Book Review// Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan

Author: Megan Nolan
Series: Standalone
Genre: Literary Fiction
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Book Length: 288
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review: 5/5

My Review:

Imagine you’re interested in someone and you don’t really know why, there’s just *something* about them. Pretty soon, that *something* becomes an all consuming feeling – you wonder how you ever lived without them before, and don’t want to imagine ever having to live without them again.

You romanticize this person and their feelings for you; you want to believe there’s merit to them, but they’re not really meant for the pedestal you put them on even though you’ve convinced yourself that they are. Though you can’t see it right now, years from now, you’ll probably look back and realize that the only *something* interesting about them wasn’t a something at all – it was you and the way you romanticized them.

But for now, you’re desperate: desperate to convince them you’re worthy of their love, desperate to be the person that changes them, desperate to believe they wouldn’t be unfaithful, wouldn’t yell at you, belittle you, make you feel crazy.

That’s what this book was. It was very messy and raw on both the narrator and her boyfriend’s ends, and though I enjoyed it very much, it was quite frankly hard to read at times; trigger warning checks are a must for this one.

If you are a fan of the ‘young woman trying to navigate life and relationships’ genre, this is the book for you. It was definitely a ride.

– Catherine

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Book Review// Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Author: Carley Fortune
Series: Standalone
Genre: Romance
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Book Length: 320
Publisher: Viking
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Six summers to fall in love. One moment to fall apart. A weekend to get it right.

A magazine writer has to make a choice when she returns to the lake she grew up on, and to the man she thought she’d never have to live without, in this achingly nostalgic debut.

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser that has felt too true for the last decade, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart. Until the day she gets a call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek.

For five summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family restaurant and curling up together with books–medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her–Percy and Sam had been inseparable. And slowly that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake to attend Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. Percy must confront the decisions she’s made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, in order to determine, once and for all, whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.

Told over the course of five years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

My Review:

This is my favourite romance ever as of now; I feel so strongly about this book that I bought it in all 3 formats so I could enjoy it from every avenue. Everything about it was perfect and I felt so seen and comforted by all the Toronto/ Canadian references – when else will I read a book that mentions Tim Horton’s, Hudson’s Bay, and Pizza Pizza???

I used to think enemies to lovers was my favourite, but that was before I met Percy and Sam. There is something so beautiful about watching a friendship blossom into love over time; I appreciated that this wasn’t some insta-love, but rather a bond that tenderly grew over the years, and at its core remained unchanged even after so much time had passed.

Speaking of which, don’t even get me started with Sam – he was so beautifully written. My biggest regret in life is that my parents didn’t own a cottage up North so I could have the chance at a yearly summer romance with the cute guy next door. Most of the books I read lately have some sort of sad undertone, but this was a ray of sunshine I desperately needed.

I loved this one so much; please pick it up if you enjoy romance books, you won’t regret it

– Catherine

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Book Review// Fate’s Ways by Janille N. Giambattista

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Author: Janille N. Giambattista
Series: Standalone
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 30, 2021
Book Length: 48
Publisher: Kindle
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sometimes love happens, and we can’t explain why or how. Sometimes meeting our soul mate involves taking Fate’s hand and putting our trust in a force akin to magic. In this novella about two people who are quite literally destined to love each other for all their lives, Janille N. Giambattista examines how sometimes we can’t quite put into words how we were led to The One–but in the end, the how or why doesn’t matter as long as we find our Happily Ever After.

My Review:

As a child, I used to sit awake at night wondering about my life: Who would I become? Whose would I become? I conjured up a silhouette of this mystery man in my mind that I carried close even as I got older: dark hair and eyes, taller than me, good sense of humour, and all the other standard, surface-level things that come to mind when you make up a person from your imagination. I would write people off immediately upon meeting them, knowing intrinsically that they wouldn’t fit the mold; I was on a mission to manifest the person I’d created, and when I’d meet him, I’d know. I’m a firm believer in fate myself, and Janille has taken my childhood fantasies in the form of these main characters and propelled them onto these pages.

The hint of magical realism made this novella feel part fairy-tale. I’d love to live my life with the conviction that everything (and everyone) that happens to you is maneuvering you in the right direction, even if everything feels wrong at the time. In my interpretation of their enchanted encounters before meeting in adulthood, each of them is meant to face their heartaches, challenges, or close calls with the hope that the other is out there waiting for them some day, and to prepare them for the versions they are meant to be when they find each other. I thought this was such a beautiful and unique narrative, and one that I’d love to read more of.

I devoured this novella in one sitting, and I would happily absorb myself again in any and all future work of Janille’s – I’m already looking forward to her next one!

– Catherine

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Books As Outfits – Mini Reviews

I remember when the books as outfits trend was going around last year (or was it this year – I can’t keep up), and I thought it was such a cool trend. I kind of wanted to bring it back in a way, but instead of me dressing up to match the aesthetic of the book, I wanted to find outfits online that both resembled the vibe of the cover / the book’s contents, or would be something I might wear if I were a bit bolder with my looks.

So, here are mini reviews of the last 3 books I’ve read, and outfits I think would accompany them.

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Okay I really liked this one! The whole time I was reading, I was picturing the show (which I can’t wait until it returns for S2). I really like the aesthetic of books or shows set in the 1800s – give me a ball scene and I’m in! The reason I chose this outfit is because the time period definitely gives this book a bit of a conservative undertone, and I think this outfit is both conservative and classy. The sparkly shoe gives me a Princess / Duchess vibe and brings something fun to the whole ensemble; just like the book, it is classy but fun.

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I don’t have TikTok, but I believe this book was blowing up there originally at one point because I saw a lot of people tweeting about it in the last few months. This book was addictive. It does deal with some pretty heavy topics like alcoholism, sex addiction, and sexual assault, but it does not sugar coat them at all. It set the stage well for the other books in the series – I really liked the characters, especially the side characters. I chose this outfit because the colour and cut outs resemble the torn up heart on the cover. Though I don’t know where I would wear it, I reaaaallly like this outfit.

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It had been a while since I last read a classic before this one. Sometimes it can be easy to think that in the grand scheme of things you don’t matter, and that you are just one of billions in the world, which is what the protagonist, Eddie, felt. However, each of us does have a great impact on other people’s lives whether we realized it at the time or not, and that is mainly what this book is about. This book was sad and touching, and made me think very deeply about my life. I chose this outfit to accompany the book because like the book, it is a classic, and you can never go wrong with a monochromatic look. If you told me people wore this outfit in past decades, I would believe you just as much as if you told me you were wearing it today. Just like the outfit, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is timeless.

– Catherine

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Top 5 Wednesday | Books Published in 2021

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly prompt originally created by Lainey @GingerReadsLainey on Youtube. Every Wednesday, you are presented with a new topic and list your top 5 books related to that topic. You can join the Goodreads group HERE!

Since we are now in the second half of 2021, this week’s prompt is to list your favourite books published in the first half of the year.

Admittedly, I haven’t read too many books published in 2021 so far, so I am going to list my top 3, and then the last 2 will be highly anticipated books that I am planning to read which came out in 2021 🙂

Books I’ve Read:

HOUSE OF HOLLOW | KRYSTAL SUTHERLAND

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MALIBU RISING | TAYLOR JENKINS REID

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ONE LAST STOP | CASEY MCQUISTON

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Books I’m Planning on Reading:

PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION | EMILY HENRY

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THE SECRET KEEPER OF JAIPUR | ALKA JOSHI

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Have you read any of these so far this year? Are any of these on your list? I’d love to know!

– Catherine

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