B O O K R E V I E W : Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Thank you so much to Bibliolifestyle and William Morrow Books for including me on the tour for Cover Story by Susan Rigetti and for a gifted copy of the book. (Publication Date: April 5, 2022)

Although Lora Ricci landed a coveted summer internship at ELLE before her senior year at NYU—a stepping stone to her dream of becoming an editor at a fashion magazine—she harbors a festering secret. She lost her scholarship, and unless she can find a way to pay full tuition to the private university, she’ll lose her standing. She can’t bear to admit her situation to her parents, blue collar workers in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who are so proud of her accomplishments.

Instead, she tries to get the most out of her internship where she is assigned the beauty closet, organizing the makeup samples sent by beauty companies. Her work puts her in the path of Cat Wolff, a contributing editor and mysterious daughter of a European clean-energy mogul. While assigned to work on a story with Cat, as Lora’s time is running out on her summer lease and her summer internship, Lora confesses her situation to the woman who has become her idol and mentor.

Cat offers Lora a solution: drop out of NYU and work full-time as her ghostwriter on a selection of stories that will launch them both into the literary limelight. When Lora loses her apartment, Cat invites her to stay at with her at her lavish suite at the Plaza Hotel, telling her that food, haircuts, spa treatments—anything she wants is available courtesy of her father, as long as she doesn’t tell anyone she is staying with Cat. Lora cannot believe her good fortune, telling herself that nothing in her life will ever compare.

Yet, as the two work and live together, Lora finds that Cat can be unreliable and sometimes even cruel, and as she explores Cat’s world, she fears the world she’s exposed herself to.

Told through diary entries, emails, slack chats, notes, and even Instagram captions, Cover Story’s original format and inventive story introduce unforgettable characters—the sweet, yet gullible Lora, and the glamorous, savvy, and greedy Cat. Even though I worried so much for Lora, I enjoyed reading the book which combines high fashion, publishing, earnest students, hackers, and con artists. I might have whiplash from the ending which is so perfect. Since I finished the book—which I read in a day—I’ve been thinking about it, and I imagine I’ll read it again to try to figure out what I missed the first time. This is definitely in contention for my favorite April read!

B O O K R E V I E W : Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg

Nobody But Us
Laure Van Rensburg
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: April 12, 2022

Ellie Masterson, a smart but naïve graduate student at NYU, and her boyfriend, the much older and handsome professor Steven Harding leave New York City on a cold winter morning for a short vacation to celebrate their six-month anniversary. They arrive at a beautiful, though isolated, modern cabin with large windows overlooking the woods around the structure.

Their romantic getaway begins with a cozy candlelight dinner and walk on the nearby shore, but soon the fractures in the relationship widen as secrets rise to the surface. After a ferocious storm, the couple are snowed in without cell service or a landline, and what started out as a celebration becomes a battle of wills—one that they may not survive.

This psychological thriller shifts between Ellie and Stephen’s perspectives, along with a journal whose provenance is unknown for most of the book. Learning new information and being surprised along with the characters enhances the suspense. Most of the story advances through their internal processing as well as conversation between the two characters, though there is a flurry of dramatic action towards the end of the book.

Behind the conflict between the characters lies a heartbreaking truth. The book has some significant trigger warnings but sharing them would reveal spoilers. If you’d like them, please send me a DM!

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for sending me an advanced reading copy of Nobody But Us!

Check out the book’s Spotify playlist!

B O O K R E V I E W : The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

The Younger Wife 
Sally Hepworth
St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Tully and Rachel Aston can’t believe their fifty-something father, Stephen, is dating Heather, a woman younger than them who he met when she redecorated the house he shared with their mother before her dementia became so bad she had to go to a nursing home.

When the couple announce they are engaged, Tully and Rachel are sure Heather only wants to marry Stephen for his money. And their father is so swept up in the romance, he’s determined to divorce their mother to expedite his wedding.

The sisters begin asking questions, trying to uncover Heather’s past. In doing so, however, they also excavate mysteries of their own family, laying bare long-held secrets and seeing family members differently, unearthing truths some want kept buried.

The Good Sister was one of my favorite reads of 2021, so I was so excited to read this year’s The Younger Wife. Like Hepworth’s other books, The Younger Wife has excellent writing, interesting characters, and lots of family drama. I particularly liked the social contagion—how the hint of an idea spread and the characters started seeing evidence for it everywhere. Rachel, a baker, has a suitor who is very into puns which I loved!

Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an advanced readers copy!

B O O K R E V I E W : Business Not As Usual

Thank you to Berkley Romance and NetGalley for the eARC of Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper, publishing Tuesday, Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Dreamy Daniels, assistant to a brilliant software engineer who unfortunately is also a micromanager treating his his employees poorly, can’t wait to start her own non-profit helping female entrepreneurs. She just needs to finish her degree (only one more semester)—and win the lottery!

Dreamy and her grandfather have been playing the same numbers for years, and she’s sure their lucky day is on the horizon. Meanwhile, her charm, vibrant personality, and eclectic style win over those she meets, including Karter Redford, a potential investor in her boss’s company. Although her boss flubbed the meeting, Dreamy salvaged the opportunity.

Karter, son of a famous actor and Hollywood socialite, and successful businessperson himself, knows better than to mix business and pleasure, but he can’t stop thinking of Dreamy. And although Dreamy swore off men after her last boyfriend, she can’t deny the attraction between them. Yet, the two come from radically different worlds.

A light-hearted romance, Business Not As Usual has great representation, a fabulous female lead, and a wonderful cast of secondary characters, including Dreamy’s cousin and grandfather and Karter’s sister, driver, and assistant.

It was difficult to see the impact of class differences on Dreamy’s self-esteem, though Cooper contextualizes it with information from Dreamy’s past. I also had a hard time with Dreamy’s belief in and reliance on the lottery and almost wish that hadn’t been part of the story.

This would be a good option for those looking for a quick, feel-good age-gap romance.