Mini Book Reviews #11

mini book reviews #11

Hey guys!

I’ve now been back at work for over 3 months, and I’ve fallen behind with my reading. While I read 2 books per week during lockdown, I’m lucky if I manage to read 4 books a month now. With less time on my hands, I also haven’t been able to write as many full-length book reviews as I did while work was closed, so today I’ll be sharing some mini reviews of a few books I’ve read recently. These are My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, No Judgments by Meg Cabot, Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.


My Dark Vanessa

mini book reviews #11

One book I’d highly recommend is My Dark Vanessa, a book I’m sure most of you would’ve seen all over social media and the blogosphere during the last year or so. My Dark Vanessa is a unique take on the teacher x student romance trope, and is an important book in the era of #MeToo. The book is split into two timelines: the first focuses on Vanessa Wye’s illicit and highly inappropriate relationship with her much older teacher; while the second is set after her teacher is accused of sexual abuse and explores how Vanessa is still affected by the affair many years later. Much like when Vanessa was a teenager, she still tries to protect Mr Strane and believes they were in love with each other, even though she knows he’s a predator.

My Dark Vanessa is a fantastically written novel and I was unable to put it down. It’s thought-provoking and quite heavy – the subject matter is so disturbing. Kate Elizabeth Russell isn’t afraid to shy away from tough topics such as consent, paedophilia and rape. My Dark Vanessa is all in all a very well-written book and I’d urge you to read it.


No Judgments

mini book reviews #11

Summer may be over, but if you’re going on holiday anytime soon, you should definitely bring a copy of No Judgments with you. It centres on a young woman called Bree, who escapes to a small island just off Florida, only to find herself trapped there when a hurricane arrives. As kind-hearted as she is, Bree ends up saving the pets of residents who have fled the island, with the help of her boss’s attractive nephew Drew Hartwell.

Bree is a bit of a nincompoop, refusing to evacuate from Little Bridge Island during a severe hurricane, despite her family’s warnings and offers to help her. However, it’s admirable how keen Bree is to help all the animals. I also loved reading about how Bree’s relationship progressed with Drew over the course of the book.

Overall, No Judgments is a sweet romance that will be a hit amongst fans of Meg Cabot and chick-lit, as well as any animal lovers out there. I’ll be sure to pick up the next book in the series (which was actually released a couple of months ago).


The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

mini book reviews #11

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was released in July 2019 but I first heard of it during lockdown, when I saw so many bloggers praising it. I instantly know that I had to buy a copy, especially since it’s about a bookworm!

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a wonderful contemporary novel that centres on Nina Hill, a young woman in her late 20s who suddenly finds out that she has a lot of siblings and relatives on her father’s side of the family. Having grown up with a single mother who is always off travelling the world, Nina is used to being by herself, and is overwhelmed when her late father leaves her with all these new family members. At first, Nina is reluctant to meet these strangers, but she soon realises that she gets on quite well with them…

I really enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and would 100% recommend it to any bookish person out there. It’s a fun book and Nina is such a relatable character. I loved reading about Nina’s trivia nights with her friends and her relationship with Tom. She was able to come out of her comfort shell, while finding love and saving her beloved bookstore from being closed down at the same time. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a great holiday read for fans of The Flatshare and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.


Beautiful Disaster

mini book reviews #11

I read this book a few weeks ago, and while it was a gripping book, I have to admit that I am quite conflicted about it. On the one hand, I enjoyed the banter between Abby and Travis, and a part of me wanted them to work out their issues and end up together. On the other hand, they were both such frustrating characters – Travis in particular. He’s so violent and possessive, getting insanely jealous and aggressive every time another boy does so much as look at Abby. However, Travis does care a lot about Abby and was eager to show her off to his family, which he’d been reluctant to do with any of his previous hook-ups.

There is something about Beautiful Disaster that made me want to keep reading until the very end, and I was intrigued about Abby’s backstory – what was she running away from? It may not be one of the best books I’ve ever read, but Beautiful Disaster is still captivating and it would be interesting to see how it would play out on screen as a movie or mini series.


What books have you read recently? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? 



