What I Read This Week: December 26, 2021

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Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating this weekend. I managed to finish four books this week.

Dipped in Holly by Dana Isaly

Erotica

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Well, this is a smutty little Christmas story and I liked it! I prefer more romance with my erotica so this didn’t meet my emotional needs for a book but was entertaining and filthy in the best way. Holly and Nick hook up almost immediately after meeting and if that had been drawn out just a little bit more, I would have been more invested. Still, I recommend it for those who enjoy some Santa themed sexy times.

This Book Will Make You Kinder by Henry James Garrett

Non-fiction/Personal Development

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This is a very meta look at kindness and asks questions such as why are we kind and why aren’t we kinder, then digs to find out the answers. As an empath who considers myself to be a kind person, I spent the first third of the book wondering if it was for me. I understand empathy, I feel other people’s emotions, I like to think I’m a very compassionate human. But once I hit about 40% in, I was thinking “oh shit, I make a lot of these mistakes and I CAN be kinder.” The core of the book is that we are kind because of empathy and we aren’t kinder because of limits to our empathy. The author explores what sets those limits and how we can avoid making those mistakes, some of which are societal and rammed down our throats.  Every human should read this book. Especially if you already think you’re kind. It made me see the world in a whole new way.

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Literary fiction/Mystery

This book was a wild ride. It started out strong, drawing me into a mystery. But then 40 pages in, the narrative totally changed, and I didn’t like that abrupt switch. It was a like a whole new book starting again, so it took a while to get into the groove of that story. The middle was a bit of a slog, I didn’t understand why I was there or why I should care about these new characters. Once I was about 60% in, it started to get compelling and I was hooked until the end. I’m glad I didn’t quit when I was bored but I’m still left feeling like “WTF did I just read?” This is a story about identity and place, and how who you are can shift depending where you are. It’s also about the power of thoughts. We can make anything true if we believe it hard enough. I liked contemplating those ideas while reading. I spent a lot of time wondering if the scenario in this book could really happen and I think it could, and probably does. Based on the blurb, I went into this expecting a mystery/thriller with a magical realism component. All those characteristics are part of this book but not in the way I was imagining. This is a slow burn, with some confusing twists. I’m sure some readers will enjoy it more than I did. People who like reading about cults will find it especially compelling.

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Contemporary romance

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I prefer my romance novels with some heaviness and Williams delivers here. Jake and Naya are a wonderful match, I thoroughly enjoyed watching them come together. They both had to do personal work to get their happy ending, which I always like as well. This is a story about bring true to yourself and learning to stand up for yourself, and realizing you are worthy of love. There are a few sexy scenes yet others that are closed door, it felt like the author couldn’t make up her mind as to which one she wanted to do. It also felt a little longer than it needed to be in the middle. Overall, it’s an emotional read and I recommend it for romance readers.


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