Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett has already had a UK release but US/CAN finally gets to join in on the small town, childhood friends to more romance, fun today.
Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Title : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Author : Taylor Jenkins Reid Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 402 Genre : contemporary / historical / LGBTQIAP+ romance Publisher : Washington Square Press Release Date : June 13, 2017
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : unrated
Hollis’ unrated review
Yep, we’re doing this unrated thing again. Because I don’t know how to feel.
Sure, I’m getting out of a slump. Sure, the world is bouncing back — in part — from something awful, and that offers much distraction. And sure, life is kind of terrible right now. But. I still don’t think that impacted this read as much as I wish it had.
“I like you impure and scrappy and formidable. I like the Evelyn Hugo who sees the world for what it is and then goes out there and wrestles what she wants out of it.“
At first I thought I was just struggling with the character in the contemporary timeline. I didn’t like her at the beginning and didn’t like her at the end and she doesn’t offer up much in the middle so it doesn’t count. But just when I thought I would be trading in my like, and my fascination, of Evelyn into love.. it didn’t quite go that way.
You have worked so hard for a life so grand. And now all you want are the smallest freedoms. The daily peace of loving plainly.
I appreciate, and respect, that TJR wrote complicated women in this story. And there’s nothing wrong with finding a person, man OR woman, hard to love. But compounded by so many things, one of which was the drama, it was a lot. Reading of the struggles of queer people, of wanting to be part of the Stonewall riots, particularly in today’s climate, though? The struggles with identity, both in race and orientation, it all hits so hard. And feels very close. A lot of this, I think, was well done; though I don’t have a stake in either so my opinion means little. But it felt tangible. Heavy. But I kept waiting for an emotional connection and it never landed. Maybe it was the writing. Maybe it was just the Too Much of it all. I don’t know.
You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until someone stands behind you and says, “it’s okay, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you”
I am happy to have been pulled out of the world for a bit. I was wonderfully and totally distracted for a few hours. And I love that this book means so much to so many people and is out there doing so much for so many. I’m sad I’m not one of them. But don’t let this deter you. If you’re one of the handful of others still to read this? I still think you should pick it up.
A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil – until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…
Title : A Heart of Blood and Ashes Author : Milla Vane Series : A Gathering of Dragons (book one) Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 555 Genre : fantasy romance Publisher : Berkley Release Date : February 4, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ .75
Hollis’ 2.75 star review
This was a little all over the place for me.
First off, it’ll feel long.. because it is long. Almost six hundred pages. No wonder my eyes glazed over or I skipped ahead for some scenes; I feel better knowing it was actual length and not just me being bored for why I just gave up every so often and skimmed. I did feel the worldbuilding was almost solid but often I would just be confused by references, sometimes even character names (and they weren’t similar), or often not care enough to reread to understand. This isn’t just a romance dressed up by a fantastical setting. It really feels like Vane put in the work to create this world, with lots of stakes and history, but other than the broad bones, I just couldn’t keep track of things. Might just be me.
Or maybe it was compounded by the style? Because the writing.. it seemed like she was trying for something formal or old time-y but every now and then it was just too Yoda-like (which could be a major boner killer when things were getting spicy.. though that happened so much you’re bound to enjoy at least a few without picturing an old wrinkled green creature). Not to mention a lot was repetitive or rehashed over and over. All factors, I think.
It had a solid hate to love foundation, though, and the push and pull of the partnership, how it evolved, was done very well. It did not feel contrived but very realistic. Also, I liked Yvenne, our queen-to-be a lot. Whereas while I think there was some character growth for the male protagonist, whose name I already forget (Maddek!), he was definitely frustrating to endure at times.
Another check in the good box column, though? Hey, here’s a fantasy that talks about periods.. and more than once! We love to see it.
I can see why this hits all the right notes for so many of my friends, I do. But it wasn’t quite as smooth a ride for me. I’m curious to pick up the others in the series though because I did see potential in this.. and also, why not.
Everything feels off—especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.
Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.
The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.
And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake—unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.
Maybe more than I’m able to give.
