It’s really odd to realize that I’m posting reviews of three May releases and not a single one of them is technically a genre romance. A very unusual post for me! But I’m really excited to talk to you about these three books today. A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong kicks off a mystery series with time travel to Scotland a little more than 150 years ago. It isn’t out quite yet; it drops on May 31st and I was lucky enough to receive both an e-ARC and an audio ARC because reading with my eyeballs is still a struggle. Anyway, then we have Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour, which is both my first Nina LaCour and her adult debut! Yerba Buena is also out on May 31st and I was lucky enough to receive an audio ARC from Netgalley. Finally, See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon is a YA contemporary with a heavy romantic element that provides a time loop with a romantic storyline to accompany a real coming into ones own journey for Barrett Bloom. I did have an e-ARC from Netgalley and the publisher, but I purchased an audiobook myself to actually read it after it released yesterday. So let’s get started!
A Rip in Time by Kelley Armstrong
A Rip Through Time is the first book in a series and I’m very intrigued by it, maybe especially intrigued because I have zero idea where the series will go from here. I don’t want to say much, about the overall plot itself because it is an excellent mystery (in my opinion), but this book sets up a cast of characters so clearly established in the past that I’m curious how the time traveling element will continue to apply in future books. Regardless, this book was so incredibly atmospheric that I was beyond anxious at certain points and stayed up just a littttle too late to read it. I really was fully absorbed and utterly invested in this mystery.
Essentially, A Rip Through Time follows Mallory as she and Catriona are strangled in the same spot 150 years apart and then Mallory falls back in time and finds herself inhabiting Catriona’s life. Mallory, in the present, is a police detective from Canada, and so she can’t quite help being fascinated by her new boss and his interest in forensic science and also the mystery of this wild murder. Mallory wants to get back to the future, but it turns out making that happen isn’t as “easy” as it seems in the movies. Nor is it easy to inhabit the life of a housemaid with a sketchy past.
What I personally loved about this book is the friendship that develops between Mallory and Isla, the lady of the house and Dr. Duncan Grey’s widowed sister. I really liked the way their relationship develops and I think it adds depth to what I’m really hoping is the slow burn romance to come with Mallory and Duncan. And if one happens to (re?)develop between Isla and Detective McCreadie, I certainly wouldn’t complain. I also really appreciated the atmosphere of this book and how well done the mystery was. I remember realizing that there was an unresolved thread that I wish had come together a bit more, but tbh, it’s been a couple of days and I can’t remember that part. I only remember how much I enjoyed it.
Final note, I was able to listen to an early review copy thanks to Netgalley, and I really enjoyed the narration! Kate Hanford did a good job (to this American reader’s ears) with the Scottish accent. I think she contributed significantly to the overall atmosphere of my reading experience and I’m grateful for that.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
How do you rate a book that is gorgeously written but is very not for you? I kept hoping that somehow the book would turn itself around and be a Jenica book in the end, but it didn’t really work out that way. If you’re in the mood though for a very beautifully written book that covers really dark subjects but somehow allows you to feel removed from it, pick this one up?
Julia Whelan’s narration is fantastic, as always. Although I do sort of wish there were two narrators, one for each woman.
Yerba Buena follows two women, Sara Foster and Emilie… something. Anyway, Sara is like 16 or so when her girlfriend dies and she runs away. She has to do some unfortunate things (view spoiler) to get the money to leave town, but she does and then we see her journey to LA. We check in briefly with Emilie, whose sister has overdosed, but then we don’t see her for a bit until she’s older and in her sixth or seventh year of undergrad because she can’t seem to stop changing her major. So we get to see her trying to figure out what she wants out of her life. Eventually the two meet and then part ways and it’s just kind of each of their stories individually, but then also them together? It’s hard to explain.
Part of me thinks that it might be hard to explain because honestly, I’m still not convinced this book does totally come together. It’s got an odd out of time sense and then references a Lorde song so it really left me wondering how on earth Emilie is getting by. But whatever. Real estate prices must be manageable when your parents have money, I guess. I don’t know. Anyway, this book is gorgeously written and sad and melancholic and very not for me. But I’m glad I gave it a shot!
See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I really love books that play with time and from that standpoint, See You Yesterday is an absolutely marvelous book. I love the way Barrett and Miles interact with one another and how they slowly come together and their varying methods of how to escape the time loop. I also wound up listening to this book as an audiobook and read only a few pages of my e-ARC with my eyeballs. The narration from Emily Lawrence worked pretty well for me.
Everything that did not work for me about this book feels like it veers too far into spoiler territory, so I’m not sure how to talk about it. Let’s just say that Barrett didn’t have the best high school experience and she was subjected to quite a bit of bullying after breaking a news article for her high school paper about a tennis cheating scandal. The bullying, um, went a bit far. (Goodreads Review link to see Spoiler) So Barrett is hoping that college will be a chance for her to be a brand new person and to have a completely different experience in college than in high school. However, she wakes up to the discovery that her high school friend turned enemy is now her roommate.
I loved a lot of Barrett’s journey to self-discovery and watching her come to realize that it’s okay to not always be okay and that you can lean on other people without your vulnerability coming back to haunt you. But there was something about the way the spoiler I mention above was handled that just kept me from really being able to engage in the book the way I would have preferred.
Content Notes: fire, bullying, addiction
And there you have it! Have you read any of these books yet? Do you want to? Let me know!