Year 14, Book 74

74. Boys Will Be Boys: Power, Patriarchy, and the Toxic Bonds of Mateship by Clementine Ford

I quit this book about a 1/3 of the way through for the exact reason that I quit Twitter. This book felt like reading a book length Twitter thread with someone ranting about toxic masculinity. Even though I agreed with what she was saying and understand the importance of changing it, I don’t know who this book is for based on the way it was written. It’s what made me tired of Twitter. It’s a bunch of people patting themselves on the back for the evolved consciousness and calling out other people, but not in any way that would create a meaningful dialogue. This book, which actually includes copies of some of the author’s Twitter threads on the topic, is exactly that. It may make the people reading it who already agree with the author feel good about themselves, but it’s not doing any good. The people who actually need to be educated and engaged with the ideas in the book wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. If anything it would push them farther into their existing beliefs. I give this book a 2 out of 10.

Year 14, Book 39

39. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina Hill was raised by a single mother who basically abandoned her with a nanny to travel the world. She never knew who her father was so she’s lived a rather solitary life and she likes it that way. She works at a book store during the day and has a very rigid set of activities she schedules for herself in the evening including one of her few social activities, a trivia team. Her comfortable routines are starting to be shaken when her father dies leaving something to her in his will forcing her to meet the many brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews she has from his four marriages. To top it off her trivia nemesis from a competing team seems to have a crush on her. Can Nina let go enough to let herself find a family and love?

This was a really sweet little romance. It’s a very gentle book. The story is not entirely realistic, but it was a lovely little diversion to read. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 14, Book 4

4. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

Evvie Drake is in the process of leaving her husband when he dies in a car accident. Now everyone thinks she is the grieving widow and only she knows the truth about their relationship. Dean Tenney is a former baseball pitcher for the Yankees who is looking to get out of New York after he was practically run out of town for failing the team with a case of the yips he’s been unable to find a cure for. He winds up renting an apartment in Evvie’s house. Can they help each other get over their past demons and move into a new future?

Having followed Linda Holmes’ work since back in the days when she was writing for Television Without Pity I have very much been forward to reading this book. It’s a well written romantic comedy with realistic characters with what seem like real impediments rather than sometimes exceedingly manufactured plots that keep people apart in romances. However, it still also follows the rhythms of a romantic comedy in a way that is satisfying to anyone who is a fan of the genre. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 14, Book 3

3. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

According to prophecies the apocalypse is nigh. It’s due 11 years after the birth of the antichrist, which happens in just a few days time. But it turns out a demon and an angel who have become fond of their time on earth aren’t exactly ready for it to happen. Also they seem to have lost track of what happened to the antichrist after his birth. Will they be able to stop the apocalypse or is this actually the end of the world?

I was amused by this book in the beginning. It’s somewhat clever and there are is some clever humor throughout although I felt to like to diminishing returns as the book went on. I grew kind of tired of the book by the end though. I didn’t really care about the plot and I definitely made any connection with the characters. It dragged on way longer than I was interested in reading it. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 90

90. If, Then by Kate Hope Day

In a small Oregon town the lives of four neighbors are changed forever when they begin glimpsing other versions of themselves living in parallel universes. I’m not sure the actual multiverse plot and whatever was the cause of it really got explained well or made much sense, but I found the characters and their reactions to what was happening interesting. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 33

33. Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

When her best friend Logan’s band gets a spot on a summer tour reality TV competition Vee is excited to tag along in what she thinks is a PR internship that is until she finds out that her ex-boyfriend Cam is back with the band and they’ll be spending the summer cramped in a tour bus together. The story is told in both present day and flashbacks and from both Vee and Cam’s points of view.

I thought this was a fun little read. I definitely had issues with some pieces of it like why Logan doesn’t tell Vee Cam is going to be there and why he sort of tricks her into coming on the trip in the first place. It makes the whole book start off with something that doesn’t really make any sense. But on the whole I found the romance and the mystery to be engaging. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 13, Book 14

14. Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Tom Worthington is returning to campus completely broke after his father is arrested for running a Ponzi scheme. After being caught up in the spotlight of the scandal he wants to come back to school, keep his head down, avoid everyone, and just finish out his degree if he can cobble together enough money to keep paying for school. In order to avoid his old life he’s managed to get assigned to a special dorm for older returning students, but when he gets there his roommate Reese Anders is not an older student and is not expecting to have a roommate. Reese tries to use his overt gayness to drive away his new jock roommate, but Tom refuses to budge and finds himself determined to find out what has created the fear Reese obviously has of him especially when he finds himself attracted to his new roommate. I give it a 6 out of 10.