I have loved my start to the summer, in thanks to beach days, pool days, and all the books I’ve read so far. June was definitely my best reading month so far, in terms of both quality and quantity. I think I’ve set a personal record when it comes to annual reading & summer reading in 2021, having read 74 books so far in 2021 and 19 books (18 books + 1 novella) in June – I’m hoping to get to a total of 20 books in June/75 books for the year so far by the end of today. I have reviews or mini reviews either published or coming for nearly all of the books below, so I’ll just be sharing my star ratings for them then transitioning into what I watched and wrote this month.
It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark | 4.5/5
A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin | 4/5
An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi | 4/5
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala |
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid | 4/5
Finally Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano | 4.5/5
I admitted in my mini reviews round up last week that I’ve been not-so great at sharing mini reviews or full reviews for every book I’ve read. I don’t necessarily hold myself to reviewing every single book on the blog – I obviously review books that I receive for review from publishers and I really like writing full reviews or even minis for books that I’ve loved or have a ton of thoughts about – but I’ve read so many good books over the past few weeks that I want to recommend!
I’ve also been reading so much more than I have all year (I’m a teacher and have been truly enjoying the summer time off and diving into ALL the books), so I’m definitely reading way more than I am writing, but I’m hoping to even the playing field as my part time work and last grad class winds down and get back into the swing of blogging. Without further ado, today I am sharing some thoughts & star rating on a few books that I’ve read over the past few weeks.
It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark –It Had To Be You was one of my most anticipated spring releases, following Liv’s wedding planning business after her husband unexpectedly passes and leaves half of their company to his secret girlfriend. The book is told in the fashion of Love, Actually, following Liv, Savannah, and other people they work with in the wedding world. I thought this book was so cute, the wedding premise was super well done, and it made me want to go to NYC ASAP – there are so many actual places that the characters frequent throughout. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Finally Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – Finlay Donovan is Killing It is hands-down one of the best books that I read in June, following a romance author who is mistakenly as a contract killer with the story unraveling from there. Its mix of mystery, suspense, humor, and contemporary-like story kept me hooked the entire time and I am SO excited to see where this series goes! My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Arsenic & Adobo by Mia P. Manansala – I haven’t read a cozy mystery like Arsenic & Adobo before. It took me the first few chapters to settle in, but soon found myself so engaged in the storyline and the who-dunnit ness of the story. I recently read Jesse Q. Sutanto’s Dial A for Aunties & I think fans of that book will enjoy Arsenic & Adobo – think more mystery and less hijinks than Dial A for Aunties. So looking forward to the second book, Homicide and Halo-Halo. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I’ve been on a mini mission to read all the books from some popular authors, Christina Lauren & Taylor Jenkins Reid both included. Maybe in Another Life as the only book pre Malibu Rising (which I’ve also now read) from TJR that I haven’t read, following Hannah and the two lives she could have lead depending on if she does or does not go home for the night with her ex-boyfriend. I was always hesitant to pick up Maybe in Another Life because of the two storylines, but I actually liked it way more than I had expected. Definitely a great beach read for the summer. My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Shipped by Angie Hockman – Shipped is one of the most unique & cutest workplace enemies to lovers that I’ve read! The book follows Henley and Graeme, who are both competing for a digital marketing position at a cruise line and both join a cruise to the Galapagos to create original pitches. I liked the focus on romance, family, and the plot surrounding how Henley and women are unfairly treated in their workplace. The book’s commentary on ecotourism and sustainability was made this book a standout. My Rating: 4.5/Stars
Another month, another wrap up. I’m actually *happily* surprised that I managed to still read 10 books this month – maybe I’ll finish my eleventh read before midnight?? – just because I had so much going on academic and career wise. As you’ll probably see below, my TV life definitely lacked but I’m much happier knowing that my reading goals are still on track. I’ve read 40 books in 2021 so far, putting me well on track to read at least 100 books this year. My spring semester and grad program ends next week, so I’m hoping having a break from grad student obligations frees up more time for reading. Two of my highlights in April were receiving a review copy of Rachel Lynn Solomon’s We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This & buying a copy of the Book of the Month version of Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation. Definitely sitting outside in my backyard with these on a warm day in May!
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig | 4/5 Stars
The hype surrounding The Midnight Library pulled me into this book and while I understand why this book is so big because of its messages about living life, but I had trouble engaging with some of the plot points and writing styles.
Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter |(ARC) 4.5/5
I think Better Than the Movies is my favorite book of the month! This was such an adorable YA romance, following Liz’s mission to get her childhood crush to be her prom date with the help of her enemy. I loved Liz’s love interest so much and the development of their relationship was just so charming. As a huge rom com fan, I loved all the nods to rom com movies within the story and on the book’s cover! Better Than the Movies comes out on May 4th.
March was jam-packed with school, personal things, & reading. While I’m not someone who wants to rush time and there were quite a few good moments this month, March dragged on for me and was stressful between school & my personal life. I will say that the warmer weather over the past two weeks has seriously brightened my mood and is getting me even more excited for my favorite stretch of the year, May through September aka beach season! I’m also feeling a tiny bit more hopeful this week because I received my covid vaccine yesterday!! I know there’s still a long way to go, but getting the vaccine makes me feel so excited about being out in the world & doing things this summer. I’ve been on spring break this week, so I’m looking forward to continuing to take some time to myself and READ as much as possible, of course.
I’m so happy with the fact that I read 11 books in March – maybe we’ll get to 12 by tonight with my current read, Our Italian Summer by Jennifer Probst. This was the most amount of books I’ve read in 1 month so far in 2021, and it’s making me crave summer even more, since I average anywhere from 11-16 books a month during beach reading season. I managed to read 11 books because I feel like I didn’t watch as much TV this month (ignore the two full seasons I binged and other shows below) and I dedicated hours to reading Friday-Sunday and would read anywhere from 1-2 books each weekend. This month was super stressful in almost every aspect of life, so I really looked forward to diving into a book whenever possible.
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez | 3.5/5 Stars
I enjoyed the sarcasm and heart behind the romance in The Friend Zone and liked the unique premise, but I wasn’t in loveeee as much as other readers.
You Have a Match by Emma Lord | 4.5/5
You Have a Match was one of the books that I binge-read from Friday to Saturday. I could not let go of this YA contemporary about two sisters at summer camp. It SO solidified Emma Lord as one of my favorite authors!
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand | 4.5/5
Wow, 28 Summers was SO worth the hype! I loved the storytelling, and it made me want to book a trip to Nantucket ASAP. Definitely throw in your beach bag this summer if you’re like me and slept on picking this one up (also let me know of what other Elin Hilderbrand books to read this summer!).
How are you doing? I’ll be completely honest, I’ve been super all over the place this past month! So many exciting things have been happening behind the scenes of the blog, both bookish and personal life wise – for example, I fortunately have quite a few spring & summer ARCs to dive into over the next few months, and I am in the home stretch of my grad school program, with graduation ahead in May. I realize I haven’t been too detailed about my grad school coursework, but you may know that I’m in a master’s in teaching program to receive my English teaching certification and I keep information about my clinical practicum super private. In the future though, I do want to write some sort of blog post about books I’d love to read with students or use in my classes.
That being said, this month has been super stressful between grad school assignments, including a major assessment that I’m so happy to be completed with but am nervously awaiting my final score, a dead car battery, and loss of a loved one in my family. Although I’ve been content with my blog content this month & I’m really excited sharing reviews for said spring releases in April & May, I feel so behind on blog post scheduling & editing and writing non-review posts. Fortunately, I’m on spring break next week, so I plan on using that time to get caught up on all the things AND read as much as possible. Today’s blog post is a bit of a ramble/life update-esque, but I wanted to talk about what I’m currently reading and what I want to read over the next 2 weeks.
Currently Reading: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I added this much loved high fantasy romance to my TBR last fall, but saved it for post-reading Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames, rightfully realizing that I’d be in the mood for another fantasy read. At the time of writing this post on Thursday afternoon, I’m over 400 pages in and plan on finishing it ASAP (or hopefully even by the time this post is published). I’m going to have a full review posted on the blog sometime next week, but I have liked this book a lot so far. I feel like this book does a lot of world-building for the next two books, based on all the details and setting up, but I do admit that once I got to the Rite about halfway through, I have been absolutely HOOKED.
February felt like the longest and shortest month ever – which I guess kind’ve makes sense since February is the shortest calendar month. This is was an intensely busy month for me grad school wise. Once I finish and submit a major assessment for my master’s in early March, grad life *should* get slightly more calm before I graduate in May. We also got a ton of snow where I live in the US – I actually don’t think location matters too much because everywhere in the US seems to have been slammed by snow over the past few weeks – which meant a few more remote work days and plenty of trips out to my car to clean off snow.
