Skip to main content

Thoughts | My Current Binge Read and the State of the Review Pile

 Well, hi there. It's been . . . it's been awhile, hasn't it? I'm sitting here gazing at the tower of books I have to review (or finish reviews on), and I'm not gonna lie. It's gotten a little on top of me. The thing is, I definitely want to review each one of them. Because I've had some spectacular reading this year, guys. Really spectacular. I want to share my thoughts. And this is still my favorite place to do so. It will probably always be. All the other formats seem too limited, too awkwardly shaped, for the size of my thoughts. So. I'll keep trucking. More reviews to come before the end of the year. Promise.

For now, I wanted to just give you a heads up on the full-fledged binge I've fallen into with my discovery of Mariana Zapata's novels. She writes contemporary, frequently sports-themed (yay!) stories set in Texas, with strong central romances of the slowest of slow burn varieties. Like, whoa do these couples take their time working things out. Often until the final handful of pages, they're working on bridging sizable age differences or substantial professional differences or their own individual grief processes. Or, you know, in one memorable case, working their way to being in the same general geographic location. It's all easier said than done, isn't it? And it's all surprisingly real and weighty in the kind of cerebral, yet heartfelt way that I particularly like.

I started with Wait for It, and fell pretty quickly in love with Diana, her two nephews, and her neighbor―the dubiously named Dallas. There was baseball, and familial love, and a lot of being backed into corners and still trying so hard to do the right thing. It felt both fresh and familiar, and I found myself most definitely interested in more. And so I moved on to From Lukov with Love, her most recent book. This one featured pairs figure skaters in an enemies to . . . something more plot line. So basically all I ever look for in life. The Cutting Edge comparison has undoubtedly already been made a million times over. But it bears repeating. If you love that film, chances are good you'll love this book. I did. In the mood for more sports (professional women's soccer, anyone?), I followed it up with the one that seems to be everyone's favorite―Kulti. Here, my opinion seems to differ somewhat in that this was actually the hardest for me to get through. I loved Sal. How can you not love Sal? And Kulti was all sketched in to have huge potential. But my word, was he not interested in interacting in any human (or audible) sort of way. Strong, silent types are always a good idea. But even I found myself incredulous at the degree to which he insisted on being little more than a lurker in the majority of his scenes. And, yes, it did get extremely sweet near the end. But I think I prefer the books where the protagonists have just a few more interactions, even if they're not in-person ones. Which leads me to Dear Aaron, which I finished last night and just thoroughly enjoyed. The lone sports-less Zapata novel I've read so far, this one features a woman writing to a soldier as part of a deployment outreach program. As a result, much of the novel is epistolary. And I found the whole thing touching and magnetic.

Which brings me to the present. I have The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (another clear fan favorite) queued up on my Kindle and ready to go. I've heard the pace of this one puts the others to shame, so I'm going in prepared for the long haul and an even slower burn. But I'm curious if any of you have read Zapata's books. It seems like everyone has their own favorite and reasons why. I'd love to know yours.

Comments

You Might Also Like

Bibliocrack Review | Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

I haven't wanted to talk about this. With  anyone.  But I think I probably need to. That like Georgina, I need to use my words to break the curse. I think that like Sam, I need to believe in my cure. So I'm going to talk about it here, and maybe you can help. Since pandemic type things got real in my neck of the woods, I haven't been able to read. I haven't been able to  reread . This has (and I am not exaggerating) never happened to me before  in my life.  I know it happens frequently to most everyone. And I have certainly always been a mood reader. It's not in any way uncommon for me to drift from book to book, from shelf to shelf in my library, until I land upon the right thing. But that drifting tends to occur over the course of a few hours. Not ever does it occur over the course of a few days or, God forbid, weeks.  I feel like I'm losing my mind. And, yes, I am fully aware of where this problem likely rates on the triviality scale in the current scheme of

Review | The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vols. 1 & 2 by Beth Brower

I feel a bit giddy finally talking to you all about this series. If you'll remember, I fell madly in love with The Q  when it came out a few years ago. Now, Beth Brower is writing The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion — a series of novellas set in London in 1883. Each volume is an excerpt from the incorrigible Emma's journals, and the first two volumes are already available with the third on the way soon. I think they'd make rather perfect pandemic reading. Humorous and charming down to their bones, they're just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits in this uncertain time that just proves to be too much some days. If you're experiencing one of those days, I suggest giving Volume 1   a go (it's only 99 cents on Kindle, $4.99 for a trade paperback copy). It will surprise exactly none of you that I own print and digital editions of both volumes.  Miss Emma M. Lion has waited long enough. Come hell or high water (and really, given her track record,  both a

Bibliocrack Review | Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Since I thought I'd start with the two most egregious reviewing gaps, you get Wayward Son next. I hope this is agreeable to all and sundry. And let's just agree not to pull any punches, shall we? I'll start by admitting that this book wrecked my life. To be clear, I am not complaining. It's just that it had been a long time, yeah? A long time since  Carry On came out. Just such a very long time since I'd been in the company of these two. And their crew. And I thought I was ready. Don't I always? Must remember to learn from past mistakes. But more than that, I wasn't thinking about the fact that of course Rainbow Rowell would create nothing less than the sequel that would naturally follow the events at the end of Carry On. Which is to say a sequel that would hurt . Because everything about what happened to Simon Snow from the beginning of his life to his graduation from Watford was designed to damage. With the shining exceptions of Penny and Baz. And so th