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You may (or may not!) have noticed that it’s been quite a long time since I’ve posted anything here.
Fall burnout has hit me hard this year; life, schedules, and obligations have felt overwhelming and I haven’t been able to devote time to this space.
Also, I truly enjoy working on this site, and I decided that stepping back for a while would be better than allowing it to contribute to the burnout.
I have been reading, though not as much as usual, and I’ve read some great books over the last couple of months. Lighter books are working better in my tired state right now, and I’m trying to embrace that, even as my TBR overflows.
Hoping to get back to regular posting soon. In the meantime, please share in the comments the books you’ve loved lately!
Print and E-Books
Former child stars join forces in a home renovation show in this second-chance romance novel. Shelby Springfield, Cameron Riggs, and Lyle Jessup were teen stars in a popular kids’ sitcom. Shelby and Cameron were secret childhood sweethearts, but when the show wrapped, Cameron left for college and Shelby and Lyle ended up together.
When it fell apart, Shelby did, too–in a big, public, embarrassing way. Now, a decade later, Shelby is happy, living a quiet life, refurbishing furniture in Michigan. But Lyle has returned with an offer she can’t refuse: a home reno show, with Cameron as her co-star. The two feel the old pull to one another and fight to make the show a success, while finding their way back to each other–despite Lyle’s meddling.
This was a sweet romance and is a great choice for both previous fans of teen shows and current fans of home renovation shows.
Carli is a musician and songwriter, pursuing her art in her spare time while she works for a company that represents big-name talent. When she meets R&B star Tau Anderson, she is thrown for a loop when he pursues her–and her strictly drawn lines between her personal and professional lives become blurred.
There was a lot thrown into this modern romance, and what worked best was Carli’s creative pursuits. Tau, unfortunately, fell a little flat as a reason for Carli to risk it all–and despite her concerns about getting caught in a forbidden relationship, her actions didn’t seem to match her worries. I enjoyed the music industry angle, but this was just okay.
I enjoyed the humor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Less, so I was eager to dive into the followup that has Arthur Less on a cross-country adventure. After the death of a former lover, Less is having a financial crisis and books a series of literary gigs to make up the shortfall. Along the way, he meets a series of colorful characters and encounters repeated confusion over another author who shares his name.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the audio format of this book was right for me; my mind kept wandering and I missed a lot of the subtle humor. When I picked up on it, it was great, but I kept losing the thread of the story. The meandering stories of Less are worth the read, but for me, they need to be in print.
Meredith hasn’t left her house in three years. She has a remote job, a cat she loves, her puzzles, and her routines. Her traumas keep her up at night and her past haunts her, but the four walls feel safe. When two new friends enter her life, Meredith’s world starts to look a little bigger. If she can find the courage, she just might be ready to step out the door.
I loved reading about Meredith’s journey through her trauma into her friendships. This is not a light read (and triggers abound, so be mindful), but is an excellent choice for readers who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.
Mira has been trying to find her perfect partner, but even her Indian matchmaker has given up on her after way too many failed matches. When her beloved aunt dies, Mira is surprised to find Naveen–one of the men she rejected–is the lawyer handling the estate.
But that’s not the only surprise waiting for her: the two are kidnapped outside of his office, and suddenly they are in a race for their lives–and the sparks between them are flying. If you like your romances to have some fast-paced adventure and outlandish capers, this is the book for you. Fun and easy to listen to on audio.
Lenni is 17 and she is dying. She lives on the terminal ward in a hospital in Glasgow, but she is determined to eke life of the time she has left, in the place she is. When she joins the hospital’s arts and crafts class, she meets Margot. Together, they’ve lived for 100 years, and they decide to embark on a project to create 100 paintings to celebrate their century of life.
I loved Lenni’s thoughtful determination, Margot’s vibrant personality, and how their friendship in the present grows as they reflect on their pasts. Bittersweet and wonderfully narrated.
Bird is twelve years old and his mother has been gone for three years. He lives with his father, who works hard to keep them under the radar of the new laws to preserve “American culture.” The new laws allow children to be removed from their parents if they are suspected of being unpatriotic–and people of Asian descent are especially vulnerable.
When Bird receives a mysterious letter, he thinks it may have something to do with his mother, and he starts a quest to learn more about her–and find her. He learns of a poem she wrote that galvanized a movement, librarians who use the power of information to fuel the resistance, and the bravery of people who sacrifice everything for the good of others.
This is marketed as a dystopia, but it feels all too real and possible–there’s nothing here that hasn’t already happened, nothing that’s unlikely to happen now. Ng astutely chooses to focus her story on one of the worst–and most effective–forms of control: the threat of taking children. The story of Bird and his mother is both heartbreaking and inspiring.
What have you been reading lately?