Review: The Love Square

Title: The Love Square
Author: Laura Jane Williams
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Avon
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

She’s single. But it can still be complicated…

Penny Bridge has always been unlucky in love.

So she can’t believe it when she meets a remarkable new man.

Followed by another.

And then another

And all of them want to date her.

Penny has to choose between three. But are any of them The One?

The bestselling author of Our Stop will have you laughing, crying and cheering Penny on in this funny and feel-good exploration of hope, romance and the trust it takes to finally fall in love. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane’s If I Never Met You and Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare.

Review:

Penny is a café owner who is discouraged by the lack of romance in her life. When Francesco walks into her café one day, she thinks that her luck is about to change. They have a whirlwind romance that seems too good to be true. Penny is suddenly called away from London, to return to her home town in Derbyshire to run her uncle’s restaurant. Francesco makes it easy for her to leave, but she can’t help thinking about him while she starts two new romances in Derbyshire. Penny strings all three men along, which can only end in heartbreak.

This story started out as a slow burn. Penny and Francesco’s romance was quite slow, and took up almost the first half of the book. I was wondering when the “love square” was going to come in, because it was just the two of them for so long. I think some of the details of that romance could have been condensed to get to the main point of the plot sooner, which was Penny’s love square with three men.

Penny was a frustrating character. At the beginning, a man told her that he didn’t want to be with her because she was too confident. However, by the end, she was letting certain men put her down to the point that she thought there was something seriously wrong with her. The men made her feel bad for doing the same things that they did to her. It was frustrating to see her being insulted and lacking the confidence that she was told she had the beginning of the story.

The cover didn’t match the story. The three men who are pictured on the cover don’t match the ones in the story. On the cover, one man has a dog and another has a bike, even though bicycles were never mentioned and a dog barked in one scene. These men didn’t match the chef, wine merchant, and concert tour manager in the story.

This slow burn romance didn’t work for me.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

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

Blog Tour Review: Someone’s Listening

Title: Someone’s Listening
Author: Seraphina Nova Glass
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

She wrote the book on escaping a predator… Now one is coming for her.

Faith Finley has it all: she’s a talented psychologist with a flourishing career, a bestselling author and the host of a popular local radio program, Someone’s Listening, with Dr. Faith Finley. She’s married to the perfect man, Liam Finley, a respected food critic.

Until the night everything goes horribly wrong, and Faith’s life is shattered forever.

Liam is missing—gone without a trace—and the police are suspicious of everything Faith says. They either think she has something to hide, or that she’s lost her mind.

And then the notes begin to arrive. Notes that are ripped from Faith’s own book, the one that helps victims leave their abusers. Notes like “Lock your windows. Consider investing in a steel door.”

As the threats escalate, the mystery behind Liam’s disappearance intensifies. And Faith’s very life will depend on finding answers.

Review:

Faith Finley is a psychologist with a radio talk show called “Someone’s Listening.” After the book launch for her latest self-help book, she gets into a car accident with her husband, Liam. However, Liam wasn’t found at the scene of the accident with her. Liam has disappeared without a trace. Faith is also dealing with the repercussions of a sexual assault allegation from a patient. When Faith starts getting threats that are ripped out of the pages of her own book, it becomes more urgent for her to figure out what happened to Liam.

This story started out with some thriller tropes. Faith had a different version of reality than the people around her. She believed that her husband was in the car with her when she had the accident, but he wasn’t found there. Faith also came from an abusive household and was a heavy drinker, both tropes in the thriller genre. Once the main mystery of finding Liam was underway and Faith started to get threats, the story left the tropes behind and became its own story.

The layout of this story was a little confusing at the beginning. The chapters alternated between “then,” which was immediately after the car accident, and “now,” which was seven months after the accident. These chapters were confusing because they were so similar. Both time periods would flashback to other events, so I had a hard time keeping the events in the correct order. The second half of the book was much more linear because it remained in the present, rather than switching back to the past.

I was quite surprised at the ending. I had a couple of suspects in mind, who weren’t actually the main suspects in the story. The person who was threatening Faith wasn’t who I suspected at all. There were a couple of red herrings, which weren’t cleared up at the end and just made me suspect the wrong people, but most of the clues lined up with the guilty person.

This was a great thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton

Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

About the author:

Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Texas-Arlington, where she teaches Film Studies and Playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and has optioned multiple screenplays to Hallmark and Lifetime. Someone’s Listening is her first novel.

Have you read Someone’s Listening? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Kids Are Gonna Ask

Title: The Kids Are Gonna Ask
Author: Gretchen Anthony
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Park Row
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A whip-smart, entertaining novel about twin siblings who become a national phenomenon after launching a podcast to find the biological father they never knew.

The death of Thomas and Savannah McClair’s mother turns their world upside down. Raised to be fiercely curious by their grandmother Maggie, the twins become determined to learn the identity of their biological father. And when their mission goes viral, an eccentric producer offers them a dream platform: a fully sponsored podcast called The Kids Are Gonna Ask. To discover the truth, Thomas and Savannah begin interviewing people from their mother’s past and are shocked when the podcast ignites in popularity. As the attention mounts, they get caught in a national debate they never asked for—but nothing compares to the mayhem that ensues when they find him.

Cleverly constructed, emotionally perceptive and sharply funny, The Kids Are Gonna Ask is a rollicking coming-of-age story and a moving exploration of all the ways we can go from lost to found.

Review:

Thomas and Savannah have a podcast where they interview the eclectic people their grandmother brings home for dinner. One evening, they get the idea to create a new podcast to document the search for their biological father. Their mother died when they were thirteen years old, and they have lived with their grandmother since then. They work with a media company to develop their podcast to find their father, which is called The Kids Are Gonna Ask. However, it brings them a lot of attention that they weren’t expecting and they don’t know how to cope with it.

Though this story has two seventeen-year-old main characters, it’s an adult novel rather than a young adult novel. Some of the chapters were writing from the perspective of adults, which I don’t think young adult readers would be interested in. Since this story has both teenage and elderly characters, it could appeal to a wide variety of age groups.

I liked the mystery of this story that slowly unfolded as Thomas and Savannah learned more about their mom and their biological dad. The identity of their bio dad was revealed fairly early on in the story, which cut out the suspense of wondering who he could be. The pacing slowed down after they found each other, though there were still some surprising events to come.

This story shows the dangers of doing a public search for someone. Thomas and Savannah had to make some serious decisions about how much privacy they were willing to give up in the search for their father. They were also criticized for possibly revealing the identity of their father and affecting him and his family. It’s important to recognize that others can be affected when embarking on a public search for someone through a podcast.

I really enjoyed this story.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Sadie by Courtney Summers

About the author:

GRETCHEN ANTHONY is the author of Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners, which was a Midwestern Connections Pick and a best books pick by Amazon, BookBub, PopSugar, and the New York Post. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Medium, and The Write Life, among others. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

Have you read The Kids Are Gonna Ask? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Last Wife

Title: The Last Wife
Author: Karen Hamilton
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Graydon Thriller
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Perfect Girlfriend.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.

Nina and Marie were best friends—until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.

But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.

What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.

Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…

Review:

Marie has always been jealous of her best friend Nina. After Nina dies of cancer, Marie finally has a chance to take over Nina’s life. Marie moves in with Nina’s husband, Stuart, and helps him look after their children. While living with Stuart, Marie discovers secrets about Nina’s past.

Marie was the narrator of this story and she was unreliable. She constantly lied to other people and herself, which got confusing at times. She would jump around in the narrative between memories and the present, without much distinction between the two time periods. I found Marie and all of the other characters unlikeable, because they each were hiding horrible secrets.

The story was slow at first, because there was a lot of groundwork that had to be laid before the real tension began. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters because they were so unlikeable. The book took a turn at the end that I wasn’t expecting, so I was pleasantly surprised at that.

This was a twisty thriller.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

About the author:

Karen Hamilton spent her childhood in Angola, Zimbabwe, Belgium and Italy and worked as a flight attendant for many years. Karen is a recent graduate of the Faber Academy and, having now put down roots in Hampshire to raise her young family with her husband, she satisfies her wanderlust by exploring the world through her writing. She is also the author of the international bestseller The Perfect Girlfriend.

Have you read The Last Wife? What did you think of it?

Review: The Girl from Widow Hills

Title: The Girl from Widow Hills
Author: Megan Miranda
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda. 

Review:

Twenty years ago, six-year-old Arden Maynor disappeared from her home after sleepwalking. She was found three days later. Now, she has moved away and changed her name to Olivia Meyer, so no one knows she’s “the girl from widow hills.” Her past is brought up again when she starts sleepwalking outside her house. One night, when she wakes up outside of her house, she is standing over the body of a man. Olivia’s past of the sleepwalking girl becomes news again during this murder investigation.

