Book Reviews: Mad Honey, Hotel Nantucket and Lapvona

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

Goodreads blurb: A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She’s Not There. Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father’s beekeeping business. Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . . Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her. Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book comes out October 4th, 2022

My take: 4.25 out of 5. This book was awesome. Jodi Picoult has had a super storyteller year. Her earlier book this year was one of my 5 star reads and this one does not disappoint. Family drama meets courtroom drama and you know those are my two favorite tv genres. It takes a little bit to get used to the jumping timelines and two narrators. Once you do it is very engaging and most illustrative. I love how progressive this story is. On a non storyline related comment, Lily’s story answered a lot of questions about trans women and their process and I felt more educated when I finished reading this book which is always good!.

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Goodreads blurb: After a tragic fire in 1922 that killed 19-year-old chambermaid, Grace Hadley, The Hotel Nantucket descended from a gilded age gem to a mediocre budget-friendly lodge to inevitably an abandoned eyesore — until it’s purchased and renovated top to bottom by London billionaire, Xavier Darling.  Xavier hires Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton as his general manager, and Lizbet, in turn, pulls together a charismatic, if inexperienced, staff who share the vision of turning the fate of the hotel around. They face challenges in getting along with one another (and with the guests), in overcoming the hotel’s bad reputation, and in surviving the (mostly) harmless shenanigans of Grace Hadley herself — who won’t stop haunting the hotel until her murder is acknowledged. Filled with the emotional tension and multiple points of view that characterize Elin’s books (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added touch of historical reality, Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this summer drama for the ages

This is an ARC review thanks to a gift from the publisher, the book released June 14, 2022

My take: 4.25 out of 5. Surprisingly this is my first Elin Hilderbrand book, yet it is not going to be my last. After reading this book, I want to get a ticket to Nantucket and spend a week there checking out the town. That is something that I love about books, when they can take you to a new place and either make you feel you were there or make you want to go. This mad ragtag of characters is fabulous, all flawed and looking for something new. You fall in love with all of them a little bit with each turning page. Hotel Nantucket makes me think of Hotel Portofino a little bit and as that one I said made a great show premise and PBS took my advice, this would be a great show as well. Clare, the ghost is probably the most interesting character and I thought the twist was so well done I did not see it coming. A great beach read, especially if you are in Nantucket or a Northeast beach.

Lapvona by Ottesa Moshfegh

Goodreads blurb: In a village in a medieval fiefdom buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself the unlikely pivot in a power struggle that puts all manner of faith to a savage test, in a spellbinding novel that represents Ottessa Moshfegh’s most exciting leap yet. Little Marek, the abused and delusional son of the village shepherd, never knew his mother; his father told him she died in childbirth. One of life’s few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina, who suckled him when he was a baby, as she did for many of the village’s children. Ina’s gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. Her gift often brings her the transmission of sacred knowledge on levels far beyond those available to other villagers, however religious they might be. For some people, Ina’s home in the woods outside the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place. Among their number is Father Barnabas, the town priest and lackey for the depraved lord and governor, Villiam, whose hilltop manor contains a secret embarrassment of riches. The people’s desperate need to believe that there are powers that be who have their best interests at heart is put to a cruel test by Villiam and the priest, especially in this year of record drought and famine. But when fate brings Marek into violent proximity to the lord’s family, new and occult forces upset the old order. By year’s end, the veil between blindness and sight, life and death, the natural world and the spirit world will prove to be very thin indeed.

My take: 3 out of 5. This book was not for me. There was so much buzz around it that I went against my instincts after reading the description and took it out of the library. The only reason i finished it was because it was audiobook and I really could not be bothered to change whilst driving and by then I was invested and needed to know how it ended and it was a quick read. Is it a bad book? no of course not. Moshfegh actually delivers a very smart narrative questioning good and evil and societal structures. It is however really hard to read and quite grotesque at some points. Instead of questioning I was a bit disgusted by everything and everybody. Trust me there is not one likeable character in this book. I understand the point it was trying to make, it just did not make it an enjoyable read. Its ranked a 3 because objectively it is a well written piece full of societal critique, its just not my cup of tea.

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