It’s been rough times for all of us during the Time of Coronas, but one positive I’ve gained from all of this is being able to get in more reading time. I still have to go into the office, so I’m not technically on lockdown or in quarantine. However, not being able to do much of anything else leaves me with more time to knock a few books off the old TBR. Usually, I can barely get through one book in a month, but I’ve been able to get multiple books during these weeks of quarantine. Today, I’m sharing 3 great reads I’ve recently finished. Spoiler Alert: I highly recommend them all.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
As a fan of The Kiss Quotient, I was beyond excited to read The Bride Test. Lucky for me, The Bride Test didn’t disappoint. I could not put this book down! It took me less than 1 week to finish, and that almost never happens! During the pandemic, I still had to go into the office for work, so it makes it even more surprising that I was able to finish this book so quickly.
What I loved about The Bride Test is what made me enjoy Hoang’s first novel The Kiss Quotient. Even in this fictionalized world, the romance between the two main protagonists felt real and organic. I could believe they were falling in love with one another, and I wanted them to be together. It didn’t feel forced or necessary to keep the story moving along.
Just like The Kiss Quotient, in The Bride Test, Hoang is once again able to masterfully include autism representation without it seeming like a gimmick. As someone with autism, Hoang is able to expertly show characters with autism as full humans and not one dimensional caricatures. I also liked that the story included a character outside of the “Model Minority” trope with Esme, the Vietnemese single mother. I loved her being the true hero of this story and the person I related to the most despite not having much in common with her. In The Bride Test, Helen Hoang gave me an engaging story that I enjoyed from beginning to end. I highly recommend this book to both romance readers and any readers who enjoyed The Kiss Quotient. Rating: Carpe Librum
Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman
Safe Houses is about CIA Agent Helen Abell who is in charge of the upkeep of several safe houses in West Berlin Germany during the Cold War, so one might assume this novel is all about Helen’s adventures during that time. Although the story does follow Helen’s time during 1970s Germany, Safe Houses is not your typical spy thriller. While performing routine maintenance at a safe house, Helen becomes a witness to a sexual assault that ultimately leads to her death 35 years later.
What I enjoyed most about Safe Houses was the protagonist being a female spy, and she was not the female version of James Bond. Helen was relatable to me as a reader and felt like a real person. Parts of the story being based on actual historical events may have led to that. I also liked that the story in Safe Houses told two mysteries. As Helen tries to find the evidence to prove a handler’s history of wrongdoing, her daughter Anna tries to figure out why her brother shot their parents while they were sleeping. In the end, both stories merge together to a mostly fulfilling conclusion. Rating: Page Turner
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
I continued my reading of literary romantic comedies during this quarantine time with The Wedding Date. Like the previous romance books I’ve read, I finished The Wedding Date in almost record time because I just could not put this book down. Compared to other romances I’ve read lately, The Wedding Date reads the most like a standard romantic comedy. Alexa and Drew have one of the cutest meet cutes when they get stuck in a hotel elevator together. Alexa is there to celebrate her sister making partner at her law firm. Drew is there for the wedding of his ex who is marrying one of his best friends. After a flirtatous chat, Alexa agrees to be Drew’s date to the wedding.
From there, a spark ignites a fire, and Alexa and Drew can’t get enough of one another. However, the deal was just a date, so we have to keep going on this ride with the hopes that these two kids will work things out. Since it’s a romantic comedy, readers know Alexa and Drew will be together in the end, but them getting there was a fantastic ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Every aspect of Alexa and Drew’s relationship was realistic in a lighthearted romcom sort of way. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, sexy read to get through these hard times. Rating: Carpe Librum
What books have you recently finished?