Welcome to 2022 everyone! It’s already been a big year here at Books, Tea & Whiskers. If you haven’t already noticed, we have branched out from only doing book reviews! Please don’t hesitate to check out our line of book inspired teas on this very site. But don’t fret because we are still going to do reviews at least twice a month with the newest releases.
Our first book is slightly different from our usual reviews as we decided to read and review a contemporary romance. This year we are going to do our best to read from a variety of genres in order to get outside of our fantasy comfort zone. So sit back, check the weather, and be prepared for some cozy romance with Rachel Lynn Solomon’s Weather Girl!
Warning: This review does have some spoilers so we really do recommend grabbing your copy, curling up with this perfect love story, and then coming back to see what we thought.
“Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.
In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.
Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?"
Erin: Okay we have a new Rachel Lynn Solomon and I’m so happy to discuss with you! I thought her book Today Tonight Tomorrow was really sweet, and her book The Ex Talk was quite steamy. I feel like Solomon brings us even more spice this time around!
Ashli: Rachel is literally the only romance author that I am clambering for books from. Wasn’t it me who shoved Today Tonight Tomorrow at you and forced you to read it because I loved it so much?
Erin: Yes, and I think I was new in my journey of romance and put it off initially. But you kept shoving (metaphorically) and I was so glad you did! Such a good book. Weather Girl, for me, was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Those sex scenes were explicit, detailed and in my opinion unique . But they definitely weren’t the whole focus of the story. There was plenty of plot and character development which, for me, I’m more interested in.
Just as a comparison: Neon Gods is very spicy, but has little substance. I still enjoyed that book but I knew what it was and it was not a story for story telling sake. It was for those who enjoy erotica. Anyways I digress. What I’m trying to say is there was a really good balance here where I was invested in the people and the story. It just happens to have a couple really hot scenes which is a bonus.
Ashli: I usually shy away from romantic scenes; as we’ve talked about before. The way that Rachel integrates them is perfect because they are super organic to the story. Rachel also doesn’t do insanely explicit scenes where I am uncomfortable reading them. Her scenes are much more realistic and feel achievable; unlike Maas and her wingspans.
Erin: I love how I’m always down for the fantasy romance– wingspans and all, until I think about it too hard, ha! Contemporary romance with its real life couples do totally have the advantage of being more relatable. This is a romantic comedy, but there are some really important heavy themes. The major one being depression. Ari has struggled with depression for most of her life, and watched her mother battle against it and lose all throughout Ari’s childhood. She’s determined not to become her mother and accepts the help of antidepressants and commits to a positive attitude. I have personally never experienced clinical depression so I can’t speak to the authenticity of the rep, but I did appreciate that Solomon portrayed it as unpredictable and that every day tasks feel insurmountable. Those close to me who have experienced depression have explained it quite similarly.
Ashli: I really appreciated Rachel’s portrayal of clinical depression. She made it real and accessible to people who haven’t dealt with it so that they can have an idea of how it might feel and how they might be able to support those around them who do have clinical depression. The fact that Ari was scared to talk about her depression because of how people react and how she is always putting on an air of being okay is really relatable. I do it all the time with my chronic pain… put on a smile and pretend that you aren’t dying of pain or depression. It’s what society wants to see so we do it.
Erin: It really is so important to be having more mental health, as well as physical things like chronic pain represented in stories. You know I love Talia Hibbert, she always chooses a mental health problem like anxiety, autism etc and Rachel does a really good job here. What did you think about Ari’s mom? She was a huge influence over Ari and how she chose to live her life. Do you think her getting help was important to the story?
Ashli: I think the fact that Ari’s mum got help was absolutely needed in the story. It shows that it is never too late to get help while also showing that relationships can be mended when both sides are open to it. There is a lot of growth on both sides that many readers are going to be able to relate to whether they have already been through it before or they are currently going through a similar situation.
Erin: I was pleasantly surprised to have a male character who wasn’t ripped and all bulging biceps. The way Ari described Russel and the things she found attractive about him made the relationship feel more authentic to me. Something I see a lot in romances or rom-coms is that the woman isn’t described much (maybe to make people identify with her?) but the guy is always super hot, like male model- hot. And sure I’m down, it’s just a story after all. But there’s something so much sweeter and real when the characters actually seem like real people.
Ashli: My boyfriend Grant and Russel are very similar in build so it was really nice to see that representation because I find Grant to be super sexy so Russel stole my heart right away. It was also refreshing to see the internal conflict that Russel has about his body. We rarely get to see men be sensitive in both life and literature. It helped me get into the story even more because I could relate to Ari and I could relate Russel to my own boyfriend. Speaking of relating to characters… Ari falling down the stairs as she spied on their bosses that they were setting up? Chefs kiss right there! I’d be the one most likely to fall down the stairs and break my arm as well.
Ashli: Can we talk about the fact that Ari and Russel found love while setting up their bosses who also found love by trying to set up our main characters? That is super adorable and a really interesting way for the four of them to become such close friends.
Erin: I didn't see that coming! And so interesting that Ari was so troubled and put their entire relationship into question because they were set up, when they were doing the exact same thing to the Hales. I actually really liked both couples and if it didn't have that wedding conclusion I would have wondered if a book about them was coming. Whatever Rachel decides to write about next, we’ll both be lined up to get it.