Tag Archive for: 5 Stars

Review: Book LoversTitle: Book Lovers
Author: Emily Henry
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 398
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Sexual Content: 3 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

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

One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming. Nora Stephens’ life is books--she’s read them all--and she is not that type of heroine. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again--in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow--what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

My Thoughts

My IRL book club chose to read BOOK LOVERS for our February book. I’m glad we did because I loved it.

The enemies-to-lovers and forced proximity tropes are two of my favorites and BOOK LOVERS didn’t disappoint. The execution of the enemies-to-lovers trope was excellently written, producing a spicy slow-burn romance with some of the best bantering I’ve ever read. The sexual tension between Nora and Charlie is palpable and leaves you wanting for more.

In her author’s note, Emily Henry mentions that she loves watching Hallmark movies. Most of the movies were about some kind of rich, cold business man who leaves the big city to shut down a struggling small business and turn it into a profitable chain location. While the business man’s there, he meets a small-town girl that helps him realize life isn’t all about work or money. He falls in love and decides to stay there, dumping his equally heartless girlfriend in the big city. She said BOOK LOVERS is about her question of does the seemingly heartless ex-girlfriend get her happily ever after?

I love concept of BOOK LOVERS. I love that Nora was successful as a book agent and that she loved living in New York. I love that she loved her authors and worked hard for them. And, I especially love that she didn’t have to compromise her dreams for her happily ever after.

“Maybe love shouldn’t be built on a foundation of compromises, but maybe it can’t exist without them either.”

BOOK LOVERS isn’t just a heart-warming romance, it’s also a story with some meat to it. It explores complicated familial relationships, feelings of not fitting in, extreme anxiety, different types of love, loss, and healing. It hit very close to home and is as if Emily Henry wrote about my own feelings of struggling after my mom’s passing. (This isn’t a spoiler as you learn that Nora’s and Libby’s mom passed away in the first chapter.)

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that BOOK LOVERS may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It’s my second 5-star read of the year and I look forward to reading more books by Emily Henry.

Have you read BOOK LOVERS? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent.

Review: Remarkably Bright CreaturesTitle: Remarkably Bright Creatures
Author: Shelby Van Pelt
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 360
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0.5 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

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

After Tova Sullivan works the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up, as a way to cope with her husband's recent passing and the disappearance of her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, over thirty years ago. She becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

My Thoughts

My IRL book club chose to read REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES for our January book. I’m so glad we chose it. Otherwise, I might never have read it and I absolutely adored this book.

As soon as I started reading REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES, I could tell it was going to suck me right in. I laughed, I cried, and I mostly smiled as I read this heart-warming story of love, loss, grief, and resilience.

“Not my fault I was dealt a shitty hand.”
“No, the deal is never anyone’s fault. But you control the way you play.”

REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES is mostly told in a third-person limited POV and a charming first-person POV from Marcellus, the octopus, the star of the book. Marcellus is smart, snarky, a little bit cranky, and a delightful narrator. I especially loved his friendship with Tova, the main human character. Their friendship reminds us, not in a preachy way, that animals know more than they let on and they each have feelings and deserve our kindness and respect.

Besides Marcellus, I loved the cast of characters in REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES. Tova is such a likable person despite being a bit closed off because of her grief. She reminded me a bit of my own grandmother whose family, like Tova’s, immigrated to the US while she was very young.

When I finished REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES, I promptly rated it 5 stars on Goodreads. I’m still in awe that this is Van Pelt’s debut and I think her next book has a lot to live up to. I’ll keep a look out for it, though, and make sure it goes straight to the top of my TBR.

Have you read REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for loss of a parent, loss of a child, and loss of a spouse.

Review: The Midnight LibraryTitle: The Midnight Library
Author: Matt Haig
Genre(s): Fantasy
Pages: 304
Source: Library
For: Book Club
Rating:
Sexual Content: 0 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

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

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

My Thoughts

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY was my IRL book club’s pick for June. I was really excited to read it as I’ve heard a lot of great things. After reading it, I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed and I hope I can do it justice with my spoiler-free review.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect while reading THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY. It ended up being one of the most profound reading experiences I’ve ever had. It spoke to me like no other book has. I felt seen as someone who has struggled with severe depression, suicidal ideation, and crippling regret for most of my adult life.

But there is no life where you can be in a state of sheer happiness for ever. And imagining there is just breeds more unhappiness in the life you’re in.

I understood Nora, all the emotions she felt, especially the loneliness and despair. I understood her suicidal ideation and urges. AND, even when she didn’t, I knew her depression and loneliness were lying to her–telling her she wasn’t needed, no one wanted her around, she let everyone down, or they’d all be better off without her.

I’m convinced that Nora’s journey through THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY was the only way she could’ve learned what and come to the conclusions she did. After all, one of the lessons the librarian wanted her to realize was, “The only way to learn is to live.”

Haig beautifully illustrates what Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) did in helping me want to build a life worth living. Its message that it’s not too late to start living life is one I think we all need to be reminded of once in a while.

Have you read THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

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

Review: Dear Emmie BlueTitle: Dear Emmie Blue
Author: Lia Louis
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 311
Source: Library
For: Recommended
Rating:
Sexual Content: 1 Flames

Goodreads Amazon

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

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address … and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens. Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. Fortunately for me, there was no wait and I got to pick it up the very next day. I’m so happy I got it as fast as I did because I absolutely adored this book!

OMG! This book! I can’t say enough good things about it. DEAR EMMIE BLUE reminded me of a cross between My Best Friend’s Wedding and something I’d read that’s written by Beth O’Leary. (If you don’t know, FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary was my favorite book last year.)

I loved Emmie. I related to her so hard. I didn’t have a flighty mom and I knew my dad, but I’ve dealt with a lot of severe family drama since my early teenage years. I’m a victim of sexual assault and bullying like her. A lot of her fears and anxieties mirrored my own.

Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being cared for and understood. Of being loved.

I loved the other characters in the novel too. Her friendship with Lucas and his family was such a great way to set up the story. I loved Lucas’ brother Eliot and I loved his parents Amanda and Jean. Her work friends, Rosie and Fox, were fun and a bit dirty, which endeared them to me because I love dirty jokes. I loved her landlady Louise the most. I absolutely adored every scene with Emmie and Louise together.

I adored the setting. The constant go between England and France. It was so much fun to read about the two towns where Emmie and Lucas lived, the differences between them and Emmie and Lucas.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE is such a beautiful story. I really needed it right now. I felt ALL the emotions. There were times when I laughed, cried, yelled, and swooned. I was on the edge of my seat for the last two-thirds of the novel because I wanted to know how everything panned out.

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that DEAR EMMIE BLUE may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It deals with some heavy themes that give the story some depth. It’s my second 5-star read of the year.

Have you read DEAR EMMIE BLUE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for sexual assault (not rape) and loss of a parent.

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

Goodreads Amazon

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.