Category Archives: Books

Reading Year In Review

My Top 10 Books of 2020

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Eveningland by Michael Knight

Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Brazil by John Updike

Real Life by Brandon Taylor

2020 Reading Stats

I read 68 books in 2020 for a total of 24,298 pages.

The shortest book I read was I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya (96 pages) and the longest book was 11/22/63 by Stephen King (849 pages).

My average book length in 2020 was 357 pages.

The most popular book I read was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the book I read with the highest average rating on Goodreads was In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

The first book I read in 2020 was The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen.

My last read of 2020 was Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick.

I read from many genres but tended to favor literary/contemporary fiction the most. And fiction books in general made up 80% of my reading. (A bit high for me!)

67% of the authors I read from identify as women, 30% men, and 3% non-binary.

If You Like That Book, You Might Like This Book || BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS pt. 4

Hi friends! Today, I’d like to offer you a few more book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I started a bookish series here on the blog to do just that for YOU. (Here’s part 1! Here’s part 2! Here’s part 3!)

In each post, I recommend books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!

If you liked The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware,
you might like The Winters by Lisa Gabriele.

If you loved Ruth Ware’s ability to concoct a setting so compelling it started to feel like it’s own character, you should check out The Winters which transports readers to the Asherley estate. The Winters is a creepy and spooky modern retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca set amongst the wealthy elite in the Hamptons. Much like The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Lisa Gabriele writes an enjoyable psychological thriller that plays out inside a grand house and includes all the twists and turns that go along with strange family dynamics, inheritances, and – of course – murder.

Synopsis: 

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.

If you liked The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, you might like Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

If you tore your way through Suzanne Collins’s dystopian young adult novel about a group of teens representing their districts by fighting to the death on live TV, you should pick up Ryan Graudin’s historical reimagining in which the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan commemorate their Great Victory by hosting a motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. Wolf by Wolf includes everything you loved about The Hunger Games and throws in a dash of The Man in the High Castle for good measure — asking, “What if the Nazis won the war?”

Synopsis:

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the Axis Tour and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

If you liked All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr,
you might like Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Ok, if you’ve read both of these books you may think this is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Anthony Doerr and Dane Huckelbridge are both incredible writers. The prose in both these books is so beautiful and breath-taking, without ever feeling heavy handed. While the plots are quite different, they are similar in that they constantly come up against odds — whether at the hands of war or a plane crash — and yet humanity flourishes. Not to mention there’s a lot of French language interwoven throughout Castle of Water, and that, combined with the writing style and haunting passages about a short-wave radio, made for a reading experience that gave me some serious All the Light We Cannot See vibes. If you liked one, I’m confident that you’d like the other!

Synopsis: 

For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

If you liked The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins, you might like Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

Both of these books are expertly researched, sociological looks at the lives of real teenagers in America. Robbins’s book covers popularity and psychology, while Younge explores gun violence. Quite different subject matter but the execution is similar in it’s careful reporting, meticulous interviews, and thought-provoking conclusions. If you are an educator of or advocate for teens, both of these books are must-reads.

Synopsis: 

On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.

I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you more posts in this series in the future! Do you have any book recommendations for me based on the eight books above? POP ‘EM BELOW!! xoxo

P.S. 3 spooky book recommendations, if that’s your jam!

3 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, it’s a great excuse to curl up with a truly terrifying tale! Grab a PSL, your favorite throw blanket, and a handful of fun size candies and make a whole dang day of it. To set the mood even further, I recommend popping on an Autumn Ambience video.

If you feel like binge reading a scary book this Halloween, here are three I would recommend…

The Girls by Emma Cline

The year is 1969, a cultural revolution is taking place, and sex, drugs and rock n roll are at the forefront. Enter a charismatic man (based on the likes of Charles Manson) who lures in young followers desperate to be a part of something larger than themselves and leads them into a life of deception, abuse and murder.

Evie, now in her 50’s, is looking back at her time in this cult as a teenager and the horrific crimes they committed that forever left an imprint on American history.

This is a perfect pick if you’re not especially fond of thrillers or horrors but still want a spooky read that will totally consume you on Halloween. You’ll fly through this one! And it’s that much scarier knowing the story, although fiction, is inspired by true events.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Now, if you ARE up for a thriller, this is an excellent one.

Our main character is a woman whose wealthy and hunky husband, Richard, has left her for a younger woman. After their divorce she went from living a life of luxury to sharing an apartment with her aunt and working a retail gig.

She learns of her ex-husband’s plans to remarry and the book takes off from here. However, the back cover copy warns readers to “assume nothing” and this is especially apt. There are so many twists and turns to this one and the less you know going in the better!

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Author Grady Hendrix says in the intro that he wanted write a book that pit Dracula against his mom. Who can resist a premise like that?

If you prefer your scary books to be more on the side of horror and gore…with a pinch of humor thrown in for good measure… I highly recommend picking this one up this Halloween.

A group of southern women, fed up with the stuffy/WASPy book club they’re a part of, branch off and form their own group dedicated to reading true crime novels. Next thing you know a new neighbor is clamoring to join their club and he just so happens to be a vampire. This is a “blood-soaked tale of neighborly kindness gone wrong.”

Which of these would YOU choose? Will you be reading anything spooky this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below.

Enjoy the rest of your week, ghouls and goblins!!! 👻

Birthday Book Haul!

I’ve picked up a few new books that I’d love to share with you today! My birthday was last week and not only was I gifted with some lovely books, I also went on a little shopping spree myself. One of my favorite things in the world to do is shop for used books — at thrift stores, second hand book shops, garage sales, you name it. I love finding book bargains! However, the pandemic hasn’t really allowed for that particular hobby to take place. So, for my birthday I decided to treat myself to a haul from ThriftBooks.com. Here’s what I picked up…

The Night She Died by Dorothy Simpson –
This is a British mystery featuring Detective Inspector Luke Thanet. I thought this would be a fun one to read around Thanksgiving or Christmas time because nothing says cozy to me like a procedural murder mystery!

Brazil by John Updike –
For some reason I’ve never gotten around to picking up this modern classic even though it’s been on my list forever. I think I’m going to pick this one up as soon as I finish my current read. I just can’t resist the 90s charm of this edition’s cover.

Matilda by Roald Dahl –
Just a childhood classic that I couldn’t resist for the price. I love all the illustrations by Quentin Blake and I’m happy to have this in my “formative books from my youth” collection.

The Martian by Andy Weir –
Another book that’s been on my list forever. I’ve of course seen the movie but I hear the book is even better. 😉 (Hard to imagine!) I’ve been craving more sci-fi set in space since reading The Sparrow and giving it a solid 5/5 stars.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman –
I’ve also seen this movie… I’m not one of those people that feels like they have to read a book first. If anything, seeing film adaptations makes me MORE likely to pick up a book after the fact — usually encouraging me to read something I wouldn’t normally be drawn to. I feel like that’s the case with this one. The movie was so beautiful that I want to be re-transported to that world!

Kate: The Future Queen by Katie Nicholl –
I recently got it in my head that I want to have a little trio of books on my shelf — Diana, Kate, and Meghan — so that’s what this is for. When you’re thrifting your books on the super cheap, I feel like you can indulge in dumb whims. This is one of mine! LOL

Now let’s look at the books I was sweetly gifted…

The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case –
My mom sent this one over to me and it was something I had put on my birthday wish list. If you read my recent blog series on mental health practices based on enneagram types, you know I’m currently pretty obsessed. This is a fantastic resource!

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay –
Another gift from my mom! This one is a memoir by a junior doctor on the NHS front line. My mom knows I’m drawn to any media about medicine and I can’t wait to dive into this one. I hear it is equal parts hilarious and heart wrenching.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor –
Finally, Real Life was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. This one looks AMAZING and comes very highly recommended by many of my most trusted reviewers.

Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Have you acquired any new books lately?

P.S. Let’s be friends on Goodreads! 

What I Read in September

September was a wonderful reading month for me! I read an 850-page Stephen King novel and still managed to knock out 5 other books over the course of month. I read one 5 star book and the rest were 4 stars! Everything I read was entertaining and captivating — just what I needed in this millionth month of social distancing.

