Happy New Year to this blog, which has sat ignored and neglected for nearly three months. I have been reading though! And since I haven’t done a wrap up in ages, I figured I would roll everything into one. I’ve mostly been reading contemporary/romances because they are an easy way to get back into things, BUT I’m reading Daisy Jones & the Six right now and … I’m pretty sure it will be my favorite book of the year. In March. But that’s for another time. Here’s what I’ve read so far this year.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
Shalini is 21 when she loses her mother, and 23 when she leaves her home in Bangalore to go in search of a man from their shared past. All she knows is that he lives in a village in the mountains of Kashmir, from the stories he told her when she was growing up. She goes in search of the truth about her mother and herself and enters a small town where political tensions and conflicts are running high. This book is just under 500 pages and while I would say it definitely isn’t for everyone, it is a sad but beautifully written character study that portrays class, race, and family tensions extremely well. If you liked The God of Small Things, which is one of my all-time favorites, I think you’ll like this one, too.
Adele by Leila Slimani
I read Leila Slimani’s debut novel, The Perfect Nanny last year and really enjoyed how she built up so much tension and suspense in a book so short. She makes every word count in her novels, and I was pleased to see the same style carry over in Adele. The title character is 30-something and lives in Paris with her doctor husband and their young son. Sounds like a perfect life, right? Not for Adele. She’s bored, and unhappy, and to fill the growing void she feels, embarks on a series of affairs. They’re compulsive, and unfulfilling, but she can’t seem to stop. This is another book that isn’t for everyone: it can be graphic and unsettling and Adele is not traditionally “likeable” but I think that’s what made her so interesting and readable for me. If you pick this one up, give yourself some time, because this is definitely a read all in one sitting kind of book.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
If you’ve been here for at least a year, you know that The Hating Game is one of my absolute favorite books ever. I read it almost exactly a year ago, and have shoved that book at every person I know who reads, and proceeded to read it … an embarrassing amount of times myself. Anyway. Sally Thorne announced 99 Percent Mine late last year and I could not wait to get my hands on it. I devoured this sophomore novel in less than two days and then regretted it. It has the same witty dialogue I loved in The Hating Game and focuses on the “friends to lovers” trope. Definitely the opposite of THG, but just as delightful. I can’t say I loved this one AS much, just because that is nearly impossible, but it’s a great follow up, and I’ll read anything else she writes… ever. Sally Thorne makes me want to write books, and that’s probably the best thing I can say about her and her books.
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
If Sally Thorne reminds me what and why I want to write, Jasmine Guillory unfortunately did the exact opposite with this one. I really liked The Wedding Date last year, but the writing in her follow up The Proposal was just…not there for me. The dialogue between Nikole and Carlos is cringe-worthy. Not to mention they are always “laughing until they cried” without us ever getting a glimpse into what was making them laugh. Or laughing like that at things that simply aren’t funny or written in a humorous way. This should have been a great “meet ugly” situation but I cringed all the way through and gave it something like 2 or 3 stars on Goodreads. If you’re looking for a good romance recommendation, look up or keep reading.
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
I heard about this book and needed it immediately because I am a spoiled gremlin with no patience. So, thanks to NetGalley/Berkley Books for this one — it comes out June 11th so mark your calendars. I have seen You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle more times than I can count and more than is probably healthy, so I related to the rom-com-obsessed Annie in this book a lot. It’s her dream to write one of her own, but she lives in a small Ohio town, and has no plans to leave it. When a romantic comedy films in her quaint town, a family friend pulls some strings to get her a job on set, and she meets the outwardly obnoxious star of the film. You can guess where it goes from there. I will say it got to be a little much with Annie’s aggressive comparisons to Tom Hanks (She wants everyone to have a houseboat. Come on girl, I get it but like, let’s be reasonable.) but overall, the love story was adorable, and the commentary on rom-coms and why we love them so much was great.
What Happens When by Samantha Boyette
I hadn’t heard about this book before coming across it on NetGalley. We follow Molly, who accidentally comes out in front of her entire graduating class at a party just before the start of her senior year. The girl she meets there is charming and pretty and…she never expects her to show up at school on their first day. She’s forced to come to terms with herself and her feelings and we are along for the ride. I think this will be an important book for people in high school who are questioning things, and I hope it finds them! The supportive friends in this book made it that much more readable and likeable for me.
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
The Simple Wild is my most recent read and definitely one of the best. Calla lives with her mom and step-dad in Toronto, Canada, and the book opens with her getting laid off from her boring job at a bank. The bad luck continues when she gets a call from Alaska, letting her know that the father she never had a relationship with has lung cancer. She flies to Alaska with a giant suitcase of designer clothes and makeup and feels like she won’t survive the week-long trip. Along the way she meets Jonah, and while they get off on the wrong foot, she gets a lot less insufferable and spoiled as the book goes on. I loved this book, and how Calla grows and explores her relationship with her dad and with Jonah. The chemistry between them was so good and felt so real, and so did her uncertainty and grief about her dad. I’d seen this one compared to The Hating Game and The Last Song, which was spot on, looking back at it. Highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a contemporary romance with more emotional depth.
Seven books in two months does not feel like very much, but is actually a ton for me lately, so I’m happy with it overall. Tell me about all the books you’ve been reading lately!