These are definitely strange times and for the first week or two of the pandemic I wasn’t really able to focus on reading.
Everything I Read in March 2020
For that super distracted/agitated period of time, listening to Jessica Simpson’s audiobook was really helpful! I joke that “Jess” and I are now on a first name basis. I am now back in a better groove with reading but only reading the lightest of books. The Authenticity Project was really cute (so good and warm and fuzzy) and I absolutely LOVED If I Never Met You! You MUST read that one, it’s def my favorite book from the month, it is so cute and well-written. Now is, in my opinion, the time to really lean into light romances and all of the British chick lit.
TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE READING! I’m always looking for great recommendations… I love reading your comments!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real-time to my Amazon Shop. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list and everything I read in 2019!
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, by Josie Silver.
This was really, really sad. I was warned that it was sad, but I still was just SO excited for it, because I loved Josie Silver’s other book, One Day in December SO MUCH. On Lydia Bird’s birthday, her fiance dies in a horrible car crash. Her whole world is completely flipped upside down. (This happens right a the beginning; before we’ve gotten to know said fiance, but STILL – you’re just emotionally wrecked from the first few pages!
She begins taking sleeping pills at night to sleep but when she takes a pill she’s mysteriously transported to an alternate life where Freddie (fiance) is still alive. As time goes on (the book goes on for about a year and a half or so after his death), she finds it harder and harder to exist between the two worlds, especially as she tries to be a good friend, sister, etc. I don’t want to say what happens, but it was worth the sadness. Not as good as One Day in December, but still a good read. (I won’t say fun read; it made me cry to hard for that!!!)
- Overall Score: B
The Twin, by Natasha Preston.
I will preface this by saying that this book is a YA thriller which isn’t always my favorite. I guess it depends. Something by E.L. Lockhart is always a fav but more recently, Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was a letdown. This book left me saying “what fresh hell did I just read!?” I always wished for a twin sister growing up and love books/movies where one twin ends up being the evil/bad one, which is why I pulled this out of my ARC pile. Oof. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible and kept me entertained, but not great.
Ivy and Iris are twin sisters. When their parents divorced, they were split up. But then their mother passes away, so Iris moves in with Ivy and her dad. The sisters (devastated by the loss of their mother) struggle at first but then we see that something is not right between them. Is Iris trying to steal Ivy’s life? We watch her systematically become best friends with Ivy’s best friends, slowly trying to claim everything that is Ivy’s. Or is Ivy just paranoid and jealous? You’ll have to read the book to find out. It was fun but also kind of a mess of a book.
- Overall Score: C+
I’ll Give You The Sun, by Jandy Nelson.
This was our March book club pick for the podcast! It’s a magically written, sweet and heartwarming YA book: the story of two twins, Noah and Jude, via alternating timelines. Noah tells the story of their younger years when they are 13, and Jude tells the later years when they are 16. In between the alternating timelines, we just know that something tragic has happened that impacted both twins in profound ways. When they’re 13, they are so close that they claim to share a soul. Just three years later, they’re distant…not nearly as close, not even friends.
I will be honest, it took me a bit to get into the book because of the writing style – it’s very flowery and creatively written. Noah’s character, in particular has a different style of writing/expressing his thoughts. But once I got into it, I loved it! It’s a wonderful, breathtaking look at love, loss, what life as a twin looks like, and also a bit of ethics and right vs. wrong. Highly recommend reading this one, it’s a nice little escape from the world!
- Overall Score: A-
* For more conversation about this book, listen to the podcast episode HERE!
The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley.
I really enjoyed this book, but I was very much let down by the ending. I just want to preface my review with that, as Becca warned me and I didn’t listen. I’m still really glad I read it though, as I’ve been struggling with reading and this book felt like comfort food! The book revolves around a vivid cast of characters, all connected by a notebook called The Authenticity Project.
