Review of Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love is about Tate and Miles who seemingly have the perfect friends-with-benefits setup. Tate is busy working as an ER nurse and in CRNA school who tells herself that she doesn’t have time for a relationship and Miles is a workaholic pilot who is adamant that he is incapable of love. Their two rules are “never ask about the past” and “don’t expect a future.” However, the more time they spend together, the harder these rules get to keep.

First of all, this book is STEAMY as hell, almost a little too steamy. At times I wanted a little more plot and character development and a little less graphic sex scenes. I felt like these characters, except for Miles were a little one dimensional and while I loved the poetic way in which his flashbacks were written, I wish the reader got to hear more of his developing feelings about Tate. However, whatever mixed feelings I had about this book were completely washed away by the ending. The emotions were so raw from all of the characters and, without giving anything away, the plot is absolutely gut-wrenching.

If you’re looking for a rather ~sensual~ book that’s also an absolute tear jerker, definitely add this one to your TBR list! Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book and also think that Cap is the unsung hero of this book!

4 out of 5 stars

Review of The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Life absolutely got away from me for the past few weeks but I am back in action with another review! The Unsinkable Greta James follows the story of upcoming indie star Greta James in the wake of her mother’s sudden passing. As a result of her grief, she has a breakdown on stage prior to the release of her second album which goes viral. In an attempt to escape the aftermath, she agrees to go on an Alaskan cruise with her dad who seemingly has never been a fan of her career choices and consistently compares her to her brother Asher. This trip is full of lots of emotions and growth, as it was supposed to be an anniversary celebration for her parents.

This was a little bit of a slow burn for me. I honestly wasn’t super captivated at first and was very frustrated with how clearly unimpressed Greta’s dad was with not just her success and her in general when compared to her brother Asher who has a wife and kids and lives in the suburbs. But then something switched for me. Even if I didn’t totally love the characters, the larger themes of grief and the love interests that Greta reflects on and experiences with Ben on the cruise struck a chord with me. I think everyone has a “Luke” who is the person they thought they’d spend the rest of their life with, but the universe had other ideas and a “Ben” who is the person that shows you what love should be like, even if it’s not necessarily meant to last. Also, Smith perfectly captures the often complex web of emotions that comes along with grief in both Greta and Conrad’s actions throughout the book.

Overall, this book definitely grew on me. I think I’ve been reading a lot of Colleen Hoover lately who really dives deep into heavy emotions and expected this to do so in the same way but Smith has a very different, more subdued writing style that elicits the same heart-wrenching moments without overwhelming the reader with emotion. Even though this wasn’t my favorite book in the world, I enjoyed it enough and would definitely read another book by Smith.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

After leaving a bartending job with a boss who relentlessly sexually harassed her, Jess decides to crash with her brother Ben in Paris to get back on her feet. However, when she arrives, Ben is nowhere to be found and as time goes on, it becomes clear that some sort of foul play has occurred. As Jess works to find out what happened to her brother, she uncovers dark secrets about Ben’s neighbors and how he had become entangled in their web as he worked on his latest story.

I has such high expectations for this book. I absolutely loved The Guest List and I couldn’t wait to dive back into another thriller after going on a big of a sappy Colleen Hoover bender (reviews to come). Unfortunately, I was incredibly underwhelmed by this book. All of the characters are terrible and lack depth.At over 200 pages in there had been barely any character development or plot progression that I found myself simply reading because I was too far in to give up. Without giving away any spoilers, many of the plot twists are so far fetched. Also, I felt like there were many plot points that were simply dropped or the resolution was loosely inferred which left me feeling disappointed.

Ultimately, this was not the page-turned I was hoping for. While I appreciate a thriller with a slow burn, this novel lacked suspense and the ending was sloppy, rushed, and disappointing. Since The Guest List was such a hit with me, I definitely haven’t sworn off Lucy Foley completely, but I just expected so much more from her.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book and help a girl out with some good recs because book morale is low over here!

2 out of 5 stars

Review of Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls is about Lux and her boyfriend Nico who are hired by two friends, Brittany and Amma, to sail them out to the remote island of Meroe in the South Pacific that has quite the dark history and his completely cut off from civilization. When they arrive, they quickly bond with another couple, Jake and Eliza, who are also exploring the island and are seemingly enjoying paradise together. However, slowly things begin to unravel. Relationships are not what they seem and the truth has deadly consequences.

