Normal People by Sally Rooney

normal people

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½

Genre

Fiction – Contemporary

Goodreads Summary

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

Review

This book was completely different than what I usually read. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! You may think that means I’ll branch of out of my usual more often now but you’d be wrong. 😛

Sally Rooney has a unique way of writing. While at first I wasn’t sure about there not being quotations around conversations, I ended up finding it to work very well with the story. I went into this book knowing basically nothing about it other than that a #bookstagram friend of mine (@kaylagetsread) absolutely loved it. I think it’s best to go into this one with low expectations, personally. It is not filled with action or anything too jaw-dropping crazy. What it is is a beautifully written story that delves into relationship dynamics and the topics of mental illness, social class, and self-awareness.

I highly suggest this book! I’m planning to read Sally’s other book Conversations with Friends and look forward to her future book releases.

Have you read anything by this author? If so, what were your thoughts? Let’s chat!

Author Sally Rooney

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

because you're mine

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Thriller

Goodreads Summary

But it’s the lies that keep you safe. 

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…

Because You’re Mine is a breathtaking novel of domestic drama and suspense. 

Prepare to stay up all night.

Review

This was such a unique and interesting thriller! First of all, I love that this wasn’t purely thriller but also weaved in family drama and dynamics. Through the storytelling, the reader gets to really know and understand the characters and their struggles. I appreciated this aspect that made it feel a bit deeper than a classic thriller.

The first quarter or so had me anticipating what was coming. I knew something was on the horizon but was on the edge wondering when and what it would be! I had many different theories as to what was going on but, as per usual, I was way off. The twists were well done and left me surprised. This book was equal parts heartbreaking and intense.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the first half or so, the middle lost my attention for quite a while. The ending did pick up for me, but the whole book felt a little longer than it needed to be.

Overall, this was a great thriller that I think many people are going to absolutely love! I’ve already been seeing exceptional reviews for Because You’re Mine. I will definitely read more from Rea Frey!

Available August 6th!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin for my Advance Reader Copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Rea Frey’s website

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

say you still love me

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Review

I’ve heard amazing things about K.A. Tucker’s books so I was excited to read my first book of hers! Say You Still Love Me was a wonderfully written love story that captured my heart big time.

The more I read, I more I fall in love with the contemporary romance genre. I’ve read so many great books that fall into that category this year and this adds another.

Piper and Kyle first met at summer camp and were quickly enamored with one another. Their enthrallment is completely relatable to anyone who ever fell head over heels for someone as a teenager. Can you remember those feelings of just not being able to get enough of one another and feeling like it’s the two of you against the world?

This book switches back and forth between the past and present as it weaves together the story of Piper and Kyle then and now. Once I got into this one, I was invested and couldn’t wait to see how it turned out. The characters are flawed and likable. The writing is well done and easy to read and follow along with. And this one didn’t wrap up exactly how I was expecting it to, leaving me surprised by some things that ended up happening.

I highly recommend this book! I already have some of K.A. Tucker’s other books on my TBR list and will be bumping them up to make them more of a priority.

I hope you love this one as much as I did!

Available August 6th!

Thank you to Atria Books for my Advance Reader Copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author K.A. Tucker’s website

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

love at first like

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.

Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.

Review

You know when you read the right book at the right time? I love when that happens! My mood was just perfect for reading Love at First Like. This is a fun, light-hearted, entertaining read that is a great palette cleanser in between heavier reads!

While Eliza’s actions were a little outlandish, she was still somehow a very likable character to me. I could relate to her fear of losing the thing she had worked so hard for as well as her desire to find a companion she could truly be herself with. Her journey to discovering what life is really about was full of humor and heartbreak. Although some of the story is not necessarily believable, it was highly entertaining and readable nonetheless.

Hannah Orenstein wrote a fantastic rom-com that will likely keep you reading to find out what type of craziness will next ensue. I would definitely recommend this one! I hope you enjoy & would love to chat about it with you!

Available August 6th!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for my Advance Reader Copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Hannah Orenstein’s website

Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis Graves

heart-shaped hack

Always choose love. Always choose the adventure. You’ll never regret it.

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.

Review

The Tracey Garvis Graves bookathon continues! I was thrilled to get this title off of Kindle Unlimited. (Thanks to Prime Day, I was able to get 3 months for free!) As always, I was not disappointed! This wasn’t my favorite of this author’s that I’ve read but I still really enjoyed it.

I found both Kate and Ian to be very likable (always a plus)! The buildup in this story was well done. I kept feeling like something big was going to happen and I was on the edge of my seat because of it. Once it did, I was left in complete shock. I’m telling you: Tracey Garvis Graves is the queen of romance with crazy, gut-wrenching twists. I don’t want to give anything away in the slightest so I won’t say anymore.

The one thing about this book that kept it from being a five-star read was that it was just a bit too steamy for me. I definitely could have done with a lot less, but oh well! I know it doesn’t bother everyone, but it seemed worth pointing out.

Overall, I highly recommend this book! I’m looking forward to reading book two of this series titled White-Hot Hack (also available on KU).

Have you read this one? I’d love to discuss!

Author Tracey Garvis Graves’s website

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

the floating feldmans

His rhetoric would often spawn a discussion whether there should be a comma in front of the “and” between the second and third item in a list (the Bee was a no-comma place, whereas the Language Arts Department at Sacramento High was adamant about the comma, much to Mitch’s chagrin).

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Humor/Contemporary

Goodreads Summary

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. 

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.. 

Review

What a fun book this was! It started out a bit slow and took me a little while to get into it because I can get overwhelmed when there are a lot of characters in a book. However, I did get used to the characters and could easily keep them straight once I gave it some time. Once I got into it, I really loved it!

This is filled with all the family drama and antics you could want. Each family member has something quirky or unexpected come out about them and it left me highly entertained. While it was funny and light-hearted, it still contained some depth due to the relatable issues within.

I must say that I was glad I read this after I went on my first cruise last year because otherwise I probably would have been scared off from even going. 🙂

I think The Floating Feldmans would make a great summery beach read! Make sure to pick this one up once it’s available next week. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

(And I thought the quote above about the Oxford comma was just all too fitting!)

Available July 23rd!

Thank you to Berkley for my Advance Reader Copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Elyssa Friedland’s website

Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino

swear on this life

“If you can surrender to the idea that there might be a plan, instead of reducing every magical moment to a coincidence, then love will find you.”

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

“It’s impossible to really hate someone if you don’t love them at least a little.”

Review

This one has been on my TBR for way too long and I’m so thankful I was in a reading slump because it ended up being the reason I picked up this book! Thanks to the awesome Jen (@mamajustwantstoread) for letting me know this would get me out of a slump. She was so right!

This book was everything! It will no doubt be in my top books I’ve read in 2019! I’m writing this immediately after finishing it so I’m still very caught up in all the emotions. I adored this story more than I can say! It was extremely captivating and unputdownable—two of my favorite things for books to be! I finished this within 24 hours of starting it, if that tells you anything. And I still had to adult and am not an especially fast reader.

This book reminded me a little of Love and Other Words—such an amazing book! Check out my review for that here. While it had some slight similarities, Swear on This Life was still so different from anything I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed that there was a story told within the story. The two different storylines are done so well! It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Be prepared for all the feels!

If you haven’t read this one yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough! Pick it up ASAP!

I can’t wait to read more by Renée Carlino! You can find my review for another one of her books here.

Author Renée Carlino’s website