Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! This time an excellent bookish contemporary and a romance read that sadly failed to hit the mark completely.
“Please try to remember that books aren’t always an escape; sometimes books teach us things. They show us the world, they don’t hide it.”
I do enjoy a good contemporary with a bookish element, so I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of The Reading List. Add more than one glowing review, and I’ve been looking forward to finally pick it up myself… Now that I’ve read it, I can definitely understand the love for this title. Teenager Aleisha and older widower Mukesh become unlikely friends, bonding through books and the library, and it was just such a wonderful connection to see grow over time! This is books about books at its best, with references to multiple very known and impactful books. I love how it’s not just about the characters reading the books on the mysterious reading list, but also about how the stories affect their lives and how it teaches them things. Both Aleisha and Mukesh face struggles at home, one with a mother with mental health issues and the other still grieving the death of his wife. Their development in general is realistic, heartfelt and made it very easy to connect to both. On top of their POVs, we also have multiple other POVs who are either connected to the first two characters or the reading list itself. There are quite a few heavy moments included in The Reading List, and it includes topics like mental health, death, grief and suicide. Thankfully you will also find moments of hope, and I liked how everything was wrapped up in the end. If you are looking for an impactful and well written bookish contemporary about family and an unlikely friendship and don’t mind shedding a tear or two, this title is a great choice.
Title: The Northern Lights Lodge
(Romantic Escapes #4)
Author: Julie Caplin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: February 28th 2019
Finished reading: April 7th 2022
“The Vikings that came here from Europe had to carve out a life. It breeds toughness but also a team spirit. Together we can make things happen.”
I’m starting to think that I simply might not be in the right mood to continue this series right now. I really enjoyed my time with the first two books, then book three suddenly was a bit of a dud… And now sadly The Northern Lights Lodge failed to grab me completely. Don’t get me wrong, I love the travel and food aspect of this series, and the descriptions of the Icelandic setting and the lodge were heaven. I think the descriptions were part of the reason I kept reading, because there was something about the story itself that didn’t convince me completely… I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I suspect it has something to do with the main characters. While I do still like Alex, Lucy quickly became very frustrating with the mystery around why she was fired and her blaming herself constantly even after it becomes clear she wasn’t at fault. Add the cringeworthy sexy scenes and things became even more dire… Not to mention everything involving the camera team. I did feel that the beginning was a bit stronger, but that initial spark soon petered out and there were parts that dragged considerably. I wasn’t sure what to make of the ending either… All in all not my favorite of the series, and I’m wondering if I should just leave the Romantic Escapes books be for a while to see if I can enjoy them again when I’m in a different reading mood.