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!
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: May 7, 2019
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
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
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!
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Perfect Son by Lauren North. One of us enjoyed it, the other not so much. This is what is great about reviews, we all have different experiences and opinions and even though we read the same book, we can have varying opinions of it.
The Perfect Son
Author: Lauren North
To Be Published: August 13, 2019
A disturbing and shocking debut novel of psychological suspense about a recently widowed mother, her young son, and the lengths she’ll go to in order to keep him safe.
When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday, she’s sure of these things: She’s been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.
After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that’s what matters.
But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won’t listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear.
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway and the cover really intrigued me, so I read it. What surprised me most was how easy to read it was. I finished it in less than 48 hours and I read huge chunks at once. Before I knew it, I was almost finished and I felt like I couldn’t put it down. The emotions were also very overwhelming. I know that many people will react to Tess they way they did with Rachel in The Girl on the Train; that she’s too weak and she’s a set back to women’s independence, and so on. For the record, I also really enjoyed The Girl on the Train.
Tess’s reaction to losing her husband sounds pretty reasonable to me. In fact, I experienced some pretty crazy anxiety while reading the first half of this book. All I could think about was how horrible my life would be if I lost Ivan. I will admit that I didn’t guess the ending of this book. I should have and I feel a little dumb that I didn’t, but in my defense, I had a million theories scrolling in my head through the whole book. I’d get one little detail and then I’d run with it and expand it into the most unlikely scenarios that weren’t even close to reality. Overall, I was happy with the ending.
Obviously, I can’t get into any details, but considering how predictable it actually was, I did enjoy it and was satisfied. I would recommend it to those who enjoy psychological thrillers, just be prepared for that predictability. Thankfully, there were other good things I got from the story other than just solving the mystery. A very good book!
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
With an intriguing premise and a “pull you in from the first few lines” introduction, The Perfect Son had promise, but sadly it fell victim to “I read too many thrillers” as I had the big twist figured out from the first few chapters. It was also very slow moving and I was not attached to Tess. I felt for her with the grief she is experiencing, but is she just grieving, is she crazy, or is someone ‘after’ her and her son Jamie?
Tess is yet another unreliable narrator, and by now you know those are mainly a miss for me. Occasionally, the unreliable narrator works for me (see my review for The Woman in Cabin 10 here), but for the most part they miss the mark.
Even the ending had no conclusion; It was as if nothing was learned from the situation. This is North’s debut novel and even though it was not for me, I would give her writing another try.
Kim won two arc copies via Goodreads and she sent me one so we could do a double review.
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis. We both enjoyed it and rated it 5 stars! Kim read the physical book while I listened to the audiobook and we are both looking forward to seeing the movie.
Published: November 10, 2018
Can you love someone you can never touch?
Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.
What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Read: June 10-21, 2019
If Everything, Everything and The Fault in Our Stars got together and had a baby then it would result in Five Feet Apart. I loved this novel, and the cover is beyond gorgeous: Before I knew what it was about, I thought to myself “Those look like lungs on the cover” and they are!
Stella and Will both have cystic fibrosis. Stella has been going to the same hospital for years to fight the disease. Will has traveled all over the world for various treatments, but has only seen the inside of hospitals which are all the same. Stella and Will meet and Stella can’t stand Will…. Then things start to change…
This is a story of first love and the teens in this novel are definitely more grown up than your typical YA characters. But come on: they know for a fact that their pending death could come at any moment and that would age any teenager. But they are still teenagers.
I don’t know how life-like the novel is with the reality of cystic fibrosis, but this novel feels very real. I was attached to the characters and you wanted a happy ending and no dumb choices made. Though we came very close to the dumb choices part. I was thinking “NO!” when a certain situation happened, but at that age and in that situation, who knows what my decision might have been.
Five Feet Apart is also similar to The Sun is Also a Star in the fact that it has a realistic ending. If you are a fan of YA in general or of the other YA novels I mentioned then Five Feet Apart WILL be for you! I look forward to seeing the movie version soon. I still also need to watch the film versions of these novels as well.
Five Feet Apart is highly recommended.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
What a great book! Finally, a YA book where the teen drama fit in perfectly and wasn’t ridiculously obnoxious! I loved everything about this book. Look at the cover!!! The story was sweet and easy to read. The characters were cute and realistic. They had enough problems in their lives that they didn’t have to create any.
I didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis before reading this book. I still don’t know much, but I enjoyed learning a little about it. If I have any criticism, it’s very tiny: there were some medical things that needed a bit more explanation to make it all make sense. I had to keep asking Ivan questions and he finally told me that he didn’t want to talk about B. Cepacia anymore!
I became so emotionally invested in these kids. It was an easy book to get through and I finished it in a day. There were some adult things, like some swearing, that would keep me from recommending it to younger readers, but I’d recommend it to pretty much everyone else! The movie comes out soon and I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I had Cole Sprouse’s face in my head the whole time I was reading and it definitely worked!
Movie Trailer for Five Feet Apart: