Title: Are You Sara? Author: S.C. Lalli Genre: Thriller, Contemporary Publisher: William Morrow Source: Publisher Format: Paperback arc Release Date: August 9, 2022 Rating: ★★★★★
Two women named Sara each get into a rideshare. . . but only one makes it home alive. Which Sara was the real target?
Law student Saraswati “Sara” Bhaduri holds down two jobs in order to make her way through school, but it’s still a struggle. She’s had to do things to pay the bills that most people wouldn’t expect from “a nice Indian girl.” It seems like an ordinary busy Tuesday night at the local dive bar until her boss demands Sara deal with a drunk girl in the bathroom.
The two become fast friends. Why? Because they both have the same name. And despite their different circumstances, the two connect. When they both order rideshares home, they tumble in the back of the cars and head out into the night.
But when Sara awakes in her rideshare, she finds she’s on the wrong side of town—the rich side—and she realizes: she and Sarah took the wrong cars home.
With no money, Sara walks back to her apartment on the shady side of town only to discover police lights flashing and a body crumpled on her doorstep: Sarah.
Was Sarah Ellis or Sara Bhaduri the target? And why would anyone want either of them dead?
In this smart, twisty novel about ambition, wealth, and dangerous longing, the layers are peeled back on two young women desperate to break out of the expectations placed on them, with devastating results.
Sarawati “Sara” Bhaduri works at a dive bar while attending law school. One evening, her boss asks her to help a drunk customer out of the bar. That girl is also named Sarah, and they spend time together, waiting for their rideshares to arrive. When Sara’s ride let’s her out, she realizes she’s on the wrong side of town. She had gotten into the other Sarah’s ride by accident. Sara makes her way across town to her home, where she finds the police and the body of Sarah on her doorstep. Now Sara has to wonder why Sarah was killed in front of her house, and if she was the real target.
This was the fastest book I’ve read in a long time. I read it in a day! I couldn’t put it down. The chapters were short and many ended on a cliffhanger, that kept me reading. It alternated between a few different timelines: Sara in the present, Sara in the past, and Sarah in the past. All of these storylines were fast paced.
The premise of this story was terrifying and realistic. It would be quite a coincidence, but it’s believable that two people with the same name could get into the wrong rideshares in real life. That part was just the beginning of the story. The rest of the story was about the events that led to them both being there at the same time, as well as Sara investigating the murder on her own. The premise drew me to the story and the exciting plot kept me reading!
I highly recommend Are You Sara? for a fast paced thriller!
Thank you HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book!
Have you read Are You Sara? What did you think of it?
Title: Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel Author: Amanda Quain Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling Publisher: Wednesday Books Source: Publisher via NetGalley, Raincoast Books Format: Paperback arc, Ebook Release Date: July 26, 2022 Rating: ★★★★★
Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.
But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone—Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself—that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:
– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her) – Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and – Distract Fitz Darcy—helicopter-sibling extraordinaire—by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)
Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.
Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled from Pemberley Academy last year, after her boyfriend Wickham was caught selling drugs out of her dorm room, but she wasn’t because she’s a Darcy. Now everyone at Pemberley hates Georgie because she’s responsible for getting Wickham expelled. Georgie wants to gain back her friends and reputation by becoming the perfect Darcy. She changes all of her classes to AP, focuses on playing trombone in band, and even tries to match her brother Fitz with his classmate Lizzie. With the help of her friend Avery, Georgie attempts to be the perfect Darcy, until she can’t handle the pressure.
This was a great retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read an adaptation that focuses solely on Georgiana. She’s an interesting character who wasn’t featured much in the original story, but she’s important to the end of the plot.
While Georgie’s story was happening, the romance between Fitz and Lizzie was brewing at SUNY Meryton. I liked that this story was happening simultaneously. If you know the story of Pride and Prejudice, you can figure out what was happening between Fitz and Lizzie, with some help from Georgie.
I appreciated the discussion of privilege in this novel. Georgie and Fitz had a lot of privilege because of their name and money. One benefit of their privilege was that Georgie didn’t get expelled when anyone else would have. Their privilege wasn’t a fault of theirs, but it did give them opportunities that they wouldn’t have without it.
Accomplished is a great contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling!
Thank you Raincoast Books and Wednesday Books for sending me a copy!
What to read next:
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Have you read Accomplished? What did you think of it?
Title: Always Be My Duchess (Taming of the Dukes #1) Author: Amalie Howard Genre: Historical Romance Publisher: Forever Source: Publisher Format: Paperback arc Release Date: July 12, 2022 Rating: ★★★★★
Lord Lysander Blackstone, the stern Duke of Montcroix, has only one interest: increasing his considerable fortune. After a series of betrayals, he keeps his emotions buried deep. Money, after all, can’t break a man’s heart—or make promises it can’t keep. But when his reputation for being heartless jeopardizes a new business deal, he finds himself seeking a most unusual—and alluring—solution…
Once an up-and-coming ballerina, Miss Geneviève Valery is now hopelessly out of work. After refusing to become a wealthy patron’s mistress, Nève was promptly shown the door to the streets. When she accidentally saves the life of a handsome duke, she doubts the encounter will go any better than her last brush with nobility. But instead of propositioning her, Montcroix makes Nève an offer she would be a fool to refuse: act as his fake fiancée in exchange for fortune enough to start over.
Only neither is prepared when very real feelings begin to grow between them. They both stand to win… but only if they’re willing to risk their hearts.
Lord Lysander Blackstone, the Duke of Montcroix, wants to grow his fortune. He has invested in railroads, and needs a particular piece of land to continue expanding it. To convince the owner to sell it, Lysander must show that he will use the land to start a family, but he doesn’t have a wife. Geneviève Valery was a ballerina in France, but when she refused to be a patron’s mistress, she was kicked out of the show. After a chance encounter, Nève acts as the Duke’s date for a night. However, he realizes that he could use her help by pretending to be his fiancé so he can finally buy the land. Lysander offers her a fortune to act as his fiancé, and she accepts so she can start over with her dance career once the job is finished. Things get complicated when they develop real feelings for each other, though neither is willing to commit to a relationship.
Fake dating, or fake relationship, is one of my favourite tropes. When the couple starts acting like they’re in a relationship in front of other people, it’s easy for real feelings to develop. It’s always fun to see how these relationships that start out as just a ploy for society can blossom into true love.
I found this Victorian society to be quite accepting, more than it usually is in a historical romance novel. Nève stayed with Lysander at his home, and no one criticized that decision. This seemed more modern than a typical Victorian story, which was refreshing because it can often seem like a restricting society.
Always Be My Duchess is a fun Victorian romance!
Thank you Forever for sending me a copy of this book!
What to read next:
Dukes Do It Better by Bethany Bennett
How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish
Have you read Always Be My Duchess? What did you think of it?