I worked really hard to read a lot this month. I had a strong month in reading what I enjoy and finding some books that were total winners for me. Working at the library has helped me expand my reading life, but also taught me how to select the right books for me.There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What a sweet and endearing YA romance with a strong heroine who I want to be my best friend! She is so kind and confident, has great friends, navigates hard family relationships well, meets a sweet boy, and just sees the best in the world around her. She is also a fierce athlete and what the boy likes about her is her strength and power and kindness – he doesn’t care about the body image issues that her mother is preoccupied by.I cannot recommend this book enough. Another home run by Sandhya Menon – hands down one of my favorite authors right now. She does tender teen romance so well and creates multidimensional characters who feel authentic and who act their age.She’s great. This book is great. I’m just enjoying that post book high that comes when you’ve thoroughly enjoyed what you’ve been reading.Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis⭐⭐⭐
This essay collection had me laughing out loud and relating to the author on some of the stories, while being entertained by all of them. What a fun read that Annie from The Bookshelf in Thomasville recommended. If you enjoy humurous essay collections, check this one out.Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes⭐⭐⭐⭐
It took me awhile to get into this book, but what wonderful character development that eventually hooked me. I enjoyed that the author allowed her characters to be flawed and broken and used that to tell a beautiful story about grief, pain, secrets, friendships, family, and relationships. There was so much authenticity to the story that made these characters feel like neighbors in my town. I definitely will encourage library patrons and friends to pick this one up.Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin⭐⭐⭐⭐
I read a lot of Pride and Prejudice inspired stories; there is something so timeless and endearing about misunderstanding who someone is in your initial interaction only to find yourself drawn to them over and over again.This was definitely not a retelling, but rather a loose inspiration that I simply adored. I enjoyed the characters and family dynamics, I loved that the characters were Muslim and learning more about their cultural traditions, I love that it was set in Toronto – one of my favorite cities. I just really enjoyed this book.If you’re looking for a book that has complicated family dynamics, love stories, misunderstanding, and even some mistaken identity, I would encourage you to read this book.The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory⭐⭐⭐⭐
I have deeply enjoyed every book of Jasmine’s I’ve been able to read and waited rather impatiently to read this book from the library; I convinced my coworker who handles processing our new books to rush process this one for me before we left town for the week. Luckily, she enjoyed my enthusiasm and rushed it no problem!This book totally lived up to the excitement and expectation I had for these characters! You’ve met both Theo and Maddie before as they’re the best friends of Alexa, our lead character from The Wedding Date. I really enjoyed these two falling into relationship and how they tried to keep it a secret, but we’re rather obvious. My only complaint is that it felt like they are pizza all. the. time. I get it – I love pizza too, but that much pizza felt excessive.If you love a good rom com with a little bit of steaminess and stories about what it means to support and love your friends, this is a great one to pick up!
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
This book feels like it was written by an awkward teen for an awkward teen, which was fun, but different than the other two books by Sandhya I’ve read and loved. It was told through emails and diary entries mostly, which was an interesting format, though not my favorite. I enjoyed that it took place in Colorado Springs and that Twinkle learns to stand up for herself and what she deserves in a friendship – maybe those friendship tensions are what made the awkwardness so palpable? Having attended three high schools and having to make new friends every year, the growing pains of high school friendships perhaps feel too real still in my mind 15 years later. I know poor communication is a common trope in both YA and romance novels, but as a trope it really seemed to bother me in this one. I enjoyed this book, but it was definitely mediocre relative to her other two in my opinion.
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
This book was hilarious. Totally my style of humor. I thought the characters were entertaining and the setting around being class mom and field trips and parent dynamics was engaging and so fun. I read this in one sitting and laughed out loud often. I look forward to reading more from this author.
Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
This historical fiction about Helen Gurley Brown and the beginning of her reign as EIC of Cosmo was so much fun!
I loved Alice and the journey she went on of what it means to find strength in yourself, assert Independence, what family means, how to make choices that are best for you and how to follow your dreams was so relatable. The characters were all so dynamic and engaging, and I loved the glimpses of real people who we know and adore today in the worlds of magazines, photography, publishing, and Hollywood.
Seeing the early journey of how Cosmo switched from a dying magazine to the “Bible” as Elle Woods would say was so interesting; what a vision Helen Gurley Brown had for what women wanted to read and how to deliver that to them.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The chemistry between these characters is SO good! The tension reminded me a bit of the Netflix film, Set It Up, but this book was better. I enjoyed the games the characters played and how there was a nod to Pride and Prejudice in their initial perspective of each other and how they had to overcome these preconceptions. I enjoyed the office setting and the antics of their coworkers. I loved the tenderness Josh shows and the sweet backstory of where and how Lucy grew up. I just thoroughly enjoyed this delicious rom-com and it made for the PERFECT beach read!
Recursion by Blake Crouch
What a fantastic science fiction thriller that’s perhaps a bit too easy to picture in the real world. If you’re interested in the theory of time and memory, psychology, physics and brain chemistry, this book is for you. The plot was fast paced, the writing was engaging, the threat felt real and made me feel vulnerable, and I just could not put this book down! It was the perfect fast-paced beach read and I could easily envision this being adapted to the screen. Definitely recommend!
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting
This was a cute, steamy beach read. I loved the dynamic of law school rivals who reconnect years later and fall in love in the midst of some deep heartbreak. I loved the dynamic between the siblings. This was such a fun rom-com if that’s your thing!
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Exit West was beautifully written. I loved the description and sentence structure that brought this story to life. It felt dystopic, but not. It was a story that felt so timely in our current political climate as it discussed civil war, unrest, migration, refugees, what it means to leave, what it means to belong to a place and to another person. It left me thinking and processing and I see why everyone was talking about it last year.
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
This was such a charming adaptation of Pride and Prejudice! I loved the Pakistani setting and learning more about their culture while drooling over all the food mentioned. I found the characters thoroughly enjoyable, and the misunderstandings that are the backbone of Pride and Prejudice to be so relatable. Alys was a delight and I loved how strong she was. If you enjoy Austen, or adaptations of her works, definitely check this one out.