I read eight books in the last three months, which seems to be my quarterly average. I had a hard time reading for a few weeks. Picking up “feel good” books got me back into one of my favorite hobbies.
The top two books I’d recommend from this reading list are Open Book and The Happy Ever After Playlist. I read Open Book in hard copy, but I’ve heard the audiobook version, which Jessica narrates, is excellent.
I placed an order in early June that arrived this week. Included are So You Want to Talk About Race, How To Be An Anti-Racist and The Hate U Give. Reading to learn is a priority of mine so you’ll see these books on my next reading list.
I can be a bit forgiving with my ratings and am trying out a new rating system to differentiate between books more. I saw this rating system in a Facebook group and on Instagram – I didn’t make it up myself, but I do like it!
5: A book that you treasure and keep prominently displayed on your bookshelf. All other books will likely be measured against this one.
4: Could not put it down, possibly read through the night, still thinking about it, extremely satisfying and highly recommended
3: Captured my interest, entertaining, would seek other titles by the same author, would recommend
2: Okay to pass the time, probably not memorable, just okay
1: DNF or ended up feeling dissatisfied
Reading List: No. 11
ONE // In Open Book, Jessica Simpson is truly an open book. While I did watch The Newlyweds and enjoyed Nick and Jessica in their element, I never expected to love Jessica’s memoir as much as I did. I dare you to read it and not feel like you’re friends by the end. Jessica talks about her childhood, singing career, marrying and divorcing Nick, dating John Mayer, falling in love with her husband and her clothing line. She weaves in religion, assault, weight issues, bullying and alcoholism. Jessica is smart, funny and honest throughout. Most books I read and give away. Not this one. I plan to display it on our bookshelf (as soon as we buy one).
- Rating: 4.5
TWO // Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey is another winner by one of my favorite authors. Feels Like Falling has all of the elements that made me love Kristy’s Peachtree Bluff series – strong women, romance, sunshine, and a happy ending. It is a true feel good book that left me with a warm heart. Perfect for this season of life.
- Rating: 3.5
THREE // In Five Years by Rebecca Serle was a Bad on Paper podcast book club pick. Dannie, a Type A lawyer living in Manhattan, has a dream of herself in five years living in a different apartment and kissing someone that isn’t her fiancé. The story covers the five years and how Dannie ends up in that moment despite her best efforts not to. My favorite part of In Five Years is Dannie’s relationship with her best friend, Bella. This book has both joy and heartbreak so be prepared to cry.
- Rating: 3
FOUR // In If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane, Laurie’s partner of 10+ years suddenly leaves her for another woman. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they work at the same law firm and have to continue to see each other even as her ex announces his new girlfriend is pregnant. Enter Jamie Carter, the law firm’s resident playboy. He doesn’t want a relationship, but he does want a promotion. Naturally, Laurie and Jamie pretend to date and eventually fall in love. Yes, it’s a pretty typical romantic comedy, but I was invested in and routing for these two.
- Rating: 4
FIVE // Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams follows Nadia and Daniel as they encounter a series of near misses. Daniel places a missed connection in the daily paper and they begin a correspondence while working their way to each other. I was disappointed when the book ended quickly after they met. The premise is similar to One Day in December, which I enjoyed more.
- Rating: 2
SIX // Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor is a really great memoir about Deena’s running career. While I’m far from a professional, some of the techniques she discussed around positivity and visualization have been helpful with my running and life in general. Plus Deena is just plain motivating. I think any level of runner or athlete would enjoy this book.
- Rating: 4
SEVEN // In The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez, Sloan is going through a difficult period after her fiancé died two years ago. One day a dog named Tucker lands on her lap and her life starts to shift. Eventually Tucker’s owner, Jason, comes to pick him up and sparks fly. What Sloan doesn’t realize is that Jason is an up and coming singer about to embark on a world tour. I think the reason I loved this book is because it covered so many different elements – grief, romance, female friendship, feeling lost in your career, sacrifice. Of course it didn’t hurt that it was partially set in Minnesota where I grew up.
- Rating: 4.5
EIGHT // Beach Read by Emily Henry is the story of two writers, Augustus and January, that live next door to each other. They are both dealing with writer’s block while working on their next book. Augustus and January decide to try writing the other’s genre – literary fiction and romance – in an effort to break out of their funk. I read Beach Read right after The Happy Ever After Playlist and just didn’t get into the characters as much.
- Rating: 2
TBR: Next Up
Oh my gosh, my TBR pile is out of control. Too many books, too little time. I’m reading Untamed and have The Royal We (I can’t remember if I’ve read it!), The Heir Affair, One to Watch, The Friend Zone, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, A Happy Catastrophe and The Vanishing Half all on my bedside table.