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Fiction, romance, literary fiction, race, women's fiction

Book Review: Love Marriage by Monica Ali

“She was greatly moved by her mother’s love marriage, more than she had been in years. Love, Ma was telling her, not only in words but by example, conquers all.”

Yasmin is of Indian descent and lives in the UK with her family (mom, dad and brother). She is training to be a doctor like her dad and is engaged to Joe, who is white and also a doctor. He lives with his single mom, Harriet. The two families couldn’t be any different as Yasmin’s family is a typical immigrant family who puts their head down and does what is expected and the family never discusses anything and sweeps things under the rug while Harriet is a loud and proud well known feminist who is very open about her sexuality.

Wedding planning is underway and as the families get to know each other a bunch of things are uncovered along the way that threaten the wedding day ever happening. The book uncovers all the things they all have to face as everyone starts being honest with themselves and for better or worse, start living in their truth.

Whew! I am not going to tell you guys how long it took me to read this book but just know it was a long time! This was my first time reading Ali’s work, so I had no frame of reference. This book was the epitome of throwing everything but the kitchen sink and hoping something sticks because let me tell you that there were A LOT of stories flying everywhere.

It took a while to lay the ground for the characters and the minute you thought you had an idea of who they are, everything was unraveled as we begin to see the secrets unearthed and boy was there much to unearth. From sex addiction to rape to infidelity to racism, culture differences, ambition, corporate red tape and much more, there was so much that was covered.

I think Ali managed to do the social commentary better than some other topics but it just didn’t need everything. I wish there had been a singular focus on the central characters but there seemed to have been a desire to have even the side characters get their own shine but that could be because the main characters weren’t quite interesting per se. I found Yasmin to be unsure of who she was, which is realistic at age 26 but nevertheless, still annoyed me. Joe seemed a tad boring and at some point I wondered if he really did have a sex addiction?

What I enjoyed about the book where psychiatric nuggets that we get from Joe’s therapy sessions that seemed to be based on true life medical research and the introspection by the characters at the end, to help forge some better life living. I think Ali was trying to show how children judge their parents based on what they know but sometimes they have no idea.

That being said, I thought the ending was a bit vague and rushed and its ironic that its also when it kind of tongue in cheek addressed the title of the book and what a love marriage truly means. But I welcomed it because this book was way longer than it should have been and an editor should have earned their paycheck on this one.

Overall, this book has all the ingredients for an interesting read but failed to get us there because of writing and editing choices. I wouldn’t recommend this as I think there are better family with secrets books out there that would be worth your time.

Taynement

dystopian, Fantasy, scifi

Book Review: Upgrade by Blake Crouch

“We don’t have an intelligence problem. We have a compassion problem. That, more than any other single factor, is what’s driving us toward extinction.

There’s something different about Logan Ramsey. He’s physically stronger, processes information faster, better at multitasking, better at concentration. He’s just better at everything all of a sudden, after a raid gone wrong. After Ramsey has the doctor check his genome, he discovers that it’s been hacked and almost everything about him has been upgraded. There’s a reason he has been targeted for this upgrade, something that has to do with the darkest part of his history, why he went to prison and his dark family legacy. Worse still, what is happening to him is a sign of what’s to come. He’s a practice run in a more coordinated effort to upgrade humanity as a whole and only him has the ability now to stop this overreach from going forward.

“We were a monstrous, thoughtful, selfish, sensitive, fearful, ambitious, loving, hateful, hopeful species. We contained within us the potential for great evil, but also for great good. And we were capable of so much more than this.”

This is really a superhero story. If you like superhero stories and you enjoy science fiction, this is a perfect alloy. Blake Crouch writes really simple and accessible science fiction for everybody regardless of your genre preference. I always tell people, if they want science fiction lite, then Crouch is the best place to start. This book also made me think of what I would do if I was in the main character’s shoes. I think I was torn about this book because I genuinely don’t know who I would support in real life. I thought the supposed villain had a very good point about upgrading humanity and if not for the side effects of the upgrade, I would have been on her side. But I also understand why the main character thought – when will it be enough? Cool, radicate a few gene causing diseases in kids, change a few things but when will it ever be enough? It’s a little like plastic surgery, you get one, you want them all.

