So I actually got a ton of reading ton during the second half of April, largely because I got sucked into the world that is Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge series, though I also read the new Courtney Milan book and finally made it to Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race!
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti is a super short sci-fi novella about a girl who decides to leave her family and their remote village in Africa in order to pursue an education at the leading university in the galaxy.
I’m actually really not sure what to think of this book. I mean, I liked it, but it’s just so short! Even though I think Okorafor did an excellent job writing this story and I do feel like I got a clear sense of who Binti is, I just didn’t connect to the story all that much? I’m not sure. Really, I’m so confused by it all. I’m open to potentially reading more in this series, especially since the books are all so short, but I can’t say I’m in a rush to do it anytime soon.
After the Wedding by Courtney Milan
After the Wedding is the second book in Milan’s Worth Saga. It follows Camilla, the missing sister from the first book who has been shuffled around from household to household before dramatically reappearing on her family’s doorstep some 10 years later. The story starts before her reappearance, though. While working in a pastor’s household, Cam finds herself trapped into marriage with the handsome footman Aidan, who is actually working undercover as a valet at his uncle’s behest in order to gather more information about a rival bishop. As the two try to untangle their marriage and get an annulment, they slowly start to fall in love.
The publisher provided me with an advance digital sampler of After the Wedding via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Oh man, this book. It was so sad! Like, it was so disappointing to see Aidan’s uncle constantly treat him so horribly, and I couldn’t bear how Camilla was constantly falling in love with people and hoping they’d rescue her, only to find herself passed along to the next family. Yes, there was a happy ending, but I’d say about 95 percent of this book was filled with disappointment and heartbreak, and it was just so, so sad. I also didn’t think there was nearly enough tension and banter between Aidan and Cam, though that’s definitely personal preference. I think Milan plotted this story beautifully and hit a lot of great points, but it was too bittersweet of a romance novel for me to fully recommend. Though I am still very eager to continue this series! And shout out to the fact that this book features a ton of diversity while still being set in Victorian England. I mean, the hero is biracial and the heroine is bisexual, which you almost never see in England-set historicals, so that’s pretty awesome.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race was excellent. I haven’t read too many books focusing on race (though there are a ton on my TBR), so I can’t speak to whether what Eddo-Lodge has to say is repetitive or nothing new, but I can say that I was really impressed with this book. I really liked learning more about the history of black people in the United Kingdom, since it’s something I know very little about, and how it compares and contrasts with the United States. And I thought Eddo-Lodge did an excellent job breaking down social structures and showing institutional racism at play, as well as speaking to the importance of intersectionality and the unique experiences of women of color. The whole book was excellently researched and written, and I highly, highly recommend checking it out.
Sidenote: Can I say how impressed I am with the selections for Emma Watson’s book club? I bought this book primarily because of Jenica at Firewhiskey Reader, but I was really excited to see Watson picked it for her book club after I purchased my copy. She’s had a number of excellent choices (and she just picked The Hate U Give for May!), and I really need to just go ahead and read them all.
Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates was my book club’s pick for May. I figured it’d be good because my friend Holly is so obsessed with Yates’ books, but I’m not much of a fan of cowboy romances, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As I mentioned earlier, I became obsessed! I’m not as much of a fan of the novellas, but for the full-length novels, Yates just does such a great job creating believable characters and putting real obstacles in the way of their happily ever after, while also layering in a ridiculous amount of sexual tension. And I’m really enjoying seeing the series unfold as various minor characters from earlier books get their own stories in later books. While I still wouldn’t consider myself a convert to cowboy romances, I’ve had a lot of fun reading these books, and I can’t wait to continue the series because Holly says some of the later ones are even better!
Anyways, let me back up a second. Brokedown Cowboy is the second book in the Copper Ridge series, but I read it first since it was the book club pick. It’s the story of widower Connor and his best friend Liss, and what happens when Connor offers to let Liss move in with him after she’s unable to find a new apartment.
Like I said, Yates just did such a good job creating these characters and crafting their story, and I really, really enjoyed it. My only hangup is that Liss has basically been in love with Connor since they were teenagers. She insists that she pushed down her feelings when Connor married her best friend, but it kind of seems like she’s spent the past 15 years pining for him. I would have much preferred that they were just friends and only realized it was something more over the course of this book without the backstory of unrequited love, but even with it, I still thought this was a really good read, and I immediately had to start the next one.
Bad News Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Bad News Cowboy follows Connor’s younger sister Kate and his best friend Jack, who have been hiding from their attraction to each other behind constant sniping. Until one day things boil over and they’re forced to confront the fact that they don’t have the brother/sister relationship they thought they had.
I was so looking forward to this one as I love the trope of a guy falling for his best friend’s sister, and for the most part, this one did not disappoint. I wasn’t thrilled with what a big deal was made out of the fact that Jack slept around a lot, and occasionally Kate acted so childlike and naive that it was a bit annoying, but for the most part I really enjoyed their story and really like the two of them together. It was a good addition to the series!
