July mini review round-up

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite | June 25, 2019
For Pride Month I made it a point to focus on LGBT reads and this one in particular was among my most anticipated reads of the year. I’m a huge fan of historical romance and I can’t recall ever coming across a novel even featuring LGBT characters, let alone front and center on the cover! Not only were two ladies the stars of the show, but there was also a heavy dose of botany and astronomy – yes please!Running away from a broken heart after watching her lover marry, Lucy abruptly shows up at the home of a Countess, determined to be the one to answer her request for a translator of a prominent French astronomy text. Lucy’s fully confident in her abilities, after all, while her father was revered in his field, it was Lucy who took over the work.

While I fully enjoyed the bits of science sprinkled throughout, I’m a little disappointed to say I found this one lacking. I’m delighted the book exists and had a great time reading it, but overall it left me wanting. Still, I’m curious to see where the series goes from here!

Romanov by Nadine Brandes | May 7, 2019
Tell me a book is about the Romanovs and there basically a 100% chance I’ll read it. Several years ago I featured an edition of Get Your Fix that focused solely on novels and non-fiction about the dynasty. I’m more than a little obsessed with this family.

That obsession was not strong enough to stop the absurd amount of eyerolling I did while reading this book. I’m always up for stories of Romanov survivors. Throw in a bit of magic and I’ll roll with it! Unfortunately, this book was all over the place. Anastasia – Nastya – wants to be a spell caster instead of a grand duchess. This magic system was never fully explained and left me confused. There’s special ink and bits of paper and magic words seemingly burst forth from the caster’s mouth.

If that was the book’s only downfall I could have excused it. HOWEVER, the kicker that had me frantically texting a friend as each ridiculous page went by: Anastasia and Alexei both die – Alexei TWICE – but don’t worry, Anastasia simply magics them back to life. While as ghosts (the first time around), the pair spend a few pages going on ghost adventures in the forest while the bodies of their parents and sisters lay in a pile behind them, and in the end Anastasia falls in love with the guard who shot/killed her. No thank you.

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds | April 1, 2018
In an attempt to try to rectify my pathetic netgalley stats, I’ve been making an effort to review old titles. Trespassing is a domestic thriller that instantly caught my eye when I first came across it, but never made the time for it. Until now. And I’m kicking myself for letting it sit so long!

Veronica’s life seems to be ripping apart at the seams. Her latest round of fertility treatments has failed, her 3-year-old has a new imaginary friend that seems more evil than innocent, and her pilot husband has just left for a flight…and doesn’t come back home. Veronica tries to hold it together and not fret, but Elizabella keeps insisting her imaginary friend told her Daddy’s dead. What follows is a cat-and-mouse thriller, from fake paystubs to a fully-paid house in the Florida Keys. Veronica’s grasp of reality loosens as she realizes her husband wasn’t the man she thought he was – and is someone after her now?

Despite the size of this novel, I tore through it, fully invested and engaged. I needed to know what was going on, I wanted explanations from her husband nearly as bad as Veronica did! While the ended was a little overdone, I really liked this one and can’t wait for Reeds’ next novel!

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway | July 30, 2019
Mel is stuck at a dead-end job working the help desk of a start-up full of brogrammers who all believe they’re God’s gift to the tech industry, yet can’t understand that disabling ad blockers in order to browse for porn just might result in a wave of viruses. Multiple times.

After the hottest dating app, Fluttr, leaves her ghosted, Mel decides to take matters into her own hands. JerkAlert was only meant to be a fun way for Mel and her friends to blow off steam – their way of getting the word out about the sexist, misogynistic, married men on Fluttr – but it took off and soon hundreds of women are leaving warnings about the seemingly nice guys on the app.

Had this just been a story about JerkAlert, I think I would have enjoyed the book far more. Instead, there’s an office romance between Mel and one of the techies hoping to make it big with a fantasy football app. I had hoped to get more out of this one than I did, but at least it was a fast, one-sitting read.


