Friday, September 29, 2023

Friday Fives - Five Short Reviews for Books I've Read Recently

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. This week I'm sharing 5 quick reviews for books I've read recently.

1.  The Villa by Rachel Hawkins - Emily's life has spiraled out of control with a complicated divorce and a massive case of writer's block.  When her best friend Chess invites her to a villa in Italy it seems like the answer to everything with rest, relaxation and a bit of a separation from her problems.  I really enjoyed the first 80% or so.  I found the dual timeline with Mari in the 1970s and Emily in current time an interesting contrast to the other and I was hooked to see how everything unfolded and what Emily did with her investigation into just what happened that summer.  I forgot that these weren't real people and was tempted a few times to look them up and find out more about them.  I didn't love the ending.  It did tie everything up with some ambiguity for the 1970s plot but the route Emily and Chess took just didn't quite work for me.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

2.  Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas -
I have really been enjoying Kleypas's Ravenel books and I was so excited to see Dr. Garrett Gibson getting her own book.  She's intelligent and confident and incredibly good at her job.  We've met Ethan in previous books but this is the first book I really felt like I got to know him and I did enjoy learning more about him.  Neither Ethan nor Garrett are constrained by the usual societal norms but at the same time are aware of them.  Their conversations are interesting and I liked how they encouraged each other to be vulnerable.  I also loved seeing Garrett taking charge and showing just how good of a doctor she really is.  This was a sweet love story with characters to whom life has not been kind and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to reading the next Ravenel book.  My Rating:  Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

3.  The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty -
This is the book that really put Liane Moriarty on my radar years ago but while I have read several other of her books it took me years to get around to this one.  Like the other Moriarty books I've read this book had multiple storylines and different timelines that all come together as the reveal gets closer.  I found all of the characters relatable in various ways and they all have their flaws and positives.  I was engaged with the story and really invested in the various reveals.  This wasn't my favorite Moriarty book that I've read but I did enjoy it from beginning to end.  I listened to the audio and thought Caroline Lee did a fantastic job as narrator and I will look for more books narrated by her.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)

4.  The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
- This was my first book by Christina Lauren but it won't be my last.  I really enjoyed the relationship between Olive and Ethan.  They argued and bantered and constantly called each other by the wrong names which added a bit of humor to the book.  I also really liked how Olive and Ami got along.  They could have easily had a contentious relationship but they were supportive of each other and communicated well.  The romance was fun but had enough realistic issues to add some authenticity to the romance.  I liked the characters enough that I was excited to see there was a sequel and am looking forward to reading it.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)

5.  Lightning in a Mirror (Fogg Lake #3) by Jayne Ann Krentz -
I have really enjoyed the Fogg Lake series but somehow I missed this book when it originally came out last January.  It was quite a fun surprise to discover it and I enjoyed it just as much as I expected.  Olivia has had some rough luck in this trilogy and at the beginning of her own book it is not improving with a speed dating serial killer, having to deal with past family tragedies, and a group of bad guys whose motives aren't quite clear but are definitely not good.  This trilogy is best read in order as the storyline does build on the previous books  If you enjoy fast paced paranormal romantic suspense and are looking for a fun bit of escapist reading this whole trilogy is a great place to start.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)


  1. I read The Husband’s Secret and The Unhoneymooners and I loved both of them.

  2. The Husband's Secret is STILL on my kindle... unread. I was buying tons of daily deals a year or two ago and have been playing catch up ever since!

  3. I had planned to read The Villa, but I'm rethinking that---I like a good ending.

  4. Well these were mostly pretty good for you I've read The Unhoneymooners and Lightning in the Mirror. I have The Villa on my library list but maybe not now.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  5. The Unhoneymooners is the one I really want to read!

  6. Some great books, you are making me want to pick up Lisa Kleypas again. I must try Christina Lauren, have read them yet.

  7. I keep putting off reading The Villa and I'm not sure why as I really liked previous books by the author I've read. I really liked The Husband's Secret when I read it too. The Unhoneymooners is on my TBR shelf. I am glad to see you enjoyed it!

  8. I still have The Honeymooners on my Goodreads. At least I think I do. It's good to hear you liked it. ☺