Cover Image: Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena

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3.5, rounded up. This book is beautiful but subtle, and I wanted a bit more out of it. It started to pull at the heartstrings, but I wanted it to tug. It also took me a while to get into; there are a lot of names to keep up with and long chapters. But once I jumped into the audio for a bit, I wanted to see where life would take Sara and Emilie. A great audiobook; although, I think it could’ve done with dual narrators to keep things straight? Maybe?

LaCour’s writing is delicate and smooth, that feels like a weird way to describe writing but it is what it is. The topics of grief, love, friendship, family, and self discovery were prevalent but maybe not as potent as they could’ve been. I wanted to connect with the characters and the story a bit more.

Also, note that this isn’t really romance as it is contemporary fiction with some romantic elements.
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** spoiler alert ** Read the ARC of this novel and was so excited to get my hands on it.

I must say, while the end pulled everything together and finally there was a happy ending in a lesbian story (!!) there were also many times in this book where the characters truly annoyed me. Emilie needs to get a grip and stop being so flakey!! But then I would think about that and understand just how “real” that actually is and how her anxiety is so accurately depicted that the reader can feel it too.

While I really enjoyed the storyline, I was disappointed that the F F Romance didn’t happen until so late in the story. Also, while I realize this is LaCour’s first adult novel, she could definitely use to include more intimate imagery in future books for adults. I’m not suggesting anything too too strong or raunchy needs to be in there, but maybe a little more than “they took off their clothes” and “the dishes were left for the morning.” Let’s face it, sex is part of every day culture. In all movies and books and tv shows. But the majority of it is so hetero. Representation matters and while this book alone is representation, for lesbian readers (sapphic readers?) a little more detailed imagery would suffice.

I do appreciate the raw feelings this story and characters created and really felt part of the setting. LaCour writes really well when it comes to describing setting and creating emotions of characters. I greatly look forward to reading her work in the future.
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Yerba Buena is a book that caught my attention by the description. The cover is ok, but the description fascinated me. Then when I saw that Julia Whelan was narrating it, I knew I had to listen to the audio as she always captures the story and the nuances of the characters with such a finesse. Unfortunately, I sometimes would get confused whose POV we were in since it's a story told from Sara and Emilie. For that reason alone, I think 2 narrators would've worked better for my listening pleasure. But back to the story....

This is a story about 2 different women, their pasts and how the decisions they made in the pasts got them to the present. These women are literally two separate entities with 2 different lives and stories, until their worlds finally meet. We see the pain and suffering they have endured along with family hardships that shape them into who they become. For much of the story, I wasn't sure where the story was going to go and what the point of all their questioning and losses was going to be. It was painful, but I got to see the love and hope that they held out for in the middle of everything. I wish at times that I saw these two characters together or at least having them connect earlier on than they did, because I didn't really connect with them together as much as I did as totally separate characters.

Overall, this was a beautifully tragic story that didn't hit all the right notes for me, but was still a book that I enjoyed listening to and going on the journey with the two characters and their families. The narration was great, but I think it would've benefitted having 2 narrators to read the 2 characters. It may have impacted me more that way. Still enjoyed the setting and the way the characters got answers and evolved over the course of the story. An impactful, character-driven story with some hard subject matters.
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Rating: 5
Author: @nina_lacour
Publication Date: 5/31/22
 
Woah. This book was beautiful, heartbreaking, and powerful. It will leave you feeling so many different emotions. That’s all I’m going to say. Read the book and you will know exactly what I mean. Even if you end up not liking it I feel like you might still appreciate the beauty of it. I listened to the audiobook version and the narrator @justjuliawhelan did a fantastic job. 
 
This author has already been a favorite of mine but she really outdid herself with this adult novel. She’s not afraid to write realistic characters going through real life issues. Whether those issues are the good the bad or the ugly she doesn’t shy away from certain topics. Being someone who deals with some of the issues she writes about I really appreciate it. 
 
Thank you so much @macmillan.audio & @flatiron_books for providing me with a copy on #netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I have been wanting to read this book, when I saw that Julia Whelan was the narrator of the audio version I just had to request it! 

Yerba Buena was a really enjoyable book. I wouldn’t categorize this book as a romance, I would say it’s more of a literary fiction. However literary fiction is my favorite genre. I really enjoyed this duel POV story between Sarah and Emily. The writing is so beautiful and very descriptive. l highly recommend this book. I received an audio copy from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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Yerba Buena is the story of two women orbiting one another and finding love in the aftermath of their own traumas, hangups and grief. Years before they will meet, readers are introduced to a young Sara Foster, a teenager who endures some of the worst the world has to offer and runs away to escape it all. Hundreds of miles away, Emilie DuBois is struggling to find herself and her wants. When they finally meet as successful twenty-somethings in LA, it’s electric for them both, but neither is in the right place to pursue what they feel. What follows is a back and forth of longing, with the same notes of finding oneself that LaCour wrote so masterfully in her young adult protagonists. When Sara and Emilie do finally circle into one another the pieces fit in both a puzzling and a perfect manner. 

Throughout it all, LaCour brings a sensual prose full of flowers and flavors to a story about a woman who will craft expensive cocktails and another who will fashion exquisite florals. The restaurant where they meet is called Yerba Buena, but so is the herb that Sara is given as a tea in her youth, the flower that Emilie adds to her first flower arrangements and the drink that Sara makes for Emilie the first night they crash into one another. It’s another example of the triumphant way that LaCour arranges imagery into something powerful and seductive. 

Yerba Buena – the novel – is what Sara’s cocktails and Emilie’s flowers are: powerful, seductive, sensual, crafted, fashioned. Treats for all the senses, begging for tactile engagement in the same way her lovers also beg to be touched.
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2 ⭐️ // I noticed Yerba Buena on NetGalley and Book of the Month, and the description caught my interest. I listened to the audiobook ARC, but the story was very slow. The timeline was confusing at times, and the ending was underwhelming. Unfortunately, it did not meet my expectations.

This story is not a lighthearted tale, and it wasn’t focused on the love story or the restaurant as I expected. I would classify the story as women’s literature. The character development was alright, and it didn’t capture my attention. Plus, the narrator’s voice was monotone, so I was easily distracted while listening. Overall, it was just an “okay” read, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

What I liked —
🖤 Diverse Characters
✊ Overcoming Tough Situations
🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQ+ Rep
💕 Romance (not the focal point)
😢 Emotional Story

Read this book if —
🎓 You couldn’t pick a major in college
💐 Florals interest you
💰 You’ve learned to survive on an empty wallet
🍹 Bartending is your secret talent
🍽 You enjoy hosting dinner parties

TW: overdose, self-harm, depression, grief, death (partner, parent), sexual assault, infidelity, prostitution, cancer, drug abuse, alcoholism, blood

Thank you, NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Macmillan Audio, for providing me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Goodreads review will be posted shortly.
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Another fantastic audio listen, this follows two women on their journey toward each other. I found each of the women well developed, the writing fantastic, and the story compelling. AND part of it takes place in and around a restaurant, another soft spot I love. For fans of One Last Stop and A World Between.
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The book follows the lives of Emilie and Sara, from their teen years through adulthood, and shows the ways their lives have intersected over the years. There’s starcrossed lovers vibes, but the book explores so many things - PTSD, grief and loss, eldest daughter syndrome, shitty parents, sibling relationships, addiction, depression, and just…A Lot of traumatic shit. 

It had a lot of building tension that was written in a very lyrical way (also narrated in a very beautifully way by Julia Whelan) and it was resolved…gradually, almost softly. There’s enough material there for at least 2 books, but the story felt whole. Overall, a pretty solid read, though not quite the happy rom com I was expecting based on the cover. 

Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Julia Wehlan's voice is everything. In the short time I've been listening to audiobooks she is my favorite narrator. That said, I didn't love this book and only continued to listen because I love her narration
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Very difficult book to read because of its themes and content. If you are looking for an emotional read this is for you!
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When I first saw the cover of Yerba Buena, I thought the characters would be Hispanic and boy was I wrong! Was not what I thought it would be, but I’m so glad I was able to finally get a hold of this book! Seriously, the most beautiful book cover I’ve seen in a while.

Yerba Buena follows the lives of Sara and Emilie and their personal growth of a journey full of devastating events. When their lives finally intertwine, it seems they aren’t the perfect solution to each other. This kind of rawness is so human and expected in real life and I’m so glad Nina Lacour brings us the honest truth.

I recommend reading this book for the simple fact that life doesn’t always have happy endings, just endings and that’s okay too.

Thank you to Nina Lacour, NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the ARC.

#yerbabuena #ninalacour #netgalley
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Ok this was beautiful but I needed more. There was a lot of build up to the amazing relationship that Emilie and Sara could have and then nothing really happened. Star crossed lovers but it was like they could never stay together for long. I wanted them together and happy. I love both their stories. The audio was a little hard to follow because the voice was the same for both Sara and Emilie so it was a little confusing at times. I enjoyed listening to this and never thought I would cry over a plant and what it means to these characters. But here we are and I want more of it.
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This was a beautifully written, well-thought out love story between two very different women. It is a character-driven love story told over the span of many years, and dives very deeply into the lives of its leads in a way that evokes true raw emotion every time. Despite the fact that this may not have been an instant favourite for me (though I certainly did enjoy it!), I recognize that I am not its intended audience. This is a wonderful work of literature that is going to strike a chord with so many readers, and I am crossing my fingers that Nina LaCour delves into the adult fiction genre more in the future.
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Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for this alc. 

