Happy hump day, friends!
I’m back from vacation for a while—where I was able to do a lot of reading—so posts will be a bit more regular. Thanks for bearing with me! I work full time and try to do most of my blogging on the weekends, so when I’m relaxing in the sun sans computer, it’s hard to play catch up. (And, tbh, my blog is not my main source of income—so I don’t beat myself up about it if I miss a few days—I hope y’all don’t mind too much.)
Today I’m back with one of my favorite series to write—what’s on my nightstand. I’ve been reading so many GOOD books lately that I am so excited to share with you. And, a note to be transparent—Random House sent over three of the books I review below. I’ve marked them with asterisks. I was not paid to review them, nor was I under any obligation to–I genuinely liked reading them so wanted to share!
As always, if you’re interested in following along with what I am reading real-time, I actively update my Goodreads profile.
BORN A CRIME // TREVOR NOAH *
Before reading this book, I would have never classified myself a fan of Trevor Noah. I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t really pay attention to him. After reading Born a Crime, I’d sign up in an instant to be president of his fan club and have followed him on every social media known to man.
In his memoir, Trevor describes what it was growing up in apartheid South Africa as a biracial kid—his mother is black, his father, white. Not only did I love learning about his own personal experiences and the incredible strength of his mother, I also appreciated his insights on systematic racism and apartheid—something we only seemed to briefly touch on in my history classes in school. Yet despite the heavy subject matter, Trevor infuses such a fun humor into his stories. My only complaint about the book as that it ends right before he comes to America and works on his comedy and hosting career here—I sincerely hope he writes a follow up.
Would I recommend it? YES. 100 times yes. Everyone needs to read this.
MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE // SOPHIE KINSELLA *
I didn’t have high expectations for this one, mostly because I wasn’t a huge fan of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series—but I ended up loving My Not So Perfect Life—and not just because the protagonist’s name is Katie. It was the book I read by the pool in Miami, and I’d consider it the perfect beach read.
Katie moves to London to work at a highly regarded advertising agency, but after her boss, Demeter, fires her unfairly, she moves back to her family farm. There, she helps her parents set up a glamping business. Guess who shows up for a weeklong retreat? That’s right—Demeter. These foes turn into unlikely allies and end up uncovering a huge office scandal. Throw in the love story of Katie falling for a high power exec from the advertising agency, and you’ve got my idea of a fun summer read.
Would I recommend it? Definitely—I was surprised by how much I enjoyed My Not So Perfect Life.
RICH AND PRETTY // RUUMAN ALAM
This book took me over a week to finish—which is how I know I didn’t love it. Usually, when I am really into the plot, I can’t put it down at night, but this one took a while to get into. The story follows two lifelong friends, Sarah (rich) and Laura (pretty). In the book, they’re at crossroads in their lives as Sarah is in the process of planning a wedding and Laura has just broken up with her serious boyfriend, is focusing on her publishing career, and shirking any discussion of the future. Each friend is annoyed by certain parts of the other’s life, yet envious of other parts. And despite being once attached at the hip, the pair are now spending more and more time apart.
The plot explores female friendships of older 20-somethings and how those friendships have changed over time. But, at no time during Rich and Pretty were you fully in either protagonist’s head. The story was told from a third-person narrator, and I think that made it hard for me to relate or empathize with either Sarah or Laura.
Would I recommend it? Eh, maybe if you have a similar dynamic in your life you need to explore through literature, otherwise, I’d recommend one of the other books on this list.
PERENNIALS // MANDY BERMAN *
I loved Perennials because it reminded me of my summers at Girl Scout Camp—only now I got to explore them with about 15 more years wisdom than I had then. The book begins in 2000 with friends Rachel and Fiona as summer campers. Rachel lives in the city with her mom, who’s a secretary. Her dad is pretty absent since her mom was his mistress. Fiona, on the other hand, comes from a typical suburban family. The book then flashes forward to 2006, when the girls are back at camp as junior counselors. I can’t give too much of the story away or it’ll spoil the ending, but the book explores female adolescence and how who you are when you are young impacts who you are when you are older. I really enjoyed this book, even though it’s not my usual kind of read.
Would I recommend it? Yes—especially if you went to summer camp as a kid.
ONE TRUE LOVES // TAYLOR JENKINS REID
It took me less than 24 hours to finish this book because the plot was so intriguing—and I had a few plane delays ;]. Emma Blair, marries her high school sweet heart, Jesse, and follows her dreams of moving to California from Massachusetts, traveling the world, and becoming a writer. Her husband shares similar aspirations, so he accepts a gig in Alaska the day before their one-year wedding anniversary. The helicopter he was in goes down in the Pacific, and though no bodies are found, everyone is presumed dead. Emma deals with the heart break of losing who she thinks is her one true love, and decides to move back to Massachusetts.
When back in Massachusetts, she decides to manage her parents’ bookstore, something she thought she would never do, and finds joy in life again. Eventually, she reconnects with Sam, another high school friend, and they begin dating. Soon after, they become engaged. That’s when she gets the call that Jesse was found alive three years later. So, she has to pick who to spend the rest of her life with—her husband or her fiancé?
In addition to the page-turning plot, I loved the many passages on grieving and love that Taylor Jenkins Reid so perfectly wrote. She has the unique ability to put in writing what many others can’t.
Would I recommend it? YES! This the best book I’ve read since Born a Crime.