Thursday, July 4, 2024

Library Loans

I Hope This Finds You Well
 by Natalie Sue
Published by William Morrow on May 21, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

In this wildly funny and heartwarming office comedy, an admin worker accidentally gains access to her colleagues’ private emails and DMs and decides to use this intel to save her job—a laugh-till-you-cry debut novel you’ll be eager to share with your entire list of contacts, perfect for fans of Anxious People and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

As far as Jolene is concerned, her interactions with her colleagues should start and end with her official duties as an admin for Supershops, Inc. Unfortunately, her irritating, incompetent coworkers don’t seem to understand the importance of boundaries. Her secret to survival? She vents her grievances in petty email postscripts, then changes the text colour to white so no one can see. That is, until one of her secret messages is exposed. Her punishment: sensitivity training (led by the suspiciously friendly HR guy, Cliff) and rigorous email restrictions.

When an IT mix-up grants her access to her entire department’s private emails and DMs, Jolene knows she should report it, but who could resist reading what their coworkers are really saying? And when she discovers layoffs are coming, she realizes this might just be the key to saving her job. The plan is simple: gain her boss’s favour, convince HR she’s Supershops material and beat out the competition.

But as Jolene is drawn further into her coworker’s private worlds and secrets, her carefully constructed walls begin to crumble—especially around Cliff, who she definitely cannot have feelings for. Soon she will need to decide if she’s ready to leave the comfort of her cubicle, even if it means coming clean to her colleagues.

Crackling with laugh-out-loud dialogue and relatable observations, I Hope This Finds You Well is a fresh and surprisingly tender comedy about loneliness and love beyond our computer screens. This sparkling debut novel will open your heart to the everyday eccentricities of work culture and the undeniable human connection that comes with it.

After forgetting to change the text of her snarky comment in a work email to white, Jolene is put on probation. Part of her probation is to have her computer monitored, but the software installed allowed Jolene to read her coworkers' emails and messages instead. She originally planned to use what she learned to help her keep her job, but at one point, the office outcast found the intel helped her be part of the team and sort of liked it.

How many office workers out there? This book is for us. Though things and events may be somewhat exaggerated, there is so much truth related to office culture in this story. There were so many laugh out loud moments, and I know I felt Jolene's frustration - I have been there, but I also loved seeing her come out of her shell and show her best side to her co-workers.

Jolene had long been an outcast, but was lucky enough to have formed a close friendship with another outcast, Ellie. Ellie died in a tragic accident when they were teens, and her death had haunted Jolene ever since. That was one of the reasons she kept to herself, but after email-gate, she was forced to interact with her co-workers in order to save her job.

The friendships that Jolene developed with her co-workers ended up having depth which was a by-product of her electronic snooping. Things seemed so different from the outside, but she learned, as we all know, that everyone was fighting their own battles. Jolene showed empathy and compassion which I think she always had inside her, and it was reawakened by the kindness shown to her by Cliff (the HR guy).

I laughed a lot, but I also felt the pain that ran deep within Jolene. It was wonderful to see her open up, forgive herself, and allow people to love her again. Overall, this was a sparkling debut and I am looking forward to reading more from Natalie Sue.

This Disaster Loves You
 by Richard Roper
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on February 13, 2024
Age/Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

From the author of Something to Live For , a poignant and funny story about a man whose wife disappeared seven years ago and his journey to find her or find out what happened, interwoven with the story of their relationship, revealing how sometimes the biggest secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

Twenty years of love. Seven years of absence. One journey to find out what happened.

Brian’s wife, Lily, disappeared from his life without a trace six years, eleven months, one week, and two days ago, but Brian never lost hope. Since her disappearance their once beloved English pub—and Brian’s livelihood—has been crumbling piece by piece. As the anniversary of her absence approaches, Brian desperately needs a sign. One doom-scroll on his business’s reviews later, he finds an active TripAdvisor account for PinkMoonLily1972 that he knows in his heart is his Lily.

Interspliced with Brian’s journey to find Lily is the story of their love—how it started, and the twists and turns that brought them to this moment. As Brian jumps from one destination to the next to find Lily, and the truth behind their story comes into focus, Brian comes back to life with the help of Tess, a sarcastic, kind, and surprising traveling companion. But in order to move forward he’ll need to decide—stay in the past or take a chance on something unexpected.

Brian has been waiting almost seven years for his wife to return. When he sees what he takes as a sign on TripAdvisor, he sets out in search of PinkMoonLily1970, tracing the review path in hopes for finding her.

This wasn't what I was expecting. It was a bit melancholy and heartbreaking, but also lovely and touching, and in the end, hopeful. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I got a story about a man who loved his wife so dearly that he never gave up hope that she would return. I got to see their love story play out in the "then" chapters. I experienced their meeting, courting, falling in love. Their joy and pain as they traversed the highs and lows of their married life.

In between, I got to know Brian and how heartsick he was over his wife's disappearance. I was excited when he stumbled upon PinkMoonLily1970, and I loved how Brian's search for Lily turned into something of a healing journey for himself. It gave him that space to reflect, and along the way, he made a friend with whom he shared his story thus releasing some of that pain that he had carried around for so many years.

I won't lie, there were moments when I needed tissues, but there were many bright and fun times experienced in both timelines. It was very touching how much Brian loved Lily, and how hard he worked on their marriage. I think that's why his situation was so heartbreaking, but it was beautiful that he had the opportunity to love that way.

This is my first experience with Roper's work, and I really enjoyed it. I rather liked his style especially the short chapters where he listed the highlights of Brian's memories. Later, those would be filled out, and it was just something that stood out to me.

Overall, this was a very charming and touching tale. I cared so deeply for Brian and was grateful to take this journey with him.

Have you ever wanted to be
honest in a work email?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Oh yes I wish I could be honest in my work emails hahaha but I refrain

    Hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July!

    1. I always imagine what I would type, but you know, I have bills to pay. LOL. Happy Fourth to you as well!

  2. Oh, my heart is aching for Brian! I like how the story shows their early journey, and now I'm interested to know what really happened to Lily.

    1. I cried so much for him and his wife and everything. But it was hopeful in the end.

  3. I have heard amazing things about I Hope this Finds You well Sam!

  4. This Disaster Loves You has been on my TBR since I first came across it early this year. Reading your thoughts makes me more certain that this is one I'll enjoy.

    1. I think you would. It's got the right balance of emotion and humor. It's a little sad, but hopeful.