What I Read This Week: December 6, 2020

Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon

Sci-fi/Romance

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Book two in the Ice Planet Barbarians series.  I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as book #1, probably because a lot of the storyline was repeated from a different woman’s point of view. Liz’s story isn’t as consensual as Georgie’s, which I didn’t love, but it becomes so overall. These books are surprisingly sex-positive and feature fierece women. They’ve each made a choice to stay and become part of this community. The writing is cheesy at times, and also creative and funny. I appreciate that I have to fully suspend my disbelief to get lost in the story on this foreign planet. I recommend this series for romance readers looking for something different (definitely start with book one)!

Love Hacked by Penny Reid

Romance

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Book three in the Knitting in the City series. Sandra is a child psychiatrist in the midst of a dry spell. Every other week she has a first date with a new man who inevitably ends up crying and thanking her for being such a good listener. Alex is a young waiter at the restaurant she frequents with said dates. After one such date, Alex finally approaches Sandra and it becomes clear they’ve admired each other from afar for a long time. This story is a perfect example of why I love Reid’s novels. Her characters are complex and make mistakes (ie. they are human) yet they are all worthy of giving and receiving love. Sometimes they don’t believe it at first but they always come around. This was a fun read with a little bit of mystery, and a lesson in how things are not always as they appear on the surface. I highly recommend it for readers of romance, but you should start at the beginning of the series.

Be a Writing Machine by M.L. Ronn

Non-fiction/writing

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I attended the author’s session of the same title at this year’s Writer’s Digest Conference and really connected with his message, so I bought this book. While it’s geared more toward fiction writers, I found it useful as a writer of personal essay. What resonates with me most about his personal philosophies about writing is how focused they are on emotional well being and self-care. He acknowledges how personal issues can derail a writer and gives practical advice for navigating those times. His writing is straight-forward and positive. I recommend this for any writer looking for produce more content and fine tune their writing routine.

Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon

Sci-fi/Romance

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Book three in the Ice Planet Barbarians series. I wonder if I’m ever going to get tired of reading about alien penises?! Kira is my second favorite of the human women living on this ice planet (after Georgie who is just plain fierce) because she has the implanted translator device. I enjoyed getting to know her better and appreciated how her role in the new community is a bit complicated. Kira’s romance is a bit different than the other two, but I won’t say how. I like how the author is mixing things up in that regard. The writing is sharp and funny, though a little repetitive. Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable series so far and I’m eager to continue. 


Did Not Finish

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mass

Fantasy

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I wanted to love this series, but I just couldn’t. I probably shouldn’t have tried this second book but so many people told me it was better than the first… I actually liked it at the start. But by about 400 pages in, I was over it- too bleak. While Maas is extremely skilled when it comes to world buil;ding and character development, I find her writing lazy in other regards. In this series, it’s obvious she couldn’t decide if they’re for adults of YA.  I can’t even tell you how many times a character “made a vulgar gesture,” yet oral sex is described in detail. Plus she uses abverbs all over the place instead of being specific. And there are so many descriptions of clothes and things that don’t matter to the scene. If you enjoyed the first book then you’ll probably like this one too, otherwise I say skip this series.

No One Asked For This by Cazzie David

Personal essays

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, published November 17, 2020 Cazzie’s writing has a lot of potential. Each essay has a few solid lines. But just when she could dig in and actually get somewhere, she stars ranting and talking crap about herself. The best example is where she talks about how seeing an ex with a new girlfriend makes a woman re-evaluate her entire self. That was interesting and well written, it had me thinking. Then she just went and made it all about how worthless she is and I rolled my eyes and started skimming. Sure the self-deprecation is funny at first but it’s clear she’s using it to avoid really digging into her thoughts and behaviors. Each essay could easily be half its length, they read more like rambling blog posts than personal essays. Perhaps I am no the target audience for this book? Regardless, I don’t recommend it.


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