May 2024 Book Reviews

May 2024 Book Reviews

The One With The Kiss Cam (Cindy Steel)

Nora doesn’t date, which is how she landed at a Jazz game sitting beside a complete stranger who found her fake profile on a dating website, thanks to her friend. The night grows uncomfortable until the guy on the other side of Nora whispers it’s her turn for the armrest. She’s confused, but he quickly clears it up by pointing out they will take turns with the armrest. He had it for the first quarter. She can have it for the second. 

When Nora’s date goes to get another beer, the kiss cam does its thing, eventually landing on Nora and the stranger beside her. Amidst the crowd’s chants, they choose to kiss. The camera moves on, yet they decide on a second kiss. Nora finds herself in stuck on a date with someone she wants to avoid, and kissing a stranger.

Before the night is over, her date gets a little too hands-on, and the stranger rescues her. Somewhere between their seats and the car, Nora agrees to a one time, no commitment date, an evening of fun where they will work on bucket list items. Not that Nora’s really got a bucket list, but being a wedding crasher sounds fun. Then it’s Duke’s turn to pick from his own bucket list. He wants to reenact a movie scene, but it requires a body of water.

His parents have a pool, but things go wrong and Nora ends up twisting her ankle. Duke rushes her to the ER where they waste three hours before ending their date with an early breakfast.

They don’t met again for three years, and when they do, Nora’s horrified. Duke’s life has moved forward, and he’s worked towards his dreams, while she’s rolling in student loans and has achieved none of her own dreams. When Duke offers Nora an internship at the company he’s built, she’s not sure if she should accept the offer, but Duke’s not taking no for an answer.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Gabrielle Zevin)

I put this book on hold sometime last year, and was pretty excited when it finally came in. However, I didn’t finish it. I found I was dreading my evening reading sessions and realized there was no point in torturing myself with a book I wasn’t enjoying.

I can’t give an exact reason I didn’t care for the book. It was a lot of little things, but mostly I’m not the targeted audience. I’ve spoken with a few people who loved the book, those who heard negative reviews and opted not to read it, and others who are still waiting for their turn in the library hold pile.

Mini Habits For Weight Loss (Stephen Guise)

Part of my morning routine is to read a few pages from a non-fiction book. Most often they are books recommended by the goal setting club I participate in. Sometimes they are books on the craft of writing. Other times, they are books I heard about that piqued my curiosity, which is the category this book falls into.

Someone mentioned this book and raved about a few things they learned from it. Always up for ways to better weave habits into my lifestyle, I figured I’d take the book for a spin. It took me far longer than expected to get through it, but I enjoyed the content.

Stephen speaks from a place of experience. According to what he shares, he had an argument with himself one day regarding a workout. The result was that he would do exactly one push-up. Succeeding with that mini goal, he pointed out he was already on the floor, so why not a couple more? Apparently, this small idea grew into an ever-expanding way to create habits so tiny he could meet them even on his worst days.

One thing he’s very firm about in his book is that the dieting industry is a multi-million dollar enterprise that survives on people’s failures. The more you fail, the more you beat yourself up, the more you jump on the next bandwagon. He goes into the science and studies that prove how and why the industry fails people. He doesn’t hold back in his opinions about it either. And for those who may read through the information and still be in doubt, he has a couple of challenges for you.

Well Played (Jen Deluca)

After opting not to finish my previous fiction selection, I was debating what to read next when this book arrived. Funny thing is, I have 0 memory of putting it on hold, but not one to complain I read it.

Stacey is feeling displaced when her best friend gets engaged. Her life was put on hold years ago when her mother faced a medical scare. The intention was to move on with life once her mother was stable, but somehow Stacey never did.

As a regular volunteer at the local Renaissance Faire, she has a summer fling with Dex McClean. When faire ends, and Stacey is scanning Instagram realizing all her friends have moved on with their lives, she decides she wants more than a fling. When she leaves a drunken message on The Dueling Kilts Facebook page for Dex, she’s giddy when he suggests they talk privately.

Over the months leading up to faire they communicate by email and text regularly. When the hot summer months return, so does Dex, except Stacey suspects she might not be talking with Dex, but someone else in the Dueling Kilts.

Happy Place (Emily Henry)

I watched Emily’s IG real, where she participated in an interview with Good Morning America to speak about her latest book. And I was all excited that my copy had arrived the day before. Except, it took me until I got to the very last word of the book to realize I wasn’t reading Funny Story, her latest book. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought I was reading one book, only to discover it was another. It’s okay, you can laugh, I did. 

Harriet & Wyn have been the perfect couple since college. Until now. Except, their group of college friends doesn’t realize the infamous duo has broken up. Desperate for one final summer in the Maine Cottage before it’s sold, the group of friends meets, and Harriet intends to come clean with her girlfriends. What she doesn’t expect is to find Wyn already at the cottage. 

