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NOBODY BUT US by Laure Van Rensburg

He’s a well-respected college professor. She’s a young and eager-to-please student.

He knows she would do anything for him. She knows his certainty is his weakness

He thinks he’ll get what he wants. She thinks he’ll get exactly what he needs.

Two liars.
One twisted path.
A game of cat and mouse.

BUT WHO IS THE HUNTER? AND WHO IS THE PREY?


Title : Nobody But Us
Author : Laure Van Rensburg
Format : Physical
Page Count : 390
Genre : Domestic Thriller
Publisher : Penguin Books
Release Date : November 10, 2022 (PB release)

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Revenge
#MeToo
What the W H A T?

I’m going to be very vague on plot because I want other readers to feel the surprises I did. This is a story of coupledom with characters who are not likeable in any way. Who to root for? Who is the worst? By the end I have firmer feelings on this but it is still a conflicted feeling.

This story sets up an eerie vibe almost immediately…a house in the middle of nowhere, an ongoing snow storm, creaky noises. That atmosphere was very palpable. I liked how the plot got straight into the story without much hanging around. You don’t have to wait for dubious action, it comes in waves.

This thriller was a quick read, easy to get into and it kept my attention. The story was narrated from three main POVs, one something of a mystery. I enjoyed the reveals when they came and there was something ultimately sickly satisfying about where things ended up.

3.5 – 4 stars, rounded up.

Thank you to Penguin Books for the review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 29, 2022

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.


Five Survive by Holly Jackson is an addictive “road trip turns deadly” YA thriller.

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales is best pitched by the.. well, pitch : “when their now famous ex-boyfriend asks them to participate in a teen reality show, two eighteen year old girls—one bent on revenge, the other open to rekindling romance—get tangled up in an unexpected twist when they fall for each other instead.”



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER by Sophie Gonzales

A girl enters a reality dating competition to get revenge on her cheating, royal-adjacent ex-boyfriend, and ends up falling for another girl on the show—in fact, the girl he cheated on her with.

It’s been two years since Maya dumped her cheating ex-boyfriend Jordy, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country, and in the lead up to the wedding he captured hearts globally as the eligible younger brother. So, when Maya receives an invitation to be a contestant on Second Chance Romance, a new reality show in which the now-famous Jordy will re-date his ex-girlfriends in an effort to find “the one that got away,” she isn’t interested…that is, until she realizes she can use this opportunity to exact her revenge. If she can make it to the finale, she can reject Jordy and publicly break his heart. As far as Maya’s concerned, it’s payback with interest: just what a guy like Jordy deserves.

But when she gets to the set, she’s confronted with the one person she hasn’t accounted for: Skye, the beautiful, charismatic girl Jordy cheated on Maya with. How is she supposed to live with this girl for six weeks? Sharing bunkbeds, for crying out loud?

Except, of course, there’s more to Skye than she lets most people see. Skye has her own reasons for being careful with her heart, and might be more willing to take Maya’s side than it initially seems. If they can sustain their reluctant alliance—and keep their unexpected chemistry from interfering—they might just have a chance to take Jordy down.


Title : Never Ever Getting Back Together
Author : Sophie Gonzales
Format : eARC
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA LGBTQIAP+ contemporary
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : November 29, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

So it is, perhaps, my fault for the way this one went down. Because I think I misconstrued the plot a bit when I clicked request and that makes it a me problem instead of the book problem. But, I suppose, that still doesn’t change how the book was not it.

However, having now reread (or maybe properly read it for the first time..) the synopsis, I think maybe I just stopped at the tagline.

I initially had this big long rant about timelines and how I found them hard to keep straight when it came to the ex-boyfriend’s relationships, because there were just so many for such young people (this would’ve been more believable had everyone been aged up and this not been YA) but it got deleted — notably, for December-me, I wrote this in July on the day half the country lost our internet, so, haha, fun nostalgia times! Hope things are better in the future! And ultimately, being that this is such a me thing, for all I know it’s just something I couldn’t follow as opposed to being an issue with the plotting (though this usually isn’t the case). I would’ve appreciated a flowchart though. And I really wished it had been clearer when he had become famous as a result of his sister marrying royalty. That would’ve helped. Except, again, the summary seems to make this clearer than the book ever did. Which is frustrating.

