Friday, November 17, 2023

Plot Twist by Erin La Rose

Author: Erin La Rosa 
ISBN: 9781335458117
Publication Date: November 14, 2023
Publisher: Canary Street Press

Readers who love books about books will fall for Erin La Rosa's latest rom com—a friends (with benefits)-to-lovers story about a romance author who's never been in love, and needs to find out why before her next manuscript is due! For fans of BY THE BOOK and BOOK LOVERS.

Romance author Sophie Lyon’s ironic secret just went viral: she’s never been in love. Though her debut novel made readers swoon, Sophie’s having trouble getting her new characters to happily-ever-after, and she blames it on her own uninspired love life. With a manuscript deadline looming, Sophie makes an ambitious plan to overcome her writer’s block: reunite with her exes to learn why she's never fallen in love—and document it all for her millions of new online followers. Which also means facing her ex-girlfriend Carla, the one person Sophie could have loved.

Luckily, Sophie’s reclusive landlord, Dash Montrose—a former teen heartthrob—has social media all figured out and offers to help. But he doesn't mention that he’s an anonymous online crafter, a hobby that helps him maintain his sobriety. No one knows about his complicated relationship with alcohol and he intends to keep it that way. His family is Hollywood royalty, so Dash has to steer clear of scandal.
As Sophie and Dash grow closer, they discover a heat between them that rivals Dash's pottery kiln. But Sophie needs to figure out who she is outside her relationships, and Dash isn’t sure he’s stable enough for the commitment she deserves. So Sophie suggests what any good romance author would: a friends-with-benefits arrangement. Surely a casual relationship won’t cause any trouble…

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5 Stars

 A romantic journey full of character growth, spice, and laughter, Plot Twist is destined to be a Tik-Tok sensation. With writers block and zero romantic prospects, author Sophie embarks on a foray into the exes of her past, asking them why they think they didn't work out. As she shares her findings with the world, she starts to wonder if she's been the problem all along. For Dash, the reclusive, self-aware, brooding, famous neighbor, Sophie is the problem. She's tempting, sultry, beautiful, makes him laugh, makes him want more. He suggested her social media look into her exes to help clear writers block, but now he just wants her to stop and be with him. Only, he's not ready to be with anyone. As the title predicts, these two are meant to be, but a plot twist has got to happen.

I really enjoyed this book, loved it in fact. It's cute and sexy, the kind of book that's fun to read, that keeps you smiling, even as you sort of want to throw your Kindle at the wall. La Rosa's Plot Twist is super fun to read, feels authentic to reality, and features the character development I always think romance reads skip over. These two work on themselves first (yay for personal growth), putting their wildly strong chemistry on hold to cheer one another on. Sure, I yelled at them to be together, but it wouldn't have been the Plot Twist journey I loved if they hadn't done the work and denied themselves.

Author Bio

ERIN LA ROSA is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes
about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. Before BuzzFeed, Erin worked for the comedy websites Funny or Die and MadAtoms, as well as E!s Fashion Police, Wetpaint, and Ecorazzi. Erin has appeared on CNN, Headline News, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Today Show on behalf of BuzzFeed. She is the author of Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Long Shot
(Hoops #1)
by Kennedy Ryan
Published August 8, 2023 by Bloom Books
First published March 20, 2018

From award-winning author Kennedy Ryan comes the soul-gripping, unforgettable first installment of the Hoops trilogy.

Iris DuPree meets August West in a sports bar during her last semester of college. It's the conversation of a lifetime and sends sparks flying in every direction. The connection is undeniable…but the timing is all wrong. August is poised for the NBA draft, and Iris belongs to another man―basketball's "golden boy" and August's long-time rival.

The two go their separate ways, but they often recall that electric night and what could have been. While August has embarked on his all-star life, studded with wealth and fame, Iris's perfect public relationship has become a nightmare behind closed doors. A tarnished dream of fool's gold.

When August re-enters her life, the world seems briefly bright again, but Iris's darkest nights are not over yet. To survive, she must build her own strength and trust that her bond with August can endure after all this time.

Even when her fraudulent prince has vowed never to let her go.

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"Hope is the gap between what if and what is, but you have to fill that gap with a lot of hard work."