Neither of them expect to be assigned a room with one bed. Nor do they expect a friend to have gotten engaged because they saw how much Wynn and Harriet love each other. It’s this statement that makes them agree to fake it for a week. After all, how hard can it be?

This book was beautiful and funny and sad. Full of misunderstandings, poor communications, and genuine friendship.

Force Of Nature (Jane Harper)

I was excited to snag the next Aaron Falk book by Jane Harper from my library. I read the first one in March, and really loved the twists and turns, the varying viewpoints, and seeing what happened and how Faulk comes to his conclusion.

Force Of Nature did not disappoint. Falk has been working a case to take down a notorious Melbourne family who’s rich for all the wrong reasons. The problem is, his informant is missing. She, along with 3 other ladies from the company, are sent on a team building getaway in the back of beyond. While the other woman walked out a day late, the informant is missing and none of them claim to know where she went.

I read reviews about this book that it was exactly like Jane’s first book. I couldn’t disagree more. The book will be similar in some ways since it features the same character, maintains the same voice as the series, and has a similar layout. But the story is completely different. Personally, I loved it.

Yours Truly (Abby Jimenez}

This is another book I have no memory of putting on hold. I couldn’t even figure out why I did. Was it recommended to me? Did I read about it somewhere and think, “sounds interesting?” I honestly don’t know, but since it was available, and I devoured Harper’s book in one sitting, I took it for a spin.

The advertisement for this book claimed it to be a novel of terrible first impressions, and honestly it couldn’t be more true. Dr. Briana Outiz’s life is flatlining. Her divorce will be final in a matter of days, her brother’s running out of time for a kidney transplant, and there’s a setback with the promotion she was a sure shoo-in for.

She’s pretty sure the delay has a lot to do with the new male doctor, Jacob Maddox, and thus she’s decided to hate him and knows she has the backing of the nursing staff. Except Jacob flips the script and writes her a letter. And it’s such a great letter Briana decides she can’t hate him. Before long, they are exchanging notes multiple times a day, and Bri realizes she might be falling in love. When Jacob donates a kidney to Bri’s brother, she’s not sure she can say no to his next request.

What I loved so much about this book was that Jacob has crippling social anxiety. He struggles at work because of it. He struggles at the very large family gatherings his family indulges in, and it’s the reason he broke up with his last girlfriend. She didn’t understand anxiety, and made no effort to try despite the years they’d been together. 

Instead of turning anxiety into a joke, Jimenez faced it head on. She shared what it can be like for the person struggling, and ways family members who get it help. More than anything, she showed that to truly understand anxiety you don’t tell the person to suck it up and keep going; you meet them on their level.

Exiles (Jane Harper)

Finding myself with no new holds, I went off in search of the next Aaron Falk book, and was delighted to find it readily available. This time, Falk is on his way to a small county town deep in South Australian wine country.

He’s attending the christening of his godson. The one that was postponed over a year ago when Kim Gillespie went missing from the small town’s annual festival. Everyone remembers seeing her, but there are no clues to explain how she disappeared without a trace. Her teenage daughter makes a plea for people to come forward if they remember seeing Kim. Falk, and his buddy Racco, can’t leave the case alone and begin investigating.

The only thing I didn’t like about this particular Falk story was that it left me wondering if his stories have ended. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that Falk makes a major decision at the end of the book that made me race for Harper’s website, Goodreads, and anywhere else I might sleuth out if I’ must say’d have to say goodbye to Aaron Falk.

April has been a chaotic month full of meetings and editing. Each moment inched me closer to my goal, but it’s been exhausting. As I sit and write this brief note, I’m literally squinting to keep my eyes open. Gray skies surround us, dimming the room. The internet keeps flitting in and out, making me wonder if I’ll even be able to post it once I finish writing. 

I had my first official DNF this year with Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. I mention this not to criticize the book or its author, but to emphasize how it’s okay to lay a book aside if you don’t like it. It was a relief to lay it aside and allow someone else to have their turn.

I never figured out if Falk’s story had officially come to a close or not. I realized my island tongue was hanging out a bit, and I used the term ‘back of beyond’, which is equivalent to something being out in the boonies or in a very remote area. It’s funny how when I’m talking I slip into the wrong form of English and get rather confused looks from the people around me.

It’s worse when I can’t recall an American term while writing. Or, I write an entire piece and don’t realize what I’ve done until someone points it out to me.

I think that’s one more thing I adore about Harper’s books. Terms I’m accustomed to hearing pop up in her books because of their locations, and I’m never surprised by it. I actually love listening to the Aaron Falk series via audio, because the Australian narrator says all the cities names correctly. 

I’d love to hear what books you’re reading. Drop me a comment, so I can add them to my library holds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *