I think I should probably be honest with y’all and let you know that you should not really expect timely reviews from me, although I do promise I’m trying to get back on track. But today we do at least have books that either just came out or will hit the shelf shortly. First up, we have Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby, a memoir that I really appreciated. Next we have The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa, which delivered a truly excellent fake dating romance that I enjoyed quite a bit. And finally, we have Summoning Up Love by Synithia Williams. I received all three of these books from Netgalley, but I bought myself audiobook copies of Ten Steps to Nanette and The Wedding Crasher.
Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby
I’m really not sure how to review this book, if I’m being honest. Ten Steps to Nanette is Hannah Gadsby’s story and she talks about a lot of her life and what led to her Netflix special Nanette, which was an absolutely incredible comedy/not comedy special. The memoir situation is really interesting because it’s not really written like any other memoir I’ve ever read. Gadsby does a lot of contextualizing her life with the wider framework of what was going on in the world, and especially Tasmania, where she grew up. She also sort of skims over things that other people might think she would focus more on. Like, the traumatic events she experienced. But, she mostly doesn’t. I really feel like Gadsby was given the freedom to write a book the way her neurodiverse brain wanted to write her story and so there are all of these quirks to her writing that are unexpected and kind of wonderful at the same time. I’m not really sure how to explain it. What I do know is that I kept texting my best friend and telling her about various aspects of Ten Steps to Nanette and encouraging her to pick up her own copy.
One of the things though that does make this book difficult, and yet timely, to read is that it covers a lot of the path to legalizing being gay in Tasmania in the 90s and the circles back to how that rhetoric returned in the path to legalize gay marriage in the 2010s. And, for this American, at least, it was disconcerting to realize that America is having the exact same discussions all over again in 2022 for some reason. It’s funny because Gadsby talked about how people discussed Nanette as being a “reaction” to the #MeToo movement, but actually Gadsby was just working through her own traumas, the timing was just prescient. Well, it looks like this book may have come at a similarly prescient time. It’s a little frustrating in a way.
Anyway, I would highly recommend picking up Ten Steps to Nanette if you liked the Netflix special or if you think you might like a memoir that really contextualizes how a person’s life was impacted by larger global events, even when a person didn’t necessarily know everything that was happening. I really appreciated this book and I think now I need to go rewatch Nanette.
The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa
The Wedding Crasher is my favorite book from Mia Sosa yet. This could be because of my intense love of fake dating romances, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s because Sosa managed to deliver an actually funny romantic comedy that had the right amount of angst to keep me intrigued and the right amount of character growth to keep me invested in the characters themselves. The things keeping it at a 4.5 not a 5 star rating for me are mostly small quibbles that I don’t think other people are likely to care about. Like, for example, the way Dean said that he doesn’t know if he would have gone to work for a law firm if it weren’t for his student loans. This is an entirely personal thing that bothers me that most people will not even blink at. (But I do appreciate his pro bono work.)
The audiobook narrators did a great job too. I liked both of them. And so, all in all, I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
Summoning Up Love by Synithia Williams
Synithia Williams writes a really fantastic category romance and I’m extremely intrigued by this new series. Vanessa heads down from Atlanta after her life sort of implodes to stay in one of her grandmother’s rental properties. It’s shortly after she arrives that she meets Dion, coming into her grandmother’s home to help her grandma deal with her grandfather’s ghost. Vanessa is understandably convinced that he’s a scam artist, which makes the sparks flying between them just a tad inconvenient. The plot of this book essentially unfolds as Dion and his brothers work to convince Vanessa that ghosts are real and they are actually not scam artists so that Vanessa will stop standing in the way of her grandmother’s home being used to film a pilot for a show about the brother’s ghost hunting adventures.
But what’s going on between Vanessa and Dion and for each of them separately is really what made this book work for me. The two of them have a pretty immediate connection that they resist for their own reasons. Vanessa’s life is in flux and Dion is settled into this town. The push pull between them and the things they want gives this book the perfect level of angst to keep you reading to find out what will happen, without ever drifting into gut punch territory. It was a very solid read!
Additionally, one of the things Williams does so well is really establish a full community in all of her books and this one is no exception. I am very much looking forward to the next books in this series!
And there you have three more reviews! Have you read any of these books yet? Do you want to?