I try to keep my reading fairly diverse in terms of genre as my tastes run the spectrum. Excited to say there are no repeat genres this month! My reads included a historical fiction, a romance, a literary fiction, a memoir, a sci-fi, and a horror/thriller.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Passed along to me by my mom

What I thought: Honestly would love for my official title to be Book Woman. 🙂 This was a very well done and thoroughly researched historical fiction based on the Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s. We follow our main character Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry, as she delivers reading material to her impoverished neighbors in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. I adored Cussy and all the hill folk who came to rely on her deliveries — such a fun cast of characters to read about.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: The Book Drop subscription’s Books for Bubbly

What I thought: A great own-voices romance with a fun behind-the-scenes of a TV show premise. Although appropriately fluffy, it also dealt with some more serious topics that can go along with a life of fame (lack of privacy, consent on set, PTSD, etc). The main conflict might be difficult for some to buy–and I had my apprehensions–but by the end I thought it was handled well enough to win me over. This was a very enjoyable (and steamy) read! If you love the show Jane the Virgin then you should 100% give this book a go.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Audible

What I thought: I’m so happy this was chosen as the inaugural book for the Read ‘Em & Weep book club!!! I had seen a LOT of middle of the road reviews for this one from many Station Eleven lovers who felt this didn’t live up to Emily St. John Mandel’s previous work. Honestly, I was just planning on skipping it. But this was a rare instance of required reading saving the day because I absolutely loved it! I don’t recommend this book to folks who enjoy dipping in and out of novels. There’s just too much going on and too many characters to keep up with. I went in without reading any synopses (all I knew was hotel + ponzi scheme) which I think added to my enjoyment as I wasn’t waiting for anything to happen and was surprised when things did. 🙂 Overall – damn, can Emily St. John Mandel write.

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Books and Crannies

What I thought: A very short read, but it packed a lot of insight and important topics into 96 pages. Shraya explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl. She proposed how we might re-imagine gender for the twenty-first century and cherish what makes us different. I appreciated the vulnerability and honesty and am happy to have this little powerhouse of a book in my collection.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Library

What I thought: What a wild ride. I thought this would be the perfect book to kick off the fall season and I wasn’t wrong. In case the title didn’t clue you in, this book is centered around the Kennedy assignation. A portal to the past has been discovered and our main character, Jake Epping, is tasked with traveling back to stop Lee Harvey Oswald. However, the portal can only deliver time travelers to one specific day in September of 1958 — no matter how many times they pass through. So the book really kicked off in the perfect month for my reading experience. Then, the first half of the book follows Jake as he tries to stop a tragedy from occurring on Halloween night — more perfect fall vibes! After that first mission, the book slowed down and took it’s time getting to the fateful day in 1963 which was my reasoning for knocking off half a star. But the ending was worth the journey!

 When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Where I got it: Library (Library Book Club pick)

A truly terrifying story. I encountered several reviews prior to reading that warned to go into this one expecting a horror and I agree. The thriller classification might throw off expectations a bit. However, I didn’t have the same issues with pacing that others had (maybe because I just read an 850-page Stephen King so this felt remarkably speedy in comparison lol). I also had no problems with the romance thrown into the heart of this otherwise creepy book — this is a genre debut for Cole who normally writes romance — it didn’t feel out of place and it was well-executed. Overall, a super relevant book thematically and an enjoyable reading experience.

What was the best book you read in September? 

P.S. Check out some of the other books I’m hoping to get to this season!

FALL TBR

Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my FALL TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I post my seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the September sunshine glowing and the pumpkin spice making it’s triumphant return, it’s safe to say fall vibes are upon us!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…

FICTION PICKS

Own Voices Romance –

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

This new release romance was sent to me by The Book Drop.

Book Club Pick – 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

A story about a ponzi scheme, written by the author of Station Eleven.

Time Travel – 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

A whopper at 849 pages but I’ve heard it’s one of King’s very best.

Literary Fiction – 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I’m a sucker for family dramas told over decades and this one spans five!

New Release –

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

After Homegoing, Gyasi’s books are an auto-buy for me! Picked this one up as soon as it came out.

Contemporary Classic – 

Brazil by John Updike

I’ve been wanting to read a book set in Brazil and choosing one by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author felt like a safe pick.

Young Adult Sci-Fi –

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Continuing on with the second book in this series.

Saw the Movie – 

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

I finally saw this movie recently and loved it. Excited to revisit the story (and Italian villa).

NONFICTION PICKS

Memoir – 

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

The book itself is tiny and cute but the story packs a punch as it explores a trans artist’s relationship with masculinity.

True Crime – 

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This one sounds fascinating and is an important piece of American history.

Over to you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And I’d love for you to share some of the books you plan on reading this fall in the comments below! 

P.S. I read a total of 22 books from June – August and read everything from my Summer TBR except for The Aviator’s Wife.

