Let me just put out a disclaimer and pull the behinds-the-scenes of being a book blogger by sharing that I have been GREAT at reading books over the past few weeks, but AWFUL about writing reviews right after I read them.
I blame this personal trend on that I have been reading so much lately and instead of pausing after I finish a book to write my thoughts, I instead pick up another book. Again, great for reading life, not so much blogging life, although I’ve been turning to full length reviews lately more than I feel like I’ve had in a long time. I don’t necessarily feel like I must share reviews on every single book I read, but I have been reading some really great books lately and I feel like it could be so random in a wrap up or favorites post and be like “I loved this book as you know”…. when I’ve barely mentioned it on the blog. I want to have a few more mini review posts shared over the next two weeks, but today’s mini reviews feature a contemporary romance I LOVED, and a YA contemporary & memoir I liked but ultimately felt mixed about upon review reflection.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Libby Hubscher’s Meet Me in Paradise is one of the best contemporary romances I’ve read all year! It is a little lighter on the romance side, but I just loved everything about this book, from the setting to the self growth to the focus on sisterhood. I figured Meet Me in Paradise would be emotional based on its synopsis, as sisters Marin & Sadie lost their famed journalist mother at a young age, and while Sadie has taken off around the world as a photographer, Marin has always stayed close to home, living in their childhood home. While I figured this book would deal with loss, there was a twist I didn’t see coming (& that I don’t really want to spoil) that gave this book even more depth. I read Meet Me in Paradise on my first beach/pool weekend of the summer and highly recommend picking this one up for summer mood reading this season.
This isn’t the spoiler, but Sadie convinces Marin to go on vacation together and after a series of mishaps, Marin finds herself spending a ton of time with the resort owner of the island and learning a ton about herself through their experiences. The book’s setting was just so atmospheric, as Marin and Luca explore the (fictional) tropical island of Saba – I can’t help but admit I also loved the sound of the all-exclusive resort cottage Marin resides in. The story also alternates between Marin and another outside narrator, and I loved the way the perspectives tie together in the end. Definitely have your tissues ready, but Meet Me in Paradise was ultimately the perfect blend of contemporary and romance.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My reading lately has been a mix of all the anticipated 2021 releases and books that I’ve been saying I’d pick up forever, including Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka’s What’s Not to Love. This April release hits both the 2021 new releases & books I should read categories – I feel like it falls in the later because I had been hearing mixed things about this one & I’ve also been hesitant to pick up their previous release, Time of Our Lives, for the same reason (I think the leads from that book make a non-spoiler cameo in What’s Not to Love). What’s Not to Love follows high school senior, Alison & Ethan, who compete against each other on any test and extracurricular activity whatsoever – including the ten year high school reunion their principal has tasked them to organizer, with a Harvard recommendation letter on the line.
I’m bummed to admit that I overall felt ‘meh’ or just enjoyed What’s Not to Love, given that I really liked their debut, Maybe This Time, and loved their sophomore novel, If I’m Being Honest. Something about What’s Not to Love definitely made me want to keep reading -I think it was ultimately wanting to see how Alison and Ethan’s relationship played out, but at the same time nothing really significant happened plot wise?? The plot is mainly just Alison and Ethan continuing to throw digs and challenges at one another, with a smaller plot line involving Alison and her sister, who’s moved home post-college and losing her job. I think What’s Not to Love is their longest book, but it’s could’ve been a 100 pages shorter. I almost wish the shift from Alison and Ethan being emeries to lovers happened sooner or that there was at least more build-up.
Although What’s Not to Love was not the book for me, I am super excited & hopeful for their adult contemporary romance debut in January 2022, The Roughest Draft. This book’s synopsis and cover gives me slight Emily Henry’s Beach Read vibes, but is obviously unique to Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka. The book follows two co-authors who ended their partnership three years ago after their biggest success, but are now forced to team up and write another book together, which happens to be a romance.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Glennon Doyle’s Untamed has been THE nonfiction book to read over the past year. I’ll be 100% honest as always and totally admit I didn’t really know what this book was about or who Glennon Doyle was, other it being a somewhat self-help/inspirational read and that it included her coming out story.
Untamed is definitely geared toward a female audience, reflecting much on gender stereotypes & sexuality, the way we raise young girls (and young boys), connection to religion and God, and so much more, I’m glad I read Untamed to check out the book, and I can understand why people connect to this book so much. However, while I did fly through it over a few days, it was slow-moving and the set-up grew old on me. Glennon Doyle basically starts each chapter with a personal story and then connects it to larger messages about the earlier mentioned themes. I think Untamed is one of those somewhat polarizing reads where people either are SO into and really want to embrace Glennon’s lifestyle messages… orrrr just enjoyed the book but wasn’t necessarily a life -changing experience, like me.
Have you read Meet Me in Paradise, What’s Not to Love, or Untamed? Do you have any contemporary or memoir recommendations? Share in the comments!