What I Read This Week: December 19, 2021

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I finished six books this week and exceeded my goal of 200 books for 2021! I’m at 203 for the year so far which beats last year by two books, and I will finish several more before the year ends.

Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison

Holiday romance

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This is by far my favorite holiday romance ever! When Stella enters her farm in a social media contest, she lies and says she runs it with her boyfriend. So when the influencer comes to visit, Stella asks her best friend of almost a decade to be her fake boyfriend. Luka agrees and the situation forces them both to face feelings they’ve been burying for years in order to preserve their friendship. The story is sweet and swoony all the way through. I absolutely loved Stella and Luka and was rooting for them from the start. The story also has fabulous side characters and a charming setting. And while there are some heavy topics, such as grief, loss of a parent, and dysfunctional families, I would have liked for that stuff to be a tad more prominent. I prefer my romances with a little more weight than this one, but the rest was so lovely I was able to forgive that. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance, especially those who love a mushy story without a lot of roadblocks.

The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor

Contemporary LGBTQ+ romance

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I’ve read a lot of romance novels and this one was unlike any other. Because I’m an American hetero woman, I don’t think I “got” the book as much as a different reader would, who could relate to the characters. However I still found it powerful and interesting. While it’s technically a romance novel, it reads more like contemporary fiction because it’s more about Ved’s personal journey than the actual romantic relationship. He is a closeted gay man in India where homosexuality is illegal. Over the course of the book, he realizes he wants to live authentically and tries to figure out how to do that without disappointing his parents. Generally I wouldn’t like a romance where cheating is prominent but it was necessary to the storyline and I understood the characters’ motivations. I appreciate that there were ramifications of the cheating. I recommend this for readers of LGBTQ+ stories and romances. 

Shelf Awareness by Katie Ashley

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. This was a decent, fun reading experience. There were parts I really enjoyed, mostly the sides characters and the library setting. However this book has a lot of problems. It also has a lot of potential that isn’t explored which made it a disappointing read. It’s obvious the author tried to fit some diversity into the story. It’s there but it’s superficial. There’s a Native American character and three gay characters but there no follow through, no reason that these characters exist this way. Because this series is written by many different authors, the books are all over the place in their quality and writing styles. I’m not enjoying it much because each book is so different from the previous one. I’ll keep going only because I’m reading them with my book club. I wouldn’t recommend this one.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Young adult historical fiction/audiobook

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Book one in the Montague Siblings series. I was expecting this to be a romance novel, and while there is a romantic component, it’s truly a young adult historical fiction adventure story about a bisexual young man in the 1700’s when that wasn’t something spoken about. This is Monty’s personal journey to who he is and who he loves, but it’s also a literal journey he takes with sister and his closest friend. I loved the complexity of the story and the writing. There is great humor, yet it also tackles heavy subject such as sexuality, racism, and abusive parents. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Christian Coulson, and he did a brilliant job bringing the story to life and giving the characters personality, especially Monty. All the side characters were charming in their own way. I highly recommend this one for readers of LGBTQ+ stories and young adult historical fiction.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

Young adult historical fiction/romance

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Book 1.5 in the Montague Siblings series. I was expecting more from this, based on the intensity of the previous book. This was a cute glimpse into how Monty and Percy are moving forward with their relationship. The whole point of this novella is that they haven’t had sex yet. So, we’re teased with a couple times they almost do the deed but then never get closure on the topic. It was fun to visit the characters but again, I wanted more. Mostly, for them to consummate their relationship but I was also hoping to see them actually settled in London together. I recommend this one for readers of the series.

Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher

Paranormal romance

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication February 8, 2022.

I usually love paranormal romance novels but this one didn’t land for me. It definitely has funny moments and hot sex scenes but it’s slow paced and has too much going on. Violet is a witch without magic who is on the verge of being forced into a marriage she doesn’t want. Similarly, Lincoln is a shifter who is the leader of his pack and may be forced to mate with a female if he doesn’t want to lose his status in the pack. The two have a history going all the way back to childhood, so they come up with a plan to fake date to give them both time to come up with plans to get out of their situations.I was bogged down by all the politics of the supernatural world. There was too much red tape and too many characters. I didn’t understand all the political and historical stuff about supernatural creatures. I definitely think other readers of paranormal romance will like this one more, especially those readers who appreciates a lot of word building.

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