Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Mini Reviews: Best Seller Edition


I've been meaning to read these two best sellers for quite awhile now and I had the opportunity to listen to them recently. They did not disappoint and were both fantastic audio books.


Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Pub. Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late. Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible."




Tova Sullivan's husband dies, so she takes a job as a janitor at the local aquarium. Tova finds herself talking to the sea creatures, but is especially drawn to Marcellus, an octopus. One day she finds Marcellus out of his tank and rescues him; this obviously furthers their bond. Then Cameron, new to town, takes a job as a night shift janitor and works alongside Tova. Cameron is on the hunt for his father and as Tova gets to know Cameron, she learns more of his story. His mother abandoned him with an aunt years ago and Tova is dealing with similar grief in that her son died in a boating accident. As they share more of their stories, they realize that Cameron's mom and Tova's son may have known each other. Only Marcellus knows the truth though as he once lived in the ocean. Although this is a fantastical debut novel that at times is difficult to truly believe, Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt is a heartwarming novel that examines grief, as well as the power of family and friendship.

I really enjoyed the audio version of Remarkably Bright Creatures as the narrator for Marcellus really made the story for me. I did not enjoy Cameron's side of the story as much as Marcellus and Tova, but nonetheless, it didn't stop me from enjoying the book as well as its overall message. If you are looking for a heartwarming and whimsical read, this is it. 


The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine 
Pub. Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: HarperAudio
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale. Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.  With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent."



Amber Patterson, a con-artist, targets wealthy Daphne Parrish while at the gym. Working out next to her, she drops her magazine from the cystic fibrosis foundation and this catches Daphne's eye since her sister died of CF years before. They discuss their mutual interest in CF and Amber shares that her own sister has died of CF as well. How convenient. An unlikely friendship forms with Amber volunteering for Daphne's CF charity and before Daphne knows it, they are friends. It appears Daphne values her friendship with Amber as she is one of the only people who truly understands what it's like to lose a sister to this horrible disease. As time passes, Daphne and Amber become inseparable and Amber visits the Parrish's vacation homes, starts working for Daphne's husband, spends holidays together, birthdays for the Parrish children, and even vacations to Europe. Amber has her eye on Daphne's husband Jackson and hopes to be the next Mrs. Parrish even if it means having to deal with their two "bratty" daughters. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine is a wild ride and perfect for fans of twisty psychological thrillers.

The audio version kept me entertained. If you like psychological thrillers like Gone Girl, The Last Mrs. Parrish is along the same vein. There's twists galore in this book and it will keep you guessing. Be forewarned that there's a lot of vivid descriptions of domestic abuse, both physical and emotional, so keep this in mind. If you can stomach that and enjoy a good twisty tale, this one will guarantee to keep you flipping the pages. 



So, have you read Remarkably Bright Creatures or The Last Mrs. Parrish? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. The descriptions of abuse give me a little pause, but I do enjoy a good twisty thriller!

  2. Yes, some of the scenes were A LOT in Mrs. Parrish- but it was definitely a good twisty tale if you can deal with those scenes. Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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