My goal for this year is to read 50 books, and I’m keeping a record of all the books I’ve read including their reviews right here. Keep coming back to this post for all my recommendations as I read them!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging movie star Evelyn Hugo hires writer Monique Grant to tell her life’s story - the story of her move to Los Angeles in the 50s, her rise to stardom, and the seven husbands she married and divorced along the way. And the secret love that was hidden from the rest of the world.
Now if it sounds like this could be a fictional account of Elizabeth Taylor’s life, there are some parallels - the number of husbands, Evelyn and Elizabeth’s beauty and fame, but that’s about it.
This book was so enjoyable I couldn’t read it fast enough!
Overall Grade: A
The Proposal: Jasmine Guillory
Nik is at a baseball game with her boyfriend of 5 weeks, who decides to propose on the scoreboard!! She says no (understandably) and in the ensuing chaos of camera crews, is rescued by Carlos, a handsome doctor who happens to be attending the game with his sister.
I picked this book because it sounded like a fun romance, with two diverse characters, but the writing was so tedious that I quit about 100 pages in. The dialogue between the Nik and Carlos is so awkward, and Nik’s inner dialogue is so awkward — I think I just didn’t really resonate with Nik!
Overall Grade: D. Did not finish.
Match Making for Beginners: Maddie Dawson
Marnie lives in California with her fiancé Noah, and they get divorced a mere two weeks after their wedding. Marnie moves back home to Florida when she learns that Noah’s aunt Blix has left her a house in Brooklyn NY (this is not quite as far fetched if you read the book).
Anyway, Marnie moves to Brooklyn and her whole life changes. This book isn’t really a romance, more a story of taking the unknown path and the power of friendship. And it’s like a Hallmark Christmas movie in reverse (small town girl moves to the big city and lives her dreams rather than the other way around), which I appreciate.
You have to have some respect or belief in the “woo” to enjoy this book, and you have to suspend reality more than a little. If you’re not someone who can do that, you might hate this book, but I quite enjoyed it. Sweet and light, like a milkshake.
Overall Grade: B+
Paddle Your Own Canoe: Nick Offerman
I’m going to preface this by saying that I absolutely loved Nick Offerman’s portrayal on Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec, which is why I wanted to listen to this audiobook.
Part memoir, part life-advice, part rant, Nick Offerman shares his view on everything from feminism, to the separation of church and state, his love for woodworking, why you should have a hobby where you create something, the value of getting outdoors, and his love for his wife Megan Mullally. It’s entertaining, but honestly, it would be more entertaining if it were 25% shorter. I’ve found this to be a running theme among most books written by funny people (except Mindy Kaling, who can do no wrong) - what works as an hour set just doesn’t work as a 400 page book. It is too much material, and reading observational comedy just doesn’t work as well as listening to it (even when it’s an audiobook).
Overall grade: B-
influencer by Brittany Hennessy
This qualifies as my professional development reading. It’s a really interesting look at what it means and what it takes to be an influencer. Incidentally, for the purpose of this book, you’re not really an influencer unless you’re exceeding the 10,000 follower mark. There are some really good tips for aspiring influencers, and I’ve already used some of the tips to change some things around on my website, so it’s not a waste of time if you’re not at 10,000+ followers yet.
Incidentally, I also happened to read this book right at the time this crazy influencer drama broke, which made it even more entertaining.
Overall grade: B+
Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Eighteen year old Sawyer Taft grew up with a single mother, not knowing her dad, and never having known her mother’s family. One day her maternal grandmother approaches her with a proposition: spend 9 months living with her and going through the Debutante process, and she will receive $500,000 - more than enough to pay for college. Sawyer agrees. What comes next is some super entertaining 1% drama while Sawyer searches for her dad. If you were a fan of Gossip Girl, you will love this book. I love a good trashy read, and this did not disappoint.
Overall grade: A-
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
I loved this book so much. It’s like a reverse Pretty Woman with a twist. This book is a sexy love story, and the heroine is on the autism spectrum. Her autism is treated with sensitivity, unsurprising, since the author herself is on the autism spectrum. In turns funny, charming, and sexy, this book is such a fun read. Highly recommend.
Overall Grade: A+