May Reads

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Thanks to Memorial Day Weekend, I read quite a bit this past month! A lot of these were more light-hearted reads (with a good thriller and thought-provoking nonfiction read added into the mix), but it was fun to read some rom com-type books (which used to be the only kinds of books I would read), especially with beach read season right around the corner. Below is a recap…

Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella. I’ve been a longtime fan of Sophie Kinsella (seriously–my best friend and I started reading her Shopaholic series in the 7th grade!) and am always excited when I hear a new book of hers is coming out. While this one wasn’t one of my all-time favorites (there are many of hers that I just tear through and end up reading multiple times), this story was cute and humorous thanks to Kinsella’s signature writing style. It tells the story of a couple in their early 30s who have been together for 10 years and are happily raising young daughters when they find out that they could easily live to 100 and therefore have 68 more years together. This sends them into a panic–they love each other, but spending that much time with one person strikes each of them as terrifying–and they (humorously) try to spice things up as a result. Meanwhile, a family secret is uncovered that alters the dynamic of their relationship at the same time. If you’re a fan of rom com-like books or just want a fun read, I’d definitely suggest this one!

The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory: Ugh, this book was so cute that I had to keep putting it down because cynical me couldn’t handle its adorableness (what do you mean two people who meet randomly in an elevator immediately decide to maintain a long distance relationship?!). But I still completed it in one day; it was the perfect, light-hearted read about two career-oriented people who meet right before a wedding, “fake” being dates, and decide that they actually do like each other enough to keep things going as they head back to their homes in Berkeley and LA. Of course, there are some bumps in the road, but I loved the ending. It would honestly be an adorable movie (though the plot is similar to basically everything in the rom com section on Netflix!).

A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out, by Sally Franson: I had high hopes for this one after having heard it described as being similar to the tv show The Bold Type (one of my faves), but I just couldn’t fully get behind it. It follows the personal and professional journey of young woman who works in marketing in Minneapolis (not in NYC, which is different in a good way!). I guess I’m somewhat mixed in my review–the narrator is annoying and just not likable, but at the same time, she raises some realistic points about what it’s like to be a woman in the workplace. There’s a cute romance involved but the narrator just has too many other issues to sort out, and while the book kept me engaged (I read it on the plane), I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.The book seemed to cycle on and on without really going anywhere significant, and there were a lot of unnecessary details that reminded me of things I think of as “ideas for future books” but probably wouldn’t make the cut in the final version, if that makes sense.

Hey Ladies, by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss: I also thought I would love this book and based on the Amazon reviews, I’m one of the only ones who didn’t. Obviously it’s supposed to be a parody of sorts about female friendships, but again I found the characters out of touch (though that was sort of supposed to be the point) and think that this book could have gone in a totally different direction and had a lot more substance. To my IRL friends–given that I didn’t like this book, you guys won’t either (too harsh?!); while it was entertaining, I just don’t think it would resonate with the women I know (who care about issues far greater than brunch and SoulCycle!), even as an “ironic” read.

Dear Madam President, by Jennifer Palmieri: This NYT bestseller (which I snagged from the library after little wait!) was a super quick read, but it packed a punch. It’s set up as a letter to the first female president, whoever that may be, written from Jennifer, who was the director of communications for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 (she also previously worked as the communications director for Obama). The piece describes the horror Jennifer and the rest of Hillary’s team felt in the days after the 2016 election while also imparting wisdom for women that honestly can be interpreted to apply to any work setting. If you’re looking for an inspiring read with a political twist, this is it!

The Woman in the Window, by AJ Finn: I had been wanting to read this since January–seriously, it took forever to get off the waitlist at the library–and almost caved and ordered it on Amazon but knew it would be worth the wait. The narrator, a woman with agoraphobia, thinks she sees a murder across the street, but all evidence states otherwise. Is she making things up or did something actually happen? The book was a little slow at the beginning, but it captured my attention and made me wonder what to actually believe. Like any good thriller, there were a few pivotal twists–that I didn’t expect at all–and a flawed narrator who you still can’t help but like.

