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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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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