Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT TOMORROW – A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

michele campbell
Publish Date:
7/23/19
Author: 
Michele Campbell
Started:
6/1/19
Finished:
6/3/19
Pages:
352
Rating:⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of this to read and review before publication. All opinions are my own.

Goodreads Summary:

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

My Review:

This was my second Campbell book and I had some issues with it. I did enjoy it and thought that it was creepy at times but I wanted more from it. My issue with it is that it seemed like two different books to me. Although everything connected, I felt as if after Caroline disappears, the entire novel changes into a completely different book. I didn’t feel as invested at that point even though I had just reached the major turning point. It became somewhat predictable for me and I started to pull much of the plot together. Aiden was super unreliable as a character and I figured that the story couldn’t just rely on him creepy self. I have an unpopular opinion here and I can see why so many readers are giving high praises for this. It just didn’t work as well for me really due to the lack of cohesiveness I felt the story had. I also felt like the author could have given us more into Caroline’s husband’s life and less of Aiden and Caroline herself. That could have helped as I feel like there were some situations that were answered but just a bit cloudy for me. I still finished this read super fast and will pick up Campbell’s future works. For me, this one just left me wanting more.

Great Reads

ARC REVIEW OUT 7/9 – The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

book
Publish Date: 7/9/19 
Author:
Abbi Waxman
Started:
3/23/19
Finished:
3/27/19
Pages:
352
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐⭐

A huge thank you to Berkley and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy to read and review! I loved every second of it!


Goodreads Summary:

“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin 

The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar.

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all–or mostly all–excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

My Review:

Nina is socially awkward to the max but not in an Eleanor Oliphant kind of way. I don’t know if it was the cover but I was getting some major Eleanor vibes when looking at this book. Nina and Eleanor also have pretty ridiculous self-absorbed mothers. Nina is hilarious and so observant but that’s where the Eleanor comparisons end. This book also focused on some mental health topics but not in such an intense way. It was not as devastating and mental health informing as Eleanor. This is a much lighter read in my opinion.

I really love Nina. She resonates with me. She can’t make plans because it’s her one night of the week that’s free and she uses it for reading. Um, yes. I have often declined plans on my one free day knowing I just wanted to read in the bathtub. Her humor is great and I adore that she recognizes her own awkwardness and has no issue poking humor towards herself.

I had some issues with Tom. I really enjoyed his character but he also seemed to struggle emotionally here and there. More of an understanding of his character could have been beneficial. His attitude and actions towards Nina were justified but I still felt like they were a little dramatic from a character that seemed relitively calm throughout most of the novel. It was this that kind of had me a bit confused while reading but not in a confused way that I couldn’t understand the book obviously.

I loved how Nina’s father was tied in at the end and how Nina’s relationships grew with her family. I wish there was a little bit more on how her family stayed (or didn’t stay) in her life and how the family dynamics were with Nina. I really enjoyed that portion of the story and felt like it ended a little abruptly.

All in all, WOW. I love Nina and I loved the book! I’m sure this will be getting some rave reviews and will be seen from many book bloggers for great reasons! I highly reccommend this light yet serious read!