Hello Bookworms! I have 3 book reviews for you today! I know I’ve been busy. I’ve somehow managed to finish 6 books this month and I’ve DNF’d two! This is surprising mostly because it’s year end for work and I feel like I do nothing but work all the time. Apparently I’m doing a good job at prioritizing reading too. Right now I am reading Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko and it’s really good! ***This post contains affiliate links.***
I also wanted to briefly discuss the Harper Collins Strike. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now, but if you haven’t the Harper Collins workers union has been on strike since November and the publishing company is still refusing to come to the negotiating table after more than 50 days. You can check out the unions Instagram page here for more info. The workers are striking for 3 main things, a starting salary of $50K dollars, for the publisher to address the lack of diversity in the company, and more security for unionized workers. These are all very reasonable demands and I really don’t understand why they refuse to negotiate. But I wanted to say I support the union and talk about what I’ve been doing to handle this situation on Bookstagram, on the podcast and on the blog. Normally I would tag a publisher in a photo or review on Instagram but since the strike I have stopped tagging Harper Collins. I have a few arcs from them that come out in March that I’ve received and not shared online yet because I don’t want to support them during this time. However, I have posted some photos of current reads or reviews, I just don’t mention Harper. It’s difficult though because I want to support the authors who are working so hard to write these amazing books. In particular Sue Lynn Tan, she wrote the Daughter of the Moon Goddess duology that I loved so much but she is published by Harper Voyager. So I’m trying to support the authors I love without mentioning Harper Collins. And I encourage you to stay updated on the strike, and try to boycott Harper and their imprints any way that you see fit. Harper Collins Canada recently sent out their renewal forms for influencers this year, and I did not sign up, I really think that until they can address the concerns of the people who work so hard for them, that I cannot support them.
Now, let’s get to the reviews.
I started the year by finishing My Body by Emily Ratajkowski and it was an interesting read. I don’t usually enjoy celebrity memoirs, a lot of the ones I’ve started have been very surface level, just like a history of their career. So I don’t often pick up celebrity memoirs, but occasionally a memoir pops up that I think I might find more enjoyable. I have seen a lot of reviews for My Body from women saying it really resonated with them, and Emily’s essays were really deep and worth reading. I wouldn’t say the essays are really deep, a lot of them are just telling a story from her life. But I did find myself hooked by this book. I read the whole thing in two days but I’m not sure if it was the writing that really pulled me in or the honesty of her story. Emily Ratajkowski started working as a model when she was very young. She talks a bit about the way the industry will classify your body shape and put you in a box. For example, Emrata was told she was too short for the runway and that she wasn’t skinny enough for other jobs. This part of the book hit home for me. When I was in my teens, I was a ballerina. I entered high school weighing less than 100 pounds, and I didn’t get boobs or my period until I was 16 because I was so thin. But I was praised constantly in the dance studio for having the perfect body for a ballerina. As I aged, I became frightened of gaining weight because then maybe I couldn’t be a ballerina. And then when I was 18, I decided not to pursue a career as a dancer and went to university for history instead. That’s when I finally put some meat on my bones, but I have struggled with my body image ever since. So, I understood when Emily was talking about industry body standards and the pressure that puts on you. She also goes into a lot a detail about a few incidences of sexual assault during her career which made me angry for her. I commend her courage and vulnerability to share these stories, but I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s unfortunate but almost every single woman I know has suffered some kind of sexual assault. Overall, the essays were interesting but there was nothing that blew my mind about the book.
“I so desperately craved men’s validation that I accepted it even when it came wrapped in disrespect. I was those girls in that room, waiting, trading my body, and measuring my self-worth in a value system that revolves around men and their desire.”
One line that did stand out for me near the end of the book. She’s talking about a man named Steve that claimed to have had a role in kickstarting her career. And she’s basically writing a letter to him detailing the ways he was disrespectful and a bit creepy toward her. But she says “I so desperately craved men’s validation that I accepted it even when it came wrapped in disrespect. I was those girls in that room, waiting, trading my body, and measuring my self-worth in a value system that revolves around men and their desire.” I really liked that line, a value system that revolves around men and their desire, and it made me think. She’s totally right. Most women create a beauty standard for themselves in their head based on what men have decided satisfies men’s desire. Based on what we see in the media described as beautiful. Women, myself included struggle to define what beauty means to us, what beauty means to me, through the eyes of myself only. Womxn need to take back the definition of beauty for us. What do you think makes you beautiful, don’t worry about pleasing anyone else. That’s what I took from Emily’s book. That we are most of us slaves to an industry that wants us to fit into a mould created by men for men. I think this book has value for all womxn and is worth a read if you like memoirs.
Ok the next book I want to review is Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Barron. Please be aware that there are some trigger warnings for this book that include cancer, death of a parent, talk of suicide, and anxiety disorder. This is a slow burn adult romance with time crossing. So, the difference between time crossing and time travel is that when time crossing, you are just communicating or connecting somehow with someone in another time, but no travel occurs. Each party stays in their own timeline.It’s like the movie The Lakehouse with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. They communicate through a mailbox on the property they are both living in but at different points in time. So this book is kind of like that.
The basic plot for Twice in a Lifetime is that two people are communicating through time, and they can only communicate when Isla is in her cottage. Isla is a young single graphic designer, and she starts a text message conversation with someone named Ewan claiming to be her husband from the future. I thought most of the book would have the main characters in different timelines, but they converge really quickly and the book is a roller coaster from there. I read this one so fast because I was shocked by what was happening and I really got invested in the relationships of the characters. It’s also not confusing to figure out where in the timeline you are which is nice. Overall, this was a really good romance with a lot of deeper concepts that really pull you into the characters. I would recommend for romance fans, but this is not a lighthearted book, it’s a bit sad and it made me cry. But there is a happily ever after.
The third book I’m reviewing today is Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert. This is the latest from Talia Hibbert and it just released earlier this month. I was so excited when I saw this book that I didn’t even read the synopsis, I just ordered it. I have read all the Brown sisters books from Talia and loved them. They are full of hilarious banter, deep characters, and steamy sex scenes. So, I just assumed that this new book would be along those lines, and it wasn’t until I had started reading it that I figured out it was a young adult book and there would be no steamy sex scenes. I was slightly disappointed because well I’ll be real honest, I love the sex scenes in my romance and fantasy books. Which means I don’t read YA very often. But I was already invested in the characters and the banter was really good. So I kept going, and I’m glad I did, because it was a delightful and funny teenage love story.
Bradley and Celine are in their last year of high school and they hate each other. They were childhood friends but had a falling out a few years before and now they don’t speak. But they end up competing for the same university scholarship by participating in a series of outdoor survival workshops. They battle it out and slowly realize they don’t actually hate each other that much. So it’s like a second chance/ enemies to lovers type thing. It was really cute and I would recommend to all YA fans and Talia fans. Though I’m definitely going to reread the Brown sisters books this year, to get some of that steam!
So those are all the reviews I have for you today. Next week I’m hoping to have a few more ready and I’ll be chatting about my February TBR.