“What if this isn’t the solution? What if you end up killing a billion people for no reason? What if you just end up creating a world of Miriam Ramsays—all convinced they know what’s best, all capable of inflicting unimaginable harm if they’re wrong? What if you create a bunch of people who are just drastically better at what they already were. Soldiers. Criminals. Politicians. Capitalists.”

Crouch had really big questions in this book but I think this book pales in comparison to his other works. Upgrade was more straightforward when I usually love Crouch for the twists and turns his books bring. I do think the author presented us a possible solution to the problem that is humanity and I think he chose a good answer but ultimately I was disappointed as a whole. But I will say that I think this is a good entry into the Crouch world if this is something you’re interested in doing. It is easy to read, moves at a fast pace and doesn’t get bogged down in the science. This book ultimately read like a summer blockbuster, like it was written to be adapted. I suspect that’s why he made it so straightforward. We’ll see if it ever comes to the big screen. Anyway, I really recommend this book. We also have another Crouch book review that you should check out. I gave this one 3 stars on Goodreads.

Do you enjoy science fiction? Are you going to give this one a chance? Let me know in the comments.

Leggy

Non-Fiction

Book Review: The Anthropecene Reviewed by John Green

Official definition of “Anthropocene”: relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

I don’t think I can still explain what the word means but it is definitely a word I had never heard of till I saw this title. John Green got tired of his usual subject matters and decided to do something different and write about the different anthropocenes that humans have experienced over time. It seems so simple but then it’s so…brilliant. It’s brilliant because Green managed to find a way to give himself leeway to write about anything really.

This idea means, we are blessed with chapters and chapters of varying topics that would have no business being together but worked so well. One minute you are reading about Dr. Pepper and how it isn’t a natural flavor and the next it is about the yips and then about his state of residency, Indianapolis.

“We all know how loving ends. But I want to fall in love with the world anyway, to let it crack me open. I want to feel what there is to feel while I am here.”

I am having an uninspired reading year and Leggy recommended this book to me. I would like to add that my introduction to John Green was also by Leggy when she made me read “The Fault in Our Stars”. When I first started the book, I was all “meh” but as I kept going I felt myself getting drawin in by the stories. It’s impossible not to find anything of interest because the topics are so wide and varied.

I did not know a lot about Green so this book was a discovery for me. A discovery in that Green found a way to make this book a learning opportunity in multiple ways. I got to learn a lot of random facts about things I did not know previously; but I also got to learn a lot about him as a person such as he is a fellow soccer fan (Liverpool fan but we can forgive him for that!), I loved learning about his relationship with his brother and as a fellow anxiety sufferer I felt seen with Chapter 30’s story, “Mortification” as he described replaying a convo over and over in his head. I also didn’t know that this book is based on a podcast of the same name and are stories he has already covered (I think 6 new stories were added for the book)

This seems little but it felt refreshing to read a book that was caught up in times in that he referenced the pandemic. I know we all want an escape but I think as a non-fiction read, it would have been weird to talk about the anthropocene and skip that especially since it was basically his worst fear realized. I will say that I did think the book was looong but that’s not unusual for a collection of stories.

I enjoyed this book and it truly is a testament to how good of a writer Green is because this could have veered towards boring-town real quick. I think this would make a good bedtime read, where one reads a chapter every night and it gives you something to think about. You gotta love a book that makes you learn, think, introspect and hopefully grow. I did this on audio and would recommend that format. Thanks Leggy!

Taynement

african author, african stories, Fiction, literary fiction, Nigerian Author, romance, We Chit Chat

We Chit Chat: Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

Taynement: Hi, Leggy. It’s been a minute since we did one of these.

Leggy: Yup. I’m excited to discuss this one.

