What I Read This Week: January 3, 2021

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Hello and welcome to my first weekly wrap up of the new year! All the books I finished this week had gotten started in December at some point.

This is Not the End by Sidney Bell

Contemporary romance

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication January 11, 2021 This story has so much going for it: It’s a beautiful tale of love and acceptance. It’s about creating a chosen family when you’re biological one can’t be what you need, and how family can look different but it doesn’t make it any less real. It’s a sexy book, funny, and unique (the sex scenes are HOT.)  adore the romance genre, but one of my pet peeves in a story is when just a little bit of clear communication could have resolved a whole lot of conflict. That repeats in this story a couple times and it didn’t make sense considering how the characters communicated other times. Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It showcases what I love best about this genre, which is that everyone deserves love. I highly recommend it for readers of romance. 

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

Contemporary romance

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Book Five in the Knitting in the City series. I was excited about this one because it features a married couple. But I found the plot too far fetched, even for a romance novel. I wanted to be able to connect with the characters and their desire to keep their marriage lively, but I just couldn’t. Despite that, I still enjoyed the book as a whole. Reid is a master of the genre and I appreciate all the things she does “right” in her books. I recommend this series for readers of romance, but definitely start with book one.

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Literary fiction

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This is my book club‘s January selection. Through sparse, blunt language Washington manages to tell a gut-wrenching story about family and relationships. Benson and Mike are two men who have been together for a few years and aren’t sure where things are going. Regardless of one’s gender or sexual orientation, this is a relatable situation to most. I appreciated the raw honesty of the story, as well as the distinct voices given our two protagonists who alternate as narrator. I recommend this one for readers of literary fiction, LGBTQ stories, and family stories.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

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This is an epic novel, I wish I’d finished it in December so I could have counted it among my favorite reads of 2020. But it’s so good that it might stick with me for the rest of the year, you’ll have to keep tuning in to see!

If I had to pick one category for this book, I’d have to say gothic horror. It’s a slow burn, the suspense builds beautifully with vivid imagery and lots of scares. But it’s so much more than a creepy novel. Our omniscient narrator takes the reader back and forth between two timelines, both focused around the supposedly cursed Brookhants School for Girls. One setting is the school in 1902, the other is the campus in modern day as it serves as a movie set.

While it’s obviously about creepy goings-on, it’s also a story about sexuality and genre norms, about relationships, love, and family. There’s a lot going on here and the threads are maintained throughout. It’s an entertaining, gorgeous read that covers a ton of ground-there’s something for everyone. I highly recommend it for readers of literary fiction, LGBTQ history, and gothic horror.

Currently Reading


  1. Ellen Zuckerman

    January 5, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    I just finished Plain Bad Heroines last night, and was a little underwhelmed by the ending. But I thought the writing was really good!

  2. Ramona Mead

    January 6, 2021 at 9:35 am

    I can see that about the end. And I thought the writing was exceptional. It was a complex storyline and she managed to weave it all together well, I never lost interest which is saying something for a 600+ page book!

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