Wrap Up September 2021

I am so stressed. Is anybody surprised? I am not surprised. September is always busy and I am trying to juggle so very many things, professionally, that I am glad for every minute I manage to read for fun.

Books I read in September:

During Rachel’s and my ARC-readathon, I first finished two romance novels instead – because of course I did. If I was good at TBRs, the state of my NetGalley shelf would not necessitate a readathon to catch up. I read I Hate, I Bake, and I Don’t Date by Alina Jacobs (2 out of 5 stars) which was banana-pants but I could not look away. If the central couple had been less awful (especially him, whose name I have forgotten but who is a trash person) I would have rated this higher because I was indeed very entertained. Afterwards, I did what I always do when I read a particularly weird and/or awful romance novel and reached for a favourite romance author. I read Love According to Science by Claire Kingsley (3 out of 5 stars) which was my least favourite in the series so far but still a whole lot of fun. Then I finished the absolute brilliant No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (5 out of 5 stars) which I liked so much that I have written a full review for the first time in half a year. I lso read One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3) by Ilona Andreas (3.5 out of 5 stars) which I obviousy enjoyed – I do not think they even can write a book I won’t like at this point. I then finished the incredible White Magic by Elissa Washuta (5 out of 5 stars) which is just brilliant but in a way that I find difficult to put into words. It’s both a structurally perfect memoir and one that doesn’t pull any punches and I adored it.

I also decided to DNF Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone during our readathon which meant two reviews written in the two weeks, which at this point, I’ll consider a win. I got increasingly more bored with this and put it down 40% in. I do not think this book knows what it wants to be – it’s a thriller without having thriller pacing but with thriller plot beats, it’s a coming of age story without actually dealing with the coming of age, It’s literary fiction but the language felt more self-indulgent than anything else. This just did not work for me at all – and I am very sad because the premise and the promise of a dysfunctional sibling relationship really are brilliant.

Favourite of the Month:

No Gods, No Monsters – which is so far also my favourite book of the year.

Stats(ish):

I read five books, three of which were written by women, one by a man and one by a husband and wife team.Two books were romance, two can broadly be categorized as speculative, and one essay collection/memoir.

Currently Reading:

What I should be getting to next:

Whatever I feel like. I won’t try to police my reading at all.

Most anticipated books of the first half of 2020

There will be so many incredible sounding books released next year that I have been thinking about this post for weeks. As usual, I will for now concentrate on the first half of the year and hopefully write another post some time around June when more books will have been announced. I have tried to no go totally over-board and only include books I am sure I want to get to. You can find more books on my radar on my Goodreads.

I will mostly focus on books that aren’t part of ongoing series but there are plenty of those I am excited about; for example: Headliners (London Celebrities #5) by Lucy Parker, Dirty Martini Running Club #2 by Claire Kingsley, Shorefall (Founder #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett, Alpha Night (Psy-Changeling Trinity #4) by Nalini Singh (hands down my most anticipated release of the entire year).

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey (Knopf/ January 7th, 2020)

45754997Miranda Popkey’s first novel is about desire, disgust, motherhood, loneliness, art, pain, feminism, anger, envy, guilt–written in language that sizzles with intelligence and eroticism. The novel is composed almost exclusively of conversations between women–the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves, about shame and love, infidelity and self-sabotage–and careens through twenty years in the life of an unnamed narrator hungry for experience and bent on upending her life. Edgy, wry, shot through with rage and despair, Topics of Conversation introduces an audacious and immensely gifted new novelist.

Everything about that blurb appeals to me – that it has been praised as similar to Sally Rooney alone would have been enough to make me excited though. Continue reading “Most anticipated books of the first half of 2020”

Wrap Up: August 2019 or a month mostly away from my blog.

I do not think my blog has ever been as quiet as it has been the last three weeks; and this in a year where my focus has been elsewhere to begin with. But this month I also did not keep my Goodreads up to date, which hasn’t ever happened since I got one. Hopefully I will kick this blogging slump soon because I really do like having a blog. I have dragged my feet writing this post and as to not make this take even longer, this’ll be a brief wrap-up, with very few pictures.

