|Pub Date: 12-7-21|
Adult - Thriller
The Ballerinas- Rachel Kapelke-Dale: Fourteen years ago, former ballerina, Delphine, left her soloist spot at the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet for a new life as a choreographer in Russia. Now, Delphine has returned to choreograph a ballet that will hopefully change her whole career, and that will mend the bridge between her and her two friends, Lindsay and Margaux. The trio was once inseparable, but a dark secret has festered and turned their friendship into something precarious. It's clear to Delphine that many things have changed in the years she's been gone, and some secrets can't stay buried for long.
I'm a little thrown by this one. The synopsis made it sound like it was going to be some twisted thriller, but it was more of a literary fiction mixed with some women's drama. It's not to say it was bad; it just wasn't necessarily what I was expecting. I did enjoy the setting and the ballet environment, but that was about it. The characters were okay, but not one of them was likable, except maybe Delphine's elderly neighbor. They all had such huge egos and were incredibly selfish. I do think the author nailed how cutthroat this world can be, but it just wasn't for me. The writing style was also slow, and I found myself skim reading some bits to get through it faster. While this does touch upon some darker topics such as body image, sexual assault, and abuse, it was all very surface-level, and I just wanted something more out of it.
|Pub Date: 11-2-21|
Adult - Contemporary
The Fastest Way to Fall- Denise Williams: Britta Colby is an assistant editor at a lifestyle website but has always dreamt of becoming a feature writer. Her chance finally comes when she's tasked with writing about her experience with a new body-positive fitness app called FitMe. Britta has always been a proud curvy woman, so the fact that the app is more focused on becoming a stronger version of yourself rather than losing pounds resonated with her. The amazing chemistry she has with her personal trainer, Wes, doesn't hurt either. Despite being the CEO of FitMe, Wes Lawson feels unfulfilled and decides to get back into what started it all: coaching. He immediately feels a connection with Britta, and as the weeks pass, both find themselves becoming more than just workout buddies. They know getting together would put both of their professional lives at risk, but the spark between them is undeniable. But what's love if not a little risky?
I loved this! I read another book by Williams at the beginning of the year and immediately fell in love with her writing style. She effortlessly creates these characters that are compelling and feel like actual people. Britta was likable and real, and I loved how confident she was in herself. Not just with her body but her career as well. She knew what she wanted and went for it. She had such determination, and I loved watching her go along on this journey of self-discovery for no one other than herself. Then you have Wes, who was there every step of the way, encouraging and supporting her, which was so sweet. They had such a lovely dynamic that had me smiling the whole time. I do think the drama surrounding all the social media backlash was a little much, but other than that, I thought this was great.
|Pub Date: 12-1-21|
Adult - Holiday Contemporary
The Mistletoe Motive- Chloe Liese: Christmastime is Gabriella Di Natale's favorite time of year. There's nothing she loves more than baked goods, peppermint hot cocoa, and decking the halls of the bookstore she works at in floor-to-ceiling glittery decorations. The only thing that puts a damper on her holiday spirit? Her Grinch-like co-worker, Jonathan Frost. Since Jonathan started working at Bailey's Bookshop a year before, the pair have butted heads. When the store's owners confess the shop's failing finances, Gabby and Jonathan have to face the fact that one of them will have to go. So, they come up with a competition: whoever can sell the most books before they close for the holidays gets to stay. If the threat of unemployment wasn't enough, Gabby is also juggling a persistent ex who can't take a hint and her anonymous online friend suggesting they take a break. Gabby decides to pull out all the stops to win this wager, but as the days go on, she can't help but see a softer side to Jonathan. Could it be there's more to him than his chilly exterior?
Once I saw this compared to The Hating Game and You've Got Mail, I knew I needed to pick it up. I'm so glad I did because it was fantastic! I never usually read holiday romances because they tend to be quite cheesy, but this was adorable. I loved how genuine Gabby was. She had such a sparkle about her and was so unapologetically herself. The banter between her and Jonathan was so fun and had me smiling the entire time. Jonathan is my favorite type of love interest where he's this surly curmudgeon on the outside but a secret sweetheart on the inside. He was so thoughtful towards Gabby, and I loved seeing them open up to one another. I've only read one other book by Liese, but what I like is that not only does she craft enjoyable characters/storylines, but the breadth of representation in her books is unlike any other romance I've read. This is definitely going to be one I re-read every holiday season.