoyed this psychological thriller and loved the dual POVs. Both audiobook narrators really made the performances for each character very distinct. I was invested in the story from page one. There were quite a few twists and turns along the way which I appreciated and there were a couple of times where I wasn’t sure where the story was going. Avery’s perspective was my favorite and I liked her backstory. I was a bit let down about the ending, but it’s more about the journey in this book. Overall, I’d recommend picking this one up if you loved the duo’s previous work.