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book club

This page holds all of the books I’ve completed with ratings and reviews. Read along, why don’t you?! xx, jessica

 

Currently reading Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank.

 

Lost in the Beehive

By Michele Young-Stone

Light Fiction, 5 Stars

Wow, I absolutely loved this book. Lost in the Beehive is about a young girl in the 1960s who is struggling with homosexuality and who pressures herself to move forward with a “normal” life. The novel is written so beautifully, that the sadness is truly heartfelt by the readers, and while we’ve come a long way since the ’60s in ways of acceptance for individuality, Lost in the Beehive touches on events, feelings and beliefs that could still take place today. This is a great pass-it-on novel, and I hope whoever picked it up on my Amtrak train seat loves it!

 

The Mars Room

By Rachel Kushner

Drama, 4 Stars

This was a tough read for me. The Mars Room hurt to read. It was like being in prison myself, and the whole time I read it I was feeling very hopeless for the characters, their chances and their outcomes. It’s difficult for me to live in those feelings of tragedy, hustle and lonliness, so reading The Mars Room really impacted me. The sad life of people who for them, going to jail is a regular part of their story, in and out, used to the life of lockup…I couldn’t relate at all and I couldn’t grasp it either. However, I was captivated by the story, the writing was excellent and I do recommend the read. Just make sure you know the type of book you’re signing up for, first.

 

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

By Christina Lauren

Light Fiction, 4 Stars – Available September 4, 2018

I could not put this down. I love Christina Lauren’s writing, and after every one of their books, I need a day or two to disconnect from the characters before starting something new. Josh and Hazel were so vividly captured that I feel like I know both of them personally, and I laughed at/with them, rooted for them and was embarrassed with them throughout the story. It was one of those predictably happy endings, but one you still wanted to know every detail leading up to it without missing anything. Perfect book for when you want something light-hearted, happy and fun.

 

Truly Madly Guilty

By Liane Moriarty

Drama, 4 Stars

Liane Moriarty is another one of my favorite authors. I love the way she sets the scene of her novels…sharing that something negative happened upfront but also keeping it vague. The story unfolds by alternating between present-day and the day of the incident, which makes it a page-turner. You must continue reading to find out what happens, why the characters are all so uncomfortable in their present-day lives. Books like these are great for commutes and the beach bag! She’s also the author of Big Little Lies, which I definitely recommend the book over show!

 

The Dirty Book Club

By Lisi Harrison

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

I felt like I was a member of the Dirty Book Club as I was reading this novel. It was fun, light-hearted (while touching on real matters), and just a great read for the summer or your commute. Lisi Harrison makes the reader feel like they are a part of the story of four random women being invited into a decades-old secret book club, becoming friends without knowing it or trying, and navigating their own personal lives. I enjoyed the characters, the nostalgia from the DBC letters of the original members, the somewhat predictable storylines that unfolded. This is a really fun book that I definitely recommend.

 

Playing with Matches

By Hannah Orenstein

Light Fiction, 4 Stars – Available June 26, 2018

What a fun book to add to your summer bookshelf! Playing with Matches is written in the voice/perspective of a literal, 22-year-old female living, hustling, working and dating in 2018 Manhattan. For someone (a tiny bit older) but in the same boats, I found this novel so relatable, funny and comforting. This book is great if you’re interested in books about the current dating scene, life in Manhattan for young people and really, if you’re just a fan of a good rom-com.

 

Beach House Reunion

By Mary Alice Monroe

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series is definitely one of my favorite summer book picks. In this latest installment, characters we’ve already grown to know and love reunite on the Isle of Palms for another summer at the beach. I have a very soft spot in my heart for Charleston, and the fact that this series takes place in Charleston and the surrounding islands, I can’t help but love them. The simple storytelling, heart-warming characters and lessons they learn from the sea all weave together to give you the best books for the beach.

 

Faithful

By Alice Hoffman

Drama, 5 Stars

I haven’t read a book I could compare Faithful to in a long time. The story of a high schooler wrought with guilt over her involvement of a car accident, how she lives after and slowly but surely, how she picks herself up is nothing short of beautiful. Depending on how a story like this is written, readers may feel annoyed by how self-pitying the protagonist is, but instead, Alice Hoffman aligned readers with young Shelby, and the whole time I just felt myself empathizing with her and rooting for her. I’m smiling as I type this, because it teaches the lesson of no judgment, caring for strangers and overall, that you never know what a person’s been through. I highly recommend adding this to your to-read list.

