The Best Books I Read in February 2023
I finished 19 books in February but a few of them were duds. Here’s my top reads.
Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 11, 2023. This was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and it met my expectations. Abby Jimenez is an expert at creating love stories that contain both humor and heaviness. Briana is an ER doctor whose life is pretty rough at the moment. She is struggling to process her divorce and deal with her brother’s illness. Then comes Jacob, another ER doctor who transferred from another hospital for a fresh start. He is immediately smitten with Bri, while she thinks he’s a jerk. Then slowly they get to know each other and he asks for a favor she can’t refuse. I love fake dating and it’s done here perfectly. There’s so much chemistry and tension between the two characters, it was a joy watching them fall for each other. Anxiety is represented really well. I suffer from it also and genuinely connected with Jacob and his limitations. I understand how hard it can be dating as a person with anxiety and it takes a lot to be able to share your full self with another person. He did it beautifully. This book works well as a stand alone but it’s connected to Part of Your World, which is excellent too and it reading that one first makes this one a little richer.
Next of Kin by Hannah Bonam Young
Available on Kindle Unlimited. I’m a sucker for any story where an older sibling takes responsibility for a younger one, and I especially love that in a romance novel. Here it’s doubly wonderful because both main characters are in that situation. This book melted my heart, it has everything I love about the romance genre. There’s humor and sexiness but also heaviness. Chloe and Warren are such opposites at first but then it becomes clear that they have been dealt similar hands, they just have responded in different ways. They both have huge hearts and want the best for their younger sibling, which was so sweet. It’s fairly short (285 pages) and I would have liked it to be a little longer to get more time/scenes for things to develop between Chole and Warren but I absolutely loved what we got.
The Plus One by Mazey Eddings
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 4, 2023. This third installment in the series is just as excellent as the previous books. It beautifully balances humor and romance with heavy subjects. I loved everything about it! The more romances I read like this, the more I love when the characters have known each other since childhood. This isn’t a second chance, because they haven’t been romantically involved before, in fact they’ve been kind of nemesis, but they’ve clearly had strong feelings for each other for years. It is fun to watch that finally come to fruition. Indira is coming out of a relationship where she caught her boyfriend in the act of cheating, and she’s staying with her brother for a while. Jude just so happens to be staying in the guest room next door because he’s in town for her brother’s wedding. What starts as the usual snark between them turns softer as Indira realizes Jude is suffering from PTSD after three years of working as a doctor in war torn and troubled parts of the world. This is handled gently and therapy is a huge part of the story for both characters. This is a really wonderful book and while it works fine as a stand alone, if you haven’t read the previous two books yet you’re really missing out and should do so!
Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad
This is a very powerful memoir about the author’s journey during and after having cancer. She’s diagnosed at age 22 and her life is essentially on hold for years. The writing is gorgeous and emotional, although some of her descriptions of what happens to her body during this time are brutal. The first half of the book is her cancer story and the second half occurs once she’s in remission and chronicles the time she took to travel on her own and figure out what she wanted to do with this second chance at life.
Playing Nice by JP Delaney
This is a wonderfully suspenseful domestic thriller. I listened to the first 60% on audio and then switched to may physical copy because I didn’t want to take a break from it! Both formats are great for enjoying the story. I’m not a parent but I could still imagine the horror of finding out the child you’ve been raising was switched at birth and isn’t yours biologically. The story built and built until I was angry and disbelieving what was happening. It all was believable and felt like it could happen.
The Rest of the Story by Tal Bauer
Available on Kindle Unlimited. A friend talked me into reading this and I’m so glad. It’s a beautiful story, unlike any romance I’ve read. Yes, it’s a love story but it’s also about surviving trauma, believing in yourself, teamwork, found family, resilience, and hockey. The romance is always there but it’s not always front and center. The writing is strong and emotional. I loved all of the characters and want to see them get their own books. The book is entirely from Morgan’s perspective and I came to care about him a lot and wanted him to succeed.
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