Saturday, April 10, 2021

Book Reviews - Feels and Thrills (Again)

I'm pretty sure feels and thrills are my most common reading theme, and it's also a common title. So, here's me reading on this theme again that included some really good reads!

Everything After
by Jill Santopolo was a book that totally swept me away. I read it in a day because I was so darn captivated. Emily is a successful psychologist who loves her work helping college students - Much of that is because she sees herself in them. She is also in a relationship with Ezra, a doctor, who she loves. Then, her past comes rushing back. Emily hears a song on the radio. It seems to be by her first love, Rob. Not only that, it seems to be about her. The song transports Emily back to her life before. She wonders what might have been and even if that's the life she was really meant to have. The story waffles between Emily in the present and the reveal of what Emily's life was like before. This was definitely an emotional read, and I was so drawn in by the characters as Emily returned to the past, and she also pondered what her present and future should be. It was a book that had me so much in my feels, and I absolutely and completely loved this story.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez is a story about navigating the aftermath of a tragedy, particularly when someone is not who they seemed to be. Julia's sister Olga is tragically killed. Olga was adored by her parents, and Julia has felt she's always lived in her shadow. Julia also realizes that she didn't really know her sister, and when she starts digging, she realizes she really, really didn't know Olga at all. This book is a beautiful story of navigating grief and trying to find connection even after someone is gone. Julia is a character who is written in such a raw and honest way. She is trying to figure out where she fits, how to understand her family, and how to just be and understand life without her sister. I was so emotionally drawn into this wonderful and totally amazing read.

Just My Luck by Adele Parks was just not what I expected at all. The premise of the story is that there are three couples who buy lottery tickets together. They'd had the same numbers for years. Then, due to a rift in the group, they decide not to buy tickets together. One of the couples buys the ticket on their own, and then they win. What follows is an exploration of the not so great sides of being a lottery winner. This includes the friends claiming they deserve a share, random people coming after the money, and just adjusting to being a family who suddenly has all the money. About 3/4 of the way through this one, the tone and plot of this one took a pretty significant turn. It caught me way off-guard because it was just so much - too much for me really. This was an interesting exploration of the untold side of winning the lottery and also just so freaking many plot twists. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this recent release!

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron was quite the ride, and I just loved the thrills it provided! The story focuses on Cassie. Cassie was once a lawyer (and the story of why she's not is not immediately revealed), but for now, she is working for a temp agency. In this role, she is assigned to review emails for a lawsuit. Wading through the emails, Cassie finds her way to a couple's personal correspondence. She is so drawn into their life. Drawn into the point that Cassie wants their life, or more specifically she wants the husband, Forest. Cassie's focus turns from her work to learning all she can about Forest, so she can make him hers. Y'all, the twists in this one were wild. Every character has some level of secrecy about who they really are, and when those reveals happen, they are so, so good. I don't want to say too much because this is a thriller where the best stuff is very much the reveals as the story goes on, so I'll just say that this is absolutely a book you're going to need in your life. Thanks to NetGalley for the look at this July 2021 release!

Onto the next ones!

Book Reviews - Wonderful Stories

Y'all, this round included a triad (within the quartet) of just wonderful reads. They were unique stories told in different ways that I just connected with and loved!

Bump by Matt Wallace was a book that was totally and completely my jam - like I don't know a book that has been more in my lane. It's about a girl who loves pro wrestling, specifically the luchadores. Y'all, I was a girl who loved pro wrestling (and still does), so this was just made for me. The story focuses on MJ. MJ struggles to fit in, and then she finds a local wrestling school. She convinces her mom to let her train there, and she is so excited by the community she finds. She is truly doing what she loves, and it is an opportunity she savors each and every day. There are some challenges at the school, and I don't want to say too much, but y'all the plot of this one had me captivated! It's so important to have books where kids can see themselves and know it's okay to love what you love, AND to love yourself. This is absolutely what this book is, and I'm so glad there is a now a book about a girl who digs pro wrestling in the universe.

Sunshine Girl by Julianna Margulies was just a delight of a memoir. What I liked above all else was that this was really more focused on her as a person versus her as a celebrity. It wasn't the hot gossip from ER and/or The Good Wife, rather it was about reflecting on her childhood, young adulthood, and also how she found her way to each of these shows. I felt like I got to know who she was as a human navigating the world versus just the actress sliver of her life. It was also really interesting to see how she reflected on the challenges she'd navigated along the way, and she did this in a very honest, authentic way. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this May 2021 release

Open House by Katie Sise was a book I picked up because I just needed a thriller in my life. That really perfectly describes what this is - Just a thriller with some twists and a plot that keeps driving. The story focuses on a ten year old missing persons case. Ten years ago, college student Emma disappeared. Since then, her sister has always needed closure of what happened, as to her closest friends. Ten years later, another incident connected to Emma opens the case back up. The story waffles between the past of Emma's story and the present of what's going down to slowly reveal truths on both ends.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver was the most wonderful blend of beauty and love and heartbreak. Lydia is sure she and Freddie will be together forever. Then, on her 28th birthday, Freddie is tragically killed in a car accident. Lydia is overcome with grief, and she is at a loss for where to go from here. Freddie is gone, except he's not. Wait, what? Lydia has a medication that when she takes it before she goes to sleep, she is transported to a place where Freddie is still alive. During the nights, Lydia then is living the life she hoped she would. During the day, she's got to deal with the reality that life needs to go on. Together, with Freddie's best friend Jonah and her sister Elle, she starts to figure out what her new normal is. I'll be honest that I could see where this one was going, and I loved it anyway! The build was just so good. It was also a really wonderful exploration of grief and trying to figure out what to do when you life is shattered. I devoured and adored this one y'all!

Onto the next ones!