Overcomer by Chris Fabry

Overcomer by Chris Fabry
Pub. Date: July 23, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Tyndale!)
Summary: Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future.

After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife, Amy, meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.
Genre: Contemporary, Christian Fiction

Barbara has just received a phone call any parent would dread: it’s the hospital. Her daughter Janet has been admitted and Barbara should make her way there as soon as possible. Just as she’s hanging up the phone, a car pulls up outside: it’s her daughter’s no-good boyfriend, an addict named T-Bone. In his arms is a blanket; he’s apologizing and before Barbara realizes what’s happening, T-Bone takes off in his car. Inside that blanket? Barbara’s baby granddaughter, Hannah.

Fifteen years later, the town of Franklin is rocked when word gets out that the largest manufacturing plant – and the town’s largest employer – is shutting down. Suddenly the future seems uncertain. John Harrison is a local basketball coach. Just as it seems championship titles are in reach, students begin leaving one by one as parents pack up in search of jobs. Things go from bad to worse when John learns he’s no longer the basketball coach, but the cross-country coach, a sport he knows nothing about nor cares about.

Now 15, Hannah faces expulsion from the public high school. The only remaining school in the area is Brookshire, a private, Christian high school, but there’s no way Barbara could possible afford the tuition on her waitress’s pay. As one door closes, another opens, however, and the pair learn an anonymous benefactor has paid Hannah’s tuition. Hannah knows this is her last resort: shape up and get her act together or wind up headed down the same road as her parents.

First and foremost, Overcomer is a novelization of a movie. I haven’t seen the movie – it’s from the creators of War Room – so I can’t say how true the book sticks to the story. However, I can say this book certainly reads like a movie. I could easily picture these characters (having actual people on the cover didn’t hurt!) and knew what was going to happen throughout the plot. In a feel-good story like this, there aren’t any surprises, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the novel in any way.

While there are an abundance of characters, when it comes down to it, Overcomer tells the story of John and Hannah, a basketball-turned-cross-country coach and a teen struggling to fit in and find her identity. I’m of the ‘the more, the merrier’ mindset when it comes to viewpoints and the two here were great, but I found myself sitting up a little straighter during Hannah’s chapters. Orphaned as a baby with only her grandmother left, Hannah hasn’t had the easiest life. To fill a void, she began stealing. Nothing huge, some earbuds here, a necklace there. Her thievery has kicked her out of numerous schools and now she’s in a Christian school – when she can’t remember the last time she went to church. To make matters worse, she’s the school’s sole cross-country athlete…and half the time she can’t finish races due to her asthma.

As this is a Christian fiction novel, religion obviously played a large role, with themes like redemption and forgiveness at its core. At times, it came off a little heavy-handed, though I know it comes with the genre, so that didn’t bother me. What did get to me was how simple the writing was. Because this is a novelization of a movie, I’m not sure if the dialogue was taken straight from the film or not, but the sentence structures, the conversations, it was all very easy. There were moments – particularly conversations between adults – where the writing felt more like something from a YA novel. But again, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment. If anything, it made the pages fly by even faster.

Going into Overcomer, I knew exactly what I was going to get; no surprises were in store for me. The sitcom-style neatness of the ending might not appeal to all readers (I admit I do like a bit of messiness at times), but I was fully along for the ride. Don’t let its 400-page length scare you off: a slightly larger than normal font size and quick chapters made flying through this book a breeze! While Overcomer is my first novel of Fabry’s, I actually own another. I’m thinking it’s time to dig it out from the depths of my bookshelves and dive in! If you’re a fan of feel-good novels, Overcomer is for you.

my latest library haul 7/16

Rise and shine, it’s time for another library haul post! Interestingly, this time all of my holds are older titles.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
The first book in the Reluctant Royals series, Naledi Smith, a grad-school student juggling multiple jobs. Raised in the foster system, Naledi quickly learned to take care of herself and spammy emails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince get a hard delete.