My frustration about timing aside, that was merely a drop in the bucket when it came to how frustrating it was to live through all of the ex-boyfriend’s dialogue and actions. Part of what I misunderstood about this book was I didn’t actually think the ex was supposed to be as much as a dirtbag as he was (could be the colourful illustrated cover gave me the wrong idea about the vibes, too). He does expose himself a few times before he gets his real comeuppance but unfortunately he does a great job of selling himself to be perfection. That said, the highlight for me, not just when it came to getting revenge but also just a highlight of the book in general, is when Maya comes up with a drinking game with the other contestants to showcase his behaviour. Genius.

Also, if I never see the word “chicks” again, it’ll be too soon.

Complaints about the evil ex aside, though.. I wanted to root for the romance. I wanted to cheer for these girls. But they felt incredibly inconsistent; or, rather, Skye did. She just wasn’t fleshed out. Maya, however, was the more solid of the two and there were times I actually enjoyed her (though maybe not when she was drunk, that was just silly.. in a dumb way). The one thing that perplexed me was this whole issue about college that seemed very shoehorned into constant discussions that were framed around her intelligence. Which wasn’t a her problem but a people-around-her problem. But I’m mad on her behalf. And also because it was a weird thing to lean into. But they didn’t stand out, not any of them, because their identities were just too much about the ex.

I took a risk on this book because I’ve enjoyed the author before (notably only Perfect on Paper though) but I knew the competition element could be my downfall. And it sorta was. There wasn’t as much girl-on-girl scheming and hate as there could’ve been but there was enough. I don’t love this set-up and this has solidified that I likely will avoid the concept in the future. But I thought, with my misinformation at hand, this author behind the wheel, and a queer love story coming out of having each dated the same boy, there could be some magic here. But there wasn’t. Again, this is mostly a me problem, though, so you may very well enjoy this. And I hope you do.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

FIVE SURVIVE by Holly Jackson

Eight hours. Six friends. Five survive. A road trip turns deadly in this addictive YA thriller from the bestselling author of the worldwide phenomenon A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER.

Red Kenny is on a road trip for spring break with five friends: Her best friend – the older brother – his perfect girlfriend – a secret crush – a classmate – and a killer. 

When their RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, they soon realize this is no accident. They have been trapped by someone out there in the dark, someone who clearly wants one of them dead.

With eight hours until dawn, the six friends must escape, or figure out which of them is the target. But is there a liar among them? Buried secrets will be forced to light and tensions inside the RV will reach deadly levels. Not all of them will survive the night. . . . 


Title : Five Survive
Author : Holly Jackson
Format : physical
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA mystery / thriller
Publisher : Delacorte
Release Date : November 29, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

Alright, let’s get the good out of the way first.

The setting. 97% of this story takes place within the confines of a broken down RV that has six people crammed inside. That would be hellish without the whole murder mystery intensity element but at night? Stuck in a dark wooded area, with the thread of harm coming at them from both inside and out? Hoo boy. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Jackson gets mega points for this unique and creative version of a locked room mystery. Also, related, I’m not sure what would’ve enticed me to get into an RV in the first place but this has definitely ensured I never will.

The actual reveals. Obviously I can’t get into this but while the plot of the mystery is actually.. well, pretty far fetched, really, I enjoyed the unveiling of it all. I’m still a little side-eye about the reality of it but, hey, I’m suspending the disbelief.

But everything else? I don’t know.

I realize Oliver was a character no one was supposed to like but he exhausted me. Half the reason I blitzed through this so fast was because I wanted to stop reading about him. I’m sure there could’ve been a way to recreate his influence without it being done this way but what do I know. Maybe we needed his hateful self to push things forward. But I still hated it. Him. And I need a nap now.

The other characters I mostly did enjoy, though. I liked that we had secrets from all, some red herrings, some adjacent to the main mystery, and how each seemed valid and likely. Again, it was the main plot itself that I felt less likely but we already went over that. I’ll allow it. Being in Red’s head, though, was very.. meandering. Disjointed. And maybe that makes sense once we understand what she’s been going through, and doing, over the last little while but you’d almost think all that would make her hyper focused and detail oriented, not completely spaced out and lost. But she definitely rose to the occasion near the end so she didn’t disappoint completely.

And as for the ending, well. I’m glad we were left in suspense for so long after the big climax but I didn’t love how the final bits of the story were told. Except for the check boxes (if you know you know). That was cute.

Overall, though, this will be great for those of you who love locked room mysteries with high stakes. But I definitely preferred the author’s debut series, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. That being said, it’s a sure thing that I will pick up this author again.

** I received a finished copy from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

MAD HONEY by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

Olivia fled her abusive marriage to return to her hometown and take over the family beekeeping business when her son Asher was six. Now, impossibly, her baby is six feet tall and in his last year of high school, a kind, good-looking, popular ice hockey star with a tiny sprite of a new girlfriend.

Lily also knows what it feels like to start over – when she and her mother relocated to New Hampshire it was all about a fresh start. She and Asher couldn’t help falling for each other, and Lily feels happy for the first time. But can she trust him completely?

Then Olivia gets a phone call – Lily is dead, and Asher is arrested on a charge of murder. As the case against him unfolds, she realises he has hidden more than he’s shared with her. And Olivia knows firsthand that the secrets we keep reflect the past we want to leave behind ­­- and that we rarely know the people we love well as we think we do.


Title : Mad Honey
Author : Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan
Format : Physical
Page Count : 454
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : November 15, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Do you know your nearest and dearest?
Nature or nurture
Bees, honey, sad with a little sweet

First, there are a bunch of content warnings for this book that may make this a tricky read for some folks, please check those out online.

Mad Honey had a lot to tell the reader, sometimes in a blast of shockwaves and other times it teased out an issue with great poignancy and focus. This was a tough read but utterly engaging, it was educational without being preachy and it made you question up from down, black through to a rainbow of grey.

At the heart of this story were three characters, Olivia (mother), Asher (son) and Lily (girlfriend). This story took a journey of various stages of past and present through the eyes of these three characters. I liked each of these three with differing warmth and an ebb and flow of trust and distrust for some. This was a tragically sad read but hopeful too.

The tension in this read was pretty high, things unravelled quite early, so the whole read had you on the edge of what…w h a t…WHAT! Various reveals came, most I guessed but they were no less impactful for the suggestions that were laid through the story. I couldn’t guess the ending however.

These authors have written a read that impacts and teaches while whisking you on a most satisfying and thrilling read.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to educate everyone about your right to exist in the world.

Thank you to Hodder Books and Tandem Collective for the review copy.

4.5 stars, rounded up.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 22, 2022

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.


Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashely Herring Blake is the companion to the author’s Delilah Green Doesn’t Care, this time focusing Delilah’s stepsister, Astrid.

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese is an opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

THESE TWISTED BONDS by Lexi Ryan

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not.


Title : These Twisted Bonds
Author : Lexi Ryan
Series : These Hollow Vows #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 427
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodderscape
Release Date : July 19, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Thrones and shadows
Angsty ride
Three-way connections

I liked book one but I didn’t completely love it. I’m happy to report that These Twisted Bonds upped the stakes in my enjoyment and it was a gripping read. I think maybe I was more settled in this world of complex allegiances and I finally found where to set my loyalty to the characters and couple potentials.

The MC Ariella caught and kept my attention more. I liked her character development a lot, I found her more centered and more considered in her decisions. She dealt with the power bestowed on her much better than I thought she might at the end of book one.

The romance element of this duology is messy and yet I got into it a lot more with this second installment. I quickly knew where I wanted this to end up and I loved the angst involved in this relationship. I came to realise who these two potential love interests really were which was part of my frustration with book one. So…result!

I’m catching up on netgalley reads, so while this is a late arc review offering, it’s been worth going back to find this gem. A worthy finale.

Thank you to Hodderscape for the eARC.