To be honest, giving this book 3 out of 5 stars feels generous. I kept reading all 300+ pages because I kept anticipating some crazy twist was coming given the overall eeriness and slow-burn pacing of the book. However, I didn’t anticipate the “twist” to happen in the last 10 pages of the book. It felt rather rushed and overall unsatisfying from a reader’s perspective. Additionally, none of the characters are particularly likable. When negative things would happen to them or I would find out more with regard to what a particular character was capable of, I didn’t really have much of a reaction. I just found myself being rather unsurprised that these rather flat characters got even worse.

Although this book missed the mark for me, I would definitely consider reading another one of Hawkins’ books. Despite not enjoying this particular story line, I did really enjoy her writing style and think I would be easily captivated by another one of her works. If you’ve read Reckless Girls, I would love to hear your thoughts and if you’ve read any of Hawkins’ other works that you enjoyed, feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

3 out of 5 stars

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Matthew & Marissa Bishop seemingly appear to have it all, until Marissa cheats on Matthew. In hopes of rebuilding their relationship, they enlist the support of Avery, a therapist whose unconventional methods have left her without a license to practice. As they move through her ten sessions, it becomes very apparent that there is much more to the story than a simple act of adultery.

I haven’t read a thrilled in a while and it became very apparent that this is what I needed in my life because I simply could not put this book down. The best way I could describe the overall vibe of the book is deeply unsettling. The entire time I was so unclear as to who to trust and who had ulterior motives. While reading this book, I felt similarly to when I was reading Behind Closed Doors. Although the pacing is a little slower in this book, it still had the same effect on me. I found myself tearing through pages at 1am, unable to rest until I finished this truly spooky story.

The book nerd in me is also very fascinated by the writing process of Hendricks & Pakkaenen. I don’t think I’ve read many books with multiple authors other than in an academic setting and the whole book flowed so seamlessly. I would be very curious to learn more about how they go about writing together and blend their own individual styles into something as great as this book.

If you’re looking to jump back into the thriller world, bump this to the top of your TBR list because it’s just SO good. I really can’t say enough good things about it.

5 out of 5 stars

Review of Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is about two writers, Augustus Everett and January Andrews, who despite going to school together have wildly different writing styles. January is more of the happy-ending type while Augustus has more of an affinity for the dark and twisty where at least one of his characters perishes by the end of the novel. They found themselves to be neighbors along the beach of Lake Michigan as they try and work through their writer’s block as well as their respective personal traumas that are greatly contributing to their lacking ability to put pen to paper. In hopes of sparking some inspiration, they agree on a bet: January will write something dark and twisty like Augustus and Augustus will try to write a happy ending and whoever sells their book first wins. Their weekly “research” field trips slowly turn from friendly to something more.

Emily Henry is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I’m not quite sure how this is possible but I loved this book even more than People We Meet on Vacation. The complexity of Augustus and January as characters is truly remarkable. Although they’re completely different novels I couldn’t help but compare the relationship between Poppy and Alex and Augustus and January, and I felt like the slow burn Henry developed between Augustus and January made for an even more enjoyable read. The vulnerability both main characters showed in Beach Read made it feel so honest and real and allowed me to easily get lost in the story. Henry simply does a phenomenal job of creating multidimensional, beautifully flawed character that I can’t help but fall in love with.

Needless to say, I have already pre-ordered my copy of her next book entitled Book Lovers and I am counting down until May when it gets released. At this point, I would read this woman’s grocery list and think it was amazing she’s just that great. You need this book in your life. I promise.

5 out of 5 stars

PS. If there’s anything you’re dying for me to review, feel free to leave me a comment or DM me on IG and I will gladly add to my seemingly never-ending TBR list.

Review of Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

In this novel, the death of Eleanor Bennett leaves her two children with a strange inheritance: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording that unveils her true history. Byron and Benny are now faced with mourning their mother’s death, attempting to rebuild their strained relationship, and coming to terms with their true heritage.

I experienced the full spectrum of emotion while reading this book. Not only was this book beautifully written but I had never read anything where the characters were representative of my own multiracial background. It was so powerful for me to connect with characters that had experiences that some of my own family did growing up in Jamaica.

