What I Read This Week: February 7, 2021

I had outpatient surgery on Monday so I did a lot of resting and reading this week. Fortunately everything I read was awesome, which doesn’t happen often!

Since I loved all of these books, I’m giving you reviews that are longer than the summaries I write each week. I hope you are inspired to pick up one or more of these!

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Contemporary Romance

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What a smart sexy book! The writing is strong and funny, the characters are diverse and realistic. This was a joyful reading experience and I was sad when it was over!

At first, I didn’t like that Shay and Dominic’s show was built on a lie. However, I’ve learned that sometimes with romance novels (and other genres too) I have to suspend my disbelief fully to get the most out of the story and that was the case here. Plus, it’s important to me to know that neither of them was fully comfortable being dishonest and there were consequences of lying. 

As a public radio listener, I truly enjoyed the setting of this novel. I appreciate that Shay and Dominic were both chasing their passions, and were committed to making a difference in people’s lives through their show. The chemistry between the two of them was hot and fun o watch as things developed between them. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance.

What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt by Tessa Miller

Memoir

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, publication date February 9, 2021 This is an important, powerful book, though it isn’t an easy read at times. It’s one of the most complete and honest illness memoirs I’ve read. It’s only part memoir, the other component is a guidebook for those living with a chronic illness. Tessa beautifully weaves her own narrative with anecdotes and facts about the health care system. She covers everything from racial and sexual discrimination in medicine to how to tell your boss you are ill to how to have boundaries with your family and everything in between. 

Tessa’s writing is raw and honest, bordering on crude but in the most necessary way. She is transparent and vulnerable with her reader when it comes to sharing the intimate details of her life with Chron’s Disease and before. She addresses heavy topics with dark humor. She covers not only her physical health but mental health, romantic relationships, family dynamics, death and grief.  I highly recommend it for readers of memoir and those looking for support and guidance in regard to chronic illness. 

The Roommate by Rosie Danan

Contemporary Romance

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I haven’t encountered a romance novel quite like this one! It’s hilarious and super hot sexy, it’s smart and sensitive. The characters are diverse and it was a joy to get to know them. I read this novel in a single day and it blew my mind a bit. I’m super impressed that a romance novel featuring porn stars is mainstream. The story tackles some serious issues and brings to light the flaws in the porn industry, as well as potential benefits. Women’s pleasure is front and center in the story, which reminded me how much it isn’t in other romance novels.

I will say, the porn industry is glorified and the dangers that exist aren’t as clear as I’d like them to be. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this one for readers of romance and erotica. There’s a lot of explicit sexual content, and it’s presented in a positive, loving light. 

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Thriller/Audiobook

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I definitely recommend this one in audiobook format. The multiple narrators do a great job adding emotion to the story and the high production makes the podcast portions sound real. This was a thoroughly engaging listen from start to finish. 

The story involves two crimes in two different timelines that overlap. Rachel visits a small town to cover a trial for her true crime podcast. While there, she becomes entangled in an older case involving a death that was ruled an accident that may have been murder. The lives of three very different women become intertwined as both cases unfold. 

This is a timely story about rape and sexual assault. It looks at the way women have to prove the rape occurred, and how reputations play a role. The concept here is thought provoking, though not necessarily ground breaking in a novel. I recommend it for readers of the thriller genre and especially audiobook listeners who also like podcasts.

Broken (In the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson

Memoir/Humor

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication April 6, 2021

This isn’t my favorite of Jenny’s books (that would be Furiously Happy) but it has some parts that are as good as she gets. What I appreciate most about her writing is the was she addresses mental illness with blunt language and no apologies. There is also dark humor and moments of joy, which is a realistic representation of a human life. 

The essay titled An Open Letter to My Insurance Company is one of the best things she’s written and it punched me right in the gut. Having dealt with chronic health issues and battled insurance companies, I have said some of these exact same phrases.

I highly recommend this one for Jenny’s fans as well as readers of personal essays and those who enjoy dark humor.

Currently Reading


1 Comment

  1. John McLellan

    February 8, 2021 at 5:40 am

    What Doesn’t Kill You looks like a very necessary book for those who don’t live with chronic illness. Empathy is lacking in our gimme gimme culture, and to remember that there are people who are struggling (emotionally, physically, all of it) is a much needed reminder to slow down, laugh, love, and all the good stuff that we seem to let fly by because we’re trapped in our own narratives! I know that I try to keep my heart open but no doubt I (we all!) need the reminder. I’m totally digging into this one (after I get into Juliet Naked, as per your suggestion!).

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