It’s amazing how these media stories affect the people involved. In this story, Olivia was the girl who disappeared but was found days later. The story was brought up again on the five and ten year anniversaries. Something that isn’t always mentioned is how traumatic it is for everyone involved to have to experience the event again. Olivia had to go to great lengths to separate herself from her past, but she still wasn’t able to escape it.

The ending of this book was shocking. I can’t remember the last time I had absolutely no idea how a thriller would end. I couldn’t fit any of the pieces of the puzzle together, but once I learned the final clue, it all made sense. I was so surprised! I loved this ending.

This is a great suspenseful thriller!

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

What to read next:

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Have you read The Girl from Widow Hills? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: She’s Faking It

Title: She’s Faking It
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You can’t put a filter on reality.

Bree Bozeman isn’t exactly pursuing the life of her dreams. Then again, she isn’t too sure what those dreams are. After dropping out of college, she’s living a pretty chill life in the surf community of Pacific Beach, San Diego…if “chill” means delivering food as a GrubGetter, and if it means “uneventful”.

But when Bree starts a new Instagram account — @breebythesea — one of her posts gets a signal boost from none other than wildly popular self-help guru Demi DiPalma, owner of a lifestyle brand empire. Suddenly, Bree just might be a rising star in the world of Instagram influencing. Is this the direction her life has been lacking? It’s not a career choice she’d ever seriously considered, but maybe it’s a sign from the universe. After all, Demi’s the real deal… right?

Everything is lining up for Bree: life goals, career, and even a blossoming romance with the chiseled guy next door, surf star Trey Cantu. But things are about to go sideways fast, and even the perfect filter’s not gonna fix it. Instagram might be free, but when your life looks flawless on camera, what’s the cost? 

Review:

Bree doesn’t know what she wants to do in life. She dropped out of college and works for a food delivery app, but she loses that job when her car breaks down. Then, her sister gives her a book by a lifestyle guru, which will help her achieve her ambitions. The problem is that Bree doesn’t know what her ambitions are. She makes an Instagram account, where she reposts images for her vision board. Things get more complicated when she starts a romance with a pro surfer, who has had his own social media scandal. Bree has to learn that things on social media aren’t always what they seem.

Social media is such an important part of life, yet it can also be fake. Things that are posted have been edited to look perfect, rather than reflect real life. In this story, Bree becomes a minor influencer. She gets offers to promote products, even though she doesn’t know or like the products. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting free products or promotions on social media. It’s important to stay true to yourself and your brand, rather than just gaining followers.

I liked how realistic Bree’s struggles were in this story. Bree was given opportunities in her young life, yet she didn’t know how to use them. She didn’t know what she wanted to study in college, which led to her dropping out. She struggled with debt and unemployment. This wasn’t a Cinderella story where she suddenly reversed her fortune at the end, but I liked how it reflected real life.

I really enjoyed this story.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

About the author:

Kristin Rockaway is a native New Yorker with an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she traded the city for the surf and chased her dreams out to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, and planning her next big vacation.

Where to buy:

Harlequin

Amazon

Apple Books

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Google Play

IndieBound

Kobo

Have you read She’s Faking It? What did you think of it?

Review: Music for Tigers

Title: Music for Tigers
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something named Convict Rock.

Finally, Louisa learns the truth: Convict Rock is a sanctuary established by her great-grandmother Eleanor—a sanctuary for Tasmanian tigers, Australia’s huge marsupials that were famously hunted into extinction almost a hundred years ago. Or so the world believes. Hidden in the rainforest at Convict Rock, one tiger remains. But now the sanctuary is threatened by a mining operation, and the last Tasmanian tiger must be lured deeper into the forest. The problem is, not since her great-grandmother has a member of the family been able to earn the shy tigers’ trust.

As the summer progresses, Louisa forges unexpected connections with Colin, with the forest, and—through Eleanor’s journal—with her great-grandmother. She begins to suspect the key to saving the tiger is her very own music. But will her plan work? Or will the enigmatic Tasmanian tiger disappear once again, this time forever?

A moving coming-of-age story wrapped up in the moss, leaves, and blue gums of the Tasmanian rainforest where, hidden under giant ferns, crouches its most beloved, and lost, creature.

