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GirlWellRead

GirlWellRead

Joined September 2017

Published book reviewer, blogger of books & book lifestyle products, wine drinker and polka dot wearer. I‘d love to review your book next! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@girlwellread), Pintrest, Litsy, Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, and ReadFeed (GirlWellRead).
review
GirlWellRead
This Little Light | Lori Lansens
Pickpick

The plot is taut, tense, and timely. With the issues of reproductive rights, immigration, religion, and sexuality, I couldn't help but think of The Handmaid's Tale and how although this story is set in the future, the topics are relevant today. What Lansens achieves in this work is nothing short of extraordinary. And that ending...whoa! I can't give anything away, but it was a sucker punch right to the gut.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

This was sharp, original and savvy. What Henry accomplishes in her debut is nothing short of amazing. I loved what appears to be the juxtaposition of the ruthless and competitive world of investment banking against the rejuvenating and peaceful realm of yoga when in fact, it turns out to be just as cutthroat. Henry will surprise and delight her readers. This is a smart and cheeky read with complex and interesting characters. A summer must read!

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
The Love Solution | Ashley Croft
Panpan

The 'love bug' premise was cute and had potential, but it was too far fetched. I struggled with the lack of depth that the love interests had, they were flat characters that could be interchangeable. I had high-hopes for this story, but it was lacking chemistry (no pun intended). Ultimately I struggled with the plot—the conflict that is the driver of the narrative is incredibly frustrating, as is Sarah. Why would she want to be with such a tosser?

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GirlWellRead
Chicken Girl | Heather Smith
Panpan

I was completely overwhelmed & not in a good way. Poppy is not a character that readers will warm up to easily. There are parts of her personality that were completely cringeworthy, she's also selfish & judgemental. While this is a coming-of-age story & part of her trajectory, there are just too many obstacles to make this plausible. I can't help but feel that Smith was trying to check all the boxes & the reader is left trying to unpack it all.

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GirlWellRead
The Golden Hour: A Novel | Beatriz Williams
Pickpick

From the opening chapter, Beatriz Williams captivates her reader. This sweeping novel is beautifully written with an element of mystery and intrigue. She effortlessly weaves together dual plot lines each richly crafted with meticulous details. Williams is one of those authors whose writing completely transcends with her elegant and awe-inspiring prose.

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GirlWellRead
Someone We Know | Shari Lapena
Mehso-so

Every time I read one of Lapena's books, I come away feeling that the execution was not strong enough to support what's expected of this genre. There seems to be a lot of repetition in that it's more of the same thing. The plot isn't very liner and you end up being led in circles.

Yes, this time the characters were more fleshed out. They all had distinctive voices and it turns out, something to hide. But there was far too much repetition.

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GirlWellRead
A Stranger on the Beach | Michele Campbell
Pickpick

There were a few plot holes that I ultimately struggled with, but I'll partially overlook given Campbell's strong writing and ability to deftly create suspense and tension. She pens some strong characters and used the unreliable narrator as the perfect mechanism to execute her effusive plot. There wasn't the startling revelation that I was hoping for in that I did figure it out, but again, her writing was intricate and compulsive.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

The mystery of what happened 17 years ago is the driver and really turns this into a page-turner. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this book is. To be perfectly honest, the cover and title didn't really grab me and I think they actually detract from what is a really great book. Please do yourself a favour and give this one a go, you won't be disappointed. Fader really packs a punch—there's a lot to unpack and discuss.

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GirlWellRead
Mrs. Everything | Jennifer Weiner
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Told in dual narratives, Weiner explores the complexities of female relationships, the difficulties woman face, as well as the expectations placed on women. She tackles some heavy issues: sexuality, racism, abortion, religion, etc.
Jennifer, I applaud you for telling stories that resonate. This novel is not only timely, but incredibly moving and poignant. Appropriately titled Mrs. Everything, this book is a bit of everything for every woman.