Romancing the Throne, by Nadine Jolie Courtney: I decided to pick this one up after reading Katie’s review on her blog, and it was the perfect post Royal Wedding read. It follows two sisters in boarding school–who have an adorably close relationship, until both fall for the same guy (who happens to be a prince) and drama ensues. It’s more of a YA read than my usual picks, but it was a good guilty pleasure book for sure–and it’s perfect for royals fanatics!

Oh, and one more–this wasn’t really a full “book,” given that it was an extended copy of the speech that Lauren Graham gave at her high school, which is right across the river from me in Virginia–but I also read In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It. Despite its short length, it was an inspirational read nonetheless–and I actually learned quite a bit about Lauren Graham in the process as she wrote about failure, finding a passion, and the gratitude she has for her career.

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Spring Shopping Favorites

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Happy Monday! It’s back to the grind after a fun little getaway to Bermuda for a work trip last week. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go but also that my passport was up-to-date! It expires next spring, so I need to get that taken care of…I would’ve been so disappointed if it was expired and forced me to say no to this experience!

Now that spring is finally in the air (as is tons of pollen…), I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for the season. I’m lusting over all of these but am trying to curb my shopping a bit this month since I have a few trips coming up in June.

I’m a sucker for a good wicker bag and I spotted this one on Kate’s blog awhile back. It’s not back in stock but looks like it will be on its way later this month, so I’ve signed up for an alert. You would NEVER believe that it’s under $20!

By mow everyone probably knows about my obsession with all things cane/rattan, and these shoes do not disappoint…plus, they look pretty comfortable!

Speaking of shoes (which is funny, because I’m really not a shoe person…bags/tops are more my speed), these lemon slides look PERFECT and may have to go in my shopping bag…(actually, the palm leaf pattern is equally adorable, so now I’m undecided!).

I’ve been breezing through books and want to read this and this…adding to my wish list! I think Slone Crosley is hilarious and am bummed I couldn’t attend her book talk in DC in April!

Ok, I’m not getting this exact chair, because $$$$, but I want to find one like it for reading outside/inside. I sat in one in Savannah and fell in love. I’m so excited to spend more time out on our roof as the weather warms up!

What’s on your spring shopping list?

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The Big Book Recap

You know when you just feel so behind on something that you keep putting it off because it no longer seems relevant? That’s how I’ve felt with this book post. I’ve been reading a lot more these past few months than I had been in the fall, and my book roundups are always a favorite, but I’ve been so bad about logging everything on here.

Right after I moved, I was also in the middle of a job search, trying to get to know my new neighborhood, and the like, and reading fell on the back burner–I found that I was much happier watching a Grey’s Anatomy episode on Netflix than curling up with a book! My old job was also much more reading/writing intensive, so I didn’t always want to come home and sit down with a book or even craft a blog post.

BUT here we are! I’ve finally taken the time to crank out a monster book roundup for you guys and will try to be more consistent with these going forward. I personally like publishing monthly reading lists on here because it helps me keep track of everything I’ve read in a given year. Note that in some cases, I haven’t thought about a book for months, so the Amazon description may do better justice than anything I could write at this point. (So admittedly, this is more of a list than a full-blown recap!).

In no particular order, here’s what I’ve read:

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The Last Mrs. Parrish – How come thriller characters are always so likable at the beginning and then become INSANE by the end? This is another example of that! I was hooked and absolutely thrown for a loop when I realized what the other characters knew by the end.

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Unbelievable – An amazing depiction of the craziness of the 2016 election and what exactly it was like being a part of the Trump campaign as a reporter. You don’t have to be any kind of political junkie to enjoy this read–I honestly felt like I was there with Katy through every interview, trip, and meltdown.

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Gone Without a Trace – A woman picks up the pieces after she realizes her boyfriend has left their shared home and taken everything with him…but is someone watching her, and is it him? The ending will shock you!