As the sole heir to the throne, Prince Thabiso is feeling the weight of his kingdom. Tasked with tracking down his missing fiancee, Thabiso is quickly mistaken for a commoner – and delights in the chance to experience the world without the weight of the crown.

I’ve heard fantastic things about this series and love a good Cinderella retelling!!

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura
Three best friends in their 30s lament their still-single status and are determined to be married by the time the Olympics descend on Tokyo in six years.

I grabbed this first volume on a whim and…it was alright. Manga is always a quick read, so it had that going for it. The story though left me wanting. The art is nice, but I doubt I’ll be continuing with the series.

Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s Fast-Food Kingdom by Adam Chandler
If you follow me in instagram or goodreads – or even if you’ve been following the blog for a while – you know I’m a huge nonfiction fan – especially when it comes to pop history. This book instantly went on my To Read list the minute I first heard about it and when I saw it on my library’s shelf this past weekend, I pounced.

Chandler explores the hold the fast food industry has had over American life for the past century, from the dark underbelly of the greedy corporate world to how a teenager’s plea for chicken nuggets became the most viral tweet of all time. Flipping through, I was surprised by how short this book is (under 300 pages – including all the notes!). I’m sure this will be an extremely fascinating and super quick read.

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
I’ve only read one of her books, but enjoyed it immensely and have been eager to check out more of her work. The universe works in mysterious ways: one day last week I happened to be clicking around on wikipedia and started reading about the murder of Grace Brown. A young factory worker, Grace soon started up a relationship with the nephew of the factory owner and eventually discovered she was pregnant. Unwed, Grace hid her pregnancy from her family, and agreed to go on a trip with her boyfriend after he promised they would marry.

Her body was discovered near a lake, the boyfriend claiming Grace jumped in herself and drowned. Authorities, however, believed he ultimately murdered Grace and he was eventually found guilty of the crime. While reading, I learned A Northern Light was heavily inspired by – and features – the murder and I couldn’t grab it fast enough!

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds
This is a novel I originally grabbed from netgalley but never got around to it, whoops! In an attempt to finally get around to cleaning up old reviews I’ve decided to make a point to get some of these from my library.

Veronica is slowly losing her grip on reality. Her latest round of fertility treatments have failed, her 3-year-old suddenly has an imaginary new playmate, and her husband fails to return from a business trip. With Veronica’s family’s history of mental illness and her daughter’s insistence that Daddy is dead, Veronica becomes more and more unsure of what’s going on, but underneath her paranoia, she knows she needs to find her missing husband.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein
Another nonfiction and one I’m VERY curious about. Exploring both Sandra’s own life (as she made the transition from a husband to a wife) and her job (the person who cleans away all sign of death), everything about this book sounds interesting. I’ll admit I don’t really know much more about it, but it came highly recommended from a blogger I trust, so I’m absolutely looking forward to diving into this one.

Flirting with Pete by Barbara Delinsky
Casey never met her father, though that didn’t stop her from following in his footsteps and becoming a psychologist. Upon his death, Casey inherits his Boston town house, complete with maids and a gardener. She comes across a manuscript in his belongings and while she’s unsure if it’s the beginnings of a novel or a case study, Casey soon finds herself engrossed by Jenny’s story and, convinced the story is true, she begins digging deeper into this woman’s life.

Other readers have praised this one as an excellent psychological mystery and I’m definitely on board!

Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750 by Adrian Forty
Nerd alert! One final nonfic and possibly the most nonfic of the bunch. A few weeks ago I devoured a fascinating book about the post-war kitchen in America and this book was mentioned a few times. It explores consumer goods since the introduction of mechanized production and I know I lost about half of you there :)

Really though, I’m sure this one will be an interesting read.

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong

Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong
Pub. Date: June 25, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Minotaur!!)
Summary: “Few crimes are reported as quickly as a snatched kid.”

That’s what the officer tells single mother Aubrey Finch after she reports a kidnapping. So why hasn’t anyone reported the little boy missing? Aubrey knows what she saw: a boy being taken against his will from the park. It doesn’t matter that the mother can’t be found. It doesn’t matter if no one reported it. Aubrey knows he’s missing.

