One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I should start this out by saying I was a little hesitant to read this book. I read One of Us Is Lying because I really enjoyed the TV adaptation on Peacock, and the book was just as good. After I finished the book, I realized that the second book in the series wasn’t so much about the original characters but about Maeve and a new group of people that go to Bayview.

At the end of the show, it seemed like the next season would be a continuation of the original Bayview Four’s stories. The book ended differently, so it makes sense that their stories have mostly ended, but I still wanted more of them.

They do make appearances throughout the second book, but the story isn’t about them anymore. This time, the focus is more on Bronwyn’s sister Maeve and her group of friends. A new Simon impersonator has come into the picture and is playing games of Truth or Dare with the students of Bayview.

I was surprised to find how much I really did enjoy this book despite my earlier hesitations. The new characters were interesting and the revelations of secrets kept me reading chapter after chapter. The story had a pretty good twist that was different enough from the first book to keep it interesting. Would definitely recommend continuing the series if you’re a fan of the show and have read the first book.

I’ve seen things about a third book coming in 2023, and I’m pretty sure I’ll read that as well.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Back again with another tv adaptation-inspired read!

The last time I went to a bookstore (which was who knows how long ago) I remember looking at the section of upcoming adaptations and seeing this book. It sounded interesting, but I ended up buying something else instead and adding it to my list of potential future books to read.

I get Peacock for free with my Xfinity account and hadn’t really used it before, but when the Chucky series came out I would go there to watch episodes that I missed and saw One of Us Is Lying had already come out. I binged through the series and had to read the book after that.

The storylines were very similar and I really enjoyed reading the book. There were a few changes made, but overall kept to the same story.

One of Us Is Lying is basically The Breakfast Club with a murder. A group of totally unrelated people end up in detention for reasons that don’t seem to make sense and one of them ends up dead. You spend the rest of the book jumping into each character’s mind and trying to figure out whodunit.

It’s a interesting story with a good amount of twists and a fairly surprising ending. I thought that I had it figured out, but I was only half way there.

I liked how the ending played out in the show better, but it’s always easier to improve on something the second time around. The show also left room to have a second season with the same cast, where I think the sequel to the book is an entirely different group of people. I’m definitely going to read the sequel next, so expect another update soon!

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

It’s been awhile since my last book review, but don’t worry, I’ve still been reading!

I felt like there was a lot of hype for the Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers. They had such a great cast and were promoting the show off the success of Big Little Lies. I made sure to watch it every week and it was certainly interesting. I feel like I enjoyed it for the most part. I cared about the characters and was happy with how things ended for all of them. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Masha was a bit odd, but kind of worked? Overall, I enjoyed it.

I really liked Big Little Lies and have wanted to read more of Liane Moriarty’s work, so it only made sense to read the book. I think it’s important to mention that Liane Moriarty is Australian and both books take place in Australia, so it’s interesting to me that they’ve been adapted to American locations. I guess this is Nicole Kidman’s doing, right? She has to be the reason these Australian books are being made into American TV.

Anyway…I have to say that I liked the show more than I liked the book. It was still a good read, but I almost wish I would have read it before seeing the show. It just wasn’t as dramatic or interesting and we didn’t get to see as much of the personalities of the characters.

There were quite a few changes that were made when they adapted it into a show, and I think all of the changes were for the better. The biggest ones for me for the house they stayed in and Masha’s character.

In the book they’re in an old Victorian house that has cracks in the plastic and gave me sort of an eerie feeling. I’m assuming that’s what Moriarty was going for, but it seemed like it would be a better location for a ghost story than a meditation retreat. Changing it to a modern facility worked better in the show. Although it didn’t have that eerie, old feeling I think there’s still something creepy about those cold, empty facilities. Almost like Kim Kardashian’s empty, white, seemingly endless hallways.

The other big change was Masha. In the book she was an overweight business executive that didn’t take care of herself and had a near death experience that made her change her lifestyle. Nicole Kidman’s portrayal was also unhealthy, but not quite in the same way. They had similar traumas prior to their NDE, so that was the same, but their personalities afterward were very different.

Both Masha’s pushed the boundaries to extremes with their guests, but while Nicole Kidman’s moves were carefully calculated and kept in control, book Masha really lept off the deep end. They both helped the guests in similar ways, but by the end Nicole Kidman’s character was respected where book Masha should’ve been institutionalized.

I definitely liked the way that the show handled everything better. It felt intentional, where the book made her seem too crazy. It was a good read though. At the end I found myself wanted to just keep reading one more chapter. I was glad too that they tied up all the loose ends by the end and didn’t leave the reader guessing what happened to everyone after they left the retreat.

The Bridgerton’s Second Epilogues

So! I noticed after reading The Duke and I that there was a second epilogue at the end of the book. I did a little research and found out that there were second epilogues written for each of the books in the Bridgerton series. It seemed like Daphne’s was spoiling a little bit about the other books, so I decided to put off reading them all until I had finished all of the books.

Since they were all so different, I’ll just list my thoughts about each of them.

