Thursday, June 8, 2023

In a Nutshell Reviews - Library Loan Edition

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Oona Out of Order
 by Margarita Montimore
Published by Flatiron Books on February 25, 2020
Age/Genres: Adult, Fiction

A remarkably inventive novel that explores what it means to live a life fully in the moment, even if those moments are out of order.

It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order...

Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met? Surprising, magical, and heart-wrenching, Margarita Montimore has crafted an unforgettable story about the burdens of time, the endurance of love, and the power of family.

What an interesting spin on the time travel trope.

Each year on her birthday which happens to be New Year's Day, Oona time jumps. The catch - these jumps force her to live her life out of order. So many complications. There were years where Oona was younger internally than externally and vice versa. There were years that were like starting over as she had yet to jump to the previous year. There was also the stress of knowing future events and having to try to keep that information to herself.

It was so messy, but I loved the way Montimore wrote it. Oona sometimes left herself letters for after the jump, but most of the time, she had one of the two people who knew about her time jumps waiting for her in the new year. I was definitely engrossed in the events of Oona's life, and there were some reveals in the later chapters that brought tears to my eyes. But my enjoyment was more about how this story made me think and ponder life. 

Oona's out of order life was similar to our ordinary lives. There were highs and lows. There were people who came and left. It was full of choices, good and bad. I appreciated the opportunity to celebrate and grieve with Oona as I rooted for her to find those bright spots and hold onto them. I was so pleased with where the author ended the story - it was the perfect year, and I was left with lots of hope for Oona's future self too.

 by Becky Chalsen
Published by Dutton on April 18, 2023
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

A sun-soaked debut about love, sisterhood, and destiny, set in the glorious beach town of Kismet, Fire Island . . . Can Amy's marriage survive Jo's wedding?

For as long as anyone can remember, it has been Amy, Jo, and Ben. Amy and Jo, the inseparable Sharp twins who couldn't be more different; and Ben, Amy's childhood sweetheart turned husband.

But as this year's Fourth of July weekend approaches, something feels off. Jo's whirlwind engagement and wedding ceremony now eclipses the twins' long-awaited thirtieth birthday. Recent arguments between Amy and Ben have left their marriage feeling more like make-believe than ever-after. And as the family beach town transforms for Jo's wedding weekend, Amy's trusted trio will be tested by the most unexpected hurdle yet: the arrival of a handsome, mysterious newcomer in a best man suit. One with a strikingly familiar face. A face that Amy had planned to never see again.

This holiday weekend, even the strongest SPF won't protect the Sharp twins from all the secrets about to take center stage.

I really adored this book! I am all about books that make me feel, and Kismet had me feeling so much.

The Sharp twins were returning to Kismet to celebrate Jo's wedding. Little did Amy know a secret from her past would be part of the wedding party. The reappearance of this man in Amy's life came at a time when she was already off kilter. You see, Amy was a planner, and she had been successful in ticking off all her "to do" items until now. Her plans came to a screeching halt with this event, and it threw Amy off her axis.

I guessed what secret Amy was keeping, and I really felt for her. I tried not to be too judgmental because this was not my personal experience, but I was a little frustrated with how she treated her husband. Because let me tell you, Ben was a gem, and he tried. But, you cannot force someone else's process. 

There was a bit of drama, but there was also so much love. I adored Amy's family. There's a part where she talks about their family song - I Want to Hold Your Hand by the Beatles. It's easy to think of those words in a love song kind of way, but for their family, it was about reaching out and connection. I adore that! And it was a perfect theme song for them even if Amy forgot for a bit.

The setting and all the wedding hijinks brought a fun element to this story though it was the characters who won my heart. Beautifully told, Kismet touched my heart and ultimately filled me with happiness.

Have you ever been to Fire Island?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. The library came through for you with these two!

    1. I love the freedom the library gives me to try new authors and books. If it doesn't work out, I just return the book. These were both new-to-me and I loved the books

  2. Oona Out of Order definitely leaves you contemplating your life. Great reviews for both of these. I just added Kismet to the TBR.

    1. The author picked the perfect year to end that story, and that twist! My heart!

  3. I don't know if Oona would work for me as I don't like a lot of time travel storeis...

    1. There was something special about this one, and I think it was the seeds it planted for me to think about

  4. I have had Oona on my tbr since it came out. I need to read it! Both of these books sound fabulous!

    1. Same with me. I am very happy I actually read it. Still feeling the feels