The Blonde Bookworm

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews -- Review

Friday, June 22, 2018

Title: The High Tide Club 
Author: Mary Kay Andrew 
Pages: 480
Publishing: May 8th 2018 by St. Martin's Press

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenderscomes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.

Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.


If you haven't read The High Tide Club yet, then what are you even doing with your life?! I'm totally kidding... kind of. I am a HUGE fan of Mary Kay Andrews novels and The High Tide Club was another perfect example of why I love her books so much! This one comes in just under 500 pages, but I felt like I read it in five minutes. It was perfectly paced, included lots of fun southeast locations, and it had darling characters that pulled me into their world. 

The High Tide Club follows two separate groups of ladies as their worlds (even though they are years and years apart) collide on common ground. Brooke, the main character, is such a likable character and I immediately felt a connection with her. The other characters are fun and full of spunk and I really think they added to the overall attitude of the novel. 

The High Tide Club is one of my favorite reads of the year so far and I would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy women's fiction. It is the perfect book to bring along on your summer vacation! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating: 4/5

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering -- Review

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Title: Tell Me Lies
Author: Carola Lovering 
Pages: 384
Publishing: Atria Books (June 12, 2018)


Everyone remembers the one. No, not that one. The other one. The one you couldn’t let go of. The one you’ll never forget.

Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.

Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.

Lucy knows there’s something about Stephen that isn’t to be trusted. Stephen knows Lucy can’t tear herself away. And their addicting entanglement will have consequences they never could have imagined.

Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, Tell Me Lies follows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. With psychological insight and biting wit, this keenly intelligent and staggeringly resonant novel chronicles the yearning ambitions, desires, and dilemmas of young adulthood, and the difficulty of letting go, even when you know you should.


I've never read anything by Lovering before so I didn't really know quite what to expect. I thought the writing style was unique and it was interesting how the story jumped back and forth between Stephen and Lucy's viewpoints. There were times when I thought it was overly repetitive, but it was easy to skim over the repeats until you reached new information. The story was fast paced at times, but other times I really wished the pages would turn a little faster. In my opinion, I think the novel could have been about 100 pages shorter. 

The characters were all extremely interesting and I loved that Lovering didn't shy away from tough topics. A lot of kids go through some really hard things in college and I appreciated that this wasn't just some fluffy college romance novel. It really talked about some deep things and I think Lovering did a great job discussing such heavy topics. Even though Stephen was not my favorite character, he was so incredibly complex and I loved getting to know his inner thoughts (as horrible as they were). I also really enjoyed Lucy's character. She was so honest with herself and I was really happy to see her grow as a character. 

All in all, Tell Me Lies was a captivating story about how college can make and/or break you, how it can help you find out who you really are as a person, and how it can lead you to lifelong friends and partners. I thought this was an intriguing read and I would definitely recommend it! Thank you to Atria, Booksparks, and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5 

Limelight by Amy Poeppel -- Review

Monday, June 4, 2018

Title: Limelight 
Author: Amy Poeppel 
Pages: 416
Publishing: May 1st 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN: 1501176374


In a smart and funny new novel by the author of Small Admissions, a family’s move to New York City brings surprises and humor as their lives merge with the captivating world of Broadway.

Allison Brinkley—wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist—discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.

Allison learns that New York is unruly and bewildering, defying the notions she developed from romantic movies and a memorable childhood visit. After a humiliating call from the principal’s office and the loss of the job she was counting on, Allison begins to accept that New York may not suit her after all.

When Allison has a fender-bender, witnessed by a flock of mothers at her son’s new school, she is led to the penthouse apartment of a luxurious Central Park West building and encounters a spoiled, hungover, unsupervised teenager who looks familiar. It doesn’t take long to recognize him as Carter Reid—a famous pop star who has been cast in a new Broadway musical. Through this brush with stardom, Allison embraces a unique and unexpected opportunity that helps her find her way in the heart of Manhattan.

In a book that delivers laughs, warmth, and delightful wish fulfillment, Poeppel dives into celebrity culture and modern motherhood with her trademark style.


I was a huge fan of Small Admissions, so when I saw Poeppel had another novel coming out, I was very excited. Limelight was entertaining and fun from start to finish and Poeppel's writing style did not disappoint. Poepple's characters were smart, fresh, and genuinely made me want to a part of their family. The story line was a lot of fun and kept me turning pages late into the night. 

The main character Allison is by far my favorite part of the novel. She is a wonderful mom who puts her kids first and she even transfers her mom skills to kids who aren't her own. She was smart, funny, tough, and didn't take crap from anyone. I loved her personality and I think she really made the book for me. There were so many great characters in this novel, so I can't comment on all of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each character. 