If You Like That Book, You Might Like This Book || BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS pt. 3

Hi friends! Today, I’d like to offer you a few more book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I started a bookish series here on the blog to do just that for YOU. (Here’s part 1! Here’s part 2!)

In each post, I recommend books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!

If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford,
you might like Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein

If Jamie Ford’s creation of a dual perspective that bounced between 1980’s America and WWII was a compelling feature for you, you should check out Wunderland which travels between similar timelines.  Wunderland is a really interesting exploration of Berlin in the early to mid 30’s and the lasting effects Nazi Germany would have on the lives of our main characters when we revisit them in the late 80’s. This is the type of historical fiction that will really make you stop and think. There were even a few chapters that could almost be read as stand-alone short stories, they were that impactful in and of themselves.

Synopsis: 

Things had never been easy between Ava Fisher and her estranged mother Ilse. Too many questions hovered between them: Who was Ava’s father? Where had Ilse been during the war? Why had she left her only child in a German orphanage during the war’s final months? But now Ilse’s ashes have arrived from Germany, and with them, a trove of unsent letters addressed to someone else unknown to Ava: Renate Bauer, a childhood friend. As her mother’s letters unfurl a dark past, Ava spirals deep into the shocking history of a woman she never truly knew.

If you liked Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, you might like What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If you enjoyed reading Maria Semple’s zany contemporary novel about a daughter trying to solve the mystery of her missing mom, you should check out Liane Moriarty’s zany contemporary novel about a mom trying to solve the mystery of her missing memories. What Alice Forgot is a wonderful reflection on how our pasts shape us and it will keep you on your toes until the bitter(sweet) end.

Synopsis:

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time.

If you liked Wild by Cheryl Strayed,
you might like Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

If Wild made you realize a need for your TBR to include a few more female road narratives, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk is for you. Just like Wild, it follows a woman on the move and on her own — thru-hiking one of America’s long distance trails. Grandma Gatewood, as reporters called her, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. She paved the way for quest seeking women all over, including Cheryl Strayed.

Synopsis: 

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”

If you liked Every Day by David Levithan,
you might like Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Both of these books contain everything you might expect from a young adult romance, but with some fantastical, science fiction elements thrown in for good measure. In Every Day we follow “A” who wakes up each morning in a new body… but still manages to fall in love. In Until We Meet Again we follow two teens from different centuries… who still manage to fall in love.

Synopsis: 

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it’s his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you more posts in this series in the future! Do you have any book recommendations for me based on the eight books above? POP ‘EM BELOW!! xoxo

P.S. Travel the world by book!

Travel the World by Book

For many folks around the world, the last few months have come with a LOT of cancelled travel plans. Planned trips and vacations were put on hold. Spontaneous sojourns out of state aren’t happening any time soon. And searching flight deals on sites like Kayak just doesn’t give the thrill it used to.

It seems this summer is all about quenching your wanderlust in other ways. Ways that don’t require a passport or a suitcase.

Interested in traveling the world by book? Here are a few reading challenges/lists to help you do so —

50 States Reading List: Best Books Set in Every State

 

World Reading Challenge: Books Around the Globe 2020 
(and here’s 2019 & 2018)

 

12 Great Books to Feed Your Wanderlust

 

And here are a few books I’ve read and recommend for their power to transport you — 

International Travel:

AFGHANISTAN: Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio

ENGLAND: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

GERMANY: My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss

NIGERIA: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

RUSSIA: Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick

SINGAPORE: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Domestic Travel: 

ALABAMA: Eveningland by Michael Knight

ARIZONA: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

MAINE: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

MASSACHUSETTS: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

NEW YORK: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

WASHINGTON: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

 

Happy travels!

It’s totally possible to travel the world by book! Do you have any totally-transport-you book recommendations? Share them below!! xoxo

P.S. Need another way to choose a big stack of books? Check out this readathon.

If You Like That Book, You Might Like This Book || BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS pt. 2

Hi guys! Today, I’d like to offer you a few book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I thought it might be fun and potentially helpful to readers to start a new bookish series here on the blog. (Here’s part 1!)

Basically, I’m going to be recommending books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!

If you liked A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman,
you might like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

If Ove was the type of grumpy yet loveable character you can’t get enough of, you definitely should meet Eleanor. Eleanor is an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose unconscious wit will remind readers of other favorite literary curmudgeons — even though she’s a fair bit younger than most. This book is smart and funny with the same feel-good, found-family vibes you loved in A Man Called Ove.