Instead, people question her sanity. Aubrey hears the whispers. She’s a former stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have primary custody of her daughter, so there must be something wrong with her, right? Others may not understand her decision to walk away from her safe life at home, but years of hiding her past – even from the people she loves – were taking their toll, and Aubrey knows she can’t be the mother or wife she envisions until she learns to leave her secrets behind.

When the police refuse to believe her, she realizes that rescuing the boy is up to her alone. But after all the secrets, how far is she willing to go? Even to protect a child.
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller

After the separation that resulted in her ex retaining custody of their little girl, Aubrey had effectively been shunned by the other park mommies. From the looks and cancelled playdates, it was clear one thought was running through their heads: what kind of mother loses custody of her child? Though the split was amicable (or as amicable as any potential divorce can be), Aubrey felt it best their daughter stay in the home she’s always known, the home her husband paid for.

It’s in the park one day that Aubrey notices another mother seemingly ignored by the rest of the group. Young with old track marks running down her arms, Kim’s hesitant and wary, though her son and Aubrey’s daughter hit it off and happily do cartwheels in the grass. Suddenly Kim takes a phone call – a phone call that goes from English to Russian real quick – and quickly ends the kids’ play.

A few days later, Aubrey is on a jog in the park during her lunch break when she sees the boy again, swinging alone. As he darts off to the parking lot, she follows, still not seeing any signs of his mother. Within seconds, the boy is pulled into a van and it tears out of the park, all the while Aubrey frantically looks around for Kim. A hurried call to the police leads to a bombshell: no one has reported a missing child. It was bad enough the stares and snide comments when word got out her daughter didn’t live with her, but with the police questioning her story, Aubrey’s sanity becomes suspect. But when an unidentified woman is found dead – a woman Aubrey knows is Kim – it becomes clear Aubrey must take matters into her own hands. She’s certain there’s a little boy out there who needs help.

It’s no secret I love Kelley and her books. I’ve stated in multiple reviews(Omens + Visions, Missing, Aftermath) that her novels are one-sitting reads and the same is true for her latest. Wherever She Goes is action-packed right from the start, but when you throw in hidden identities, secret pasts, and the Russian mob, hoo boy, you better get comfy because there is NO. WAY. you’re coming up for air before the final page.

And yes, many plot points are eyebrow-raising and and a little too over-the-top, but that’s exactly what makes this book so intense. I’m a total failure at savoring her novels: I go in with every intention to read slowly, take my time…but before I know it I’ve reached those last sentences and the book is over.

While Where She Goes was a thoroughly enjoyable thriller perfect for poolside lounging, I didn’t love it nearly as much as Kelley’s previous work. Still, this was yet another one-sitting read that kept me turning pages at lightning speed.

The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair

The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Pub. Date: June 4, 2019
Source: ARC + finished hardback via publisher (Thank you, Minotaur Books!)
Summary: In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair–The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.

But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name–and to rescue their fledging operation’s reputation–Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they’ve each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.

Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk.
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Fiction, WWII

Back in January I mentioned this book in a recently added post where I highlighted three upcoming releases I was beyond excited about. I might have pestered the publicist a bit, but in the end this book landed in my hands and spoiler alert, I now have my third 5-star read of 2019 (out of 89 books so you know this is a good one)! There, done, review over, right? What more needs to be said?

London was devastated by the war and those left behind are slowly picking up the pieces and attempting to return to something akin to normal. Though buildings are little more than ruins and few families escaped without a loss, the world continues to turn and life must go on. The war saw the death of her beloved husband Ronnie, and when her grief became too much, Gwen found herself committed to a sanatorium. Her in-laws immediately sought custody of Gwen’s six-year-old son and, though she now lives in their sprawling manor, she knows the roof over her head is not there out of love. One wrong move and the indomitable lord and lady will ensure Gwen never sees her son – their heir – ever again.

