Hey everyone, hope your week is off to a great start. It snowed 14 inches here last week and since we don’t really do snow well here in central Virginia, the whole area was pretty much shut down all week. I work from home so it didn’t impact me too much, plus it made for a great excuse to cozy up in front of the fire with some wonderful books, two of which I’m sharing reviews for today.
Weather Girl Goodreads
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publication Date: January 11, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Rachel Lynn Solomon’s latest contemporary romance, Weather Girl, follows Ari Abrams, a young Jewish woman whose lifelong fascination with the weather has landed her a dream job as a TV meteorologist. Working alongside her longtime idol, legendary Seattle weatherwoman, Torrance Hale, Ari’s job is everything she ever hoped it would be. That is, with one exception: the unbearable tension in the workplace between Torrance and Seth, who happens to be the news director at the station as well as Torrance’s ex-husband. The two of them are constantly at each other’s throats, making everyone around them feel awkward and uncomfortable, including one of Ari’s coworkers, sports reporter Russell Barringer. Unable to take it anymore, Ari and Russell cook up a scheme to get Torrance and Seth back together. Adult version of The Parent Trap, anyone?
I had a lot of fun with this story. Ari and Russell are both such likeable characters and I enjoyed their attempts at nudging Torrance and Seth back together, especially since it became clear that the two of them were also growing closer along the way.
I also just loved how realistic and relatable Ari came across, particularly when it came to her struggles with mental health. Ari suffers from depression but has also struggled with the fear that no one would like her if they knew of her depression. Her way of coping with that has been to keep her depression and therapy a secret, put on a happy face and be a walking ray of sunshine to everyone around her. It was clearly not healthy and in fact, was downright exhausting at times, because all Ari really wanted was to feel like she could be herself. Could Russell finally be the one who gets her to let her guard down?
Speaking of Russell, I really loved this guy and honestly found him to be more realistic than most of the male leads I’ve read about in romance novels. He’s a Jewish single dad and he hasn’t been on a date in at least five years. Russell also struggles with his weight and so doesn’t really think of himself as a “catch” for any woman. I liked that sense of vulnerability about him, and I also liked that the more he and Ari hung out together, the more it was clear what a great match they could be because, even though their matchmaking schemes weren’t exactly professional, they really did bring out the best in each other.
If matchmaking a la The Parent Trap, a realistic exploration of a person coping with depression, excellent Jewish representation, and a friends-to-lovers romance appeal to you, Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon needs to be on your must-read list. It’s the fourth novel I’ve read from Solomon, and it’s definitely another winner for me. 4 STARS.
Made in Manhattan Goodreads
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Gallery Books
As soon as I saw that Lauren Layne’s new contemporary romance, Made in Manhattan, was being advertised as a modern-day reverse My Fair Lady, I knew I had to read it. I’m a huge fan of My Fair Lady, the musical and the film, so I’m always up for a fresh take on an old favorite.
Made in Manhattan follows Violet Townsend, a young woman born and raised in the wealthy, privileged Upper East Side of Manhattan. Violet is an expert when it comes to knowing what to say, how to act, and what to wear in all elite social settings. Violet also loves to make people happy, especially Edith, who while not a blood relative, has practically raised her since Violet’s parents and grandparents all died when she was much younger. Edith runs a successful international corporation and has been troubled by the fact that she has no living family to take over the business when she retires, that is until she learns that she has a grandson named Cain Stone she never knew about. Edith is determined to groom Cain to take over the business, but there’s just one problem: Cain, who hails from New Orleans, is about as rough around the edges as they come. With his long hair, scuffed boots, faded jeans, and a vocabulary that consists largely of the four-letter ‘f’ word, Cain doesn’t exactly fit in with NYC’s elite. Edith enlists Violet to help give Cain a Manhattan makeover. Less than thrilled at the prospect, Violet reluctantly agrees because she just can’t say no to Edith. Unfortunately for Violet, Cain is even less thrilled at the prospect.
As with the original My Fair Lady, there are just sparks flying everywhere between Violet and Cain as soon as the makeover commences. Cain is impossible, fighting Violet every step of the way, and Violet becomes more and more frustrated. She can’t understand why he even bothered to come to New York if he’s not willing to do whatever it takes to become CEO of the company that is pretty much being handed to him. Cain, on the other hand, can’t understand why Violet, or Duchess as he refers to her, has nothing else better to do with her time than treat him as a human mannequin. While I found all the awkward, snarky banter at the beginning of their relationship quite entertaining, what I really enjoyed was watching their relationship evolve as they got to know each other better and could look past their initial impressions of one another. It becomes all too clear that the two of them have the hots for each other, whether they want to admit it or not.
The only thing better than watching their relationship evolve was watching Violet herself evolve. She really does start to question what she is even doing with her life and why she feels the need to be such a people pleaser all the time, even if it makes her miserable in the process. The more time she spends with Cain, the more she finds herself willing to step out of her lifelong comfort zone and try new things. It’s as if she’s undergoing just as much of a transformation as Cain is, and I loved to see it.
Made in Manhattan was everything I could have wanted from a My Fair Lady-inspired book and then some. I flew through the pages in less than a day and was sad when the story was over, even though the ending was immensely satisfying. 4 STARS.