Friends! It feels like it has been forever, but it’s only been a month since I wrote a Friday post for you. March was bananas for me. Mid-month I moved, only across town so not a big deal but packing is THE WORST. I was a volunteer for Aplloycon the weekend of the 22nd and that was great. It felt amazing to be surrounded by other romance peeps. It was great to actually meet some people from twitter.com. Then immediately after that I got a cold. I feel like I’ve been since for eightyseventy days.
During the last month I read, but very, very little. I did DNF a few more books and it was definitely because of my brain not being able to handle reading with everything I had going on and not the books, so I won’t name them.
One book I really, really enjoyed was My Wicked Prince by Molly O’Keefe. Y’all may know that I am kind of a fangirl for O’Keefe. I was ecstatic when she sent me the ARC for this book. I barely read the blurb. O’Keefe took tropes that I don’t typically go for, step-siblings and royal family, and created a sexy, emotional page turner. There was fantastic tension between the main characters, Brenna and Gunnar. This story was everything I needed it to be. The story is dual POV, past and present. Tori pointed out that she would have liked O’Keefe to give more details about the time between past and present and that is a valid point, but it did not take away from enjoyment or investment in the love story.
I have a ton of quotes that I highlighted, but I was compelled to share this one.
“Sex… doesn’t change anything,” I said. “Funny.” He got up off the bed and I felt myself panic, all my calm shattering under the sudden heat of his temper. Of his focus. He pulled on his pants but didn’t buckle them. The rest of his clothes he just gathered in his arms for the short walk down the hall to his room. “What’s… what’s funny?” I asked. “For me, sex with you changed everything.”
All told, I really enjoyed this story. It wasn’t perfect but as I said, it was everything I needed it to be at the moment I read it. It was a little angsty but also believable. I definitely recommend it.
I also read Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score. This was mentioned recently when I was talking about my desire to read about older characters. This is coded as a romantic comedy and it definitely teeters more on the women’s fiction side, although the love story arc is also a main plot point. It mostly worked for me. The heroine, Marley has returned to her hometown after her life doesn’t go quite as planned. She takes a teaching job and reconnects with her high school crush, Jake. Marley is kind of a mess and I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed Marley’s arc of self discovery. I am always here to see heroine’s learn to believe in themselves.
There were some big annoyances for me that kept me from truly enjoying the story completely. First off, Marley is trapped in a mindset where she is obsessed still about some things that happened in high school. Including being bullied by at least one mean girl. And I kind of get that to some extent, but it got to be too much. Also, Marley was kind of a mean girl as a grown up and internally talked smack about a lot of people, particularly other women in the book. I am not here for that and will continue to call this out as I see/read it.
The other thing that bothered me was how she described some of the characters, especially the LGBTQ characters. Jake’s uncle is married to a man and they are twice referred to as “gay uncles”, why is the qualifier needed? Why can’t they just be uncles? And there is an off page side character who is a lesbian who quits teaching to elope but it is called a “lesbian elopement”, again, why does it need the qualifier? This wasn’t a DNF thing for me, but it definitely made me have some side eye for the author.
Overall I did like the story and really, really enjoyed Marley’s emotional growth.
I am finally reading When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton and so far I am enjoying it. I will have a review next week.