FLYING SOLO by Linda Holmes

Smarting from her recently cancelled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot, a spirited adventurer who lived to be ninety. Along with boxes of Polaroids and pottery, a mysterious wooden duck shows up at the bottom of a cedar chest. Laurie’s curiosity is piqued, especially after she finds a love letter to the never-married Dot that ends with the line, “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

Laurie is told that the duck has no financial value. But after it disappears under suspicious circumstances, she feels compelled to figure out why anyone would steal a wooden duck–and why Dot kept it hidden away in the first place. Suddenly Laurie finds herself swept up in a righteous caper that has her negotiating with antiques dealers and con artists, going on after-hours dates at the local library, and reconnecting with her oldest friend and first love. Desperate to uncover her great-aunt’s secrets, Laurie must reckon with her past, her future, and ultimately embrace her own vision of flying solo.

A woman returns to her small Maine hometown, uncovering family secrets that take her on a journey of self-discovery and new love, in this warm and charming novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Evvie Drake Starts Over.


Title : Flying Solo
Author : Linda Holmes
Format : Physical
Page Count : 320
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Coronet Books
Release Date : June 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Quirkily romantic
Eclectic plot
Easy reading, low drama

Flying Solo reminded me what it was I loved so much about this author’s first book…the ordinary igniting interest and endearing characters, all written in a relatable way. This is a story of second chances, working through the feelings of a fresh grief and a really funny mystery in amongst this.

At first, the story of the duck had me puzzled as to why it was a focus, but honestly it kept my attention and eventually became the cause of such hilarity. I really enjoyed where that light mystery ended up. This was a low drama stakes story and appreciated the gentle undulations of the story.

The couple had me rooting for them quickly, a second chance situation with Laurie, the protagonist being a complete commitment-phobe. I liked how her stance on romance, attachments and how not wanting to be a parent was written.

This read was all ease and distraction for a day.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 15, 2022

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.


Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan is likely to be full of angst and feels and we expect nothing less from this beloved author. Also, that cover? sTUNNING.

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade is the latest rom-com from this author featuring two co-stars and a one-night stand they couldn’t forget.

Undercover by Tamsyn Muir is a novella (under sixty pages) about newcomer to town who hires on to be a bodyguard for a ghoul.. and is also a revenge story? Honestly we didn’t read much further because we were sold at Tamsyn Muir. But also this is book five in a seven story Amazon Original collection with other instalments told by other well known authors all featuring characters who venture in where others fear to tread. Intrigued!

Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan released in the UK last week (our review is here!) but is now out inn US/CAN.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

BEFORE I LET GO by Kennedy Ryan

Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love had its limits . . it couldn’t save their marriage.

Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm: co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet, like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.

One stolen kiss leads to another . . . and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s good – until it starts to hurt again. As old wounds reopen, Yasmen and Josiah wonder if it is too late for them to find forever.

Or could they be even better, the second time around?


Title : Before I Let Go
Author : Kennedy Rynan
Format : eARC
Page Count : 401
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : November 15, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Crazy investment
Feelings on overdrive
Married couple, second chances

First I just need to start off with the how stunning this cover is. This is hands down my favourite romance cover of the year. Now to the delectable inside…

Before I Let Go gave me the kind of heart on the page feelings I got from Ryan’s Grip series. In fact there was a slight similarity in one of the themes but it felt completely fresh in this story. This author has the unusual talent of being able to write romance amongst the worst kind hurt and still bring such palpable chemistry that you’re getting all warm under the collar.

Grief is a grind. It is the work of breathing and waking and rising and moving through a world that feels emptier.

I adore second chances done well and this second chance for Yasmen and Josiah was all consuming. The place these two started in and the journey they took was utterly mesmerising with angst and frustration, then possibility. I have to mention how I adored how Kennedy Ryan wrote Yasmen’s body, a normal woman’s body, appreciatively, sexily and that confidence oozed down the page to me the reader. Pretty powerful stuff! I also found Josiah to be such a man surpassing the average contemporary romance lead that he’s unforgettable.

I lived for this book over the couple of days I read it, it dominated my thoughts and had I not been distracted by family, I could have happily read from front to back. This book is one I’ll re-read, enjoy living the hurt and the triumphs. I remain a huge fan of this author’s talent.

There is only one letter of difference between love and lose, and somewhere along the way, for me they became synonymous.

There are content warnings and these are rightly in the opening pages, as they be raw issues for some.

Thank you to Piatkus books for the eARC.