8 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

I loved that this was an epistolary novel. The letters were the perfect vehicle to deliver the story. Where the plot stalled was with the ending, especially given the extensive build up. This was a bit of a disappointment given that the narrative was a slow burn—with the pages and pages of the day-to-day childcare and feeding which got a bit mundane after a while—and the reader was not fully rewarded for their patience.

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GirlWellRead
The Hiding Place | C. J. Tudor
Panpan

I assume this is a homage to Stephen King, otherwise, her plot twist was too familiar to anyone that has read Pet Cemetery. There were parts that were clever and then there were times where the narrative rambled and completely went off the rails. I assumed this was in the thriller/mystery/suspense genre but it was more supernatural/horror. If you like horror, and you are a fan of Stephen King, than this book will totally be your bag.

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GirlWellRead
Stone Cold Heart | Caz Frear
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Frear is meticulous with her execution and is exceptionally gifted with character development and plotting. Even in the passages of Cat's inner dialogue there are so many subtle nuances that add layers to the storyline and ratchet up the tension. Frear's ear for dialogue is exceptional—Cat and Luigi have such witty banter and I love DI Kate Steele. But the best part, Frear has left her readers with a cliffhanger. I can't wait for the next book!

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

Krause's debut is not without issues. Not only did it take a while to get into the story, but I struggled with both characters. I love quirky characters, but Valencia was exhausting. Surprisingly this book was a bit dark and depressing, I was expecting more of a feel-good story rather than a character study. But please don't let this review sway you away from reading it, Krause's writing is quite good, I just don't think the book was for me.

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GirlWellRead
The Wives: A Novel | Tarryn Fisher
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The narrative lives in the head of the main character and she is incredibly unreliable—I mean there are unreliable narrators, and then there are the kind that Fisher writes. Tarryn is a detailed and meticulous storyteller which is why some of the clichés surprised me. All-in-all another banger from Tarryn Fisher. She's pretty incredible. You should also check her on social media—I love “Tuesdays with Tarryn,“ her support of women, and good deeds.

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GirlWellRead
Little Lovely Things: A Novel | Maureen Joyce Connolly
Mehso-so

This contemporary offering is told from multiple POVs that was stalled by the nonsensical secret language of the Irish Travelling Gypsies (kidnappers). Not only was this hard to understand, but it completely detracted from the narrative. Claire's perspective was where she excelled—the writing was heartbreaking and fervent. The story lost momentum with Moira's (abductor) POV and unfortunately, by extension Andrea/Colleen's (the eldest daughter).

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

The difference between 3 and 4 stars was due to a gaping plot hole. Why didn't Claire investigate Byron before marrying him? A simple search would have uncovered that he was a suspect in his wife's death—the husband is always a suspect. Are we to credit this to her naiveté because she's young?

Although the ending comes to a screeching halt, it is incredibly explosive and makes suffering with yet another unreliable female lead worth it.

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Dear Wife | Kimberly Belle
Pickpick

Another domestic thriller with a missing wife...yes, this has been played out several times before, but Belle‘s take is fresh, whip-smart and expertly executed. Of course there are clues along the way, but I promise that there are several whiplash inducing twists that will completely blindside you. This is an exceptionally executed thriller taut with suspense. Without giving anything away, you will be delighted that the ending is a total surprise.

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GirlWellRead
The Wedding Party | Jasmine Guillory
Pickpick

Guillory's 3rd installment is an updated version of the classic opposites attract story. Her take is cheeky, wickedly smart and hot. Although the timelines and characters overlap, you don't need to read her other books before this one. Maddie & Theo take turns with this narrative with help from some new characters and some that are familiar.

Jasmine's writing is so effortless and endearing—she pens engaging and interesting characters.

Liatrek Great review! I can‘t wait t read this one😊 2mo
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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GirlWellRead
The Floating Feldmans | Elyssa Friedland
Mehso-so

The ship was an interesting vehicle for the story because it forced the characters to not only be in the same vicinity as one another, but it pushed some of the family dynamics front and centre creating some interesting situations. The exposition was painfully long and I expected more confrontations and satire. She did redeem herself with the ending, readers will be satisfied as they disembark. This book really brings out the fun in dysfunctional.

