Yay, time to talk about books! I didn’t read very many books this month, mostly because two of them were super long. And I’m in the middle of about five books at the moment. So hopefully I’ll have many more to report on in February! Of the seven I read this month most were mediocre to relatively enjoyable. Nothing really blew me away. But it was definitely good to get back into regular books after reading mostly holiday themed fluff in the month of December.
Roomies by Christina Lauren
Rating: 5 stars
This was a truly enjoyable book about a twenty-something girl who has an epic crush on an amazing guitar busker that she watches in the subway station every week. She has an MBA in Creative Writing, but works as a lower level runner at an off Broadway theater for her uncle because she’s too scared to make the leap to follow her writing dreams. In an interesting twist of circumstances she ends up marrying that busker so he can get a Visa and stay in the US to work as a soloist in her uncle’s successful musical. The book is a romance at heart, but it’s also a deeper portrayal of finding one’s identity and truly pursuing your passions so you can live a life of happiness and fulfillment.
Left Drowning by Jessica Park
Rating: 4 stars
I was ready to read another by Jessica Park after half a year’s break. Her book 180 Seconds was my favorite book last year and everything else I’ve tried has been a bit of a letdown. This was similar. It’s about a girl in her senior year of college who is suffering some major depression after the unexpected death of her parents. The first few chapters of this book are incredibly bleak. But she meets a guy – two guys actually, who turn out to be brothers. And then their other brother and sister, who all go to the same school as her. And she’s adopted into their unique family and her life instantly turns around. It’s almost like she’s a completely different person. As the book goes on you learn much more about the other family and why they don’t have parents either. It gets darker, again. Basically the book feels like it goes on forever. And there are way too many long and detailed sex scenes. There is so much angst between the characters and all their highs and lows. I enjoyed it overall, but I didn’t love it. There’s a second book which I’ll read at some point, but I wasn’t ready to jump right into it.
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Rating: 4 stars
This was a unique psychological thriller about a messed up man, the woman he left and the woman he’s about to marry. It was kind of a page turner, but at the same time I felt like I kept waiting for it to get really suspenseful and it never quite hit the mark. I enjoyed the book, but I also felt like Richard, the husband, was such an abstract character. You really don’t know that much about him when you’re only hearing from unreliable narrators.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Rating: 3.5 stars
I have so many mixed feelings about YA dystopian type trilogies. I tend to love them, but there are just so many out there that it’s hard to keep them straight. And because of that I tend to avoid them. But this one was gifted to me, so I made it a priority to read this year. I thought it was pretty slow and boring at the beginning, but the characters really grew on me by the end. One thing that kept throwing me off is that it felt like it took place in the middle ages, but then you start getting references to present day pop culture and then you know the book actually takes place in the future. I think the second and third book delve more into the time period and “The Crossing” that happened to make their world more medieval. The storyline of this first book was intriguing, but not super exciting yet. I’ll be reading the second and third book some time in the next few months.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Rating: 3 stars
I’ve heard so many good things about this 500 page book and really wanted to love it. And I did love it in the beginning! But it got SO muddled and depressing and long in the middle. I actually read half of this in November and decided to pick it back up to finish this month. It did get better, but I think because it felt so realistic and true to life that it was kind of a downer to read! I wish Prince Nick were more of a main character. The whole second half of the book he’s mostly away in the British Navy. Books are always so much more enjoyable when the two people in love are actually interacting with each other!
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle
Rating: 3.5 stars
This is not what I expected it to be. Told from the perspective of Lily, who has ADHD and impulse control issues. She falls in love with Abelard, who is on the spectrum, presumably with Asperger’s. At times the book is a little hard to follow because Lily goes on many little rabbit trails whenever her mind starts to wander. The two characters are perfectly suited for each other and manage to have a unique and unexpected romance that is mostly carried out through texts. I liked it as a whole. I just wish (as usual) there was more actual interaction between the characters.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Rating: 4 stars
I’m part of the Book of the Month Club, which is a fun way to get new or early released hardcover books at a relatively cheap price. Last year, this was their book of the year. I heard so many rave reviews about how amazing it was that I gave in and ordered it for my January pick. Basically it’s the full life story of Cyril Avery, a gay man growing up in Ireland from the 1940’s to present day. It’s 600 pages long, but was a really fast read, especially the second half. The first section of the book is about Cyril’s biological mother as she’s kicked out of her family, church, and hometown as an unwed 16 year old pregnant girl. The only part that really bothered me about this book is that you become very attached to HER and HER STORY and then you know almost nothing about her the rest of the book because she gave Cyril up for adoption and the book is about him. I did really enjoy the story. But I do have a hard time with time jumps in any book because I hate what I’m missing out on. But the book was very well written, sad and disappointing at times, but overall a really great book.