What I Read This Week: April 4, 2021

Great news bookish friends, I seem to have found my reading mojo again! I finished five books this week, all of which I liked a lot.

I think the key to getting out of my reading slump was to give myself permission to only read what I enjoy and not judge myself for it. Right now I’m into romance novels and thrillers. Most other genres feel too serious and difficult.

Because of this, I’m realllly struggling with my book club pick, which is a pretty heavy memoir. I’ve never quit a book for this club that I run so I’ve decided I’m going to keep plugging along slowly and if I finish that’s great but if not, that’s okay too. Taking that pressure off myself has done wonders for my mood and interest in other books.

Here’s a look at what I finished this week:

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Contemporary Romance

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This is a rivals to lovers romance, which isn’t my favorite trope but it works well here. Callum and Nikki run rival food trucks that are competing for business on the island of Maui. The food part of the book was really fun, especially how the cuisine they cook matches their personalities. Overall this was a nice read, but it went a little too far in terms of how long it took Nikki to come around to the love part of the story. I would recommend this one for romance readers, especially of this particular trope.

Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Literary fiction/romance/audiobook

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I absolutely adore unconventional love stories, and this is one of the sweetest I’ve read. But it isn’t a straight forward romance novel, which I appreciate. Here we have an older white woman with a younger black man, in London around the time of the Brexit vote. We follow both characters before, during, and after their time together. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Hattie Ladbury and Ben Bailey Smith, who added emotion and humor to Hornby’s already touching and funny writing. I liked Lucy and Joseph a lot. They both make questionable decisions along the way, but that makes them realistic and relatable. It was a joy to watch them navigate their unconventional relationship, and it was eye opening to me to see what pushback they got compared to what they were expecting. Overall this is well written, funny, and timely.  I highly recommend this novel for Hornby fans, as well as readers of romance and literary fiction. I especially recommend the audiobook.

Having the Barbarian’s Baby by Ruby Dixon

Sci-fi/Romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited I thoroughly enjoy these glimpses of everyday life on the ice planet. This one was especially short and not terribly interesting to me, but it was still nice to see these characters again. This story focuses on Megan, who is distressed when her mate is sent out hunting close to when she’s due to give birth. Even though these stories are absolute fantasy, the humans are still humans, despite being on a distant plant with protective sexy aliens. I like seeing the womens’ humanity and the way they stick together. I’m loving this series and recommend it for readers of romance who would like something different.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Mystery/Thriller

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 13, 2021 This is my second Sally Hepworth novel and I liked it for many of the same reasons I enjoyed The Mother-in-Law. They’re both mystery/thrillers with a complex emotional story. This story focuses on the relationship between twin sisters Rose and Fern. There are all sorts of complicated dynamics between them and their mother, lots of secrets and twists throughout the years. The writing is strong and the characters are deep and complex. The unique storyline kept me interested from start to finish. It’s a wonderful emotional roller coaster of a read and I highly recommend it.

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. Here the rivals to lovers trope is done exceptionally well. The misunderstandings between Ryder and Willa are completely understandable. There are so many things I love about this book. Mostly that the woman is a famous athlete instead of the man. I love how the characters’ families and friends were such a huge part of their lives. The humor is top notch, even around difficult topics like disability and grief. The sexual tension between Willa and Ryder is through the roof! Every time I thought there’d be some relief, it got more intense. I both loved and hated that! I especially appreciate how the characters are given time to work through their crap. They don’t rush each other and the author doesn’t rush them. It’s a story that’s sad and happy and frustrating all at once. On one hand I look forward to the next book in the series but on the other hand I’m sad to be done with this story. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance.


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