The Shadow Writer by Eliza Maxwell

It’s been a long time since I struggled this much to decide how to rate/review a book. I didn’t love The Shadow Writer. That said, I don’t think it committed any sins too heinous to prevent a recommendation to others.
The Shadow Writer is a complex story that, at its core, is really interesting, though I couldn’t connect with it. I think this stems entirely from the book’s execution. It was written strangely. Again, not unforgivably, it was just too unusual for me. The first half of the book feels like treading water. As the reader, I’m in it and I know there is enjoyment to be had, I just had to wait too long to be pointed towards the main events. Then the book takes off like a rocket and suddenly I found myself dizzy from being spun into one twist then yanked into another.
The twists! There are so many and yet not many of them are easily digestible. In fact, after I learned the majority of the twists (because there are twists until the last moments of the book,) I wondered even more what the first half of the book was about. The book doesn’t lead the reader to the twists or slowly build. Instead, it toys with the audience, almost lulling them into a sense of banality and then jumps out waving its arms and screaming, “Surprise! Bet you didn’t see that coming!” Well, no. No, I didn’t see that coming. How could I?
Read this book if you like twisty thrillers reminiscent of soap opera storylines from the days of yore or if you enjoy characters that leave a sour taste in your mouth. Just make sure to check your disbelief at the door.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

As a first time mother of twin boys who are now eight months old, how could I not request and devour this book? At times I thought it was the best idea I’d ever had and at others, I was so creeped out, I thought I’d made a huge mistake. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, even when it did hit a little too close to home. I could relate so closely to the depiction of new motherhood – the rewards and yet, the loneliness. The determination and yet, the sense of foreboding. For that portrayal, I feel like this is an important book though it does seek and succeeds to entertain as well. The atmosphere was haunting. I was engrossed in this story, but one could wonder if that was due to the similarities to my own life. As such, I am a little haunted after reading it!

The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren

This is the first Christina Lauren book that didn’t bore me at some point. The fake relationship trope and masterful banter throughout won me over entirely. Thanks to this book I will continue to give this duo a chance.
I really appreciate the fine layer of angst that built up despite the hero and heroine being emotionally mature. Olive and Ethan behave like adults and are believable, relatable characters.
I have one hang up about the book because it relies so heavily on a misunderstanding. I think too many books do this while failing to convince me there was no other way to interpret or communicate the thing being misunderstood. I would have preferred it if Ethan actually resented Olive because he harbored a forbidden attraction to her, instead of Olive misreading his feelings all along, i.e. “I didn’t hate you, you hated me!”
Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal and read through it very quickly.