Today, I'll be discussing Dublin Murder Squad mystery The Trespasser.
The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French
Being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.
Their new case looks like yet another lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blonde, pretty, groomed-to-a-shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.
The squad is pushing Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. But Aislinnʼs friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger.
Antoinette knows the harassment she's experienced has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?
French's The Trespasser is (so far) my least favorite Dublin Murder Squad mystery. Nonetheless, I haven't picked up The Likeness or Into the Woods.
While this pick has a captivating storyline, the narrative itself lacks thrill. The Trespasser has the potential to be an enchanting story but is unfortunately dull and uneventful.
The reason for this is actually the cast of characters. Despite The Secret Place also featuring Moran and Conway, they're a lot less likable in this novel. While Moran has a smaller role in this mystery, Conway remains paranoid and problematic--surprisingly even more than before. The other characters are just as uninteresting. The squad is untrustworthy, the victim is deceitful, and almost every other character is opportunistic.
Despite this, the mystery is just intriguing enough to keep reading.
While I would recommend French's other Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, I suggest skipping this one.
Have you read The Trespasser? Chat with me!
Today, I'm discussing a Christina Lauren favorite, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating.
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Hazel Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.
Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him a bold email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.
Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating was my first time reading Christina Lauren, but it certainly won't be the last.
This is a fun and quirky love story that features captivating characters and a delightful storyline. Lauren's narrative is lighthearted, engaging, and enchanting.
The novel starts off by depicting the contrasting personalities of Hazel Bradford and Josh Im. But as the tale progresses, the unexpected pair of friends grow closer as their string of double blind dates go horribly wrong.
This comical novel is sure to stay with readers. Hazel and Josh are not only authentic, they're unforgettable.
This Lauren fan favorite is a great pick for readers who loved Jojo Moyes' Me Before You. Have you picked up Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.
Today, I'm discussing Mary H.K. Choi's Emergency Contact
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college to learn how to become a writer, it’s 79 miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for the future, but right now, the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Emergency Contact is a book with great potential.
The writing is concise and captivating, the characters are somewhat intriguing, and the storyline is fun and unique. Unfortunately, Choi only manages to scratch the surface of what this novel could've been.
Despite having good ideas, the author doesn't develop the narrative, the characters, or the protagonists' relationship. While Penny and Sam have an interesting dynamic, their relationship does not evolve enough to make this a memorable story--let alone a romance.
As a matter of fact, Emergency Contact falls quite flat. In spite of the writing being delightful, the actual narrative is unimpressive.
Because of this, I wouldn't recommend this novel to fellow readers.
Have you read Emergency Contact? Come chat with me!
Today, I'll be discussing Sarah Knight's Calm the F*ck Down.
Calm the F*ck Down by Sarah Knight
Do you spend more time worrying about problems than solving them? Do you let unexpected difficulties ruin your day? Do "what ifs" keep you up at night?
Sounds like you need to calm the f*ck down...
Whether you're stressed about sh*t that hasn't happened yet or are freaked out about sh*t that already has, "anti-guru" Sarah Knight is here to help you curb the anxiety and overthinking that's making everything worse.
I am giving all the stars to the potty mouth genius that is Sarah Knight. Seriously can't remember the last time I laughed-out-loud this much while reading a book.
I normally don't pick up self-help novels, but those who know me know that I'm a sucker for profanity, jokes, and Friends references.
Calm the F*ck Down is hilarious, refreshing, and fun. But more importantly, it's relatable and genuinely helpful. I have never really believed in self-help books, but something told me to give Knight a chance. I'm so happy I did.
Knight not only offers advice in her novel, she also includes exercises that help readers help themselves. My worrying isn't 100% gone, but I can say that it's not as drastic and irrational as it was prior to reading this piece.
Calm the F*ck Down is a great pick for several reasons. Aside from being relatable and engaging, it's a quick read and easy to follow/understand.
I recommend this book to my fellow worriers... I'll be checking out The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck next.
Today, I'll be discussing Samantha Young's 2018 release, Fight or Flight.
Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
The universe is conspiring against Ava Breevort. As if flying back to Phoenix to bury her childhood friend isn't hell enough, her flight back home to Boston has been cancelled. In a last attempt to salvage what's left of her trip, Ava tries to get a seat on the next connecting flight. But her hopes to get a first class seat are crushed by arrogant Scotsman, Caleb Scott--who's taken the last spot.
Over the course of their journey home, their antagonism somehow lands them in bed for a steamy and unforgettable layover. And that's all it is... until Caleb shows up on Ava's doorstep in Boston days later.
When fate brings the pair back together, Caleb proposes they enjoy their physical connection while he's stranded in the city. Ava agrees, but not long after, realizes she's made a terrible mistake. For Caleb Scott isn't as unlikeable as she once thought...
Samantha Young's Fight or Flight is the tale of a peculiar and unexpected romance between Caleb Scott and Ava Breevort.
Young's latest is a light narrative focused on intimacy, friendship, chance, and creating your own destiny. Fight or Flight is enjoyable despite being unshockingly predictable. And additionally, the featured cast is authentic and relatable.
Despite this, Young's novel bears a similar resemblance to 2016 bestseller The Hating Game in which the characters "hate each other" but don't actually hate each other. Unlike Sally Thorne who does a good job of keeping the plot interesting, Young's Fight or Flight is repetitive, corny, and even irritating at times.
Although Fight or Flight is a solid piece, I recommend skipping it. There are several other novels with the "I don't actually hate you" trope (The Hating Game for example) that do a far better job of keeping readers entertained and interested.
Have you read Fight or Flight? Share your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram!
Hey there bibliophiles!
Today, I'm discussing New York Times bestseller Eleanor and Park.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This is the story of two young teens in love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep her promises...Park.
Love almost never lasts. Is it worth giving someone else your all?
Eleanor and Park is the heartwarming story of two young kids against the world. With an all too real storyline and a lovable and vivid set of characters, Rainbow Rowell manages to create a narrative that steals the heart of hundreds of readers.
This novel is a great pick for young teens. It's hopeful but real, and it's intense and heartbreaking—all the emotions involved in an adolescent's first romance.
Despite the wonderful narrative and genuine cast, there is no doubt that this novel is especially designed and written for the younger demographic. Eleanor and Park is a wonderful story, but is likely too childlike for readers in their twenties—as it is especially tailored for children in middle and high school.
If you are over the age of 18 and are looking for a romance, consider picking up a more mature novel. This book is not an ideal pick for adults.
Have you read Eleanor and Park? Share your thoughts with me below or on social media!
Hey there readers!
Today, I'm discussing 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner, Less.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Who says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward. And you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
How do you arrange to skip town? You accept them all.
What could possibly go wrong?
Greer's latest is a story unlike any other. Less is a tale of adventure and self discover, but it's also one of pain and love. The protagonist of the novel, Arthur Less, is a man who's struggled with emotions and relationships for a large portion of his life. And when the man he loves is said to get married, Less does everything in his power to avoid this confrontation: he flees.
This novel is beloved and moving because it's authentic and relatable. Many of Greer's readers have experienced heartbreak, but even more so, many of Greer's readers have felt lost and unfulfilled.
Less is a great piece because it's hopeful, heartwarming, and real. But despite this, Greer's writing style isn't for everyone. Although the storyline is refreshing, the author's diction makes the book tedious a lot of time. Because of this, I'd only recommend this novel to readers who enjoy a flowery writing style.
Have you read this Pulitzer Prize winner? Leave your thoughts below or send me a message on social media.