Review: Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

55711642

Synopsis from Goodreads:

We had no warning that she’d come back.

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. A private and idyllic neighborhood where neighbors dropped in on neighbors, celebrated graduation and holiday parties together, and looked out for one another. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. A year and a half later, Hollow’s Edge is simmering. The residents are trapped, unable to sell their homes, confronted daily by the empty Truett house, and suffocated by their trial testimonies that implicated one of their own. Ruby Fletcher. And now, Ruby’s back.

With her conviction overturned, Ruby waltzes right back to Hollow’s Edge, and into the home she once shared with Harper Nash. Harper, five years older, has always treated Ruby like a wayward younger sister. But now she’s terrified. What possible good could come of Ruby returning to the scene of the crime? And how can she possibly turn her away, when she knows Ruby has nowhere to go?

Within days, suspicion spreads like a virus across Hollow’s Edge. It’s increasingly clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truett’s murders. And when Harper begins receiving threatening notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else becomes the killer’s next victim.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley and Edelweiss. It does not impact my review. 

Such a Quiet Place publishes July 13, 2021.

I’ve been looking forward to Such a Quiet Place for awhile now. It sounded kind of mysterious and creepy and just look at that gorgeous cover! Unfortunately, I found the story rather disappointing.

I know to expect a lot of character development and a slower pace when I pick up a Megan Miranda book, but I thought this one was too slow. It was past the halfway point before anything even happened to actually advance the plot. I thought things might pick up after that, but it remained pretty slow and boring. I also wasn’t a fan of how the mystery slowly unraveled. Harper would just stumble into information and then make big assumptions on what must have happened. I found it pretty anti-climactic when it was all said and done.

Speaking of Harper, she was my greatest struggle while reading this. I spent over half the book being incredibly annoyed and frustrated with her for what a pushover she was. Now, I am a people-pleaser that avoids confrontation, so when I think someone is a pushover, it’s pretty bad. I could not, for the life of me, understand how she could just let Ruby move back into her house, take her car, etc. I didn’t care if Ruby was innocent or a murderer. Harper found her manipulative and untrustworthy and Ruby obviously had zero respect for her. And Harper just acted helpless to ever say no. There’s some things said about how she’s too trusting and that she felt a little guilty, but neither were enough to justify how she allowed Ruby to walk all over her. I’m getting mad all over again just thinking about it.

Overall, Such a Quiet Place was a disappointing read for me. While Miranda does character development and setting very well, those are the only positive things I can really say about this one. I absolutely could not stand how Harper acted and I found the mystery really lacking. However, I’ve seen some much more positive reviews for this book, so if you can handle how frustrating Harper can be, you might enjoy this more than me.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

55711665. sy475

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just five months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout to turn the store into a parking garage. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley and Edelweiss.

To Sir, with Love publishes June 29, 2021

There is nothing like a Lauren Layne book to break you out of a book rut and uplift your mood. Her books are often among my most anticipated of the year and To Sir, with Love did not disappoint. I really loved it!

The premise of the story is a familiar one. Two people who meet and start off on the wrong foot with each other don’t realize that they’ve just met the person they’ve been anonymously corresponding with.  In this case, they’ve been messaging as “Sir” and “Lady” on a photo free dating app when Sebastian comes into Gracie’s fledgling champagne shop offering to buy out the remainder of the lease. An offer she resents, letting that resentment transfer over to Sebastian. 

Sebastian begins to win her over, though, and I loved watching it unfold. Their animosity towards each other pops up occasionally, but didn’t overshadow all the cute moments going on. I was definitely shipping Sebastian and Gracie and was anxiously waiting for them to figure things out. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the chat excerpts between them that were interspersed throughout the story. There was some good banter that I always enjoy. I do have to say, though, that since it’s obvious to the reader that Sebastian and Sir are the same person, I got a little annoyed at Gracie for taking so long to figure it out. All of the times she’s debating about her feelings between Sir and Sebastian seemed a little fruitless to me. However, it eventually all comes to light in a very sweet scene, so it still worked for me.

