What I Read This Week: May 8, 2022

Thanks to a nasty stomach bug that had me in bed for a couple days, I finished six books this week and they were all decent reads.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Contemporary romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Advanced copy from NetGalley, publication date May 3, 2022 Emily Henry writes wonderfully emotional stories about relationships and families. Here we of course have a romance but the story is about so much more than that. Nora gives in and agrees to go on a month long vacation with her sister, hoping it will return their relationship to where it once was. In this small southern town, Nora happens to run into her work rival Charlie, who is home helping his parents who have health issues. The witty banter between Nora and Charlie is top notch. Seriously, it’s the best part of the book. Here are two intelligent go-getters, trying not to fall for each other – it’s brilliant. I also loved the dynamics between Nora and her sister. That relationship played just as crucial a role in the story as the romance did. The other wonderful thing about this one is that it was clearly written by a book lover for books lovers. It’s charming from start to finish. I highly recommend this one for romance readers.

The One That I Want by Piper Sheldon

Contemporary romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book three in the Scorned Women’s Society Series. This is my first time encountering a Grease retelling in a romance novel and I’ll tell you, it works! This wasn’t the strongest in the series, but I still enjoyed it a great deal. One thing I love about this author is how she’ll change character’s perspectives in the middle of the chapter, in the middle of a scene even, which gives us a better feel for what both characters are feeling in that moment. Here we have Roxy, a rehabilitated biker chick who has focused so hard on becoming “better” that she’s not out there living her life. Along comes Sanders, who a book club friend described as the human version of a Golden Retriever. He and Roxy are opposites in a lot of ways, yet they have a deep connection after a chance meeting. They are great together, and they also each had individual journeys they had to get through before they could be together. This book has a lot of funny moment, but serious ones as well and tackles heavy subjects such as drug use, gang activity, and grief. I highly recommend this series for romance readers, start with the first book.

Hopelessly Devoted by Piper Sheldon

Contemporary romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Available on Kindle Unlimited. Book 3.5 in the Scorned Women’s Society series. This novella takes place at the same time as the previous book. Because of this, the first half felt repetitive. The second half was much better and gave me new information about Skip and Jack. They were both wonderful side characters in previous books and it was so nice to see them have a happy ending. Skip is in Green Valley to retrieve his best friend when he gets tasked with accompanying Jack on a camping trip with to chaperone a group of teens. Hilarious moments ensue, as well as some sexy ones. This is a fun novella with some depth. I highly recommend this series for romance readers, start with the first book.

Blood Sugar by Sascha Rothchild

Thriller/Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

 I liked it a lot but it didn’t blow my mind, which is what I’m always hoping for when I read a thriller. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Allyson Ryan. She did a great job pacing the story and voicing our protagonist. Ruby has been accused of a murder she didn’t commit. The only problem is she committed three others that no one knows about. Until now, a detective is starting to connect the dots. I liked Ruby. She’s done “bad” things but she’s not a bad person. Her intentions are good and she’s capable of giving and receiving love. Hearing the story from her perspective was unique and kept me engaged the entire time. I was definitely rooting for her. I recommend this one for readers of thrillers and audiobook listeners who want something different and compelling. 

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert

Erotic romance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Advanced copy from NetGalley, expected publication June 7, 2022. This story had a Hunger Games vibe that I didn’t care for, but other than that it was excellent. It certainly is a great addition to the Dark Olympus series and sets us up for more to come in the way of danger to Olympus. Here we have the story of Helen, Achilles, and Patroclus. Having recently read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (which is excellent, go read it!), these characters were already in my mind and heart. I enjoyed Katee’s spin on things. I especially appreciate what’s at the core of all her books I’ve read, and that is that everyone is deserving of receiving and giving love, and not all love/partnerships are the same. As with all of the books in this series, it gets extremely hot (graphic sex) in several spots, but it always suits the story and drives the character development forward and never feel gratuitous. I highly recommend this series, start with the first book.

Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Sci-fi romance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is really weird in the best way possible. It’s more sci-fi than I usually read, so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it. The sciencey stuff did go over my head at times and I spent a LOT of time visualizing these different alien species, but I ended up liking it a lot. My favorite part was the humor. I don’t even want to spoil it so I’ll just say it’s communication related and absolutely creative. I also really liked our heroine, Beryl. She’s accidentally kidnapped by well meaning Zylar, and she just rolls with it. Her life on Earth kinda sucked and this alien guy is practically worshipping her so hey why not make the best of it. I was surprised by how well done the sex scenes are, considering the characters don’t have matching anatomy. They figure out how to pleasure each other because they want to, and that was sweet and showed the strength of their relationship. I recommend this one for sci-fi romance fans, and any romance reader looking for something different. I plan to continue with the series.

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