What I Read This Week: May 9, 2021

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I finished three books this week and only one was a hit.

Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Contemporary romance

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, published May 4, 2021. My feelings about this novel are quite mixed. It’s such a sad book. So so so sad. If it wasn’t an ARC, I would have quit about 30% in because it was hard to handle. I was dreading picking it up again each time. With all of that being said, it’s also a brilliant book. McFarlane’s novels are always about so much more than the romance. This novel is about loss in many ways. Loss of a loved one but also loss of youth and letting go of what you thought your life should look like. Somehow amidst all the heaviness, she manages to fit in some fantastic humor too. Overall this one didn’t land well for me. I think a lot of it is timing with issues in my personal life.I recommend it for readers of romance, especially McFarlane’s fans.

Runaway Train by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Young adult/Historical fiction

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, published April 28, 2021.This book made me feel so many things! It took me right back to my adolescence. Nico’s older sister died suddenly from a brain aneurism in 1993. She believes this to be a hereditary trait and fears the same may happen to her in a year’s time. So she runs away from home with her Bucket List in hand, in pursuit of as many life experiences as she can have. In the afterward, the author explains this novel is “a love letter to grunge music” and that came through loud and clear. I was two years younger than Nico at this same time in the 90’s. The music she loves, that’s on every page of this book, shaped my life too and still resonates with me. I loved having that shared experience with her.  I highly recommend this for readers of coming of age stories and music history.

Weight Expectations by M.E. Carter

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. This is the first in the Cipher Office series, which is a spin-off of the Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid. I was really excited for this book and it was a disappointment. Pacing was the big issue. I liked the characters well enough but it wasn’t until 60% in that they begin a romantic relationship. Then when things finally get steamy, we barely get anything. That’s a whole lot of waiting for not much action! I’m not a big fan of the boss/employee trope and it wasn’t done well here. But there were a few redeeming points in the story, mostly how the female protagonist discovers things she enjoys about fitness, and the author’s emphasis that skinny does not always equal healthy. I’m not sure I’d recommend this one, but I will continue the series because the second is by another author.

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