Book Review

Book Review: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 369 pages
Author: Josie Silver
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

Written with Josie Silver’s trademark warmth and wit, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a powerful and thrilling love story about the what-ifs that arise at life’s crossroads, and what happens when one woman is given a miraculous chance to answer them.

LACKED PLOT.

I had such a hard time reading this book. Not because of the nature of it, but because it lacked a lot more substance to bring the story home.

This book hurt. I feel like anyone with a significant other will attest to that. It’s not a light read. Grief, depression, devastation, all topics on this scale are discussed. I wanted to connect more to the characters and lives of everyone, but never quite got there.

It was unique to have two different worlds Lydia could live in while she was working through her grief, but I also feel this really hindered her. It slowed everything down and rather than watching her move forward (at her own pace) it felt like everything was held back. I thought a handful of sub-plots weren’t necessary and didn’t fit in with the narrative.

And the ending, I was wishing the entire time that that wouldn’t happen. Then it did, and I felt conflicted? I thought the writing was engaging enough to give hope to the end, even if I may not be completely on board.

I don’t have a lot to say towards this. I think it will hit hard for some and be a miss for others. And while it was a miss for me, it didn’t detract from the pain I know I would feel it something like this happened to me. Everyone does grieve in their own ways and while I may have struggled with this book, I think it brought up a lot of good topics and talking points that could be discussed with others.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: a few fade to black scenes, nothing descriptive
  • Trigger warnings: car wreck causing the loss of a loved one, depression/grief

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Book Review

Book Review: Once More Upon A Time by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance Novella
Length: Audio: 3 hours, 26 mins
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Audible
Release Date: June 4th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A dazzling fairy tale about falling in love again by the New York Times best-selling author of The Star-Touched Queen and The Gilded Wolves.

Once upon a time, there was a king and queen in a land called Love’s Keep who once loved one another, but alas, no more. Without love, they were doomed to be ousted from their kingdom at the end of a year and a day.

A year and a day passed.

This is where their story starts.

Imelda and Ambrose can’t remember why they got married. A year and a day ago, Ambrose consulted a witch, trading their love to save Imelda’s life – and they’ve been stuck with one another ever since. When that same witch pays them a visit on the day they lose their kingdom, she promises to make their deepest wishes come true in exchange for a simple favor and a short journey. With nothing left to lose, Imelda and Ambrose agree. But, over the course of their enchanted road trip peppered with a delirious cloak, cannibals, and at least one honey badger, something magical happens…little by little, step by step, they regain what they had forgotten.

They remember why they fell in love.

When the end of their journey nears and they confront parting ways forever, a new decision faces them. Will Imelda and Ambrose choose their deepest wishes, or will they choose each other – again?

FAIRYTALE.

No really, this was legit one of those books where everything screamed a fairy tale. A King and Queen, an evil witch, a daring adventure, a noble steed, you think it should be there, it is.

Which was its goodness and its downfall.

I listened to this on a whim because it was available through my Audible account for free (who can pass up free?). I wasn’t expecting much of a little novella. This was cute and sweet and made me laugh a few times while listening to it.

There’s a lot shoved in for a 3.5 hour audio book which was nice. I felt like I still got enough background and information on characters to care what happened and it was a nice story to listen to in-between bigger books. I enjoyed how Ambrose and Imelda remembered how the had fallen in love and got a chance to start anew. Plenty of good tid-bits in here. Some pieces were definitely silly, but I feel if you go into this knowing that and knowing how much of a fairy tale it is, you’ll find the enjoyable pieces too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fairy tale romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, one closed door scene
  • Violence: physical, poison

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Book Review

Book Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 401 pages
Author: Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 14th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone comes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

STELLAR MEET-CUTE.

Oh so much better than The Friend Zone.

What’s ironic to me is that even if I have some issues with these books, I devour them in a day. The writing is easy to dive in fast and not come up for a breath. Things move at a great pace that has you wanting more. Problems are overlooked and the flipping can’t stop until the happy ending is reached. So yes, while I gave this 4 stars, trust me, it’ll keep your interest.

I’m so happy we got a Sloan story. I liked the way grief was handled in this book. I know it looks different for all of us and I appreciated the way it was woven into this story. Sloan went through a lot (to put it mildly) and I like the way this romance came about in her life. Sweet and flirty text/phone conversations? I’m all of that modern take on romance. Jason had me smiling from moment one, and throwing a cute dog into the mix is definitely a way to my heart.

At times I thought the drama felt over worked and a bit out there. Yet, I guess that’s also part of being a celebrity. While I was frustrated with how Jason handled things, I did at least see his side of it. Sloan and Jason’s relationship wasn’t easy and that’s honestly one of the best parts of THEA. I like seeing couples have to work through things, have the difficult conversation, and really decide if this is where they want to be.

The totally cliche ending did make me incredibly happy. I like a good movie moment in a book and since I was begging this to end well, I’m smitten with how extra it was. Sloan and Jason deserve all the happy ever afters.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: often and strong (one of issues is with the flagrancy)
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; a few almost scenes (with detail), and a open door scene (mild detailed, less than The Friend Zone)
  • Violence: physical
  • Trigger warnings: discussion of losing a loved one, grief and depression

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this coming-of-age romance perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, scandal and romance collide when an ambitious teen returns to her hometown only to have her plans interrupted after falling for the town’s “bad boy”—a.k.a. her childhood best friend.

Sometimes to find the good, you have to embrace the bad.

Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.

What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.

Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is.

Thank you to the publisher, Razorbill and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own!

I’D CHASE LUCKY TOO.

This was a more mature YA book. That’s what I kept thinking every time I was reading this. The main character was a high school senior and I kept picturing her as a college girl home for the summer. Take that for what you will, I still enjoyed the book.

There’s a lot of depth to this novel. It isn’t a super fluffy YA rom-com. The further I read, the more of the inner story unfurled in front of me. And I really like what I got from it. That communication is critically important to maintaining the bonds we value.

And usually, I hate when communication is clearly an issue and a brief conversation would solve all the problems. Bennett does a great job of not making me feel this way. While yes, I got frustrated with them (mostly Josie’s mother), I also understood the pain and heartache that each of the Saint-Martin women were struggling with. Another highlight, the fact that this was also heavily about a group of women in a family learning how to be together and not let differences tear them down. I liked the way reveals and emotions came out towards the end as the real picture of everyone’s past came to light. Josie took in a lot of information in a small amount of time. Did she make some mistakes? YES. Did she also learn from them? YES. And that’s what really sold this book for me.

The trope of choice for Chasing Lucky was childhood friends. Lucky and Josie knew each other back when she still lived in town, but after moving away, lost touch. Enter Josie coming back, enter cute Lucky 2.0. I, for once, dare say, I liked the way this trope was written. There was good banter, a little bit of angst as they figured each other out again and I felt the connection between them. I WILL ALSO SAY, I have rolled my eyes at love scenes in Bennett’s previous books, this was not the case this time. Oh it was so much better, and so much more realistic. I definitely adored this story a lot more because of it.

I constantly found myself wanting to pick this book up to read it. It was a solid YA book and I love the journey this story took me on. I appreciate the sentiments that were expressed and thought the conclusion was everything it should be.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses; one little detailed fade to black scene
  • Trigger warnings: someone being arrested for destruction of property; a secondary character posting and showing off a nude photo of Josie’s mother and using it for revenge; car wreck (no one is critically injured)

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