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My Husband’s Wife – Complete with multiple stories in one that all tie back together, this is a great read for thriller-lovers. Again, betrayal is a common theme here…

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Fitness Junkie – This was a fun parody about what it’s like living in a fitness, green juice-obsessed world. It’s the perfect rom-com type of book that will leave you nodding along and laughing. The overall premise about the main character needing to lose weight is a bit ridiculous, but that’s part of the absurdity of the book.

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Still Me – Ugh, such a good read. I love all of Jojo Moyes’ books but especially the Me Before You series, and this was the perfect ending to Louisa’s adventures (plus, this time she’s in NYC, which made it extra fun to read!).

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Text Me When You Get Home – This was a Girls Night In book club read, although I couldn’t end up going to the actual discussion. It’s an insightful read on female friendships and how much we matter to one another–it’s heartwarming for sure!

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman – This is a Girls Night in book club read from forever ago. I loved it–but I also love Anne Helen Petersen–so I knew I was in for a treat before I even cracked it open. Each chapter is focused on a famous woman (ranging from Melissa McCarthy to Kim Kardashian) who has been deemed “too” something. Petersen discusses the implications of these labels and stereotypes; the discussion we had as a book club was super gripping!

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The Wife Between Us – I’m putting this on here even though I’m only halfway through it right now, but I’m already enjoying it. Like a lot of thrillers, it switches back and forth between two narrators who share a current/former husband and each have a secret they’re hiding.

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Hello Sunshine – This was a rom-com like read about the difficulty that ensues when a famous chef’s life falls apart after she’s proven to not be as talented as everyone thinks. I loved it when I picked it up but became a little less interested over time.

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Unstuffed – This is a self help book that several people had recommended on Instagram, so I was curious and picked it up. I ended up mostly skimming through because it was hard for me to stay interested in every chapter. It also had a lot of religious messaging that didn’t really resonate with me, but overall some of the tips about managing stress and clutter were useful.

My favorite? I’d have to say The Last Mrs. Parrish. Unbelievable and Still Me were close seconds (and as I’m writing this, I’m realizing I’m really skipping around across genres!). The Last Mrs. Parrish was such a good classic thriller that kept me up late into the night. Unbelievable is a must for anyone fascinated by the outcome of the 2016 election, and Katy Tur is a likable narrator. Still Me = sob city but so good, as are all of Jojo Moyes’ books.

What have been your favorite reads lately?

 

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Where I Buy Books for Cheap

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After posting this picture on Instagram the other day noting that I’d scored many of the above books for $2 or less, I got a TON of questions about where I score books for cheap, so I thought I’d do a post about it!

While most of these came from my church’s sale over the weekend (and I have another pile on my desk at work thanks to our school book fair–I’ll share those when I eventually carry them home!), there are lots of great ways to buy current titles without spending $$$ for something you’ll likely just read once.

Here are a few of my tips:

1) Sales and thrift stores. Yard sales don’t often have a ton of book options in the scheme of things, but it doesn’t hurt to take a peek. However, thrift stores like Goodwill are a great place to shop for books. I’ve almost never walked out empty-handed, and I own a lot of books already! Most stores have a whole section dedicated to books and most of them are fairly new and in good condition (though you do have to sift through the dated travel guides and textbooks). For $2 or $3, though, it’s worth it to do some exploring.

2) Amazon. I’m not talking about Amazon Prime here–I rarely purchase books that way unless I realllly want to read something ASAP (like if I’m going on a trip or am participating in a book club). Below the Prime option, you’ll also see pricing for used books from other sellers. They can go for as little as 99 cents (plus shipping, which is usually about $3.99)! This is a great option if you don’t want to head out to an actual used bookstore or have a specific title in mind (obviously when you’re at a place like Goodwill, you really never know what you’re going to get). Books usually ship within 1-2 weeks and I’ve never had any issues!

