What I Read This Week: July 25, 2021
I’m not sure how I managed it, but I finished six books this week!
With You Forever by Chloe Liese
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication September 14, 2021 I usually don’t read my ARCs this far in advance, but I’d read a few duds and needed something I knew I’d enjoy. The Bergman Brothers books are the equivalent of a warm ,cozy blanket. I curl up with them and I can’t stop reading until I read the end. And then I’m sad it’s over and I have to take off the blanket and get chilly again. This is a toe curing, heart smooshing book. It’s funny and serious all at once. It’s sexy yet tame, which fits the characters. I especially love the role animals play in the story. They allow Axel to communicate his feelings through them, and provide comfort to both characters. As always, Chloe’s writing is sharp and witty. She never gets wordy or drags scenes out. I highly recommend this series for romance readers. (The previous three books are available on Kindle Unlimited.)
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
This is one of those novels that I liked a lot more once I’d finished than while I was reading it. My expectations going into the book weren’t met because while the blurb says the story is based on one of the first Black women doctors in the U.S., she is not the main character. The first half of the book was a struggle for me. The writing is flowery and the plot is all over the place. But after Libertie meets her suitor, Emmanuel, the pace picks up and I was more invested in the story. The novel explores the concept of freedom on many levels. I recommend this one for readers of historical fiction.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Young Adult fiction/audiobook
This is a unique take on the classic Romeo & Juliet plot: two teenager classmates who run the social media for their family’s rival restaurants. Unknowingly, they are roped into a Twitter war against each other. It’s an interesting look at the effects of social media on businesses, and makes for a funny story. I liked how Jack and Pepper’s families are prominent throughout the book. Their parents don’t always make the “right” decisions but they end of talking things through in the long run. It’s idealized parent/teen relationships but it made for heartwarming, entertaining reading. Narration of the audiobook by Dan Bittner and Emily Shaffer gives the characters personality and highlights the humor. Overall it was an enjoyable listen. I recommend it for readers of YA fiction and coming of age stories.
Barbarian’s Touch by Ruby Dixon
Book 8 in the Ice Planet Barbarians series, available on Kindle Unlimited. I love returning to this series in between other reads because I’m comforted by the familiar setting and characters. The overall hopefulness of the series is what I like so much – these human women have been traumatized repeatedly and dealt a really shitty situation, yet they have embraced their new lives and found love. In this story we meet Lilah, one of the women from the new group, and she’s deaf. I appreciate that the author obviously works to give each story it’s own spin, since so much about them are repetitive. Rogan’s desire to communicate with Lilah, and his insistence that she isn’t broken, are really endearing. There’s some nice humor throughout, and the sexual tension was fun. I’ll definitely continue the series, and I recommend them for readers of romance looking for something different.
The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication August 3, 2021. This book was a disappointment all around. It’s labeled as a mystery and psychological thriller, which isn’t accurate. It’s not a fast paced twisty type listen. There’s a little mystery and definitely suspense, but it’s a slow burn, domestic drama. The story follows three couples traveling together for the wedding of one couple. Their lives are intertwined in various ways, which come to light as the plot unfolds. I didn’t like any of the characters. They’re all vicious drama queens, even when best intentioned. I hated the way the women gossiped about each other. The author tried too hard to throw the reader off course. I guessed many of the “twists” which always bums me out. I also found the writing generally weak and lazy. The narration by Clare Corbett was one of the few redeeming points here. She did a great job giving the characters personality and adding to the drama. I doubt I’ll try this author again, though I would recommend this book for anyone who liked her last one.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Book one in the The Murderbot Diaries series. I don’t read much sci-fi but I’m fascinated by AI and robots, and this series was highly recommended by a friend. I tried this first novella as an audiobook on a road trip. It’s fast paced and compelling. We get a first person narrative from Murderbot, a robot with some organic parts who is snarky and funny, and more self aware than I was expecting. Because this is a novella, we don’t get much character development, back story, or world building. It’s a lot of action and science, which was interesting and made for a fun, quick listen. I recommend it for sci-fi readers and audiobook fans.