Iris doesn’t talk about her role in the war. She can’t. Oaths, vows of secrecy, a chain of command, the whole works. While she might seem carefree and aloof on the outside, Iris desperately wants to find love. Sure, affairs and flings are a grand old time, but how could she expect to stay with a man when he refuses to be seen with her in public? Iris has a trail of failed relationships and broken engagements in her wake, the latest one had everything to do with her part in the war effort, and because of that, she wasn’t able to explain. Instead, she had to watch him walk out of her life assuming the very worst about her character.

Though these two ladies couldn’t be more different, their friendship came fast and fierce. Now, mere months after their initial meeting, they’re the proud owners of The Right Sort, a marriage bureau. For a fee (and after a lengthy questionnaire) they play matchmaker, selecting just the right husband for a young woman.

Their personal lives might be turned upside down, but their business is moving along swimmingly…until their latest client is found murdered in an alley. And the man charged with the crime is the man Iris and Gwen chose for Tillie. While they are both dismayed and shocked at the news of Tillie’s death, there’s just no way Dickie did it. Gwen and Iris might be the only two in London who believe he’s innocent, and they’re determined to clear his name (and their reputation).

First thing’s first: I went into this book assuming Gwen was much older. Because she had been described in the summary as practical and a widow, in my mind I took her to be an elderly woman. Nope! I can’t recall if her age was ever stated, but Iris is 29 and the two are around the same age.

As for the story, I loved it. I ate it up and tore through The Right Sort of Man in a sitting. The setting, the time period, their backstories, the secondary characters (more of Sally please!), everything about this book was a pure delight and I highlighted several passages and snippets of conversations because they made me laugh so much.

Cozy mystery readers will feel right at home within these pages. I don’t believe the book is being marketed as such, but it gave off some serious cozy vibes from the total amateurs taking matters into their own hands to the light-hearted style (as light-hearted as a city wrecked by war and a murder can be).

There were a few twists and turns throughout the book, some I saw while other caught me by surprise (surprises are always welcome when it comes to mysteries) and I flipped the pages at a breakneck pace. While I was absolutely absorbed in the crime and whodunit, Gwen and Iris were the real stars of the show. Their friendship, their banter, I adored them and wish the book was twice as long just so I could spend more time with these ladies. I cared about them and even now after having finished the book, I find myself thinking back to them and wondering what’s going to happen next in their lives. Book two doesn’t even need a murder to solve, that’s how eager I am to read more about these fantastic characters. I might enjoy books and happily discuss them, but I save my over-the-top praise for the truly special ones. And this book, the third this year out of the 89 I’ve read so far to receive the coveted 5-star rating, is a truly special one.

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Minotaur Books!)
Summary: The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery

Back in January I first highlighted this novel in a recently added post. The premise instantly appealed to me: the main character trains Human Remains Detection dogs… aka cadaver dogs. Fun fact: a few summers ago, right after we adopted Bay, I was looking into requirements for cadaver dogs (make Bay earn her keep, you know ha!) Turns out a major part of the job involves being in a car for extended periods of time. Well that ended Baylor’s fantasy cadaver dog career real fast!

By day, Jazz Ramsey works as an administrative assistant at St. Catherine’s, an all-girls’ school. In her off time, however, she trains dogs in human remains detection. When Jazz puts Luther through the paces in an abandoned building (she lets him do his thing, carefully watching while he searches for the tooth Jazz hid), she’s more than a little surprised when he lets out three barks, his signal for a find. The tooth Jazz hid was on a third floor, much too far away for Luther to have detected.

Instead it’s a body. A body Jazz recognizes. Though she’s dressed like something out of a horror film, Jazz knows the girl is Florie Allen, a former St. Cat’s student. What follows is a search to discover who killed Florie, unfortunately Jazz’s investigation only leads to more questions. Why was she dressed like a Goth kid from Jazz’s high school days? Did Florie’s own high school rivalry carry on after graduation? Why is an ad for a divorce attorney found among her belongings? And why does the lead detective on the case have to be Jazz’s ex?

