Review// Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

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Author: Lisa Unger
Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Book Length: 368
Publisher: Park Row
Review: 2/5

My Review:

I realize this is a very niche preference, but something about a book with characters that meet on a train, or where is train is involved in some way instantly intrigues me, so of course I had to read this.

This book follows Selena, a working mother of 2 young boys, who misses her usual train one day after spying her nanny, Geneva, and husband, Graham, cheating on their nanny cam. On the 7:45 train home, she has an eerie encounter with a stranger whom she confides in about what she just witnessed. A few days later, their nanny mysteriously vanishes without a trace. The book goes back and forth between a few POV’s as the reader tries to piece together what has happened.

I have a love/hate relationship with books that have multiple POVs. On one hand, I think this style works so well with mystery/ thrillers because it keeps you guessing for longer and allows for so much anticipation from all the cliffhangers each person’s unique POV leaves you on. On the other hand, when you have too many cooks in the kitchen, the recipe can get messy, fast. Some of the POVs confused me to the point where I had to back track to make sure I was understanding correctly, and while it’s not a huge deal, it can be annoying to continuously feel like you’re not quite caught up on who is who and what is going on. I think half of the POVs weren’t even necessary, which made me so bored when those ones came along.

This book gave off a major ‘man hating’ vibe as well, which was quite strange. How it is that not one man in that town was faithful or trustworthy!?

*MINOR SPOILER AHEAD

Not to mention, how far fetched is it that on the night of the nanny’s disappearance, Selena’s young son who couldn’t have been more than 10 years old had recorded her unbeknownst to her on his iPad? Aside from the fact that it’s highly coincidental and pretty creepy, are iPad-quality videos even that good? * Spoiler ended.

I get that coincidences happen in life, and they have to happen in books to move the plot along, but it was a bit much.

Anyway, this book was okay – it had some interesting moments, but the switching between characters and one character having multiple aliases and names in the midst of all of that really did me in. This could have been better if at least one character was likable, but I was not rooting for anybody in the book. The only person I was rooting for was myself to finish this as soon as possible to get on with something better.

– 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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Review// The Guest List by Lucy Foley

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Author: Lucy Foley
Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Book Length: 330
Publisher: William Morrow
Review: 5/5

My Review:

On an eerie, seemingly haunted island off the coast of Ireland, a beautiful, successful couple – he a television star, she a magazine publisher – celebrates their wedding. The happiest day of their lives, right? Wrong. As the events of the weekend start to unfold, secrets are spilled that link the guests, who otherwise have never met, in ways you wouldn’t imagine. At the end of the wedding day, someone ends up dead, but who is it, and why?

Picked this one up on a whim and my mind is blown; I was not expecting to love it as much as I did! The ambiance of the book was amazing. It felt like I was there on that spooky island, a fly on the wall listening in on all the private conversations that held tantalizing secrets – one more shocking than the last. There were quite a few different points of view in this book, and while that can sometimes be confusing, it was done so well! Although some of the characters annoyed me, I enjoyed all viewpoints, and after every chapter, there was a cliff hanger that made me want to read “just one more”. This book kept me guessing who the killer was, right up until it was revealed.

I flew through this book in 48 hours, and if I hadn’t stopped myself multiple times, I would have easily finished it much quicker. Gripping, scandalous, and cryptic: all words I would use to describe The Guest List. It’s no wonder it won Goodreads Choice as best mystery/thriller of 2020. 

– Catherine

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Review// People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

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Author: Emily Henry
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Book Length: 364
Publisher: Berkley Books
Review: 4/5

My Review:

I was today years old when I realized that the best friends to lovers trope is actually top tier and I’ve been missing out on it for years.

Poppy and Alex have been best friends since College. Every year, they take a summer vacation together, until one year something unbeknownst to the reader happens that causes them to drift apart and stop their trips. This year, however, Poppy has a plan to save their friendship with one last getaway for old times sake. Will it be like nothing has changed, or is it better to have let the past be the past?

