I finished 16 books this month! Ok, while I did have some deeper reads, most of these were super easy romance novels that I was able to finish in a few hours. I think with everything going on in the world this month, I just needed some happy endings.
Since this is a trilogy (and in my Kindle it was one big book!) I thought I’d keep them together. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.
Overall I really liked this story. It’s sort of like…adult Twilight. It was fun to jump into a fantasy series and it’ll definitely be a reread for me at some point. These are really long though, so it might be awhile. I did watch the first season of the tv adaptation on Sundance and it was good but they did change quite a bit so I wasn’t that into it. It does have very cheesy music like the first Twilight movie as well. 4/5
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker
The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. A non fiction pick this was very engaging but was also very hard to read at time. A trigger warning for of sexual abuse. While it was hard to read, it was a very interesting story and I hope the family is able to heal. 4/5
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS. Oh yes, because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. This was a finish in a day read for me and I’m pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time. If you like books about royals and romance novels this is for you. 5/5
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
Super cute British chick-lit if you need a beach read this is a great one. I love that it deals with some below the surface issues. Love love love Leon. 4/5
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Winner of the 2020 Pulizer Prize for Fiction.
As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors. Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
I’m going to rank this as the best (and shortest) book I’ve read this year even though I’m giving it slightly under 5 stars. I wish it was a little more fleshed out especially at the end, it just felt like so much was missing. It could be that I was just so horrified that my brain needed more, so I’m not blaming the author here at all. These stories need to be told. 4.5/5
Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho
Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’s Diary in this funny and irresistible debut novel about the pursuit of happiness, surviving one’s thirties intact, and opening oneself up to love.
At thirty-three, Andrea Tang is living the dream: she has a successful career as a lawyer, a posh condo, and a clutch of fun-loving friends who are always in the know about Singapore’s hottest clubs and restaurants. All she has to do is make partner at her law firm and she will have achieved everything she (and her mother) has ever worked for. So what if she’s poised to be the last unmarried member of her generation of the Tang clan? She doesn’t need a man to feel fulfilled, no matter what her meddling relatives have to say about it.
This was definitely Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’s Diary and I wish it wasn’t in all the by-lines because I thought that a lot and compared them. Perfectly nice romance book, I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I usually do. Honestly it could be that I just read some heavier books before this one. 3.5/5
Match Making for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
This was a bit of a slog for me. It had all the ingredients it was just long and the wrap up at the end was way too short. 3/5
It is Wood, It is Stone by Gabriella Burnham
With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway! While the protagonist was hard to deal with at times (which was the point) it was a really great story. A short read too but a bit more dense. I really loved Marta’s backstory and where Linda and her husband ended up. 4/5
The Selection by Kiera Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
Kind of like the bachelor meets hunger games, I think Grace Atwood has mentioned this one a few times so when it came up as available at the library I grabbed the audiobook. Super short (like 6 hrs) and its fine, more silly royal novels are always fine. Not immediately grabbing this one at the bookstore, but I did put a hold on #2. Great to listen to during an afternoon working in the yard. 3/5
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
After reading this one, I actually binged on almost of her books because it was so fun and light and cute. This one is definitely a stand out and it makes me so happy to get to follow Alexa and Drew through the universe she created. 4.5.5
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…
Another fun read! Jasmine definitely has a bit of a pattern which I got lost in a bit here. But Carlos and Nikole are super cute together. 4/5
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:
1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other
After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking.
Told you I binged! This one was fun too. I really like Maddie and warmed up to Theo after not loving him in the previous books. 4/5
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.
Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist—it is chocolate cake, after all.
Jasmine’s newest novel which I LOVED. I think I just really like the Monroe sisters and Max is great. Maybe it’s because I love politics, or maybe it’s because the formula was slightly different this time. Great beach read! 4.5/5
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?
• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.
I listened to the audiobook of this one I think the accents just really threw me off. I struggled to finish it though I’m glad I did as I enjoyed the end. 3.5/5
I’d love to know what you are reading!