I am truly floored that this is Wilkerson’s first novel. She expertly developed such dynamic characters and the transition between each point of view was seamless. Every single character, no matter how ancillary, had a full spectrum of character development, leaving the reader with a true resolution at the end of the novel, rather than wondering about any story lines that weren’t addressed. The pace of this book was also perfect. As the reader, each character’s secrets were revealed in due time in an authentic way, as if you were sitting right along side of Benny and Byron listening to their mother’s confessional voice recording.

Everyone’s family history is messy in its own beautiful way and Charmaine Wilkerson captures that authentically in the characters and storyline she created. Bump this gem up to the top of your reading list, I promise it won’t disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars

Review of People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation is about Poppy and Alex who, despite being wildly different human beings, have become best friends after carpooling home from college one semester. While they spend most of their year apart with Poppy living and working in New York City, and Alex working as a teacher in their hometown, they seemingly pick up where they left off of their infamous “summer trips.” However, after the events of one trip, they stop speaking for two years. In an attempt to get out of the rut she’s found herself in personally and professionally, Poppy reaches out to Alex to try and make things right over the course of one more summer trip together.

To say I’m obsessed with this book is honestly an understatement. I cannot say enough good things. I had ALL the feelings reading this book. I was laughing out loud at parts and tearing up and genuinely loving every minute of reading this. Poppy and Alex’s banter is perfect and reminds me so much of my relationship with my childhood best friend, Matt, minus the wild sexual tension. (If you know me personally you know Matt has been dressing like a professor since he could walk and I have been dragging him into the center of dance floors and generally embarrassing him since 1999.)

The characters voices are incredibly authentic and the structure of the book allows the reader to feel the slow burn of this relationship develop, while fully understanding their past experiences together. Needless to say, I have immediately ordered Emily Henry’s other book Beach Read and will be reading anything and everything this woman publishes. Honestly, not sure why you’re still reading this review when you could already starting this amazing book.

5 out of 5 stars

Review of The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Full disclosure: I’m a John Green fanatic. He is hands-down one of my favorite authors. In all of the fiction novels he’s written, he has such a unique and authentic voice that shines through so it was so awesome to read something that was simply coming from him and not one of his characters. I really can’t say enough good things about this book to

This collection of essays is a poetic, but realistic, examination of the little nuances that humanity contributes to the world around us. In a time where we are often inundated with just how harmful humans can be to each other and Earth as a whole, Green celebrates the flaws that make the human condition what it is. He somehow manages to make something as mundane and ridiculous as the largest ball of paint a vector for commentary on larger themes of the human condition that would resonate with anyone.

This was exactly what I needed to recover after the whirlwind that was The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. For an even more ~elevated~ experience, I would highly recommend listening to the audiobook because one, it’s narrated by Green himself and two, theres 3 bonus essays that aren’t in the book. My personal favorite one is called “Mortification,” and it talks about the highlight reel that Green experiences when he tries to sleep of all the embarrassing things he’s even done in his life which is VERY relatable to this anxious gal.

5 out of 5 stars

Review of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

*This review contains mild spoilers*

In this book, every day at 11pm Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11pm. Aiden Bishop is tasked with solving this murder in order to break this horrific cycle, however, each day he wakes up in a different “host” that are varying degrees of helpful in saving Evelyn.

Honestly, this book is the wildest fever dream you’ve ever had mixed with Inception with a hefty dollop of thriller to keep things interesting. Up until the 53rd chapter Turton’s work had absolutely captivated me. This concept was so different than the mystery/thriller plots that I’m typically drawn to that I simply couldn’t put it down. I was so grateful that I had found this book during my Covid quarantine throughout Christmas and New Years. However, after the true story behind Aiden and Anna was revealed, the remaining seven chapters felt quite strained and a bit insufferable to push through. Instead of devouring each page on the edge of my seat, I found myself fairly drained by these characters. Without giving too much away, I found the pseudo-happily-ever-after for two of the characters to be far-fetched and frustrating. 

Ultimately, reading this book felt like riding an emotional rollercoaster while simultaneously trying to solve a geometry proof. I still feel the need to rate this book rather highly because it was so captivating for so long. However, after so much emotional turmoil as a reader, I was disappointed with how everything shook out in the end. 

3.5 out of 5 stars