Recent Reads: April

I figured stay at home orders would lead to one of two things with my reading, I would either never stop, or I wouldn’t read that much in April. I read six books this month, which may be slightly more than I average monthly, depending on what books I have on deck.

One book-related thing I did do this month was resurrect my bookstagram, @alysonbookishthoughts. I launched it a few months ago and then honestly forgot about it after like three posts. Needing something to de-stress from work, I thought this was the perfect time to start posting on there again.

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez
I loved Abby Jimenez’s first book The Friend Zone, I read it in February and it quickly became one of the best books I read, so Jimenez’s follow up book had a lot to live up to in my opinion. And boy, did this book not only live up to the hype, but I loved it even more than The Friend Zone! The story follows Sloan, Kristen’s best friend from The Friend Zone, who ends up with Tucker, a stranger’s dog, when he literally jumps into her car. She tries calling the number on Tucker’s tag to alert the owner, but the voicemails go unanswered. Jason, a musician touring in Australia has been off the grid for two weeks and when he checks his voicemail, he finds out his beloved dog, Tucker, is with a stranger after getting loose. When Jason contacts Sloan, she refuses to give him his dog back, unless he can prove he loves him. With Jason still in Australia for two more weeks, him and Sloan start talking and texting constantly and Jason is determined to take Sloan out when he returns to California. You can’t help but root for Sloan and Jason to get together and for them, as well as Tucker, to get the happy ending they all deserve.

This book made me laugh, smile throughout reading it, and crying in a few parts, it was perfect! I highly recommend reading it and if you haven’t read The Friend Zone, definitely read it first. You can find my full review of the book on Goodreads.

The Ingredients of You and Me by Nina Bocci*
I was introduced to Nina Bocci when I was invited to read a digital ARC of On the Corner of Love and Hate, the first in the Hopeless Romantics series, and I quickly became a fan! I was waiting patiently for The Ingredients of You and Me to come out, the third in the series, and was so excited when I got a digital ARC a week before it came out. I love all the books in the series, but this one might be my favorite out of all of them. The book follows Parker, Charlotte’s baker best friend from New York, and Nick, the man who charms everyone in Hope Lake. Parker and Nick had a secret fling that ended when Nick ignored Parker. Looking to get her baking mojo back, Parker visits Hope Lake where she befriends all of the Golden Girls and runs into Nick basically at every turn, except this time around he isn’t single.

The character of Parker was incredibly relatable. Who hasn’t hit a point in their life or career where they feel stuck and don’t know how to move past it? And when it came to her closure with Nick, as much as she knew she needed to have the conversation with him to move on, you are afraid to do it knowing all that hurt you felt before is going to come back. I love that Bocci showed all of these parts and didn’t just add the perfect bow in the beginning to make the journey for both Parker and Nick easy. Her characters show real emotions and missteps and I think that is why I enjoy reading her books so much since they feel much more authentic.

We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall
We Came Here to Shine comes out on June 16 and I finally won a Goodreads Giveaway and received an advance copy of the book. Schnall’s The Balance Project is one of my favorite books and I like that she has made the change into writing historical fiction now. This book takes place at the 1939 World’s Fair which took place in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an area I know very well being a New York Mets fan, but I knew nothing about the fair. We follow Vivi, a Hollywood starlet is at the fair working as a dancer in the Aquacade shows, and Max, a journalism student hoping to land a coveted internship at The New York Times, but instead she is assigned to the fair’s daily paper. When the two of them meet at the fair, they form an instant friendship and help each other deal with the ups and downs that their summer working at the fair will throw their way. I enjoyed the journey that both characters went on and I liked learning some history about the fair along the way.

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown*
This was the first book I read by Janelle Brown, so I didn’t know what to expect. While the book started off very slow for me, about a quarter of the way through when it really started to pick up, the twists and turns kept me entertained. Nina and Vanessa are both very flawed characters and it’s hard to really root for either one of them throughout this story. I liked that they both knew they weren’t the best versions of themselves and owned up to it. The twists at the end made up for the slow start, it will feel so worthwhile when you finish the book.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
I had high hopes for this book because on bookstagram, everyone loves it, but I had a very hard time getting into it, and by the time things started to pick up slightly, it was too late for me to be invested. Right off the bat I found the character of Rhiannon too flawed and even as her back story built, to me she felt like a character I could not root for. And Samson was just a little too perfect. I felt like the characters lacked chemistry, in a book where the whole point is about their chemistry!

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones*
On Netgalley, this book has great reviews, so I was like I have to read this! Maybe I read a different book from everyone else, but I did not like The Half Sister. To give a fair review, I read the whole book, but it is definitely a book in a different circumstance that I would not have finished. I found it extremely slow, I kept waiting for the story to pick up and shock me with its twists and turns, which it did not. This book will be released on June 16 and I’m sure it’ll have a decent amount of hype surrounding it, but I do not recommend it. If you want a good mystery, there are much better books out there!

*I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, who provide me with a digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions on the book are my own.

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