Title: Anxious People Author: Fredrik Backman Rating: ★★
Anxious People is not a bad book. Based on the numerous high reviews by other readers, this is a favorite of many people. However, I failed to mind the magic that made this so beloved and find myself annoyed and frustrated by the writing and the characters throughout the book.
The writing wasn’t for me. There seemed to be a huge disconnect between the writing and the content. It felt like the book was trying too hard to be both poignant and light-hearted. The dialogue, especially the police transcripts, were silly and completely ridiculous. I thought all the characters were idiotically stupid, which I believe was the point, but they behaved so over-the-top. The were are totally obnoxious and it really grated on my nerves.
Anxious People was not a book for me. The writing and characters were done in a way meant to be quirky and whimsical, but instead I found it to be jaunty and annoying. This book seems to be a favorite amongst other readers so it was clearly just a personal issue.
Title: Life’s Too Short Author: Abby Jimenez Rating: ★★★★★
I have never been more thankfully for accidentally happening upon Abby Jimenez’ signing at BookCon a few years than after finishing this book. Life’s Too Short took my breath away. As with her other two books, this is more than simply a romance book: it has depth, emotional complexity, and touches on heavy issues. This is my absolute favorite of her books and I cannot recommend it enough.
Life’s Too Short centers around Vanessa, a travel blogger focused on living life to the fullest before her 30th birthday, all the while struggling to balance her family’s many problems. She’s trying her best to keep it all together and reluctantly begins to accept help from her neighbor; hot-shot lawyer and very eligible bachelor, Adrian.
If you are a reader that enjoys an excellently written slow-burn, Life’s Too Short is the book of your dreams. The chemistry between Vanessa and Adrian was off the charts. The yearning and sexual tension was palpable through the pages. And yet, a good portion of the story is focused on the developing friendship and trust between them. Friendship is such an important pillar for any romantic relationships and it shines through in this book.
As with her other books, Abby Jimenez also touches on some heavier emotional topics in Life’s Too Short. Vanessa struggles with her possible diagnosis of a terminal disease. Her younger sister struggles with addiction. Her father struggles with healthy coping mechanisms years after the death of her mother and other sister. Vanessa’s family’s struggles were realistically written and added another layer of depth to the story and characters.
Life’s Too Short is a heartwarming, poignant story full of exceptionally written characters and a beautiful slow-burn romance. I couldn’t have hoped for a better book and Abby Jimenez has definitely become an auto-add author. Add this contemporary romance to your summer TBR!
Title: Second First Impressions Author: Sally Thorne Rating: ★★½
ARC provided by William Morrow through a giveaway.
I was really excited to read Second First Impressions, but unfortunately the story fell very flat and the book was unfulfilling. I’ve regrettably come to the conclusion that, with the exception of The Hating Game, I don’t think Sally Thorne’s books are for me.
The story start out extremely slow. Not much occurs for a majority of the book and therefore I found it very difficult to become engaged with the plot or characters. Nothing held my attention and I debated DNF’ing many times before ultimately forcing myself to finish.
Another issue I had with the book was the character. I found neither the protagonist, Ruthie, nor the love interest, Teddy, particularly likable. Teddy was clingy, whined about everything, and overall was pretty immature acting. Ruthie could only be described as bland–and that’s putting it nicely–and it frustrated me to no end how much of a pushover she could be. Granted, part of her character arc included learning to stand up for herself and go after her own dreams but it was extremely hard to root for someone with no backbone.
While Second First Impressions is categorized as a contemporary romance, I would be hard pressed to call it that. The story is more a contemporary novel with some aspects of romance added. A majority of the book also focuses on how Ruthie cannot be in a relationship with Teddy, despite it being pretty obvious that they’re both into one another, however the reasons given are never concrete. I spent a good chunk of the book yelling at the pages to just get together already.
I was really looking forward to Second First Impression, but between the unlikable characters, the slow pace, and the lack of plot, I found it hard to enjoy reading this.
Title: People We Meet on Vacation Author: Emily Henry Rating: ★★★★★
ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.
Poppy and Alex are total opposites, and yet they’ve been the best of friends for years. That is until one mistake causes a rift between them. Now, two years later, Poppy is determined to mend their broken friendship by dragging Alex on one last trip in a final attempt to fix everything.
Emily Henry has clearly found her niche in writing adult contemporary romance because wow. People We Meet on Vacation has the same heartwarming, entertaining, and emotional quality found in Beach Read. The characters were smart, relatable, and delightful. The story easily captivated and I was hooked on Alex and Poppy’s journey from the first chapter.
The romance was everything. Emily Henry completely delivered on the opposites attract and friends-to-lovers tropes. One of the best parts ofthe book was that we were given glimpses into Alex and Poppy’s past and how their friendship (and love) grow over time. There were so many elements of the book that made this such a great read: the slow burn, the pining, the tension, the ~there’s only one bed~ trope. I adored it all.
People We Meet on Vacation was a beautifully written story full of love, friendship, and hope. The romance was absolutely perfect. If you only have time for one contemporary romance novel this year, please make it this one. You will not be disappointed.