What I Read This Week: April 10, 2022

I finished five books this week and they were mostly four star reads!

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz

Memoir

This is a heavy memoir, about growing up in poverty with a mentally ill parent. The author shares openly, all that she’s been through and what she’s had to do to survive. There’s a huge focus on violence and mental health. I found the writing beautiful, though it’s disjointed in spots. There’s a lot of jumping around in time but it suits the chaotic life the author has led. This was eye opening for me and I appreciate the author’s bravery to tell her story. I recommend this for readers of memoir.

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Contemporary romance

Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication May 24, 2022. I’m a sucker for an unconventional love story and this is a beautiful one. It’s also messy and uncomfortable, much like real life. It’s been five years since the death of Feyi’s husband and she is starting to feel alive again. She’s not looking for anything serious and casually dating a nice guy. When she goes on vacation with him, she meets someone else who makes her feel a way she never imagined feeling again. This puts her in an incredibly awkward position and she has serious choices to make. This is a story about finding love again after loss, and also about finding oneself again after losing a spouse. The writing is strong and emotional. I felt so many things while reading! My only complaint is that the first half drags a bit. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance who are up for something different and heavy.

The Best American Essays 2021 edited by Kathryn Schulz

Essay collection

While published in 2021, this is a collection of essays from 2020. Many of them focus on COVID and race issues, but not all of them. I was surprised and relieved by the wide range of topics covered. All of these essays are excellent. Reading this collection gave me a flashback of what the muckiest parts of 2020 were like. I highly recommend it for readers of the genre.

Everything for You by Chloe Liese

Contemporary romance

Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication May 10, 2022 . This book was pretty slow but that’s the only issue I have with it. Otherwise it’s nearly perfect. It’s one of the best grumpy-sunshine stories I’ve ever read. I especially appreciate that trope with a MM couple. Gavin and Oliver both have great story arcs, separately and as a couple. While there are funny moments and hot sex, there’s also heaviness. Gavin lives with chronic pain and Oliver suffers from anxiety. Each has to learn that they’re worthy of love, and that’s my favorite part of romance novels. It was so great to see the Bergman family again and visit the A-frame cabin. The way this family supports each other is really special. I highly recommend this series for romance readers but you need to start with book one.

My Bare Lady by Piper Sheldon

Contemporary romance

Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book one in the Scorned Women’s Society series, which is a spin-off of the Winston Brothers series. It isn’t very feminist of me, but I do enjoy a My Fair Lady retelling! This one is wonderfully done. I love that the heroine is a stripper and that is celebrated by her friends and her hero. There is definitely some sex/slut shaming in here so beware if that’s a trigger for you. There’s also more violence than is common in a romance novel. None of it is gratuitous though. It’s a gritty story that proves how everyone is deserving of being loved. I highly recommend it for readers of romance. You could read it if you aren’t familiar with the Winston Brothers series, but it would be best if you’ve read those books first.

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