 

When Life Gives You Lululemons

By Lauren Weisberger

Light Fiction, 5 Stars – Available June 5, 2018

Devil Wears Prada fans: this one’s for you. When Life Gives You Lululemons focuses on ex-assistant Emily’s life post-Runway magazine. She is a celebrity fixer who lives in L.A. but finds herself spending more and more time in Greenwich, CT to visit and old friend and help a high profile client. The satire surrounding the Greenwich housewives is so entertaining, especially how appalled Emily is with the whole thing  and  since I am personally familiar with the village. This was a light-hearted, easy read, written in Lauren’s usual way…which is one of my favorites. It’s captivating, relatable (as far as modern technology and life priorities go), funny and overall entertaining. If you’re a fan of D Wears P, you’ll want to read this book.

 

Love and Other Words

By Christina Lauren

Light Fiction, 5 Stars

I never do this, but let me start by said EVERYONE needs to read this book. I haven’t gotten into a novel the way I got into Love and Other Words since All the Light We Cannot See, in 2016. This book is just beautiful – it’s definitely my new favorite. It’s sweet and has a feeling of simplicity to it; the characters are real and their experiences make sense as they weave through their own wounds, love and reconnection. I love when stories are told in different perspectives – in this case then and now – and the way the authors creatively make the two voices/times connect. I genuinely laughed and cried, got chills and overall just loved every single page of the story. I’m sad it’s over, but you should definitely pick it up next.

 

Sorority

By Genevieve Sly Crane

Drama, 4 Stars – Available May 1, 2018

 I have to be honest: If I had unlimited shelves, I still don’t know what I’d classify this book as. Don’t get me wrong – I really liked it but I’m not really sure what I read. It’s the story of a house of sorority sisters, told as accounts of their personal histories, memories from the House, a death of a Sister and house legend. Each girl is battling her own demons on a collegiate level, and at times I forgot which girl was which…I never really connected to any of them. All the same, I was into it, but it was like I was looking into the story, totally uninvested. Recommended if you’re in between books and not sure what to read next.

 

Brain on Fire

By Susannah Cahalan

Nonfiction, 4 Stars

I hardly give books five stars, but considering this is the very true story of a 24-year-old who overcame a rare, hardly-diagnosed autoimmune disease and recovered to full capacity, I have to love that. Susannah’s story is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I was so caught up in her descriptive, scientific, but also very understandable storytelling. She shared her vulnerability, lack of memory and how she pieced together everything her mind and body went through during the time of her illness. It’s not a spoiler to say she survived, because she wrote this memoir. But even knowing the outcome, it’s something you want to read cover to cover, then research more. Highly recommend.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

By Gail Honeyman

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

Not going to lie, I hated the first quarter of this book. I found Eleanor to be someone I had no interest in reading about or journeying with…but at the same time, something kept me from putting the book down. I’m so happy I stuck with it because once I got over that hump, I actually found myself literally smiling as I was reading. Smiling and rooting for Eleanor! Even with the slow start, I have to recommend this book. It’s a great story reminding readers that we never know what a person’s been through, and that a little kindness goes such a long way. Also, if you read and liked A Man Called Ove, I really think Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is perfect for you.

 

Maybe in Another Life

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

This was one of those books that I started at the beginning of a flight and powered through until it was finished and we landed. A cute story about what would happen if the main character – Hannah – made one very small but different decision on a night out with friends. The book alternates between how would her life would unfold if she stayed with her friends versus her high school sweetheart. I loved reading Maybe in Another Life, and was so curious to see how the two possibilities aligned. Some sentences were literally word for word, and others took Hannah down a completely different path than the chapter before. Highly recommend for your next everyday read!

 

Two By Two

By Nicholas Sparks

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

In true Nicholas Parks fashion, Two By Two was one of the most bittersweet novels I’ve read in a long time. I am happy to report that I made it until there were only 10 pages left without shedding a single tear, but once I then started, I bawled. Two By Two is the story of a family where the primary care role reverses, mom leaves and the father – also narrator – navigates life as a “single” father.  This sweet novel is a page-turner, but also one you linger on because you dread it’s ending. Loved.

