April & May Recent Reads

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
The Kind Worth Killing is one of my favorite books and Swanson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. While I don’t think this book had as much of the twists and shocks as The Kind Worth Killing, if you are looking for a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing and you will not want to stop reading, than pick up this book. The ending did disappoint a little, I think I just expected more from it, but aside from that I still loved the book.

The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan
The premise of the book sounding interesting, an anonymous benefactor proposes to two random strangers that if they spend two hours a week together for a year, they can split a million dollars, but the book was kind of boring throughout. You do find out towards the end how the strangers are connected and I think it would’ve been better to find out a little bit earlier to speed the story along.

Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
This was one of those random 99 cent books I took a gamble with on Amazon and it was worth it because I liked the book so much I pre-ordered the sequel! Some things were a little too far-fetched in the book, but if you put those aside, it was a great debut on loss, acceptance and figuring out who you are.

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
With this book since you are reading a story within a story, it can be a little confusing when you are like which character is real and which is the made up one, but aside from that, this book is a good quick read. This book also completely gutted me about a quarter to the end with Emiline and her father, I was not prepared to go through as many tissues as I did. The book wraps up the story perfectly, but I would gladly read another book to continue the story of Emiline and Jase.

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Not that the book isn’t good, but I feel like it could’ve been a much better book if there weren’t so many stories weaving their way to work together in the end. It is one of those stories where everyone has a secret they are keeping, but they get wrapped up almost too perfectly. The book also talks about a missing girl in the beginning but then for half the book there is barely a mention of her and then that story is so prominent in the end, it just felt thrown in for the sake of throwing in a big mystery.

Startup by Doee Shafrir
Startup has some really great reviews so I was really looking forward to it and I was not a fan. The story sounds interesting and it really could be but the characters to me were very unlikeable and drag the book down.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
I love Kinsella’s books, the stories are over the top and cute, but I like to mix them in with everything else I read. Katie is living her dream life in London on her Instagram feed until she loses her job and has to move home and helps her father with his glamping business. It follows Kinsella’s other books that are usually predictable after you read a few chapters, but this might be my second favorite book after Can You Keep a Secret that doesn’t involve Becky Bloomwood.

Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner
This book is the perfect summer beach read! It has all the elements covered, love, family drama, secrets and friendship. Marin’s life is turned upside down when not only does she lose her job but a DNA test connects her to a half sister, Rachel, she didn’t know about. When Rachel shows up in New York telling Marin she is traveling to Provincetown to meet their grandmother who runs a B&B, the Beach Rose Inn, Marin joins her. While reading this story you feel like you are staying at the Beach Rose Inn along with the family. The storyline moves along perfectly and it is a beautiful story about family.

Futures by Anna Pitoniak
The Futures could be a really good book if the characters were not so self-centered and unlikable. College sweethearts Evan and Julia move to New York City after college where Evan works at a hedge fund prior to the market crashing. What follows are two people who continue to keep making horrible decisions and know that they are making them but do it anyway.

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
I read a review on The Light We Lost that said the storyline stays with you after you read it and it is definitely true because I feel like I am still processing this book having just finished it. It is an incredible book and it is also a very emotional one. There are times while reading where I didn’t like Lucy and Gabe, but Santopolo did an amazing job with the characters because you feel the pain that they feel. Throughout the book you start to predict the direction it is going in and even though you realize it is coming, it still throws you on an emotional rollercoaster. Definitely one of the best books of 2017!

February & March Recent Reads

I had planned on reading so much while traveling to and from Nepal, filled my Kindle up with a bunch of books and I barely got through one! I’ve also started and stopped the book What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian a few times over the past two months. Has anyone read it? I want to know what happened but I find the book boring and I’ve only read a quarter of it so I’m contemplating if I should quit reading it.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
I’m embarrassed to say that I have never read Pride and Prejudice, which this book is a modern retelling of. Not really knowing the storyline of Pride and Prejudice, I thought this was a cute book and has peaked my interest to read the original.

A Separation by Katie Kitamura
I hated this book! It was hailed as one of the most anticipated books of 2017 and I do not understand why. I thought it was an incredibly depressing book, I was waiting for some kind of twist that would show me how amazing this book was and there was nothing. The book is classified as a mystery, it really is not and the description of the book leading you to believe it is this amazing psychological thriller is a complete lie. A woman goes to Greece in search of her husband who has gone missing. She goes reluctantly since they have secretly separated but her mother-in-law, who thinks they are together, urges her to find him. Aside from that, there really isn’t much else. I continued reading hoping it would get better, sadly it did not.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
After suffering through A Separation, this book was a welcome change. Following three friends from college, the story mainly focuses on Kate, who while working in a post-graduate anthropology program chooses to change the course of her life by moving to Paris to be with her boyfriend only for him to break up with her at the airport. Kate spends the next year of her life in mourning until her sister sets up a job interview for her at a private school for an assistant admissions director. A disastrous and hilarious interview follows and the job Kate never wanted slowly starts to change her life. A cute, quick and funny read.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman
I thought this was an incredibly beautiful and sad coming-of-age story. Shelby Richmond is a high school senior when one moment changes her life. She is driving her car on an icy road with her best friend Helene in the passenger seat and the car accident they are in leaves Helene in a coma and Shelby questioning why she survived and walked away with only a hairline fracture. The book follows Shelby through the years as she deals with what happened, the new friendships she forms and the animals she rescues along the way.

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
I read The Middlesteins by Attenberg and didn’t like it, but I figured I would give her books another shot and was disappointed by All Grown Up. One of the things I hated about The Middlesteins were how self-absorbed her characters were and Andrea the main character in All Grown Up is no better. The one thing I will give the book is the complete honesty it gives about being a single woman in New York City and the struggle to live the life you choose to live.