Title : Crush Author : Tracy Wolff Series : Crave #2 Format : Hardback Page Count : 704 Genre : YA Fantasy Publisher : Entangled Teen/Hodder Books Release Date : September 29, 2020
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5
Micky’s 3.5 star review
I knew what I was getting into with this book, lots of drama, angst and quite a teen narrative. Nevertheless, I was glad to be reading the next installment what with that ending ofCrave.
What Tracy Wolff did with Crush was not new, of course it had some shades of Twilight, coupled with story arcs we’ve previously seen in Maas’ series. Even so, it had its own brand of uniqueness. I’ve enjoyed these characters across the two stories but I sometimes struggled with the writing style.
Let me tell you about how I felt about the characters firstly. Grace I’ve liked all along, but it was a surprise to me to find the twist in which male character I liked. I’m not going to name names because this twist is the basis for the story in book two, but suffice it to say, I was very satisfied with the final line in the book!
From a writing style perspective, it was very drama orientated and written with a fast pace. I found the endless snark in dialogue a little tiring over time and sometimes I wanted a more serious tone. I really got a little fed up of the long descriptions of the games. All that said, the last 150 pages of the book were absolutely great.
Tracy Wolff has a way of luring you in and then finishing the book on an absolute BAMMMMM. There’s no way I can resist picking up book three.
When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.
Title : A Killing Frost Author : Seanan McGuire Series : October Daye (book fourteen) Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 362 Genre : urban fantasy Publisher : DAW Release Date : September 1, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ .5
Hollis’ 2.5 star review
Guess who’s back.. back again. Hollis is back. Back for punishment!
Okay but in all seriousness.. this might’ve been one of the least frustrating read for this series. That doesn’t make it good but it is an unimportant distinction to make. The caveat? It achieves this honour because despite one or two seemingly major events, nothing really happens. And those one or two big events? Hella underwhelming or anticlimatic. Both, even.
I’m unsure if this was just the calm before a whole new shitstorm but I guess book fifteen (yikes) will determine whether that bodes true or not. As for A Killing Frost? In adding yet another delay to a certain relationship, this had a fairly reasonable reason for doing so, which also helped to close the loop (ahaha honestly not sure why I keep thinking this to be a thing with this series, everything always gets resurrected even when it seems resolved) on something that has lingered throughout so many books. But this time with a twist. The character in question had become sort’ve a favourite of mine, not hard because I like so few of them, but in this one I admit I was disappointed. I felt some reactions felt overblown, or out of character, (and there was someone else who felt the same, so maybe that was just this book’s theme..) or maybe it was just his true nature finally coming through and leaving me to realize I liked him a different way. Regardless. I was sorta into this particular “happy ending” but also not. I’m curious how my buddies, both longtime fans, will take it (spoiler, they haven’t read this yet but somehow I have! what even).
As for the other major thing, well. As usual I have questions. So many questions.
I forever feel sorry for Toby because of how so many characters in this world treat her but equally she is a pain in the ass who likely deserves it. A matyr to the very end she is constantly slipping in moments of “oh is this what it’s like to watch me do x y or z? that sucks” and yet.. she persists. All because she’s a hero of the realm. The excuse wears thin, chickadee! And yet honestly I have no one to blame but myself for still being here.
And yes. I will still read on. Completionist to the bitter end.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
Title : Piranesi Author : Susanna Clarke Format : ARC Page Count : 272 Genre : fantasy Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing Release Date : September 15, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : unrated
Hollis’ unrated review
Spoiler alert : this is an unpopular opinion so you might as well just ignore it and find another to read because..
Well I can 100% say I don’t know what I just read. But it was a book, I think.
This is a strange story that is weird all the way through. Though you do sort’ve at least begin to settle into it as it goes. Eventually the weirdness makes way for explanation and context but it’s still weird and I don’t know how I feel about any of it.
Think HOUSE OF LEAVES with maybe a dash of THE STARLESS SEA mixed in with something strange. Not uncomfortable, though, as this felt almost wholesome despite some of the things we’ve learned have happened along the way but still. It’s kind of.. innocent? I don’t know how to describe it. Probably because I don’t know what I just went through.
