#5Books: Book recs and fluffy goodness

Okay, so that’s an utterly misleading title, because there’s nothing fluffy in this list — but my aunt is ill and there is no good news to be had and I want to get out of my head for a bit?

Putting together this list of books helped, but I need something else, something different bc I can’t focus. Anyway.

Please rec me all the fluff. Romance. All of the above.

But also, here’s a list of entirely not fluffy goodness.

The Body Lies

A dark, thrilling new novel from the bestselling author of LONGBOURN: a work of riveting suspense that grapples with how to live as a woman in the world – or in the pages of a book – when the stakes are dangerously high.

What if you realised the subject your student is studying is you?

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the big city and the scene of a violent assault she’s desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of a new life and single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative writing group.

When a troubled student starts sending in chapters from his novel that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognises herself as a main character in his book – and he has written her a horrible fate.

Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late?

At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered exploration of violence against women in art, The Body Lies is an essential book for our times.

Isn’t this creepy? I genuinely think this particular plot point — characters seeing themselves in fiction — is one of the creepiest ones out there.

The Ugly Truth

There’s been a shocking double murder in Tuttle Corner, Virginia, involving high-profile players from Washington D.C. This brings national attention—and big-city competition for the story—to junior reporter Riley Ellison’s little corner of the world. Beloved café owner Rosalee is the prime suspect in the violent crimes, but she insists on her innocence. In exchange for protection, Rosalee gives Riley and her fellow reporter Holman exclusive information that incriminates a powerful person.

Meanwhile, Personal Romance Concierge™ Regina H. is back, offering once-again-single Riley not just online dating expertise but also a new subscription self-care service that promises such benefits as “the sensation of emotional bravery on a micromolecular level.”

Riley and Holman eventually begin to wonder if Rosalee is telling the truth. They head down separate investigative paths until one of them finds the truth… and one of them finds the killer.

This third installment in the Riley Ellison mystery series is rich with all the suspense, humor, small-town charm, and captivating characters that made the first two books a hit with critics and fans alike.

Alright, so I might have lied. This might not look fluffy, but the rest in the series looks fluffy, and I hope the small-town charm might work just as well as fluffy goodness.

The Nancys

Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world – the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum’s on a cruise.

Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.

But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the murderer, and an intervention from Tippy’s mum all conspire against The Nancys. But regardless of their own safety, and despite the constant distraction of questionable fashion choices in the town that style forgot, The Nancys know only they can stop the killer from striking again.

The Nancys is gripping and glorious, a heart-warming novel for anyone who’s ever felt they were on the outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and how we must summon the courage to face the truth, no matter what the cost may be.

I lied again, because this sounds frigging gloriously fun and heartwarming — and any book that celebrates Nancy Drew is a <3

Lost You

Libby needs a break. Three years ago her husband split, leaving her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right?

But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies:

“I’m his mother.”

Alright, so I may be in the mood for fluffy goodness, BUT DAMN THAT LAST LINE. 


All it took was a lapse…a momentary lapse…to bring Clementine Jones’ world crashing down. Now she’s living like a hermit in small-town Katinga, coaching the local footy club. She’s supposed to be lying low, but here she is, with her team on the cusp of their first premiership in fifty years—and the whole bloody town counting on her, cheering her on.

So why the hell would her star player quit on the eve of the finals?

It’s a question she wishes she’d left alone. Others are starting to ask questions too—questions about her. Clem’s not the only one with a secret, and as tension builds, the dark violence just below the town’s surface threatens to erupt. Pretty soon there’ll be nowhere left for Clem to hide.

Of course, the question is what is Clem hiding? I think though that question hides a whole lot more given that others are hiding things too, not to mention, the secrets her star player must be hiding too. I like this — a small Australian town with a heap of secrets to hide.


  • Jen Mullen says:

    Adding The Nancys! When I was very young, my much older cousin let me read her Nancy Drew books, but only in her room. I couldn’t take them home with me; she treasured her books even though she was a high school senior and wasn’t reading them any longer. The library was my next stop. 🙂

    • Verushka says:

      Ohhh, my cousin was like that with his comics — and I was so taken by the fact that he read them, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it — but he wouldn’t let me!

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I’ve added The Nancys to my list. When I was about ten, my older cousin let me read her collection of books. She treasured them even though she was a high school senior and didn’t read them any longer. My next stop was the library. 🙂

  • Lark says:

    Sorry to hear about your aunt! If you like fluffy Regency Romance, Edenbrooke and The Kiss of a Stranger are humorous and fun. And I can always read The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery. Or you could read a Nancy Drew! ;D

  • Ethan says:

    The Body Lies is one of my must-reads this month! I’m reading through Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand right now, and I think it would suffice as a fluffy rec. It combines the nostalgia of the time period with some real-world family drama. Sending all the best to your aunt and family!

    • Verushka says:

      Thank you for the rec, Ethan (and just also thanks, these recs all help) — I will add it to the list!

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt. As far as fluffy recs, anything by Christina Lauren is great. I just finished Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and it had me laughing out loud several times.

    • Verushka says:

      Christine Lauren — check! With a title like ‘Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating’ sounds wonderful (and thank you)

  • Angela says:

    I’m sorry about your aunt! I would second Suzanne, I just read The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren and it was really good fun.

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