Time for some mini reviews. Big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy of Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale and The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
I thought the premise of this sounded right up my alley, but I think the execution was a bit sloppy. I didn't connect to Josie as a character, I actually found her a little annoying at times, and I couldn't help but cringe or roll my eyes at a lot of what she did. The plot and pacing felt slightly clunky, and I don't feel like it hit its stride until over halfway through. Then once it did pick up, it was resolved rather quickly so it didn't feel that impactful. I wish we had gotten to see more of Deo, the mysteriously charming bookshop worker because I think that would've made the big reveal of his part in the whole thing better. Usually, I'm all for books about books, but this one just tried to do too much that it really hindered my enjoyment of it.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown- Talia Hibbert: Dani Brown is successful, driven, no-nonsense, and doesn't have time for any relationship that lasts longer than a night. She believes romance and relationships are a big waste of time, so instead, she asks the universe for a perfect friends-with-benefits partner to, ahem, help her de-stress. After a video of Dani being rescued from a fire drill gone wrong by the oh-so-handsome security guard, Zafir, it seems her prayers have been answered. Zaf was once a well-known rugby player and his sports charity could really use the news coverage that their popular video is getting, it doesn't hurt that the entire internet seems to be shipping him and Dani together either. To satisfy both their needs, the pair decide to fake a relationship, but the line between fake and real quickly starts to blur. Both have their issues to overcome if they hope to make their relationship last once the #DrRugbae trend has faded.
I have to admit, I wasn't super impressed with Get a Life, Chloe Brown, so I went into this with lower expectations, but I ended up really enjoying it. Right off the bat, I was sucked into Dani's life and thought she was so interesting. I thought she and Zaf had such a fun, flirty friendship already that once it transitioned into something more it was explosive. The chemistry between them was crazy. I also loved how Zaf was such a romantic at heart and handled Dani so sweetly. Aside from the romance aspect, I thought this touched upon a lot of important issues such as grief and anxiety in a very delicate and real way that added a nice depth to the story. My only slight issue was I did find some of the dialogue, especially during the more steamy scenes, to be a little cringe at times. Other than that, this was super enjoyable and I'd definitely recommend, especially if you love a fake dating trope.
Pub Date: 8-4-20
Adult - Thriller
The Hollow Ones- Guillermo del Toro/Chuck Hogan: Odessa Hardwicke is an FBI rookie who hasn't seen too much action. All that changes in the blink of an eye one night as she's forced to shoot her partner in self-defense after he becomes inexplicably violent at the scene of a crime they're investigating. While she keeps replaying that night over and over, it's not the actual shooting that's bothering her but rather the shadowy figure she saw leaving her partner's body after he died. Completely shaken by the incident, Odessa is more than happy to be stuck on desk duty pending an internal investigation and takes up an assignment of clearing out the office of a retired officer. In doing so, Odessa stumbles upon some evidence that proves the shadow she saw might not have been her imagination at all and leads her to a mysterious man who claims to have been alive for centuries and who just might be her only hope in saving humanity from a terrible evil.
The premise of this sounded very The X-Files-ish and I was intrigued. While all those elements may have been present, it didn't feel fully formed. Was is action-packed? For sure. Was it exciting? Yeah, a bit. Did it keep my attention? Absolutely. I loved the notion of these Hollow Ones being around for centuries wreaking havoc and this shadowy man sort of overseeing that they don't destroy the whole world. The only thing that fell slightly short for me was the characters themselves. Odessa was fine, and I think Blackwood was interesting, but neither one felt very real to me. I think if they were fleshed out a tiny bit more, I could've connected and been more invested in what happens to them. Characters aside, the plot was still interesting and I'd recommend if you're a fan of possession movies like The Thing or the show Supernatural.