What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Adult Fiction Edition

book recommendations and books to read

 

Hello hello! Time to share what I’ve been reading lately and what I thought about it! I have been on a reading roll lately in between getting ready for the baby and being semi-social (honestly I’ve been taking my social life a lot more easy I get tired so easily now in third trimester….so more curling up on the couch with a book for me than normal). So let’s talk about some of the adult fiction  I’ve been reading lately (which I feel like I’ve been picking up a bunch of books that really work for me) and then sometime next week I will share some of the YA I’ve been reading.

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s talk about a few things I’ve read recently! I have to say….these 3 books couldn’t be any more different which pretty much sums up my reading life — very eclectic.

 

The Deal Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

About In A Sentence (ish): Hannah, a girl with a crush on a popular football player at her college, makes a deal with Garrett, a hockey player with a reputation, in which he’ll help her get Justin’s attention and she’ll help him pass his Ethics exam so he’ll be able to stay on the team.

Thoughts: I’m super picky about the New Adult romance books I read so I always go into them pretty nervous. This one was soooo addictive and I really enjoyed it! Totally hooked! I love the hate to love trope. It’s one of my faves of all time. Plus the fact it started with the kind of “deal” that it did? I LOVE THAT KIND OF STUFF. When people who don’t mean to fall for each other do…SWOON. I didn’t always love Garrett but his character grew on me and, while he’s not my type, I found their relationship to be something I was so invested in — especially how they grew into a friendship during their study sessions and then into something more. Some of those parts were my FAVE. I loved their banter and their chemistry! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I’m so curious about the other guys they feature. Overall, I can’t really explain why I enjoyed this one so much — it was super fun and sexy. It wasn’t anything new or original in terms of tropes or storylines and it was pretty predictable….but none of that mattered because something about the characters and their stories hooked me. So happy to be able to have another New Adult romance I will happily recommend because I only have a few in my arsenal that I truly loved.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartoloGod-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on 2002
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Beatrice is a 29 year old living in Los Angeles where she makes high end jewelry and dates casually. She comes across a personal ad saying, ““If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world”  and on a whim answers it — something she’s never done. This leads her to Jacob Grace — a 30-something free-spirited writer who is so full of life and passion. There’s a spark between the two that ignites a passionate romance between two people who have big ambitions and dreams that propel them forward away from the dads that have abandoned them.

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Wow. It’s been a while since a book had me up reading until 2AM and then rendered me unable to fall asleep until 4am because I was just feeling a lot of feelings that wouldn’t shut off. Thanks Estelle and Ginger for this solid rec and I’m only sorry I didn’t listen sooner when you told me years ago!

I don’t want to say a lot about this book although from the official summary on the book you can get a sense of it. It was a love story that kind of took my breath away from its whirlwind nature to start and its ability to be this quiet, fly-on-the-wall view of two people who are just falling deeply and madly in love and how energizing and all consuming that is — the attraction and sex, the intimacy in revealing who you are through your history and your secrets and your every day habits. There is beauty in that unraveling of layers that comes when you start to really KNOW someone. It’s exhilarating even in the quiet and mundane of daily life as habits and routines in the relationship set in. It just felt so real and like romantic in the normalcy of it? Reminded me how there’s just something so magical and romantic in your own love story.

It’s a book you are pretty certain you know how it’s going to end from the first page pretty much (especially if you read the summary on the book) but it takes your breath away anyways and knocks you flat on your ass like you never saw it coming. Like get-out-of-your-bed-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-to-go-cry-in-the-bathroom-so-your-husband-doesn’t-hear-your-wracking-sobs never saw it coming at the end. I had this mounting dread and tension as I read wondering whether or not what is dropped in front of your face in the beginning had any bearing on the story or how it could be interpreted.

It’s the kind of book that reminds you of the most exuberant and thrilling feelings you can feel in this life mingled with the most bone-crushing and soul-shattering ones we know we are destined to feel at some point in this life. The weight of all that honestly made me curl up in a ball and cry in bed. I didn’t know how I felt —  maybe contemplative, depressed, thankful, understood, small, distraught, in love with life? Other things I couldn’t put into words?