 

Single State of Mind

By Andi Dorfman

Nonfiction, 5 Stars

After It’s Not Okay, Andi Dorfman’s first tell-all, I could not wait for her second book to come out. Single State of Mind completely surpassed It’s Not Okay to me, because I’m less of a Bachelor/ette fan and more of a New York City, Andi Dorfman fan. Single State of Mind is a collection of dating experiences Andi has after making her move from Atlanta to Manhattan. Through her dating, and moving on from her heartbreak all detailed in It’s Not Okay, she – comically – shares her journey starting over, feeling alternately lonely and overseen, the crazy aspects her “D-level” fame has brought her and her new life as a New Yorker/author. As someone about her age who moved to Manhattan (single) and around the same time, I find her story to be relatable and also just one worth reading about. Highly recommend for all the 20-somethings, single, New York City girls out there.

 

Unwifeable

 By Mandy Stadtmiller

Nonfiction, 4 Stars – Available April 3, 2018

Listen, if you like to laugh with someone as they comically share their life with you, Unwifeable is your next book. I was at first drawn to Mandy’s memoir because of it’s cover, but quickly became immersed in the pages as she described her young divorce, late-20’s move to NYC, working in the media, scandals of dating, living publicly and financial disregard. I was so reminded of Cat Marnell’s memoir from last year (which you know I loved), and found Mandy’s hold-nothing-back, ruthless account of her life one I am happy to have read. Totally recommend this book as your next upbeat nonfiction, New Yorkers (and beyond).

 

The Secret to Southern Charm

By Kristy Woodson Harvey

Light Fiction, 4 Stars – Available April 3, 2018

When Slightly South of Simple came out last year, it immediately became my favorite beach read. Now in April, it’s sequel: Secret to Southern Charm will be released. Everything I loved about the first book stays true in the second: the sweet narration, the easy-to-like characters, the southern lifestyle and the up-to-date references are all easily found in the pages. I wanted to read this book faster, but had no time! I encourage you to read Slightly South of Simple before Secret to Southern Charm to really enjoy this mother- (adult) daughter series.

 

The Wedding Date

By Jennifer Joyce

Light Fiction, 4 Stars

The Wedding Date was recommended to me by a friend and I’m so thankful for that! Such a fun, light read about dating, jealousy, friendship and family that anyone can relate to if they’re interested. While it’s basically a story we’ve all heard before, I still think this is a great book to bring on your next vacation.

 

The Trick

By Emanuel Bergmann

Light/Historical Fiction, 4 Stars

What a sweet story! I was captivated by The Trick right from the start. It’s a beautifully written tale of two boys’ lives: one in Prague before WWII and his life onward, and the other a modern-day boy in Los Angeles. The two unlikely characters merge as more of the first character’s history is revealed. It’s a sweet, sweet story of coming together and I truly recommend it.

 

 

Dear Mrs. Bird

By AJ Pearce

Light/Historical Fiction, 4 Stars – Available July 3, 2018

 A.J. Pearce’s debut novel wraps you up within the first few pages. While the story itself is fiction, London and its culture during World War II are accurately portrayed, but for the first time in my reading history, in a lighter perspective. Not to say the importance of the War and its effects are minimized, because they actually play a major role in the story, but the novel itself is more light-hearted and not very depressing. The characters are relatable, and I have to say for a day or so, I was sad that the novel was over because I really connected with the girls and wondered what happened to them next. If you like WWII books, British literature and light-hearted dramas, Dear Mrs. Bird is for you.

The Favorite Sister

By Jessica Knoll

Thriller, 3 Stars – Available May 15, 2018

I was really excited to read Jessica Knoll’s latest (up-and-coming) novel because her first, The Luckiest Girl Alive was such a sensational hit. While I did enjoy The Favorite Sister, it was kind of boring. The story of a group of reality TV women, their qualms with each other and how far they’re willing to go with sabotage for self-preservation. I don’t love reality TV, so this book wasn’t necessarily for me. However: if you liked The Luckiest Girl Alive and/or love shows like Housewives of…, I highly recommend this book for you.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling

Light Fiction, 4 Stars