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GirlWellRead
The First Mistake | Sandie Jones
Pickpick

This was a quick and satisfying read with just enough wicked, just enough suspense and the perfect amount of twists. Told from multiple points of view, Jones' writing is unflinching and astute. Her characters are carefully crafted and believable. She tells a mesmerizing story and I couldn't put it down. Jones was fresh and exciting. That Hitchcockian ending will have readers second guessing what they just read. Brilliant!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Harms's writing is relatable, endearing and witty. She is particularly effective in capturing the struggles and challenges of a mother—from mother's guilt to constantly worrying. Women regularly sacrifice themselves for their children and oftentimes it's at the expense of their own happiness. This can be detrimental to their relationships with their partners and their friends.

Are you in need of a momspringa? Than this book is for you!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Masha lives a life of self-imposed emotional isolation. Her grief and guilt over her son's death have become her dark companions, an addiction of sorts. Gradually Masha surfaces both literally in the pool, and figuratively from her grief. It is then that her swimming becomes a joy rather than a punishment.

Thank you, Ruth Hogan, for this book. It is an incredibly moving story of grief, and of the resilience and beauty of the human spirit.

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GirlWellRead
Bunny: A Novel | Mona Awad
Mehso-so

Awad is an incredible writer and she pens a gripping tale that seizes you, albeit almost to the point of claustrophobia. Bunny is an original take on girl cliques/the classic outsider-desperate-to-fit-in story. It is hypnotic and mesmerizing, yet sinister and dark. As much as Awad's writing is clever and unique, it's so manic that it's exhausting and I don't think I fully understood what I was reading (at times this book was completely bonkers).

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

We meet some extraordinary characters that take us on an astonishing journey of love and loss, while demonstrating incredible courage and resilience. Paramount is a mother's love for her daughter and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. All of this is sprinkled with Hoffman's signature magical realism. She educates and elevates her readers. Hoffman's writing transcends. It is elegant and haunting, and quite simply, stunning.

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GirlWellRead
The Arrangement | Robyn Harding
Pickpick

The plot is layered and emotionally charged with characters that are believable and real. Harding has a gift of not only of being engaging, but to deliver a powerful, taut page-turner. The writing is smart and complex, while not being trite or contrived. I was fully vested in the story, especially with such an interesting and fresh premise—I wanted to learn more about the sugar baby/sugar daddy dynamic. This book is sexy, smart, and seductive!

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Jaswal's writing is powerful, yet thoughtful, and of course, charming. What amazes me how she can shine a spotlight on issues that Indian women face, but is so graceful and engaging, striking the perfect tone. Another gem!

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GirlWellRead
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Panpan

This one didn't do anything for me. The writing was not good-there were little/no conjunctions or connecting words, instead there were short, choppy staccato sentences and after a while, this is exhausting to read. The characters lacked depth and the story was completely underwhelming. The writers struggled with pace, and plot as a whole. Just when things seemed to get moving, there would be an abrupt shift in focus to tertiary characters.

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GirlWellRead
Her Secret Son (Original) | Hannah Mary McKinnon
Pickpick

McKinnon's latest work is taut with suspense and tension. It is a raw and heartbreaking story of a man who is desperate to not only protect his son, but to protect what innocence the boy has left after the loss of his mother.

The writing was captivating—McKinnon has an ear for dialogue which helps her create rich, layered characters with distinctive voices. I enjoyed the easy banter between Josh and his sister and their British-isms.

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GirlWellRead
Park Avenue Summer | Renée Rosen
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Rosen's writing was whip-smart and elegant. Alice was the perfect vehicle, not only was she the target audience of the magazine, but she perfectly balances out Helen's impulsive and flighty whims. Both women have aspirations—Alice wants to be a photographer and Helen wants to make her mark in a male-dominated industry—and Rosen shows how it is possible for women to support one another without sacrificing themselves. Pour a cosmopolitan and enjoy!

