Reviews: Well Met + The Paris Orphan + The Liars of Mariposa Island

pub 9/3/19 by Berkley
Women's Fiction - Romance
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | I'm a sucker for hate-to-love relationships abut having one of my favorite romantic tropes set against the background of a Renaissance Faire took it to a whole other level. Emily relocates to Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help out her sister and somehow gets roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire with her niece. From day one, she butts heads with Simon, a schoolteacher and one of the main organizers of the faire (it's a family business of sorts). But something changes between them when they don their costumes and get into characters. They begin to realize and fight what we already know – that they have a ton of chemistry! Whether they were flirting, bickering or just getting real with one another, I enjoyed all of their interactions. But it was about more than just the romance. It was also about these two individuals figuring out what they wanted. For Emily, it's family, stability, friendship and something of her own – which she feels like she has in Willow Creek. And even though the book is told from her perspective, Simon and his personal ties to the faire play a big role too and I enjoyed his story just as much. Overall, I was very impressed by this author's debut novel and I'm excited to see what she does next.

pub 9/3/19 by Forever Romance
Historical Fiction
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars | I sincerely hope Natasha Lester never stops writing historical novels set in Paris. She has this way of making her stories immediately compelling and expertly weaving between timelines, and this was no exception. First you have American model, Jessica May, who arrives in Europe during the 1950s to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue and as you can imagine, experiencing all sorts of truly horrible, sexist behavior. She perseveres through tenacity and with the support of friends, such as Captain Dan and a little orphan girl named Victorine. My favorite parts of the book were easily the moments that described her war photography, who and what she saw, and the brewing romance with Captain Dan. In the present, you have D'Arcy Hallworth who arrives in France to curate a collection of famous wartime photos by a reclusive artist but in the process, she ends up uncovering long-kept secrets about her own life and herm other Victorine that change her forever. Her story was interesting but as you can imagine, Jessica May was truly the star of this book. I will say that I did have a few reservations though, mainly around the many subplots. The war in itself and Jessica May's struggles for equality were huge arcs but the author continued to throw in so many (and IMHO, unnecessary) twists and turns that I couldn't help likening it to a soap opera. I would've liked to see certain things edited out and a more cathartic ending. It's still an excellent book though but these reservations kept it from replacing The Paris Seamstress as my favorite.

pub 9/17/19 by Roaring Brook Press
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub for review
⭐⭐ 2 stars | This is my fifth Jennifer Mathieu book and honestly, the first one that's fell flat for me. It alternates between three characters: siblings Elena and Joaquin set during the summer of 1986 and then their mother's perspective set in the past during the time she fled Cuba to come to the United States as a teenager. For Elena, the only reprieve she gets from her mother's controlling ways is during the summer when she can babysit for the rich and perfect Callahans. When she meets a boy that summer though, it's a huge moment for her as she quickly for him and begins rebelling in order to see him. But I just didn't care for her or the relationship at all. This was an ongoing problem for me throughout the book because I also didn't care for their mother's story or her character either. I don't think we're meant to like her but she felt so one-dimensional and again, maybe that was the intent but it didn't work for me. Joaquin's story was the only one that got any sort of sympathy from me because both women in his family took him for granted and I didn't blame him for wanting to escape. Ultimately, even though the writing made the book a quick read and the plot did manage to surprise me a couple times, I just didn't enjoy reading it.

1 comment

  1. Boo about the Jennifer Mathieu book falling flat for you! But yay for the other two being good reads. I adored Well Met, and thought it was super fun to read and swoon over. And I really need to read a Natasha Lester book already!


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