It’s been a busy month, right? Lots going on – an attempted coup, a new president, sea shanties took over TikTok (which is a trend I’m loving, by the way). Most importantly, I got a new computer. Regardless, I read a few books this month, and despite several terrible books, I also had some wins. Check out what you need to add to your must-read list.
This book was really interesting. It’s so interwoven that one single incident ripples out to affect everyone. While there’s no neat, happy-ever-after ending, I actually really enjoyed it – the ending did fit the story and it leaves just a bit of room for interpretation. Expect this book to stick with you for a while.
Based on the hazing practices of sororities, I hoped for a gritty, dark expose and instead I got…this. It took forever to get into the meat of the book, the actual issues were pretty superficial, and everything was neatly resolved and tied in a bow almost immediately. Just pass on this – it’s not worth the time.
This novel was better than Dirty Rush – but not by much. While it was kind of cute, the many gaping plot holes took away from the story, and then to have everything easily resolved…just no. I get writing light, fun books – we all need them, especially during difficult times (like a pandemic), but I still want quality. Make it funny enough to have me laughing out loud, make it logical enough to feel real, make it sweet enough to make my teeth hurt! Don’t just half-ass a novel.
This might end up winning worst book of the month. It was terrible. Just terrible. I didn’t care about a single one of the characters, I was bored out of my mind with the plot – there was just nothing redeeming about this.
This is actually three books – The Devil Wears Prada, Revenge Wears Prada, and When Life Gives You Lululemon. I saw the movie of the first novel, starring Anne Hathaway, and I remember thinking that the movie was good but Andi’s friends were kind of selfish jerks. The book absolutely solves that problem. In the movie, while Meryl Streep’s character is certainly a b*tch, she wasn’t half as bad, half as unreasonable as in the book. I was really sympathetic to Andi, and interested enough to pick up the second book.
The second book is actually after Andi has left the job and is working for herself – and showing plenty of signs of PTSD from her time under Miranda’s “tutelage”. Even better in the first, I wanted to just give the poor girl a hug and try and protect her from her new set of problems. Emily, her coworker at Runway, is also in this, is showing signs of Stockholm syndrome, and is still just a bit delusional – you’ll alternate between wanting to hug her or smack her.
The third book focuses on Emily, and I think it was a really strong finale. While it was less emotionally-compelling, it was fun and sweet, and focused on female friendship, which I loved. All three are absolutely worth picking up.
This book…ugh, what to say about this book? It tried to be The Devil Wears Prada but failed miserably. The editing was ridiculous, things were repeated a line or two after they were initially said, and the physical descriptions were choppy and ill placed, to the point of feeling like the stereotype of men writing about women. Logic had only the tiniest role in the story, and it was clear that the author didn’t research or understand some elements – there’s a tarot scene that had me rolling my eyes so hard I almost passed out. Skip this.
Considering I’m not a fan of Rachel Hollis’ self-development books, I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if I had paid any attention to the author’s name. I’m glad I didn’t now. In the first book, there were some similarities to The Devil Wears Prada, but it was well done. The characters – three friends, one in each book – were cute, mildly well-developed and interesting. The plot was light but still logical. I had a little issue with the first character, in that she continuously dreams of working with high-end clientele, but then looks down on them for being so high-end – it’s just annoying to be so self-righteous. The second book was probably my favorite of the three, following the gritty Max as she chases her dream and falls in love. The third book focuses on Miko, and while I loved her in the first novel, as the star, she was painfully quirky but Hollis never actually really followed through on the quirks. Just me nitpicking. Anyway, the books are worth pickingp, but save them for vacation reads.
This book was a little dark and twisted, which I loved, but it just missed the mark by an inch. At every turn, the author could have gone one step farther to really nail the plot, but instead retreated. I really wanted to like it, but in the end, I can’t genuinely recommend it.
I have always liked these books – they’re light, fun, and saccharine-sweet, with a style distinct to Jillian Dodd – and I’d only read the first two! Imagine my surprise to find there were four more! I started at the beginning of the series, and really, these are the perfect contrast to the depressing month we’ve had. The first one has a few moments where I literally teared up just a bit, because you love the characters and feel for them when they suffer. The third one might be my favorite – some of the characters departed from the previous personalities but it never felt contrived. The last three books lost a bit of the spark, however. I’m not saying don’t read them, they’re still good, but they were just a bit awkward – I think because the author was switching between two viewpoints, rather than sticking with one. By the sixth book, she’s just repeating storylines. It’s nice to see history repeat itself, but…well, I already read that book when Dodd did it first and better. Regardless, definitely add these to your must-read list.
I absolutely hate knowing that it’s only January and I’ve likely already read the best book I will open all year. This Is How It Always Is is perfect. Amazing. A beacon of novels. It was funny and sad, sweet and beautiful. I wouldn’t change a word of it. Following the story of Poppy as she discovers who she really is and faces down the obstacles in her path, I was riveted from halfway through the first chapter and I finished the book in one night – and wanted to beg for more. I cried – actually cried, tears rolling down my cheeks, which NEVER happens – and I laughed out loud. I was angry on Poppy’s behalf, I was sympathetic, and then I cried some more. I loved all of the characters, and frankly, I forgot I was just reading the book and not watching the story play out in real life. This should be the very next book you read – it’s THAT good.
January overall set a pretty high bar for books this year, so I can’t wait to see what else I can find! Any recommendations to add to my list?