Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to the publisher for these copies!

Pub Date: 9-13-22
Adult - Contemporary

The Make-Up Test- Jenny L. Howe: Allison Avery has always loved being an academic. Her dream in life is to become a professor so she can share her love of medieval literature with others. When Allison is admitted to a Ph.D. program at Claymore University, studying under a professor she's admired for years, she believes she's one step closer to achieving her goals. But then she learns her ex-boyfriend, Colin Benjamin, has been accepted to the same program and is now competing with her for a TA position with the same professor. At first, the pair can't help butting heads after their rocky relationship, but with every passing day and a last-minute road trip, neither can deny the spark of attraction that still simmers between them. Allison refuses to let anything come between her and her goals, but is it possible to have both the dream career and dream guy?

I was keen on picking this up once I heard about it, but I found it disappointing. Let's talk about the things I did enjoy first. Mostly, the setting. I love anything set in a school or academic environment. I found the discussions around medieval literature fascinating. It's not something I know much about, so it was fun seeing Allison talk about it with such passion. It almost made me want to reread Beowulf, and that was something high school me never thought she'd say. My main problem with this was Colin. For me to enjoy a romance, I have to like the love interest, and I couldn't stand Colin. He treated Allison so poorly, both in the present and in the snippets we get from their past relationship. He had a few sweet moments, but for the most part, I thought he was whiny and took all his insecurities out on Allison. Due to this, I didn't care about their relationship at all. It's a second-chance romance, but for me, Colin deserved none of the chances he got. I also wasn't a fan of Allison's family and how they treated her. Sadly, I had high hopes for this one, but it turned out to be a bit of a letdown.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 9-13-22
Adult - Contemporary

Lucy on the Wild Side- Kerry Rea: Lucy Rourke would rather spend her time with the gorilla troop at the zoo where she works and reality tv than trying to find a relationship. She's only got one goal in mind: getting promoted to a senior keeper. When a popular wildlife documentary series picks her zoo as their summer filming location, Lucy believes it would be an ideal opportunity to broadcast her love of primates to the entire world. If only the thought of being on camera didn't make her sick to her stomach, or having to work with Kai Bridges didn't make her want to scream. Kai is not only charismatic and engaging, but he's also the son of Lucy's idol and the woman who got her into gorillas. After seeing her freeze in front of the camera, Kai offers to help get Lucy more comfortable, but the pair can't help but bicker over everything. But when trading weird animal facts turn into stealing kisses in gorilla nurseries, Lucy starts to crave more than just a promotion.

I've never read anything by Rea before, but after reading this, I'll pick up anything she comes out with. I had such a fun time with this. Lucy was unlike any main character I've read before. I loved how passionate she was about her career and working with the gorillas at the zoo. It was so special to see the bond she had with them. I also liked how she was more content with having a career over becoming a mom since usually there's always a baby thrown into the storylines. I enjoyed her relationship with Kai and how they would trade the most absurd animal facts. They started rocky but developed a solid, sweet relationship by the end. It was frustrating since Lucy had so many walls and defenses up, but I understand her reasoning. Another highlight of this was the zoo itself. It was cool seeing a glimpse at how zoos work and what it's like being a zookeeper. You could tell Rea did a lot of research into it. Overall, I thought this was super enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 9-20-22
YA - Historical Fiction

The Killing Code- Ellie Marney: It's 1943 in Virginia, and with most men fighting in World War II, many women have joined the workforce, some even aiding in the war effort wherever they can. Kit Sutherland gets recruited as a codebreaker at the former girl's college turned secret US Signals Intelligence facility, Arlington Hall. Here Kit spends her days desperately trying to crack encoded enemy messages, but soon she finds herself on a different sort of mission. Government girls are being brutally murdered all over the DC area, and when Kit stumbles upon one of the scenes, she's determined to bring the killer to justice. Kit recruits three friends, and the group does what they do best: crack codes. As they compile evidence and build a profile of the murderer, it becomes clear the person they're looking for is closer than they expected and that Kit is harboring a dangerous secret.

I love historical fiction, but I've never read one that mixes in a thriller element, and I was here for it. I thought this was so captivating right from the start. It's fast-paced and exciting. I liked Kit a lot; she was tenacious and clever. She's spent years hiding and always had one eye over her shoulder. It made her an interesting character to follow. Her friendship between Dottie, Violet, and Moya was everything. They were all so different but formed this tight-knit sisterhood. They supported one another and had each other's backs through everything. The romance between Kit and Moya could've used a little work since it felt quick, but it was sweet. As for the mystery, I was able to figure out who the murderer was, but I still enjoyed watching how it played out. This was the first book I've read by Marney, and I'm interested enough to pick up more. If you like engaging, whodunit-type murder mysteries, I recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 4/5


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