THRILLER & GYMNASTICS-INSPIRED READS: YA Mini Reviews

I think half of my reading back in December was dedicated to YA books, including the three books included in today’s mini review round up. One of these books has definitely received so much hype since the authors is a YA thriller favorite, while I’d love to see more hype and love for the last 2 books in today’s reviews!

The Cousins by Karen McManus

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I was craving a YA book early on December and since it was the Bad on Paper Podcast book club pick for December, I decided to pick up Karen McManus’  The Cousins. I’ve only read Karen McManus’ smash hit, One of Us is Lying, back in 2018. It wasn’t my FAVORITE book in the world, but I definitely understood the hype and liked Karen McManus’ writing style. Another YA mystery, The Cousins follows Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story, three cousins whose family has been estranged ever since their grandmother disinherited their parents over twenty years ago. When the cousins receive a letter from their grandmother asking them to work for the family resort for the summer, the three soon find themselves heading to Cape Cod for the season and trying to figure out what went wrong all those years ago. 

The Cousins is such a great thriller to binge read in a day or so this winter. I ultimately read it in three sittings, but if it hadn’t been for final exam season, I so would’ve read it in one go! You know that I love reading YA books with ‘rich kid’ settings, and I really enjoyed getting into the extravagance of the Storys’ lives on a fictional Nantucket meets Martha Vineyard’s inspired island. Although their grandmother and their parents as teens did have pretty privileged lives (we get a few chapters told from the teenage perspective of Milly’s mom), Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah’s lives aren’t exactly as extravagant as their parents used to be. I feel like we got to explore Aubrey and Jonah’s backstories quite well and their own secrets, but I do wish we got some on Milly- the only reason I think why we maybe don’t is because we explore her mom’s story as a teen. I admit I often had to return to the family tree in the beginning of the book because I kept getting their parents/the four siblings confused, since all their names begin with A. I really didn’t know what to expect from the mystery and I did enjoy the way the plot unraveled. It wasn’t the most jaw-dropping ending, but I thought the twists were delivered well and I honestly wouldn’t have guessed the big reveals in the beginning of the book. Will The Cousins be a super memorable read for me? Maybe not, but nevertheless, there’s just something about Karen McManus’ writing style that is so easy to get hooked into that makes The Cousins a fun binge read on a cold day this season. 

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Hannah Orenstein’s Head Over Heels, a gymnastics-inspired contemporary romance, is one my favorite reads of 2020 that left me craving another book about gymnastics. Enter Jennifer Iacopelli’s 2020 release, Break the Fall, a YA book following a fictional group of young women on the USA gymnastics team headed to the 2020 Olympics, until a scandal involving their coaches and one of their teammates threatens their future at the Games. 

Break the Fall tackles the very real reality surrounding sexual assault and other scandals in the competitive gymnastics world. While the main protagonist, Audrey, is not directly involved in the scandals, her teammates’ experiences are obviously very traumatic and affect the entire team’s mentality and relationships. The book well balances these serious discussions while also focusing on Audrey’s preparation for the Games – something she never thought she’d actually experience between the competition and the back injury that almost ended her career. There is a lot of details about the type of moves and gymnastic events Audrey and her teammates perform, and I found myself glued to every paragraph in fear that they would make a wrong move or in anticipation for their final score. The book was so well-written and again balanced the gymnastics scenes with the serious conversations and emotions going through Audrey’s head. There is a slight romance between Audrey and another Olympic hopeful snowboarder, Leo. While I think the story still would’ve been strong without it, their relationship allowed us to see another side of Audrey, especially as she prepares for a life without gymnastics after the Games. Read More »

December 2020 Mini Reviews: Contemporary Edition

I always try to write reviews within 1-3 days right after finishing the book, but winter break brain has gotten to me – I’m not necessarily feeling guilty about this because I minimized as much time as possible on my laptop over the holidays and ate up as many books as possible. Between blogging in chunks this month and reading so, so much, I have plenty of mini reviews ready to go, including today’s reviews focused on contemporary romance and adult contemporary.

I know I usually include only 3 books in my mini review round-ups, but I decided to go with 5 of my recent reads from December since some of my reviews are on the shorter side (with the exception of one where I ranted a bit longer than I first thought while drafting the review, oops).

Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’ve been doing my best to keep up with as many new contemporary romances as possible in 2020, which led me to pick up Jane Igharo’s debut novel, Ties That Tether. Its cover immediately caught my attention one day while scrolling through bookstagram and I was equally intrigued by its synopsis. The novel follows Azere, a twenty-five year old Nigerian Canadian woman who has always been pressured by her family to only marry a Nigerian man. Azere’s mom is always setting her up on dates with Nigerian men, and feels even more pressured after promising her father before he died that she would marry a Nigerian man. Things get complicated for Azere when she meets Rafael, who is everything Azere wants in a guy…except he’s white. Things get even MORE complicated for Azere and Rafael when their one night stand turns into something a lot more complicated than they could have imagined.

Although it has some classic contemporary romance lightness and humor, Ties That Tether is definitely one of the more serious contemporary romances I’ve read for its discussions surrounding race, ethnicity, and culture. I haven’t read a contemporary romance that deals with a conflict like the pressure Azere feels from her family to marry a man from her culture. The book goes beyond who Azere should marry, as Azere has felt she has never been able to embrace both of her cultures as a Nigerian AND Canadian woman. 

What I ultimately wasn’t didn’t like about Ties That Tether was the romance. I was never really super in love with Rafael, and I didn’t think the few chapters from his perspective were necessary. Although they added some mystery, I think his big reveals would’ve still be impactful strictly coming from Azere’s perspective. I really thought at one point that Azere was perhaps going to realize that Rafael wasn’t the guy for her. I never really felt any deep chemistry between them, which could’ve resulted from the fact that they both have something to hide. I wish Azere would have been honest with him earlier about how her family feels about who she should marry. I also wasn’t super in love with the love triangle, as Azere’s mom keeps pressuring her to date a guy from her past… and he keeps just randomly showing up??

I enjoyed the book mostly for Azere’s personal growth and as much as she killed me for her stubborness, seeing how Azere and mom would resolve their conflict. I know a few readers have been mixed on revealing this spoiler, so I’ll stay vague, but there’s an added layer to Azere and Rafael’s relationship that I personally haven’t read too much in contemporary romances. An addition to their relationship (trying to be as non-spoilery as possible) puts so much pressure on their progress and causes more anger from Azere’s mom. Although Ties That Tether isn’t my new favorite contemporary romance, I enjoyed it because the novel tackles a few themes and plot elements I personally haven’t encountered  too much in other contemporary romances.

A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Jenny Holiday’s A Princess for Christmas is the perfect holiday book for readers who love Hallmark Christmas movies or even some of Netflix’s cheesy Christmas movies. The book’s synopsis is literally a play on what’d you expect in one of those films, and the book does have a few references to Hallmark movies. Leo, a cab driver living in NYC doing his best to make ends meet and raise his little sister, gives an unexpected cab ride to the princess of Eldovia, Marie. Marie is in the city on royal business, but soon finds herself trying to spend any free opportunity with Leo and his sister, Gabby, until she decides to invite them back to Eldovia for the holidays. 

A Princess for Christmas was the quintessential, fluffy holiday read I was craving. Is it the best book I ever read? Not exactly. But was it better than most cheesy Christmas movies I could’ve watched instead? Absolutely! A Princess for Christmas was just so atmospheric. Like my recent Dash & Lily watch on Netflix, it made me so nostalgic for holiday-time NYC, like the scene where Leo and Marie goes ice skating in what I believe was Rockefeller Center. The Eldovia setting was also the holiday away of many of your dreams (picture any royal town in a Hallmark or Netflix movie), with Leo and Gabby staying in Marie’s palace in the snow. I knew A Princess for Christmas was a romance, but due to its fluffiness, I didn’t expect the romance scenes to be that STEAMY. Overall, A Princess for Christmas was the cute & festive holiday read that you may be crave during winter. Read More »

FAVORITE MEMOIR & 2 ROMANCES: December 2020 Mini Reviews

With my 2020 favorites posts and 2021 anticipated lists on the way, I’m trying to share some mini reviews early on this month. These three mini reviews include one of my all-time new favorite non-fiction books – I think it’s my favorite non-fiction read of 2020- as well as two contemporary romances, of course. There are also a few quarter star ratings in these reviews because I felt so strangely indecisive about giving a full or half star ratings. 

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Bess Kalb’s Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is one of the best books I’ve read in 2020. I admit that I am still somewhat of a newbie non-fiction & memoir reader, but I can safely say that Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is one of the best non-fiction books I’ll ever read. It’s the kind of book that will make you laugh and cry at the same time, and make you call (or long to talk to) the most important female figure in your life. 

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is written by Bess Kalb, but is told from the perspective of Bess’ grandmother, Bobby. Bobby shares the story of the four generation of women in Bess’ family, specifically exploring Bobby’s relationship with her mother, her daughter (Bess’ mom), and Bess. The book alternates between Bobby’s narrative telling, Bobby’s voicemails to Bess while she was still alive, and conversations between Bess and Bobby. Bobby’s humor and wise words are filled throughout. Nobody Will Tell You This But Me is not just Bess’ love letter to her grandmother, but also a story of strong, smart women who are bonded together for their love for another. The section about Bobby and Bess was extra special and made my heart shatter. Bess’ love for her grandmother are evident throughout, and Bobby’s love for her granddaughter is found in both the little & big moments.

At not even 200 pages, Nobody Will Tell You This But Meis the perfect read to consume in one sitting.  I’m super tempted to reread Nobody Will Tell You This But Me on audio and buy a copy for everyone I know. Read More »

2 YA Reads & A Much-Loved Thriller: Recent Mini Reviews

I recently realized that I had a few mini reviews saved from October. At think at one point, I was going to do a thriller mini review round up…but then I never ended up reading that many thrillers over the past two weeks. The following mini reviews include a new YA thriller, an adult thriller from a much loved author, and a YA contemporary series sequel.

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett 

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars 

As soon as I read the synopsis for Jennifer Moffett’s Those Who Prey, it instantly became the next to-read book on my TBR. Everyone knows I love a YA contemporary taking place in college, but Those Who Prey takes the setting to an extreme, as college freshman Emily finds herself recruited into the Kingdom, a cult thinly veiled as a religious group for students. When Emily is sent on a mission trip to Italy, she begins to unravel The Kingdom’s dark past and purpose.

Those Who Prey had such a strong start. Each part of the book begins with newspaper articles or interviews with people close to Emily or other members of the Kingdom, then transitions into Emily’s first person perspective. It was interesting, yet obviously creepy and sad, to see how Emily was introduced into the Kingdom and how her whole mindset about college changed so quickly. However, the first half of the book was much stronger than the second half, in which Emily is in Italy and with the help of her new counselor, begins to see what the Kingdom isn’t really wasn’t seems to be. The whole mystery and its dark past felt really rushed. I feel like I still don’t have a full grasp on what exactly happened. I wanted more development from the other side characters and in general, just more answers. Given the interview excerpts, I expected a much darker ending. I did appreciate Jennifer Moffett’s author’s note at the end, in which she explains the prevalence of campus cults, especially during the book’s setting of the 90s. I think if you’re someone who likes fictional books about cults – I admit that I’ve only read a handful of books with a similar synopsis and the only one I’ve super enjoyed is Megan MacLean Weir’s The Book of Essie – you still might enjoy this one for its story, although I think the plot and characters needed more development. 

This review is based on an unsolicited advance reviewer copy provided by the publisher. By no means receiving this ARC affect my thoughts & opinions. Read More »

Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews: November 2020 Edition

I’ve read some literary fiction and YA books in between, but the fall has once again been all about contemporary romance for me. Two of the books below are wedding-centric, while the third is a much anticipated sequel in one of my favorite contemporary romance series. 

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu

My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars 

My currently adult contemporary and contemporary romance mood met my love for books featuring weddings recently with Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding. Tina’s family and her best friend are spending a week in India for her cousin’s wedding. I wouldn’t say there’s a central conflict or plot to the book, but the novel explores so much about Tina and co.’s relationships with other people and to India. Despite its fascinating and sometimes luxurious setting, Destination Wedding is more of a quiet read, focused on character development and self-discovery. I know this might not be every reader’s cup of tea, but I personally really enjoyed it!

You may know that I’ve been super wary of any Crazy Rich Asians comparisons lately because the past few books that I’ve read with the CRA comparison just haven’t held up. Destination Wedding is by far the first book I would recommend to anyone looking to have those Crazy Rich Asians feels once again. Destination Wedding obviously takes place in a different culture, and I admit that is slightly less glamorous than CRA, but the book provides a look at poverty in India. The writing style between the two were so similar, between the satire and comedy (there were so many funny moments and funny one-lines from Tina’s dad, Mr. Das), and the third person perspective. The sections of each chapter are usually dedicated to one character, but will pull away for a brief paragraph or two about a side character there. 

I don’t think I necessarily had a favorite character, but there were never any chapters that I wanted to rush through because I didn’t like the character of focus. I feel like I did want more from Tina and her romantic’s endeavors, but I loved being able to explore her relationship with her heritage and her parents. I also feel like the novel gave such an inside look at India – the book mostly takes place in New Dehli. There was so much I never knew about the culture and traditions there, and honestly, the poverty and pollution.  If you’re someone who craves character-driven books and doesn’t mind a more literary fiction-type reader, I definitely recommend checking Destination Wedding out.  Read More »

2 LOVEABLE ROMANCES & A LITERARY READ: Romance & Adult Fiction Mini Reviews

I mentioned in September that mini reviews were slowly becoming my review style of choice, & the trend is definitely still continuing for me in October. I’m honestly trying to think of creative title ideas for these because I have a feeling I’m going to be posting them more than 2 times a month. This mini review round up includes two contemporary romances, one that I absolutely LOVED and another where the hype made me so happy to finally pick it up, and a literary fiction read. 

Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Kiss My Cupcake was the first book I’ve read by Helena Hunting, and wow, do I want more of them!! After reading some glowing reviews and me being the fan of books set in bakeries that I am, I had Kiss My Cupcake on my library holds list for a while and it came in towards the end of September. I wasn’t super in the mood for a romance, but I was in one of those moods where I knew I wanted to read but did’t know what to read. I decided to pick it up, and it was the best choice! Kiss My Cupcake totally surpassed my expectations and is among of my favorite contemporary romances of 2020. 

Blaire has just opened up her own cupcake meets cocktails shop and is ready to prove to everyone that she has what it takes to be a successful business owner. Who’s getting in her way? Ronan, the plaid wearing ‘bad boy’ next door who owns the neighboring pub. As Blaire and Ronan go head-to-head in a competition to see who has the best restaurant spot in the Pacific Northwest, their chemistry grows more and more with every clash.

Kiss My Cupcake was just so charming and yes, funny. I feel like ‘rom-com’ gets thrown around so many times when describing contemporary romances, but this book truly put the biggest smile on my face (especially every time Ronan ate a cupcake). I loved nearly every confrontation and conversation between Ronan and Blair. Helena Hunting just completely nailed every expectation I had and every single part of the synopsis, from the hate to lovers romance to the setting especially! I could’ve spent all day reading about Blaire’s cupcakes meets cocktails cafe. I thought there was the right amount of time spent on not only Blaire and Ronan’s relationship, but also their businesses, their personal goals, and their family lives. Overall, Kiss My Cupcake is the type of contemporary romance that delivers on all its promises and more. Read More »

FEMINISM, HISTORICAL FICTION, & POLITICS: October YA Mini Reviews

This mini review roundup focused on three YA books I’ve picked up over the last few weeks hopefully has something for everyone: a contemporary read about a girl ready to start a feminist revolution in her medieval-themed workplace, a historical fiction read about an aftermath we rarely see in YA, and an all too timely read featuring politics and the environment. 

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is such a fantastic 2020 young adult release! If you love Jen DeLuca’s contemporary romance, Well Met, and want some ren-inspired YA, this book is for you! Kit works as a waitress, or serving wench, at a medieval-themed dinner-and-show restaurant (think Medieval Times), but longs to become one of the Castle’s Knights, like her older brother. The Knights perform every night, but due to the corporate policy, only men can be Knights. When Kit not-so secretly takes her brother’s place one night, the video of her performance goes viral and Kit and her fellow employees team up to shake things up at the Castle.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly’s setting alone makes it such a unique read. Jamie Pacton really nailed the setting and its atmosphere. From the performances to Kit’s wench uniform, this story was so detailed and makes readers feel like they are at the Castle themselves. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly has such fantastic commentary about gender and gender roles, as Kit trys to otherthrow her company’s sexist policies. There was a lot of diverse gender and sexuality representation, and it didn’t feel forced at all. The book also features Kit’s budding romance with her best friend and fellow co-worker, Jett, and her family’s struggle to pay bills and afford college. I find that college, or books with seniors who are about to go to college, feels unrealistic at times in YA books, but I think the author had an honest depiction surrounding Kit being or not being able to afford to go to a four-year school right away. WhileThe Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is overall a fun and really enjoyable read, it had such great & mature discussions surrounding gender, feminism, and growing pains, romance and college planning included. 