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3) Thriftbooks. I shared this site with a few of you who sent me messages because it’s truly amazing! One of my college friends (who I don’t think would ever set foot in a thrift store–ha!) has also gotten hooked and always sends me Snapchats of the titles she’s ordered. Books are priced starting at around $3.50, and you get free shipping if you spend over $10! If you log in with your account, you’ll accumulate points every time you make a purchase and will eventually receive $5 off after you’ve spent $50. I’ve gotten everything from novels to coffee table books on there for way less than what I’d pay on Amazon. Shipping is fast and reliable, and it’s a great site to know about if you love to read as much as I do!

Still trying to get into the swing of reading? Check out this post. Admittedly, I fell off the bandwagon big time this fall and am trying to make it part of my routine again now that I have so many books to dive into (the colder weather will likely help, too). Happy book shopping!

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My Favorites on Sale at Nordstrom

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Nordstrom is having a big sale again with 40 percent off a bunch of amazing items! (It’s the perfect motivator to get a jump-start on your holiday shopping). Here are a few of my favorite pieces on sale at the moment. As we all know, Nordstrom sale items don’t always last long, so scoop things up while they’re still in stock!

1) This top is under $20 and would be equally cute for work and play. Pair it with a statement necklace or some fun pants for a holiday party!

2) This sweatshirt reminds me of Paris and all things chic. How cute are the little bows on the side?

3) You can’t forget about the home section when shopping Nordstrom.com; their items are just too good! Check out this preppy Turkish towel, which would look amazing draped over an accent chair or on the edge of your bed.

4) A GINGHAM blazer. Oh. my. gosh. This is too cute and is actually office-appropriate, which is a priority for most of my friends when shopping these days.

5) The cutest little tray for entertaining. It retails for $40 on other sites, so scoop it up for half price here! It would make a great hostess gift for the holidays, too.

6) Practical? Eh, depends who you ask. But I’m on the “leopard is a neutral” bandwagon, so these are at the top of my list. 😉

 

 

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August Reads

Had to bring an old favorite with me to Paris!
Had to bring an old favorite with me to Paris!

I’m was a little behind on reading last month…I actually didn’t crack open a single book when I was in Paris (!) but did get through a few on the plane and toward the end of the month. A few were work/life-related and not necessarily interesting for the blog, but there are a couple that I’ll still share here because I think they’re generalizable for everyone.

10% Happier, by Dan Harris: For work, we had to read two books this summer, and this was one. A few of my coworkers started it earlier on and were raving about it (one even passed it along to her boyfriend!), plus, Dan Harris is a Colby alum, so I knew I’d like his work. 😉 In short, this book chronicles Dan’s experience discovering meditation (which he first couldn’t wrap his around but grew to love). I considered taking a meditation class last fall and think I’d enjoy trying it at some point, so it was interesting reading about someone else’s experience and also examining how other people manage stress as a whole.

Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work, by Sarah Vermunt: Shelby gave me this book for my birthday after having bought her own copy, and from the cover (and hilarious title) I knew it would be a good one, and I was right—I felt super pumped up and ready to #GSD when I was finished. The book is truly for people of all ages—whether you’re halfway through your career or just starting out. It encourages you to step back and take a look at what makes you happy—in the workplace and life in general—and also evaluate what makes you stressed and irritated (and to consider your physical reaction, too, as you do this evaluation). The overall takeaways are: Don’t hold back from pursuing that passion/dream, don’t waste time doing something that you don’t love, don’t be afraid of what others think (easier said than done!), and don’t not try something just because you’re afraid you’ll fail. Sarah shares her own ups and downs while giving professional advice (she works as a career coach), and the book overall kind of reminds me of The Big Life, which I reviewed in last month’s roundup.

Stories I’d Tell in Bars, by Jen Lancaster: I didn’t know much about Jen Lancaster but picked up this book because of its amazing reviews on Amazon (I always read the reviews, and when one commenter noted Jen’s clever take on the Lilly Pulitzer for Target sale, I was sold!). This comedic memoir is full of stories and anecdotes that will leave you nodding your head in agreement (she makes some great observations on millennial culture but makes it very clear that she feels bad for us, hah). I’m now excited to read her other work (I think I actually have a copy of one of her other books, Bitter is the New Black, which I’ve been meaning to start forever!).

How to Pack, by Hitha Palepu: I was silly and actually didn’t pick this up until after I’d come back from Paris, but hey, I suppose the tips are always going to be useful! This book has been mentioned many times throughout the blogsphere and while I feel like I’ve gotten to be a much better packer, who couldn’t use some helpful hints? I liked how Hitha began her book classifying the different types of packers–although I’m pretty sure I kind of fall into all of the categories–I’m either over-prepared, under-prepared, or sometimes, a little impractical, so her tips were very useful!

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July Reads

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Another month, another list of book recs as I work my way through a huge pile of must-reads! I’m adding a new “read it if…” piece for the books that I loved and would personally recommend. So without further ado…

The Light We Lost, by Jill Santopolo: Remember how I said I wanted to save this one for when I had time to fully enjoy it? Well, I’m so glad I did, because once I started the book, I couldn’t stop–I read it all in one sitting! Read it if: You appreciate a good love story but don’t want anything cheesy (and don’t mind a tearing up a bit!). 

The Big Life, by Ann Shoket: I read this book on vacation and it was a quick, inspiring read that also did the job of making me feel super motivated and ready to return to work (if you like to unplug completely when you’re away, I don’t recommend bringing this with you!). As the former editor of Seventeen, Ann knows all about the struggles that millennial women face in the workplace and beyond and uses a lot of real life anecdotes from her conversations with women in their 20s and 30s to supplement her advice. Read it if: You’re craving an extra dose of inspiration! 

The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan: If you’re looking for a rom com-esque read, this one is for you. Nina is in her late twenties when she loses her job at the town library and decides to go out on her own and open a traveling book truck (I mean…how adorable?!). She moves from England to Scotland to start her business, and, of course, ultimately falls in love. Having spent a semester abroad in Scotland, I loved reading about the different towns she visited and the characters she met along the way. Read it if: You need something fun and relaxing for once, especially given that everyone is all about dark, creepy thrillers these days.

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell: I started this book and just couldn’t get into it, but I’m putting it on July’s list anyway. I read about half of this story, which is about two close female coworkers whose emails to one another are actually being monitored by the company tech guy, who starts falling for one of the girls. It’s a super cute plot (kinda wish I’d thought of it myself!) but the book was just too slow-moving for me and there were other things that I was more eager to read instead. Maybe I’ll try it again in the future–and as a whole, I’ve heard wonderful things about the author, Rainbow Rowell, and I know other people who enjoyed this particular book, and it got amazing reviews on Amazon, so clearly I’m in the minority!

I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist, by Betty Halbreich: This book had been sitting on my shelf forever and I’d been meaning to start it for, oh, a year and a half! Betty Halbreich chronicles her life growing up in Chicago in the 1930s before moving to NYC with her husband. She later forms a personal shopper role at Bergdorf Goodman, where she remains working for decades. Read it if: You love a good memoir, appreciate fashion and New York City, and want to read the musings of an incredible 86-year-old author!

I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron: This quick read was funny, insightful, and a nice glimpse into the late Nora Ephron’s life. Having read one of her other books, I Feel Bad About My Neck, I was curious to see what else she had in store and actually found this book at a used bookstore in Cape Cod! Read it if: Again, you like memoirs and are in the mood for a short but engaging read. 

All Grown Up, by Jami Attenberg: This book wasn’t outstanding in my opinion, but it showed up on my Amazon recommendations so I thought I’d give it a try. This short story follows a 39-year-old woman who is single in NYC and is facing various family issues…in short, not the glamorous, Sex and the City type read I was expecting. I wasn’t a huge fan.

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Books on My Radar

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Ok, I need to just, like, stop going on Amazon.com (ha, that’ll never, ever happen…) because every time I’m on there, I discover a dozen new books I want to read! Below are a few that have piqued my interest lately and are on my list to either buy (when prices go down) or check out from the library (if the waitlist isn’t too long!).

1) This seems to be marketed more toward college students, but I love self help type books, especially those geared directly toward young women.