This was like if Gordo and Lizzie had the spin off they deserved after the Lizzie McGuire Movie, including more trips together, minus Ms. Ungermeyer. At the beginning, I loved it and could not put it down; when I did put it down, it’s all I could think about. What initially drew me in was that Alex loves to read and he seems like a total nerd – and what can I say, I think being nerdy is hot. From the very first few pages where he was described as sitting at a bar reading a book, I knew I was going to be hooked. Their dynamic was fun too because they were sort of opposites in that Poppy was more free spirited, go with the flow, while Alex was more by the books, and I thought their personalities played off of each other well.

However, if there was one thing that I wasn’t a big fan of, it was near the end when there was a little bit of miscommunication between the two that turned into the most unnecessary argument. By that point, it was really obvious they liked each other, and I feel like that immaturity was just inserted in the story just for the sake of it rather than actually needing to be there. That was a really minor thing for me though; other than that, I thought the story was fun and hard to put down!

This was a really good read to get me into that summer vacation vibe without actually having to take a vacation, and I’m happy I found a new trope that I enjoy too! Emily Henry is my next new auto-buy author after how much I enjoyed this one.

– Catherine

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Review// You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

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Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #3
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Book Length: 385
Publisher: Random House
Review: 1/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Joe is done with the cities. He’s done with the muck and the posers, done with Love. Now, he’s saying hello to nature, to simple pleasures on a cozy island in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time in a long time, he can just breathe.

He gets a job at the local library—he does know a thing or two about books—and that’s where he meets her: Mary Kay DiMarco. Librarian. Joe won’t meddle; he will not obsess. He’ll win her the old-fashioned way: by providing a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand. Over time, they’ll both heal their wounds and begin their happily ever after in this sleepy town.

The trouble is, Mary Kay already has a life. She’s a mother. She’s a friend. She’s busy.

True love can only triumph if both people are willing to make room for the real thing. Joe cleared his decks. He’s ready. And hopefully, with his encouragement and undying support, Mary Kay will do the right thing and make room for him.

My Review:

If I could sum this book up in one word, it would be: disappointing, which actually shocks me because You is on my favourites shelf, and I enjoyed Hidden Bodies too. But oh boy, this was Not It™.

Joe was insufferable in this book. Between his “Meercats”, “Murakami’s”, “Mothballs” “RIPs”, and “Rats”, I wanted to pull my hair out. Just call people by their regular names, please. It felt like he was going around in circles bringing up the same made-up nicknames for people and things and its like we get it! The first few times it was okay, but it kept happening in literally every chapter and it really irked me; it did not seem authentic, it just seemed like he was trying way too hard.

In the other 2 books, but especially You, I loved being inside Joe’s mind. I thought his character was so well written that I actually wanted him to kill Beck, and Love, and Peach, and everybody else who crossed his path (I know, it sounds bad), but this time, I didn’t – I just wanted him to stop talking. What made him such a good character to me was that he had this affect on me before where I knew he was a bad guy, but I somehow still wanted him to succeed, and that was not the case here. I just felt annoyed the entire time and I’m honestly so sad about it!

Also, the way he and Mary Kay met and were instantly in love felt so random and forced upon the reader. I guess I’m just used to Joe kind of chasing the woman a bit, like a cat and mouse game, but there was none of that suspense involved in their meet. It was kind of just like, ‘well, she’s married so I guess I have to convince her to not have any morals about this affair I’m trying to get her into’. However, I hated how hot and cold she was too – honestly just make up your mind already! And do not get me started on Melanda. Not only did her dialogue annoy the heck out of me, but the way he was texting from her phone gave me second-hand embarrassment; it felt extremely animated, as if he were trying to type like a 16-year-old girl, even though she’s probably like a 30-something year old woman. Her dialogue made me think she was in her 50s, his texting pretending to be her made me think she was 16; it was so strange.

Anyway, as upset as I feel to have to say this, I think it might be time for me to retire Joe and his narrative from my rotation of insta-pickups; I just can’t take another one like this, and I would rather not continue to taint the image of one of my favourite books by reading something that I’m no longer enjoying the direction of.

– Catherine

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