Let’s Celebrate Love and Talk About Books

Hey, hey – what better way to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit than with a little book chat? Let’s celebrate love and talk about books!

Let's Celebrate Love and Chat About Books
Finn always seems to want to be in my book post photos!

Some of these books I read before the end of 2016 (you can see my last book recap here and my top 5 books of 2016), but I wasn’t able to get my thoughts together fast enough for last month’s post. Otherwise, I’ve been on a roll with reading so far this year – I’m now at 9 books read!

Couldn’t Put Them Down …

One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes – 4 stars

Jojo Moyes just never disappoints. This story took me a few chapters to get into, but once Jess, her kids and Ed embark on the road trip, I was hooked! It reminded me of the movie Little Miss Sunshine – all the quirkiness and meshing of different personalities. I found myself really caring about these characters even though they are just fiction. The incident at the end with the family dog could’ve been left out, though. I cried, and it nearly killed me.

 

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren GrahamTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham – 5 stars

Hands down this is one of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read. The writing is so conversational that you feel like a friend wrote this book just for you to see. I’m bias because I do love Lauren Graham and Gilmore Girls, but I promise not the whole book is just about the show and the revival (it’s actually only two chapters). I will say that I want to go back and re-watch the new episodes now that I have some new perspective and insight. I wasn’t a fan the first time around, but I think my opinion may change now. Otherwise, I loved learning more about her life and soaking in her tidbits of wisdom.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins ReidOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars

This was well worth the wait! I adore this book, and it took me all of a day to finish. Emma did irritate me for a while, though. Sorry, girlfriend – in this world, you usually can’t have your love life split in half with two different people (regardless of the extreme circumstances in this story)! The whole weekend away with Jesse reminded me of the end of Cast Away when Helen Hunt thinks she wants to be with Tom Hanks again even though she has a whole new life. (Seriously, did anyone else get Cast Away vibes from this book? Not a bad thing, but I couldn’t stop going back and forth between the two). It all turns out right in the end, though. I was so happy with Emma’s choice that I forgave her for her earlier annoyances.

Enjoyable Enough …

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins ReidAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars

Unlike TJR’s other books, I had a hard time getting into this one. Maybe because some of this story was so eerily similar to my own relationship that it took me off guard. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the story. While I don’t think what Ryan and Lauren decide to do to “save” their marriage is exactly feasible, I thought this was an honest, fictional look at the work it takes to maintain a marriage. I did love how both Lauren and Ryan wrote emails to each other without thinking the other knew about it, which only solidified that everything would work out between them in the end. If you’re new to TJR books, I definitely wouldn’t start with this one, but it’s still worth the read.

Here's to Us by Elin HilderbrandHere’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand – 3 stars

This was the first book that I’ve ever read from this author, and I thought it was just okay. I enjoyed the setting and scenery of the story, but I found the story to be all over the place. Beyond the obvious inner demons and commitment issues, I’m still trying to figure out why Deacon left Laurel in the first place. He obviously loved her the most until the very end. And, what is Buck’s story? This only was touched on briefly, so he always seemed like an out-of-place character. However, this is supposed to be a light beach read so I probably shouldn’t read too much into it.

Leave Me by Gayle FormanLeave Me by Gayle Forman – 3 stars

Eh, this was okay. It’s possible that I couldn’t relate to Maribeth or what was going on in her life. I struggled to understand how a wife and mother of two could just decide to pack her bags and leave for a while. Also, why does she have to hide her real identity while she’s living elsewhere? She pays cash for everything like she’s a criminal on the run. It’s just kind of strange considering that she plans to go home eventually. Anyways, the writing and storytelling is still decent. I just didn’t feel like anything truly got resolved by the end.

 

All the Missing Girls by Megan MirandaAll the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – 3 stars

Ugh, this book. I was hooked through most of it. And then, the twist ending made me so angry that I threw my Kindle onto the floor. Ha! I did enjoy how the story was told in reverse. Only bits and pieces of the mystery are revealed in each chapter, and then you have to work to remember everything so you can piece it together as the days go backward. If you like Girl on the Train/Luckiest Girl Alive-type stories, then you’ll probably somewhat enjoy this one.

 

It's Not Okay by Andi DorfmanIt’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Ever After by Andi Dorfman – 3 stars

Andi was one of my least favorite Bachelorettes, so I’m not sure why I read this in the first place. I didn’t come away from this liking her any more, either. Honestly, all she does is complain about the show and how fake and controlling it all is. Well, that’s fine, but if it wasn’t for that show, you’d be a big fat nobody. Just saying. There is some good dirt on Josh and Nick, though if you’re a fan of the franchise.

 

The Obsession by Nora RobertsThe Obsession by Nora Roberts – 3 stars

Another thriller-wannabe novel. The romance was stupid – seriously, I thought Xander was a jerk – and the thriller/mystery/suspense aspect didn’t hold my attention at all. Naomi was so naive about the whole situation. Hello, you have a stalker that wants to kill you, but hey – just go about your day and pretend like you can take care of yourself. The only part I enjoyed about this book was Naomi’s renovations to her big old house. Oh, and the dog. You never can go wrong with a dog that becomes a hero.
 

Skip These …

All of my skip-it books were BookBub freebies, so I won’t bother to write full reviews. Just avoid them, even if you’re in the mood for romance. The stories are horrible and underdeveloped, and these authors are in serious need of editors.

Never Close Enough (The Never, #1) by Anie Michaels; The Way You Look Tonight (Seattle Sullivans, #2; The Sullivans, #10) by Bella Andre; and Yours Completely: A Cinderella Love Story (Billionaires and Brides Book 1) by Krista Lakes.

Currently Reading …

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

Final recommendations: Talking As Fast As I Can and One True Loves are must-reads, and After I Do is worth it in your free time.

Any new book recommendations? Tell me in the comments!

Linking up for Show Us Your Books.
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  • One Plus One was so good! I don’t think I’ve read anything by Hilderbrand either so I’m glad you shared your thoughts on her book because I always see her popping up.

    • Apparently, Here’s to Us is a bit different from her other books, so some people suggested I try one of her other books before I write her off! And, I loved One Plus One, so so cute.

  • Debra Stachelski

    Happy Valentine’s Day! There’s so much to love about books! You need to lend me the Lauren Graham book, hopefully it won’t take me 3 or 4 years to get it back to you, haha!

  • I have been dying to read Lauren Graham’s book but I’ve been in a book funk lately and didn’t want to start reading it until I was sure I was out of it! Glad to hear you loved it so much! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

    • Book funks are the worst! I get like that, too. I adored Lauren Graham’s book so I hope you enjoy it, too!

  • Cassie Schelldorf

    I just finished “A Man Named Ove” and “Big Little Lies”. Both are awesome!

  • glad you loved One Plus One -i read it a couple of years ago and just absolutely adored it. lauren graham’s book is on my list. i haven’t seen cast away but yeah the whole weekend away bugged me too i was like omg the other guy is way better and you guys love cats, so duh pick him. haha. but i did love the book overall. i haven’t read after i do because it just doesn’t sound like my jam, even though i loved her others.

    • After I Do is my least favorite of her books, but it’s still worth it if you’re looking for something to read (which I know you never are, lol). One Plus One made my heart happy, such a cute story.

  • I am a huge TJR fan so seeing her books, and the fact that you like them, makes me happy.

    One Plus One is my favorite Jojo Moyes book!

    • She is such a fun author to read, I’m really glad that the blogging world introduced me to her books. One Plus One was so ridiculously cute, I just loved it.

  • That Lauren Graham book looks amazing!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Talking As Fast As I Can is waiting on me at the library! And it feels like everyone is talking about Miranda today, gotta check her out.

  • Nicole F

    Hmm…so many authors I do not know yet wrapped into this blogpost 🙂 I have read One Plus One and enjoyed it as a light read. I love Moyes’ books though. I feel like I need to read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book. People seem to really enjoy her books. Where would you recommend I start?

    • I think One True Loves or Maybe in Another Life is a good place to start for TJR – both are so cute and enjoyable reads.

  • I need to read a Taylor Reid Jenkins book, especially since everybody seems to talk about how much they lover her books! I’ve been wanting to read Lauren Graham’s book, and I hope that I get around to it soon! I’m reading My Not So Perfect Life right now as well, and so far I’m loving it! I mean it is Sophie Kinsella, so I kind of figured that I’d love it!

    • Oh, yay! I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying My Not So Perfect Life – I’m starting it tonight. SK is one of my favorite authors, so I figure I’ll enjoy it. And, yes to TJR books! So fun!

  • You can never go wrong with a Jojo Moyes book! Have you read The Magnolia Story? I just started it on Sunday and it’s the cutest – such an easy read!