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GirlWellRead
The Editor | Steven Rowley
Pickpick

What I found so fantastic is that Jackie didn't eclipse James. She‘s the perfect addition with her poise, grace and sophistication. There is also an immense sadness about her and instead of being swallowed up and consumed by grief, she and the story are empathetic and clever. Rowley took a risk using someone famous, she could have stolen the scenes away from James thus making him more of a supporting character, but this doesn't happen at all.

6 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

See's novel is incredibly rich in culture and history, both of which are marred by grief and a monumental historic event. Her writing is intricate and moving, and innately female. She explores the relationships between women: mother-daughter, sister, coworker, and best friend. The best friend dynamic is a particular kind of intimacy that opens you up to betrayal because there are things that you would only tell your best friend.

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GirlWellRead
The Friends We Keep | Jane Green
Mehso-so

I loved the settings, London and New York City. Green couldn't have picked more dynamic and vibrant cities, each unique and historical in their own ways. What I ultimately struggled with was the barrage of problems that afflicted the characters: drug use, verbal and physical abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, as well as fat shaming and homophobia. I really felt like less was more and it became trite at times.

3 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Light from Other Stars | Erika Swyler
Mehso-so

The story is framed in two time periods—at the time of the Challenger explosion and then in the future. It was the futuristic timeline/time in space that was disengaging and I was happy to be immersed in the earlier timeline.

What I did enjoy was the writing, there is no doubt that Swyler is a talented author, but I felt bogged down by the terminology and high level of detail and therefore was emotionally disconnected.

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GirlWellRead
Queenie | Candice Carty-Williams
Pickpick

Carty-Williams explores identity, racism, mental health and what its like to be a young woman in the dating scene in the age of technology. She tackles some daunting social issues and uses Queenie's humour and solid supporting cast of friends/grandparent to keep the story from getting too dark.

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GirlWellRead
Golden Child | Claire Adam
Panpan

Told mostly from Clyde's perspective, there is a complete lack of growth and trajectory. There's not much of a story and what little there is, is lacking in character development. I wanted more of the twins—they are perfect opposites, two halves of a whole. As mentioned, the ending is devastating, detached, and abrupt. Given the length of the story, there was certainly room to flesh out the characters and explore more depth of the plot.

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GirlWellRead
The Mother-in-Law | Sally Hepworth
Pickpick

This was an incredible read and I was absolutely riveted. I have nothing but effusive praise for Sally Hepworth's novel. Her characterization was rich and layered as were the family dynamics and on top of it all was a great mystery.

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GirlWellRead
My Lovely Wife | Samantha Downing
Pickpick

That was a crazy ride and I loved every second! The character development was incredible, the reader will have a love/hate relationship with them. This book was dark and twisty in the best possible way and I'm blown away that this seize-you-by-the-throat-thriller is her debut. The writing was taught and tense and kept me on my toes. I had no idea what was going to happen, let me just say that the last sentence of the book literally made me gasp.

4 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

This sweeping and moving novel spans a large period of time. Conklin tackles the early years with ease but as the Skinners grow, the more dysfunctional and unlikeable they become. Unfortunately this is how she propels the narrative and I couldn't engage with the older versions of the characters. Also problematic was the futuristic dystopian parts, they didn't fit with the rest of the narrative. What saves the book is her beautiful writing.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Is There Still Sex in the City? is a satirical look at how middle-aged women are perceived, the unrealistic expectations put upon women by way of not aging and doing/having it all, as well as all the different stages and types of love—marriage, having children, not having children, divorce, and widowhood.

Bushnell is a fantastic writer. She's engaging, captivating, and razor sharp and this wry social commentary collection is no exception.

