Cover Image: Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth

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Nothing But the Truth is a take on Jim Carreras classic film: Liar, Liar... female style! 

Lucy Green was supposed to celebrate her last night in her 20's with her boyfriend. When he doesn't show up, a handsome bartender gives her a purple cocktail and tells her to make a wish. Little does Lucy know, this wish may actually be a life changer. 

She wakes up the next morning saying no to spin class and wearing little makeup to work. And discovering she CANNOT lie anymore. What comes next is a me too movement worthy tale about standing up yourself and not taking anyone's piece of mind. 

Nothing But the Truth was an enjoyable contemporary fiction tale about bring true to yourself. I could easily tell the love that debut author Holly James poured into her words and the care she took to tell her story. The side characters were noteworthy and made the novel even more enticing. While I wished for more romance, I realized that that needed to take a seat for the actual bombshell story to be developed. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys Sophie Kinsella.
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I didn’t love this book, but I found the writing good and the story interesting enough.  Good if you’re looking for a more thought-provoking read. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Press Dutton for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely adored this book! It was so witty and well written! The storyline was well developed and I loved the main character Lucy. I felt like she was such a strong female lead and relatable as well. The story follows Lucy on the eve of her 30th birthday she makes a wish for the perfect day. What she gets seems at first to be less than perfect. She can’t lie, and she doesn’t know if that is a blessing or a curse. Telling the truth sets off a series of events in her career, relationships, and with herself, realizing that she tells herself lies a lot. One of the major storylines in the book has to do with workplace sexual harassment. It wasn’t the main focus of the book but I love how the author wrote this into the book. The timeline of the story taking place over one day was also well done. I found myself laughing out loud and rooting for Lucy and the other characters. I like how the overall message was deeper but the book felt more lighthearted at its core. Fans of Katherine Center will love this book! I can’t wait to see what this author puts out next! 
Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Group Dutton for the e-galley in exchange for an honest review!
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Lucy Green is about to have it all. The next day is her birthday, when she officially turns 30. She has a lunch meeting planned with a movie star, and if she can secure said star as a client, then Lucy will definitely be up for that promotion for senior publicist. And then there’s her party, at a hip rooftop bar over L.A., a perfect place should her boyfriend decide it’s finally time to propose. They already have plans to move in together. The day will be unforgettable. 

But for now, it’s the night before, and Lucy is sitting at a bar waiting for her boyfriend Caleb to show up. They were supposed to be meeting for a drink, but Lucy is sitting there drinking her martini alone. When the hot bartender asks her about her drink, she tells him that it’s fine. But the expression on her face says something different. He offers her another drink, a specialty he created himself, and Lucy made a wish, a birthday wish for a perfect day, as she took her first sip. The drink was delicious, but the text from Caleb came soon after, sorry but he couldn’t get away from work. Lucy thanked the bartender and headed home, alone. 

The next morning, Lucy thought through all the things she needed to do that morning before her lunch meeting. She had spin class, then a light breakfast, a shower, and then getting dressed in a dress so tight she needed to wear compression undergarments under it, and her intricate make-up and hair style. But when her friend Nina showed up to go to spin class, Lucy just couldn’t find the motivation. Instead, she admitted that she hated spin class and wanted to go out for breakfast instead. As she inhaled a bagel sandwich with cheese and a runny egg, Lucy watched Nina eat her yogurt with blueberries and wondered why she usually ate almost nothing, spending all morning hungry, just waiting until she could grab her mid-morning snack of a handful of almonds. 

Instead of her usual face full of makeup and blowout, Lucy let her hair dry into its natural waves and added only some tinted lip balm. She put on a sundress that was flowy and comfortable and flats instead of her usual tight dress and high heels. She couldn’t understand why she chose to be so uncomfortable so often. And after changing up her morning routine so much, she couldn’t believe how much time she was saving. 

It’s not until se gets to work and sees how people are noticing her new look that Lucy realizes just how differently she’s acting. She feels free to be more herself, to speak her truest thoughts, but she also realizes that she can’t lie to anyone else either. As a publicist in Hollywood, that could be a liability. Especially when she gets called into the CEO’s office and he once again makes her feel uncomfortable, making suggestive hints about her future with the company but not coming out and crossing an obvious line. But Lucy’s inability to hold her tongue means that gets herself into hot water with him, putting her promotion and maybe even her job in jeopardy. 