Synopsis:

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living.

If you liked My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent,
you might like Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick

If you enjoyed reading Gabriel Tallent’s novel about 14-year-old Turtle Alveston, you should check out Lydia Fitzpatrick’s dark coming-of-age tale in which we follow 15-year-old Ilya. Lights All Night Long is a richly told story that explores ideas of belonging, home, and family and I promise you won’t be able to put it down.

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Ilya arrives in Louisiana from his native Russia for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. But all is not right in Ilya’s world: he’s consumed by the fate of his older brother Vladimir, the magnetic rebel to Ilya’s dutiful wunderkind, back in their tiny Russian hometown. The two have always been close, spending their days dreaming of escaping to America. But when Ilya was tapped for the exchange, Vladimir disappeared into their town’s seedy, drug-plagued underworld. Just before Ilya left, the murders of three young women rocked the town’s usual calm, and Vladimir found himself in prison.

If you liked Me Before You by Jojo Moyes,
you might like Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

If Me Before You made you realize you’re a fan of contemporary romances featuring a flawed and relatable heroine, Evvie Drake Starts Over is for you. Just like Me Before You, it is full of interesting characters who are sometimes annoying and make bad decisions but that’s real life and you love them anyways! Bonus points for being set in a small town in Maine with a retired professional baseball player as the love interest.

Synopsis: 

In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.

If you liked Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult,
you might like A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

Both of these books tackle serious subject matter by laying out a fictional tragic accident and following all the twists and turns of the human heart and courtroom proceedings to reach their dramatic conclusions. While Picoult’s book offers a thought-provoking examination of racism and A Map of the World deals with disappearing rural American life — they both present gripping moral dilemmas that will leave readers asking important questions.

Synopsis:

The Goodwins, Howard, Alice, and their little girls, live on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Although suspiciously regarded by their neighbors as “that hippie couple” because of their well-educated, urban background, Howard and Alice believe they have found a source of emotional strength in the farm, he tending the barn while Alice works as a nurse in the local elementary school. But their peaceful life is shattered one day when a neighbor’s two-year-old daughter drowns in the Goodwins’ pond while under Alice’s care. Tormented by the accident, Alice descends even further into darkness when she is accused of sexually abusing a student at the elementary school. Soon, Alice is arrested, incarcerated, and as good as convicted in the eyes of a suspicious community.

I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you round 3! Have you read any of these books? What would you compare them to?

P.S. You’ll notice a few of these selection on My Top 20 Books of 2019!

SUMMER TBR

Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be my SUMMER TBR! (TBR = to be read, aka a list of books I want to read soon.) I thought it would be fun to start posting seasonal TBR lists as a way to get excited about all the books I want to read over the coming months. And with the sun shining outside my window and a massive longing to ditch work and head to a beach somewhere, it’s safe to say summer is upon us!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the TBR…

I’m going to start with my fiction picks and then jump into the nonfiction. This is a 60/40 split which I feel is pretty spot-on with where my reading preferences currently lie. I also incorporated lots of different genres so there would be a little something of everything I personally enjoy reading!

FICTION PICKS

Contemporary Fiction – 
Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Nothing says summer like a story set on a deserted island.

Science Fiction –
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

This is an older title that I’d love to get to this year.

Dark/Hard-Hitting Contemporary Fiction –
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Ordered this one from Books and Crannies!

Horror – 
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

I love reading Horror in the summer — it’s a throwback to my youth when V.C. Andrews and the I Know What You Did Last Summer books reigned supreme.

Young Adult Romance – 
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

A little fluff in the summer never hurt anybody.

Historical Fiction –
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

I loved this author’s book Alice I Have Been so when I spotted another of her titles at a thrift store I had to pick it up.

NONFICTION PICKS

Memoir –
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

I love reading memoir no matter the season and this one has been getting so much buzz.

Political Nonfiction –
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge

This book was recently recommended to me and looks extremely powerful.

Mountaineering Nonfiction –
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar

Honestly my favorite nonfiction genre…so I had to include something from this category!

Historical Nonfiction –
A Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport

…and rounding out my list with a dose of the British monarchy. Perfection!

Over to you! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And I’d love for you to share some of the books you plan on reading this summer in the comments below! 

P.S. Check out some of the books I own.