Taynement: We do a lot of chitchats on African authors because we’re excited to support their work but it also makes it more difficult to review. So what were your thoughts on this book?

Leggy: This book was the most exhausting slog of a book I’ve read this year. If we weren’t committed to this blog and to this ChitChat, and I was reading this just for pleasure, I would have DNF-ed it.

Taynement: Oh dear, it was a journey of a read for sure.

Leggy: I was actually quite excited to read this one. When we reviewed her previous book, I said that I was super excited to see what she would do with a long form romance book. So, I was going to pick this one up regardless of the blog.

Taynement: Everyone knows my stance on romance, so I can’t say that I was excited. More like I was preparing myself. You started before me and you told me you didn’t think I would make it.

Leggy: Once I started and it was hard for me, a rom com lover to get through it, I knew it would be even harder for you. First of all, this book read like a Dear White People fan fiction to me.

Taynement: Agreed. So here’s my thing, when I say it was a journey what I mean is the beginning was a struggle and then the book settled and then it became quite corny.

Leggy: The crux of the book is the fake dating trope and it should have started way earlier in the book. It started 35% into the book and I was already bored and restless when we got to the actual romance between them. If the editor had insisted that this book center the actual romance 100%, it would have worked better. Too much was going on in this book for me, story-wise.

Taynement: My problem with this book was the writing style. I say this a lot about African authors but they never let their words breathe. Instead, they wield them like heavy chains. I think Babalola overwrote a lot of the stories/scenes. So, it felt like playing dress up and imagining what people would say while also jam packing it full of clap backs/quips that are supposed to be clever, chockful of current slang but it fell flat. I’ll give an example: “My heart had never been compelled into competitive sports by boys and yet here it was acting like an Olympian, beating like its name was Serena.” Sheesh!

Leggy: Oh God, don’t get me started on how verbose this book is. I see your example and I raise you an even more overwritten passage: “The smile he gave her was mainstream, pop, radio-friendly. The smile he’d given me was the single released after an artist had established themselves, found their voice, could speak directly to their target audience. The smile he’d given me had more R&B to it.”

Taynement: Lord!

Leggy: I think the best lines are those that are profoundly quite and simple. It felt like the author wanted to show us she could write but these over written passages made me roll my eyes so much.

Taynement: Another thing, which I can’t really knock her for, is that she’s clearly proud to be African. So this book was very clearly African – more Nigerian/Yoruba but I couldn’t stop wondering how every black person on campus seemed to be African?

Leggy: Did this book read very American to you despite the number of British slang thrown in there?

Taynement: I was just about to bring that up! I don’t live in the UK but a lot of the language and events seemed…American? For one, not to be stereotypical but there was a lot of coffee drinking when I was expecting tea, lots of “ain’t”, even the Malakai police story read American.

Leggy: The debating All Lives Matter vs. Black Lives Matter storyline seemed very American. Also, wasn’t this literally a storyline on Dear White People?

Taynement: These events didn’t help with the feeling that this book was trying to pack in relevant pop culture tropes to make it current. I spoke with my sister-in-law who lives and went to school in the UK and she said the school experience in the book definitely felt more American, so I was glad I wasn’t being too critical.

Leggy: This book was written for twitter.

Taynement: Yes!!

Leggy: That’s all I kept thinking. This is such a twitter inspired book.

Taynement: That being said, she tied in the honey and spice theme well and I did enjoy when Malakai and Kiki fell in love, I think she allowed the book to breathe then. It felt organic.

Leggy: I wish this book could have been purely about Malakai and Kiki falling in love. Take out the race issues, take out the guy she was sleeping with, have the high school best friend expose her as a “fraud” feminist. Then they break up, get back together and live happily ever after. I think the mistake a lot of authors of rom coms make is trying so hard to make their book deep. Your book is just as worthy as just a love story! Love stories are amazing!

Taynement: I did like the friendship stories. Aminah and Kofi being in love but working for it.