Lucy tries to figure out what happened to keep her from lying to herself and to others, and as she thinks back over what happened that may have changed her, she remembers the hot bartender and that drink he gave her the might before, the one he had called “life-changing.” Did he put truth serum in her drink? Or was it some kind of spell that is keeping her from being able to lie? Lucy needs to track him down and find out what happened. But when she does, and he shows her the ingredients he used to make her drink—no potions, no serums, some lemon—and makes her another drink so she can taste it again, Lucy realizes it much have been her wish for the perfect day that was keeping her from lying. And when she explains it to Hot Bartender, he wonders if it is a curse, or it it’s a blessing. 

As Lucy goes about her crazy day—her lunch meeting, the fallout from her meeting with the CEO, a difficult discussion with her boyfriend, and a PR nightmare—she too starts to wonder if the truth telling is maybe the best thing she’s done. With all the things women do to lie to themselves, what if letting go of all those lies are the way to true happiness in life? 

Nothing But the Truth is author Holly James’s look at the things we tell ourselves and how those things aren’t always honest or in our best interests. She takes a deep dive at the things women are taught as they’re growing up and chasing success and how that can change the way they think of themselves, change the way they react in situations, and limit their potential. I have seen it, I have done it, and I applaud Ms. James for tackling such a complicated part of modern life. 

I enjoyed Nothing But the Truth. I liked Lucy a lot, at least the Lucy that appeared on her birthday, and I thought the story of her not being able to lie was clever and fun. There are a lot of likeable characters in this book, and a few that aren’t, and I had a lot of fun reading it. But after a while, this one day seemed endless. It didn’t seem possible for so many things to happen in one afternoon and it got increasingly difficult to suspend disbelief that so much happened so quickly. But aside from that, Nothing But the Truth is a sweet book about important things, and it will probably be a good book for a book club discussion or for a buddy read, especially if there are bubbly purple vodka drinks involved. With a little lemon. . 

Egalleys for Nothing But the Truth were provided by Dutton through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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Nothing But The Truth is Holly James' debut novel.

Lucy Green seems to have it all, great job as a Hollywood publicist, a promotion in the works, great friends, and a boyfriend that she's sure is going to pop the question on her birthday. Which just happens to be today - her thirtieth.
Nothing But the Truth takes place over the course that one day - Lucy's thirtieth.. And on that day, she inexplicably finds that she cannot tell a lie!

James has created a very fun and engaging lead character. Though I know nothing about publicists, I really enjoyed the descriptions of Lucy's work and her clients.  Her coworkers are a mixed bag and play a huge part of James' plotting. (I must admit I have a soft spot for Lucy's bestie Oliver) And it's very easy to suss out the character you'll not enjoy. 

The premise of not being able to lie is one I've read before. But James puts her own spin on things. There are a number of light hearted scenes that me chuckling. Ditching the heels, torturous undergarments, makeup, eating what you want and more. But those lighter bits are sprinkled amongst some serious themes. Workplace harassments is the biggie, but the discrepancies between male and female expectations and reality is also highlighted. Holly James has a PhD in psychology and that knowledge definitely adds to her writing and plotting.

Oh, and did I mention there's romance as well? Uh, huh there is indeed! One with a fairy tale feel to it. 

Nothing But The Truth makes for a great summer beach read. 3.5 rounded up
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The perfect mix of romance and emotional growth journey. I loved all the different topics explored in this and how relatable this story was
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I loved how I went in thinking this book would go one way but it came out a completely different way (it’s a good thing, it surprised me)! 

Definitely a mix of women’s fiction and romance and I loved it! It was inspirational, smart, and I found I related to Lucy in so many ways. It was about being real and not letting others and their opinions shape who you are and your path — I feel like so many people approaching their 30’s feel this way. Thank you to the publisher for the early copy!
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This was such an exhilarating, painfully truthful read. This book captured the excruciating hurdles and pitfalls that women are put through, especially in the business world, all wrapped up into one singular day. 
This was a pretty quick read, mostly because I was unable to put it down. The pacing was great and never dragged. The ending was perfect for this story and hopeful and optimistic for both the characters and the reader.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for this #gifted copy! When Lucy makes a wish to have her 30th birthday go perfect, she wakes up to find she can only tell the truth-which leads to lots of unexpected surprises both in her personal and professional life. This book was magical, feminist and our MC, Lucy, was such a badass when it came to dismantling the patriarchy and shattering the glass ceiling both in society and in the workplace! I loved every supporting character, the humor and wit, the romance and the overall message of not settling for less than what you deserve. What a fantastic debut and I can’t recommend it enough!
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Nothing but the Truth
On the day of her 30th birthday, Lucy’s life is supposed to change. She wakes up that morning with an ambition list of things she knows will happen including getting a promotion at work and getting engaged. But when she realizes she woke up unable to tell a lie, everything is off - she can’t even convince herself to go through her daily beauty routine, take her usual morning spin class, eat her healthy breakfast…because she can no longer lie to herself that she likes those things. And that’s just the beginning. When she’s around people she can’t lie to them either leading her to share all of her most honest thoughts, for better or for worse.

