Tag: Contemporary

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

The Dilemma
Author:  B.A. Paris
Published: June 30, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 31- September 10, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.

But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?

Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.

Jessica’s Review:

This one definitely receives 4 Frustrating Stars: But this is in a good way! 

Oh my word, this one is a departure from Paris’ other novels, as this one is not a thriller/ mystery but more of a domestic drama.  This novel deals with family dynamics/ history, consequences of past actions, communication (or I should say a lack of), love, grief, and good intentions that may not have the desired effect.

It is Livia’s big 40 and she is going to have the biggest party ever, especially since she never got the huge wedding she really wanted.  She has planned this since her early 20s.  But she is keeping a secret from her husband Adam, and likewise he is keeping a new secret from her.  In the long run, yes, Livia’s secret has big consequences, but Adam wins this ‘competition of secrets’ hands down.

This novel is a longer one that takes place just over a 24 hour period and we have both Livia and Adam as the narrators in dueling perspectives. The novel does become a bit weary; it is very repetitive as both narrators are constantly focused on the secret they are keeping from each other. I was more involved with Adam’s secret than Livia’s.  Adam’s secret is heart breaking on so many levels. He becomes very frustrating at times because to get a definitive answer to his dilemma, all he has to do is make one phone call. At times I wanted to slap him and yell “Just make that phone call!”  But then Adam still has a dilemma as once he knows the answer then there is no turning back.  Adam really is in a lose-lose situation with Livia’s party going on. 

Like Livia, I also turned 40 this year, so I identified with her on having a big birthday year.    This is a situation no couple would want to find themselves in.  There are ultimately no winners or losers in their situation.  The title of the novel is so apparent as you read through the novel.  The only thing that did not seem realistic was a woman who focused on having a huge 40th birthday party for half of her life. I mean, what about your 30th? That one is just as important! 

I really did enjoy this frustrating novel, despite the repetitiveness of it.  It does make you think “what would you do?” in Livia and Adam’s situations. And all I can say is: I am not sure.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli

Love, Creekwood
Series: Simonverse
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: June 30, 2020

Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 7-10, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

Fall in love all over again with the characters from the bestselling Simonverse novels in this highly anticipated epilogue novella. Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli, the movie Love, Simon, and the new Hulu series spin-off, Love, Victor!

It’s been more than a year since Simon and Blue turned their anonymous online flirtation into an IRL relationship, and just a few months since Abby and Leah’s unforgettable night at senior prom.

Now the Creekwood High crew are first years at different colleges, navigating friendship and romance the way their story began—on email.

Jessica’s Review:

I 1000% adore Simon and this series of books by Becky Albertalli:

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
The Upside of Unrequited
Leah on the Offbeat

Now we have the ‘book-end’ novella: Love, Creekwood that Albertalli wrote for the fans, and it truly is for the fans of the series. 

Love, Creekwood is a 127 page novella that we did not need, but really wanted!  It follows where the others in the series leave off as our gang are in their first year of college, some together and some not.  And they all communicate by email! It was different that in this time and age that was their method of communication, but the reason why is also addressed with one sentence for those curious.   This novella is made up of solely the emails to each other, so I was missing the ‘in person/real life’ interactions between our cast of characters.

I still adore Simon to the end, despite his extreme missing of Blue. But what would college life be like if you were far away from your boyfriend? Of course you would be dramatically pining away for him too. I’m still not a big fan of Leah, but I do adore Abby. 

I listened to the audio book version and all of our previous narrators are back!  Michael Crouch IS the voice of Simon for me!  I will be listening to more of the books he narrates.  And my favorite narrator Bahni Turpin voices Abby. Pretty much anything she narrates I will listen to. And as mentioned before, I adored the film version of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, called Love, Simon.

I think this will be the last we see of the Creekwood gang, and I will miss them, but I enjoyed going back into their world and seeing what happened next for them: College.  Many thanks to Albertalli for writing this final book-end for those who it mattered: The fans of the series!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Safe Place

The Safe Place
Author: Anna Downes

Published:  July 14, 2020
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Dates Read: July 5-July 20, 2020

Book Description:

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downs’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?

Jessica’s Review:

This one was an average read for me. We had multiple points of view (both Emily and Scott with Nina thrown in from time to time) which I always enjoy. 

From the beginning we see Emily have a really bad day which starts with losing her temporary job and agent.  Then we have a chapter with Scott’s POV and we know from then that something is not right, we know he has something planned and that plan involves Emily.

Needing a job and now her former boss comes to’ her rescue’ with another job offer  (The warning bells should have been going off right there Emily!) Emily takes it. She ends up in a secluded home with Scott’s wife Nina and their child Aurelia.  But they are in the middle of nowhere with no phone reception or internet, and Nina will not let Emily into the family home.  Emily is cut off from everything/everyone. Once Emily realizes things are amiss, it might already be too late. 

I did not figure out the twist, but I should have as the signs were there. . It would be a bit of a predictable novel and the ending did not totally deliver. This is a first novel for Anna Downes and I would give her another try.

**Many thanks to the publisher Minotaur Books for sending me a copy to read and review**

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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