Books I read in August:

  1. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride: 4 out of 5 stars (review)
  2. Book Boyfriend by Claire Kingsley: 3 out of 5 stars
  3. Cocky Roommate by Claire Kingsley: 4 out of 5 stars
  4. Protecting What’s His (Line of Duty #1) by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  5. Officer Off Limits (Line of Duty #3) by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  6. Staking His Claim (Line of Duty #5) by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  7. Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine: 5 out of 5 stars
  8. Irresistible by Melanie Harlow: 3 out of 5 stars
  9. Three Part Harmony by Holley Trent: 3 out of 5 stars
  10. Always Will by Claire Kingsley: 4 out of 5 stars
  11. Two Weeks Notice by Whitney G.: 2 out of 5 stars
  12. Pretend You’re Mine by Lucy Score: 4 out of 5 stars
  13. Mr. Fixer-Upper by Lucy Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

I adored Sabrina & Corina in a way that I haven’t loved a short story collection in a long while. But the book that will most likely stay with me the longest will have to be A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride. Not only is the book absolutely stunningly executed (if incredibly traumatic) my reading experience with my wonderful Women’s Prize group was amazing as always.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: August 2019 or a month mostly away from my blog.”

Wrap Up: July 2019 or I might have finally read too many romance novels in a row

I did something stupid this month: I got Kindle Unlimited. I felt like a kid in a candy store and kind of went overboard with romance novels (again but this time for less money). I might have finally reached the end of that particular binge though – because many of these books I did not enjoy. And the books I loved this month were in different genres. So I might actually be back with my regularly programmed reporting next month (I keep saying that but it is bound to be true at some point).

Books I read in July:

  1. Mouth to Mouth by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  2. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley: 5 out of 5 stars (review)
  3. Heat Stroke by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  4. Behind the Veil by Kathryn Nolan: 3,5 out of 5 stars
  5. The Trouble With Love by Claire Contreras: 3 out of 5 star
  6. Meant to be Kept by Amelia Foster: 2 out of 5 stars
  7. My Life in Shambles by Karina Halle: 4 out of 5 stars
  8. Remedy by Kaylee Ryan: 1 out of 5 stars (review)
  9. Whiskey Chaser (Bootleg Springs #1) by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley: 4 out of 5 stars (mini-review)
  10. Untouchable by Sam Mariano: 2 out of 5 stars
  11. Catching Him by Aurora Rose Reynolds: 3 out of 5 stars (mini-review)
  12. Awayland by Ramona Ausubel: 3 out of 5 stars (review)
  13. After All by Karina Halle: 4 out of 5 stars
  14. Vera Nabokov by Stacy Schiff: 4 out of 5 stars (review)
  15. Sidecar Crush (Bootlegs Springs #2) by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley: 2 out of 5 stars
  16. Moonshine Kiss (Bootlegs Springs #3) by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley: 2 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

The Mere Wife, hands down. I just really loved that book.

Continue reading “Wrap Up: July 2019 or I might have finally read too many romance novels in a row”

Romance Mini Reviews: Neighbours-to-Lovers

I am running out of tropes to group my books by. Mostly because around half of the romance novels I read are fake-dating, but who’s counting.

43982500._sy475_Catching Him by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Published by Montlake Romance, August 27th 2019

This was super cute. The two main characters actually talked to each other instead of assuming what the other is thinking – which is always a plus in my eyes. Adding the fact that they are super into each other and cutely so, a focus on family, and two really brilliant pets, this was really lovely. I wasn’t as much into the B-plot of them being victims of arson and burglary but it didn’t overshadow the main storyline.

3 out of 5 stars

Content warning: Arson, Burglary, Attempted Sexual Assault (but the guy gets punched in the face!), Cheating (in the past), a pet gets abducted (but nothing happens to it)

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

39693841._sy475_Whiskey Chaser (Bootleg Springs #1) by Lucy Score and Claire Kingsley

Published by That’s What She Said Publishing, 2018

I thought this was adorable. The female protagonist is honest and direct and very very funny, the male protagonist is not an asshole but actually really cool. I thought the first half was wonderfully lighthearted with a focus on sibling relationships that I obviously adored. I am not too in love with the B-plot of an unresolved murder (that apparently will not be resolved until book 6, so I am not SUPER pleased with that) but it wasn’t too overpowering. I found the couple believable and could always understand why they like each other. The small town setting worked surprisingly well for me, but it might not work for somebody who actually knows Small-Town-America.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: Murder (in the past and so far unresolved), cheating (in the past), alcoholism (in the past), familial death (in the past), accidental death (in the past)

Romance Mini Reviews: Fake Dating

As I am mostly reading romance at the moment but really not feeling up to writing proper reviews for that genre, I have decided to start mini reviews, organized by theme or trope. Starting with my absolute favourite: fake dating. I am not quite sure why I am loving that trope so much but I think it has to do with the fact that it makes the story so very obviously divorced from reality that it becomes easier for me to suspend my disbelief (which seems an odd thing to struggle with as somebody who usually reads mostly spec-fic).

