Recent Reads: May

May was a phenomenal month for me in books, I managed to read 14! That is definitely a record for me and I’m curious if I could do it again. I went into the month with so many unread advance copies thanks to so many enticing books on both NetGalley and Edelweiss+ and was determined to cut the list down and managed to read six. I still have a number to go, so I’m hoping to finish that list off in June.

Since I’ve been reading so much, I decided after a three year hiatus to join Book of the Month again. I battled in my head for basically the whole month if it was worth it or not to sign up and decided to do it since the past few months they have had some great titles to pick from. If you are interested in joining Book of the Month, click here to receive a discount.

Beach Read by Emily Henry*
You know that saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well, I completely did on this book and the synopsis when I initially heard about it a few months back and decided I would pass on Beach Read when it came out. Then, this book exploded all over #bookstagram with rave reviews and I decided to give it a try since I was able to snag a digital advance copy. I’m sorry I judged this book, because I loved it, and definitely one of my top reads of 2020!

The synopsis of the book does not sell it properly. Yes, its a romance book, but it is very different than most other romance books out there. Is it a beach read? Sure, but there is so much more to this book than what the cover leads you to believe. It of course has its cute moments, how could it not when January, a romance writer, is trying to teach Gus, a literary fiction writer, how to write a romantic-comedy novel, but the journey both characters have in overcoming their emotional challenges gives this book much more depth than what you are lead to believe. It is also a story about dealing with grief, overcoming your past, and realizing the things you thought you wanted have changed.

The Safe Place by Anne Downes*
After reading The Safe Place, I wasn’t completely sure how to feel about it, and I’m definitely in the minority with my thoughts on it since it has a great rating on Goodreads. The book started off slow for me, but once it started to pick up, I enjoyed it and then with a little less than a quarter left in the book, the end just fell off the rails for me. I thought I was in for a really great psychological thriller, but the twists never really shocked me and when you did finally get to them, I thought they were very rushed. The best word to describe this book in my opinion is strange, strange characters, strange house, and strange storyline.

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein*
This is the third book by Hannah Orenstein that I have read and while I’ve enjoyed them all, this is my favorite one. Avery missed making the 2012 Olympic team when she was injured and now seven years later is looking to start her life over back home in Massachusetts after a break up with her boyfriend in California. Unsure what she wants to do with her life, she reluctantly agrees to help Ryan, a 2012 men’s gymnastic champion and her teenage crush, coach Hallie, an up and coming gymnast on her floor routine. This book sucked me in right from the start and I think it had to do with how Orenstein made Avery’s story so honest and wasn’t afraid to back away from her talking about being depressed, not knowing what her purpose in life should be and having her really grow throughout the story.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
This was definitely an Instagram read after I saw so many great reviews on the book. Veronica Mars is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and I enjoyed the first season of the podcast Serial, both things this book has been compared to, so I figured I had to give it a try. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, the mystery sucked me right in and had me guessing who the murder suspect was. For a book classified as Young Adult, it doesn’t really read like one, and compared to other mystery books I’ve read lately, this one in my opinion, had a satisfying ending when you find out the truth.

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin*
Claire, a struggling musician accepts a job as a playgroup musician for a group of privileged New York City moms. Once she starts spending time with them, she starts to embrace and befriend them despite how different her circumstances are from theirs. When secrets start to become exposed, she starts to see that these moms aren’t as perfect as they lead their social media followers to believe. I feel like I went into reading this expecting to love it based on other reviews I have seen, and I think it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed the beginning on the book, but then I felt like the middle started to get bogged down and towards the end, I didn’t really feel invested in these characters anymore or what their future held.

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke*
After reading the description and other reviews for How to Save a Life, I was hoping this book was going to move me, but unfortunately it did not. Having read two other books by these authors and being on the fence about them made me realize that I’m just not a fit for their books. By the halfway point, I was reading it just to finish and I did something I never do, I jumped ahead to see how it ended. I think I’m definitely in the minority with my thoughts on the book, but I found it very slow and I was not invested in Dom and Mia’s story and his attempts to change their fate.

