Hello again! I took last week off, mostly because I only finished one book, but also because I have fallen down a deep hole of longing for Ewan McGregor from which I may never climb out.
These books aren’t terribly similar, but I feel bad about what I’m about to say, which is that I enjoyed the first 80-100 pages of both of them more than I liked the rest of them. I don’t like going long about books that I didn’t overall enjoy but have no capital-p Problem with, so this one is probably going to be a little truncated. Plus, I have many Ewan McGregor gifs to stare at.
Faker – Sarah Smith
This one was recommended via Carly Lane-Perry’s excellent romance-focused newsletter Kissing Books, which I really really enjoy and I feel bad that I’m bringing it up first (because I’m sure it’ll come up many times in this blog!) in a section about a book I felt kind of ‘meh’ on. I found the characters and writing in this book very engaging, but the book was premised on a version of “enemies to lovers” that didn’t really work for me. Slight spoiler, but if the enemies-to-lovers trope is something that frequently gives you trouble, you’ll probably actually really like this book, because it turned out the hate was really one-sided and based on a misunderstanding all along. What I prefer is when the protagonists really genuinely despise each other at the start, both for the heat it causes and to see how the author overcomes the challenge of making us believe by the end they genuinely love each other. And I do believe these protagonists really loved each other by the end, but they got lovey-dovey pretty quickly and then spent a lot of the book just being in a pretty conflict-free relationship, which is…fine? Sure! But I got a little bored of it, despite liking the characters (Emmy and Tate, coworkers at a construction company, which I just realized I didn’t mention at all before now).
A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua
I really really liked the concept of this and the main two characters. Scarlett Chen, the protagonist, is a pregnant Chinese woman who has been flown to the US by her lover/boss to stay at a home for pregnant Chinese women so that their babies will be born as US citizens. But then! She runs away! Along with one of the other women, a teenager named Daisy, she wants a life for her and her child not controlled by the child’s father or the owner of Perfume Bay, or anyone else.
I really really liked the story of Scarlett and Daisy and think I would have loved the book if it had stayed focused on them. But about a quarter of the way through, the narrative started switching between them and the father of Scarlett’s child [Boss Yeung], and occasional input from another character, and I just didn’t find that terribly engaging. I really liked Hua’s writing, and the way she developed the bond between Scarlett and Daisy, but the book had a hard time holding my attention because I just didn’t care about what Boss Yeung was doing, and then the ending was kind of a let-down.
Alright, bye for now!