25750546Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Published by Carina Press, 2015

This book combines many things I apparently love in romance novels: fake dating, enemies to lovers, hilarious banter, a grumpy male character, a lovely female character, and theatre. Lainey and Richard are starring in a West End play together – and cannot stand each other. They are mostly forced into a fake relationship by their management because ticket sales are down due to Richard being a bit of a knobhead in public (and in private and everywhere in fact). The book works for me because he is not a total ass and she is funny and not a pushover. I loved Lainey’s relationship with her family and I love how Richard actually makes a effort to be nicer. There is very little miscommunication and they both are honest with each other; which I love.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: attempted sexual assault, suicide (in the past), death of a sibling (in the past), cancer (in the past)

39854434Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Published by Avon, 2019

I have been on a serious Tessa Bailey binge and I have figured out that I like her books most when they are less angsty and more fun. This one is a lot of fun. While I am personally not partial to the “in love with my big brother’s best friend”, I do love fake dating and quirky heroines. Here Georgie and Travis start fake dating: for him it’s a way of bettering his image so that he has the chance of some kind of important baseball job (I know nothing about baseball), for her it’s a way of making people see her as a grown-up for once plus she has been in love with Travis most of her life (that surely will not blow up in her face at all). I thought this was absolutely lovely; I enjoyed the relationship and their banter, I love how they inspire each other to believe more in themselves, and Georgie’s women’s club was brilliant. I did think the ending was seriously over the top, but still, as a whole this was well worth the read.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: none? (the main character works as a clown, in case that is somebody’s phobia; I would wish to know if the main character worked with spiders so I am mentioning this)

45183911._sy475_Faking Ms. Right by Claire Kingsley

Published by Always Have, 2019

This was the book that made it very obvious to me that I enjoy the trope. It does a few things I am not always happy with but I still enjoyed it a whole lot due to the wonderful fake dating element. Here Shepherd is fake dating his personal assistant Everly because his (gold-digging) ex-girlfriend is dating his father (it doesn’t reeeally make that much sense in the book either). Everly is wonderfully sunny and super competent and her group of friends are similarly wonderful and totally made the book for me. I am not a big fan of super rich dudes in romance novels but this time it did work for me – mostly because Shepherd doesn’t really use his wealth to win Everly – which is something that always makes me cringe. They are believable as a couple and the whole book was a lot of fun.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: none that I can remember.

Wrap Up: June 2019 or apparently I am a romance blogger now

It is summer and I want to die. Germany is melting under a record heatwave and I am not dealing well with it. I miss Scotland.

Books I read in June:

  1. Faking Ms Right by Claire Kingsley: 4 out of 5 stars
  2. The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities #4) by Lucy Parker: 4 out of 5 stars
  3. Manchester Happened by Jennifer Sansubuga Makumbi: 3 out of 5 stars (review)
  4. Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling #18, Psy Trinity #3) by Nalini Singh: 4 out of 5 stars
  5. Circe by Madeline Miller: 3 out of 5 stars (review)
  6. Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey: 4 out of 5 stars
  7. The Duchess Deal (Girl meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare: 3 out of 5 stars
  8. Relationship Material by Jenya Keefe: 4 out of 5 stars
  9. Chase Me (Broke and Beautiful #1) by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  10. The Governess Game (Girl meets Duke #2) by Tessa Dare: 3 out of 5 stars
  11. Need Me (Broke and Beautiful #2) by Tessa Bailey: 3 out of 5 stars
  12. Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney: 5 out of 5 stars (reread)
  13. Getaway Girl (Girl #1) by Tessa Bailey: 4 out of 5 stars

Favourite of the Month:

Continue reading “Wrap Up: June 2019 or apparently I am a romance blogger now”