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.

Recent Reads: October

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Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
There were so many times I contemplated giving up on this book because I absolutely hated it! I try not to give up on books because some of my favorites have started slow, but I kept waiting for this to get better and it didn’t. The book follows 4 friends from college, Eva, Slyvie, Benedict and Lucien and the 18 years that follow. Eva is the main character and like most of the characters in the book I found her very unlikable. The character of Slyvie gets redeemed three-quarters of the way into the story, but at that point I just really did not care enough about these characters to get too invested in her story. The last few chapters were probably the best and most honest about the characters in the book,  I just wish it wasn’t when I was almost done with the book that I got into it a little.

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman
I was having such bad luck with the past few books I read so it was so nice to read a book that I absolutely loved and could not put down that I finished it in 2 days. The story starts off in Brooklyn in 1947 when the characters of Rose and Helen, married to brothers Mort and Abe have babies born minutes apart in the middle of a blizzard in the two-family house that they share. Before the babies were born Rose and Helen were almost like sisters but after the night of the babies birth, when in a split second they make a choice that remains a secret between the two of them, their relationship unravels quickly. The story is told from the perspective of multiple members of the family so you understand how the fallout affected everyone. I highly recommend the book, even though it is easy to put together the secret that Rose and Helen share, you need to know what happens when people start to find out.

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin
I did like the book minus two major flaws, the main character Jess I really started to dislike towards the middle of the book and the story really starts to drag after a few chapters. Jess, who loves celebrity gossip magazines and has a horrible relationship with her mother lands not one but two celebrity personal assistant jobs. The premise of the book sounds cute until Jess goes to work for her second celebrity Eva and the whole time you want to shout at Jess to just stand up for herself. In between all this her mother comes to live with her in Los Angeles and Jess wants nothing to do with her. Then at the end you are thrown a curveball and I feel like had that curveball come up sooner the story could’ve been so much better and fleshed out.

Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran
This is the book that the television show is based off of and even though I am seriously behind in catching up to the current episodes — I still haven’t gotten past the third episode of season two — I really loved the first season of the show and wanted to read the book. Really cute story, aside from some name changes like Liza’s character is Alice in the book and a few plot points, most of the book story follows what happens in the first season of the show. Though I like the character of Josh much more in the show than in the book, his book character is a little too unbelievable in the things that he does and his reaction to Alice’s secret. If you like the show it is definitely worth it to read and it is a super quick read.

I’m Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck
I think I would’ve liked the book more if the ending went a different way, I felt like I got so invested in the characters of Allison and Kyle only to be a little disappointed in the end. Allison and Kyle dated on and off through high school and college but went their separate ways when neither one will give up their dreams. Allison moves to New York and becomes an actress and Kyle stays in Cincinnati and becomes a pediatrician. Over the next few years when they run into each other it is awkward and the love that they shared for each other haunts them and has them always questioning what if. Allison becomes famous and Kyle marries and when they have everything they thought they want they realize how unhappy they are. I feel like the end just lacks closure for the characters and the reader.