What I Read This Week: April 24, 2022

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Literary fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication May 3, 2022 This gorgeous novel is my favorite release of 2022 so far. It’s a story about grief, yet it’s also hopeful and life affirming. There’s a large cast of characters, and the chapters give us their viewpoints, including that of a Giant Pacific Octopus named Marcelle. The writing is beautiful and poignant. I loved the descriptions of the sea creatures in the aquarium that is a frequent setting throughout the book. I also appreciated how these characters all showed up for each other in different ways. I highly recommend this one for readers of literary fiction.

On the Honey Side by Staci Hart

Contemporary romance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book two in the Blum’s Bees series. Staci Hart is one of my new favorite romance authors! Her stories are fun yet heavy and her characters are complicated and realistic. Here we have Keaton and Daisy, who both lost their first loves and have been grieving ever since. They find comfort in each other because finally someone can understand their sadness. Meanwhile, Daisy is running her family honey farm with her mom and sisters, while Keaton runs a construction business with his brothers. I loved the way the families combined and showed up to support the couple. While this is a sweet, very swoony romance (with some hot sex scenes including in a barn!) it also tackles serious subjects such as grief, homelessness, and political corruption. I highly recommend this series for romance readers, start with the first book.

Bittersweet by Susan Cain

Non-fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reading this book while suffering from depression wasn’t my best choice! It made me contemplate my life’s purpose and my mortality and I’m not in the best head space for that right now. With that being said, it’s a compelling, interesting read because Cain tackles issues and emotions that I haven’t read about before. She’s right that melancholy is often swept under the rug and showing such emotions are seen as weakness in our society. Seeing the benefits of exploring those emotions was helpful. This book gave me a lot to think about and I’ll probably revisit it when I’m at a different place in my life. I highly recommend it for readers of psychology and personal development.

The Treble With Men by Piper Sheldon

Contemporary romance

Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book two in the Scorned Women’s Society series, which is a spin-off from the Winston brothers series by Penny Reid. I had no idea I needed a Phantom of the Opera re-telling in my life, but I did! If I hadn’t known going in, I would have been like WTF is happening and why is he wearing a mask, but having that knowledge ahead of time allowed me to suspend disbelief and get lost in the story. It’s not as creepy as the original, but it definitely has some weird moments, along with great humor and hot sex scenes. Normally I would be annoyed if the characters didn’t kiss til 60% in, but Kim and Devlin have chemistry and sexual tension from the start so it didn’t feel drawn out. Ultimately, this is a story about figuring out who your true self is and being comfortable living in that skin. I highly recommend this series for romance readers, start with the first book.

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