29 Comment

  1. Sarah says: Reply

    I second your review of My Dark Vanessa – it’s one of my favourite books of the year and was so powerful! I’ve had The Bookish Life of Nina Hill on my TBR for a while but hearing your thoughts I might have to bump it up the list and read soon 🙂

    Sarah x

  2. Sarah says: Reply

    I have so many books to my TBR list but I am going to have to add a few of these. No Judgement sounds great also My Dark Vanessa sounds like such a great book!

  3. Kayleigh Zara says: Reply

    I’ve not heard of any of these books but my dark Vanessa sounds so interesting, and the cover is something that would really make me pick it up if I was in a book store!!

  4. I love mini reviews! I’ve read both Nina Hill and No Judgments and enjoyed them both!

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Glad you liked them too! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. WS_BOOKCLUB says: Reply

    I’ve been curious about My Dark Vanessa. Great review!

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Lee says: Reply

    4 very different books…
    Added to my list that I won’t ever get through 😊

    1. Serena says: Reply

      I know the feeling haha! Thanks for commenting!

  7. My Dark Vanessa is one of my best reads this year so far. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is also on my TBR for a while now.

    Beautiful Disaster sounds very intriguing and I might check that one out. Thanks for the great list you have here!

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Let me know if you read Beautiful Disaster! Thanks for commenting!

  8. Great reviews! The Bookish Life of Nina Hill sounds like a delightful read – I love ones about bookworms. There’s a great combination of books here, thank you. I hope you can still manage to fit in reading time around everything.

  9. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is one of my favorite books of all time. Abbi Waxman is such a delightful author and she really does a great job with writing characters that one can relate with. I would love to read more of Meg Cabot’s books too!

  10. I haven’t read a Meg Cabot book for years but I love the sound of No judgements.

  11. Hayley says: Reply

    I’ve been meaning to read My Dark Vanessa for ages but keep getting put off by how dark it is. Seeing your review (and everyone agreeing with your review in the comments) I’m going to bump it up my TBR and hopefully get it read sooner rather than later. 🙂

  12. I used to love Meg Cabot books, I’ve forgotten all about her! some great reads in here!


  13. Great reviews! I’m listening to The Bookish Life of Nina Hill now on Audible and loving it ☺️

    Anika |

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Glad you’re enjoying The Bookish Life of Nina Hill! Thanks for commenting!

  14. Della says: Reply

    I love this post and how you featured a few books! The bookish Life of Nina Hill sounds like the perfect read for me xx

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting – hope you enjoy The Bookish Life of Nina Hill!

  15. “My Dark Vanessa” sounds really interesting and it’s going on my Amazon list right away. But I should not buy any more books this year and read all the others I bought, instead. But I’m sure this is how every book person feels. I used to be a huge Cabot fan, still am, but haven’t read anything in a million years. But nothing will ever be as great as the Princess Diaries. 🙂
    So yeah, I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I always like some inspo. The last one I read was “Big Little Lies” and loved it. The Series is great too.

    xx Hailey – //

    1. Serena says: Reply

      I need to read Big Little Lies – I loved the series! I have so many unread books on my shelves but I keep buying more too! Thanks for commenting!

  16. Lisa says: Reply

    My Dark Vanessa is on my TBR pile but I don’t know any of the other books, so thank you for the recommendations 🙂

    1. Serena says: Reply

      Thanks for commenting!

  17. I love Meg Cabot as an author!


  18. I’m really interested in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – love a literary heroine!

  19. I’ve seen The Bookish Life of Nina Hill at the bookstores last year and have been interested in reading it. Good that you say it’s a good read. Also, a Meg Cabot book? Would be worth checking I think as I enjoyed her Queen of the Babble books before. I’m currently reading Jojo Moyes The Last Letter from Your Lover. I don’t know if I like it enough yet.


  20. Alex says: Reply

    I’ve been meaning to read My Dark Vanessa for a while now and it sounds brilliant! I’ve recently read the Flatshare by Beth O’Leary which I love, and I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale which I’m really enjoying too!

  21. I normally like Meg Cabot books so I’ll have to give this one a go! Lovely reviews

    Tash – A Girl with a View

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