Thursday, March 21, 2024

In a Nutshell Reviews

Nosy Neighbors
 by Freya Sampson
Published by Berkley on April 2, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Fiction

Two neighbors-at-war band together to stop a dangerous criminal in their midst in this enthralling new novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Lost Ticket.

Twenty-five-year-old Kat Bennett has never felt at home anywhere, and especially not in crumbling Shelley House. According to her neighbors, she’s prickly and unapproachable, but beneath her tough exterior, Kat is plagued by guilt from her past.

Seventy-seven-year-old Dorothy Darling is Shelley House’s longest resident, and if you believe the other tenants, she’s as cantankerous and vindictive as they come. Except there’s a good reason Dorothy spends her days spying on her neighbors—a closely guarded secret that no else knows and the reason Dorothy barely leaves her beloved home.

When their building faces demolition, sworn enemies Kat and Dorothy become unlikely allies in their quest to save their historic home. But when someone starts to play dirty and viciously targets one of the residents, Dorothy and Kat suspect foul play in their community. After the police close the investigation, it's up to this improbable pair to bring a criminal to justice.

It all started when the girl with the pink hair showed up at Shelley House. In this case, "it all" encompasses both good and bad things, but also a lot of changes for all the residents of Shelley House.

Sampson really knows how to worm her way into my heart. Once again, she assembled a wonderful group of mismatched characters who came together to form a perfectly imperfect "family". The inhabitants had mostly kept to themselves until things begin going awry following their notice to vacate the premises. They bonded over their desire to save their home, and along the way, true friendships were born.

I struggle with calling this a mystery, though there were some small unknowns that needed to be uncovered. There were a lot of secrets being kept inside Shelley House, and Dorothy and Kat were both affected in major ways by the weight of their secrets.

Both their stories truly broke my heart. They carried their pain and guilt for so many years, and it kept them from really living their lives. As a sucker for unlikely friendships, I adored seeing a friendship born between a pensioner and a twenty-something. They pushed each other while providing support and the strength to move forward. These themes of friendship, love, and forgiveness were woven throughout this story and really tugged at my heartstrings. 

But I don't want to leave out the other residents. This was quite a fantastic group of quirky characters, and they really endeared themselves to me. The journey from strangers to more was a wonderful one which brought me lots of joy.

Overall, this was a warm and touching tale and I adored rooting for the denizens of Shelley House while they fought to save their home and each other.

Weekends with You
 by Alexandra Paige
Published by Avon on April 9, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

For fans of Beth O’Leary and Josie Silver, a heartwarming and romantic debut told over the course of one year in monthly weekend installments, about found family, new love, and the magic of London.

Flowers have always been the best communicators. They’ve mastered falling over one another in the perfect way to announce exactly what they need: sunlight, water, space. They do not rush. They do not bloom before their time. They do not take without giving in return…

They are nothing like the rest of London.

Between trying to keep her north London flower shop, The Lotus, afloat and falling for a flatmate, Lucy Bernstein is going to have to rethink everything she knows about “creative arrangements.”

Unwillingly becoming one of eight flatmates in a quirky warehouse conversion would have been difficult enough without any romantic entanglements, but when Lucy lays eyes on Henry Baker, the traveling photographer who only comes home twelve weekends a year, she knows her hands will be full with more than just posies. As each weekend progresses, Lucy also finds herself unexpectedly falling for all her new flatmates, along with this bustling but ultimately sweeter home.

Can Lucy learn from the flowers she tends to and bravely reach for all that she needs to bloom?

When Lucy was unable to afford the rent hike on her place, she took a room in her friend's warehouse flat. Though she was initially leery of being one of eight inhabitants, she found life with the roommates to be quite lively, especially warehouse weekends.

Those special weekends were reserved for the roommates to spend time together. The bonding sessions were made even more special because they were the only time Henry was home from his travels. Though there were sparks between Lucy and Henry, could they really form a meaningful relationship in one weekend per month?

I want to set the expectations right for this one. For me, it felt like Lucy's story with a very strong romantic subplot. The move, her career struggles, new friendships, and the challenges of trying to form a relationship with Henry all played a big part in Lucy's personal growth. I really enjoyed seeing her grow and change. It took quite a few nudges, but Lucy eventually embraced the changes while taking on some new challenges in her work life. There were setbacks but Lucy also enjoyed some success, and I celebrated that with her.

This story had an interesting format. It was told over the period of year focusing on one weekend per month - the warehouse weekend. I loved the whole concept of these weekends, and bits and pieces of the time between the weekends was filled in via the update that each roommate gave at the beginning of the weekend. This was clever and effective, in my opinion, and were a great lead in to these boisterous events. The events were rather fabulous, but what I really adored was seeing the roommates in action. They had an interesting and great dynamic. They truly formed a family, and I am such a sucker for found family.

I have to admit, the romance between Lucy and Henry drove me up the wall. There were aspects I really loved, and in the end, I had happy tears in my eyes, but it was frustrating. I understood Henry's position of trying to find himself and his place via all this traveling, but often, his actions didn't line up with his words. While Lucy was over there trying to really form a relationship with Henry and learning to open her heart, he was waffling on previous decisions. Despite that, there were some very sweet and tender moments between the two that were able to convince me that this could be a good idea. Just be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Overall, I enjoyed this story of friendship and love. It was a fun take on new adulthood when you are trying to figure out what and who you want to be, and it was great that Lucy and her friends had each other as they attempted to discover these things.


What would you plan for a warehouse weekend?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. I was thinking that cover didn't quite fit a mystery for the first book, so it was interesting that you said it didn't really feel like a mystery. As for the second one, I'm sorry the romance drove you up the wall. That was not what I wanted to hear! At least you still enjoyed these two books.

    1. I would say it's as mysterious as her last book, maybe a wee bit more. The hero in Weekends was just so ...lost. His need to find his path and purpose kept him going back and forth with the heroine. While I think it's sort of realistic, I also wanted him to get his stuff together, you know.

  2. SAM!! Our book tastes have finally merged as I just read Nosy Neighbors too :) I agree.... is it really a mystery? It's almost an amateur detective story, but not quite. Still I really enjoyed it and (lol) related more to Margaret than I would like. I don't keep a journal of people's transgressions but I sometimes take notice!

    1. Sing it with me, "together again!" I remember when we used to read sooo many of the same books. Maybe detective story is fair. For me, it was as mysterious as her last book. My reading chair is in front of the window that faces the parking lot. I see what everyone does. I don't have a book, but it's in the memory bank. Glad you enjoyed Nosy Neighbors, too!

  3. I love a group of mismatched, quirky characters too! I hope to read Nosy Neighbors at some point.

    1. They were quite an interesting bunch that ended up becoming a sort of family. They had three generations going in there which offered differing perspectives.

  4. I love unlikely friendships too like what we had with Tanner and Louise!

    1. Exactly. Everyone is raving about this one Frank & Red. It didn't have a US release, so I didn't mark it for reading, but it sounds lovely.