Look we were busy in August and neither of us prioritized our ARC TBRs (who is surprised; not us), so we decided to do a joint wrap up.
See our ambitious TBRs here.
*Thanks to all the publishers & NetGalley for eARCs in exchange for honest reviews*
Bree’s Wrap Up
I totally did not achieve anything near my “ambitious” 5 ARC goal I set out with my TBR, but honestly I don’t think I ever expected to read that many. Then for most of August my hours at work kicked up and I was left exhausted and with very little free time on my hands. Anyways, it’s basically a miracle I finished one at all because my physical reading has really gone down the drain this year too.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (release date: June 1st, 2021)
TW: past homophobic violence, off page death, dealings with anxiety, depression, and familial estrangement
So I feel really horrible not having finished this ARC before it released, especially since I was so psyched about its existence and I was lucky enough to be offered an ARC at all. But life happens, and I managed to read it for ARC August instead!
This book follows cynical 23 year old August as she moves to New York City, which for her is just another place on the map. She doesn’t expect New York to provide any special or cinematic treatment for her. But then she meet Jane on the subway and everything starts to slide sideways…because Jane is from the 1970’s and she’s stuck in a loop on the Q train.
So, my absolute favorite thing about this book was the gigantic cast of eccentric, lovable characters; from August’s chaotic roommates, to the crew at Billy’s, to all the Brooklyn drag queens, to Jane herself. I really couldn’t tell which of them is my favorite, but Jane, Myla, Niko, & Isaiah are definitely the ones that had me cracking up the most. I also love how much LGBTQIA+ representation was shown across this cast of characters and story!
The only complaint/comment I have about this book is that the pacing was off, or maybe just really slow?? To me the beginning was not very interesting, and very angsty for no apparent reason. I just didn’t keep me as hooked as I would have liked. It did eventually pick up and get very interesting when the Jane-stuck-in-time plot moves to the forefront.
Overall, One Last Stop is a wholesome, longing love story, about finding your proper fit in the universe. To be honest, I think I might even enjoy this book more as a reread.
Tree’s Wrap Up
Honestly I forgot I said I was going to read ARCs this month until like August 10 so I only read two. One of these is from July, but I still wanted to share my thoughts so.
A Brush With Love by Mazey Eddings (release date March 1, 2022)
TW: anxiety (described in detail, very present in story), sexism, death of a parent (off page), grief, cancer
I wanted to like this book so badly. I follow Mazey on Instagram and have been excited to read and support her work. Unfortunately, this was not for me.
Plot: We follow Harper as she is finishing dental school and trying to figure out the next step of her life while trying to manage her ever growing anxiety.
I did not like Dan and Harper’s relationship at all. Which in a romance is literally the only thing I need to like to care about the story. I thought it was super insta-lovey, but then they don’t act on these feelings for a while, but yet are both super into each other as people, which like, love to see, but we don’t see them learning about each other. At one point they refer to each other ad best friends and I’m like….where? They watch one movie, and we are supposed to believe they are friends? It was weird because I don’t have issue with a fast relationship or friendship, but I feel like we were just told it was happening and did not see it.
I thought Dan was a boring love interest. The author keeps calling him “Dental Dan” but the guy doesn’t even want to be a dentist so that was weird. I literally could not tell you anything about this man except for his backstory which I did think was solid and well written. I hated how Harper kept blaming Dan for distracting her from her studies and kept pushing him away only to make out with him five pages later. I don’t have issue with ups and downs in romances, but this was drawn out and was the same argument every few chapters. I also thought Harper was pretty cruel to Dan a few times and he was so passive about it. Which I respect that he knew she was lashing out in anger, but it felt unrealistic that he would just take it over and over and over.
I also learned that I do not care about dental stuff at all. Like all the talks of surgery and teeth were boring and not interesting.
Overall, I hate to say it, but this book was so boring to me. I wasn’t invested in the characters and the back-and-forth Harper and Dan kept doing was not interesting at all. I did like the anxiety representation and the dental school was a unique setting but other than that, this did not work for me on any level. I wish this novel had focused more on Harper’s relationship with anxiety and her journey to get help because it felt really rushed at the end which was the most interesting part. I will give this author’s next book a try because a lot of my issues with this one feel like growing pains and her figuring out her voice and I see a potential for growth here.
Never Fall For Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath (release date November 9, 2021)
TW: parental abandonment, strained relationship with parent
Plot: Hugh’s mom wants nothing more than for him to marry the love of his life. But, she is a bit overbearing about it so when she moved to America, Hugh invented a fake fiancée named Minerva that he would write to his mom about. When Hugh’s mom is coming to visit, Hugh runs into a woman actually named Minerva and it seems like fate. He hires her to play his fiancée and Minerva, being truly desperate for funds to support herself and her sister, agrees.
This historical romance was a lot of fun! It didn’t stand out to me, but if you’re new to the genre this would be a fun one to start with. It’s easy to follow and the history takes a backseat to the plot.
One of my favorite parts of this novel was how much prep goes into the fake engagement. I often feel like in books the fake dating (etc.) has no prep work involved and the couple gets away with it for a while. Minerva and his sister’s get lessons and Minerva has to memorize a ton. Hugh even hires an actress to play the girls’ mother. It was a grand time and so chaotic at times.
I will say the last third of this novel dragged a bit for me and I would’ve liked everything to get wrapped up a bit quicker.
The Second Season by Emily Adrian (released July 27, 2021)
TW: blood, abortion, misogyny,
I keep breaking my own rules for basketball books and then I keep being let down. I really try to avoid books about women who are in their 30s/40s and having issues with their lives because it makes me anxious about my future. But, I wanted to read this one because I love basketball. Sadly, I was not a fan.
This book follows Ruth Devon a former college athlete who has been working hard for the past 20 (ish) years to become a sports commentator. She is on the brink of achieving her dream when she has to decide (once again) if being a mom or her dream of a sports commentator is more important.
First of all, I just had a hard time following this book. I struggled keeping track the timeline. We flashback and even go forward once without notice and maybe in the finished copy they differentiate more, bc wow I had a hard time following the timeline. I also had a hard time tracking all the characters. We have players, Ruth’s family, Ruth’s coworkers/bosses, and other people. At one point I literally forgot the name of her boyfriend. I also realized that I can only follow basketball if I’m watching it. The detailed descriptions of the games confused me (the jumping around did not help) and I generally just did not know what was happening at any time.
I did like the discussion on being a career driven woman versus focusing on one’s family and how that pulls at a person. I wish these moment had been more reflective rather than flashbacks and Ruth in her own head. Most of this book she is in her head and it was not my favorite place to be. Even though I liked these discussions, I don’t feel like the author fleshed them out enough for them to impact me.
I hate to say it since this was the reason I picked up the book, but it had too much basketball. I wanted to see more moments between Ruth and her boyfriend, her ex-husband, her peers, and her daughter INSTEAD OF FLASHBACKS, but instead we got a weird plot line between two players that I did not care about.
Overall, I sped through this one, but was not a fan. I would recommend it if you like nonlinear timelines and books about sports.
Thanks for reading!
xoxo, Bree & Tree