I’d say I’m sorry for all these most recent reads posts lately, but I’m actually not. I’m loving the fact that I’m managing to get through all these books at the moment and I don’t want to get too behind with these posts. I’m in the process of reading a bunch of books for posts that’ll go up later this month, so there’s definitely a theme running through these. But for now, let’s get into them.
The Stories Women Journalists Tell edited by Reta Lee
I hadn’t heard of this book at all before picking it as part of the Discovery pack from Amplify Bookstore—it seemed like something a little outside of my comfort zone, which is exactly what I wanted out of this subscription. While this is a short book, it took me a while to get through it because a few of the essays just didn’t grab my attention. I definitely skipped a couple and I have to admit that none of them really stick out in my memory. I wish this had been split into themes or parts a little more clearly because things felt very haphazardly thrown together and I think things might have been more impactful if they’d been organised a little better. But overall, I really just feel kind of ambivalent about this.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
This is part of a post that you’ll hopefully see next week if all goes to plan, but I wanted to talk about it here because I feel like I have a lot of thoughts. This took me quite a while to get into—in that I read probably the first 200 pages just reading it and not really thinking about it beyond that. It’s definitely a book you can just read and have a good time with, or it can hit you hard. There’s a lot in here about self-esteem issues—it’s not just “oh, Charlie is fat so she has body acceptance issues”, it goes into how that affects literally every aspect of her life from her relationship with her mum, best friend and everyone around her to her acceptance of herself on a deeper level. That was honestly fantastic. I was a teenager in the 2010s when everything was about being model-thin and I definitely bought into that at that age because there was very rarely anything about loving yourself—it just warms my heart that teenage girls have books like these nowadays that show it’s okay be confident within yourself no matter. The relationships in this book are also fantastic—Charlie has a complicated relationship with both her mum and her best friend for different reasons. While her best friend is very supportive, they have moments where both of them mess up but they’re able to grow. The actual romantic relationship is just absolutely precious. I always thought I liked bad boys in fiction, but now I’m like give me all those sweet, soft boys! Finally, I want to mention one of my favourite things in fiction that’s in here—casual queerness! Basically, a few of the side characters are queer and at no point is a big deal made about this at all. It’s almost as if queer people can just live completely normal lives—what are the chances of that? But honestly, I love this in books and we definitely need to see more of it!
Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley
I was absolutely supposed to read this in 2020 when it was released and then I just didn’t. I finally got around to it this week and it was a super quick read and it felt really good to get it off my TBR after two years. So this is queer and #OwnVoices rep for autism, and I think that was all fantastic. I don’t personally have experience with autism or ADHD, both of which Peta has, but Anna does a really amazing job of making you feel like you’re inside Peta’s head. Peta herself is just a wonderful character, but I absolutely adored her best friend Jeb with my entire heart. Honestly, we all deserve an emotional support Jeb in our lives—he is just a straight-up gift to this universe. However, I vehemently hated the love interest, Sam—I liked her at the start but I got increasingly annoyed by the way she treated Peta. Honestly, I would’ve loved just to have a whole story of Peta and Jeb just being adorable besties and living their best lives, but I did still enjoy this.
Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid
I’ve mentioned in a few posts now that I’ve got tickets to a number of romance book events over the next year and that I’ve been (very) slowly trying to make my way through a few of the authors I’d never read before. Penny Reid was definitely the one I was most excited for and I think I hyped this up in my head a little too much. I’ve been loving contemporary romance so I expected this to be a 4-4.5 star read for me, but I just didn’t love it that much. I feel like there’s a lot going on in this book but nothing is really explored in depth—there are some huge things that happen but they’re just kind of brushed under the rug. Honestly, this happens all the time in romance but it’s usually so there’s extra smutty goodness, but this one even fell flat in that aspect. All that being said, I am really interested in reading the rest of the series and honestly, most of Penny Reid’s other books too—maybe they won’t be all-time favourites, but I did still enjoy myself with this one and I think I will with the others too.
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen
Sometimes on a really cold Winter’s day you just need to pick up a really cute, summery read—it was one of those days and this was the perfect read. This just felt like a really lazy summer’s day in book form, and I curled up on the couch under some blankets and read it all in one go. I felt a very deep connection with Codi who feels like she isn’t a real teenager because she doesn’t go out to parties or do those other teen things and I was definitely the same as a teenager. Who am I kidding? I’m the same as an adult. Anyway, I loved all of the new friends Codi makes—the characters are all fun and I loved the way they accepted her so completely. The romance is also super sweet, though it’s definitely a sub-plot to the new friendships and the character growth, but I honestly didn’t mind that because it made everything feel so real. It’s a sapphic romance as well, so loved that, but most of the side characters are queer too which just makes even better—I loved seeing so many different relationships. All in all, I really, really enjoyed this and I’m excited that I’ve got another book from Kelly Quindlen waiting for me on my shelves.
That’s it for now! I hope all of your reading is going as well as mine!