First of all, huge trigger warning: a large part of the plot deals with sexual harrassment - in this case Lucy’s boss propositioning her as a way to get the promotion she wants. Lucy, along with another coworker, end up standing up for themselves, and all of the other women in the office. Without giving anything away, this ultimately ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the book. This particular storyline was so empowering and really well done.

I thought this book had a lot of great messaging, not only about sexual harrassment and inequality in the workplace, but also about societal pressures vs. being true to yourself. While this book felt light and entertaining, I also truly found the ideas behind it so empowering and inspiring. And in addition to some more difficult topics, there was a light romance aspect that I adored.  The romance subplot was unique and so fun!

This is a book that will stick with me for a while and might even end up as a top book of 2022. I read this one in one sitting and was so engaged, I flew through it in record time. I loved so much about this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for the advance copy.
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i enjoyed what the book worked to achieve, but this liar liar re-imagining fell short for me when it came to representation and character voice. lucy is the main character and on the eve of her birthday, makes a wish while having a cocktail that evolves to her being unable to tell a lie the next day. the premise is great and as the story unfolds, as does the harassment the character had to navigate through in order to do her job. 

my attention and enthusiasm began to falter as the story went on, however. the lack of voice for woc within the tail was a very hard pill to swallow and the small nods weren’t enough to erase that taste in my mouth. atop of that, when lucy is wrong at times, she never seems to admit to it. however, she expects those who are wrong or have wronged her, to be remorseful. tonally, it just felt off by the end of he book.
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On the eve of her 30th birthday, Lucy’s boyfriend stands her up…yet again. A handsome bartender makes her a “life changing” birthday drink and she wishes for the perfect birthday. She should have known to be careful what you wish for because she wakes up the next morning and is unable to lie! She can’t lie to herself or to anyone else. That complicates things a bit seeing as this is a very important day for Lucy. Not only is it a milestone birthday, she’s in the running for a major promotion, expecting a proposal from her boyfriend, and hoping to land a major client. Forced to speak her mind, suddenly she’s not willing to pretend anymore. 

This book was such a cute and surprisingly empowering read!! This is kind of like romcom meets Liar Liar! A publicist suddenly unable to bend the truth and tell lies? Seems like a recipe for disaster. And maybe it would have been if Lucy was not such a genuine, smart, and kind person. She was so likable and I was rooting for her the whole time. Not only was this book well written and fun to read, it was also thought provoking! It’s packed with female empowerment while touching on important issues, like sexual misconduct in the workplace, in a thoughtful way. I was also living for the sprinkle of romance we got throughout the book too!! It left me wanting a whole book dedicated to Lucy and our handsome bartender, Adam! 

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Group and Holly James for this eARC! I enjoyed it so much!
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I love how so many things happened in the book. I could not keep myself from the book because it was so good
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A light read with a message about being our true selves and letting go of all the preconceived notions that seem to be applied to women.
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3.5 stars! This book had a lot of heart and I had a lot of fun reading it! However, this didn't end up being the new favorite that I felt like it could have been. While I love love loved how feminist this was, it did feel a smidge heavy handed at times. I felt like the author was hitting us over the head with things that were easy to infer from the characters actions alone so it did up end feeling a bit repetitive at time. With all that being said though, this was definitely still a fun read and I would definitely be willing to read more from Holly James in the future. I could definitely see this developing into a series because James really flushed out a lot of the side characters and I would be super intrigued to see where their love lives might end up in future installments!

CW: sexual harassment, disordered eating, food/body shaming
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What an absolutely surprise DELIGHT this debut book was!! Lucy Green is a Hollywood publicist turning 30 and when her boyfriend stands her up she makes a wish for a perfect birthday. What follows is a story told over one day in which Lucy is unable to tell a lie and it is gloriously freeing!

If you like books with a touch of inexplicable magic and a strong feminist bent this one is for you! Part women's fiction, part romance but 100% fun!! I LOVED watching Lucy's journey to stop going along with all the B.S. women have to deal with and stand up for what she wants.