Another thing I really liked about this story is that the romance falls more on the sweet side. Those that are familiar with Layne’s other books know that she often includes a couple of explicit love scenes, but there aren’t any here and it made me like the book even more. 

In addition to to the romance, I loved the friendships and family dynamics. Gracie’s friend and neighbor, Keva, was funny and I wouldn’t mind seeing a book about her in the future. I also enjoyed Gracie’s siblings, Caleb and Lily, and I loved Lily’s husband, Alec. They were so supportive of Gracie and I liked seeing them grow closer. 

If there is one thing that I didn’t really care for, though, it’s the title of the book. It’s also the title of a movie. At first I thought this was supposed to be based on the movie, but it isn’t at all. I understand how the title works for the book, but I maybe would have changed a word so there would be no confusion in trying to compare it to the movie. 

Overall, I really loved To Sir, with Love. It was such a sweet story and I enjoyed every minute I was reading it. The characters were likable and the romance was shippable. I was feeling like I was in a book slump when I started this book and it pulled me out of it. Rom-Com fans will definitely want to add this to their TBR list for this summer!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

52867387. sx318 sy475

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

I received a copy of this title via Edelweiss. It does not impact my review. 

Beach Read publishes May 19, 2020. 

It’s pretty rare that I say this about a popular book, but Beach Read totally deserves all the hype it’s been getting. I loved it!

I did find that I had to adjust my expectations when I started the book. I expected a tropical location and nothing but cuteness. However, the beach being referenced in the title is on Lake Michigan and there was a whole lot of seriousness and emotional punches mixed in with the cuteness. That ended up working for me, though. I really loved both January and Gus and thought they were relatable and likable characters. I thought they brought out the best in each other and were a great example of how a couple should grow together in a relationship and not just be “fixed” by love.

I loved January and Gus’ banter. They made me smile throughout so much of this book and there were so many cute and romantic moments between them. They also managed to make me emotional, as well. I thought Gus’ general pessimism was relatable, while also wanting to see him find happiness and heal from his awful childhood. January is not only dealing with the grief of her father’s passing, but she has also found out that he had cheated on her mother and is left wondering how much of her childhood was a lie because of it. I, personally, also found this very relatable. There were several things she tried to work through which I found pretty cathartic and I liked that while she came to terms with things, she didn’t necessarily get the closure she wanted on it, either. It felt real.

I also loved that both main characters are authors. Books about authors or journalists are my weakness. I liked reading about what they thought about different genres and their daily writing routines and dealing with writer’s block. I also wanted to read the books they were writing, especially Gus’ cult book.

Overall, I really loved Beach Read and this little review probably doesn’t do justice to how much. I loved the characters and the town (once I got over it not being a tropical beach location, I found the small town charming, even if it is in Michigan (I’m a Buckeye)) and the emotions and the romance. It was a perfect blend of serious and cute and I couldn’t get enough of it. I definitely recommend this one!

Overall Review (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

43309498. sy475

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“One hell of a suspense novel.” ⁠—Stephen King

The New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs and No Time for Goodbye returns with an edge-of-your-seat thriller that does for elevators what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for the beach—a heart-pounding tale in which a series of disasters paralyzes New York City with fear.

It all begins on a Monday, when four people board an elevator in a Manhattan office tower. Each presses a button for their floor, but the elevator proceeds, non-stop, to the top. Once there, it stops for a few seconds, and then plummets.

Right to the bottom of the shaft.

It appears to be a horrific, random tragedy. But then, on Tuesday, it happens again, in a different Manhattan skyscraper. And when Wednesday brings yet another high-rise catastrophe, one of the most vertical cities in the world—and the nation’s capital of media, finance, and entertainment—is plunged into chaos.

