Another month! I know I say this at the beginning of pretty much every book-roundup but I’m always astounded at how fast time flies. This year in particular feels like it’s going faster than ever for me, in comparison to other points during last year that lasted forever. I read some pretty great books this month, including three five-star worthy stories. Enjoy the reviews!
Set in the French countryside on an idyllic summer vacation, a delicious, tender novel about finding joy and love even in the most unexpected places.
Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend—and William’s father—Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Lush gardens, a gorgeous pool, delectable French food, and a seemingly never-ending wine list—what’s not to like? Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam fall in love with his own son.
But Adam has other ideas, and another girlfriend—and he doesn’t seem inclined to change the habits of a lifetime just because Jess and William have appeared on the scene. Jess isn’t surprised, but William—who has quickly come to idolize his father—wants nothing more than to spend time with him. But Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down—because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody—especially William—must discover.
By turns heartwrenching and hopeful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman’s fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.
My rating: 5 stars
Would I reread? Yes
I adored this book from cover to cover. Somehow it was able to break my heart, but make it so happy at the same time. I was glued from the moment I started reading. I loved feeling like I was in the French countryside with the characters, and got to follow along with this summer adventure.
Jess isn’t a character I can relate to, at all. She’s a single mum in her 30s with a life full of devastatingly real home truths. Yet, I was so emotionally connected to this book, every twist had a deep effect on my emotions.
It was a really funny read, something I didn’t expect, and has the perfect amount of romance and drama. This book had me feeling so many different emotions, there were moments so heartfelt I could feel tears in my eyes.
It’s a very special story, that teaches you the importance of family, friends, love and life. It’s a truly magical tale with elements of heartbreak, fear and anger but also love, hope and happiness.
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.
My rating: 5 stars
Would I reread? Yes
“The sky’s the limit, we’ll see them chumps on top.”
If you’re into hip-hop, rap, R&B or fire music of any kind, you’ll love this book. This was a story I couldn’t let go of, a book that I felt totally and completely compelled to read and it really is something to remember. Even though she’s on sixteen, Bri’s a force to be reckoned with and a really inspiring soul.
Angie Thomas is officially an author I’ll follow for the rest of my life. Everything she writes is absolute GOLD. Bri’s rhythm, flow and rhyme is on the highest level in this book, and I re-read a couple of her verses again because they were so poetic but hard-hitting. She spoke facts and wasn’t afraid to do so. She had her eyes on a dream and her heart in the right place.
The lyrics throughout this book are absolutely genius. Like rap, they’re poetic and so entertaining to read. There are some great videos of Angie performing On the Come Up on YouTube and it’s even better than I originally imagined.
Naturally, I compared this to The Hate U Give and I loved that they were different stories, different characters, different families, but the books still felt linked in some way. Not just by location, but by the heart and emotion they carry. It’s an outstanding book, just like T.H.U.G., with the addition of pop culture references that made my heart smile. It feels relevant and fresh.
This is the kind of book that made me want to appreciate and celebrate my culture. And any book that does that, deserves all the stars.
Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they’re both with other people…
Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.
Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?
When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything…
Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.
My rating: 5 stars
Would I reread? Only if I’m ready to cry all over again. So yes.
“You meet your fate in the road you take to avoid it.”
I don’t know where to start with this book. I’m an emotional mess after it, I don’t think I’ve cried so much over a novel before. It’s not even the deepest or heaviest of books, it’s just filled with so much love, wonder, and friendship; combined with every other emotional on the spectrum, I couldn’t hold back the tears.
No exaggeration: I cried on and off for about 8 hours thinking about this book after I finished it. I’m probably dehydrated.
This book touched my heart, everything about it was so eye opening and insightful. I felt like I got a realistic look into relationships, which romance novels don’t always provide. It was honest, but funny and incredibly entertaining.
I loved the idea of the book spanning over such a large amount of time, and each chapter shifts between Steph and Jamie. And the coolest part? The book comes with a playlist so you really feel like you’re part of the story.
From the first word the plot had me hooked. I don’t know if I can emotionally handle re-reading this, but it’s one that had a huge impact on me and my outlook on life.
It inspired me to love who I am, trust in my talents, chase my dreams, and never feel afraid to fall in love.
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
My rating: 2 stars
Would I reread? Nope.
Meh. It was well-written and I’m a huge fan of Ng’s books but this just missed the mark for me. I think the primary issue was that I didn’t like any of the characters so I wasn’t eager to read the rest of the book but I ploughed through it anyway.
I wish I could love this but it wasn’t entertaining, it wasn’t dramatic, it wasn’t mysterious. It was just a tale. I struggled to finish it but wanted to get through so I could start something else – I hate quitting a book.
It had an interesting take on family dynamic, and I thought that was cool, but that’s about it. It’s not something I would reread again, and not something that’s too memorable for me either. It was just OK.
What books did you read this month?
Ps: I tried a new layout for my review post this month. Let me know if you’re feeling it!