Happy Sunday! I rarely post on weekends, but I love nothing more than to curl up with a book on a lazy Sunday afternoon. So, I thought this post would be useful if you’re looking for a new book to read today. We’re also already a third of the way through May (where does the time go?!), so I wanted to get you my April reading recap as soon as possible since I’m a little delinquent this month. I’m already excited about posting my May on my nightstand post because I’ve read so many great books over the last few days.
Like I’ve done over the past few months, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books en gratis and that’s not lost on me!
If you’ve read anything great lately, please let me know—I love shopping the recommendations you all give me. You can also keep up with what I’m reading in real time on my Goodreads—feel free to friend me.
THE ALICE NETWORK // KATE QUINN
The Alice Network has been on my to-read list for years as it’s been recommended to me by many people. I was on the library waitlist for about eight months and was really excited when I got the email notification saying I could check it out. A few years after WWII ended, Charlie St. Claire, a 20-something who’s pregnant is traveling to Europe with her very proper parents to have her “problem” taken care of. Upon arrival, she ditches her parents and heads to London, in hopes of hearing word about her cousin, Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France. It’s there she goes to the home of Eve Gardiner, who 20-something years prior, had been a British spy in the Alice Network. The story flashes between Charlie and Eve’s present day quest to find Rose and other truths, and Eve’s time in occupied France as an informant. It’s a page turner that doesn’t shy away from the tragedy and loss of war.
Would I recommend it? Definitely—especially if you like historical fiction. It’s a heavier read though, so make sure you have something light lined up for after.
ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND // ERIN LEE CARR*
As a Media Studies major in college, New York Times journalist David Carr’s work was often assigned as part of the class syllabus. I remember where I was when I heard the devastating news that he collapsed and died in the newsroom of the Times. His daughter, Erin Lee Carr, shares her story in this engaging memoir. She discusses her mother’s drug addiction, her own battle with alcohol, and, of course, her relationship with her father and what he spent his last days on earth doing. I love that she shares many personal emails, g-chats, and letters between her and her dad, and I thought that brought their relationship to life in such a loving, real way.
Would I recommend it? This is a beautifully written memoir. I think you’d find it most enjoyable if you are a 20-something and can relate to Erin or were a big fan of David Carr.
WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? // ALYSSA MASTROMONACO
I ordered this book to read on my Metro ride to work after hearing Alyssa’s interview on the Bad on Paper podcast. Alyssa was Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama, and in this memoir, she shares an inside look at her path to the White House, that includes time working for Senator Bernie Sanders and on the John Kerry Presidential campaign, and her time at the White House. I love how candidly, and with such wit she tells stories from the Obama administration, while also giving an inside look at how it all works. She talks about the pure exhaustion and toll it takes on your body to have that much responsibility to the American people, while also showcasing the perks that come along with the office—like the time she met the Pope or Mindy Kaling. She also shares while she chose to eschew traditional suits in favor of looks from J Crew and talks about dating while at the White House. I could not put this one down, and was excited to read her next book after I finished!
Would I recommend it? 100% This was the best book I read all month and I think you’d enjoy it regardless of your side of the aisle.
SO HERE’S THE THING // ALYSSA MASTROMONACO
Alyssa Mastromonaco’s second book, So Here’s the Thing, is written as a series of essays targeted to young working professional women. She shares funny stories from her days in the White House, a more in-depth look at her career after politics, and also includes advice from some of her famous friends—Valerie Jarrett, Monica Lewinsky, Chelsea Handler to name a few. It’s not a preachy advice book though, which I appreciated—it shows more than it tells.
Would I recommend it? I liked this one a lot, but Alyssa repeats some of the stories from her first book, and this one seemed a bit more disjointed. I’d only read it if you loved Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? as much as I did.
DATING YOU / HATING YOU // CHRISTINA LAUREN
At a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie instantly have chemistry and click. They are both high-powered celebrity agents in Los Angeles, so even though they should be competitive with each other. They soon start dating. But when their two agencies merge and they begin fighting for the same job opening, their romance turns into an all-out war. Office hijinks, stealing each other’s clients, and sucking up to the boss begin in full force. Can they put aside their professional lives to enjoy the budding romance that was once there?
THE PROPOSAL // JASMINE GUILLORY
Nikole is at a baseball game with her actor boyfriend, when all of a sudden, he tells her to look at the jumbotron. Before she knows it, he’s proposing—even though they’ve never talked about marriage before. When she says no on-screen, he breaks up with her. At the end of the game, a camera crew comes to interview Nik, until Carlos and his sister Angela step in and save her. As a thank you, Nik take Carlos and Angela out for drinks with her friends. Soon, she begins a rebound with Carlos…and the plot thickens.
Would I recommend it? No. I really wanted to like this one and give Jasmine a second chance after I found The Wedding Date a little meh, but I didn’t love this one either.