January Recent Reads

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My Kindle is filled up with books for my trip to Nepal in a few hours. Since my packing is done I figured I would share my thoughts on the books I read in January.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I loved, loved, loved this book! It was one of those books that as soon as I finished it I wished it just kept going on. The story is basically a twist on Kate Middleton and Prince William’s relationship, which I’ve never really followed much of, but that didn’t stop me from not putting the book down. Rebecca, an American studies abroad in Oxford and doesn’t realize that the guy helping her up to her room is Nicholas, the future King of England. The book gives you an inside look into what most likely William, Kate and Prince Harry go through on an every day basis but the story is also an honest look at two people in a relationship.

Number 9 by Colleen Hoover
I picked this book knowing nothing about the author, but it sounded interesting from the description. And it was interesting and the twist about three-quarters in I was not really expecting. Fallon meets Ben at a restaurant in California, the day before she is due to move to New York. Having a connection right from the start they agree to meet every day on November 9 for the next few years. This book is good for a quick, non-thinking read. There were some parts that really made me roll my eyes and I understand that the twist was need for both characters development, but it also could have been done without.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Another book I just randomly picked up and it was a cute, quick read. Livvy, a Boston baker moves to Vermont after accidentally setting fire during a dinner at Boston club. Once in Guthrie, Vermont she takes a job as a baker at the Sugar Maple Inn and becomes a part of the small Guthrie community. Livvy, who has never stayed in one place for too long, finds the home and surrogate family she has always longed for.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Having read If I Stay and Where She Went by Forman, I was curious about her debut adult book and it was kind of a disappointment. I guess she wants you to sympathize with the main character Maribeth, but I hated her.

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
I loved The Devil Wears Prada by Weisberger but for some reason I haven’t read any of her follow up books until now. Charlotte “Charlie” Silver is a tennis pro waiting to win her first major title and then she gets injured at Wimbeldon. While rehabbing she fires her long time coach and hires a controversial coach who reinvents her whole image to try and make her into a champion. It is a predictable book, you have an idea of how it is going to end as soon as one character is introduced, but it was a cute read.

Recent Reads: November and December

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My goal this year was to read 30 books and I surpassed it by reading 37 and I’m currently on 38 now. Onto trying to beat that goal again in 2017.

What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross
One of my favorite books growing up was The Face on the Milk Carton and this in a way felt like the grown up version of that book. While shopping in Ikea, Lucy comes across a baby left in a shopping cart and walks off with her and raises her as her own daughter, Mia. Marilyn, the mother of Mia whose real name is Natalie has never given up hope that her daughter is alive and in a twist of fate follows a trail to start to put the pieces together. I don’t want to say more without spoiling it because I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen
Newport Cove is the safe town where you think everyone is picture perfect, but everyone has their secrets. After reading Big Little Lies this year, I kind of felt like this was a stripped down version of the book. The three main characters Kellie, Susan and Tessa, really only Susan’s story to me was the one that I wanted to read about. It wasn’t the worst book I read this year at times it was decent but it also really wasn’t memorable.

The Regulars by Georgia Clark
I was looking forward to reading this book, waited so long for it on the library waiting list and was so disappointed by it! Friends Evie, Krista and Willow all dislike something about themselves and when Krista is given a magical potion that turns them into gorgeous supermodel-like women they think they have it all. In order to read this book you have to forget about logic because you will be questioning everything if you do not. I found the story to be quite stupid, not the witty and funny story reviews said it was.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
A common theme I noticed in a lot of the books I read this year was how much I hated the main character and Tess in Sweetbitter was definitely one of the worst. There were so many times in the book where I was like you cannot be serious, especially any parts of the book that contain Jake, her coworker who she is in love with. Tess moves to Brooklyn and gets a job working as a backwaiter in a restaurant that sounds like Danny Meyer could own. The story follows her over a year as she (sort of) learns about herself, expands her food and wine knowledge and friends her coworkers by drinking and doing drugs with them. The book that people said was a spectacular debut, I did not see it. Not only is Tess incredibly unlikable but when she finally starts to show a glimmer of growth, the author rips it away by having her do something ridiculous right before  the end.

Web Finds: All About Books

I feel like I’ve been on a semi-blogging hiatus, mainly because I’ve hit a massive creativity and writers block for the past few months. Fall is one of my favorite times to take photos and this was the first time in years that I did not visit every garden I could to take those last chance flower shots. I’m working through the block and I’m already planning to visit one of my favorite greenhouses after the holidays to get back into the photography spirit because I really do miss flowers!

With that said, I love all the lists that come out at the end of the year, especially ones related to books since I’m always on the hunt for new books to read. Some book related lists from around the web that have made my to be read list even longer.

Courtesy businessinsider.com

Courtesy businessinsider.com

Business Insider’s Most Famous Book in Every State: My all-time favorite book, The Great Gatsby is the most famous book for the state I live in New York, so I have to agree with this list. Most surprising book to me on the list was the most famous book for Washington was Twilight, sorry Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016: Sadly, I have only read one of the fiction books that made the list, Before the Fall, which minus the ending I really did enjoy. Adding a lot of the fiction books to my hope to read in 2017 list.

Entertainment Weekly’s 20 Best Books of 2016: I’m reading Sweetbitter now which made the list and Today Will Be Different I’ve been looking forward to reading. I disagree with them though on Modern Lovers which came no where close to as good as Emma Staub’s The Vacationers and I started reading The Girls and gave up after a few chapters, I just could not get into the book and didn’t understand the hype.