Leggy: Yes! Classic sidekicks which every good rom com needs! This book could have been great. If I was her editor, I would have told her to strip it. Stop over writing. You already have a book deal, we know you can write. Just tell us a good story!

Taynement: I think an observation I’ve made lately is authors seem to be writing for a book to screen adaptation.

Leggy: I thought the same thing about this book. It was really giving American high school movie. Everyone in this book read super young to me even though they were adults in college.

Taynement: I felt like it veered between YA and romance which was a mind trip because I know they’re in college. As a romance reader, was the climax of the book – them professing their love on par with other romance books? Because that felt like a lot! I found it super corny.

Leggy: Yes! It’s always corny but I think what makes it good corny in a well written romance book is that the rest of the book is so good and has made you so invested in the couple that you’re left smiling at the corniness of it all. The one in this book just made me roll my eyes and leap for joy that at last, the trial that was this book was over!

Taynement: Overall, we’d never say not to support a fellow Nigerian but bias aside, this was not a well written book.

Leggy: I would not recommend this book. I did not enjoy it. But if you’re interested, knock yourself out!

Have you read this one? What did you think? Let us know in the comments

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, LGBT, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays

“Being staunch anything is pretty much interchangeable with being an asshole.”

It’s the summer of 2015 and Alice Quick needs to start living up to her potential. She’s publicly announced on Facebook that she’s going to be a doctor, so now she actually has to do it. She’s 28 years old, grieving her mother, barely scraping by as a nanny and now kicked out of her apartment. She has to get her shit together and make a plan to study for the MCAT but in this age of social media and online dating, everything is a distraction.

Her millionaire brother is having a religious awakening. Her sister-in-law has just been diagnosed with Crohn’s and is struggling with all that comes with it. Her new roommate is cosplaying still being in her 20s and loves chaos. Bays writes about one summer in New York encompassing so many different cities and characters tied together by threads unseen.

This book is about 500 pages and if I had gone to Goodreads before picking it up, I don’t think I would have read it. It’s currently 3.85 stars on there and a lot of people report being confused and not “getting” it. I would have missed out on a great book if I hadn’t just picked it up and started reading. I did not realise this book was long until I went to rate it on Goodreads and saw the page count. It read so fast and the pace never slowed for one second.

The first thing you should know about this book: it has a weird narration technique. The narration in the book is choppy and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Bays goes from one character to another without explicitly stating whose point of view we are now hearing from and just expects you to figure it out. If you usually do your books on audio, I don’t know how this one would work, so maybe stick to the pages with this one. After a while, I got so used to it that I stopped noticing it. It was fun for me because I never got the chance to get bored with one character’s story. It made the pace of the book feel so fast and non stop. That said, stick with it. The threads holding all the characters together will be revealed at the end. Even the little things that seem to be just anecdotes from the characters all help to connect everybody in the end.

If you liked How I Met Your Mother, you’re going to like this book. If you think the journey of a story is what makes the ending worth it, then this book is for you. Bays takes such a circuitous path in telling you how to get from point A to point B. Unlike How I Met Your Mother though, this ending is actually super worth it. It fills you with so much warmth that you didn’t expect. I find that a lot of literary writers write about the internet, social media and online dating with such a judgmental, get off your phones tone but there is none of that here. Bays chronicles how we live our lives on and off social media without injecting his personal beliefs into the narrative. The facts are the facts. He’s not trying to get you to do anything other than listen to his story and pay attention to these characters he has created.

I finished this book at 11pm at night and I had to absolutely tweet about it. I mentioned on Twitter that this is a book that is not for everybody but it was definitely for me. It’s like Bays combined everything I love in a book and put it into this one. After I read the end, I was filled with such regret about it ending. I don’t usually re-read books but I think I’m going to re-read this one now that I know all the threads of the story and see if there are any easter eggs I missed. I think you should give this one a chance and stick to it even if you don’t quite get it, I say give it 100 pages and if it’s not for you then it’s not for you. But if it is for you, come talk to me on IG or twitter about it. I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads and I know it’s going to make my top 5 of the year.

Have you heard of this one? Will you consider picking it up? Let me know in the comments.

Leggy

african author, african stories, Fiction, literary fiction, Nigerian Author

Book Review: Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro

“That Enitan never got a nickname was a slight she was used to. ‘You attract beauty,’ a boy had told her once, but he had meant this quite literally; she attracted beauty only in the sense that she herself was not beautiful but her two best friends were.”

Funmi, Enitan and Zainab are close friends in Nigeria who met in college. Three women with three different personalities. Funmi is outspoken and brash, Enitan is reserved and Zainab is the pretty one who is also reserved. Life and time happens and the three go from inseparable to their separate ways and are about to be reunited after 30 years for Funmi’s daughter, Dele’s wedding.

Their lives are completely different now. Enitan is about to be divorced from the American man she eloped with and she has to deal with her daughter, Remi who blames her for it. Funmi is married to a wealthy man who pays more attention to his phone than Funmi and Zainab is now caretaker to her husband who has had a series of health issues and is relegated to a wheelchair.

“The ways to die were endless. That’s why you had to live, and live ferociously, and often selfishly and exploitatively, but Funmi did not worry herself about these details. Thinking about life’s unfairness was a fool’s errand. It paralyzed you. It was best to count your blessings and keep it moving.”

I enjoyed this book because it tackled things that were relatable – friendships, death, Nigerian culture, the ebbs and flows of life and more. Obaro did a good job of making this debut effort her own and I appreciated it. It didn’t read like she was trying to pander. I enjoyed the storytelling choice of going back in time to explain the origin of their friendship and all they have been through in the past while also giving their points of view in the present tense with Dele’s wedding as the axis. It didn’t get complicated and was very easy to follow.

In going back in time, I truly enjoyed each woman being fully fleshed characters with full stories. We understood how they became who they were, based on their childhoods and upbringing. I also enjoyed how Obaro infused the political climate and protests from that time period because it infused some Nigerian history while not bogging down the story.

What I did not understand was why the title of this book was called “Dele weds Destiny” when majority of the book truly had nothing to do with Dele. As mentioned earlier, it served only as a plot point that brought the women back together. In fact the main conflict Dele felt was never addressed and the minute it was brought to the light, the book ended. That was annoying. The abruptness of the ending just felt rude. I did not see it coming.

There were a number of loose threads all around the book. I don’t think we got a clear picture of how Zainab feels with life as a caregiver now, Dele wasn’t fleshed out and neither was Remi. Granted, you can’t touch on everything and everyone but don’t introduce them if they have nowhere to go. Overall, it was an easy read and a good book on friendships and the ebbs and flows of life.

Taynement

Fiction, literary fiction, romance, women's fiction

Book Review: Flying Solo by Linda Holmes

“I find the way you approach this exhausting.”

Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot who lived till she was in her nineties. Aunty Dot was a great adventurer who never married and whose life Laurie greatly admired. Still flustered by her canceled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie dives into cleaning out her aunty’s house and settling her estate. When she finds a mysterious wooden duck at the bottom of a cedar chest, her curiosity is piqued because Dot isn’t a woman who hid beautiful things away. She’s even more intrigued when she comes across a love letter from one of Dot’s ex-boyfriends that ends with the line – “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

Laurie is told that the duck is worthless so when it’s taken from her in a very unethical way, she wonders why anyone would want a worthless duck. Desperate to uncover the real reason Dot hid away the duck and its origins, Laurie embarks on an adventure that leads her to discover so much about her aunty, her family, her friends and challenges the rules she’s set for her life.

If Holmes’ name sounds familiar to you, it’s because she wrote Evvie Drake Starts Over but this book is nothing like that. Her first book was a purely romance novel but Flying Solo is more women’s fiction. If you ever wonder what the general consensus of what publishers consider women’s fiction, just read this book, it ticks every box.