5 Stars

Iris and August. Star-crossed, the one that got away, never really meant to be. That's what it feels like upon first meeting, when the two connect in a way neither has with another before, only to find there's something, or someone, in the way. Their worlds collide on the night of the Big Dance, but it's at the game that August discovers Iris chose his nemesis, Caleb, long before he'd stood a chance. They never forget the feeling, but each moves forward with the life they selected. August a star rookie for a new team and Iris, the partner to another star rookie. Unbeknownst to August, though, Iris wants to get away, because her basketball prince isn't a nice one, he's a tyrant.

August is the basketball star you dream about, with an ego and a heart. He's an alpha without the a-hole, a young man raised well with his dreams secured. Iris is a driven, stubborn women with huge sports dreams as well, but she's tied to a wealthy, controlling boy who only knows how to get his way. Long Shot is a story of basketball, dreams, and a wilting flower who finds a way to bloom in the darkness. It's about lust, love, heartache, and the way you hold onto your hopes with a long shot dream of them coming true. It's passionate and difficult, a story that will break you apart and put you back together. A story that, for some, will resonate in ways that they felt a book might never. For others, it will be an eye opener into the pain that many experience and the overwhelming joy and strength that comes from making it through. It's a lengthy book, but it needs to be to tell you the whole story, the true story for many, and to give you the ending readers, romance lovers, and people in general deserve to have.

If you didn't know I am a massive college basketball fan, now you know. Sometime in high school I just decided that was the sport and age group I was going to be a fan of and I went all in. March Madness is my time, I am Iris in front of the TV, so Long Shot, from the first time I read it to now, the second time, is relatable from a sports girl perspective. The extra time Ryan takes to get into the game, the feeling, some of the stats, is so important to paint the full picture and really, it's time well spent for readers like me.

Long Shot is the first in the Hoops series and it's an incredibly romantic, angsty read that I cannot recommend enough.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon

The Quiet Tenant
Clémence Michallon
Published June 20, 2023 by Knopf

Aidan Thomas is a hard-working family man and a somewhat beloved figure in the small upstate New York town where he lives. He’s the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone. But Aidan has a dark secret he’s been keeping from everyone in town and those closest to him. He’s a kidnapper and serial killer. Aidan has murdered eight women and there’s a ninth he has earmarked for Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed, fearing for her life. 

When Aidan’s wife dies, he and his thirteen-year-old daughter Cecilia are forced to move. Aidan has no choice but to bring Rachel along, introducing her to Cecilia as a “family friend” who needs a place to stay. Aidan is betting on Rachel, after five years of captivity, being too brainwashed and fearful to attempt to escape. But Rachel is a fighter and survivor, and recognizes Cecilia might just be the lifeline she has waited for all these years. As Rachel tests the boundaries of her new living situation, she begins to form a tenuous connection with Cecilia. And when Emily, a local restaurant owner, develops a crush on the handsome widower, she finds herself drawn into Rachel and Cecilia’s orbit, coming dangerously close to discovering Aidan’s secret.

Told through the perspectives of Rachel, Cecilia, and Emily, The Quiet Tenant explores the psychological impact of Aidan’s crimes on the women in his life—and the bonds between those women that give them the strength to fight back. Both a searing thriller and an astute study of trauma, survival, and the dynamics of power, The Quiet Tenant is an electrifying debut thriller by a major talent.

4 Stars

He comes to you like clockwork, bringing you the necessities, taking what he wants, before he locks you away again. You are Rachel and he saved you. He's a father, a revered member of the community, a handsome new boyfriend, and a kidnapper and serial killer. You have been kept alive, but he is moving and you would do anything to stay alive, to find your way out finally. So, you agree to the rules, you befriend his daughter Cecelia, you plot the method to your escape. You are the quiet tenant.

What do you say about a book that kept you on the edge of your seat, reading nonstop for two hours, because you could not possibly stop and leave a woman in captivity? The Quiet Tenant is a psychological thriller that does not hold the fast-paced nature of my usual edge-of-my-seat thrillers. It is a slow, descriptive study of the impacts of Aidan Thomas, a man who is beloved, a man who kills. You cannot know what is to come in The Quiet Tenant, it's written so cleverly, from the perspectives of three women held captive by Aiden in their own unique ways. It is a book that leaves you desperate to act on behalf of the characters, desperate to protect, to save, to force into fleeing. You are, at times, immensely impressed by the characters vigilance and at other times scared, worried that the chance has passed them by. A debut that reads like the author's tenth piece of work, The Quiet Tenant is an incredible work of psychological behavior that will stay with you forever.

Monday, July 24, 2023

None of This is True by Lisa Jewell

None of This is True
by Lisa Jewell
Published: August 8, 2023 by Atria Books

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author known for her “superb pacing, twisted characters, and captivating prose” (BuzzFeed), Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.

Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summer crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.

A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.

Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realize that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.

But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.

Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?

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5 Stars

Lisa Jewell’s latest novel, None of This is True, is an unputdownable psychological thriller about birthday twins and the envy we sometimes feel when we see someone with something we haven’t. Alix Summers and Josie Fair are both 45, ready for a change, and feeling the mid-life slump. Josie presents a podcast idea to Alix and the rest is history. Or rather, it’ll be in the history books. Josie’s life story, told from her perspective, is terrifying, upsetting, and disturbing. Alix can only sit quietly in the discomfort and try to figure out what her new friend’s angle really is.

Told from alternating perspectives and podcast feed, this is a true-crime feeling novel that you should absolutely make time for. It'll leave you with the creepy crawlies, but is ten times more satisfying than watching any documentary you've seen. I felt like I was in it alongside Alix and that's an incredible skill. This book was a one-sitting read for me, because I couldn’t walk away from it if I tried. Unsettling and creepy, None of This is True is a stunning release from Jewell.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

The Girls of Summer
by Katie Bishop
First published June 6, 2023 by St. Martin's Press

"That place has been my whole life. Everything I thought I knew about myself was constructed in those few months I spent within touching distance of the sea. Everything I am is because Alistair loved me."

Rachel has been in love with Alistair for fifteen years. Even though she’s now married to someone else. Even though she was a teenager when they met. Even though he is twenty years older than her.

Rachel and Alistair’s summer love affair on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island has consumed her since she was seventeen, obliterating everything in its wake. But as Rachel becomes increasingly obsessed with reliving the events of so long ago, she reconnects with the other girls who were similarly drawn to life on the island, where the nights were long, the alcohol was free-flowing and everyone acted in ways they never would at home. And as she does so, dark and deeply suppressed secrets about her first love affair begin to rise to the surface, as well as the truth about her time working for an enigmatic and wealthy man, who controlled so much more than she could have ever realized.

Joining a post #MeToo discourse, The Girls of Summer grapples with themes of power, sex, and consent, as it explores the complicated nature of memory and trauma––and what it takes to reframe, and reclaim, your own story.

4 Stars

A little bit cult-like, a little bit coming of age, The Girls of Summer is a thrilling beach read that takes readers on a dual-timeline journey to a secluded Greek island where the escapades of young backpackers feel like both a dream and a nightmare. Rachel was just 17 when she visited the gorgeous escape for a week with her best friend on a summer trip before their final year of school. There she discovers she too can be the main character, as she forms new friends and catches the eye of mature, handsome Alistair, a wealthy man living in a party mansion. The summer ends in tragedy, but sixteen years on and now married, Rachel looks back on that time fondly, like a dream. A visit to the island brings back feelings both good and bad, and it takes her back in time to Alistair, the spark so vividly alive inside her still. At a crossway in life, Rachel chooses nostalgia and as she revisits the past she soon discovers that her rose colored glasses have been lying to her.

Rachel is like all young teen girls, unsure of herself and not yet comfortable in her womanhood, brimming with confusion as others step into the world with confidence. Even as an adult, parts of that youthful naivety still battles inside her as she looks back at her time on the island. Who would she have been had things gone differently? We all question our choices, the what-ifs, and wonder where our paths would have gone, but Rachel decides to actually find out. We see the island through Rachel's young eyes, the parties, the friends, the feeling of maturity and adulthood as a man sweeps her off her feet. We see the island through her adult eyes, recognizing the lies and secrets that swam beneath the surface, seeing the conductor pulling the strings. Yet, like Rachel, we all want to frame things positively, at least until the truth really comes out. Rachel clings tightly to what she remembers, to the lust and joy she believes she felt, but the island's tide washes it all away.

I truly enjoyed The Girls of Summer, it felt like a glimpse into the stories we see on the media regarding Epstein and other party islands. More so, I loved the dual-timeline that offered readers a fresh perspective on the events, those of a fun and in love 17 year old and those of a mature adult. It's a story of innocence and naivety, power and control, and the strength of women when they bond together. It joins several other novels that touch on the #metoo movement, but with a fresh perspective and a story that sweeps you up.
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