Limelight is a fun and entertaining novel and I would highly recommend it to readers who enjoyed Poeppel's earlier Small Admissions. Her light and fresh writing style is even better in Limelight! I loved the small glimpse into the Broadway life, and I look forward to more novels from Poeppel in the future. Thank you Atria and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegmund-Broka -- Blog Tour Review

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Title: Always Never Yours 
Authors: Emily Wibberley and 
Pages: 352
Publishing: May 22nd 2018 by Speak
ISBN: 045147984X 


Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

About the Authors: 

Raised by a school librarian, Austin's always had a passion for books, especially books for young people. He met and fell in love with Emily in high school and went to Harvard University for undergrad. He studied English (focusing on Shakespeare) and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. Recently, Austin worked as a journalist for The Hollywood Reporter and was a UCLA law student; however there's nothing he he loves like writing with Emily. Emily, whose parents are screenwriters, has loved writing and story-telling since an age she hardly remembers. Since meeting Austin (she says it was middle school--accounts vary), Emily attended Princeton University for undergrad, studied psychology, and graduated magna cum laude in 2014. While at Princeton, she wrote the first novel in her self-published YA fantasy trilogy, The Last Oracle, which was featured in USA Today and was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.


I absolutely loved Always Never Yours! It is the perfect fun and romantic read to take with you on a trip to the beach. Megan Harper is the girl guys date before they find their perfect match, or so she thinks. With a get in and get out attitude, Megan flies through relationships during her senior year and never really places too much emphasis on finding depth in the relationship. 

Megan is clearly a leader and makes her own path in high school, but she's become so used to her normal path that she doesn't know how to deter from that path when necessary, until her path takes an unseen turn. She gets cast as the lead in her school play, AND she meets Owen. Their friendship is so much fun and I couldn't flip the pages fast enough to find out what happened to Megan and all of the other characters in her life. 

All in all, Always Never Yours the perfect binge-worth young adult romance filled with drama, geeky puns, and just the right amount of young love. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy contemporary YA or readers who are in the mood for a little romance! Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall -- Review

Monday, May 28, 2018

Title: Our Kind of Cruelty 
Author: Araminta Hall 
Publishing: May 8th 2018 by MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux 
Pages: 288
ISBN: 0374228191 


This is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.


While reading Our Kind of Cruelty I kept having flashbacks to similar books I've read about unhinged men in and out of relationships. Although I did feel that dark inkling of a similarity to You by Caroline Kepnes, I never really found myself comparing the two. I also thought that Mike's character was incredibly different from anything I've ever read and I almost felt sympathy for him by the end of the novel. 

I don't really know how to explain the complexity of the characters in this novel because I feel like I'm still shaking my head and trying to work it out. I loved the gritty and dark details that Hall included and it really gave the story an extra edge. It was disturbing and suspenseful from start to finish and I had a hard time guessing what Mike would do next. His unpredictable nature really added to the plot of the book. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I also loved how it kept me guessing while I was reading and still reeling long after the story was finished. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoyed You by Caroline Kepnes and Perfect Days by Raphael Montes.

Thank you to NetGalley and MCD/FSG for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart -- Review

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Title: Grace and Fury 
Author: Tracy Banghart 
Publishing: July 31st 2018 by Little, Brown 
Pages : 314


In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.


I always have a difficult time starting a new book, mostly because I usually still have a hangover from the last book I read. It makes it kind of hard to break into a new story right away. I'll be totally honest here... I had a rough time with the first 10 pages because I was still thinking about my last novel, AND the very beginning of this novel made me feel like "I've read this book before". But then BAM, out of nowhere I totally spiraled and fell in love with this story and how totally different it was from everything else I've read! And let's be honest, 10 pages of fluff and story prep isn't really anything to complain about, especially when the rest of the novel is dynamite. 

So what made this story so incredible? To start, the world building took my breath away. I was in love with the Italian beach mood and it made me want to take off my work clothes, throw a towel over my shoulder and head to the beach. Second, it kept me guessing. Right when I thought I had this story figured out, it would jump to something totally different. And lastly, I loved how it went back and forth between the sister's experiences. It felt like two novels in one and it was non-stop action and excitement. 

I think there is also much to be said about the underlying message of girl power and strong female leads in this novel. I loved they ambition and strength that these characters showed time after time of being kicked down. Neither sister allowed themselfto stay down long and I think that is an incredible lesson to learn! No matter what life throws your way, you have to dust yourself off and get up to fight another day. I think it's pretty clear from my review, but this novel was one of my favorite reads so far this year and I can't wait to see what happens next in this series. I would HIGHLY recommend this novel to all readers! 

Rating 5/5

*Thank you so much to @The NOVL for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!  

The Sugarhouse Blues by Mariah Stewart -- Review

Monday, May 14, 2018

Title: The Sugarhouse Blues 
Author: Mariah Stewart 
Pages: 400 
Publishing: May 15th 2018 by Gallery Books


Mariah Stewart's second novel in the Hudson Sisters series...

Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father's estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz's challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.

As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family.


The Sugarhouse Blues is the second novel in The Hudson Sisters series and I have been looking forward to this novel all year! I read the first book (The Last Chance Matinee) last year and absolutely loved it, so I was really excited to read book two and pick back up with the Hudson sisters. The Sugarhouse Blues did not disappoint! It was told mostly by Des, but there was still a lot of input from Cara and Allie as well. I love this group of girls and felt like I was one of the sisters while reading! 

This novel wasn't suspenseful and it wasn't filled to the brim with romance, but it had a constant steady pace that matched the tone of the slow moving small town vibe. It was such an enjoyable read filled with interesting and entertaining characters. I honestly felt like I wanted to move to Hidden Falls by the end of this novel! The Sugarhouse Blues was a fantastic summer read perfect for reading while in a rocking chair on the back porch with a cold glass of lemonade! Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for sending a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 
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