I seriously CAN'T recommend this book enough!! Be prepared to laugh and cheer as Lucy calls out her boss for sexual harassment in the workplace, stands up to her baby-pushing mother and dumps her neglectful boyfriend. Much thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
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When You Can’t Lie

Lucy Green, a celebrity publicist, thinks she has a good life. She’s turning thirty the next day, but she’s hoping for a job promotion and a proposal from her boyfriend. The night before in a bar waiting for her boyfriend, who again doesn’t show up, she asks the bartender to mix her a special drink, and she wishes for a perfect birthday. 

When she wakes up on her birthday morning, she finds she can’t lie: not about her fitness routine, or the power clothes she hates, or the problems with her boss. Facing the truth can be life-changing, and it could result in a disastrous day for Lucy, but in the end telling the truth can make life better. 

This is a fun read. Lucy is an engaging character that many people can relate to. Too many of us are caught in situations that are not right for us, but we lie to ourselves to keep going. I cheered for Lucy. 
Not only is Lucy a good character, but her quirky friends add to the enjoyable atmosphere of the book. 

The only problem I had with the book was that it became a little too preachy for my taste at the end. We know life isn’t fair and hostile work environments are a fact of office life for some. I thought the author showed this in a lighthearted way with the story we didn’t need extra reminder at the end. 

I received this book from Dutton for this review.
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Hollywood publicist Lucy Green is about to turn 30! As a gift, she’s hoping for a job promotion and her boyfriend to propose. The night before her birthday, she gets stood up at the bar and after a cocktail from a handsome bartender; she wishes for the perfect day! When she wakes up, she discovers the wish has gone awry, and she can not tell any lies! What she thinks is a curse actually ends up being exactly what she needs. So, she prepares to tell the truth and nothing but the truth to anyone and everyone!

Nothing But the Truth is a refreshing read! It tackles important issues, such as workplace harassment, sexual harassment, patriarchy, racism, and abuse of power by the wealthy. I thoroughly enjoyed how this book covers genuine issues and is so relatable. The author really paints a picture of each scene and even includes humor that will keep you chuckling, but it doesn’t undermine the serious content. 

I could really see myself in Lucy. She’s a strong and admirable woman. I loved how this book covers how there is this idea if a woman is not married or has children by 30; they are behind. It creates unnecessary pressure, and every woman will not follow the same path. It’s completely fine to put your career and financial stability first, or even not know what you want at 30. However, you don’t have to settle. It was wonderful to see Lucy learn to love herself, speak up for what she wants and deserves, and ensure she’s not disrespected or taken advantage of. I highly recommend this read, and I cannot wait to add a copy to my shelf. 5 stars all the way around! 

Thank you to Net Galley and PENGUIN GROUP Dutton for the ARC!
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A simple wish for the perfect birthday comes true -- complete with disastrous inability for Lucy Green to lie to herself and anyone else on her thirtieth birthday. No longer able to ignore, put up with, or talk herself past the  large and small untruths that support her good-enough life, Green ultimately gets what she truly wants after blowing up the precarious balances and relationships she put up with until that magical day. With NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, Holly James has created a relatable situation. While the storyline was fascinating (I enjoyed the twists, turns, and complications), I stumbled over how the story was told, feeling the pace dragged and too much was dashed off or assumed rather than crafted into gripping prose. I received an early copy of this novel and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.
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A woman of her own truth is a trailblazer! And that’s exactly who you meet in Holly James’ debut novel. 

Potential Triggers: misogyny, sexism, gender inequality, sexual harassment 

If “be careful what you wish for” was a person, it’d be fireball, Lucy Green. Lucy is not to be played with, okay?! After being setup by her boyfriend on the eve of her 30th birthday, Lucy wishes that the day of her birthday is perfect. This very wish sets in motion one of the craziest days she’s ever had, but one filled with self awakening, self love, the longing to be one’s truest self, and truth no matter how the cookie crumbles. Pretty perfect to Lucy, in the end!

I love the message of not having to settle for societal norms and the ceilings created. As a woman of color, this was such a refreshing reminder that I am who I am, and I don’t have to live up to who or what society says I should be; I can dress how I please and wear my hair as I want!

I also love the message of honesty in this novel. I couldn’t help but think of the many situations I didn’t have to endure and/or suffer through if only I had simply been  honest with myself. Lucy didn’t get it right at first, but when she finally did it changed her life, and I think in a good way. 

While the plot is a bit slow (reason for rating) in the beginning, in my opinion, it does not take away from the overall message. Lucy is a badass and her and Annie’s experience is one that is so relatable to in 2022. The Jonathans of the world need to be brought out and down!
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