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May seemed like it was 47494853 days, yet it went by so fast, and somehow even with things opening back up and the beautiful weather I was still able to get through seven books which I’m very excited about. Almost all of them received five star ratings, which is pretty good if you ask me!
THE PROPOSAL BY JASMINE GUILLORY
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…
My Review: An easy read, The Proposal is a meet-cute romance read, that is perfect for the beach or travel. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. The characters didn’t have much depth, there were a lot of cliches, but there were a lot of diverse characters, a black woman and latino love interest, which I loved. If you’re looking for a quick read that doesn’t require too much thought, this one is for you!
My Rating: 3/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
My Review: Slow to start, The Guest List quickly picks up. With a perfectly crafted setting and different POVs (the bridge, the groom, guests) give this thriller a “whodunit” element that I loved. I was constantly trying to figure out who the culprit was and was shocked at the very end. If you love a good thriller or aren’t a fan of the genre, Lucy Foley hit the nail on the head with this one. Fun, sexy, funny, mysterious. You’ll feel like you are on the island for the wedding as you read it.
My Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
THE JETSETTERS BY AMANDA EYRE WARD
When seventy-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits a sexy essay to the “Become a Jetsetter” contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist who can’t seem to find a bride; and Regan, a harried mother who took it all wrong when Charlotte bought her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday. Charlotte yearns for the years when her children were young and she was a single mother who meant everything to them. When she wins the cruise, the family packs all their baggage—literal and figurative—and spends ten days traveling from sun-drenched Athens through glorious Rome to tapas-laden Barcelona on an over-the-top cruise ship, the Splendido Marveloso. As lovers new and old join the adventure, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the Perkins family is forced to confront the defining choices in their lives. Can four lost adults find the peace they’ve been seeking by reconciling their childhood aches and coming back to each other?
In the vein of The Nest and The Vacationers, Ward has created a delicious and intelligent novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood to cruise—we can only hope—toward joy.
My Review: I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first started reading this one, but I ended up freakin’ loving it. Charlotte is in her seventies, she’s spunky and she’s ready to reunite with her children that are essentially estranged. After winning a cruise, she finds it to be perfect to reunite with her children and as the story develops, you get a full sense of organic family dynamics. A son still hiding his true identity from his family, a dramatic mother, a daughter that doesn’t know what the heck she should be doing with her life, and a daughter in a bad relationship and trying to get through it. Amanda Eyre Ward does a wonderful job highlighting the heavier topics – suicide, alcoholism, acceptance. The relationships of each family member are what really pulled me in and if you’re looking for a read with more depth, you won’t be disappointed in this one.
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
LAST COUPLE STANDING BY MATTHEW NORMAN
Goodreads Synopsis: The Core Four have been friends since college: four men, four women, four couples. They got married around the same time, had kids around the same time, and now, fifteen years later, they’ve started getting divorced around the same time, too. With three of the Core Four unions crumbling to dust around them, Jessica and Mitch Butler take a long, hard look at their own marriage. Can it be saved? Or is divorce, like some fortysomething zombie virus, simply inescapable?
To maximize their chance at immunity, Jessica and Mitch try something radical. Their friends’ divorces mostly had to do with sex—having it, not having it, wanting to have it with other people—so they decide to relax a few things. Terms are discussed, conditions are made, and together the Butlers embark on the great experiment of taking their otherwise happy, functional marriage and breaking some very serious rules.
Jessica and Mitch are convinced they’ve hit upon the next evolution of marriage. But as lines are crossed and hot bartenders pursued, they each start to wonder if they’ve made a huge mistake. What follows is sexy, fun, painful, messy, and completely surprising to them both. Because sometimes doing something bad is the only way to get to the heart of what’s really good.
My Review: As their friend’s relationships burn to the ground around them, Jessica and Mitch are committed to doing everything they can to save their marriage and avoid divorce. After realizing the common factor of their friend’s divorce was sex, they decide to try something radical – an open marriage. With the terms and conditions laid out in front of them, they embark on this great experiment. Lines are crossed, lies are told, and Jessica and Mitch wonder if they made a mistake. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this one, unsure of what was going to come next, wondering if things were going to implode for the couple like they did for their friends. You’ll understand where the characters are coming from, you’ll laugh, and best of all – you’ll love the honesty of how a relationship unfolds after years of marriage and children.
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
THE GLASS HOTEL BY EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL
From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.
My Review: Money, beauty, white-collar crime, what else could you ask for? I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into this one at first, but kept pushing through and before you know it, it grabbed me and pulled me in. Emily St. John Mandel’s writing is exquisite and highlights the financial crisis and the Ponzi scheme that follows, a woman going missing off of a container ship.. I promise you won’t be able to put it down, either. The way that it’s written and the way that the story comes together is absolutely captivating.
My Rating: 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
THE KNOCKOUT QUEEN BY RUFI THORPE
Rufi Thorpe returns to the subject that made her debut novel The Girls from Corona del Mar so endlessly compelling: the complexity and urgency of best friendship. In The Knockout Queen two unlikely friends form an alliance—a slight, hyper-intelligent gay teen named Michael Hesketh and his next-door neighbor, the remarkably tall Bunny Lampert. Each is antagonized for their differences—Michael for being attracted to the “wrong” people (much older men from the Internet) and Bunny for having the “wrong” body, one with a strength she can’t always control. As their bond intensifies, an accidental act of violence leaves both characters, and their friendship, forever transformed.
The Knockout Queen is about the lengths we go to protect our friends, and what happens when the binding threads of love are stretched to their snapping point. This is Rufi Thorpe at her finest: intoxicatingly charismatic storytelling, a compelling, seductive talent with every sentence.
My Review: Rufi Thorpe’s writing is so beautiful and it immediately pulled me in. The story line was unexpected, it got dark in parts, and the relationship between Michael and Bunny was so authentic. As the story unfolded, I was constantly surprised, found myself gasping, and couldn’t seem to put it down. Michael’s story, the sex, lust, lying – it’s dark. But parts were funny and Michael’s wisdom is beyond his years. The Knockout Queen proves that different circumstances can completely change a relationship and the ending will leave you stunned.
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
THE VANISHING HALF BY BRIT BENNETT
*Gifted copy from Riverhead Books
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
My Review: I have to start by saying oh 👏🏻 my 👏🏻 god 👏🏻 Brit Bennett is an incredible author and has written such a thought-provoking story that everyone needs to read right now. The Vignes sisters are identical twins that grew up in a small, southern black community and after running away, they both live completely separate lives. One secretly passing for white with her family knowing nothing of her past, and the other returning to her hometown years later with her daughter after escaping a bad marriage. Even with their completely separate lives, they are brought back together when the lives of their daughters intersect. This riveting story will look beyond the issue of race to highlight how your decisions, desires, and expectations can shape your life.
My Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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