Clearly, this is anything but random. This is a cold, calculated bid to terrorize the city. And it’s working. Fearing for their lives, thousands of men in women working in offices across the city refuse leave their homes. Commerce has slowed to a trickle. Emergency calls to the top floors of apartment buildings go unanswered.

Who is behind this? Why are they doing it? What do these deadly acts of sabotage have to do with the fingerless body found on the High Line? Two seasoned New York detectives and a straight-shooting journalist must race against time to find the answers before the city’s newest, and tallest, residential tower has its ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

With each diabolical twist, Linwood Barclay ratchets up the suspense, building to a shattering finale. Pulsating with tension, Elevator Pitch is a riveting tale of psychological suspense that is all too plausible . . . and will chill readers to the bone.

I received a copy of title tile via Edelweiss. It does not impact my review.

Elevator Pitch will be available September 17, 2019. 

Linwood Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I always look forward to his books. I’m happy to say that Elevator Pitch did not disappoint.

I thought the idea of malfunctioning elevators in a city that relies on them so heavily was really interesting and I thought Barclay did a good job of creating a really suspenseful atmosphere. I even avoided using the elevators at work while I was reading this. I thought the mystery aspect was pretty well done, too. There are multiple possible suspects and a few red herrings that had me second guessing myself and I liked that.

Barclay’s books are always pretty character driven and this was no exception. I really liked detectives Bourque and Delgado. I would really love to see more books including them. I also enjoyed Mayor Headley and his aides, Valerie, Chris, and Glover, as well as journalist Barbara and her daughter, Arla. There was also a perspective from a domestic terrorist group leader. While it was intriguing, I recently finished another book that had a similar group and I’m kind of over the whole politics angle becoming more popular in books.

Overall, I really enjoyed Elevator Pitch.  While I didn’t love the inclusion of politics and I felt the story was just a little longer than it needed to be, those were really my only issues with it. I loved the suspenseful atmosphere of the elevators and the characters. I am definitely looking forward to more from Barclay.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

Review: Now That You Mention it by Kristan Higgins

35140629

Synopsis from Good Reads:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

I received a copy of this title via Edelweiss. It does not impact my review. 

Now That You Mention It will be available December 26, 2017.

I have been a fan of Kristan Higgins for years now and have read all of her books – most of them multiple times. Whenever I need a pick-me-up her books do the trick. I don’t read a lot of straight up Romance books so she has become my go-to when that’s what I’m in the mood for. Her last few books, though, have moved out of the Romance category and more into Women’s Fiction. While the books have obviously still been up to the standard I expect out of Higgins, they weren’t quite the light and fluffy feel good stories I was used to getting and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Even though Now That You Mention It feels a lot more serious than most her other books, it still ended up being exactly the book I needed right now. Higgins still made me happy and made me feel and I quite loved this book.

The character development was really well done. The story was told in Nora’s 1st person POV and I really felt a connection to her. I identified a lot with her teenage self, as well. I felt like she grew a lot throughout the novel and I was rooting for her every step of the way. I loved her growing relationships with her mother, her niece, the daughter of some of her old classmates, an old friend, and her new love interest, Sullivan. I loved Sullivan so much!  He was so sweet and a great father. I also liked how his severe hearing loss was dealt with. My mother works with the deaf and hard of hearing and I always find it interesting when a deaf/HOA person is represented in fiction. The romance did play a much smaller role in the story than I was expecting, but it just made me love it even more.

Overall, I really loved Now That You Mention It. Kristian Higgins is really one of my favorite authors and while there was a lot of her trademark style in this book, I also felt like she went outside of her comfort zone and stretched a little more as an author. While I will always hope she writes some more of the light and fluffy romances I have come to love from her, I will no longer be disappointed to see she has something different coming out. I found this compulsively readable and did not want to put it down. The only complaint I really have is that I felt the end was a little too rushed. Still, I would definitely recommend this one.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars