(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)
Am I the only one that constantly reevaluates what I feel is working on #bookstagram and what isn’t? Recently, I announced that I’d no longer include the Most Likely To Read Next section, and today I’m here to let you know that I will no longer do star ratings. I don’t do them here on the blog that much anyway, but I do over on my instagram account.
Here’s the deal: everybody’s star rating system is different. I know what a “3” rating means to me, and honestly? When I see a 3 rating on any other account, I kind of automatically dismiss the review entirely. I kind of only pay attention to 4 and 5 star ratings. I think I’d rather someone disregard a book after they read my review than to see some emojis and move on. (If you’re a stickler for those stars though, no worries…follow me on Goodreads!)
Last Week’s Reads:
*** City of Girls by: Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead) – On Shelves: June 4, 2019
This is going to be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever written: PREORDER THIS BOOK NOW (it releases next Tuesday, June 4)!
You will not regret it; in fact, it will end up on your favorites shelf just as soon as you finish it. If you were a fan of #TheSevenHusbandsofEvelynHugo, you’ll love this one just as much. It’s brilliantly done with complicated love relationships and a gorgeous study of a life full of ups and downs in NYC during the 1930s.
I listened to a podcast last year (yes, that long ago!) where Elizabeth Gilbert talked about writing this book. The love of her life had just passed away and she was devastated, but she had a deadline to meet so she threw herself into this story. I couldn’t help but read between the lines of some of the writing and I was blown away by the depth of emotions Gilbert was able to capture. I may have read entirely too much into it, but it made it that much more human to me.
*** Ask Again, Yes by: Mary Beth Keane (Scribner) – On Shelves: May 28, 2019
When I read the last sentence of this beautiful story, I knew I’d found one of my Top Ten Books of 2019. I just can’t imagine this one losing its place at the end of the year. It’s got everything I devour in a book – coming-of-age, tragedy, complicated relationships, love, forgiveness, and hope.
As neighbors, the Gleesons and Stanhopes were never close. The Standhopes kept to themselves, but you could tell something was always simmering just below the surface. On the other hand, the Gleesons looked like the All-American family – a well-respected cop and a mother of three beautiful girls. As Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope grow up in school together, they forge a friendship that will be tested by the ultimate tragedy.
“You think a person comes out of a house like that undamaged? You don’t see it now, Kate, but it’s there. I promise you. Marriage is long. All the seams get tested.”
Reminiscent of Everything Here is Beautiful (read my review here), Mary Beth Keane takes a careful look at mental illness and its affects – not only to the person herself, but also to those surrounding her. This story shows a long and tenuous road to forgiveness, hope, and healing. It demonstrates a beautiful portrayal of love and steadfastness, even when all the odds are stacked against you.
🎧 The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by: Balli Kaur Jaswal (William Morrow) – Pub Date: April 30, 2019
I have Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows on my bookshelf and just haven’t ever gotten to it. But after listening to this one on audiobook, I believe it will make a swift climb to the top!
When their mother dies, she leaves wishes for her three daughters to take a pilgrimage back to India to spread her ashes. The girls don’t have a strong relationship as the years and misunderstandings and distance has pulled them apart. But as they journey across India to their mother’s final destination, they will also find their way back to each other.
Despite the cartoonish cover, this book is deep and emotional. The characters are all struggling with their own internal issues that gives them some depth that I wasn’t expecting. I loved the narrator’s voice and it carried me away with the story. This audiobook is long (just over 13 hours) but I wasn’t really eager for it to end.
This story was another reminder of why it’s important to consider another’s perspective before jumping to conclusions in misunderstandings. Most of the time, there are underlying circumstances that contribute to the problem at hand, and if we’d just consider these possibilities with a little empathy and understanding, our relationships would be better for it. I don’t have a sister, but this book made me wish I did!
*** Mrs. Everything by: Jennifer Weiner (Atria) – On Shelves: June 11, 2019
One of the most highly anticipated books of the summer, Mrs. Everything follows the ups and downs of a sister relationship over the span of eighty years. While I was expecting something a little lighter, I still found myself engrossed in the story of Jo and Bethie. I think it could have been about 100 pages less to appeal to a wider audience, but overall, this is a book that will be widely talked about this summer!
This one showed up on Hoopla and I have been seeing it all over #bookstagram. The reviews have been fantastic, and so far, I’m LOVING the audiobook!
*** Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer by: John Glynn (Grand Central Publishing) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019
Half way through and I’m confused. This book is EVERYWHERE; they hype is real. But I’m still waiting for something to happen. More when I finish.
*** Stop Doing That Sh*t by: Gary John Bishop (Thorsons) – Pub Date: May 7, 2019
Part of my self-development and morning routine reading. It’s good so far!
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by: Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead) – Pub Date: September 22, 2015
Also part of my morning reading. This is a reread so I know what I’m getting into, but it’s not as good as I remembered it being. 🤔 I’ll keep plugging away…for a little bit longer, but not much! 🤷🏼♀️
*** The Desert Sky Before Us by: Anne Valente (William Morrow) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019
This one had great potential, but there were a few things that just weren’t working for me. I appreciate that an author has to dangle some carrots in order to keep their audience engaged, but when those carrots just keep adding up and none of them are resolved, I found that I stopped caring. It ruined the overall excitement for me. Also, there were a few too convenient things that would happen. It’s just unrealistic and it was one-too-many eye rolls for me to continue. Last, though no fault of the author’s, there was some editing that clearly needed to happen. I only read through 150 pages and it was very repetitive. I got the point! Jeez. And this is one of those books we all seem to hate – the ones with no quotation marks…drove me bonkers.
In the end, this one just felt like more work than it was worth. The premise was enticing to me and I am curious how this wraps itself up, but I couldn’t get passed a few of my issues enough to slog though.
*** On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by: Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press) – On Shelves: June 4, 2019
Liberty Hardy, Tyler Goodson, and Hunter have all read and raved about this one. For the first half, I was into it. I thought I’d found my next favorite book, but it slowly, slowly fizzled out for me. It definitely could have been the format (ebook) and/or a case of wrong time (end of school year = busy, busy, busy). Regardless, I made a deal with myself that when I find I no longer care, I’m giving up. My bookshelves overflow and I wanna move on! Maybe I’ll keep my eye out for more reviews and return to this one when I have an actual copy in hand.
Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?