What I Read This Week: August 9, 2021

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I finished four books this week. Three of them great fantastic, the last was a bit of a let down.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Literary fiction

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This was a lovely reading experience, full of just about every feeling imaginable. I am amazed by Steven Rowley’s ability to write a scene that is both sad and funny at the same time. Gay Uncle Patrick (aka GUP or Guncle) is a brilliantly complex character, full of sass and snark, and grief and anger. He’s realistic and relatable, even though I don’t have much in common with him. He takes on the care of his niece and nephew in a moment that is terrible for all of them. He defies others’ expectations that he will fail, simply by being his true self in front of these kids. All of the characters, even the side ones, are full of personality and add a lot to the story.  I highly recommend this one for readers of literary fiction.

The Husbands by Chandler Baker

Literary fiction/Audiobook

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This is a solidly okay suspense read that speaks to the disparity between husbands and wives, particularly when it comes to childrearing. Much like with the author’s last novel, this subject matter didn’t particularly resonate with me, as I’m cloudless by choice and have never worked in a high pressure career. While I appreciate what the author is trying to say with this book, I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. Allyson Ryan’s audiobook narration was great. She adjusted her tone for each character, which kept me engaged in the story. I saw the “twists” coming early, which is always a bummer for me. The pacing of the story is extremely slow and drawn out. I was 70% through and wondering when some action might happen. If you enjoyed The Whisper Network, you’ll probably like this one a lot too. Otherwise, I’m not sure who I’d recommend it to. It’s not a typical thriller, and is slow paced for suspense.

Aloha With Love by Lindy Miller and Terence Brody

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Advanced copy from Expresso Book Tours, published July 13, 2021 I saw someone that this novel is being made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, so that should tell you a lot about it! It’s a sweet story about the true meaning of home and place. My major complaint is this book was too short, at 192 pages. I would have like about a hundred more to deepen the emotional bond between the two main characters. It’s about a Hawaiian born young woman who seeks a prominent career in architecture on the mainland after college. When she has to return due to a death in the family, she realizes that maybe the new life she’d built wasn’t what it seemed on the surface. I recommend this one for romance readers.

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication March 2022. I’ve never read an ARC this far in advance! Last month I read the first in this series (It Happened One Summer) and was dying for Hannah and Fox’s story. Seven months have passed since the first book, Hannah and Fox have developed a long distance friendship based on texting and music references. The story is sweet, swoony, and thick with sexual tension from start to finish. What I loved most was the characters’ personal journeys, especially Fox’s. He believe’s he’s a manwhore with nothing to offer except a good time. Hannah believes she’s not leading lady material in life and has resigned herself to a supporting role. They see the best in each other and eventually lead the other to see how much they have to offer, separately and as a couple. I read this book in two sittings and it was pure joy. I highly recommend it for romance readers, start with the first book even though this one is better!

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