Three romances in one month, who is she?? Unfortunately, I didn’t really like any of them – but thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin and Goodreads for my ARC copy of A Brush With Love I won in a Goodreads giveaway! I passed it along to a friend who I think will enjoy it more than I did
The Golden Couple Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Publication Date: March 2022 Genre: thriller Method: BOTM hardcover
Why did I wait so long to read from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen?? This was my first read by the author duo and it certainly won’t be my last, I absolutely loved this! I usually don’t like domestic thrillers (so many center around SA/DV) but this grabbed my attention from the very beginning. I love a story with tons of characters, obsession, dual perspective, complex plots, secrets, and relationship drama (that isn’t rooted in violence). I’ve got The Wife Between Us by the author duo on my shelves and definitely need to pick that up soon! Overall, super enjoyable and entertaining, 4.25 stars!
Big Little Lies Author: Liane Moriarty Publication Date: February 2017 Genre: fiction, mystery Method: audiobook via TPL
I knew virtually nothing about this story going into it, other than the wild success of the HBO show. But pleased to report, I loved this! I unashamedly admit, I am easily entertained by stories about rich white moms and their drama. As expected, I love having so many characters to keep track of and especially liked how Moriarty incorporated the secondary characters. The overarching mystery woven throughout the story regarding the ambiguity of the murder victim is so good. I distinctly remember shouting out loud, “I KNOW WHO I HOPE DIED.” Guaranteed star for correct use of the term physiotherapy, because I am unhinged. Solid, 4 star dramatic thriller. Buzzword Readathon: April selection
A Brush with Love Author: Mazey Eddings Publication Date: March 2022 Genre: romance Method: audiobook via TPL
First, thank you to publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Goodreads, as I received an ARC copy in a Goodreads prompted giveaway. It is for that reason I really, really wanted to love this book. I was so hopeful, given that this is a medicine/health based romance, but this ain’t it. The more romances I read, the more I’m realizing I really need to care about and like one, if not both, of the characters in the romantic relationship. I wanted to like Harper, but she was just too type A, and Dan was meh. Also, I gaged at all the sex scenes, but that might just be a me problem. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t for me. I got so desperate to be finished with it that I jacked my audiobook speed all the way to 2x so I could move on to something else.
A Little Hope Author: Ethan Joella Publication Date: November 2021 Genre: fiction, contemporary Method: audiobook via TPL, BOTM hardcover
There’s something about the simplicity of this story that is just so effortless, quiet, and beautiful. A handful of unique and well-crafted characters each with their own story. A story where grief and hope collide. Every vignette felt intentional and purposeful. It felt like with every new chapter I had a new favorite character and peak inside a slice of their life. Don’t be fooled by the word hope in the titled, I was left devastated and in near tears multiple times. This hurts to read, but it is so well worth it. Buzzword Readathon: April selection
Ugly Love Author: Colleen Hoover Publication Date: August 2014 Genre: romance Method: audiobook via TPL
It’s rare that I read an entire book in one day, from title page to epilogue, but in this case, I did. And you’re probably thinking, “wow, she must have really loved that book to have finished it so quickly!” No, sorry. No hate to Colleen Hoover, but it was just fine. Some of my best bookish friends have rated this 5 stars, but this ain’t it for me.
For me to like a romance, I have to care about and like both people in the relationship as individuals AND want them to end up together. I liked Miles character enough, could do without Tate. I was, however, shipping Miles and Rachel HARD. Side note, I do have it in me to like a messy relationship e.g. Luke and Ginger in A Little Hope. Their relationship made up like 20% of the storyline in A Little Hope and it had me crying, it was heart breaking.
This is my first friends with benefits trope which I didn’t really like. The spice was better, more believable and less outlandish, than the previous romance I read (A Brush with Love), so that was okay. Overall, just fine. Fingers crossed I love the next Colleen Hoover I pick up, which likely will be the super hyped and mega popular, It Ends With Us.
Malibu Rising Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid Publication Date: June 2021 Genre: fiction, historical fiction Method: audiobook borrowed from TPL
I’ll be honest, I went into this not expecting to love it but was quickly hooked. And spoiler alert, I have a new favorite TJR. Daisy Jones you have been dethroned!
The story opens with four, picture perfect siblings, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit, living an idyllic life in beautiful Malibu, California. As the story unfolds, we learn about the relationship between their parents, June Costas and Mick Riva, and the secrets and traumas that surrounded the family since its origin. As a familial drama, this story had some of my favorite components: the origin story of the focal parents, a blended/unique family set-up, sibling rivalries, broken marriages, familial obligations, and sibling swaps (IYKYK). When one of the Riva kids questions, “Do you even know how many children you have?” that hit way too close to home.
My only compliant, like a lot of other readers, lies in the second half of the story. Once the party is in full swing, we are introduced to dozens of new characters that don’t feel relevant to the story and detract from the storylines of the four Riva kids. I saw a reviewer refer to the second half of the novel as “disjointed” and I completely agree. Despite this critique, what can I say, it’s a 4.5 stars rounded to 5! Buzzword Readathon: March selection
Ghosts of Harvard Author: Francesca Serritella Publication Date: May 2020 Genre: mystery, fiction Method: audiobook via TPL
This is a safe space, so I can admit that I picked this up solely based on cover and title. Happy to report, better than expected! I was pleasantly surprised how easily I was transported right back to college, the struggles of navigating forced friendships with roommates, the desire to impress your professors, and the daunting task of keeping up with the workload. Man, I’m glad to be past that season of life.
There’s something about a brother-sister relationship that I really enjoy reading about, especially when the age difference and birth orders matches that of my relationship with my brother, and this just about spot on. My brother is the old of use two and we went to the same university, but there’s a bigger gap between us than Eric and Cady in this story. The dynamics between siblings and parents gave me major Everything I Never Told You vibes, which is much appreciated.
Overall, I enjoyed the mystery Cady sets off to solve in this story. Detailed and intricate with a well constructed plot and interesting twists. I liked the ghosty elements and the historical context woven throughout. Didn’t know I’d be learning about the atomic bomb but hey, I’m not mad about it. Wasn’t ground breaking, but it was good – 3.75 stars rounded up to 4! Buzzword Readathon: March selection
Black Cake Author: Charmaine Wilkerson Publication Date: February 2022 Genre: historical fiction Method: BOTM hardcover
If you love a multigenerational, expansive drama, look no further. Black Cake is the story of one woman’s devastating past and heart breaking secrets which she reveals to her estranged children only after her death. Black Cake explores themes of sacrifice, loss, grief, lies, resentment, deep unbreakable love between friends (and lovers), racism, identity, climate change, and sibling conflict.
I loved nearly all the characters (Etta + Patsy 4 eva), the details about Caribbean culture and history, the discussions on sexuality and ocean conservation. For me, one thing that is so fun about reading is when similar themes unexpectedly appear in multiple books. Earlier this month I read Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkin’s Reid, a book heavily focused on surf culture in the 1980s. I was so pleasantly surprised on the emphasis on the history of Caribbean surfing in this novel – I just loved the overlap!
“Question yourself, yes, but don’t doubt yourself. There’s a difference.” Eleanor Bennett
A fun and inspiring book! Glad to have stumbled come across it and learn about women entrepreneurs during Women’s History Month!
The Book of Cold Cases Author: Simone St. James Publication Date: March 2022 Genre: mystery, thriller Method: BOTM hardcover
In short, I loved this. Lord knows I love an old, historic, Victorian house with a mysterious past, supernatural and ghosty elements, a female villain, a dual timeline, I mean I’m in, sign me up. It was nearly perfect. Nearly. See rant below for the mandatory 1 star subtraction. Simone, you almost had me, almost.
Mandatory rant, because I HAVE TO: Simone St. James did me dirty, AGAIN. She just had to go and tease me and actually use the term “physical therapy” correctly on page 321, a redeemable moment given The Sun Down Motel fiasco last time, to then incorrectly use the term “physio” on page 329. Simone YOU’RE KILLING ME. Who is your editor? Who is letting you get away with using a Australian and/or Canadian term for a story set in Oregon, USA?! I swear to God if I read The Broken Girls and I see the words physio or physiotherapist, I’m sending a hand written letter asking for an explanation and an apology.
A quarter into the year and I’ve read over a third of my 2022 TBR!
Only three months into the year and I’ve read 11 of the books on my 2022 TBR, making my completion percentage 36.67%, not bad if I do say so myself! And even better yet, 7 of those books I rated 5 stars!
If I’m being honest, I don’t think it’s going to take the entire year for me to read all 30 of these books. My guess is by the end of June, my completion percentage will be between 60-70%. I love this TBR project and feel so inspired and excited to read every book on this list!
My predictions for what I’ll have finished by end of Q2:
PT license renewal, monthly family dinners in Defiance, spring break trip to Cincinnati and Mammoth Cave National Park, Kyle’s return to college courses, financial successes
Completion of NFL 2021-2022 season, Super Bowl LVI where Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 23–20 in Los Angeles, Olympic Games Beijing 2022, NCAA March Madness, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing
Beef stew, cottage pie, frittatas, Dutch babies, BLT salads, tikka masala, chili, shakshuka, chicken pot pie
Exclusively Whole30 in January
Always and forever black iced coffee from Biggby
Winter Igloo, the occasional book related Reel or Tik Tok, reorganizing my bookshelves, bookstagram pictures
Weekly trivia nights (Blarney, The Casual Pint, Beer Barrel, Home Slice), Twin Oast, Uncle T’s 50th birthday party
Bamboo ladder plant stand, new plant friends → Frittata the fittonia and Linguini the snake plant from Hoen’s Garden Center, Wordle and it’s spin offs (Waffle, Quordle), winter sunsets, NCLA sage green nail polish
Of my first 6 figure year
Thankful for the financial freedom and consistency in my PRN jobs Excited for the warm weather and sunshine of spring Lost with plans for our wedding Nervous for period of transition with another new DOR (second this year) Suspicious that the pandemic is over
Audiobooks, And Her Books podcast
Valentine’s Day dinner at Mancy’s Italian Grill, The Ultimate (Taco) Twosday 2/2/22, the occasional 1st and 2nd place trivia win, the joys of running outside + up to 5 miles
From exclusively black authors in February, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Used books, Glacier National Park Rumpl (REI on sale), Nikon 7500, 2 lens, and tons of accessories from Camera Mall in Ann Arbor, books from Book Depository as Valentine’s Day presents, bird enamel pins from Etsy for Kyle’s new camera bag (Blue Jay and Cardinal), KENDALL + KYLIE jeans from TJ Maxx, Lodge cast iron reversible griddle/grill, collapsible camp kettle, handmade pottery (mug) from MCNP
You are not the work you do; you are the person you are. Toni Morrison