Review: The Siren by Katherine St. John

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“In the midst of a sizzling hot summer, some of Hollywood’s most notorious faces are assembled on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Genesius to film The Siren, starring dangerously handsome megastar Cole Power playing opposite his ex-wife, Stella Rivers. The surefire blockbuster promises to entice audiences with its sultry storyline and intimately connected cast.

Three very different women arrive on set, each with her own motive. Stella, an infamously unstable actress, is struggling to reclaim the career she lost in the wake of multiple, very public breakdowns. Taylor, a fledgling producer, is anxious to work on a film she hopes will turn her career around after her last job ended in scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s mysterious new assistant, harbors designs of her own that threaten to upend everyone’s plans.

With a hurricane brewing offshore, each woman finds herself trapped on the island, united against a common enemy. But as deceptions come to light, misplaced trust may prove more perilous than the storm itself.”

REVIEW:

I picked The Siren up on a whim while exploring the bookstore and it was a perfect summer read. It gives off if The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo were a thriller vibes. If you like Hollywood and tabloids, you will enjoy this book.

The Siren follows three very different women as they arrive on the set of the new film The Siren. Each woman has a different motive for taking this job. Stella has struggled for the last decade and is trying to revive her failing film career. Taylor, the producer whose career has taken a beating, is hoping for a scandal free shoot so she can bury her past scandal. And Felicity, Stella’s new miracle worker assistant, harbors a secret that could ruin everything.

We have three dueling perspectives that help to move this story forward. This book sucks you in as you try and put all of the pieces together. All three female leads are unique and interesting and make this book fly by. This book has a little bit of everything and the last 100 pages are wild. The setting beautifully transforms as the plot moves forward. Tensions grow just as a hurricane arrives offshore. There are also various tabloid articles interested throughout to help give the public perception of these characters. We know their inner workings and their side of the story, but all the facts aren’t always shared with the public. This helps to really understand the stakes for these women and their careers.

Katherine St. John writes three very flawed women who even if they initially, seem unlikable you are ultimately rooting for them by the book’s end. I enjoyed that these women come together and end up working incredibly well with each other. You think they will be oil and water, but with them being able to work together they have a real chance of saving themselves.

This book is the perfect beach read, and I definitely recommend grabbing this for the Labor Day holiday.

RATING: 5/5

Review: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?”

REVIEW:

Tokyo Ever After was immediately added to my TBR when I saw the Princess Diaries comparisons. That is one of my favorite book series and movies, so I was excited to read a familiar story with a different take.

Tokyo Ever After follows Izumi, she has never known who her father was growing up with her single mom. The book doesn’t dwell on this for too long, and it is quickly revealed who Izumi’s father is and how this will drastically change her life. Izumi has always wanted to belong but never felt like she did in her predominately white hometown. She sees this as an opportunity to learn her history and have a chance of calling someplace home.

This book was completely wonderful, and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I mean honestly who hasn’t dreamed of secretly being an actual princess. This book is sweet and laugh out funny at times. I loved Izumi’s relationship with her mother and her blossoming relationship with her father. The family aspect of this novel is incredible. You really feel Izumi’s frustrations and heartbreak along with her. Now let’s get to the romance! Bodyguard and Princess romance, sign me up. Seriously, their romance was sugary sweet and I loved every moment of it.

I can’t say enough good things about this book! It’s fun, sweet, and hopeful with a dash of drama mixed in. There was even a genuine surprise for me toward the end. Please add this book to your TBR and read it immediately! I will be counting down the days to the sequel.

RATING: 5/5

Review: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Show Tunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.

The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, IMPEACHMENT: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): The doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.

Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.”

REVIEW:

I discovered this book when doing research for a blog post. This book ended up being the perfect summer read, and I’m so glad I picked it up.

Fourteen-year-old Mary Jane will be spending her summer as a nanny in what turns out to be a rather eccentric household. Growing up in a strict household, there are certain rules she must abide by. When entering the Cones’ household, it is like entering a different world. Mary Jane’s world is opened up by these experiences and soon seems to contemplate the way she has been raised.

Blau manages to completely capture the voice of a 14-year old girl, and Mary Jane is so incredibly relatable. The author also manages to capture the world of the 1970s perfectly, where the world was drastically changing and a new normal was being established. The author also manages to perfectly convey that feeling of being on the cusp of adulthood. Being 14 you are starting to think a bit more independently and learning and growing as a person. This book is incredibly hopeful while also discussing some heavy topics.

Mary Jane definitely feels like the ultimate summer read or a perfect beach read. I genuinely couldn’t put this book down once I picked it and it just flies by. It has great storytelling and an incredible cast of characters. It does have a very open ending allowing the reader to really decide what could happen going forward for Mary Jane.

I definitely recommend checking out Mary Jane. If you are looking for the perfect summer read or just a new fresh book, this one doesn’t disappoint.

RATING: 4.5/5