Monday, July 11, 2022

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison

Title: We Made It All Up
Author: Margot Harrison 
Genre: Contemporary YA, Thriller
Series: N/A
Hardcover, 384 pages 
Publication: July 12, 2022 by Little Brown BFYR
Source: I received a review copy in exchange for honest review.
Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.

Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.



We Made It All Up is whodunit thriller mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story focused on Celeste, who recently moved to a small town called Kray in Montana. She ended up befriending the eccentric Vivvy, the town’s heir. After witnessing and obsessing over a school incident, the girls turns their obsession into fanfic; penning a story that involved their classmates. But what started as a bonding guilty pleasure and fun experiment turns into a horror story when one of the subject of their story turns up dead…murdered! What ensues was endless questions, accusations and betrayals.

I absolutely love a good thriller mystery and We Made It All Up didn’t disappoint! The story took place over the course of about two and half months as it alternated from the present and the past leading up to a shocking finale. Each time the story alternated, readers were given more clues to how the events transpired and who the killer was. I must say Harrison kept me on my toes! Just when I thought I knew who the killer was I was thrown twists where everyone started looking suspicious!

 The plot was quite complex. It was more than just two girls obsessing over the most popular boy in school. And although at the center of it all is a murder there was so much more that went behind the scene in the small pious town of Kray. In trying to fit the puzzle pieces of her lost memory of the night of Joss’s supposed murder; Celeste uncovers Kray’s sinister secrets involving the town’s legacy heirs. I  thought the story/plot was very well- written and it kept me engaged from beginning to end. The characters were all distinct and well developed. And while I love flawed, morally gray characters I unfortunately didn’t quite connect with any of them.

Overall We Made It All up hits all the high notes for me. I enjoyed the small town murder mystery, secret society vibes. I definitely would recommend this book to those who enjoy thriller mystery more on the darker, mature YA side. Fair warning, there were a lot of sensitive subjects and triggers, so check that out before you give it a go!



Monday, July 04, 2022

In Her Boots by K.J. Dell'Antonia

Title: In Her Boots
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: N/A
Trade Paperback, 384 pages 
Publication: July 5, 2022 by  G.P. Putnam's Sons
Source: I received a review copy in exchange for honest review.
Filling these boots is harder than it looks.

Rhett Gallagher’s adventurous life is imploding. Just as she turns the big 4-0, her long-term relationship collapses, and news of a tragedy forces her to return to the family farm. The only silver lining is that Rhett’s inspirational book, The Modern Pioneer Girl—written under a pseudonym—has become a wild success, so much so that in a moment of panic, self-doubting Rhett persuades her best friend Jasmine to step into the limelight as the famed author.

But their prank turns into something more when the controlling mother Rhett hasn’t seen in two decades announces her intent to sell the farm Rhett loves and expected to make her own. To Rhett’s dismay, her mother is far more impressed by the fake author than she's ever been by Rhett. To save her inheritance—and her identity—Rhett must concoct a scheme that will save the farm, and prove to her mother, and to herself, that she can stand on her own two feet.

. . . she is not the hero.



In Her Boots tells the story of Rhett Gallagher, an independent almost forty-year-old living the nomad lifestyle. By day she’s your small town gal living out the dream of the farm life and by night she moonlights under the pseudonym of Maggie Strong, a social media influencer and Best-Selling Author of The Modern Pioneer Girl; a book teaching women how to live and embrace their best authentic self and life. Rhett’s two worlds collide when she return home and a one-time stunt spirals into an endless web of lies.

This is my first time reading a book by K.J. Dell'Antonia and it certainly didn’t disappoint. In Her Boots was filled with so many gems and touched on a wide range of topics. I was amazed at how much Dell’Antonia packed into the story. At the core, this is a story of self discovery and acceptance. It doesn’t matter if one is eighteen, twenty-five or in Rhett’s case at the cusp of forty; its a journey we’d all make in our life one time or another. I love that Dell’Antonia incorporated the social media aspect. In this day and age, people are caught between the person they present to the world and their personal life, and in most causes its always different…premeditated and groomed. And the consequences of that is many times people lose themselves along the way and don’t know what is real or not. That is the gist of Rhett’s dilemma.

Relationships, especially female relationships also played a key component in this book. Relationships between friends, family, and the community. But don’t fret, there’s a little romance but its a minor plot thread in comparison to the other themes and relationships in the story. I enjoyed seeing Rhett’s complex relationship with her best friend Jasmine and her mother Margaret. Jasmine hands down is the epitome of a ride or die friend and I loved that! Rhett and her mother’s relationship while complex, its also the clear case of miscommunication or lack thereof.

All in all In Her Boots was an unexpected funny and heartfelt read. There were a lot of tears shed while reading it! I enjoyed it very much. It kind of reminded me of those cozy feel-good Lifetime/Hallmark Channel special…minus the cheese! In Her Boots wasn’t just a great read but it had amazing messages…whether someone needs to hear it or be reminded. I highly recommend checking this book out!