New Release Review: Leave the World Behind

Book Summary from Goodreads:

A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong

Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.

Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another? 

Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis. 

My Review:

This book was weird. An ending that left it all hanging wide open. No questions answered, and no one technically dead. An apocalypse story but with few signs of the actual events shown. From the point of view of strangers stuck together at a vacation home in the middle of nowhere. The disjointed writing took a bit to get used to and I didn’t much care for Amanda or the rest though I was curious as to what would happen. A slow build of a plot that cuts off abruptly leaving you asking “wtf was that?!”

Trigger warnings: 9/11 discussed, kid sick/ill, missing child, and brief sexual scenes between husband/wife

Final Rating: 4/5 ⭐

Book Review: deep woods

Summary From Goodreads:

I was barefoot, sobbing, running for my life. But the men hunting me made one mistake: they chased me into *his* woods.

Cal Whittaker. Big, gruff and gorgeous, he’s made his home in the heart of the forest and has barely spoken to another person in six years. He deals with the men chasing me with a brutal efficiency that hints at a dark past. I should be scared…but when I look into his eyes, I feel a soul-deep longing I can’t explain. And the way he looks at me, like he just wants to push me up against a tree and tear my clothes off…

He offers me shelter on his smallholding. I’m used to the big city but I’ll have to learn a whole new way of life: a cow for milk, a wood stove for warmth and no one but the two of us for miles in any direction. I learn that Cal’s carrying a guilt that won’t let him get close to anyone…but neither of us can fight the attraction and in his tiny cabin, it’s impossible to keep our distance.

Even in the forest, though, we may not be safe. My escape has threatened a conspiracy so vast, so evil, that the men behind it won’t stop until they’ve silenced us. They know where we are. And they’re coming.

My Review:

Deep Woods was a fast paced, steamy romantic survival trope that I like. It’s got an adorable dog. An enormous giant of a man whose wildly protective towards our damsel in distress, as well as being the big, gruff, strong silent type-with a beard. The romance in this book was a bit of a slow build, though it felt a hint like instalove. The action in the book was…well. All over the place. You really need to suspend disbelief for a lot of it. It goes from action scene googly eyes action scene action scene googly eyes/wistful longing lots of action to backstory with hand holding…its pretty entertaining, but I definitely fiction.

That’s not to say I didn’t absolutely fall in love with the book. The characters were easy to like and get to know. Cal and Bethany are an awesome couple. Bethany wasn’t one of those annoying giggly heroines that’s To Stupid To Live, she’s smart and gutsy though she’s also a bit too weak compared to Cal. Cal was a tall, bearded, muscular man who was once a marine. Another perk for this romance novel. There’s surviving out in the woods. There’s guns, bears, cabins, and swoon worthy romance that’s a steady build into a solid relationship you believe in. I flew through the book in an easy two days, not wanting to put it down and only doing so because real life kept getting in the way.

For a brand new to me author? This was high on my list of favorites. I enjoyed this. A lot. It was full of romance, of action, of gruff alpha male heroes rushing to protect the damsel in distress.

It was as described-a wild, fun ride through the woods with a gruff grizzly of a man and his dog, taking down baddies one bad guy at a time. Definitely worth checking out for those who like that sort of thing. 4 out of 5 stars, and I’m definitely looking into the other works by this author.