Another month, and another set of quick reviews that are all new releases that I got from NetGalley. Check me out with reading things in a timely manner again. I’m surprised at myself. Anyway, it’s a variety pack too – with short stories, historical mystery and contemporary romance. Let’s get to it.
Games and Rituals by Katherine Heiny*
I mentioned this on release day, but I’ve finished reading it now and can say that if you want a thought provoking collection of short stories about love and the different forms that it takes, then this is for you. Some are a bit melancholy, many are funny, others will make you wish for more time with the characters. There are eleven stories here and I read it one a day to spread it out and that worked rather nicely.
The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear*
This standalone novel from Winspear is darker in some ways than her Maisie Dobbs series, and in others more straightforward. If you like the War Time bits of Maisie (whether the flashback bits or the 2nd World War era ones) then this may well be your Jam. Our lead character is Elinor who is trying to live quietly in the country but is haunted by the things she did as a special operative in both world wars. When a new family moves to her village she finds herself drawn back into violence as she tries to protect them. There are two strands to the narrative – the 1947 one and then a second one looking back at Elinor’s life and how she came to be the woman she is. I very much enjoyed it and although I had worked some of the bits and bobs out, it was a very satisfying read. I hope it’s the first in a series, although I’m not quite sure how you can create more plots around Elinor at this point. I’d definitely read them though!
If Only You by Chloe Liese*
My first book in this series – and I’ve been hearing a lot about them so I was excited to read it. Firstly – I really enjoyed the playlist that came with it, although as I’m not a Spotify premium subscriber I got it in a random order rather than in order with the chapters! So, to the actual book: I have slightly mixed opinions – I liked the idea of the plot and the family set up, but I found the writing style a little hard going. There is a lot of American style-therapy speak going on in the dialogue and that always winds me up the wrong way but also doesn’t sound like how any one I know talks! It also definitely feels more towards the new adult side of the contemporary romance genre than I was expecting – but maybe that’s because most of the sports romances that I have read recently are things like the Bromance Book club series which are definitely aimed at an older audience. I think this is more of a not my thing end of books rather than anything else – I suspect other people are going to eat this up with a spoon!
I know that last one is a little more negative than I normally am – but I wanted to throw it in because it’s been a weird month or so in romance reading. I’ve read some really, really good stuff but goodness me there’s been some that I’ve disliked. And actually the Chloe Liese falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum – I like it more in retrospect compared to some of the stuff that’s been worse!
Anyway, the Books of the Week in April included three really good feel good romance or romance adjacent novels – Happy Place, Romantic Comedy and The Roughest Draft – and one really good rich people problems book – Pineapple Street – so I’ve really got nothing to complain about.