This is my first DNF of the year. I usually do not DNF books but I got to 50% with this one and was feeling absolutely nothing. I was not interested in the characters, not interested in the plot, not interested to know how the story would end. 

In this book we follow Sarah Foster from her teenage years to her adult life. She runs away from home when she is 16 and goes to Los Angeles where years later she meets Emilie Dubois. Both of them have a lot of baggage, trauma, complicated family backgrounds, both of them have dealt with addiction in different ways. Their relationship is not perfect but you can feel the attraction and the love between them. 

So there is drug abuse, alcohol addiction, prostitution, romance, but listening to their complicated lives I felt nothing, it did not do anything to me, it felt empty and uninterested. I did not connect with the story. I believe it was not a book for me, or not the right time for me to be reading this one, and it would be perfectly enjoyable for other people. I would say if you are interested in Yerba Buena give it a try.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC audiobook!!

I really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little hard for me to follow and keep track of, and it took a bit for it to hold my attention, but once the storylines crossed, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters and couldn’t wait to keep listening. Ultimately, I really liked how their stories weaved and I better understood and appreciated why the book started the stories so separately. I think the thing I liked most about this book was that it’s so much more than can ever be summed up in a synopsis. There’s so much nuance and side storylines that help move the primary story along as well.

Overall, will be recommending this book!
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If you love a heartfelt story of family, friendship, heartbreak, food, and finding yourself this all of that  and then some woven beautifully into the most tender story I have read all year. The story of Yerba Buena is one I know I will think of often, and fondly, for years. I have been a fan of Nina Lacour for many years and was beyond excited to see that she was releasing an Adult fiction and I'm happy to report, it was every bit as good as her others (read We Are Okay immediately if you haven't!). 

The audio was beautiful, per usual from Julia Whelan, and she told the story with all the emotion that I need in an audiobook. 

4.5 stars, rounded up for NetGalley!
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This is a great book! It felt so well written and I was really attached to Sara and Emilie as characters. I got the audiobook from NetGalley and Julia Whelan narrates, she was excellent as usual. My only complaint is that I wish it was two narrators because sometimes I got confused on which POV the chapter was. Thankful to BOTM for putting this on my radar, I want a copy so I’ll definitely add it on to a future box.
Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for the advance copy of the audiobook, pub date is 5/31!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for gifting me with an Advanced Listener’s Copy of Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour. In exchange I offer my unbiased review.

First, absolutely gorgeous cover design and all the love for Julia Whelan’s  narration. I was hooked from the first page and was transfixed by Nina LaCour’s magnificent writing. 
A truly beautiful, but at times uncomfortable story of two young women: Sara & Emilie - each harboring pain, loss, regret and family secrets.
Both looking to unburden their past, both too afraid to let go.
It’s a story with missed opportunities, words left unspoken, grief, heartache but also friendship, growth, healing and happiness. 
I LOVED this book 💜
Audio narration was excellent 🎧
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I got an ARC of this audiobook.

This is a great example of LaCour’s work. It is intensely emotional, while still having a meandering pace that is both too slow and exactly the right speed at the same time.

This is labeled as an adult book, but very little sets this apart from LaCour’s YA books. The way that it winds slowly through these incredibly emotional points of someone’s life and how those characters react is similar. I can’t really pinpoint the place that makes this adult instead of YA. Some of the content is a bit more adult, like survival sex work done by minors. But there is still the focus on death, growing up, healing, and just trying to survive big things.

The first chunk of the book was difficult to listen to. The two women were very hard to tell apart. The only way that I could tell who was who was based on who they were around. Their romance didn’t exactly make sense. A lot of the plots didn’t make any sense, but they were still enjoyable to go down. This is not a book that holds up well to guessing what will happen. It just feels like two people that keep falling into mild adventures and don’t really have any plans. The way that everything is handled would limit who I am recommending this book to, because it really is just a walk around instead of a journey.

The narrator had a lovely voice. There wasn’t much that was added by the narration choices, but the narration did not take away from the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I can see why some people would be annoyed by it. The MCs are really too similar in the beginning, they don’t meet or interact until about half way through the book, there is no real plot. It just is. Very LaCour.
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