I am super excited though that the weather seems to be warming up, and it’s staying light out for longer at night. Going for walks and runs after school and getting fresh air to such a big stress reliever for me, so I’m really looking forward to spring weather. As you can probably tell below, the biggest stress reliever for me in February was reading and watching TV & movies. I was definitely on more of a reading kick early on in the month, but I totally admit my HBO Max subscription got to me and I leaned into TV and movies way more than usual.
I’ve so far read 8 books in February, which I’m pretty content with considering my school schedule and that I’m currently reading a certain 700+ page fantasy read. I have reviews coming or already published for all of the books below, so I’ll just be sharing my star ratings.
Love in English by Maria E. Andreu (ARC) | 4/5 Stars
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes | 4.5/5
Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman | 4/5
I can’t be the only one shocked that the first month of 2021 is almost over. My first few days of January started out fairly relaxing, having stayed home for New Years and reading a few books & watching tons of Kara & Nate before I jumped into my full time clinical internship for my master’s program. Aside from diving into full time work life this month, I also have a mini life update – I’m living at my grad school! Being on a college campus during a pandemic is a very different experience – picture masks everywhere a and really only going into the building you live in and the campus mailroom – but it feels surprisingly more normal than expected.
Between being back at school – which means binge-watching all the shows & movies with my roommate- and having a full time academic schedule, I expected my reading life to suffer a tiny bit this month, but I still managed to read 9 books. I’m hoping to continue to carry on this reading energy throughout the rest of the semester. What’s slightly helping my reading is that since I’m on a laptop all day for my clinical and grad classes, I enjoy taking my eyes away from any screen at night and turning to a book.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli (ARC) | 4/5 Stars
I decided to start off my New Year with one of my most anticipated releases that I was fortunate enough to read early for review (coming in April!), Becky Albertalli’s Kate in Waiting. I loved the emphasis on self-growth, friendship, relationships, growing up, & so much more. After enjoying it so much, I may make my reread book of February as Becky’s The Upside of Unrequited, aka my favorite book of her’s!
We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop | 4.5/5
Although I am content with the books I chose in January,none of them screamed FAVORITE books of 2021 — but if I had to choose a favorite, it’d be Andrea Dunlop’s We Came Here to Forget. I loved the plot, following a former Olympic skier who relocates to Buenos Aires after a family tragedy.
Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | 4/5
I was craving a YA contemporary and decided to finally pick up the only Emma Mills book I hadn’t yet read, Lucky Caller. I ended up enjoying it more than expected – the school radio premise was done well and like Emma Mills’ other books, I liked its quiet feel and emphasis on friendship.
Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza | 4/5
Books about politics, let alone one about an election, might not be everyone’s cup of tea right now, but Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win was a really enjoyable read. I liked how much it explored what it’s like for a woman to run for government vs. a man. I’m still not sure how I feel abut the ending though.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman | 4.5/5
If there’s one fluffy read I would recommend this month, it’s hand down The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany. I loved the plot, the setting in Italy, and the themes surrounding family and love. If you’re a fan of Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana and want something a little more lighter, I definitely recommend picking this one up.Read More »
Is it just me, or is anyone still feeling some of the 2020 burnout seeping into the first few weeks of the new year? I can’t get into too much detail, but I started the first full week of my clinical practicum for my master’s program this week. Although I had a nice week getting back into the swing of things, I was absolutely drained by Friday afternoon and probably didn’t get as much work as I would’ve liked to over the weekend. I think my goal for 2021, or at least this semester, is to not let work pile up on me on Sunday and instead try to divide some work over both days of the weekend. Anyway, what I really did enjoy over this weekend was getting to cozy up with a few reads and deep dive into some travel vlog watching.
What I Read
I try to read at night as much as I feel during the week, but my mind tends to favor mindlessly watching TV over reading.
