Month: September 2019

A Double Review of Sunset Beach

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews (MKA)!  We just love her at Jessica’s Reading Room and both of us awarded Sunset Beach 4 stars. Kim was also lucky enough to attend a signing and meet Mrs. MKA again!

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: May 7, 2019
432 Pages

Book Description:

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm.


Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars
Dates Read: August 26- September 13, 2019
Jessica’s Review:

Here I am reviewing another MKA book!  She is a ‘go- to’ author for me!  MKA’s books are always enjoyable.  This one has a double dose of mystery to it: present day and back in 1976, and the two stories are connected.

I really liked Drue and I identified with her as she is close to my age.  She has had a hard run of life and then finds herself working for her father in a dead-end type job. He has also remarried, and what makes that situation  worse is that she is an old classroom frenemy of Drue’s.

Drue finds herself looking more into a recently closed case that she personally connected with and also finds some old newspapers/file in her grandparents attic that also catches her attention.  It says something about the professionals of this town that Drue, who in essence becomes an amateur sleuth figures things out that they couldn’t!  I guess a pair of fresh eyes helps?  Though I did like detective Rae Hernandez.

This is definitely a beach read with the mysteries involved and to find out how they are connected!   And just look at the cover! It is meant to be read while relaxing.  I look forward to seeing what MKA brings us next year!

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an arc copy via Goodreads.

Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Kim’s Review:

Mary Kay Andrews is one of our absolute favorite authors here at Jessica’s Reading Room. She consistently writes wonderful novels and creates memorable and likable characters. I really enjoyed Sunset Beach, but I’ll also admit that it’s not my favorite of all her novels. It kept my attention, I was emotionally invested, and the ending surprised me. However, it just felt slightly shallower as compared to her other books. I love the romance component to each of her stories and this one seemed to be lacking that. There was some romance and I really liked Jonah a lot, I just needed more.

My other issue was all the racial stuff she decided to throw in. Thankfully, she was very balanced, showing the problems on both sides of the “color spectrum”; I guess I just don’t understand why it had to be included at all. I really don’t think anything would have suffered had she not included such a focus on race. Other than that, the story was interesting, the mystery was solid, the characters were relatable and likable. And the cover of Sunset Beach is definitely one of my favorites of all the MKA books. It’s beautiful and totally appeals to a summer lover and beach bum like me! Definitely a good book that I would recommend for a great summer read!


Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Michigan vs The Boys


Author: Carrie S. Allen
To Be Published: October 1, 2019
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 8-12, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.

Jessica’s Review:

Michigan vs The Boys is not a light – hearted read. It is a realistic portrayal of a teen girl joining a boys’ team and the consequences of that (positive, yet mainly negative).  This is a novel about a girl and girl empowerment. You can’t help but root for Michigan to succeed despite the many setbacks that occur from her own ‘team mates’. 

Michigan is a strong female character who goes through many emotions and experiences. I hated she kept silent throughout most of the abuse she endured.   She is great at hockey and did everything to stay on the team, which included keeping quiet as long as she could. There is also a sweet romance that doesn’t take away from the story. 

I did not like the coach. Yes, he put her on the team, but it was obviously not willingly.    A coach should be someone you should be able to come to in times of trouble, but he was not that for Michigan.  To me, he was just as bad as the boys were and most of the problem.  He did not support Michigan.  For example: making her change into her uniform in a broom closet!?!? Come on, there has to be a girl’s changing room somewhere in the school.  After all, there are still girl’s teams in the school, just not a hockey team anymore. And extreme rules that only applied to her?  It seemed that coach did everything he could to keep her out of the team. 

You know an assault is coming while reading as it is mentioned in the book description, but for me an assault happened more than once.  I was expecting something graphic, but it was not, yet still achieved what it meant to.

I would love to see another book with Michigan, to see what happens next in her life.  

Allen worked in sports medicine and knows her sports lingo!  I did not understand all of the vernacular, but she gets the point across.

I would recommend this for older teens (14+)  due to the violence against Michigan along with some foul language and extensive mentions of teen drinking.  This is an important book that should be read.   

Many thanks to KCP Loft for my arc copy that I was sent. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK  

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The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Author: Ruta Sepetys
To Be Published: October 1, 2019
512 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Madrid, 1957:

Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera.

Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Kim’s Review:

Ok so first off, I love Sepetys’ books. They’re amazing and she’s one the authors that I will pick up no matter what the book is about. But I’m gonna start with my one criticism that applies to multiple books. The endings frustrate the crap outta me! I’m learning to accept open endings that could go in any direction and could be interpreted and imagined in a myriad of ways. However, with Sepetys’ stories, I want to know more! She always seems to completely draw me into the stories and the characters’ lives and I get so involved and want to know as much as possible, but then she just cuts the story off. It feels like there’s so much more of the story, but she just refuses to give us the info. That is honestly my only criticism and I’ll admit it’s a big one.

However, up until the endings, the stories are all fantastic. This book is no different. The setting is stunning and I now officially want to go to Spain and explore as much as possible. She captures the fear and tension of Franco’s Spain and shows what true fascism looks like. She didn’t pull any punches and I appreciated the history. The characters were all likable and the twists scattered throughout were believable and realistic. I’ll admit that I found this book weeks before the release date at a bookstore and I’m so glad I did! It’s a beautiful book and I recommend it to pretty much everybody!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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