Happy Cinco de Mayo! Sorry it took so long to get this month’s book picks up. Getting back from vacation, a crazy work schedule, and coming down with a minor cold took a toll on both my reading and the time I have to devote to the blog. I planned on reading all of the books in the picture above but I only got to a little over half. I’ll read the others this summer so that I can have a review for you. :)
Some exciting news is that my friend Taber, and I, started a Virtual Book Club on Facebook. This month we are reading Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and I’m already about halfway through and think it’s incredibly interesting. Let me know if you’d like to join the group - we’d love to have you!
What are you reading this month?! I get 90% of my book reviews by either my friends or friends on IG. Y’all always have the best recommendations!
My favorite book this month…
Tell me lies (Drama Fiction 5/5)
“Lucy Albright is far from her Long Island upbringing when she arrives on the campus of her small California college, and happy to be hundreds of miles from her mother, whom she’s never forgiven for an act of betrayal in her early teen years. Quickly grasping at her fresh start, Lucy embraces college life and all it has to offer—new friends, wild parties, stimulating classes. And then she meets Stephen DeMarco. Charming. Attractive. Complicated. Devastating.
Confident and cocksure, Stephen sees something in Lucy that no one else has, and she’s quickly seduced by this vision of herself, and the sense of possibility that his attention brings her. Meanwhile, Stephen is determined to forget an incident buried in his past that, if exposed, could ruin him, and his single-minded drive for success extends to winning, and keeping, Lucy’s heart.
Alternating between Lucy’s and Stephen’s voices, Tell Me Liesfollows their connection through college and post-college life in New York City. Deep down, Lucy knows she has to acknowledge the truth about Stephen. But before she can free herself from this addicting entanglement, she must confront and heal her relationship with her mother—or risk losing herself in a delusion about what it truly means to love.”
This book felt like something that was written only for me. I’ve struggled with almost everything Lucy struggled with and have dated more than one Stephen. I will admit that both characters are deeply unlikeable and some readers couldn’t relate to this book - that’s the only negative reviews I’ve seen about it. However, if you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship then this is a MUST READ. It’ll be the book I’ll be buying for all my girlfriends as gifts for the foreseeable future.
An incredible audiobook…
So here’s the thing… (Memoir 5/5)
“Alyssa Mastromonaco is back with a bold, no-nonsense, and no-holds-barred twenty-first-century girl's guide to life, tackling the highs and lows of bodies, politics, relationships, moms, education, life on the internet, and pop culture. Whether discussing Barbra Streisand or The Bachelor, working in the West Wing or working on finding a wing woman, Alyssa leaves no stone unturned...and no awkward situation unexamined.
Like her bestseller Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, SO HERE'S THE THING... brings a sharp eye and outsize sense of humor to the myriad issues facing women the world over, both in and out of the workplace. Along with Alyssa's personal experiences and hard-won life lessons, interviews with women like Monica Lewinsky, Susan Rice, and Chelsea Handler round out this modern woman's guide to, well, just about everything you can think of.”
I enjoyed this audiobook SO MUCH. Mastromonaco was Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff and was the youngest to female to hold such position, which is what originally led me to check out this book. It’s full of humor, life advice, and amazing anecdotes. If you aren’t an Obama fan, that’s fine, the book is more about Alyssa than Barack. I think it’d be a great beach or summer read!
the non-cheesy romance…
the hating game (light fiction 5/5)
“Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.
Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.
If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth-shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.
Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.”
I usually try to steer away from romance novels as I find them to be very cheesy and I have second-hand embarrassment after reading them. Ha! But this one did not disappoint! It has a cute, believable story and sex was not at the forefront of the relationship (which I appreciated since I read Normal People right before). I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a romantic comedy in book form - you’ll love it!
My book of the month pick…
Normal people (light fiction 5/5)
“At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.”
Frankly, this book is utterly beautiful. Rooney has a gift for INCREDIBLE storytelling. There is not a lot of “fluff” to this book… It is a very real and raw look at relationships. I will say that I can see why a lot of people won’t like it because the writing is a bit harder to read than your usual romance book, there are no quotes around dialogue, and the sex scenes are frequent and intense. Overall, I really enjoyed it and I hope a few of you will pick it up and enjoy it too!
the one about 9/11…
The girl he used to know (Drama fiction 4.5/5)
“Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.”
A few months ago, I read On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves and looked forward to reading this book ever since. This was the first book I pre-ordered this year, so I had high hopes! I thought the unusual love story kept me entertained, but it got stale and bland at parts. I wanted to give it a 4, but the last 30 pages gave it that extra push and I ended up really adoring this book and the way it turned out.
the most anticipated book of 2019…
daisy jones & the six (Light fiction 4/5)
“Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.”
OK, here’s a confession. When this book was over I was like, “meh… that wasn’t AS good as I expected.” Immediately I gave it a 4 and moved on. However, the story of Billy and Daisy has stuck with me so much. I really need someone to read this and chat about it because I don’t want to give anything up.
The story is about a (fictional) band in the 70’s and is written in oral history style. It reminds me of seeing/listening to an E! True Hollywood Story. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a must-read author for me and it’s not my favorite book of hers but I would still recommend!
P.S. There’s a Daisy Jones & the Six playlist on Spotify and I can’t stop listening to it!
Another one from a must-read author…
the couple next door (thriller 4/5)
“Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all--a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family--a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.”
I really enjoyed this book, but since I read it so close to reading An Unknown Guest by Lapena all I could think about while reading this is how much better An Unknown Guest was. I think the story was crazy and made me want to keep reading but there were some major plot holes. I’d recommend if you’ve read a lot of thrillers and are looking for another one to read!
A compilation of short stories…
you think it, i’ll say it (light fiction 3/5)
“A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.
Curtis Sittenfeld has established a reputation as a sharp chronicler of the modern age who humanizes her subjects even as she skewers them. Now, with this first collection of short fiction, her “astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads” (The Washington Post) is showcased like never before. Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided.
With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.”
This book was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick last year so I decided to listen to it on audiobook. I did think some of the stories were interesting and I was left wondering about a lot of the characters afterwards but I think that I am just not a fan of short stories. If you’re on the fence about reading this, I’d pass.
The thriller that was kind of bland…
The hunting party (thriller 3/5)
“During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirty-something friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?”
I heard of this being described as the next In a Dark, Dark Wood and sadly it was a major miss. I was bored through the ENTIRE thing and hoped the last few chapters would make it better but they definitely didn’t. I wouldn’t recommend.