Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 11-28-23
YA - Contemporary

Betting On You- Lynn Painter: Bailey and Charlie met years ago on a flight from Alaska to Omaha and immediately butted heads. When the plane finally landed, Bailey breathed a sigh of relief, knowing she'd never see Charlie's cynical face again. Fast forward a few years, seventeen-year-old Bailey is starting a new job at a resort, and her co-worker is none other than Charlie. The pair couldn't be more different: Bailey is a stickler for rules, whereas Charlie constantly toes the line. But soon Bailey finds herself enjoying Charlie's company, joking about the guests and even placing a bet on when their other co-workers will hook up. Charlie has never believed that guys and girls could be "just friends," but Bailey has wormed her way into that category. But the lines blur once the pair start fake dating to annoy Bailey's mom's new boyfriend. Neither can deny the growing attraction, but Charlie's hiding a secret that could ruin it all.

I don't typically read a lot of YA contemporary anymore because I'm so far removed from the targeted audience that it's hard for me to connect with the characters, but leave it to Painter. She had me smiling and kicking my little feet the entire time with this. It's so When Harry Met Sally-but-make-it-YA, and I loved every second of it. Bailey and Charlie were so different but worked so well together. The way their personalities complemented each other was so fun. Bailey is more reserved and a pro at overthinking, and Charlie is my favorite kind of character who comes across as cocky and sarcastic but is a total softie on the inside. Their banter and chemistry were also top-notch. Aside from the characters, I also liked how Painter touched upon how it feels to come from a divorced family and the effects it can have on the kids. It added another layer to the story that was so relatable. If you like friends-to-lovers or fake dating tropes, I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 5/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 5-30-23
Adult - Historical Mystery

The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies- Alison Goodman: In the eyes of society, Lady Augusta "Gus" Colebrook is invisible. She and her twin sister, Julia, are in their early 40s and unwed, though Julia is grieving the loss of her betrothed. Endlessly bored with balls and society life, Gus is craving a distraction-- one that will spark her curiosity and help her sister. When a friend enlists their help to rescue her goddaughter from an abusive husband, Gus jumps at the chance. On the way, Gus accidentally shoots a highwayman who accosts their carriage only to discover it's none other than Lord Evan Belford, an old acquaintance who was exiled twenty years ago after a murder charge. Lord Evan assists in their ruse, and as he and Gus grow closer, she can't help but wonder if he was wrongfully accused. Gus was looking for a distraction, and she's found the perfect one: helping others that society has shunned, no matter the cost.

Good grief, a lot was going on here. It was like five different plots in one book. I love historical mystery, and I liked how this followed older characters whom society has pegged as old maids who used that to their advantage. The premise was solid, but there was just too much of it. It was like one adventure after the other, and because there were so many, none of them felt fleshed out, and the resolutions felt rushed. The tone was also more serious than I expected, and the romance aspect between Gus and Evan felt unnecessary. I didn't feel any chemistry between them, but I'm hoping it will develop more in the coming books. Although there wasn't much room to breathe in here, I still found it entertaining, and I'm interested enough to continue the series.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 8-8-23
Adult - Contemporary

The Blonde Identity- Ally Carter: Zoe wakes up in Paris with no memory of how she got there or even who she is. All she knows is that she's a little banged up, and the hottest guy she's ever seen is telling her to run. It seems people are after Zoe, but Zoe has no clue why. When Zoe sees her face broadcasted as a fugitive, she concludes that she must be a spy, and this mystery man, Sawyer, is her partner. Or maybe her enemy? Regardless, he's the only one keeping her alive, so Zoe decides to press her luck and join forces, pretending to be a newlywed couple on their honeymoon. As Zoe and Sawyer race across Europe, dodging criminals and intelligence offices (and sneaking kisses on the side), they realize it's not Zoe they're after, but her identical twin sister and Zoe will do whatever it takes to clear her sister's name.

This was absolutely bonkers. It reminded me of those cheesy straight-to-DVD movies. It was ridiculous, unbelievable, cringy, yet so entertaining. Was it a great book? Not even close, but I had a great time reading it. The writing came across as very juvenile, especially Zoe's character. She has amnesia at the start of the book, and it is as if her entire ability to function as a human being was lost along with her memories. But through it all, Carter had me utterly charmed. I fell into this outrageous plot and insta-love romance, hook, line, and sinker. If you want something full of adventure that's super fast-paced but that you won't have to think too hard about, I'd recommend checking it out.

Rating: 3/5


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