Yay! This On My Nightstand series is one of my favorite ones to put together, and since we last spoke, I’ve read quite a few books. I was able to be a more prolific reader than usual this post since I traveled quite a bit in late October and always do a lot of reading on planes. But it wasn’t just the travel that lead to an increased number of pages read—I was really engrossed in a few of these books and ended up staying up until 2am a few times to read them. Though I paid for it the next day at work, reading a good book is one of the simple pleasures in life and I’m not one to deprive myself from that joy!
SISTERS FIRST // JENNA + BARBARA BUSH
I loved this memoir so much that I finished it in two days! Written as a series of essays on different stories from the Bush sisters’ lives—their first visit to the White House, prom, 9/11, their experience with the Secret Service, the first time Jenna and Henry went on a date—I literally laughed and cried when reading this book. I loved hearing anecdotes from the twins’ childhood and getting an inside look at the Bush family workings and antics. This was an especially sweet read for me since I picked up my copy of the book on the Sisters First book tour with Monica. We were able to hear Jenna and Barbara talk about their book for nearly 90 minutes, and then we were even able to meet them. It was a life highlight for sure!
Would I recommend it? YES, especially if you have sisters!
FOREVER, INTERRUPTED // TAYLOR JENKINS REID
It’s no secret I’m a big Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, and Forever Interrupted was the last book of hers I hadn’t read—so really, I need her to write a new book stat! I enjoyed this one a lot—Elsie is mid-twenties gal who stays in one night and goes to pick up a pizza. While she’s waiting for her food to be ready, in walks Ben. The two quickly fall in love, and elope soon after. Nine days after they were married, Ben was killed in a bike accident. At the hospital, she meets Ben’s mom, Susan, who doesn’t even know she exists. The rest of the story follows their grieving and healing process and is a really sweet read.
MISS YOU // KATE EBERLEN
I really wanted to like this book because I was very intrigued by the plot—Tess and Angus just miss each other from ages 18 to 34. Throughout those years, they each deal with great losses and go through the process of figuring out who they are, and what they want in romantic relationships. When I first picked up this story, I thought that Tess and Angus would know each other throughout the duration of the story, but they would miss each other romantically throughout certain points in their lives. Instead, we get to know them as independent people before they finally cross paths right before the end of the book, which then ends somewhat abruptly. I couldn’t find very many endearing qualities about Tess and Angus, and honestly, if I hadn’t paid for this book, I’m not sure I would have finished it—it dragged on in places, and I just wanted them to meet.
Would I recommend it? Nah, there are better reads out there.
SAME BEACH, NEXT YEAR // DOROTHEA BENTON FRANK
This was another book I really wanted to like, but by the end, was hoping the train wreck would be over. The story follows two couples, Adam and Eliza and Carl and Eve. One summer, Adam and Eve bump into each other at the pool on vacation as they’re watching their children play. High school sweethearts, they decided to get their families together for a barbecue that evening. Eliza knows Adam and Eve used to date, and isn’t thrilled, but in time, the two families vacation together at the same beach every year. Once their children are grown, the adults find themselves at a crossroads in their lives, and one night Adam and Eve both end up at the beach and accidentally fall asleep on the couch together. Havoc ensues, and the rest of the book explores the complicated relationships of love. The end was very predictable and the story dragged on a little too long for my liking. Considering I had a library hold request on this one for more than half a year, I was expecting a better story to match the hype.
Would I recommend it? Eh, if this is the only chick lit book at the airport, sure, otherwise, I’d grab another title first.
PROMISE ME, DAD // JOE BIDEN
I’m not one to read political memoirs, but I always loved how optimistic and positive Joe Biden seems in spite of living a life where he has encountered much loss. He lost his first wife and a daughter in a car accident that left his two sons severely injured, and decades later, lost one of those sons (Beau) to cancer. The central narrative in this memoir is the Biden’s journey through Beau’s cancer, but the former VP also touches on his Senate career, his grief after losing his first wife, and his faith. I really enjoyed this read, and while there is definitely some political talk in this book—mostly about the Obama administration foreign policy initiatives Biden worked on—I think this memoir was more about family, life, and faith than anything, and because of that, I’d recommend it to anyone.
Would I recommend it? 100%—regardless of political affiliation.
SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE // KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY
This was the best fiction book I read this round! The story follows a matriarch, Ansley, and her three daughters, Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson. The three girls are back in Peachtree Bluff for the first time in years because they’re all at a crossroads in their life. Caroline returns, pregnant, with her older daughter because her husband cheats on her and then goes on a reality television show with his new girlfriend. Sloane brings the kids to town while her husband is on another tour of duty in the Middle East. And Emerson, the youngest, is in town filming a movie—but the plot of the film throws everyone for a loop. All the while, someone from Ansley’s past comes to town and the secret she has kept from her daughters their entire life is about to unravel. This novel reminded me a lot of Elin Hilderbrand books—the story was intriguing and kept me turning the pages, and all the characters were well-developed and, while flawed, the kind of people you want to root for. If you’re in need of a light beach read, pick this one up!
Would I recommend it? YES! I am especially excited about this one since a sequel drops this spring.