Review: Well Met (Well Met #1)

Title: Well Met (Well Met #1)
Author: Jen DeLuca
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek. 

Review:

This was a super fun romantic comedy!

The Renaissance Faire was a great setting for this novel. It was an isolated event in the town where the characters performed for the whole summer. It was as if the characters travelled back in time to the 1600s, while staying in modern times. It made for some fun situations, such as a spontaneous handfasting ceremony and jousting tournaments.

I loved all the literary references in this book. Emily and Simon discussed Shakespeare a lot, including the theory that multiple different people actually wrote his plays, rather than one person. This was relevant to the plot, since the Renaissance Faire was set during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

I really enjoyed this story! I’m excited to see what happens in the sequel next year.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory

Have you read Well Met? What did you think of it?

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel
Author: Renée Nault, Margaret Atwood
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fiction
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everything Handmaids wear is red: the colour of blood, which defines us.

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships. She serves in the household of the Commander and his wife, and under the new social order she has only one purpose: once a month, she must lie on her back and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if they are fertile. But Offred remembers the years before Gilead, when she was an independent woman who had a job, a family, and a name of her own. Now, her memories and her will to survive are acts of rebellion.

Provocative, startling, prophetic, The Handmaid’s Tale has long been a global phenomenon. With this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s modern classic, beautifully realized by artist Renee Nault, the terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before.

Review:

It has been years since I originally read The Handmaid’s Tale, so I read this graphic novel as a refresher before I read the sequel The Testaments. This graphic novel is a great way to read the story.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s a dystopian, but it seems a little too close to a possible future. It was relatable when Margaret Atwood wrote it, and it still is today. It’s an unfortunate aspect of the book, but it shows how cyclical history can be.

The illustrations were amazing in this book. It was mostly in black and white with lots of red. There were a few other colours when certain characters appeared, such as the wives in blue, which highlighted the distinction between the different types of women. The story was condensed to Offred’s main plot, but it gave a full picture of what was happening.

I highly recommend this graphic novel!

What to read next:

The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale #2) by Margaret Atwood

Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel? What did you think of it?

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon

Title: Twice in a Blue Moon
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

Review:

This was an adorable romance!

There was loads of tension in this story. The romance between Tate and Sam started fast and strong. It was quite a whirlwind on their vacation. However, it ground to a halt once Sam exposed Tate’s secret. I had a hard time figuring out why Sam would do it, because he seemed like a good guy. This tension kept me reading.

I found some of the story predictable, but in a comforting way. I guessed that Sam would betray Tate’s secrets, because he was the first person she had told them to. Once the story jumped to the future, I suspected that Sam would come back into her life with a good reason for betraying her years ago. He was a frustrating character because he betrayed Tate, but I couldn’t help rooting for them to get together.

I loved this story!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Have you read Twice in a Blue Moon? What did you think of it?

Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)

Title: Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Review:

This was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2019. It was worth the wait!

I loved the way magic and ghosts were brought into the university life. It reminded me of my time at university, and all the colleges that it was divided up into, like the houses in this book. There were real locations at Yale used in this book. It’s great to see images of these locations, so that the story is brought to life.

There were a lot of thriller elements to this story as well as fantasy. Though there were ghosts, called Greys, and supernatural rituals, there were also murders and lots of drugs. The real gritty underworld of drugs and gruesome murders, mixed with the supernatural underworld of ghosts. These genres blended seamlessly.

I loved this book! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

What to read next:

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

Have you read Ninth House? What did you think of it?

Review: Frogcatchers

Title: Frogcatchers
Author: Jeff Lemire
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Experience a surreal descent into one man’s psychosis in this haunting and chilling graphic novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Roughneck and Sweet Tooth, “the Stephen King of comics” (Maclean’s).

A man wakes up alone in a strange room with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. The padlocked doors and barren lobby reinforce the strangeness of this place. This is—as he reads from an old-fashioned keychain beside his bed—the Edgewater Hotel. Even worse, something ominous seems to be lurking in one of the rooms.

But when he meets a young companion—the only other soul in this vast, enveloping emptiness—his new friend begs him not to unlock the door. There must be something behind it…but what?

A haunted hotel on the edge of reality, an endless bridge spanning an infinite ocean, and a man and a boy looking for a way out. This is the setting for a boundary-pushing, genre-defying new work of fiction by one of comics’ master storytellers. 

Review:

This was a beautiful graphic novel. 

The story is about a man who is dying. He relives his youth that he spent catching frogs. He goes back to a hotel that he designed in his mind, all while he is lying in his hospital bed, in his final moments. 

I liked the way this old man was contrasted by a young boy. It wasn’t clear at the beginning that the boy was the younger version of him. It only became apparent through their shared memories. 

I loved the art in this graphic novel, too. It was mostly in black and white sketches, which are Jeff Lemire’s classic style. The images in colour represented the present time. This use of colour reminded me of the Wizard of Oz movie, where only Oz was shown in colour. In this case, it was the opposite, since their real life was in colour and the parts in the old man’s mind were in black and white. 

I really enjoyed this graphic novel!

Thank you Simon and Schuster for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

What to read next:

Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Sweet Tooth, Volume 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire

Have you read Frogcatchers? What did you think of it?

Review: The Turn of the Key

Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback, Ebook
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.

Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.

It was everything.

She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

Review:

I loved this thriller!

I read The Turn of the Screw by Henry James a few times in university, and I loved it. I was excited to see what would happen in this adaptation.

This story was very fast paced. I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down. It was quite creepy too. One new element in this adaptation was that the home was a “smart” home. Everything was connected by an app, including the water in the shower and the locks on the front door. These things were convenient, until they malfunctioned. The home was originally a Victorian house, but was renovated to have this modern technology. I love how this can be compared to the original book, Turn of the Screw, which was a Victorian novella, but has been adapted into this modern story.

One thing that I can’t really talk about is the ending. It gave more closure than the original story, but it felt a little rushed, especially in the last couple of pages. I’m curious to hear what other readers thought of this ending.

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Turn of the Key? What did you think of it?

Review: The Love Solution

Title: The Love Solution
Author: Ashley Croft
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s all in the chemistry…

Sisters Sarah and Molly are close, but they couldn’t be more different. Sarah runs a craft business and is obsessed with all things shiny and glam, whilst Molly is much more at home in her white coat and goggles, working in a science lab.

When Molly is put onto a new assignment, she’s over the moon. It’s a high-profile, top secret project – and she has a handsome new boss to ogle at when she’s not bending over a petri dish…

But when Sarah finds herself on the painful end of a disastrous break-up, no amount of Ben & Jerry’s or trashy rom-coms can cheer her up. She wants to take a more drastic approach to dealing with her heartbreak, and one that only her sister – and perhaps a sprinkle of science – can help with . . .

Will Sarah find love where she least expects it, or is it really all in the chemistry?

Review:

This was a fun romantic comedy!

Though many parts of this book were funny, they often had a serious spin on it. Sarah discovered her boyfriend cheating on her, at the same time that she found out she was pregnant. Molly has a crush on her supervisor at work, but then she jeopardized her job. These serious parts made the story tense at times.

The premise of the story is quite funny. Molly and her supervisor Ewan have come up with a “love bug” which is a virus that can make two people fall in love. This seems like the perfect solution to Sarah’s problems, until it all blows up in their faces. I don’t know much about science, so I’m not sure how realistic this “bug” is, but it was fun for the story.

I really enjoyed this romance!

Thank you Avon Books UK for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Have you read The Love Solution? What did you think of it?