Shoulda Been a Cowboy by Maisey Yates
I checked out Brokedown Cowboy from the library as part of an omnibus with the first three books and two novellas, so when I finished Bad News Cowboy, I decided I should go back and start from the beginning before continuing with the series. Shoulda Been a Cowboy is a short novella that kicks the series off, and it follows former teenage rebel Jake as he returns to Copper Ridge in his thirties, only to find himself falling for his one-time teenage crush Cassie, who just happens to live in the apartment next door.
It was a cute story, but I’m just not sold on romance novellas. Sure, sometimes romance novels get a bit long and drag out the story unnecessarily, but I do think a certain amount of length is required to properly tell the story, especially when the characters have such complicated backstories as Jake and Cassie. Plus this book also had an unrequited love angle. While Cassie did marry (and divorce) someone else, the story still plays up the idea that it’s been Jake all along, and I’m just not a fan. I did like the two of them, though, and overall thought it was a cute novella. I’m just not a huge fan of romance novellas in general.
Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Part Time Cowboy is the first full-length novel in the Copper Ridge series, following Connor’s younger brother Eli. Sadie has been moving from place to place ever since she left Copper Ridge as a teenager, and decided to finally move back and put down roots, renting a house from Connor that she plans to convert into a bed and breakfast. She and Eli are at odds from the beginning, especially since Eli arrested her when she was in high school, but eventually the two have to face that their constant tension is masking some serious feelings for each other.
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great start from the series. It made sense for me to start with Brokedown Cowboy because of my book club, but I kind of wish I’d started here because this one was so good. I honestly don’t have much else to say other than that I really like Sadie and Eli together and I really liked their story. I almost think it might be my favorite of the Garrett trilogy within the Copper Ridge series, actually.
A Copper Ridge Christmas by Maisey Yates
A Copper Ridge Christmas was the last inclusion in the bindup I was reading, so of course I had to read it, especially when it involved a one-time foster brother and sister falling for each other.
While I also enjoyed this novella, I think I’m done with the novellas in this series. They’re just not that satisfying! Especially with the extensive backstories that Yates gives her characters. I want to see their romance and its resolution drawn out over way more than 100 pages. This was a cute read, but it didn’t follow characters that I really knew or whose stories I was invested in going into the story, and I’m not sure it contributed much to the series overall. Also, enough with the unrequited love trope already! So I’m officially skipping the rest of the novellas in the Copper Ridge series.
One Night Charmer by Maisey Yates
One Night Charmer shifts the Copper Ridge series away from the Garrett family of Connor, Eli, and Kate and towards the West family, starting with Sierra West. After discovery a long-buried family secret, Sierra no longer feels like she can take advantage of her father’s wealth and decides to strike out on her own, moving in with her brother and eventually getting a job as a waitress at Ace’s bar. Ace has a huge chip on his shoulder and doesn’t like what he considers spoiled rich girls, but he’s unable to stay away from Sierra, so of course sparks start to fly.
This was actually my least favorite of the series so far. I thought Ace was kind of a jerk to Sierra for a lot of the book and I found their relationship a bit odd. I also wasn’t thrilled that this was essentially an unplanned pregnancy story, especially since the blurb gave no hint of that whatsoever, plus I really disliked Ace’s insistence that they get married for the baby. And the whole spoiled rich girl thing was a bit irritating, and I wasn’t at all convinced that she couldn’t find any other job in town, especially since she has a college degree and a lot of experience working on ranches. But whatever. I still enjoyed the story overall, but it’s definitely my least favorite so far. Fortunately, I think the next book is going to be pretty good based on what I know of the two leads so far!
You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson
I thought I was going to really love this memoir/humorous essay collection, and while I did enjoy You Can’t Touch My Hair overall and thought Robinson had some really great insights, it mostly just wasn’t for me. I think a lot of it is because her type of humor isn’t really my thing. There were so many LOLs and hashtags, it was a bit repetitive and not all that funny for me. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely moments where I laughed out loud while listening to this story, and I especially loved her description of the stages of becoming a true New Yorker (it was all so true!), but sometimes she went too far with the jokes and lost me a bit, like the (long) section where she ranked U2 members in order of her willingness to sleep with them. But I really liked the sections where she spoke about black hair and the problems of being called uppity or an angry black woman (seriously, it’s such a lose-lose term), as well as her experience being a black and female comedian. And I really enjoyed her letters to her biracial niece. So this was definitely worth reading, it just didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting.
Also, I listened to this on audio since Robinson narrated it herself, and I really liked that format. She’s a comedian, so listening to her tell her own story and jokes was the perfect way to consume this book. If you’re interested in reading it, I definitely recommend that you give the audiobook a try.
See? I told you I got obsessed with the Copper Ridge series. It’s actually a bit of a shame because there are so many books on my shelves I should be reading instead, but I’ve been enjoying these books so much that I don’t even care. Though I am giving the Copper Ridge books a bit of a rest for now so they don’t get too repetitive on me.
How was your April reading? What’s your favorite book you read last month? Let me know in the comments!