Halfway through this week, I found myself missing reading, so I think it was Thursday night that I began Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza. This might not be the most comforting read for some, given politics & division in the US – & yes like many, last Wednesday’s news coverage of the Capitol definitely kept me glued to the couch and away from reading – but I really enjoyed it. The book follows Silicon Valley COO Charlotte as she moves her life and her family back to her home state of Pennsylvania as she runs for Senate. This was a really smart but super readable & addicting read that delved into female representation in politics, as well as the family & relationships intricacies Charlotte must deal with as she runs for office.Read More »
How are you? I think the word ‘draining’ could be used to summarize 2020 overall, but November was a particularly tiring month for me. You likely know that COVID cases have risen once again in the US, including the state where I live & go to school. November was also a super stressful time grad school wise, with a ton of final projects and deadlines coming up within the next two weeks. It’s absolutely crazy to think that in less than two weeks, the fall semester will be over and I only have one semester left until I finish my degree. And once again, despite all the hectic-ness & school work, I’m actually so surprised that I still managed to read 9 books this month! These were all super solid reads for me, and I either have reviews published or reviews coming soon for all the books below.
I read some of my most anticipated books of 2020 in November, and I’m happy to report to report that they did not disappoint. While I loved some more than others, this was a great reading month overall.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab | 5/5 Stars
Snapped(Snapped #4) by Alexa Martin | 4/5
Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams | 4/5
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb | 5/5
Love & Olives (Love & Gelato #3) by Jenna Evans Welch | 4/5
The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date #3) by Jasmine Guillory | 4/5
I’m also currently reading Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, the fourth book in The Wedding Date series, and I’m absolutely loving it! I hoping to have it finished midweek!
I talked about watching Dash & Lily (Netflix) and Clouds (Disney+) in my What I Read & Watched This Weekend post. I still found myself re-watching Gilmore Girls, but so many good shows (helloooo Virgin River S2) came out on Netflix during the week of Thanksgiving. I now feel like I’m behind on shows, even though I felt just last week I had nothing new to watch. I don’t want to complain too much though because I’m so looking forward to some serious Netflix binge-watching over winter break.
The Mandalorian S2 (Disney+) – The second season of The Mandalorian came out at the end of October. I was disappointed that Disney only puts out one episode a week… but then life happened and I’m now three episodes behind, oops. This is definitely another show I’ll be catching up on either this weekend or during winter break because I can’t be without Baby Yoda for too long.
Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (Disney+) – I thought I’d actually do school work after school on Wednesday afternoon, but Disney+ decided to drop Taylor Swift’s recording sessions for Folklore and I immediately needed to watch. I loved hearing the stories behind the songs, especially when it came to the Betty/James/August dynamic. ‘august’ and ‘illicit affairs’ were my favorite songs to listen to.
The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – The Queen’s Gambit hype finally got to me, and I’m really enjoying it so far! There’s definitely a lot of chess talk, but you don’t need to know much at all to be enticed by the show. I’m 4 episodes into it so far.
Sugar Rush Christmas S2 (Netflix) – I originally thought I would save Sugar Rush Christmas for December, but my sister and I found ourselves binge-watching the first 5 episodes of season 2 on Saturday. Sugar Rush is seriously my favorite baking competition show. It’s definitely the only American baking show where the judges are actually nice and not too critical, and I always love the holiday twist. It was a little weird watching since the show was filmed pre-COVID and there’s a lot of hugging and little social distancing (is it me, or was I not the only one who was disappointed to learn that they film holiday shows SO early in advance??). I’ll likely watch the sixth and final episode of season 2 sometime this week – I wish there were more!
Continued watching:The Bachelorette (ABC), Below Deck (Bravo)
It’s an understatement to say that this March wasn’t the best. I’ve shared some more details below and in some posts this month, but March was definitely an adjustment to a new type of normal for me, having moved home from my last year of college two months early. I am very appreciative of all the people in my life during this time, but the following books and TV also were the perfect way to find comfort.
I’m so especially that I read so many incredible this month- at least five of these are favorites of 2020 and contenders of being my #1 favorite book of 2020!
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett (ARC) | 5/5 Stars
I think I finished Chasing Lucky on the last day in February, but forgot to add it to my February wrap-up. I haven’t met a Jenn Bennett book I haven’t loved, but this May 2020 release nailed everything I love in a YA contemporary.
Blitzed (Playbook #3) by Alexa Martin | 5/5
Blitzed follows one of my favorite characters in the Playbook series, Brynn. I loved the romance and the recurring cast from the first two books.
break your glass slippers by amanda lovelace | 4.5/5
I know I’ll be revisiting a lot of the poems in this new favorite Amanda lovelace poetry collection of mine.