What I Read This Week: June 6, 2021

I finished five books this week, which is more than I’ve been averaging lately. This is mostly because I read a few GREAT books that I flew through, including my first five-star read in over a month!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Historical Fiction

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Advanced copy from NetGalley, published June 1st.  the strength is in the storytelling, setting, and character development. This is a multi-generational family drama that follows the Riva family in Malibu, California. The ocean is as much of a character as the humans are. The descriptions of Malibu and the coast are vivd and I could almost hear and smell the ocean. We get alternating timelines between one day in 1983 and the history of the family starting with the Riva children’s grandparents. The back and forth was a little jarring at times and then it abruptly ended. I enjoyed seeing how the family changed over the years, how the women in particular adapted and took charge when they needed to. I recommend this one for Reid’s fans as well as readers of literary fiction and women’s fiction.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Historical Romance

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This was my book club‘s June selection. The story follows two undercover agents who are in the South, seeking information to send back to the North during the Civil War. Our protagonist, Elle, is based on a woman named Mary Bowser who had many of the same experiences in real life. I found this novel well written and generally interesting. However, I wasn’t able to fully suspend my disbelief enough to buy the way these two experienced detectives take such huge risks with their lives. I recommend this one for readers of historical romance.

Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen

Contemporary romance

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Available on Kindle Unlimited. This is book one in the Love at First Sight series, which is a spin-off of the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. This book was a joyful reading experience from start to finish. Friends to lovers is one of my top favorite trope in romance and this one is done extremely well. We have two wonderful characters who have been best friends for several years. One has been totally head over heels in love with the other the whole time, and now the friendship is beginning to shift into something more. This is the first romance novel I’ve read where one of the characters is in a wheel chair. That definitely put a unique spin on things, but it didn’t change the dynamics much, which proves the point of the book: people in wheel chairs are just people. I highly recommend this one for readers of romance.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Non-fiction/Science

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This is an absolutely fascinating look at why humans have so many breathing problems, and how minor adjustments in technique can result in huge improvements in health and quality of life. The author participates in studies and tries many different breathing techniques, so it was fun to follow along and see how passionate he was about the subject. The writing gets a little dry at times, but not nearly as much as I expected it might! I learned a lot and have tried some of the techniques myself. I recommend this one for readers of scientific non-fiction.

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

Literary fiction

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I mentioned this one in my last post about my recommended summer reads. This is a charming novel that hasn’t gotten the buzz it deserves. Jane is a teacher in a small town who falls for Duncan, a local woodworker and handyman. The trouble with a small town is that everyone knows everyone else’s business, and Duncan has had “business” with many of the women in the town. Jane feels like their relationship includes more than just the two of them! This is a book about how love can take many forms. The writing is very witty, and the story will keep you thoroughly engaged. I highly recommend it for just about any reader.

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