  • After I Do was my first TJR book. I’ll definitely read others.

  • Steph Gregerson

    I haven’t read any of your top recommendations, so I’ll have to get on that. So many people are saying good things about One True Loves so I’m going to request that from the library ASAP.

  • A

    That Elin Hilderbrand book is somewhat off tone from her others, I thought. I would recommend giving her another chance, some of her other books are much better!

    • I saw another blogger recommend one of her other books today (The Matchmaker), so I added that to my reading list. Here’s to Us was just all over the place to me!

  • One True Loves was super good, and I can’t wait to read Lauren Graham’s book.

  • The Adored Life

    Which one do you think would be most engaging for an audiobook? That’s mostly how I get my “reading” done these days!

    The Adored Life

    • Honestly, I think Lauren Graham’s book (if you like her!) would be a great audio book, or One True Loves. They both are easy reads and easy to follow, so I’m sure they would be fun to listen to.

  • I adored One Plus One so much. And my library only has 1 Taylor Jenkins Reid book and it’s one that doesn’t interest me. GRRRRR … I actually liked Obsession and oddly enough my favorite part was the home renovation part too. I had house envy!

    • That was the best part of that book! I just kept thinking in my head what the house looked like. I had to wait forever for my library to get TJR books, too.

  • Mia- MakeMeUpMia

    I’m so glad you liked One True Loves, gosh I loved it so much. I was happy with the ending too <3 I just started The Women in Cabin 10 and I just can't get into it. I'm thinking about just going ahead and swapping it out for Maybe in Another Life…

    • Yes! Do it! The Woman in Cabin 10 made me so angry, lol. I thought it was way over-hyped. You’ll LOVE Maybe in Another Life.

  • I want to read Lauren Graham’s book so badly, and you just further cemented that! It sounds so great! I typically enjoy Nora Roberts, but I haven’t ventured into any of her suspense books. I love the series that take place near Antietam and in Chesapeake Bay- but can’t remember the names for the life of me!

    • Are those books from NR a little more on the romantic, cheesy side? I probably would prefer that opposed to the thrillers – I just thought she missed the mark a little.

      • Ha yes, they are:). Ones got a little ghost story to it, but it isn’t over the top. One is based around an Inn that actually exists, which she owns. Kinda neat!

  • I love TJR’s books and One True Loves was definitely my favourite. I also really enjoyed After I Do and Maybe in Another Life. One Plus One was also a favourite of mine. I couldn’t STAND Leave Me, and it has not motivated me to read any of Forman’s YA books.

  • I recently finished Andi’s book too, and it gave me a whole new perspective on her, Josh, and Nick. Ooooh Nick – totally looking at him differently especially with his season on now 😛

    Green Fashionista

    • Right?! Anytime I look at him now, all I can think about is what happened between him and Andi in the fantasy suite – lol!

  • Lauren Graham’s book has been added to my list and now I feel like I need to read it at this very moment! A part of me really wants to read Andi’s book because she just seems all over the place, but then I’m not sure if it’s even worth it. Haha!

    • Baha! If you’re a fan of the Bachelor/ette, it’s an easy and brainless read that does have some good dirt in it. I just loved Lauren’s book and hope you do, too!

  • I need to order Talking as Fast as I can. I have been talking about it (no pun intended) for too long now!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Biana Perez

    I’m actually reading Talking as fast as i can right now!! You’ve given me so many great books to add and TJR is my favorite author!! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • I LOVE this! I really need some better books, and I’ve been meaning to read Lauren’s book for awhile now! I need to it ASAP 🙂 xx

  • So helpful to have these suggestions! I read This Is Us, too, and thought it’d be the perfect beach read.

    http://sincerelyjennie.com/

  • shootingstarsmag

    I do plan on reading Talking As Fast As I Can. It sounds amazing and I love Lauren. I’m also curious about One True Loves; so many people really love it!

    I liked Leave Me by Gayle Forman. I’m not a wife or mom, but I could understand WANTING to be free of responsibility and find yourself.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • Christina Sotherden

    You and Finn are the cutest!! I couldn’t resist picking up Andi’s book either – especially after all the chatter about it last summer!

  • Stacy

    I got Never Close Enough free on BookBub too, and I agree, so terrible! It was a good thing it was free, otherwise I’d have been angry for spending money on it! 🙂 I definitely need to get back into reading again. I’ve been slacking big time!