Julian (an 80ish year old artist) started it, writing about his loneliness and how nobody actually knows their neighbors. He left it in Monica’s cafe, and she wrote in it… leaving it in a bar where it was found by Hazard, a struggling addict. And so goes this pattern as a wonderfully endearing cast of characters emerging. They find each other through the notebook and develop some sweet relationships. I loved the themes here (no one’s life is perfect, we all feel lonely, we’re all connected!) and found myself falling in love with each of the characters. I loved the book but not the ending! Still, a worthwhile read for sure!
- Overall Score: B+
Open Book, by Jessica Simpson
Okay (as I mentioned in Monday’s post) this book is SUCH a departure from my usual type of read (I generally could not care less about celebrities/celeb culture) but I listened to this as an audiobook (with Jessica narrating) and enjoyed it IMMENSELY. What drew me in was when Kate Kennedy talked about it in her stories, talking about how much celebrity “tea” there was and oh MY was there tea! I did watch Newlyweds back in the day so that was part of it, and I’ve also related to Jessica on and off throughout her life (I think she’s someone people underestimate, and I’ve had a lot of people think I’m stupid because I can be spacey; there’s a difference).
She talked about all of her relationships in an extremely unfiltered way (the John Mayer parts were my favorite!) Highly recommend, and if you are quarantined in NYC and taking daily walks to stay sane, Jessica makes for the perfect walking partner!!!
- Overall Score: A-
If I Never Met You, by Mhairi McFarlane
Mhairi McFarlane is one of Becca’s favorite authors but I’d never read anything by her until this one! And oh my, it is so cute. If you’ve ever gone through a crushing break up I think you will appreciate this one. It has everything: endearing characters you can deeply relate to, a soul-crushing breakup, great girlfriends, a mini makeover, a bit of revenge, and a little bit of that Hating Game style office romance.
Laurie finds herself left reeling after her boyfriend of EIGHTEEN YEARS breaks up with her, leaving her for another woman who gets pregnant pretty much immediately after the breakup. Her (very handsome but total playboy) coworker Jamie hatches a plan where they will pretend to date to a) help Jamie be taken more seriously at work and b) help create some jealousy to distract from the humiliation and grief on Laurie’s side. The only problem? Laurie finds herself falling for him. I won’t say anymore as I don’t want to give anything away. I LOVED this book and think you will too. Now I’m committing to read more of Mhairi’s books!!!
- Overall Score: A
Big Summer, by Jennifer Weiner (Out 5/5)
I LOVED THIS BOOK! I had received two ARCs and gave one to my mom… mine was sitting in my TBR pile and my mom and I were talking and she was like, “Oh didn’t you just love Big Summer” and I hadn’t read it yet so I paused on another book and picked it up and just devoured it!!!! There are some fun parallels to my own life (the main character is an influencer + it’s set partially in New York and Cape Cod, where I grew up).
It’s the story of two (very different) girlfriends fixing their friendship. Daphne is a plus size influencer who grew up in New York in a working class family and had a scholarship for everything. She’s making ends meet nannying and running her Instagram. Meanwhile, her former best friend Drue is one of those people who has just had everything come easy to her: she’s rich, pretty, and newly engaged. She’s also a bit of a mean girl. The two reunite for her wedding and you think you’re getting a cute girlfriends redemption friendship story but then there’s a big mystery. I loved it!
- Overall Score: A
He Started It, by Samantha Downing. (out 7/28)
A trio of adult siblings (and their spouses) embark upon a cross country road trip mandated by their grandfather in order to spread his ashes and collect their hefty inheritance. OK we will start with the good here. The twist in this thriller got me and I was very surprised (there were a lot of twists, actually). This book has a lot. An unreliable narrator, family drama, and (one of my favorite elements) two mysteries occuring in alternate timelines.
But… I just didn’t find this book all that enjoyable. I wanted to love it – I loved the author’s first book, My Lovely Wife! And I think it was because I generally don’t love a road trip plot line (the same people and dialogues in the same space – a car – for an extended period of time) …it wears on you! I don’t know. This was a slog for me. There were holes in the plot and while it did get better around page 170 or so, I didn’t love it. I came so close to DNF’ing but needed to know what happened so continued to slog through.
- Overall Score: C+