August 2022 Mini Reviews

Safety in Numbers by Sophie Penhaligon
Published: 3rd January 2022 by BooksGoSocial
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately, it ended up being a disappointment for me. I was glad to see that Milo and everyone else she disclosed it to took Seraphina's disability seriously and for the most part didn't belittle her, treating her with respect rather than pity. However, I felt that the build-up from work colleagues to romantic interests was way too quick, especially considering Seraphina's reservations literally in the chapter before. It also felt as though the power dynamics between the two protagonists weren't equal, with Milo being almost manipulative and using Seraphina's condition against her because she didn't know any better and would agree with him without question. It seemed quite false at times that Seraphina could open herself up to new challenges and a whole new way of living so suddenly because of the introduction of a love interest in her life. I enjoyed the writing style, so I may very well give another of Penhaligon's books a go, but hopefully with a less frustrating plot.
2.5 stars

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy
Avalon Bay #1
Published: 1st February 2022 by Piatkus
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I had heard great things about Elle Kennedy's previous works, especially how addictive they were and how easily people flew through reading them. This sounded like exactly what I needed so I did have pretty high expectations when I picked Good Girl Complex up, and I have to say they were mostly met. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Mac and Cooper, and how they read as equals rather than one of them having a much stronger personality and character development. One of my favourite elements of the story is an extension of Mac's strong and stubborn nature, in her business-oriented mind and her success at it, and I loved how it played such a big part in her sense of self. The dynamic between Mac and Cooper provided the classic opposites-attract trope that I am a big fan of in romances, and this one didn't disappoint! The small-town setting was great too, so I'm glad to see that Kennedy will be continuing to write more in this location.
3.5 stars

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Published: 1st March 2022 by Quercus
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I have heard so many people rave about In Five Years, Serle's previous novel, so when this one became available for me to read, I jumped at the chance. The premise intrigued me, as I like reading novels about family dynamics, particularly mother-daughter relationships, but I was unsure how the grief element of this story would play out. Fortunately, I found Katy's reflecting on her strong bond with her recently-deceased mother to be one of the best parts of the novel, and I really enjoyed getting to read about their closeness. However, as much as I am normally a fan of magical realism within novels, I have to admit that I really wasn't a fan of it in One Italian Summer, and I almost found myself longing to reach the parts of the book where Katy wasn't interacting with her 'mother' again. I would've preferred for this to be more of a story about finding a level of peace and closure after a tragic loss, rather than the difficult interactions between Katy and this younger Carol.
3.5 stars

By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate
Published: 1st March 2022 by Piatkus
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I remember reading Kate's Fallen, the first book in a hugely successful YA series, years ago, so it was interesting to see how her contemporary fiction fared. The plot of this novel sounded like it was written just for me, with its enemies-to-lovers romance and the setting of the publishing world, and I really enjoyed all of it! The playful dynamic of Lanie's curated list being used as the plot point for her and "Noa's" interactions was great, and the fact that they each had their own mystery element of their lives going on worked really well I think, as it definitely propelled me forward through the story as I waited for them to discover the truth about one another. The storyline was surprisingly unlike anything I have read before, and while it was pretty predictable what the outcome would be, I didn't mind in the slightest as I was looking forward to getting to that happily-ever-after! I'm excited to see what Kate writes next.
4 stars


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