What I’ve Been Reading Lately

book recommendations and books to read

 

I’ve been a pretty slowww reader these summer months but I’m feeling the urge to really be reading again and I’m excited. This is why I always let my reading desires ebb and flow because sometimes I just need to read a lot less/slower and enjoy other things! I always end up coming back to reading consistently. What have you guys been reading?? Tell me in the comments!

 

First up for me was:

 

 

The Changeling Sea by Patricia K. McKillip

The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip

 

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Book Talk: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Talk: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins ReidOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Simon & Schuster, Washington Square Press on June 2016
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Also by this author: After I Do, Maybe in Another Life
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

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

 

A1

 

Emma marries her high school sweetheart and they spend their 20’s loving each other and traveling the world and building a life together. When he goes missing after a helicopter accident and is presumed dead, Emma’s world crumbles. She moves back home to the town and life she didn’t want, grieves and then finally attempts to put her life back together. Years later she opens herself back up to love with someone from her past and falls in love and gets engaged. And then she gets the call….the one saying her first love and husband has been found after all these years and she’s torn between her husband and her fiance.

 

 

a2everything-hurts

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Book Talk: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Book Talk: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine CenterHappiness For Beginners by Katherine Center
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 2015
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

Helen is 32, has been divorced for a year and just really wants to get her crap together and bounce back from this. When her younger brother, by 10 years, suggests a 3 week wilderness survival expedition she jumps on the opportunity as a way to get her life back on track and prove she can still be happy and strong after all this. What she doesn’t know is that her brother’s best friend, who she’s known since they were younger, is also going which Helen is not happy about because she wanted to be anonymous on this trip while she worked on her life. And when she gets there? The group is definitely not made up of the people she expects but they end up teaching her a lot about herself.

a2I need to start a 3 good things notebook — reminds me of something two of my friends did back and forth for quite a while!

a4This book had been raved about by a bunch of my friends — specifically Estelle and Anna. I am happy to report that I LOVED it. It was just what I needed to read right now where my particular headspace was at. It was funny but really hit these serious notes about growth and change that resounded within me so deeply. I found myself really reflecting about life while reading this and even after finishing it.

I loved the characters from the main ones to the more minor ones in her wilderness group.  JAKE JAKE JAKE ILU, man! They made me laugh and made me think. I feel like *I* learned a lot from them. I LOVED the romance as it wasn’t super typical. I totally shipped it. TOTALLY. And I also really loved the setting — I’m not the MOST outdoorsy girl but I do love the outdoors and I loved how we saw the wilderness and the beauty which contrasted with how grueling this program was.

I could go on and on about how excellent this book is and what I specifically liked about it but I want to touch on Helen’s journey because where I’m at right this moment? It hit me right in the feels. I am so the person who thinks I need to like Eat, Pray, Love my way out of a funk and change my life and BECOME HAPPIER.  I am all about FINDING MYSELF. I wouldn’t have signed up for a crazy outdoor thing like this but I am SO this type of person. I just always get caught up in thinking I need this life-changing experience to CHANGE or to grow/find myself/get out of my rut and be happy… when really, as Helen finds out, we can learn, cultivate happiness and grow in smaller ways (as well as these grand ways) when we shift our thinking about what happiness really is and how we can find it. I also am the type who gets really disappointed when said HUGE THING doesn’t produce the results I expected. I just SO understood where Helen was at to even contemplate doing this wilderness program so her journey resonated with me the whole way through. It kind of shook me at the core how entangled I felt in her journey.  I felt so proud of her and all she learned.

 There were some things about the book that were kind of predictable but it didn’t really affect how I felt about the book because of how much it entertained me and how much I feel like it really hit me on a personal level. The other thing is I SO wanted more wilderness stuff but it wasn’t like a problem if that makes sense?

a6RATING-beyondloved[Keep Reading]

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

22571771

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

 

18667862

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?

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie | Book Review

20130709-165427.jpgBook Title/Author: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Publisher/Year
: William Morrow 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance – “Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy”
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Spin, Forgotten, Hidden

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I got this out from the library!

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Blythe is by all means a successful — she’s in her early 30’s, she’s got a great job as a columnist for a magazine, she’s working on a deal for her book and she’s got a great social circle. The only thing she is missing is that special someone to share her life with. She’s had her share of bad relationships and the latest one ended in her leaving him because he cheated. On her way to start her new life alone she comes across a business card for what appears to be a dating service for when she decides she may be up for dating again. Anne hits rock bottom when her best friend gets engaged and she feels like she is going to be forever alone so she decides to call the dating service and see what happens. What Anne finds is that it is actually a very exclusive service that isn’t there to get you a date but rather to find you a husband — it’s an arranged marriage service that comes with a hefty price tag. She thinks it is absurd at first but after a lot of thought and research she decides to give it a go and soon she’s on her way to Mexico to meet and marry her husband.

I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie on the beach and it was SUCH a perfect beach read. I originally had her novel Spin as a pick on my Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag list but it came into the library too late so I picked this one up since it was available! It was so FUN and such a deliciously good page turner and I enjoyed every single page!

Arranged is told in 3 parts and I don’t even know which one is my favorite. Part 1 is learning about Anne’s love life and her finding out about this whole process and agreeing to it. I was certainly plenty intrigued about the whole service and how it works though I, like Anne, was very skeptical. Part 2 is Mexico which was equally, if not more,  compelling as she meets her husband. As a reader, I was so eager to see if there would be chemistry between them and how awkward it would be. Part 3 is life AFTER the resort and that is where it gets to be even more of a juicier page-turner.

It was easy for me to feel for Anne. Sure, I met Will when I was 21 but pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and I was just bouncing around so I always felt like an old maid. I know lots of people in Anne’s position — she’s in her early 30’s, doesn’t have a serious relationship and all her friends are getting married and having kids. It’s hard to feel like you are stuck in a whole other universe while all your friends are “moving on.” I felt that when we were the only unmarried couple in our group. I could feel Anne’s desire for what her friends had — true love — and I love how this story was so honest & funny about the things we do to find love. While most of us probably have not considered  arranged marriages, we’ve all done something or ignored something in our quest for love.

The writing was very accessible and straightforward which was perfect for a beach read and had characters that were easy to relate to but not in an obvious way. I was taken off guard by something that happened in Part 3 (I didn’t read the summary of this book closely) but after that I found that it remained pretty predictable to what I expect like how it is when I’m watching a romantic comedy and I didn’t mind that. I rooted for Anne the whole way through to find her true love and her story, while unconventional, was something I could relate to and loved watching unravel.

Ultimately Arranged was the fun, breezy romantic comedy I had hoped it would be for a beach read but I was really impressed with the smart and honest insights into the ups and downs of finding someone to love and loving– desire, loneliness, being vulnerable, trusting after you’ve been hurt, etc. It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner. It was a very unique and unconventional love story and I enjoyed it so much! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy or a good beach read!

 

Arranged-Catherine-McKenzie


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Did you like it, dislike it or feeling mixed about it? Did you see THE BIG THING coming? I just didn’t (but I also didn’t read the summary). Have you read any of her other books?? Which one should I read next? I have Spin from the library now so I’ll probably start there!

 

three-half-stars
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