Happy Monday everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts last week. I did not realize that when my copy of Iron Flame arrived, it would take over my reading life for nearly two weeks. I’ll have my review for that up next week and will be playing catch up this week on all of the books I should have been reading and reviewing instead. For those who are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I hope you have a wonderful holiday and for everyone else, I hope you have a great week. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two authors that have consistently turned out excellent reading experiences for me. I’ve loved everything I’ve read because they write about characters I can relate to and themes that really hit home.
The Good Part Goodreads
Author: Sophie Cousens
Publication Date: November 7, 2023
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley and a complimentary ALC from Penguin Random House Audio. All opinions are my own.
I always enjoy Sophie Cousens’ novels because they are heartwarming stories with themes that tend to really resonate with me. With its theme of “be careful what you wish for,” Cousens’ latest novel The Good Part is my favorite yet.
Lucy Young is 26 years old and is already just over how her life is going. She dreams of a career in television but so far has spent most of her time at the station where she works fetching coffee for others, even after earning a promotion to Junior Researcher. To add insult to injury, the job doesn’t even really pay enough for her to live on. Her personal life is just as much of a letdown as her professional one, and after another particularly bad date leaves her stranded near a tiny shop that happens to have a wishing machine in it, Lucy makes a desperate wish to please let her skip to the good part of her life. When she wakes up the next morning, Lucy is suddenly a forty-something year old married woman with children, and she also has her dream job. Has she skipped to the good part or has she simply missed out on most of her life?
I loved this story in part because it reminded me of several of my favorite movies like Big with Tom Hanks and It’s a Wonderful Life, which both feature that similar glimpse into what an alternate life could be like as well as that theme of be careful what you wish for. I also loved that this is a story that really makes you think about your own life and whether or not you’ve made it to the good part or would wish to skip over certain parts to, in theory, get to something better.
One of my absolute favorite parts of The Good Part though is watching Lucy’s journey as she navigates this new life she has found herself in. She has no idea if she’ll ever get back to her own life, or if she even wants to, so she decides to embrace where she is and try to make a go of it. There are of course plenty of humorous missteps along the way, particularly as Lucy adjust to technological advances and such, but it is just so lovely watching her get to know her husband Sam and their children. There is a bit of a romantic element as Lucy begins to really see how her future self could fall for Sam, but that is definitely secondary to Lucy’s journey to find herself.
If you’re in the mood for a heartwarming, humorous story that will leave you with plenty of food for thought about your own life, I highly recommend The Good Part. I alternated between the e-book and the audio and thought both versions were excellent. Kerry Gilbert narrates the audiobook and does a beautiful job capturing all of Lucy’s emotions and really making me all the more invested in her journey. 4.5 STARS
The Predictable Heartbreaks of Imogen Finch Goodreads
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Publication Date: October 31, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I’m a sucker for a good second chance romance and Jacqueline Firkins’ new novel The Predictable Heartbreaks of Imogen Finch is one of the sweetest ones I’ve read in a long time.
When Imogen was younger, her mother tells her that she is cursed to never take first place in anything she does, including in her love life. Her mom’s prophecies tend to come true, so Imogen isn’t surprised when she loses every sport she plays, every art contest she enters, and she isn’t even surprised when every guy she dates eventually tells her that he has met someone better. She has come to accept the curse for what it is and to just live with it. That is, until Eliot, Imogen’s secret crush from high school, unexpectedly returns to town and appears to take an interest in her. Imogen suddenly finds herself motivated to see if there is a way to break this curse once and for all.
Imogen is an immensely likeable character. She has a huge heart and is always looking out for others, so everything about the curse just broke my heart and made me so angry on her behalf. As soon as I saw how much she clearly still had feelings for Eliot, I was rooting so hard for the two of them to find their way to each other.
I also really liked Eliot and that he is Imogen’s biggest cheerleader when it comes to trying to break the curse. He believes that if she can just score one win, in absolutely anything, that everything will change for Imogen and so he makes it his mission to take her around town trying out any possible game and contest from trivia games to corn-shucking contests to try to score that elusive first place. I loved his determination and I especially enjoyed that it led to so many cute moments between them. Eliot’s nomadic lifestyle had me a little concerned and angsty that a happily ever after might not be an option, but that did not stop me from hoping.
The Predictable Heartbreaks of Imogen Finch is a moving story with a hint of magic that while sometimes sad, is ultimately heartwarming and uplifting. Give it a read and I’m sure Imogen and Eliot will capture your heart just like they did mine. 4 STARS.