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!
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 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: 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 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 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 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 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 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: 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 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.