This isn’t very long so if the premise sounds like your thing or you like strange things, give it a try! It might just work perfectly for you.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
House Rules: Do your own dishes Knock before entering the bathroom Never look up your roommate online
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.
After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…
Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.
Title : The Roommate Author : Rosie Danan Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 330 Genre : romance Publisher : Berkley Release Date : September 15, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ .5
Hollis’ 2.5 star review
I am conflicted. I am also sorry because this review is likely to be unnecessarily long.
This story features a male lead in the entertainment industry (as he puts it) and while there’s a certain element of the taboo and stigma around all that, the emphasis within the story is more about entertainers, and those working in the business, taking their agency back — instead of being coerced into pushing their own limits for the sake of job security and for the benefit of Big Corporate Porn — and risking their careers to champion something they believe in. The downside is this does, in hinsight, feel a little.. I don’t want to say shortsighted but maybe simplistic? The scope is very immediate, involving what amounts to mostly just the characters’ immediate circle as opposed to wide spread impact, and with one man at the head of Big Corporate who is made to be the villain of the piece, but I think the idea is that this is the kicking off point and we can hope it does become broader in scope, with greater reform and changes, to come. There’s a background element that seems to imply that could be the case but it’s hard to tell, really. And ultimately as much as that adds to the feel-goodness of the story, the little guy taking on The Man, I think it also ends up tripping itself up. Maybe just don’t look too hard at it. Maybe take a sideways, out of the corner of your eye, view so you don’t lose yourself in the inconsistencies of it all. Or some of the hypocrisy. But ultimately all this is not really the point, is it? This is supposed to be a romance after all.
And speaking of. The chemistry between our leads? It felt pretty solid. Or rather, the sex scenes convinced me they were pretty into each other. What helped to sell it, at least for me, was (at least after their initial meeting), a lot of their interactions as they fight their attraction does feel grounded in genuine interest that transitions into affection.. at least from Josh’s point of view. Why was he into her? Hell if I know. But I could believe he both wanted to sleep with her and also hang out with her. When it came to Clara? I believed she wanted to sleep with him. Did I believe it was more than that? Unclear. Either way, Josh is definitely something of a cinnamon roll, though a horny one at that, and he has multiple white knight moments during various interactions with Clara. The problem for me was.. well, surprising no one who has read this far, I don’t think I liked Clara?
Let’s be real. This whole concept (and many others!) begs the ability to suspend your disbelief. It’s fiction. We know we have to put blinders on occasionally. But so much of what Clara was made up of.. didn’t make sense? I really didn’t “get” a sense of the socialite thing, the wealthy family (don’t even get me started on how her trust fund comes into play..) with all this clout and influence, the risk of being dragged in the society pages and whatnot.. none of it felt real. It felt like something I was being told. I didn’t buy it. The whole family curse thing? Also strange and not believable. Nothing about her backstory had any tangible weight except the reunion with her estranged aunt and even that felt tenuous because what I thought would be a strong element just kind of petered away as the story went on. The only part I truly felt? Was her despair at moving across the country for a boy she’d been in love with her whole life who then up and left her hanging out to dry. I felt that. Everything else? White noise.
What probably didn’t help matters was that, explicit content and occupation aside, these characters felt a little.. YA? NA? Certainly not adults pushing thirty. It had too much of a younger person vibe. I’d be curious to know if anyone else felt the same.
That said, Josh and Naomi, his ex? They were much stronger (also ten points for no evil ex plotline!), or at least they felt that way because I liked them more (also I think Danan’s next book might feature Naomi? I would be into that). Their endeavour (even though it was Clara’s idea)? Great. Josh’s adorable puppy fumbling over his feelings for Clara? So real. Which made it hard to dislike Clara because we had time in his head and saw her through his eyes. But it felt very unbalanced. Clara’s various real world stumbles did feel genuine, she did occasionally act like a fish out of water, but often it was halfhearted. Her fear with driving though and the very real reason for it? That was well done. Less so? The grand gesture. That was so.. cringe? Awkward? Unrealistic? I mean, most grand gestures are out of place and unlikely. And this one is no exception.