Laurie has decided that she does not want to get married and she does not want kids. She likes living alone and coming back to her hometown in Maine gives her a chance to confront the choices she has made for herself. Cleaning out her aunt’s house gives her a chance to see her future clearly and helps her wonder who will be doing the clean out of her house when she dies childless. Also complicating her future is her ex boyfriend who is now twice as hot and is the librarian in their small town. He wants all the things Laurie doesn’t want – for her to move back to Maine and marry him.

This book was an easy read but the quote at the top of this post is how I felt about Laurie. She never got off her soap box. I found her exhausting, she reminded us every 3 minutes that she wants to live alone and never have kids. I really enjoyed how her best friend called her out on how judgmental she came off to people like her who had chosen the traditional path of getting married and having kids.

I liked the overall message that romance does not need to fit into any box to be legitimate and good but I still felt that the romance in this book felt very one sided with Laurie holding all the cards. But who knows? Maybe I’m so used to seeing women compromise for men that it just felt off to me to see a woman get everything she wanted without having to ever bend? This is one of those books you pick up if it’s available in your library or the paperback goes on sale. It’s an easy read that I doubt I’d remember by the end of the year.

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction

Book Review: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Katy’s mother, Carol has just died and she is struggling really badly because she was very close to her mom. She went to her for everything and didn’t make a decision without her mother’s input. Before her mother passed, they had planned a trip to Positano, Italy. A place her mother spent time in when she was younger. Katy decides to stick to the plan and go there alone leaving her husband in limbo as she also tells him she needs a break.

The new environment doesn’t help Katy feel better as she reminisces on her marriage and focuses on how young they were and how stale things have become. She slowly embraces the beautiful scenery and food and also meets a man named Adam, who shows her around town.

The story switches gears when she meets a woman named Carol – yes, it’s her mother at 30 years old. Desperate to have any connection to her mother, she doesn’t question what is happening and she latches on to Carol, hanging out with her everyday and taking her in. Katy gets a glimpse of her mother’s life before she was born and realizes that there was more to her than just being Katy’s emergency contact.

“What got you here won’t get you there.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I enjoyed this book. It was an easy and quick read for me. The best thing about the book was the fact that you could tell that Serle has been to Italy and enjoyed it immensely. She painted a hella vivid picture of Positano and the other cities Katy visited. The views, the weather, the buildings, the food. Everything made you feel like you could see and taste it even though you aren’t physically there (the hotel Katy stayed in is a real hotel).

Things I didn’t care much for – When Katy first stumbles across Carol, I thought it was a side effect of missing her mom so much and she was hallucinating. As I read further and realized she was really interacting with her actual mother at 30 years old, I was like errr…what is happening? I’ll save you the thought – we never find out. I think the expectation was to just go along with it and follow Katy’s perspective as she realizes her mother was a whole human before she became her mother.

“My mother, you see, is the great love of my life.”

Katy seeing this perspective is important because of how much she idolized her mom. I would like to start by saying that I understand grief and I understood Katy’s but she seemed a little codependent on her mom. The way she described it, she never made a decision without her mom’s input even to the detriment of her marriage because she put her mom’s opinions over his and in general she had no decision making skills. At some point, someone asks her what she wants and she couldn’t answer.

“I hope you’ll understand someday that just because you become a mother doesn’t mean you stop being a woman.”

Katy saw herself as the love of her mother’s life and interacting with her 30 year old mom and seeing she had a full life that didn’t involve her and a love interest that wasn’t her dad was difficult for her. Which brings me to my other point, I found Katy very unlikeable. She was childish and selfish. Besides her weird attachment to her mother, I hated how she treated her husband.

I read that the author is close to her mother (who is alive) and her biggest fear is losing her, so in some way this book was her, working through her fears. There are more stories in the book and they managed to keep me intrigued. I will say that this is the first book that I liked despite an unlikeable character.