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GirlWellRead
The Dreamers | Karen Walker
Mehso-so


Written in luminous, hypnotic prose, The Dreamers is a beautiful, sweeping novel yet I was left feeling frustrated because nothing actually happens. That, coupled with the fact that there are several loose ends, left me thinking about this book long after I finished it. I'm rather perplexed to be honest, and not in a good thought-provoking way, but questioning what I just actually read.

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GirlWellRead
Mehso-so

As Hollis says, "Girl, you do you!". If you are finding parts of the book are not applicable/not your bag, move along. Take what applies to you and listen to what she has to say. Her followers love her no-nonsense approach and bluntness. It's like having a good ol' gab with a girlfriend. A friend that talks you into buying a dress that looks fab on you when you are doubting yourself. Or the friend that gives it to you straight because they care.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick


This incredible debut was haunting and eloquent. Gray's writing is stunning and complex, much like the relationships that are explored in The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls. She doesn't back down from issues that are real and raw—eating disorders, abuse, depression, guilt, dysfunction, etc., and her characters are left hungry for love and acceptance.

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GirlWellRead
Don’t You Forget About Me | Mhairi McFarlane
Pickpick

This book is so much more than romance. It is funny, sweet, and heavy at times. McFarlane explores some complex relationships, and the dynamic of not being where you thought you'd be later in life and what that does to one's psyche and worth. She created some endearing and engaging characters and I would certainly recommend Don't You Forget About Me.

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GirlWellRead
After the End | Clare Mackintosh
Pickpick

This was a gift even though it totally shattered me. It is an emotionally wrought page-turner about an impossible situation. Because none of us know the future, we make our decisions based upon the facts we have at the time. MacIntosh draws on her own personal tragedy and reflects on the life-changing decision that she and her husband were forced to make for their own critically ill child. This is a story of hope, of what the future may bring.

5 likes1 stack add
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GirlWellRead
The Bride Test | Helen Hoang
Pickpick


I found this book less provocative than The Kiss Quotient because there was more build up and tension and I certainly don't mean this as a criticism. It was more about the journey of falling in love, learning one's likes, dislikes, boundaries, and an exploration in the discovery of pleasure and consent. Esme and Khai's journey is a learning experience.

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GirlWellRead
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
Pickpick

Jalaluddin has a gift for penning dialogue and is engaging. The writing was clever with humour sprinkled throughout. Toronto was the perfect setting and I enjoyed learning more about our Muslim communities. Jalaluddin deftly guides the readers though the complex duality that her characters face; they are trying to honour their beliefs and culture without being conformed by the society they are trying to assimilate.

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GirlWellRead
The Secret of Clouds | Alyson Richman
Pickpick

We've all had at least one special teacher, you know, the kind that sees your potential and ultimately changes your life. This story is a beautiful tribute to those teachers and it fills the heart.

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GirlWellRead
The Perfect Girlfriend | Karen Hamilton
Mehso-so

Like most psychological thrillers, the strength lies with the writing. Hamilton pens some complex and interesting characters, yet none are particularly likeable. In fact, Nate is rather dull—perhaps this was on purpose to juxtapose his character against the manic and impulsive Juliet? There are times where you do have to suspend your disbelief, but all-in-all a fun ride. Buckle up, with Juliet as your flight attendant, there's always turbulence.

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GirlWellRead
Pickpick

Morton's writing is gorgeous, sweeping and intricate. This hauntingly beautiful story is made up of vignettes—which are stories from the people that lived in the house—that thread the past and present together. My only criticism is that there are too many of them and they detract from the narrative. There are times where several chapters go by without any mention of the main characters and unfortunately, this is where some will jump ship.

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GirlWellRead
The Last Resort | Marissa Stapley
Pickpick

Appropriately paced with an interesting multiple POV perspective. There‘s enough intrigue to keep the reader vested and the premise and setting were also interesting. She employs some interesting tactics to move the plot—TMZ news releases, a dialogue between "him" and "her" and alternating between past and present. With themes of loss, love and an exploration into relationships and what it takes to make them work, Stapley has come into her own.