The Duke and I: It was so nice to see Daphne and Simon older, with another baby on the way. It was so nice to see them still so happily married, though I wouldn’t expect anything different. I also liked how it finally showed us what was in the letters, even though they weren’t really important at all. It felt like a nice way to end their story.

The Viscount Who Loved Me: This second epilogue was really fun. It was cool to see Anthony and Kate still messing with each other, and nice to know that the Bridgerton’s all get together for their annual game of Pall Mall.

An Offer From a Gentleman: I’m glad we got to see Posy have a happy ending. Benedict’s story was probably the least interesting, though I did like the appearances that he and Sophie made in the other books. I didn’t feel like there was anything else that needed to be added to their story, so it was a nice twist to add in a little happily ever after for Posy.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton: I’m SO glad that we got to experience Penelope revealing herself as Whistledown to Eloise. Though I wish it hadn’t been spoiled so that we could get Eloise’s genuine reaction when Penelope told her. I feel like it would’ve been different, but I’m also happy with how it turned out.

To Sir Phillip, With Love: Again it was nice to have the story from another viewpoint here. We got to see what happened with Amanda Crane as she found herself a husband. It was cute, but I would’ve liked to know more about Eloise and Phillip.

When He Was Wicked: I’m so happy that this one was included. It was super disappointing for Francesca and Michael to not have a baby by the end of their story. The readers really needed this happy ending. It was sweet to see them happy and finally to have their own baby. It was also interesting that they were able to keep it a secret from her mother for so long.

It’s In His Kiss: This one might be my favorite. I’m so glad that Hyacinth finally found the jewels. It was funny that she had never given up and that her daughter had known about them the whole time. I appreciated that she let her mother find them instead of just revealing that she had them all along.

On the Way to the Wedding: This one was kind of unnecessary. Basically it just told us that they had a lot of kids and that it was kind of dangerous by that point that they were continuing to have babies. It was interesting that they had named their children after all their siblings. Will there be a second generation of Bridgerton’s with the same name?

Overall, the second epilogues were enjoyable. I appreciated how some of them tied up loose ends and gave a little insight into the future of the Bridgerton’s.  Definitely unnecessary to have this as a second book, but I guess I understand for people who had read the books before the second epilogues were written. I feel like it should be mentioned though, that Happily Ever After is just the collection of second epilogues, because it’s a bit confusing what it actually is.

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn

Does anyone else drag things out when they’re really enjoying something and then you’re getting close to the end and you don’t want it to me over? Like when you’ve binged 8 seasons of a show and then take forever to start the 9th because you’ve just spent the last month of your life obsessed with the characters and you’re not ready to say goodbye. Just me?

I really don’t have a good reason for why it took me so long to finish the last Bridgerton book. It was actually really enjoyable and I liked the story. Maybe it was getting a puppy and not having time to actually sit down and read at first, or maybe it was that I wasn’t ready to be finished with the Bridgertons. I am a little sad to say that I’m finally done.

Gregory’s story wasn’t anything special, but it was certainly enjoyable. From the beginning you know the hero and the heroine, so you know that they’ll eventually end up together. It was kind of a cute story, but I wish there was a little more drama and suspense for who Gregory would end up with.

I appreciate that Kate was so involved in this one. If you’re a fan of the show and haven’t read the books, they’re starting to show previews with Kate and she’s easily one of my favorite characters throughout the series.

It’ll be interesting to see if the show gets renewed for 8 seasons of Bridgerton weddings. I feel like it could if they can keep up the drama like they did in the first season. I hope it does. I definitely want to see Hyacinth’s story and would like to see Gregory’s as well. Would they cast different actors? It would be weird for these children to have the sexual scenes in the future seasons after watching them grow up.

I’m going to do a separate post for the Second Epilogues. I think they are published together in a Bridgerton Happily Ever After book, but I’m 99% sure that they’re the same thing, so I’m not going to spend money on it again. Not sure what I’ll read after that. Outlander maybe??

It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn

I have to say, after the disappointment in the last book of the series I was completely surprised when I found that I couldn’t put this one down! I loved Hyacinth’s story and really enjoyed the chemistry that she had with Gareth.

Where in Francesca’s story I felt like I didn’t really get to know her, I feel like I know Hyacinth. She reminds me of Eloise a little bit, but definitely bolder. She’s exciting to read and I love how she speaks her mind.

I really enjoyed seeing her fall in love with Gareth. He’s her perfect match conversationally and he respects her. His little backstory with his father was interesting and I loved how Hyacinth helped him deal with that by translating his grandmother’s journal. They were a good team.

It was also fun to have a little side story with the hidden jewels and the treasure hunt that they were on. We got to see a Bridgerton doing something other than attending parties, which was nice. It was exciting and a good change up to the stories that Julia Quinn has been writing.

I’m a little sad that I only have one book left in the series, and I’m hoping that Gregory’s story is just as good as this one. I haven’t read any of the second epilogues so I guess I’ll have those to read as well. I know there’s another spin-off series that goes into Violet’s past but I don’t think I’m going to read them yet. Maybe I’ll save that for when Netflix releases their own spin-off.

