Book queue

It’s been a busy three days when it comes to galleys!  Thinking that I’d only be approved for one or two if I was lucky, I requested a whole ton of books on Netgalley earlier this week.  Then, as I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business and trying to do the job that I actually get paid for, my phone started blowing up.  Seriously, notification after notification was rolling in and I had no idea what was going on.

I had a constant flow of emails from Netgalley, which was so unexpected!  Not only was I approved for five galleys that I’d requested, but I was invited to read Alice Hoffman’s new book!

I’m already knee-deep in The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash, so, what’s next?

What’s next in your reading queue?

ARC review: Madly by Ruthie Knox

Goodreads   Amazon

Allie Fredericks is supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ anniversary party, but her mom just… disappeared. Allie found her in a Manhattan bar with a man who is certainly not her husband, and now she feels obligated to bring her back home and save their family.

Winston Chamberlain didn’t expect, upon walking into the bar, to be swept up in Allie’s messy world, but he can hardly say no when he realizes how much fun she is. As the night goes on, the two have a hard time saying goodbye. They’re such opposites, but maybe they can make something real out of this chance connection.

A couple years ago, I read Ruthie Knox’s Truly, and I literally stayed up until like 4am to finish it. I remember going to work the next day completely bleary-eyed and exhausted, but not regretting a single second of it because that book was seriously good. So when I saw Knox’s Madly pop up on Netgalley, I immediately requested. I was not disappointed.

One of the things I loved about Truly was the Wisconsinite-on-the-East-Coast vibe. That’s alive and well here in Madly since this time, we’re following May’s younger sister, Allie. I loved all the shoutouts to my home state. I loved that Allie isn’t from a big city like Madison or Milwaukee, she’s from Manitowoc!

My only experience with Manitowoc was in the olden days of 2007 when I had a brand new drivers license and my mom sent me up to Wausau from Fond du Lac to visit my grandma. Highway 45 was closed for construction, and I tried to pull out my old-fashioned paper map (since GPS wasn’t as ubiquitous then as it is now), but since I have no sense of direct, I evidently turned east instead of west and ended up in Manitowoc! It was really traumatizing, but I survived. And anyway, that’s my one and only Manitowoc experience. (You’d probably have to pull up Google Maps if you’re not from the area in order to understand how ridiculous this whole scenario was.) Every time Allie mentioned her hometown, it sent me straight back to 2007.

Anyway, Allie and Winston were both really great characters. I was a little worried at first that their relationship was going to start off as a weird drunken hookup while Allie was all sad and vulnerable about her mom running away, but their relationship was actually super cute. They fit together really well, and even though everything happened over a few days, it seemed like it progressed really naturally. I was not bothered at all by the ~15 year age difference, and I loved that Winston was always a gentleman and Allie was a strong, independent, business-savvy woman.

I have to say, I might have loved May and Ben in Truly (and I really did, I have them four stars), but their relationship seemed to be lacking a little in comparison with Allie and Winston. I don’t know if Ruthie Knox’s writing has improved, or if my tastes have changed, but I just really loved Allie and Winston’s relationship. I loved their list and how even though they made the list together, they never pressured each other to cross things off, and the things that they were trying to cross off didn’t always work right away, but they never got mad or impatient with each other.

I liked Winston’s daughter, Bea, and I especially liked that he didn’t pressure her into acting a certain way to appease him. He might be a prim and proper London guy who walks around in expensive suits and silk socks and lives in a really fancy apartment, but he’s totally okay with Bea wearing ripped overalls, walking around covered in paint, with multicolored hair, living in a crappy apartment with too many friends, as long as that makes her happy. I also liked that Bea didn’t create any drama within Winston’s new relationship and actually encouraged it because she wanted her dad to be happy.

This book was honestly close enough to perfect that I cannot give it any less than five stars!

Final rating: ★★★★★

Thank you to Netgalley and Loveswept for the ARC!

Book queue

It’s been a great week for galleys!  I just finished Jamie Howard’s The Feeling of Forever, which was amazing and will live on in my heart for a long time.  (My review will be up soon.)

Next up are these six from Netgalley:

I’m excited about all of these titles, but particularly Madly (I absolutely adored Knox’s Truly when I read it two years ago) and Seven Days of You, which I had listed on my top ten anticipated debuts of 2017 list.

It was easy to love your idea of someone – to fall hard for their very best self. The question was whether, once you had to spend some time living with their worst self, you could bear to be with them anymore.

Truly | Ruthie Knox

Goodreads | Amazon

I’m not sure what I expected from Truly. All I know is I felt like I had to read it… and I was thrilled when the publisher approved my request. I’ll be honest – the only reason I even wanted to read this book is because the main character is a Wisconsin transplant living in New Jersey. (I’m also a Wisconsin transplant living in New Jersey, so I felt some camaraderie with May from the beginning.) But the story was so, so good even without the little stabs of nostalgia from reading about midwest living.

May wasn’t a big fan of the east coast even before her boyfriend’s disastrous, insulting, inebriated, very public proposal. It didn’t help that the whole disaster (shrimp fork stabbing and all) was caught on video and immediately went viral. It didn’t help that she got mugged and ended up stranded in Manhattan with nothing but a $5 bill and a Metro card to her name. It certainly didn’t help that when she found herself at a Packers bar in the middle of the day, there wasn’t a single person who looked midwest nice.

Ben was still reeling from the end of his marriage and the collapse of his cooking career. He’d once owned a successful restaurant with his wife, been part of a huge cookbook franchise, been on his way to great things, and now he had a pile of money from the divorce settlement and not much else. The stress from owning a restaurant, and from constantly fighting with his wife, had made him angry and closed off. He was done with emotions, thank you very much. He’d prefer to be alone.

So what happens when fearlessly optimistic May strikes up a conversation with the biggest crankypants she’s ever met? Not a lot, until Ben’s friend bets him that he can’t even pretend to be nice. As Ben makes an effort to help out a fellow Wisconsinite, his carefully constructed walls start falling down.

This book was so good. The character development, the plot development, even the side characters – everything is perfectly written. May’s sister, her parents, Ben’s family, everybody is a fully fleshed out character. It’s awesome to read something, especially an uncorrected proof that’s so well-written and well-developed. I stayed up late reading this book the day I started it. Then I got up early to read more before work. Then I came home from work and read until I finished. It’s that good.

Is the second book out yet? Can I just buy everything Ruthie Knox has ever written?

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC.

Final rating: