Solid Premise Marred By Pervasive Bigotry Against Anything Non-Queer. My book stats don’t lie- I read pretty well damn near everything. I’ve read several lesbian/ bisexual (of all forms) romances over the years, and actually still have another outstanding one to read in the next few weeks. And this one, as a slow burn with very heavy concepts… eh, it works reasonably well. Even as I find myself writing a 4* review and mostly siding with the existing 1* – 2* reviews that are currently on Goodreads as I write this as far as my own personal feelings about the book. But I pride myself in my “subtractive method” and trying to be objective-ish when deducting stars, and really the only thing objectively wrong here is the bigotry against anything non-queer, as noted in the title. As in, literally every single character – religious or not – that is not queer in this book is a bad guy, and while there is a singular queer bad guy as well – the ex-girlfriend of one of our MCs here – even this is portrayed in a better light than the non-queer characters. Yes, there is also a trans character that plays a small yet somewhat important role as well.
But, as I constantly say – “someone is going to LOVE the book for *EXACTLY* the reasons a given reviewer HATES it, and vice versa”, and I fully expect this to be the case here. A girl/ girl romance, no matter how you want to classify it, already has a fairly limited market, for any number of reasons. Within that market, I expect this tale to do reasonably well, as it is actually reasonably good from certain perspectives. Outside of that market, I think the bigotry so pervasively on display here is going to sink its chances even more than the girl/ girl romance nature of the tale.
I will say that as someone who frequents Walt Disney World and as a former runner with a couple of half marathons (though never a Disney one) under his belt… the sequences inside the park where actually quite fun, and the descriptions of a half marathon… show this particular runner didn’t train and/ or prepare particularly well for that length of race. Just to toss in a couple of observations I haven’t seen in other reviews as well. 🙂
Overall, if you’re into queer and/ or girl/ girl specifically romances… give this one a try. I genuinely do like to try to support debut authors, which is the actual primary reason I picked up this ARC, and there is certainly a sizeable market amongst those who will more readily agree with the author’s overall perspectives. If you’re less open to those types of romances… I’d say skip this one. There are certainly less problematic ones out there to try to broaden your horizons with a bit than this one, and maybe you skipping it will spare the author a 1* or 2* review. Recommended.
This review of Fly With Me by Andie Burke was originally written on August 28, 2023.
Cilantro Rub On A Perfectly Cooked Filet Mignon. Yes, the title of this review is an allusion to a particular meeting covered in this book, wherein Warren Buffett once invited James Weber to enjoy a steak with him in Omaha – and yet also describes this book to a T. Part memoir and part business leadership book, this is the story of James Weber pre-Brooks, and Brooks with James Weber at its head. And when the book is in either of these modes, it is truly tremendous. And I don’t just say this as a Millenial former runner (who needs to get back into that) who *loves* his Brooks Ravenna line shoes. I also note this as someone who has read and reviewed over 800 books in just the last 3 years alone across a wider range than most any other reader out there. Weber’s tale is remarkable, and his business insights and leadership principles are sound – and seem like they would be great guiding principles for those starting out or even those (like myself) in mid-career. The cilantro rub comes when Weber starts diving into political issues near the end of the text – though he *is* careful to come back to his own story and Brooks’ story after, in a classic sh*t sandwich layering approach. Why is there a cilantro rub on this great filet mignon? Well, like cilantro, the political discussion is going to be one you either love or you hate – there likely isn’t going to be any middle ground there, and there likely won’t be any convincing of those on the other side that they should change sides. So if you agree with the somewhere-left-of-center politics he describes… yay! You’re one of the ones that likes this cilantro! If not… read the book anyway. There really is a lot to be learned here. Very much recommended.
This review of Running With Purpose by James Weber was originally written on April 18, 2022.
Amazing Story. Barber is obviously known to millions as Kimmie Gibbler, but here for the first time those same millions meet Andrea. And Andrea is full of the dichotomies that plague many of us. An introvert who happens to be a “celebrity”. Someone plagued with anxiety who is known for portraying the zany neighbor that always has a plan. The mother that slipped so far into anxiety and depression that she couldn’t take care of herself and nearly lost everything. Barber does an excellent job of easing the reader into the darkest moments of her life and explaining how she was able to come out of them and come… Full Circle. Very much recomended.
This review of Full Circle by Andrea Barber was originally written on November 15, 2019.
Goats! Wood Chippers! Bonfires! In this second entry into Maddie Evans’ Brighthead Running Club series, we meet a new character that didn’t appear in the first entry… and yet is still intertwined with the cast we did meet then. Charlie is an artist running from a cheating fiancee… and Brighthead’s resident artist runner happens to be an old friend. But Brandon is also an idiot, thinking that because he was poor growing up he can’t be relatively wealthy as an adult – and I say this as someone who has undergone just such a transformation in my real life. When Brandon’s efforts for Kealty begin to get him more notice, will he let his history with her sabotage the best things he’s ever come across? And with one final tease at the very end, Evans throws a swerve as to who the couple in the final book in the series may involve… Very much recommended, very much looking forward to the conclusion of this series. 🙂
This review of A Tease And A Trail Run by Maddie Evans was originally written on August 13, 2019.
Running and Tragedy. Ok, so with a title like this you’ve gotta be expecting a romance and some running, right? Because if you’re not, you’re in the wrong place – that is exactly what you’re getting here. Evans does an excellent job of showing her characters experiencing real pain in the midst of tragedy, and she does an excellent job of showing the journey of a beginner runner going into her first 5K. Excellent book, very much recommended – and this reader can’t wait for the next one. 🙂
This review of A 5K and a Kiss by Maddie Evans was originally published on July 24, 2019.