Review: Some of It was RealTitle: Some of It was Real
Author: Nan Fischer
Genre(s): Mystery, Romance
Pages: 352 (Kindle)
Source: Own
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 3 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Sylvie Young, a psychic on the verge of stardom who isn’t sure she believes in herself and, Thomas Holmes, a cynical journalist with one last chance at redemption are brought together by secrets from the past. When Sylvie and Thomas collide, a game of cat and mouse ensues, but the secrets they’re keeping from each other are nothing compared to the mysteries and lies they unearth about Sylvie’s past.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of SOME OF IT WAS REAL, I put it on hold at my local library right away. There was a little bit of a wait, but I finally got it and read it. I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed this book.

The enemies-to-lovers and forced proximity tropes are two of my favorites and SOME OF IT WAS REAL didn’t disappoint. The execution of the enemies-to-lovers trope was excellently written, producing a spicy slow-burn romance. Sylvie and Thomas’ constant worry of out-smarting the other while falling in love was a treat to read, and the cat and mouse game dynamic made the story fun and exciting.

I loved the inclusion of Sylvie’s beloved service dog, Moose. Even though as a Great Dane he comes across as a bit scary, he’s a lovable teddy bear. Thomas’ cat, Christopher Robin, reminded me of my Daxi-cat, who recently passed away due to old age. I loved Chris’ demeanor and her interactions with Moose. Each pet was written as a beloved companion, endearing me more to the two main characters and making SOME OF IT REAL a much richer story.

My memories are a nest of spiders suddenly caught in bright light. They skitter to dark corners.

SOME OF IT WAS REAL is a a heart-wrenching story that asks the reader to believe in something unseen. It’s also about love, acceptance, and truth. I’m glad I was a part of the journey to find out who Sylvie was. I thought the premise came across as realistic given the circumstances of her past. Skeptical at first like Thomas, the more I learned the more I believed in Sylvie as a person and a psychic-medium.

I would’ve given SOME OF IT WAS REAL 4.5 or 5 stars, but the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying as I wanted it to be. I did love the feeling of hope and how it coincided with believing in something intangible. View Spoiler »

Have you read SOME OF IT WAS REAL? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent and loss of a pet.

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaTitle: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: Simonverse #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance, YA
Pages: 325 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

My Thoughts

I grew up in a very conservative religious family. Like many Christian religions, my religion believes acting on “same-sex attraction” is a sin. Because of this, I knew about SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. But, because it’s about a closeted gay teenager, I’ve always shied away from reading it. I began questioning my own sexuality about eight years ago and I came out as queer on June 1. I’m now ready to embrace that part of me without feeling shame, which includes reading LGBTQ+ literature.

Last year, I watched LOVE, SIMON on Hulu and fell in love with Simon Spier and his story. Because of the movie, I wanted to read SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. I decided to read it as part of Pride Month.

Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA is a heart-warming story of love and acceptance in all its forms. Simon’s coming out felt familiar. When I read about his fear of rejection and/or disappointing those he loved if he came out, I felt like I understood.

I really felt for him when he was outed without his consent and bullied at the hands of other students in his school. I actually really love how Albertalli used the bullying Simon faced as a way for him to feel supported by his friends, family, and teachers as they rallied around him.

I loved the characters in SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. I loved the relationship he had with Blue. I loved reading their emails to each other. They were fun and witty. I also loved his relationship with his parents and sisters. His family was protective and supportive, but not without their flaws which made the story more realistic.

Have you read SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for bullying.

Review: Nine Perfect StrangersTitle: Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 458 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Steaminess: 0 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

My Thoughts

I love Liane Moriarty. She’s one of my favorite authors. I was excited when my IRL book club decided to read another of her books. I was a little bit worried about what I’d think of NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, though, because I had seen mixed reviews. While it’s not my favorite book by Moriarty (that title will always go to WHAT ALICE FORGOT), I shouldn’t have worried. I really enjoyed reading NINE PERFECT STRANGERS.

I connected strongly with a few of the characters in terms of their mental health battles. I thought Moriarty did such a great job of writing about depression, suicide, suicidal ideation, psychedelic therapy, and the way we deal with trauma and setbacks in our life. I really appreciated how she explored all these tough subjects. (I especially liked how she flipped the psychedelic therapy on its head. If you’ve read NINE PERFECT STRANGERS, you’ll hopefully understand what I mean.)

She had not realized that grief was so physical.

I did think some of the plot was a little far-fetched, but the story and the characters were so compelling that I didn’t care. Moriarty’s a master at writing character-driven stories, which are my most favorite kind of stories to read. I wanted to keep reading and find out how the book would end, how each of the characters would act and feel after their experiences at Tranquillum House.

Have you read NINE PERFECT STRANGERS? If so, what did you think?

P.S. I personally know people who’ve had success with psychedelic therapy under the care of a psychiatrist. I had even considered it for myself before I found Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide, suicidal ideation, loss of a child, and loss of a sibling.

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved BeforeTitle: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 368 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she's ever loved. The letters are for her eyes only. Until the day they are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Thoughts

I’ve wanted to read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE ever since it became a huge phenomenon because of the Netflix movie. Yet, I’m only just reading it now because it’s my IRL book club’s book for February. (I’m excited that I can finally watch the Netflix movie at least! Woot woot! ) There are minor spoilers in this review.

I really liked Lara Jean and her sisters. I also really liked the interaction between Lara Jean and the two main guys, the boy next door and Mister Cocky-Handsome-Everyone-Loves-Me. What I didn’t like is that two main guys meant that there was a love triangle. I despise love triangles. They’re my least favorite YA trope. They’re the main reason I don’t read as much YA romance anymore.

Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s part of the risk.

Even though TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE had a love triangle, I decided to be optimistic. I even told myself, maybe Lara Jean will end up with the boy I want her to. Of course, all kinds of chaos ensued and it was a lot of fun to read and witness. I actually really enjoyed the story, but the ending, or non-ending I should say, almost ruined it all for me!

I like choosing to read the next book in a series because I want to, not because I have to. I understand series have cliffhangers; I’ve just never read one quite like this and in the first book. At this point, I’m not sure I’m going to continue the series. I’ll probably just see if I can get what I need from the Netflix movie(s).

I’ve been trying to decide if I want to rate TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE 3 or 4 stars. I’m settling on 3.5 stars. (I find myself giving out more half-star ratings.)

Have you read TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent.

Review: Anxious PeopleTitle: Anxious People
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 346 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Unofficial Trim Challenge
Rating:
Steaminess: 0 Flames

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There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

A poignant, charming novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Humorous, compassionate, and wise, ANXIOUS PEOPLE is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope--the things that save us, even in the most anxious of times.

My Thoughts

I’ve never been interested in reading Fredrik Backman’s books. They sounded boring to me. Then my IRL book club read ANXIOUS PEOPLE back in September and the discussion sounded interesting. Fortunately, I didn’t pay attention too much so I wouldn’t be spoiled because I decided to add it to my Unofficial Trim Challenge list and its number was chosen for January.

Some of us never manage to get the chaos under control, so our lives simply carry on, the world spinning through space at two million miles an hour while we bounce about on its surface like so many lost socks.

I’m so glad I decided to act opposite of my initial inclination and read ANXIOUS PEOPLE. I absolutely adored this book. I was giggling from the outset and I was hooked from the first time I sat down on Monday and started to read the book. I loved how it was written, that we got the story in parts. It reminded me a lot of TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Liane Moriarty (but better executed). I wanted to keep reading so I could figure out how everything would play out.

After I finished reading ANXIOUS PEOPLE, I felt almost spiritually moved and like Backman had spoken to me through his characters on a deep personal level. Backman made me feel a gambit of emotions for every single character, including the grumpy know-it-all who thrived on causing conflict. It made me love every single one of them. He even made me have feelings for bridges.

I’ll definitely look into Frederik Backman’s other books now and see if I like any of them as much as ANXIOUS PEOPLE. It was such a treat to read.

Have you read ANXIOUS PEOPLE? If so, what did you think about it?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for suicide and suicidal ideation.