I can’t believe it’s already August. I feel like March, April, and May dragged on and since then, time has been flying. It’s still been an emotional rollercoaster for me, and I am sure many of you feel that way, too. While working from home has become more normal and I’ve gotten out of DC a few times, it’s still mentally challenging not knowing when the pandemic will end and hearing more and more news reports of cases spiking. As someone who loves to plan and know the plan, the uncertainty is really hard. I cling to the knowledge that this will all be in the rearview mirror one day—here’s to hoping it’s sooner rather than later.
In July, I didn’t read as much as I have in recent months. I played on my phone before bed way more than I should have and that definitely cut into my reading time. That being said, I read five books and enjoyed all but one of them, so I definitely have some great recommendations for you this month! Before we dive into toady’s post, I wanted to remind you that you can always follow along with what I am reading in real-time over on Goodreads—feel free to friend me there!
THE VANISHING HALF // BRIT BENNETT
The Vignes twins, Stella and Desiree, grow up in small town Louisiana. As young girls, they witness their father lynched by white men in the middle of the night and at age 16, decide to runaway to New Orleans in hopes of finding a better life. But from there, their paths diverge—Stella gets a job as a secretary and is able to pass as white. She eventually falls in love with a white man and has no idea she grew up Black. Desiree, on the other hand, marries a Black man, and eventually ends up back in her hometown to escape his abuse. Years pass since the sisters see each other, but their fates are intertwined as their daughters lives cross paths by happenstance years later.
Would I recommend it? ABSOLUTELY! I loved this book and could not put it down. I’ve recommended it to several people now and they all love it, too!
DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME // MHAIRI MCFARLANE
Georgina finds her rockstar boyfriend in bed with someone else on the same day she loses her job—talk about a bad day! She takes a new job at a pub in town the very next day, but the only problem is she realizes one of the owners of the bar is a guy she fell in love with in high school. And he doesn’t even remember her! I can’t say more without giving the story away, but this is a really cute story with lots of characters to root for.
Would I recommend it? Yes! I really like Mhairi McFarlane’s stories and this one would be the perfect beach or lake read.
MEET CUTE // HELENA HUNTING
Kailyn Flowers accidentally collides into Daxton Hughes, a former teenage heartthrob she loved watching on TV, on her way to a class for law school and is mortified. It becomes even more embarrassing when he ends up in the same class as her and she trips, spilling her coffee everywhere, when she realizes he’s in the room. Throughout law school, they become friendly and develop a little bit of a rivalry, eventually graduating first and second in their class. Fast forward a few years and Dax shows up in Kailyn’s office with his parents to set up a trust for his younger sister. At first, Dax doesn’t recognize Kailyn, but he does halfway through the meeting. A few months after the trust is set up, Dax’s parents die in a car crash and Dax, to his surprise, finds he was given custody of his sister. He goes to Kailyn for help with the trust—and soon, so much more.
Would I recommend it? I loved this one so much that I read it in one sitting. This would be a great beach read!
THE HEIR AFFAIR // HEATHER COCKS & JESSICA MORGAN
After their scandal-ridden wedding, Bex and Nick are in self-imposed exile, pretending to be a regular couple and not the eventual King of England and his wife. The Queen, understandably, is angry, and fakes a stroke to reel the newly wedded couple back into the royal fold in London. Bex and Nick move into their new apartment at Kensington Palace and quickly discover they might not have dealt with all the controversy surrounding their wedding effectively—especially as it relates to Nick’s brother, Freddie, and the fact he expressed feelings for Bex. Add on newly discovered family secrets and you’ve got yourself a juicy tale.
Would I recommend it? If you loved The Royal We, you will so enjoy the sequel! I did have to go back and read the last few chapters of the first book since it had been about five years since I read it and while I remembered most of the major plot points, some of the details were really hazy. A sequel doesn’t always live up to the original, but this one definitely did—it’s more of a continuation of the story than anything, and the authors did such a good job.
SEATING ARRANGEMENTS // MAGGIE SHIPSTEAD
Every summer, the Van Meters head up to their family home on Waskeke Island to relax and recharge. This summer is different though, because they’re celebrating the marriage of their daughter, Daphne, to Greyson Duff. Winn, Daphne’s dad, is pretty sour about the whole affair—he’s still not into the exclusive club he’s been dying to get into, he’s got an inappropriate crush on one of the bridesmaids despite his great marriage, and his other daughter, Livia, was recently heartbroken by the son of his greatest rival. A wedding that was supposed to go off without a hitch suddenly becomes pure chaos.
Would I recommend it? I could not get into this book at all—I so wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t. I would pass as there are definitely better reads out there.