My reading life truly starts with my nice online spreadsheet (what I agree to read for review, with due dates where applicable, and highlights for what I plan to read in the current month), and then each month wraps up with this delightful linky sponsored by Jana Says and Life According to Steph.
I love having an excuse to compile the books I've read in the last month or so and my reviews for them (from either my blog, SweetlyBSquared, or the blog I frequently review for, Books I Think You Should Read).
Many of the books I review are received from the publisher and/or Netgalley - thank you!! Receiving a book for free never influences my review. My book title links are to the book on Goodreads. And now without further ado, it's time to Show Us Your Books!
The Guest List by Lucy Foley - A fancy destination wedding on a spooky island? Sounds like fun to me! While I would have loved even more about the spooky island, this book was solidly about the characters. A shallow but well-meaning bride, a groom with no history of being nice (and his matching groomsmen), a guest who finds out she may have known other key players before, and the mysterious innkeepers - what could go wrong. Well, maybe a little murder! Check out my full 3/5 star review on my blog. ⭐⭐⭐
The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha - Norah Kapadia has spent her whole life working toward her dream job, and filling her father's shoes. She's the perfect Indian daughter, except that her mother expects her to be married, too. Luckily in her first year of residency, she thinks she may be finding true love at the same time as she's proving what a great doctor she will be. But sometimes things don't turn out as planned. Read my full 3/5 star review at Books I Think You Should Read. ⭐⭐⭐
The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy #2) by Signe Pike - While I try not to read books out of order in a series, this one slipped past me - and I'm glad it did! I didn't feel lost for having not read the first book in this trilogy. This compelling story of ancient royalty, battles and ongoing rivalries had me engaged right away, and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! The Scottish history around 500 AD was definitely nothing I was familiar with, but now I daresay I'd love to read more. My full review of 4/5 stars is available here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez - I really, really liked this book. I believe I read that while it was written first, it actually occurs after The Friend Zone. The Friend Zone was about Kristen and Josh, and The Happy Ever After Playlist was about Kristen's best friend Sloan and her romance with Jason. I enjoyed them both, and I really liked the Spotify playlist that compiles the songs mentioned at the beginning of each chapter of the playlist book. Check out my full 4.5/5 star review on my blog here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Family in Six Tones: A Refugee Mother, an American Daughter by Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao - Told in turn by the mother and her nearly adult daughter, this book illustrates not only how hard it is to try and fit in while also maintaining your own traditions, but how hard it may be to fit in without a role model to show you how it's done. Lan came to the U.S. in 1975. Her daughter was born in the U.S., but her mother could never quite decide how much she wanted Lan to know about her Vietnamese culture, and how much she wanted her to be a 'typical American teen.' It made it all a little blurry for both of them. My full 3/5 star review can be read here. ⭐⭐⭐
The President Factor, the Reality Show That Rocked a Nation by Pat Obermeier - I enjoyed this book more than expected. Politics is not usually much of an interest of mine, but this put the perfect spin on everything that was happening. A senator make a comment partially in jest that ends up putting him in the hot seat. As a presidential candidate, he's competing against the candidate from the other major political party to see how they handle real potential conflicts. Hilarity, and risk of the wrong people misinterpreting the show, ensues. I reviewed this one for Books I Think You Should Read and gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Strange Fire (Anchor and Sophia #1) by Tommy Wallach - Thousands of years after civilization as we know it has been wiped out, the Descendancy has built a new community, Anchor. Life within their walled society is predictable and safe. They preach the message that knowledge is what destroyed the first world, and they encourage loyalty to the creator and his Daughter. The missionaries for the Descendancy are the only ones who realize there may be other civilizations out there as well. I liked this book and may check on the follow-ups. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak - When a book I mostly expect to be fluff ends up with a bit deeper story, I'm pleasantly surprised. In this book, three half-sisters find out they're related only through a mail-in DNA test. They commit to spending a few weeks together at a vacation cottage while they attempt to solve the mystery. At the time their meeting begins, they've all got some pretty complex issues in their own lives, but enjoy facing their problems together. They genuinely like each other and are committed to being the sisters they never had before. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars in my review here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Perfect 10: The Truth About Things I'm Not and Never Will Be by Heather Land - First, if you haven't seen any of Heather Land's 'I ain't doin it,' videos, go watch one now. They're so funny! Unfortunately I don't think her humor translated quite as well to this book. Maybe it would have been better in the audio version read by her? In reading her book, I didn't feel like her target audience. She talked about a brand of clothes for retail therapy that I hadn't heard of, and she was touring with another famous person whose name I've already forgotten. I think I'm just older than who she was writing for, and I'm sure a lot of other readers will really enjoy this and her other book. My full 2.5 out of 5 star review is here. ⭐⭐⭐
The Girl Beneath the Sea (Underwater Investigation Unit #1) by Andrew Mayne - This book is the first in a series that's like a police procedural, but with a twist! Sloan McPherson is a part-time police diver, because the water and discovering what's in it is really her first love. The water can be dangerous, but in this book, the people she's dealing with are way more dangerous. By the end, she's come to trust a man she previously thought was an adversary, and she and George Solar have together started the Underwater Investigation Unit. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars in my full review and look forward to more in the series. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Long Bright River by Liz Moore - I finally borrowed this one from the library after reading about it on lots of other book blogs. I loved this touching story of two sisters - one an opioid addict, the other a police officer. Mickey definitely thinks she has always held, and always will hold, moral superiority over her younger sister Kacey. But drugs don't use any characteristics to pick their victims, and maybe everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. When Kacey is missing for a month or more, Mickey feels responsible for not caring better for both a woman on her police beat, and of course her own sister, even if they haven't spoken in years. Mickey tries to unravel the mystery, and realizes she may have shut out most other adults and left herself to work alone. I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle - Somehow I really carved out some time to read what I wanted to lately - this is another library book I checked out based on other reviews. When Dannie aces an interview for her dream job and then accepts her boyfriend's marriage proposal the same day, she's sure she's on the right track. Til after dinner, when she falls asleep back at their apartment for just an hour, and has a vivid dream of her life in another apartment, with another man, five years in the future! Based on the premise, I was hoping for a bit more magical realism, but this book still told of a beautiful relationship between two female best friends. Sometimes what you see is forced to fit in the framework of what you expect, even if that isn't the case. In my full review, I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was definitely unique and emotionally engaging. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What were your best/worst reads in the last month or so? Despite reading several books I'd been waiting for (instead of all review books), I still just turned out three more from the library so I can read what I've promised to first. On the other hand, between my bookcase and my kindle, I could probably read for a year without having to seek out another book. Social distancing one book at a time!