 From a non-feels standpoint, I also really LOVED the writing and the voice. It felt refreshing and it was funny, too! I wish it hadn’t been the libraries copy because there were sooo many passages I just wanted to dog-ear.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, feels, characters, romances
nothing

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes I want to dog-ear the crap out of it!

a8It’s a magnificent love story but it’s so much more. It’s about longing to be understood, loneliness, finding your path in life that fulfills you and the way we all go about filling up that void, or that “God-shaped hole”, inside us all that yearns for so many things. So many poignant things in this book. So many emotions felt. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

review-on-post-it

god-shaped-hole

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

2 Adult Fiction Books I’ve Read Recently

Before I started this blog in 2010 I used to primarily read adult fiction (pop on over here if you are interested in my reading history). I clearly went full force into YA but I still do read adult fiction here and there (some I loved recently: here, here, here, and here). I’m definitely craving adult fiction even more these days (I’d love some recs in the comments) so here’s two I’ve read lately.

 

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: 2007
Big thanks to Racquel for recommending and gifting me this book!

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: 14 year old Liberty moves to a trailer park in Welcome, Texas with her single mother where she meets her first love and the guy who is always in the back of her mind as she grows up. Liberty comes of age in that trailer park and is faced with some things that make her grow up faster than her peers. Soon she finds herself in Houston, as a twenty-something, struggling to make the life she wants happen and she meets a older, powerful man named Churchill who changes everything for her — even her understanding of things that happened in the past.

When I first added this to my TBR I thought it was a straight up romance novel (which remember! I like now!). When I let Racquel know I was starting to read this one she mentioned that it’s part romance, part women’s fiction. After reading it I can say it’s a totally apt description. I REALLY liked this one and could not put it down! We meet Liberty as a teenager and the book spans to her early twenties (good one for YA lovers wanting to try out some adult). I LOVED LIBERTY. She is one tough chick and I loved watching her coming of age story. Life has definitely NOT been easy for her (grows up poor, tragedies, etc.) and she grows up way too soon because of some THINGS. My heart just broke for her but I also felt super proud of her for how she handled it. Her story made me super emotional for MANY reasons — everything she endures, how her past finds her years later, the things she learns, etc. OKAY and let’s talk about the romance? (SIDENOTE: Southern men are so swoony).  HARDY CATES. Her first love. Their romantic tension was INTENSE and I felt the heartbreak she feels when he leaves (somehow I missed that part in the summary). Kleypas writes their relationship so well. SWOON. But the romance with another character later on? SWOON AGAIN. I loved how Liberty has to reconcile this first love that she doesn’t want to let go with the prospective of new love. AND THE ENDING. PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. This book was heartwarming even though it made me cry a couple times. And the characters? Lisa Kleypas creates the most wonderful main and secondary characters. I JUST WANT TO HUG THEM ALL.

RATING

 

RATING-loved-it

 

17934521

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: March 2014
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: It follows the friendship and lives of a group of guys from a small town through flashbacks and in the now as they are in their 30’s and life has taken them in very different directions as they’ve all made a life for themselves. They are reunited for a wedding and have to face the ways they have changed AND their friendships have changed  despite their attempts to hold on to what they had. Secrets, betrayals, struggles and the passing of time that has changed them all put a strain on what they had.

I liked this one but not as much as I’d hoped! It also may have been that it took me forever to read it because it was on my kindle and my kindle died and I kept forgetting to charge it. The main thing for me that I LOVED about this one is how it explored male friendships. I loved the friendship of these guys from this small town even despite how the dynamics shift through the years as they grow older and their lives get even more complicated. It’s really rare for me to read a book that gives me these tender male relationships and I really grew to love Hank, Ronny, Kip and Leland and their bond even when things get complicated amongst them. I loved learning about their early friendship contrasted with the men they have all become as two have left and two have stayed. Marriages, tragedy, betrayals, financial troubles, shenanigans…they endured it all. It’s definitely a quieter book and I really liked the character development and the prose. Every character captured my heart some way or another as they were all so complex. It was interesting how we see what  success and happiness is challenged in these very different men. They all seem to think they want what another has or might pity another but they learn the grass ISN’T always greener and things aren’t always as they seem (YEP CLICHES FOR THE WIN HERE). Also, such a great book that reminds you GET to pick who your family is and what HOME really means to a person. Plus, the setting and feel of small town life? SPOT ON. It reminded me so much of where I used to live. It’s funny because I KNOW groups of guys from that small town I used to live in that remind me SO much of these guys. My problem? As distinct as the characters were through the eyes of the others, sometimes I struggled with the actual voices of who was narrating and would get confused with the multi-narration and the shift to the past/present.

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

18249312

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

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Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

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Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Serendipity by Carly Phillips | Book Review

Serendipity by Carly Phillips  | Book ReviewSerendipity by Carly Phillips
Published by Berkley on 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
two-stars

 

 

 

 

Ethan and Faith had a moment in high school but it never went anywhere. Now, many years later, they both are back in town and are in very different situations than they used to be. Faith’s father was brought down after swindling a lot of people out of money and Faith’s family’s fall from grace and wealth has her starting over but the people in the town don’t make that easy. Ethan has become incredibly successful and he’s back to redeem himself to his brothers who definitely are NOT happy to see him. Ethan and Faith reconnect as they both are looking to rebuild themselves in the town that knows all their history but their connection threatens to unravel what they are trying to rebuild.

Hmmm. I was doing so well with romp through the adult romance genre thus far until this one. Betty and I decided to read it together (check out her thoughts) and I probably would have put it down had it not been for that. At least we had some SUPER entertaining texts about it? Even though the cover, in all its Pepto Bismol glory, looked a bit cheesy I had HOPED it would in fact contain a romance that would make me swoon or at least make me throw my panties in the aiiiiir like I just don’t care? I mean there WAS a man on a motorcycle on the cover. But alas, Serendipity did not. It got a little better in the end, when I just kind of ignored those things, but overall I just thought it was okay.

The romance didn’t do anything for me. At all. And it’s a romance novel so it should probably make me feel something, yeah? It really didn’t. It was rather bland for me and just never made me FEEL anything. I liked the idea of it — the rich girl whose family falls from grace and she has to start over and the boy that screwed up and has no climbed his way up and is looking for redemption. Throw in the fact that they had unfinished business from high school and it sounds like a killer plot! I really liked it in theory but I just never FELT anything about it for the most part. It had its moments but overall the romance was a tad cheesy and not my thing. Just glancing on Goodreads I seem to be in the HUGE minority but that’s how I felt.

There was an interesting thread introduced into the story that actually was quite refreshing and heartwarming once I got over how eyerolly the circumstance was. That was the thread of the story that was most interesting to me and kept me from not putting it down. Ethan’s sister, who he didn’t know he had, is introduced into the story and it was SUCH a good storyline but the WAY she was introduced annoyed me — so unbelievable. I really enjoyed Tess’s storyline — she was rebellious and seemingly bratty and was getting into a lot of trouble. I loved her relationship with EVERYONE pretty much. Tess and Ethan especially. The video game scene. THE BEST. I loved how Faith and Tess bond. And I found it HILARIOUS how Tess interacts with the other brothers. Tess was, by far and away, the best part of this book.

The ending kind of bothered me — yeah, it wrapped up, but it did so rather abruptly and really shifted into the perspective for the next novel — one of Ethan’s brothers. It was a little awkward to me. I won’t be running to pick up the next book but I may pick up another in the series just to see if it was in fact this romance itself or if perhaps I’m not into this author’s books. I may try another one of her books outside of this series just for good measure but we will see!

Serendipity was a bit lackluster for me — I loved the idea of the romance presented but it never quite made me feel anything. I didn’t fall for Ethan like Faith, and most other readers, seemed to. I liked his story and I liked Faith’s story but their romance never clicked for me and plus sometimes it was uber cheesy. The Tess storyline that was woven in was the redeeming aspect of this book for me, despite how ridiculous her entry into the story seemed to me, and kept me reading. This book was just okay for me. It has a very high rating on Goodreads so maybe more seasoned romance readers loved it and maybe you will too — it just was not my favorite.

Serendipity by Carly Phillps

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Have you heard of it? What did you think if you’ve read it? Have you read any of her other books that maybe I’d like better? I’m really curious about the rest of the series but the next book features the brother I didn’t like.

name

two-stars
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