Two Book Tuesday + Bonus

It’s a THREE Book Tuesday!

Title: Hook, Line, and Sinker
Author: Tessa Bailey
Genre: Adult Romance  
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time–in bed and out–and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…

A wonderful follow up to last year’s hit, It Happened One Summer. Fox and Hannah have such a wonderful friendship that you really got to see blossom over text messages at the beginning of the book. They really become each other’s best friend. Once they are back together in person, their chemistry is off the charts. What is with these fishermen?

I enjoyed following Hannah come into her own. From the little bit that we saw of her in the previous book, I thought she had such a great personality and getting to know her more was such a treat. Having a gregarious sister like Piper, Hannah always thought of herself as a supporting character in her own life. With the encouragement of Fox, she becomes leading lady material. She learns how to be more forward with her wants in a relationship as well as through her work. She’s making moves to get what she wants. Along the way, not only does she finally find the connection to her late father that she never had, she finds love.

And then we have Fox. Charming, lighthearted Fox. The guy who’s always down for a good time because that’s all he’s good for—just ask everyone around town. He kind of broke my heart. The false bravado that has carried him through life is finally slipping, all because of Hannah. She doesn’t let him get away with how he puts himself down—even when he tries to push her away. All his life, Fox has been compared to his deadbeat father, a love em’ and leave em’ kind of guy. As young as elementary school, people commented on his looks—”a real heartbreaker” or “he’s gonna get all the girls.” By sexualizing him at such a young age, his entire identity was tied up in sex and women. People only saw him as the party guy who only did the bare minimum to get by. No one had any faith in him, so he had no faith in himself—until Hannah showed him that he has worth.

Both characters really went through wonderful character development that led to their electric chemistry. Favorite couple alert!

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: This Golden State
Author: Marit Weisenberg
Genre: YA Contemporary  
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Goodreads Summary:

Marit Weisenberg’s This Golden State follows a family on the run, a restless teenage daughter hungry for the truth, and the simple DNA test that threatens their carefully crafted world

The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.

When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.

Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

Poppy knows not to get too close to anyone, it only makes it harder to leave when the time comes—and the time will come. As long as she can remember, Poppy and her family have been on the move—sometimes leaving at the drop of a hat with only enough time to grab their own special item. However, this next move feels different. Set up in a large California home, Poppy’s mother is acting strange and there seems to be a sense of familiarity in the air. When given the opportunity to take a summer course at the local high school, Poppy jumps at the chance. She starts to feel like a normal kid and even starts to fall in love.

Poppy knows her parents love her and her little sister—at the end of the day, they only have each other. However, she knows they keep her at a distance. She doesn’t even know their real names! The mysteries of her family lead her to spontaneously mail in a DNA test. Who knew this would cause cataclysmic repercussions. As she begins to learn more, the family that she thought she knew feel more like strangers. She must reconcile with what she learns about her parents with the people who really raised her.

This was beautifully written. I have another one of Marit Weisenberg’s books on my shelf, but haven’t got around to it yet. Clocking in at around 400 pages, this coming-of-age story flows beautifully and never drags. Poppy was such an authentic character—I just loved her. Even though we are spending only the summer with Poppy and her family, the connection between her and Harrison was palpable. I loved how the story slowly unraveled as Poppy learns more about her parents. I was with her every step of the way, on the edge of my seat. The tension was steadily building, I couldn’t stop reading. She must make the choice to leave her family and finally live for herself, or never escape the endless cycle of being on the run.

This gripping and compelling story is the perfect combination of hard-hitting contemporary romance with a hint of mystery thriller. I really hopes it gets the audience it deserves.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Night Shift
Author: Alex Finlay
Genre: Mystery Thriller  
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Goodreads Summary:

It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.

Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.

Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”

In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.

Twisty, poignant, and redemptive, The Night Shift is a story about the legacy of trauma and how the broken can come out on the other side, and it solidifies Alex Finlay as one of the new leading voices in the world of thrillers.

This thriller that was equal character and plot driven involves two mirroring tragedies, 15 years apart. Both were gruesome, both left a single survivor, and both killers uttered the phrase “Goodnight, pretty girl.” Following three perspectives from three different aspects of the case: the lone survivor from the original case who bonds with the new survivor, the district attorney who’s brother was the original suspect who went on the run, and a FBI agent who is insistent on solving both cases. Throughout the story, we meet a cast of characters from parents of the victims to local law enforcement. It’s like an episode of Law & Order!

This was really great! I could not put this down. Despite guessing the killer from the very beginning, there were enough twists and surprising revelations about characters that still kept it thrilling and interesting. It was fascinating to slowly start to see how people from seemingly different components of these two cases end up being connected. Sometimes in a mystery the characters can be a little lackluster to drive the plot home—or vice versa—but I felt the compelling characters helped to enhance the plot in a really masterful way. For a sophomore novel, I was blown away. And don’t take my correct guessing of the killer as something to go on—I questioned myself about a million times throughout my read.

It’s hard to review such a great mystery thriller without getting into spoiler territory, but this was such a wild ride.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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