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Monica Hesse is one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her latest release, They Went Left, was instantly added to my TBR as soon as I learned about it this past spring. I admit that while I still really enjoy historical fiction and now really think about it can be incorporated into the classroom, I am more critical about the genre now after finishing my major in English and minor in Holocaust Studies.

Set in 1945 Germany, They Went Left follows eighteen year old Zofia Lederman, who has recently been liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp and heads home to reunite with her younger brother, Abek. Zofia knows that no other member of her family has survived the war, and she is on a quest to find her brother. After coming home to discover that there’s nothing left and Abek has not returned, she goes to a displaced person camp to find her brother. Through her book, Monica Hesse gets at the really important fact that Holocaust survivors’ struggle didn’t end as soon as the war ended and when camps were liberated. In her author’s note at the end, she acknowledges that Zofia’s story was based on the many stories of victims and survivors and their time living in displaced person camps after the war. Zofia is extremely focused on finding her brother, but she also has to think about how and where she is to reclaim her life after having lost everything. What I thought was especially interesting about the book is that Zofia’s memory is understandably very unreliable after her experience, so she struggles to distinguish between what really happened and what hasn’t – which makes it even hard to remember what her last memory of Abek actually was. Like other readers, I wanted more mystery and honestly a more complicated story, but I thought its ending somewhat made-up for its mystery. The book definitely nailed its purpose, but perhaps not its full potential. Nevertheless, like Monica Hesse’s other books, They Went Left is an equally heart-breaking and important read. 

Running by Natalia Sylvester 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I feel like YA contemporary books featuring a parent in a political campaign or who works in politics is such a niche genre but it definitely exists. If you’re like me and you enjoy this sub-genre, I highly recommend The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne, and even My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. These recommendations now include Running by Natalia Sylvester.

I forget how Natalia Sylvester’s Running made its way on to my TBR, but I’m so glad it did. As we get closer and closer to the election next month, I’m thinking we’ll see this book find its way on to more YA contemporary book recommendation lists. Running follows Mari, a Cuban American teen, whose father is a Florida senator and is running to be the democratic candidate for the presidential election. As the election and environmental issues creep more into Mari’s life at school, Mari finds herself actually learning about what her father’s campaign stands for – and figuring out her own beliefs.  

Regardless if the election was this year or not, Running felt like a super timely novel. Mari and her friends are really concerned about how their environment is changing. They live in the Miami area in Florida, which in the book is experiencing flooding and a contaminated water crisis (that I believe was based on real events in 2018). I really enjoyed Running because it focuses on Mari and her relationship with her parents and her friendships – i.e. there’s no romance. Everyone knows I love romance in YA, but it felt so refreshing to not have in there and honestly, I think it would’ve felt forced if it was! I think it would’ve been super interesting if Mari’s dad was the Democratic candidate, but his campaign is just about getting the Democratic nomination. Nevertheless, this book is really about Mari finding her voice and realizing she can be an advocate for change, regardless of who her family is and what they stand for in politics. 

What YA books have you read lately? Have you read any of the ones I reviewed? Share in the comments!

A FEW MORE FAVORITES: September 2020 Mini Reviews

My September mini reviews might just be among my favorite mini review round-ups because I enjoyed these 3 books so, so much! 

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

I’ve been wanting to read One to Watch since it was a Book of the Month pick in May or June, but I decided to wait for my physical library copy to come in. Thanks to my college friends, I’ve finally gotten into The Bachelor franchise in 2020, so I loved One to Watch’s Bachelorette inspired synopsis. The book follows fashion blogger, Bea, who after drunkenly publishing a blog post about a reality dating show’s lack of diversity, is asked to be the show’s first plus size female lead. Bea agrees to the gig, promising to herself and her producer that she won’t fall in love.

One to Watch is officially one of my favorite books of 2020. It definitely falls into the contemporary romance category, but I actually loved that there wasn’t a ton of steam. The book is really about Bea (and her journey to finding love, as Chris Harrison might say). I really loved the novel’s format, as Bea’s story is told through blog posts, news articles, tweets, and her own perspective. Each chapter features some sort of multimedia format, while focusing on one episode of Bea’s season. I love how much liberty Kate Stayman-London took with Main Squeeze – it was an even more thinly version of The Bachelor than I was expecting. Swap roses with kisses and you basically have the same show! Much of Bea’s struggle with dating on the show has to do with the fact that so many of the 25 guys see her for her weight, not her self. Kate Stayman-London’s take on diversity, including the plus-sized community, on reality TV felt so real and timely! There was such a great balance between these conversations and the reality show premise and romance. As soon as I finished reading it, I immediately texted my friends in our Bachelor group chat and told them to pick it up. Read More »

TWO 2020 FAVORITES, ONE MISS: Contemporary Romance Mini Reviews

It’s one of my reading missions in life to also have a contemporary romance book ready to read! If you’re absolutely loving all the amazing contemporary romances that have come out in 2020, I have another two 2020 releases for you to read… and a 2019 much-loved release to maybe avoid….

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

On a beautiful day in August, I decided I wanted a fluffy book that would occupy my full attention while floating around the pool, which led me to pick up Mia Sosa’s The Worst Best Man. I’ll read nearly any book that has something to do with weddings. This contemporary romance follows Lina, a wedding planner who was left at the altar three years ago when her fiancé’s best man, Max, convinced Andrew to not get married the night before the wedding. Three years later, Lina is up for a wedding planning position at a luxury hotel in Washington D.C. and is forced to work with Max to prepare marketing materials for her final presentation. Although Lina finally gets the opportunity for some payback, her and Max begin to connect in ways both of them would have never expected.

The Worst Best Man is seriously one of my favorite contemporary romances of 2020! I instantly fell into this story and Lina and Max’s attraction. I thought it had the perfect balance between romance & relationship development, the setting, and the personal challenges each character faces. As I’ve said before, Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings are among my favorite reality TV shows, so I loved getting the inside look at wedding planning. I thought Lina’s job and all the details were so well-developed. As someone who has experience in marketing, it was also really fun to learn about Max’s job as a marketing executive and seeing him and Lina collaborate on their pitch. We also spend a lot of time with each character’s family, as Lina comes from a close-knit family led by women and is planning her favorite cousin’s wedding, while Max and Andrew are going head to head for the hotel pitch. 

This book  hit a home run when it come to one of my favorite tropes, enemies-to-lovers. Lina and Max seriously had no feelings or attraction for each other at the start and even as their feelings begin to build, Lina is still getting revenge on Max for helping ruin her big day. I loved their antics and their more emotional scenes, romance scenes of course included. Read More »

I LOVE THESE BOOKS: Adult Fiction and Non Fiction Mini Reviews

You might know that I devoured 17 books in August and had plenty of favorites, which included the following 2 adult fiction reads and my non-fiction read of the month: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, The Book of V. by Anna Solomon, and Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rodham is for sure a read that divides readers. This adult fiction reads follows a young Hillary Rodham and what her life could have been like if she didn’t marry Bill Clinton. The first third of the book or so does follow Hillary and Bill’s relationship until their eventual break-up and Hillary’s personal life and political career from that point on. 

Many readers & reviewers have questioned how the ethical the book is, since it is a fictionalized account of Hillary’s life and includes depictions of many real figures. However, I can’t help but I admit that I absolutely loved this book and found it so thought-provoking! It’s clear that Curtis Sittenfeld put a ton of research behind Rodham, since the book does take into account Hillary’s real life and many real people. I thought it was so clever how Curtis Sittenheld meshed the real and fictional together. The book takes place from Hillary’s graduation from Wellesley College and all the way through the 2016 presidential election. Yes, this is especially where Curtis Sittenfeld really makes her own alternate reality, but it was just so, so fascinating to think about what could have been. Although I loved it, I know some readers might again recognize that some readers might not feel comfortable with Curtis Sittenfeld’s choices, especially when it comes to Bill Clinton and his depiction, specifically regarding his relationships with other women. I think I did a biography report on Hillary Clinton back in middle school, but I admit that immediately after I finished Rodham, I went into a Google deep dive about the Clintons! Rodham would make for such an interesting and endless talk-worthy book choice amongst friends or a book club! I could see myself picking up Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep or American Wife in the future. Read More »