When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal - You guys, this book. I can't recommend it enough, and if you don't like it, sorry in advance, but I loved it so much. I guess I'd call it a family drama. It's not a romance, though there are some romantic elements. It's not a mystery, but there are secrets to unravel. The writing is incredible; the characters are complex and tragic in the best possible way. This book just spoke to me.
Two places in particular that I won't forget - not spoilers.
Kit and Javier are in a bookstore and he pays for her book.
"At the counter, he sets his book down and hold his hand out for mine. I think about arguing that I have the money, but it's a small kindness, and I don't have to push it away. 'Thank you.'"I loved that. Why do we so often push back on someone who just wants to do something nice for us?
And then when Kit is remembering a time in her life when she watched the soap opera Santa Barbara.
"My life and family had exploded, but everything was the same in the soap, where Eden and Cruz were still living their up-and-down life."I watched that show every day that I could, and I ADORED Eden and Cruz (or maybe just Cruz). So it was a lovely shout out to my own teenage years.
If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get this book for free right now. 5 stars, obviously.
I promise the rest of my reviews won't be nearly as long...
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware - For much of this book, while I enjoyed the story, I wondered why it was written the way it was. And then I knew why and totally understood. 4 stars
No Exit by Taylor Adams - It’s been a long time since I started and finished a book in the same day. Full disclosure: I was on vacation so had nothing else I had to do, but this was a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. 4 stars
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith - This was a delightful palate cleanser. I don’t know if I’ll read all 20 in the series but I would definitely pick up another when I need something lighter. 3 stars
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman - I could almost give this book four stars but at times it was so frustrating! I was so angry with Jess for much of the book but then wept for ten-year-old Jess. Still, how about some communication, people?! And Lily’s husband was such a cliche - who didn’t see that coming? But I loved Mia and Phoebe, and I’d love to follow Audrey’s lead of “you’re never too old to pursue your dream.” 3 stars
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen - I liked their first book, The Wife Between Us, better but I liked this one well enough and I'll read more of their books. 3 stars
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett - Handmaid’s Tale meets Hunger Games with some Lord of the Flies mixed in. There were some infuriating things about this book, yet I couldn’t put it down. 4 stars
If I Had Two Lives by A.B. Whelan - I liked the plot of this book, but it was a little "twist-heavy," and a couple side stories were left hanging and I wasn't sure why they were even introduced. I received a copy of this book for free from Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review. 3 stars
Everyday Lies by Louise Guy - I really enjoyed this book. It has hints of Liane Moriarty (and not just because it's set in Australia). The ending was pretty tidy, and it worked for me, but I wanted to know more about how Lucie's relationship with her in-laws turned out. I loved the found family aspect of the book, and I cried (happy tears) at the end. Also available from Kindle Unlimited. 4 stars
Did Not Finish - The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern - I know this book was on a lot of people's "best of" lists from 2019, and my real life book club chose it for January (but let it be known that it was not MY first choice). This book just didn't do it for me and I couldn't get into it.
This month in Romance
I've recently gotten back into romance reading. Here are a few of those.
The Perfect Dress by Carolyn Brown - I found this book from the link up, but I can't remember who recommended it. A really sweet book - romantic but not steamy. This easily could have turned into a series featuring each of the three best friends, but I actually loved that it didn't. I would, however, read a book about the twin daughters. Another Kindle Unlimited. 4 stars
Idol (#1 in the VIP series) by Kristen Callihan - Now this book is steamy. A rock star meets small town girl romance. And it's written in alternating points of view of the two main characters. 3 stars
Managed (#2 in the VIP series) by Kristen Callihan - So this book focuses on the manager of the band from the first book. Who would have thought that a book about the manager could be even hotter than the book about the lead singer? But it is. 4 stars
If you made it all the way through this, thanks! Also, Steph and Jana are having a Show Us Your Books Readathon this weekend on Instagram. I'll be there - hope to see you too!