The Simple Wild and Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker
These are two separate books but since they are a duo, I figured it made sense to do these together since I read them back to back. The Simple Wild was another Instagram made me do it book and I am so glad for that influence because I loved these books so much! Halfway into my borrowed library copy of The Simple Wild, I was on Amazon ordering Wild at Heart because my library didn’t have it and I need to continue Calla and Jonah’s story.

K.A. Tucker is an incredible story teller, not only did I feel like I was transported to Alaska, but she made me feel so much for these characters and become so invested in what happened to them. I loved reading about Calla, Jonah, and everyone else in Alaska and Toronto. In The Simple Wild, I was rooting for Calla and Wren to not let 24 years of being apart ruin their chance at some sort of father-daughter relationship. And as Calla was falling for Jonah, I was as well. I can see why everyone loves that Yeti after reading this book. And in the sequel, Wild at Heart, as Calla and Jonah continued their journey in Alaska, I love that Tucker made her struggles so real. Yes, she was in Alaska for the man that she loved, but she struggled with that decision, what it meant for their future, and her desire to forge her own path in the world.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner is a go-to author for me, so I’ll read anything she writes. As soon as I read the synopsis for Big Summer I had pre-ordered the book, and once I started reading the book and got to part two, you get so much more than you think you are getting in the story with the plot twist. I can’t say much about the book without spoiling it, because it is worth it when the story goes in another direction! Instead of divulging any of the plot, I’ll talk about how much I loved the main character Daphne and all the messages throughout the book about body positivity and that so many of Daphne’s thoughts about herself felt like my own. This is a perfect summer read and a great book to escape with due to everything going on in the world right now.

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell*
This book is going to be the perfect summer thriller when it comes out on July 28. You will be taken on a wild ride and it is worth it! I could not put this book down since I needed to know what really happened to Nina Levitt and what she knew before she died, was Connor really who Tabitha believed him to be, and what had Tabitha gotten herself into. Michele Campbell is an incredible storyteller because on one page she made me trust a character and then on another three me for a loop and had me guessing just like Tabitha who to trust. Definitely one of the best mystery books I have read this year.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
I went into reading this book thinking I was really going to like it and I definitely was not impressed with it. It has its cute moments and it was a very quick read, but I think I just wanted so much more out of it after reading some really great romance books lately, and this just fell flat. I think my main problem with the book was how much I did not like the main character Annie. Her hatred towards Drew for not being who she envisioned starring in the rom-com was annoying and it made me not root for them. And while I did cry on a plane back from Nepal watching Love Actually for the millionth time, dare I say there were just too many rom-com references for me.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore
I had this book on a digital hold for so long with my library and every time it was available, I passed because I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I decided to finally give it a try and the story drew me in right away. It follows the lives of two sisters in Philadelphia, Mickey a cop who patrols the Kensington section, an area known for its drug use, and Kacey a drug addict who goes missing. When a series of murders start happening, Mickey starts risking her life to track down her sister to make sure she doesn’t become the next victim. It’s a raw and honest story about the drug crisis and how it not only affects the user and those close to them, but also a town. The mysteries unveiled throughout the book made it very hard to put down.

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
A Good Marriage started off really promising for me, but then as more and more secrets were unveiled, I felt like there were just too many distractions being thrown at the reader and it started to go downhill for me. A few of the twists did intrigue me and I was curious to find out who killed Amanda, but I also have a number of questions that need to be answered after finishing the book.

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
After two back to back mystery books I needed some fluff, and this book was perfect and I’m eager to read the second book in the series. When Gavin, a baseball player for the Nashville Legends finds out his wife Thea has been faking some things in their marriage, it not only humiliates him, but has her asking for a divorce. Not ready to give up on their marriage, Gavin receives some help from where he least expected it, a secret romance book club made up of Nashville athletes. Along with a steamy romance novel, the men coach Gavin on the steps he needs to take to save his marriage.

The book reads like a perfect Hallmark movie and it’ll be interesting to see the book on screen when Netflix turns it into a movie. Thea’s character did annoy me a little with how quickly she was ready to shoot down every attempt Gavin made since she was afraid he would hurt her emotionally, but I was rooting for them to find their way back to each other.

* I received an ARC from either NetGalley or Edelweiss 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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