Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I was able to fit in nine books this month! I’ve been making reading a priority in the pockets of my day when I have time, similar to how I used to fit reading in on my commute or when I was waiting for a friend to show up somewhere. I also read a lot of page turners this month, which of course, always means it is easier to fit in reading during my day.
As is custom on these posts, 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 and that’s not lost on me!
One quick reminder—I used to use Amazon links in these on my nightstand posts, but going forward, I’ll be linking out to Bookshop. Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on the Bookshop map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Their prices are honestly very comparable to Amazon, which is great—and makes it a no-brainer. I became an affiliate on Bookshop, meaning if you purchase a book using one of my links below, I’ll receive a 10% commission—but don’t worry, Bookshop still gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores.
Here’s to another great month of reading ahead!
LOVE YOUR LIFE // SOPHIE KINSELLA*
Ava just went through a breakup and is squarely against dating apps, so she decides to put her love life on hold and head to a writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s been wanting to write a novel, and her friends convince her to leave her beloved dog with them so she can spend time working on the book. At the retreat, no one is allowed to use their real name or tell the other attendees about their lives at home. On the first day of the retreat, Ava meets “Dutch”—a man that seems to good to be true and they begin a whirlwind romance. On the last day of the retreat, they realize they’re both heading home to London—and they’re thrilled to be able to give their relationship a real shot. But as they get back to reality, they quickly realize just how different their daily lives are. Can they overcome their differences and recreate the magic they had in Italy?
Would I recommend it? I’m not always the biggest fan of Sophie Kinsella books, but this one was really cute. If you enjoy British chick lit, you’ll enjoy this one.
THE ROOMMATE // ROSIE DANAN
Clara is an east coast socialite who has been chasing a guy who just can’t give her what she deserves. She passes up an amazing internship opportunity to move into his spare room in LA, but when she arrives, he tells her he’s going on tour with his band for the summer. So Clara finds herself stuck with a random Craigslist roommate for the summer. But she quickly realizes that her handsome and charming roommate is an “adult performer” and the pair soon strike up a friendship—and interesting business idea. Only exes, feelings, family, and emotions start to get in the way of these roommates.
Would I recommend it? I was seeing this book everywhere, so I wanted to read it, too— but I didn’t enjoy it as much as other people did. If you’re looking for a book with a similar-ish plot, I liked Roomies by Christina Lauren better.
ONE DAY YOU’LL THANK ME // CAMERAN EUBANKS WIMBERLY
If you love Southern Charm like I do, then you’ve definitely heard about Cameran’s new memoir! (I went to her virtual book tour, too!) It’s a series of essays that largely focuses on her motherhood journey. If you’re a new mom or expecting and feeling a bit alone in the journey, I’d highly recommend this one. She also shares great dating advice and, of course, talks about her time on Real World and Southern Charm—but if you’re looking for tea on the latter, she doesn’t spill any.
Would I recommend it? I read this in one sitting since it was under 200 pages and really enjoyed it; Cameran was always one of my favorite people on Southern Charm. In terms of celeb memoirs, there are definitely juicier ones out there, but this was still an enjoyable read nonetheless.
UNFINISHED // PRIYANKA CHOPRA JONAS*
Prior to reading this memoir, I’d say I was indifferent on Priyanka—I liked her, but I wouldn’t call myself a super fan. I didn’t know that much about her childhood or Bollywood career. I love celeb memoirs though, so I picked it up, and I am so glad I did. Priyanka has had a life that is extraordinary in scope, but ordinary in the every day. I love how relatable and vulnerable she comes across in her story, despite being a powerhouse actress on two continents. She shared everything from growing up in India, where she was born to two army doctors, to going to an Indian boarding school, to high school in America, to winning Miss World in 2000, and becoming a Bollywood (and Hollywood!) star.
She also talks about her relationship with Nick and while I was convinced they were set up as a PR relationship, after reading her memoir, I understand their relationship a lot better and am no longer entirely convinced they were set up for publicity purposes.
Would I recommend it? I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t consider yourself a Priyanka Chopra fan!
LAYLA // COLLEEN HOOVER
Leeds meets Layla at her sister’s wedding; the two hookup at the after party and become inseparable. For the next several months, they’re living in the honeymoon stage and make it Instagram official. But Leeds’ crazy ex-girlfriend sees the photos and shoots them both in a jealous rage. Both Leeds and Layla survive, but Layla spends weeks in the hospital overcoming her injuries.
Once Layla is discharged, Leeds decides to surprise her with a trip to the bed & breakfast where they met at the wedding. It was recently sold and the new owner hasn’t moved in yet, so Leeds and Layla have the place all to themselves. After they arrive, Leeds begins to notice weird things happening—and he soon realizes that he and Layla aren’t as alone as they originally thought.
Would I recommend it? If you enjoy thrillers, you’ll love this one—Colleen Hoover always writes page-turners. I read this one before bed and since it deals with the paranormal, did spook myself a bit. If you’re also easily spooked, I might recommend reading this one in the daytime.
VERITY // COLLEEN HOOVER
Verity Crawford is a best selling author at the top of her game—but then tragedy strikes when her twin daughters die months apart from each other. Following their deaths, Verity is in a terrible car accident and will likely never fully recover. She’s paralyzed and she suffered a TBI that caused her to lose her memory.
Verity’s husband, Jeremy, hires Lowen, a struggling writer, to finish Verity’s books. Lowen moves into the family’s Vermont home to go through all of Verity’s unfinished manuscripts and notes. She stumbles upon Verity’s autobiography and what’s written is years and years of secrets. Lowen struggles with whether she should tell Jeremy the truth about what Verity has written—even though she knows it will destroy him.
Would I recommend it? I was so freaked out by this book that I had to read spoilers, hah! I really enjoyed this one, too, but it’s another one I probably should not have read before bed. If you love thrillers, you will love this one.
THE CHILDREN’S BLIZZARD // MELANIE BENJAMIN*
This is a historical fiction book about the Children’s Blizzard of 1888, a real snowstorm that hit the prairie right as school was letting out, and thus impacted teachers and schoolchildren the most. Back then, there was no National Weather Service or reliable way to alert people of impending catastrophic blizzard conditions, so many left school that day thinking they could get home safely, only to be caught on a white, endless prairie. The book follows two sisters, each teaching at different schools, and their heroic efforts to save their students.
Would I recommend it? I liked this one, but if this topic interests you, I’d recommend Prairie Fires instead. It’s a biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder and hits on a lot of the same topics covered in this book—the locust, the harsh life on the prairie, the railroads, and the wars for the west.
FIREFLY LANE & FLY AWAY // KRISTIN HANNAH
It’s the 1970s and Kate is in middle school, hating her life. She thinks her parents are too strict and doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere. One day, the coolest girl, Tully, moves in across the street—and to Kate’s surprise, wants to be her friend. Tully’s had a rough life: her mom is an addict and frequently disappeared throughout her childhood. Tully’s grandma raised her and did the best she could, but she was always desperate for her mother’s love.
By middle school, Tully is quite the rebel. One night, after Tully and Kate end up in jail, Kate’s family agrees to take Tully in and make her a part of the family. Tully and Kate become inseparable and the story continues through the ups and downs of the next three decades—through college, young adulthood, careers, motherhood, and beyond.
Would I recommend it? I wanted to read Firefly Lane because I saw advertisements for the Netflix show and wanted to read the book before I watched it. I really loved the book and am not sure if I am going to watch the show; the book was so good that I am not sure how the show could do it justice! Fly Away is the sequel and it picks up right where Firefly Lane ends, but I can’t say too much about it without giving away the ending to the first book.