Reading Lately: June 2019


Can't Escape Love

Alyssa Cole

When you can't count on anyone else, count on Alyssa Cole to write a fucking amazing romance novel. Each one is better than the last! Her characters are so layered, complex, and real. Conflict doesn't arise from unrealistic miscommunication or quixotic drama, but from interesting character dynamics and real-world issues. I can't wait for the next one to come in at the library.

With the Fire on High

Elizabeth Acevedo

This was such a refreshing and smart YA read. I loved the voice and confidence of Emoni, and loved how real the story, conflicts, and characters were. It didn't feel overdone or dramatic, and it was unexpected yet realistic how casual Emoni was about having a baby, and how much she loved her baby. Highly recommended for young adults and old adults alike!

The Garden Party

Grace Dane Mazur

The Garden Party reminded me of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude in terms of it's atmosphere and eccentricity. The book is dreamy and fantastic, firmly in reality but just at the edge of it, and I liked that it was electric without veering into zaniness. Despite liking the vibe of the book, I'll admit I started to get a bit lost in jumping between conversations, and gave up entirely on it when it came due at the library maybe 3/4 of the way through. If you liked A Mid-Summer Night's Dream or 100 Years of Solitude, you'd like this modern tale too.

Outer Order, Inner Calm

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin seems like such a happy, lovely person, and I enjoy reading and listening to her just for a dose of happy-go-lucky. That said I find I never I actually follow her advice. I thought this book would make me want to purge and clean, but instead found that I was already pretty happy with the state of my posessions - probably because we had just moved, so had already "Kondo'd" our things. I gave up halfway through in pursuit of more interesting reads (per Gretchen's own advice!), but if you like Gretchen as I do then you'll like her latest research project.

Accidental Beauty Queen

Teri Wilson

This book hit the spot. It was so cute and fun without being too sugary or saccharine, with great characters and interesting conflict (if a bit crazy). If you liked Miss Congeniality, Legally Blonde, or The Princess Diaries, this is the perfect beach read.

Long Shot

Kennedy Ryan

I was not ready for the intensity and emotional depth of this book. What I thought would be yet another romance novel was a fantastic novel about the reality of abuse, and in particular being abused by a famous professional athlete. Time and again athletes get a mere slap on the wrist for abusing their partners, and this book highlights just how powerless both physically and socially those partners are. Don't get me wrong - there were also plenty of great sex scenes with a non-abusive partner, and a lot of the typical over-simplification of emotions and sex that romance novels are known for. But this book gave me a better understanding of what abuse victims suffer, and as terrible as this sounds an appreciation for the men in my life. If you like Colleen Hoover, or want a typical romance novel with way more grit and emotional twists, then this is for you.

Field Notes on Love

Jennifer E. Smith

After an intense read this was a refreshing palate cleanser. I'll use the back-of-the-book summary: .. line-block:

Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still
determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the
United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the
name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big
dreams. After finding Hugo's spare ticket offer online, she's convinced
it's the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons

This was a whimsical and adorable coming-of-age, young-love story. It was fun without feeling meaningless, and captured that summer-crush teenage-romance feeling without feeling overly romanticized (high school wasn't that great). Highly recommend if you're looking for a quick and fluffy read.

Ayesha at Last

Uzma Jalaluddin

This book helped me realize how intolerant I am of religion - almost certainly too intolerant. I like to think of myself as 'live-and-let-live', and I would never tell anyone else what to believe or how to be. But listening to the thoughts of truly devout people was uncomfortable, and I found it took a lot of character development for me to like the more religious characters. Because of this, and because of the portrayal of modern struggle between religion and culture and modernity, I thought this was a great book. Ayesha is a strong and likable character, and while I wasn't rooting for her love interest I was rooting for her, which kept me hooked. A great combination vegetable-candy book (or as I like to think, a fruit book), you'll like this one if you liked Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows or Bend it Like Beckham. In fact....I think I'd recommend you just read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows instead.