So I’m left with a hodge podge of being all over the place for a story that probably shouldn’t be occupying so much space in my brain; at least not in the sense that I spend so much time picking it apart when it’s only really supposed to be a swoony, fun, sexy time that just happens to have an underdog cause to champion and feel good about. And yet here we are.
The demonic horde that threatened to devour the world has been defeated, but at great cost.
Plagued by guilt and nightmares, Serovek Pangion sets out to deliver the soulless body of the monk Megiddo to the heretical Jeden Order for safekeeping. Accompanying him is sha-Anhuset, the Kai woman he admires and desires most–a woman barely tolerant of him.
Devoted to her regent, Anhuset reluctantly agrees to act as a Kai ambassador on the trip, even though the bold margrave known as the Beladine Stallion gets under her skin like no other, and Anhuset fears he’ll worm his way into her armored heart as well.
But guilt and unwelcome attraction are the least of their problems. The demons thought vanquished are stirring again, and a warlord with blood-soaked ambition turns a journey of compassion into a fight for survival. When the Beladine king brands Serovek a traitor, Anhuset must choose between sacrificing the life of a man she’s grown to love and abandoning lifelong fealty to the Kai people.
A tale of loyalty and acceptance.
Title : The Ippos King Author : Grace Draven Series : Wraith Kings #3 Format : ebook / overdrive Page Count : 437 Genre : Adult Fantasy Publisher : Indie Release Date : October 6, 2020
Reviewer : Micky / Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★.5
Micky’s 3 star review
I’m a sad bunny posting this rating but it is what it is. Anyone who knows me, knows that I recommend Grace Draven and this series left, right and centre but sadly The Ippos King was disappointing to me. This wasn’t a bad book, it was an okay read, but I found it inconsistent in terms of pacing and spark.
Anhuset and Serovek were a couple that Wraith Kings readers have been waiting for. The unlikeliest of pairings but I’ve always imagined them perfectly matched. The best thing about The Ippos King was these two as a couple. However, the tension and build between them wasn’t always there. When it was, it lit a fire and I felt Grace Draven’s spark in the writing.
I struggled with not feeling the story much at all for the first half of the book. It felt like there was some over-lamenting back to previous plots. However, at about 45% in the ebook, the story started to gain some traction for me and it kept going like that until about 75%. So you can see, I felt an inconsistency in the story keeping my attention with plot and pacing.
I definitely liked the ongoing story of the monk element of the Wraith Kings and I look forward to reading more in that vein. I liked some of the side characters and the main characters themselves. I just didn’t get that feeling I normally get with this author’s books.
I will continue to champion Grace and her other books and I’ll still look forward to book four in this series. However, I won’t eagerly recommending this installment.
Hollis’ 2.5 star review
I’m sorry to say but this installment wasn’t quite worth the wait.
As happens more often than I like, the build-up for a particular romantic pairing was better than the reality. The culmination of finally getting these two together? It just fell completely flat. I felt very little real chemistry for the majority of the romance.
Additionally the story was long, and dragged, and half the time rehashed moments from the previous books — which, I mean, fine, it’s been like six years, a reminder wouldn’t be amiss — but it used those as a touchstone one too many times to beat us over the head as the foundation of this pairing. Which, again, totally fizzled.
The tie-in to the big confict of book two is interesting, and I’m curious to see more of that play out in book four, but the actual telling of this story could’ve probably been summed up in a novella. Much of this could have been trimmed. And this definitely needed a more thorough editing pass; there were quite a few formatting bits that fell through the cracks, not to mention a continuity issue or two, and I wouldn’t have thought to see that after all the time spent on this release.
But alas! Draven has written some really great stories and I’m not convinced this series should be scratched off that list yet. I’m keen for book four — whenever that’s to come.
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…
Title : Chasing Lucky Author : Jenn Bennett Format : eARC Page Count : 416 Genre : Contemporary YA Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children Release Date : June 11, 2020 / November 10, 2020
What Jenn Bennett does to my reading soul is simply the best, I can rely on her that her books will hit the spot, make me happy and smile. CHASING LUCKY was no exception and this story of old friends getting to know one another as teens was gorgeous. There was an eclectic story that had Bennett’s characteristic uniqueness and whit; I got wholly wrapped up in all of it.
