What have you been reading lately?
I’m really happy to report that I’ve probably read more books in the last six months than I did all of last year! I feel like I’ve been bitten by the book bug all over again, and it feel so good! Truly, there are few things I love more than getting in bed early with a glass of wine and a face mask on and diving into a really good book.
I talk about books on Instagram stories a lot, and I absolutely love that you guys share my nerdy love for a good read. So I thought I’d round up some of the best books I’ve read recently!
2018 Book Review:
I started reading this book right before the Royal Wedding on the recommendation of my friend Grace and her co-host Becca on the Bad on Paper podcast. (If you haven’t listened to it before, you will LOVE it. They talk about books and just general adulting topics and it’s amazing–it feels like catching up with friends over drinks!
Anyway, back to the Royal We–it’s an extremely easy, fun, and addicting guilty-pleasure read. It’s fiction, but inspired by William and Kate’s love story. (Although I have to admit now that I’m reading it I’m envisioning the main characters as Harry and Meghan instead of Will and Kate!) It would be a great book to bring on vacation.
This series is the #1 most recommended from my readers, so I finally bit the bullet and downloaded it to my kindle! It’s essentially like an Asian culture Gossip Girl. I admit I haven’t gotten that far into it because I was convinced to start the Royal We instead, so I plan to go back to this when I finish The Royal We.
I have been hearing about Big Magic for YEARS and what an amazing, inspirational read it was, so last time we were in Portland I finally got a copy at Powell’s (my favorite bookstore!)
I have to admit I’ve been reading it really slowly, revisiting it in between my more gripping reads (below!) but it’s been a great pick-me-up to continue to go back to, and I think it’s a great book for anyone wishing to “live creatively” as she puts it. And by that, she makes sure to reiterate, that doesn’t necessarily mean “pursuing a life that is professionally or exclusively devoted to the arts,” but “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
My favorite part of the book is when she talks about great ideas. They are separate entities from us, and if an idea comes to you, and you don’t act on it, it will shop around for someone that will. Ever had a great idea you never acted on, only to be scrolling through Instagram to find out someone else has? This is why! I just love that this book allows you to view the act of living life through such fresh eyes.
I read this awhile ago but I’ve talked about it on Instagram stories quite a bit. I feel like I ALWAYS get asked “what’s that book you were talking about on Instagram stories a few months ago?””. So I felt the need to put this in here, haha! It’s kind of like Desperate Housewives meets Dateline. (Except without the murder part 😂). Definitely a guilty-pleasure read. If you need to be entertained on a long plane ride, I would definitely get this book and/or the one below!
One of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks–she describes it best: “Filled with envy, deception, and power, it’s a great reading escape. And there is a thrilling twist at the end!”
This thriller is one that came highly recommended by a lot of readers as well! It follows reclusive writer named Leonora. Leonora is invited to a “hen” (aka bachelorette party) in the English countryside by a friend she hasn’t heard from in years. She reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Although a shattering secret about her old friend is revealed. Then its all downhill from there. Full of mystery, murder, and deception, you won’t be able to put down this thriller!
(Side note: I do NOT read murder mysteries and even Stranger Things gives me nightmares, but this was JUST the right amount of scary–not too much–if you don’t typically read this kind of stuff, I still would recommend it!)
If you read The Nightingale, you’ll love Winter Garden, another book by Kristin Hannah. It’s a story of an intricate and complicated mother-daughter bond. Sisters Meredith and Nina are devastated by the loss of their father. Which left them alone alongside their cold, bitter mother Anya. Anya has kept the girls at arms length their whole lives. She offers no comfort to her daughters even in the wake of their father’s passing. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night.
On his deathbed, their father makes them promise to ensure Anya tells the fairy tale one last time. All the way to the end. A truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad is unveiled, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the harrowing story of their mother’s life. What they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying. It will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
Another book I chose because it was chosen as part of Reese’ book club. It’s kind of a complicated story to set up, so I’ll defer to Amazon’s description 😂:
Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. A law school dropout, she impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.
Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.
As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.
It was SO. GOOD. And such a fresh departure from any other book I’ve ever read. There were parts where I literally laughed out loud. I read it in like three days.
This one was recommended to me by my mother in law and it did not disappoint. While I’m typically a WWII historical fiction junkie, it was nice to read something from a different time. (One can only emotionally handle so many war books in a row).
This one’s a New York Times bestseller. It’s dubbed to be perfect for “lovers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale”. Also side note, I really need to read Orphan Train.
The book follows two different storylines–one in 1939, the other in present day. It’s based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals. Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. As Amazon describes it, “Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.”
Have you read any of these books? If not, I hope you put them on your list!
P.S. Want more reading reccos? Make sure to check out my huge roundup of reader favorites, too!