Review:

Louisa is sent to Tasmania to stay with her uncle for the summer when her parents go on a research trip. Her Uncle Ruff lives in a remote camp where he looks after a variety of wild animals. He gives Louisa a journal belonging to her great-grandmother, who rescued Tasmanian tigers. Even though Tasmanian tigers were thought to be extinct for centuries, Louisa’s family knows that they are secretly around the island. Now, Louisa is the only one who holds the secret to rescuing the remaining tiger.

I learned so much while reading this book. I realized recently that I have read books by Australian authors, but none that are set in Australia. I was so glad to discover that this one was set there. I loved learning about the different animals in Tasmania that I didn’t know before. The fictional mystery around the extinction of Tasmanian tigers was so great. It makes me wonder how many creatures that are thought to be extinct could be hiding out somewhere in the world.

This book was less than 200 pages, yet there was so much to the story. The important topic of animal extinction was discussed a lot. Louisa also had anxiety surrounding her performing music on her violin. She met a boy named Colin, who was autistic. Louisa was eager to learn about Colin and how to help him navigate the world of social interaction. These were relevant topics to be in a middle grade novel.

I loved this book!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman

Have you read Music for Tigers? What did you think of it?

Review: Every Step She Takes

Title: Every Step She Takes
Author: K.L. Armstrong
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gripping new thriller by the author of the instant bestseller Wherever She Goes.

Sometimes there’s no use running from your past. . . .

Genevieve has secrets that no one knows. In Rome she can be whoever she wants to be. Her neighbours aren’t nosy; her Italian is passable; the shopkeepers and restaurant owners now see her as a local, and they let her be. It’s exactly what she wants.

One morning, after getting groceries, she returns to her 500-year-old Trastevere apartment. She climbs to the very top of the staircase, the stairs narrowing the higher she goes. When she gets to her door, she puts down her bags and pushes the key into the lock . . .

. . . and the door swings open.

It’s unlocked. Sometimes she doesn’t lock it because break-ins aren’t common in Rome. But Genevieve knows she locked the door behind her this morning. She has no doubt.

She should leave, call the police. What if someone is in her apartment, waiting for her? But she doesn’t.

The apartment is empty, and exactly as she left it, perfectly tidy and not a thing out of place . . . except for the small box on her kitchen table. A box that definitely wasn’t there this morning. A box postmarked from the US. A box that is addressed to “Lucy Callahan.”

A name that she hasn’t used in ten years.

Edge-of-your-seat riveting, K.L. Armstrong’s new book will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Review:

Genevieve walks into her Rome apartment one day to find a package addressed to Lucy, the name she used to go by when she lived in the U.S. The package leads her back to New York, the place where she was part of a celebrity scandal. Lucy was caught naked with an action star, whose children she tutored in music. Lucy became Genevieve and had escaped that scandal, only to be drawn back into the famous family when she returns to New York.

This was such a suspenseful thriller. I couldn’t put it down. It took a little while for the suspense to start. The real triggering event didn’t happen until almost a third of the way through. I was actually wondering where the suspense was until then. However, once it started, I had to keep reading.

An issue I had with the book wasn’t really a problem with the story, but the synopsis didn’t match what happened. It told the events of the first couple of chapters, but the real plot didn’t start until later. The synopsis should have given a better overview of the plot, so it actually explained what would happen beyond the first chapter.

I loved the ending of the book. I suspected all the different characters at some point. There were some surprising twists that were revealed at just the right moments. There were a couple of loose ends that weren’t cleared up, but they may have been clear in the final version.

My ARC was actually missing some pages, which may have been due to piracy protection or a glitch. That was frustrating, but I still enjoyed the story regardless of the missing passages.

I really enjoyed this suspenseful thriller.

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

What to read next:

Wherever She Goes by K.L. Armstrong

Social Misconduct by S.J. Maher

Have you read Every Step She Takes? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: That Summer in Maine

Title: That Summer in Maine
Author: Brianna Wolfson
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 23, 2020
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A novel about mothers and daughters, about taking chances, about exploding secrets and testing the boundaries of family

Years ago, during a certain summer in Maine, two young women, unaware of each other, met a charismatic man at a craft fair and each had a brief affair with him. For Jane it was a chance to bury her recent pain in raw passion and redirect her life. For Sue it was a fling that gave her troubled marriage a way forward.

Now, sixteen years later, the family lives these women have made are suddenly upended when their teenage girls meet as strangers on social media. They concoct a plan to spend the summer in Maine with the man who is their biological father. Their determination puts them on a collision course with their mothers, who must finally meet and acknowledge their shared past and join forces as they risk losing their only daughters to a man they barely know.

