Book Review

Book Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Author: Ariel Lawhon
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Release Date: March 31st. 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This book is based on the life of Nancy Wake, an Australian expat who worked as a reporter for Hearst in Paris just before WWII and later as a spy for the British. Lawhon throws readers into the middle of the action, as Nancy, under the alias Hélène, prepares to parachute from an RAF plane into France to help the Resistance in 1944, carrying in her head memorized lists of vital data, including bridges targeted for destruction and safe house addresses. After she lands, the story flashes back eight years, as Nancy struggles for respect and recognition as a journalist; despite her firsthand observations of Nazi brutality in 1930s Vienna, her editor is reluctant to publish a story about what she’s seen. Frequent jumps in time draw out the arc of Wake’s remarkable life; despite her statement early on that women’s weapons of warfare were limited to “silk stockings and red lipstick,” by the end she’s proven herself skillful at physical combat as well.

I’M CRYING.

Oh, I have found another book to make me cry and hug it to my chest upon closing. I loved this one that much.

Nancy Wake is a flippin’ bada**. I loved the way she was portrayed in this historical fiction version of her life. It was magnificent. Her ability to stay brave and courageous in the face of such horrid evil.

I love the converging timelines and how this kept me on my toes. It’s some tiny word/big page writing, and yet I never felt like it dragged. Ever. The absolutely beautiful writing combined Nancy’s story with dialogue and descriptions of the French countryside. It was truly a new tale for historical fiction in the World War 2 sub-genre. I know it’s often said that there are too many WW2 books, but this one proved that all wrong.

Nancy’s romance with Henri was, EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness I love him so much. I was smitten with his love and devotion to Nancy (and hers with him). I love a beautiful portrayal of marriage. They never gave up on each other and I couldn’t help but cry at the ending of the war.

This is without a doubt one of my new favorites in historical fiction. I loved getting to read the author’s note at the ending about the real Nancy Wake and I want to learn more about her and her missions. What a powerful woman.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical Fiction [WW2]
  • Language: some strong throughout (often in French)
  • Romance: kisses; one fade out closed door scene
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: this is a book about war; a lot of violence and murder; mentions of rape, horrendous war crimes (descriptive and intense)

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Book Review

Book Review: Legally Red (Wayfair Witches #8.5) by A.A. Albright

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Paranormal cozy mystery
Length: 238 pages
Author: A.A. Albright
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: August 26th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

*This is a full-length, standalone cozy mystery novel, set in the Wayfair Witches world. It can be enjoyed without having read the Wayfair Witches series.*

Melissa Wayfair might be about to sit the LOL exam, but she sure isn’t laughing about it. Because if she wants to become a legally operating lawyer, then she has to do more than answer a few questions – she also has to clerk under the most obnoxious lawyer known to witch.

While working for Miles Master, Melissa has a lot to contend with. There’s a murder case to solve, there’s a young witch who wants to be emancipated from her parents, and there’s also the slight matter of a broken heart …

But once Melissa has dealt with all of the above, she might have to face her greatest challenge yet – learning how to stand up to her horrible boss.

ENJOYABLE.

I was (and always am) hesitant to read a side story/novella in the midst of the entire series. But after seeing some reviews, and loving Melissa as a character, I wanted to go ahead and read this where it fit into the story!

But no, you do not have to read this in order. It could be read anytime after book 8.

I loved seeing Melissa on this journey! It broke up the series well and gave me some new insight into Melissa and a few other characters. It was well written and the mystery still kept me on my toes. I love the lawyer she’s working with and loved seeing some more of Candace. Melissa has some really cool power combinations that I liked learning about too.

The super cute romance with Mack was just precious. It made me smile and really solidified their ship for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal cozy mystery side story
  • Language: none
  • Violence: murder

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 11th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart–she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown–but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together–lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

LOVED THIS.

I can break down this review really simply.

I have a hard time loving these tropes: friends to lovers, second chance, and books with flashback chapters.

People We Meet on Vacation made me love them ALL. It was written so beautifully and magnetically that I devoured this in a day. I didn’t want to put it down, I needed to know what happened. The story was a journey and gave me plenty of wanderlust about traveling.

I LOVE Alex and Poppy. Goodness gracious. Their chemistry leaped off the page into fireworks. From the get-go I knew I was in for this book. I love the opposites attract vibes and watching their love story play out over the flashbacks. It was expertly accomplished. I can’t say enough good things about how this story. I wish I could read it fresh again.

Need I mention some tropes I do love that were also included? ONE BED, slow burn and tension for days. The angst here was real. Alex was such a cinnamon roll. Poppy was vibrant and larger than life. I just love them. LOVE THEM. I found myself smiling and laughing at the banter and antics. How things were going utterly wrong in one way and perfectly right in another.

I like to mention in romances if that conflict we all know is coming took away from the story. This time? It didn’t take away at all. It fit into everything I learned about the characters over the book. It allowed for growth from both characters and learning what they truly wanted and needed from their own lives as their’s collided.

What a book. I love Emily Henry’s romances!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses to brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depicitons of anxiety, loss of a parent, bullying

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Book Review

Book Review: The Boy’s Club (London Prep #2) by Jillian Dodd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: New adult contemporary romance
Length: 438 pages
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Bandit Publishing
Release Date: May 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s only my second week at Kensington School, and things are getting complicated.

I thought my relationship with Harry was finished, but he came over late one night, apologized, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I swooned right there, in the middle of the street.

And we are definitely back together.
He calls me babe, brings me flowers, and is planning our first official date.
Our relationship is growing, and I’m starting to want him in ways I never expected.

I’m falling for him.

But then there’s Noah.
I live in his house and share a bathroom with him, and we’ve had a few intense moments.

But nothing compared to him sauntering into the room, declaring that I want him and that, at some point, he’s going to give in to me.

I know!
The nerve.
I’m not sure how I’m going to tell him that I’m dating his best friend again.
Or how I’m going to keep my eyes off his shirtless chest.

With tensions running high between Noah and me, Harry’s ongoing family issues, my new friendship with Naomi, and Mohammad’s party-planning skills, things are getting crazy.

CAN’T LOOK AWAY.

No really.

Someone needs to tell me how this ends.

Oh wait.

I’ll just keep devouring these books in a day instead.

Yes. Yes, I did pick this up. BECAUSE I HAVE A SIDE. And we all know, in a love triangle scenario if our side doesn’t win it usually ruins the series for us. Time will tell if that’s the case for me here. I’m really hoping it isn’t because I will be devastated.

I do struggle a touch with the age of these characters and imagine them in my mind 19/20 rather than 16. The underage drinking/partying/etc. is a lot at times. I really am watching some teen reality show play out in front of me. It’s addicting. I can’t stop reading.

But I kinda love it for those exact reasons too. They’re some books that feel totally different and immersive from my usual preferences of romance/genre that really sink their claws into me. I love that I can’t put these down and want to know what happens next. I love the quick pace and back and forth characters. The angst and drama. It’s all here folks.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a moderately detailed love scene
  • Content warnings: underage drinking

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