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

I have to say, this one wasn’t one of my favorites. I really enjoyed Eloise’s story and was excited to see more of Francesca, but this kind of let me down.

Francesca Bridgerton has been noticeably absent from most of the books. There were very few mentions of her up until now and most of it was just to say that she was off in Scotland and widowed. We didn’t really know much about her, so I thought we would finally get to see what she was like.

Instead, it felt like more of Michael’s story. It was fine, but I still don’t feel like I know Francesca. She’s just the outsider Bridgerton that Michael is hopelessly in love with. I just felt like she could have been developed more as a person, rather than his cousin’s widow who was desperate for a baby. It also seemed out of character for a person as proper as her to become so dominant during their sexual experiences, especially when she wasn’t even sure that she was interested in Michael.

I was pretty disappointed that we also never got to see whether or not they had children. I hope the second epilogue clears that up. Definitely not my favorite, so I’m hoping Hyacinth’s story is better.

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

I can’t believe I’m already finished with the fifth book in this series. They’re so easy to read, I swear I’m just flying through them.

I love Eloise. She’s the perfect character. She’s smart, she stands up for herself, and she doesn’t let people disrespect her in any way. In the last book we did see Penelope stand up to Colin a little bit, but Eloise takes that to a whole new level. She refuses to be disrespected.

On a side note, apparently I’m a spinster since I’m 29 and unmarried. Is that a bad thing? The books kind of make me feel like it’s a bad thing.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this story. Phillip took awhile to open up and see Eloise as more than just a mother to his orphaned children, but I like them together and thought that they were a good match.

I think it’s because I saw myself in Eloise a little bit. She’s too realistic to just accept a “sweep me off my feet” type of love match. She needs someone who challenges her and who she can respect on other levels. She doesn’t necessarily need the romance, she wants someone who she can have an intelligent conversation with and someone who respects her for her intelligence. I felt that.

I really hope that the show makes it this far. I think it’s only been renewed up to four seasons, so that would be Penelope and Colin’s story I believe.

The one thing I’m really interested about with the show’s adaptation is the storyline with Marina. In the show, she’s Penelope’s cousin and she ends up with Phillip Crane after he realizes she’s pregnant with his late brother’s child. In the book she also ends up with Phillip after George dies, though the children belong to Phillip.

Marina has such a strong storyline in the show, it would be a shame for her to have the same fate as book Marina. I’m curious to see how this plays out, especially because Phillip’s children play such a huge role in his marriage to Eloise.

I’m a little sad that I’m more than half way through the books. Are the prequels good too? I might have to read those as well.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

I was so excited to finally get to Penelope and Colin’s story! Its obvious in the show that the two will end up together, so I couldn’t wait to get to that in the books.

It was interesting to me that this book takes place 11 years after the first book and that Lady Whistledown was able to stay anonymous for this long. In the show it’s something everyone wants to figure out and in the books it’s the same, but I can’t image the show will wait this long for people to find out that Penelope is the woman behind the gossip column.

Colin really annoyed me. He has a terrible attitude and I know it’s supposed to seem cute that Penelope is the only one who sees this other side of him, but he needs serious work. At a certain point in the book I was so fed up with him and how he would talk to Penelope when he was angry with her that I didn’t want them to end up together anymore. I know it was supposed to add drama to the story and it was because he was jealous of the success that she had as Whistledown when he didn’t leave his mark on the world yet, but really? Do we need male characters that can’t handle the success of women and treat them poorly because of it?

All of the Bridgerton brothers seem to have this complex about not being good enough even though everyone loves and respects them, and to be honest, it’s pretty annoying. I’m curious if Gregory will be this way by the time it gets to him. I hope not, that would be really disappointing.

The one other issue that I had with this one is that there’s been so much discussion about how Penelope used to be overweight and Colin is always eating. I feel like whenever we see a character that has struggled with their weight, there’s always a love interest who loves to eat. Why do we do that? Can he only love her if he also has issues with food and overeating? It’s weird.

Overall, I liked the story. I like Penelope and I think she’s a strong character. Part of me does wish she would’ve ended up with someone else, or at least that there would’ve been another suitor who realized how great she was. Colin’s alright, I guess, but it took him way too long.

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

This might be my least favorite of the Bridgerton series so far…

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. It just wasn’t any special kind of love story. It reminded me of Cinderella in a lot of ways and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think this. There were too many similarities. The masquerade ball so no one would recognize her, the evil stepmother, two stepsisters, being a servant to them after her father died. It was basically just a re-telling of the fairy tale with Benedict Bridgerton as the prince.

It wasn’t a bad re-imagining of the story, but it was just so unoriginal that it wasn’t exciting to read. I still read it quickly, but mostly because I know Penelope and Colin’s story is next and I wanted to get through this as quickly as possible.

I know the show has been renewed for four seasons, so I’m hoping they improve on this story. That’s really all I have to say about it. I hope the rest aren’t as lazy with the creativity and writing.