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, movie related topics, romance

Book Review: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Nora Hamilton is a romance channel screenwriter. She knows the formula for a corny romance novel – two people have a meet cute, fall in love, 90% into the movie they fight and the man leaves, then 99% into the movie the man comes back and they live happily ever after. She’s been churning these out her entire career and taking care of her children plus free loading husband. When Nora’s marriage falls apart, she turns the story of the breakup into a screenplay that gets picked up by a big Hollywood director complete with a star studded Hollywood cast including former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance who plays her ex-husband. Her tea house is a huge character in the story so the director asks to film in her house.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The $7000 would give Nora enough cushion till she goes back to writing her generic romance movies for the romance channel (which honestly is so clear that the author is referring to the Hallmark channel), so she says yes. 7 days might be just enough time for them to get to know each, enough time for them to fall in love or enough time for him to never want to leave but love never adheads to a formula.

This is one of my favorite romance books of the year. I absolutely loved it. The characters are older and more mature so their relationship wasn’t bugged down by superfluous things. Nora’s kids were great additions to this book, they were charming and felt like kids. I absolutely believed the progression of Nora and Leo’s relationship. Nora was smart and intelligent and yet still felt human and relatable. Her fears and insecurities made sense to me. Also, the way Nora handled the end of her previous relationship and her attitude towards it was really well written. I understood all her choices. I also loved how all the supporting cast were extremely different and yet were still very likable people.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads because I don’t think Nora protected her children enough from her new relationship. I felt like she was very selfish in the way she let Leo get embroidered into her family so quickly without giving a thought to how her kids would feel if they’re left by yet another man. It seemed so out of character for Nora to not think explicitly of how being with Leo while he was basically living with her would affect her kids.

All in all, I really loved this book. If you’ve read Book Lovers then give this one a shot. Apparently the secret to writing Ephron-esque rom coms is to just name your female protagonist Nora? Pick up this one y’all, it was absolutely delightful!

Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any book dups for this, let me know! I think I’ve found my romance sweet spot.

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction, romance, thriller

Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Lowen Ashleigh is going through an eventful time in her life. Her mom has just died from cancer and the first time she dares venture outside her apartment for a work meeting since her death, a man is hit by a bus in front of her. Lowen is a writer. A struggling writer. She likes her private life, doesn’t do promo and just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. Her work meeting is an offer by Jeremy Crawford, husband to the best selling author, Verity Crawford.

Verity has written a successful series but is unable to continue as she has sustained injuries from a car accident. Lowen is offered the opportunity to finish out the series for a substantial amount of money. She is also offered the chance to live at the Crawford residence to go over Verity’s notes and outlines for the series which is good timing since she is about to be evicted.

Lowen accepts, moves in with Jeremy, Verity and their lone surviving son and uncovers a whole lot more about Jeremy and Verity’s relationship while also developing feelings for Jeremy. We also get to learn more about Lowen’s past.

I have mentioned before that I am a newbie to Colleen Hoover. This is only my second book of hers with the first being It Ends With Us. I was told that that was a departure from her usual writing style but this is apparently also a departure as well. Hoover wrote this book independently from her contract (which makes it free on Kindle Unlimited!)

All that to say that I really enjoyed this book. I have been in a reading slump but this kept me intrigued and turning the pages. There was soooo much going on in this book. So many stories but Hoover found a way to not make it complicated. It was very meta because we are reading a book about a writer writing a book that is reading notes on another book that was being written for a writer by another writer (clap for yourself if this made sense to you haha!)

To make things clearer, I’ll reveal that while going through the notes, Lowen discovers Verity’s autobiography which becomes part of the story that we read along with her. This is where we find out about the couple and somehow the book becomes a thriller and I started guessing what happened (I was wrong). I should also let you know that there are a lot of sex scenes in the book that I have to say was well done. Not too smarmy and not too childish/prudish.

I didn’t quite like the ending but honestly it was not so bad considering the many plot threads in the book. I didn’t quite buy the feasibility of Verity’s storyline 100% but you know…creative liberties. It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. I completely recommend this book and it was an easy and quick read.

Have you read this one? Which book of hers do you recommend I read next?

Taynement