Review:

Since her mother, Jane, had twins, Hazel has felt left out of her family. It used to be just her and her mom, but then her mom married Cam and they had twin sons. She doesn’t even look like anyone in her family, with her dark hair while they are all blonde. One night, she gets a message online from a girl who claims to be Hazel’s half-sister. Eve suggests that Hazel and her go to visit their father, Silas, together for the summer. That seems like the perfect escape for Hazel to leave her family behind and find new relatives. Hazel and Eve seem to bond over their new found biological father, while their moms have their own shared history with Silas.

This was an intriguing concept for a story. I read an article once about a young woman who found out she had 30-something half-siblings because their mothers all used the same sperm donor. That isn’t the way Hazel’s and Eve’s mom’s had their daughters, but it was similar in the way that these girls had many close relatives that they didn’t know about.

There were a few loose ends at the end of the story. Some of the subplots weren’t explained. Silas had a former girlfriend who he almost had a baby with, and their story was only told in parts, though it seemed important to the overall story. The format of the story was a little confusing as well. The first part was about Jane and Hazel in their home. The second part was about what Jane did when Hazel was visiting Silas, as well as stories about how she met Silas and how Eve’s mother met him. The next part was about Hazel and Eve spending the summer with Silas. The final part was when they were leaving his home. The second and third parts happened simultaneously, so I wish they had been combined so the story continued to move forward. The way the story jumped between time periods was disjointed and anticlimactic.

I liked the premise for the story, but I wish it had been organized more clearly.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson

About the author:

Brianna Wolfson is a New York native living in San Francisco. Her narrative nonfiction has been featured on Medium, Upworthy and The Moth. She buys a lottery ticket every Friday.

Have you read That Summer in Maine? What did you think of it?

Review: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)

Title: Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes #2)
Author: Sonali Dev
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors comes another, clever, deeply layered, and heartwarming romantic comedy that follows in the Jane Austen tradition—this time, with a twist on Persuasion.

Chef Ashna Raje desperately needs a new strategy. How else can she save her beloved restaurant and prove to her estranged, overachieving mother that she isn’t a complete screw up? When she’s asked to join the cast of Cooking with the Stars, the latest hit reality show teaming chefs with celebrities, it seems like just the leap of faith she needs to put her restaurant back on the map. She’s a chef, what’s the worst that could happen? 

Rico Silva, that’s what.  

Being paired with a celebrity who was her first love, the man who ghosted her at the worst possible time in her life, only proves what Ashna has always believed: leaps of faith are a recipe for disaster. 

FIFA winning soccer star Rico Silva isn’t too happy to be paired up with Ashna either. Losing Ashna years ago almost destroyed him. The only silver lining to this bizarre situation is that he can finally prove to Ashna that he’s definitely over her. 

But when their catastrophic first meeting goes viral, social media becomes obsessed with their chemistry. The competition on the show is fierce…and so is the simmering desire between Ashna and Rico.  Every minute they spend together rekindles feelings that pull them toward their disastrous past. Will letting go again be another recipe for heartbreak—or a recipe for persuasion…? 

In Recipe for Persuasion, Sonali Dev once again takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in this fresh, fun, and enchanting romantic comedy. 

Review:

Ashna Raje is the chef and owner of Curried Dreams, her father’s restaurant. The restaurant is failing, so when her best friend offers her a chance to be on the new reality show Cooking with the Stars, she decides she must do it to get the money for the restaurant. Rico Silva is soccer player who went into an early retirement following a knee injury. When he finds out that Ashna is going to be a chef on Cooking with the Stars, he knows he must be the celebrity to cook with her. He wants to get the closure from their relationship that ended suddenly 12 years ago when they were teenagers. The tense competition brings back their feelings, opening up many old wounds.

I read Persuasion by Jane Austen years ago. I loved the book. This story is a great retelling, like the first book in the series, Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. It’s an updated version of the classic Austen story, with more contemporary themes.

This story was much darker and more serious than Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors. There are some trigger warnings that should be included, such as suicide, substance abuse, and rape. These things were addressed, though they didn’t directly happen in the story. It was realistic to show these things happening, even though they were upsetting to read. The characters hadn’t addressed these things in the moment that they happened, due to the stigma around mental health problems. Those were tense moments in the story, and made it a much more serious book.

This is a great Persuasion adaptation.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Recipe for Persuasion? What did you think of it?