2) Many people seem to have loved this one, and I’ve been stalking it on Amazon for awhile now! I’m not hugely in to politics, but who can say no to a funny book about working for Obama? If Mindy Kaling and Ashley recommend it, I’ll listen.

3) Laura Dave’s new novel about a culinary superstar who gets hacked sounds right up my alley (and seems like a totally different type of book than Eight Hundred Grapes, which I read a few years ago and enjoyed). Plus, who can resist the cheerful cover?

4) To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Sykes’ and Piazza’s other book, The Knockoff, despite it being quite popular. I stopped reading partway through a few summers ago and may have to give it another chance. In the meantime, I’ve heard good things about their new release, which seems like the perfect light read for summertime travel!

5) A fun fictional book about the life of a celebrity journalist in Hollywood is just what the doctor ordered for summer. I’d love to scoop this one up to bring on the plane to Paris–it sounds like something that’ll keep me entertained for hours!

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June Reads

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I’m excited to share my June reads with you all! I was able to finish a lot of books while on vacation in Florida, in particular (I even read two in one day!). While I’ve shown a few of my recent reads on Instagram, here’s the complete roundup of everything I enjoyed last month. Pack your pool tote or carry on with one of these options–you can thank me later!

Talking As Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham: (Not pictured, because my sister is borrowing it at the moment!). As a longtime Gilmore Girls fan, it was wonderful to finally read Lorelai’s (oh, sorry, Lauren Graham’s) book! My favorite section was definitely when Lauren talked about the making of the Gilmore Girls Netflix reboot (did you know that the episodes are called “Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall” and are in that specific order because of the Carole King song?! I didn’t! Also, for some reason, I barely thought about all of the work that went into rebuilding the town of Stars Hollow prior to filming. It was interesting to hear some of the “behind the scenes” scoop with regard to the actual set, too). The fact that Lauren grew up in Northern Virginia right near where I live and work made her memoir even more appealing!

In A Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware: I had heard about this book forever before I finally sat down and started it (and I ended up reading it in one sitting–on the same day I read Lauren Graham’s book! #Vacation). It follows a group of 20-somethings who are gathered at a friend’s bachelorette party (or “hen weekend”) only for terror to unfold. The storyline moves quickly and you’ll keep asking yourself “what on earth really happened?” until Nora, the protagonist, is able to put together the pieces of that awful night.

After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Ok, I’m officially in love with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s work! I gushed over One True Loves in a previous book review and know that others have enjoyed it as well. I definitely teared up at times while reading about Lauren and Ryan, who choose to mend their marriage by taking time apart, all while dealing with challenging family dynamics and the new world of dating. How will Lauren, who hasn’t dated anyone since she met Ryan at age 19, process the events happening in her world without her husband by her side? DOES she actually miss him, or would she rather move on with her life and start anew? Reid has the ability to tell stories that are engaging but convey true insight and emotion. Pick it up!

Sugar, by Kimberly Stuart: This was a lighthearted read that looked at a pastry chef starting over in the industry while juggling a new relationship, town, and work situation. Honestly, when the back of the book noted that the main character would be working for her ex boyfriend, I expected much more drama on that front, but really their relationship seemed like it had been pretty minor. The book was still enjoyable but for sure was on the fluffier side, so if you like a good chick lit read, this one is for you!

Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris: It honestly feels like forever ago that I read this book, but trust me, the plot still creeps me out every time I think about it. The story follows a couple who lead a seemingly perfect life and have what appears to be a flawless relationship with one another, but it’s soon revealed that this couldn’t be farther than the truth. How can the protagonist escape her terrifying husband when he makes it impossible for her to maintain a life of her own? Others will agree that it’s a very disturbing storyline, but I was enthralled and couldn’t stop thinking about it! I definitely had to call/text a few people when I was done just to tell them how creeped out I felt. It was one of the crazier thrillers I’ve read but I just couldn’t put it down.

It Happens in the Hamptons, by Holly Peterson: This is the perfect summer beach read, and if we’re being honest, it reminded me a lot of We Could be Beautiful, which I talk about here. When a single mother and her son arrive in the Hamptons for the summer, they don’t know what to expect (or ultimately, who to trust). Is the man that single mother Katie is dating truly as good as he seems? The story has several twists and turns (some of which I predicted!) and will leave you guessing as you go.

The Startup, by Doree Shafrir: I had been wanting to read this since I first heard about it a month or so ago. Filled with scandal, romance, and more, it was an interesting story about a group of individuals whose lives intersect due to their work in the tech world in NYC. It reminded me a bit of The Underwriting!

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MAY READS

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I admitted awhile back that I wasn’t the best reader this month. Don’t get me wrong, I still finished a good amount of books, but I also had a lot of free time, which I definitely mainly used to watch TV/socialize/nap…ya know, normal person things. But seriously, with Kimmy Schmidt back on Netflix (and a new season of Master of None that I can’t wait to start), I haven’t been as motivated to read lately. That said, I have a stack of awesome books piled up and I know I’ll enjoy them when I finally do dig in!

The books that I did read in May were actually SO good. Get ready to add these to your list!

Always a Bridesmaid (for Hire), by Jen Glantz: I read an interview with the author of this book earlier in the spring and knew I had to pick it up when it came out! The book is about one woman’s journey as a “professional bridesmaid” — that is, she literally began a business after being asked to be a bridesmaid for friends so many times. It was hilarious to read about all of Jen’s real life and professional ventures and her tone reminds me of so many other awesome female writers (if you liked the books by Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey, you’ll definitely like this!). I 100 percent recommend (and learned a lot about all that can go wrong at weddings in the process, haha).

We Could be Beautiful, by Swan Huntley: Ok, guys, I loved this one and texted a bunch of people when I finished it, because it was THAT good. I definitely realize that many people would find the main character (a 40-something, extremely wealthy and entitled New York woman) extremely annoying, but I actually found her and her expectations/standards hilarious. The book follows this one woman’s journey as she finally finds love while taking care of her ailing mother…only to uncover some deep family secrets in the process of getting to know this man. The author writes with such an engaging tone and each character really is full of personality and humor. I’m proud of myself for actually predicting a couple of the plot twists that are revealed at the end of the book (but I still was shocked!) and really, really liked this one.

Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight: This is another popular thriller that examines exactly what happened to teenage Amelia who gets in trouble at school one day and then dies suddenly. Single mom Kate is left putting together the pieces and wondering what was happening to her daughter both emotionally and physically at the time of her death. If you like mystery reads this one is for you–it examines teenage girl friendships and pressures but has a surprising ending.

Cancel the Wedding, by Carolyn Dingman: This book was an easier, beachy read but still fully captured my attention! When a 30-something woman retraces her mother’s past in rural Georgia, she learns a bunch of family secrets that alter her view of her mother and their family dynamic. This is perfect if you want a lighthearted read that incorporates a bit of history, some family drama, and of course, a good love story or two. I honestly had a hard time putting this down each night (and it got amazing reviews on Amazon, so clearly others felt the same way!).

Post Grad, by Caroline Kitchener: I mentioned this one in a post awhile back and am so glad I picked it up. This sociological piece examines the lives of five women as they navigate their first year in the real world after graduating from Princeton. These women come from different racial, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds, yet all face significant struggles and experiences as they start their new lives. The author (who is younger than I am!) writes an engaging, thought-provoking piece that I honestly wish I had thought to do first 😉 I read this book in a day and immediately recommended it to a friend. Pick it up!

The Opposite of Loneliness, by Marina Keegan: I can’t believe I waited to long to read this. From the moment I read Marina’s first fiction piece, I was hooked. She manages to capture emotions that are complex and powerful while succinctly telling a story and making it believable and real. Each of her characters–whether fictional or not–are unique yet have a compelling story to share, be it about loss, lost love, raising a child, or even working as an exterminator. These stories reach beyond what Marina had experienced herself but are still believable and insightful. Her nonfiction work, which is printed in the second half of the book, is haunting and perceptive. Truly a must read by a talented writer.

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