Lucky was Josie’s best friend until she left town with her mom, age 12. Returning at age 17 was a different experience with Lucky 2.0, family issues, a mom who frankly was hard to fathom and the grandmother matriarch from hell. Lucky 2.0 though, was the kind of puzzle worth fathoming.
“Whoa,” Evie says, leaning over the counter to peer out the window with me. “Got to admit. Phantom cleans up real nice. He’s the male Medusa. Don’t look into his eyes. Might get your pregnant.”
If you’re familiar with Jenn Bennett’s male characters, you’ll be pleased to know that Lucky was one of her most excellent beta male creations. I loved him in every way; he was genuine, with personality in bucket loads. Josie’s journey to friendship and more with Lucky was worth every page turn.
Josie’s family relationships made for avid reading. The family was truly dysfunctional but not beyond help in most cases. Josie’s relationship with her mother was probably the most frustrating but I felt pretty annoyed with Evie too at moments. The family was able to make me laugh though.
“Be careful”is all Mom warns me very seriously. I’ve got this. It’s only grandmother. Not an actual weapon of war.
I read this book with a smile on my face some of the time. That’s all the recommendation that you need. Go forth and enjoy.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the early review copy.
Hollis’ 3 star review
I went into CHASING LUCKY with a little bit of trepidation as my last few forays with Bennett post-STARRY EYES haven’t been great. Some I liked ish, others I didn’t at all, so when the first 30% of this book was both not wow’ing me and also veering into not great, uncomfortable, directions? I was anticipating the worst.
But this did, eventually, level out for me.
This story does give off a bit of a STARRY EYES vibe in the sense that Josie and Lucky were friends as young’ins and then something happened to split them apart and now they are trying to reconnect and understand, and navigate, the whys of what happened. And also maybe what could happen if they got close again. I’m still not quite sure I feel we got any real closure, or explanation, as to why they couldn’t continue their friendship from afar but, honestly, that’s the least of my complaints (don’t worry, I really did like it, but yikes). Overall I do think there maybe was a bit of a pacing issue? Or maybe it’s just that we were thrown into a town, and a world, where there’s so much history and so many pre-existing characters from the backstory, that you’re kind of left playing catch up, and not always getting as much time spent on some things, giving them their due, and others have too much time spent on them or spent on nothing much at all? It did sorta give me the Stars Hollow vibe of Gilmore Girls, mixed in with a non-magical Practical Magic-esque family, so that gave it some feeling of familiarity but also the book was also nothing like those things, so. Samey but not?
One of the main components of this story deals with side-bar relationship between Josie’s cousin and an on-again-off-again boyfriend, who causes a lot of drama outside of his stalking and drunken nonsense, and that whole thing? It’s good to see it on page for the younger readers, to understand it’s not acceptable, but yikes how I hated it. So that’s a personal thing for me. I can handle uncomfortable subject matter, have read heaps of things worse than this, but it just rubbed me wrong. And it’s supposed to. Again, I don’t know. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace to deal with it, because we also have lots of lies and miscommunications amongst all sorts of characters, and that ontop of the toxic BS? It was just a lot.
But there was also a bunch of good, too, a bunch of sweet, a bunch of gentle fun, mixed in there in the middle. We had a few big revelations that turned the tide for both the main character and her family and it was around that time where this story just really worked for me. I love that moment where you get the payoff and things come together. I don’t know that I quite liked Josie but I could feel for some of her baggage. And I really liked Lucky. And, as a pair, I really liked when they were sweet on each other and to each other; even when they bickered. Maybe especially then? This story is a bit strange in that so much happens and also not much, it’s both loud and kind of quiet. I did get to that like stage for CHASING LUCKY but this won’t be a favourite. But if not for that goodness, that sweetness, this wouldn’t be a three. So it was something of a close call.
If you’re a Bennett fan, and can withstand some of the messy bits within this read, I think you’ll be very happy. If you’ve yet to read this author and are looking for more good YA contemporary, you definitely need this Bennett on your radar. This might not the smoothest ride but you don’t have to go too far back into her backlist to find pure greatness.
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **