During March so far, I just have been in the mood to READ. Things have been pretty busy when it comes to grad school and my personal life right now, so whenever I do have some down time, I have been turning to books the most (and my rewatch of Sex & the City on HBO Max). Today’s three mini reviews are all books that I finished reading last week. I ate up the two contemporaries in a matter of days, while I finally finished up my non-fiction pick for the month – blame it on A Court of Silver Flames and my need for some lighter reads for distracting me from finishing it sooner.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

You likely know that I tend to save any book having to do with summer for late spring and summer time in order to embrace the season. But let’s be honest, I’m always ready for a read featuring my favorite season. Elin Hilderbrand is such a classic summer reading author, so I was excited to check out her much loved 28 Summers. I actually didn’t feel too guilty picking up this beach read in March because the book takes place throughout the year. 28 Summers follows love interests Mallory and Jake, who spend Labor Day Weekend with one another every year since the 1990s, no matter where they are or their relationship status. Ever since she inherited her aunt’s cottage on Nantucket in her twenties, Mallory has always called Nantucket home and longs for her annual weekend with Jake. Jake’s own relationship status with his childhood sweetheart has taken him all over the place in life, but like Mallory, always drops whatever he is doing for their weekend. 

I know it may be difficult for some readers to set aside their feelings about Mallory and Jake’s annual affair – trust me, I had SO many moments while reading this where I just wanted to scream at the two to just be together full time – but my biggest piece of advice is to just enjoy the ride at face-value. This is the PERFECT book to fly through in one sitting on the couch on a chillier day or at the beach this year. I purely am giving it a high star rating because I loved the reading experience of setting down almost everything to just read. I absolutely loved the way the story unfolded, as Elin Hilderband first brings readers to present day 2020 and then transports back in time to the start of Mallory and Jake’s relationship in 1992. Don’t be alarmed by the title of the book as well, since while most of the chapters recap Mallory and Jake’s long weekend, they also explore their lives throughout the year. Most of the book actually doesn’t recap their weekends together, but the time spent apart. I really loved following Mallory’s small-town life living on Nantucket and teaching at the local high school while following her relationship endeavors with Jake and other men. There was something just so wholesome about her personality and life. In short, if you’re any kind of contemporary fan, READ THIS ONE. 

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

I’ve been making an effort and have been super in the mood to read all of the hyped contemporary & contemporary romance books from the past few years. I’ve been putting an emphasis on contemporary romance, but The Switch is definitely more contemporary than contemporary romance.. which by no means is a complaint because I LOVED Beth O’Leary’s The Switch. This British contemporary respectively follows grandmother and granddaughter, Eileen and Leena, who decided to switch places for 2 months after experiencing a family tragedy not too long ago and both needing a change of pace. After being forced to take a 2 month sabbatical from work, Leena heads to her grandmother’s village and take over her grandmother’s community work, while Eileen looks to find the new love of her life. 

The Switch was such a cozy and comforting read. I loved both Eileen and Leena’s perspectives, equally enjoying the London life and Leena’s life in the small village. It was so charming to see Leena’s relationships develop with the seniors in the village…and her love interest too, of course. While there is so much humor and quirky moments, the book was actually a little more serious than I expected. Leena is grappling with her sister’s death and her relationship with her mother – both feelings are actually the cause of what drives Leena to needing the switch. Both Eileen and Leena have very healing journeys while helping the people around them. I liked both of their romance adventures, but by no means is the romance the center of the story. I’m so excited about soon reading Beth O’Leary’s debut, The Flatshare, and her June 2021 release, The Roadtrip.

Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

I had honestly never head of the Westboro Baptist Church until I read Megan Phelps-Roper’s memoir, Unfollow. I feel like this is such a niche reading interest, but I’m really interested in reading non-fiction books about people’s experiences growing up with more conservative religions. The book had also come highly recommendation across non-fiction reading lists and one of my favorite authors through IG, Hannah Orenstein. 

The book follows Megan’s experience growing up and living as a Westboro Baptist Church through her mid-twenties. I found it super intriguing to realize that the group mostly was compromised of her family members, and likewise, so many of them had chosen to leave the church as well. I think those like me who are not familiar with the group will be shocked like I was about the family’s protests and beliefs towards certain groups, especially the LGBQ community and U.S. military members. I watched Megan’s TED Talk and clips from Louis Theroux’s The Most Hated Family in America about halfway through the book. To say the least, it was so interesting to see the change in Megan’s mentality and life between the book and those videos. I definitely found myself more engaged in the latter half of the book, in which Megan begins to doubt the beliefs of the church and her transition out of the church. 

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you have any contemporary or non-fiction recommendations for me? Share in the comments! 

2 thoughts on “RECENT CONTEMPORARY & NON-FICTION READS: March 2021 Mini Reviews 

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