What I Read This Week: April 25, 2021

Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book two in the Bergman Brothers series. Everything about this book surprised me! We have an autistic heroine who also suffers from chronic pain. Her love interest is a male hockey player who secretly loves Shakespeare. I appreciate how both characters defy stereotypes and show that people of all abilities deserve to love and be loved. I prefer romance novels with some heaviness and it’s here for sure. This story shows how messy life can be, and how it’s worth it to work through the tough parts. It’s also shows that often we are standing in our own way of happiness and don’t realize it until someone calls us on our BS. We have to believe we are worthy of love before we can accept it from someone else, whether that’s romantically or platonically. I can’t wait to move on to the next in the series, which I highly recommend for romance readers.

The Varlet and the Voyeur by L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid

Contemporary romance

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Book four in the Rugby Series. This is a sweet story that had a lot of WTF moments. I appreciate that the storyline is unique and it doesn’t shame sexual behaviors that are deemed “unusual.” Overall the book is funny and sexy – great sexual tension! Will is a rugby player with a sudden reputation issue. A teammate connects him with his wife’s friend to be his “minder” of sorts. The two are total opposites and their roommate situation leads to something more. This book wasn’t nearly as strong as the previous two in the series (but the first one is still the worst by far) and there are several inconsistencies between this plot line and the others. My feelings on this series are mixed. There are definitely hits and misses, but I’d still recommend it for readers of romance, especially sports related ones.

Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann

Literary Fiction/Audiobook

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, published April 6, 2021. I’m childless by choice and generally not affected much by plot lines about parenting and kids, but this novel absolutely ripped my heart out. More than once. Hoffman does an incredible job portraying human pain and suffering. That’s what resonated with me throughout. On the surface, it’s a story about a childless couple adopting from a pregnant teen. But ultimately it’s about how each character deals with their pain. The writing is skilled and emotional. The storyline is compelling from the start. I listened to the audiobook and liked how each narrator gave their character some personality. The only thing keeping this from being a five star read for me was that I was left wanting more. I highly recommend this one for readers of literary fiction and women’s fiction.

It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark

Contemporary romance

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication May 4, 2021. This is a sweet rom-com in the style of Love Actually. There’s a large cast of characters, each with their own journey. I liked the second half much more than the first, once all the stories started to connect it picked up the pace (and the feels.) The cast of characters is refreshingly diverse, although a couple of them felt a bit based on stereotypes. I enjoyed seeing different types of relationships, but I would have preferred fewer characters to give more time to each couple. The dialogue felt forced at times, and it seemed each relationship had to speed ahead to get resolved in time. Overall, I enjoyed this read. It had me laughing at times and feeling heartbroken at others. The premise is unique and I enjoyed watching Liv and Savannah’s transformations the most. I recommend this one for readers of romance.


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