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
My May was filled with so many books and life happenings! I feel like I mentioned it somewhere in a blog post earlier this month, but I officially graduated with my Master of Arts in Teaching and started my first full-time job soon after! My schedule as per usual has still been packed, but I read the most amount of what I’ve read in a month so far in 2021 with 15 books!! Since I have reviews for all of these books already shared or coming, I won’t be going into too much detail here.
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle | 4.5/5 Stars
Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand | 4.5/5
Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher | 2.5/5
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Herron | 4/5
Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee 4.5/5
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney | 3.5/5
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.
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 »
And just like that, it’s the end of 2020. I’ve had a quiet December, since I had three weeks off from grad school and have been really back to being home the majority of time with the pandemic, aside from running some errands and going on long walks. I didn’t necessarily mind being home because I deep dived into reading and TV. I’m hoping to squeeze in at least one more book before the New Year. I am super bummed that I won’t be getting together with friends this NYE, but I might spend my NYE reading until midnight.
I felt like I read a lot of this month, but I didn’t realize I read a total of 15 books (so far)! I haven’t been able to read this much since the summer, given my full grad course schedule, clinical practice, and work. Obviously being off from school and spending time at home helped my reading life, but I read at least 3 of the following books during the last two weeks of the semester and definitely procrastinated on some final work, oops. I do have mini reviews for the majority of the books below coming in January, so I decided to change up my wrap up style (I either give some brief thoughts about each book or say nothing at all) with some highlights.
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)
Is it me, or did September seriously fly by? I feel like it was just this weekend I was sitting on the beach for Labor Day- but more accurately, this weekend I was doing grad school work in between procrastinating, reading, and a few Netflix binges. September was another one of the months where while I’m happy I’m somewhat in a routine again between work, my clinical internship, and grad school classes, I just feel drained by the end of the day. Aside from blogging, I’m trying to avoid being on my laptop or screens, which is pretty difficult considering that my classes are online and 95% of my remote work and school work require me to be on my laptop.
Everyone knows that reading is my go-to way to relax, but I’ve been especially grateful for it lately because it’s such a great way to escape and also for me personally, doesn’t require a screen (sorry Kindle, but I’ll be sticking back to my physical books for a while).
I’m not only really content with the fact that I was able to read 9 books in September, but also because I enjoyed them all. While some of them weren’t exactly standouts, they were all pretty enjoyable reads, and I finally got to some books I’ve been meaning to read all year. I have reviews already published or coming for all of the books below.
The Marriage Game by Sarah Desai | Stars
They Went Left by Monica Hesse | 4/5
All This Time by Mikki Daughty & Rachel Lippincott
American Royals by Katharine McGee (reread) | 5/5
Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee | 4.5/5
June was another transitional month into my new normal, with plenty of books in tow. I’ve been keeping busy, between starting my remote jobs and grad school. It’s crazy to think I finished my first round of grad school classes, and my second round started this week. I started experiencing some Zoom burnout this month, so reading and taking my eyes away from my laptop screen with books helped things. I actually have to read two YA books for my grad school classes in July, and I’m so excited to be getting to read YA for school – I read two YA books for undergrad, but that was purely because I decided to do my capstone projects on them.
My reading and TV watching were all over the place this month. I read a lot of contemporary and reread a few books, while I still dove into a reality TV this month. I often had trouble really concentrating on TV, movies especially – I had one night where I tried watching three different movies and then ended up rewatching Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and an episode of Queer Eye.
What is also improving my reading mood even more is that my local library re-opened for door side pick up! I may or may not have put 15 books on hold as soon as the online catalog re-opened. Although there are plenty of good things going on personally right now, there’s definitely still some uncertainty this summer, to say the least. While my state’s covid-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past two months, we’re seeing multiple states have huge increases in cases. Between work and school, I’m typically home Monday through Friday but these increases has made me rethink a few weekend plans and curious to see how my state moves forward with re-opening plans. I went to my first outdoor restaurant and first trip back to Barnes & Noble last week, but my family and friends and I are still being cautious and smart about where we go.
Beach Read by Emily Henry | 5/5 Stars
Like me, I’m sure you’ve seen Emily Henry’s Beach Read EVERYWHERE, but I’m here to confirm that the hype is more than worth the read! There’s such depth to this contemporary romance.
Love at First Fight by Sandhya Menon (novella) | 5/5
I’m a firm believer that Sandhya Menon is the queen of novellas, with Love at First Fight as no exception. You don’t have to read it before picking up 10 Things I Hate About Pinky this July, but it was a really fun addition to the Dimpleverse!
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 5/5 (reread)
One of my best friends IRL is reading Fangirl, aka honestly my all-time favorite book, which led me to make the decision to reread Rainbow Rowell’s contemporary books this summer. Attachments still reigns as my favorite adult fiction novel of hers.
Slay by Brittany Morris | 4/5
If you’re looking to read more YA books by black authors, as well as books that reflect some of the conversations we’re currently having about race in the U.S., Slay is definitely worth checking out.Read More »
April was another month filled with ups and downs. I’m super grateful for my health and safety right now, but I am definitely missing college life and like everyone, wondering when we’ll be able to get back to some state of ‘normalcy.’ This month, I technically finished my undergraduate work (online), had some fun Zoom sessions and reunions with friends, and again had so many books and TV shows as comfort.
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee | 4/5 Stars
The Thousandth Floor was the first book of April that fit my ‘let me catch up on all the YA dystopian contemporary (trust me it’s a category)’ and shortly after reading, found myself buying books #2 and #3.
Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams | 5/5
Undercover Bromance was such a great companion sequel to The Bromance Book Club. It also made me realize how much I need a book featuring the Russian.
Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent (ARC) | 4/5
It had been a while since I picked up a women’s fiction book, but I enjoyed Brunch and Other Obligations for its slightly comedic twist.
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | 3/5
My sister finally got me to read Behind Closed Doors in April. It definitely wasn’t the best book ever (sorry sis), but at the same time, I couldn’t seem to put it down.
Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher | 4/5
I took a little break from (adult) contemporary romances in April , but I’m glad I still read Not the Girl You Marry. Despite the mixed reviews for this one, I thought it was a cute & funny read.Read More »