I’m beyond delighted to say The Scent of Murder was just as entertaining as I had hoped! While the tone is a bit darker than Kylie Logan’s cozy series (League of Literary Ladies, Button Box, Ethnic Eats, and Chili Cook-Off), it nonetheless retains that easy readability that makes tearing through the novel a breeze – and don’t forget the hallmark of all cozies: the main character who decides to start her own investigation!

Other readers have mentioned the lack of dog scenes, particularly when the dogs are such a driving factor of the series. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until after I finished the book and was reading reviews that it even crossed my mind – and that right there should say something about how intriguing and enjoyable this novel was! I came for the cadaver dogs, but ultimately stayed to solve the mystery behind a young woman’s death.

One thing I want to point out is that the blurb mentions Jazz is 35. I’m not sure that’s right unless I missed something! Florie graduated two years prior to the novel and one of her classmates mentions that Jazz isn’t much older than them, no more than five years. While reading I was under the impression Jazz was in her mid/late 20s. Not a huge deal, but something I noticed!

The Scent of Murder is a fantastic start to a new series that I will certainly be continuing! A main character who trains cadaver dogs is not a premise I’ve come across before in my reading and I was hooked from page one. Dogs and a captivating mystery made this a book I couldn’t put down!

April 2019 recap.


Cars & Coffee officially started back up for the season – and our favorite coffee shop busted out the Easter drinks! The Chubby Bunny was deelish ♥

• We got new furniture! By far a highlight of the month. It was so overdue and we couldn’t be happier.

• April was a fairly quiet month, certainly not one for blogging – eek!

• In April I read 20 books: 8 physical, 1 audiobook, 11 e-books. Of those 20, my favorites included The Girl He Used to Know, A People’s History of Heaven, and the first volume of I Hear the Sunspot.

ALSO ON INSTAGRAM: Bookmail (1, 2,3 | a library haul (see the post below for more details about the books!) | my sweet girl | my two favorite reads of the month: x & x


THE GIRL HE USED TO KNOW BY TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES was an absolute gem and is deserving of every ounce of praise it’s received – and will continue to receive. That the book’s release fell on World Autism Awareness Day was hardly a coincidence; Annika is on the spectrum – very high-functioning, but unable to understand social cues or tolerate certain clothing fabrics, for example. This lovely novel is presented in a past (1991) present (2001) format that I adore, though I will admit one crucial part of the plot totally caught me off guard and had me ugly crying.

FAME ADJACENT BY SARAH SKILTON was enjoyable while it lasted, but ultimately forgettable, much to my disappointment. This book was practically written for me and my generation: Holly peaked at 11; she was one of the stars in a Micky Mouse Clubhouse-esque variety show. After the series ended, the rest of her cast members skyrocketed to superstardom, while Holly…didn’t. When the novel opens she’s doing a stint in rehab for Internet addiction – constantly refreshing her Reddit AMA and checking the alerts she has set up for news about her former friends. There’s an anniversary reunion for the show and, when Holly doesn’t receive an invite, she decides to crash the taping instead. This could have been such a fun, campy, gossipy Hollywood novel. Sadly I never cared for Holly as a character.

APRIL MINI REVIEW ROUND-UP featured an assortment from genres and time periods. Dear Mrs. Bird was a TacklingtheTBR pick – and once that should have been a guaranteed winner, only to fall show. A second-chance romance and a ghost story (with cursed buried treasure!) were both DNFs. I finally discovered the Veronica Speedwell series (with book 4, whoops) and devoured it – don’t be surprised to see me picking up the earlier three novels soon! Trophy Life was an easy, breezy novel that should have been total braincandy: a trophy wife learns her husband got into bad business and they lost everything; now she’s headed for the Bronx where she has to work (!) as a teacher at an all boys’ school. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! Finally, A People’s History of Heaven. What a delight and easily in the running for a top read of the year.