It was a lot of meh this month. A lot of reading (8 books – 3 of which I read during my 3 days in Mexico!) but a lot of meh. I hate saying that but also want to be honest I LOVED The Idea of You so so much. And The Mother-in-Law was surprisingly good. (I only say surprisingly as I hadn’t heard much about it) Everything else ranked in the B range. Not BAD but not knock-your-socks-off great, either.
Last month was definitely a better month of reading if you ask me. I think the other problem was that I just had SUCH high expectations for Daisy Jones and the Six and More Than Words that I ended up feeling a little bit let down by both. It’s hard when you expect so much from a book… it’s almost unfair! They’re both very good books – they just didn’t quite measure up to other books by those authors.
PS – I got a comment about this last month so just wanted to make it very clear – if you listen to a book club episode of our podcast, there WILL BE SPOILERS. I thought this was clear, the point of those podcast episodes is to talk about the book in full and have a discussion about them, but wanted to make it extra clear as I had a reader who didn’t realize this and felt bad about that!
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.
And one last thing! What should I read next? Your suggestions are the BEST… thank you, thank you!
I Gave In, and it was AMAZING…
The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee
I don’t really know where to begin with this book. Becca and Ashley (Spivey) had raved and raved (and raved!!) about it but it didn’t really sound very interesting to me. (Harry Styles fan fiction!? Hard pass.) After basically being ganged up on (I’m kidding, sort of!) in the Bad on Paper Facebook group, I finally took the plunge and bought it. And oh wow. I got sucked in. It’s as spicy as everyone said it would be, but it’s also very sweet, and surprisingly well written (sorry to the author – but based on reviews I had been thinking it was going to be 50 Shades-ish).
A chic French divorcee takes her daughter to an August Moon (think One Direction) concert and through a series of events, begin a love affair. At first it’s just sex but it quickly turns into more – they legitimately fall in love. I was so (SO!) skeptical about this book but it’s the perfect trash (but still actually good!) beach read… perfect for your next vacation! I was totally enraptured by it and could not put it down. Now, I just want a sequel… UGH. It’s our June podcast book pick so be sure to read it before then!
- Overall Score: A
Two New Releases from Favorite Authors.
Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
I had been waiting forever for this one. We talked about it on the podcast in this month’s book club episode. Okay first of all, I didn’t love it as much as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. But that’s one of my favorite books of all time. That being said, I really really enjoyed it. It’s written as an oral history, so think of an old VH1 Behind the Music video where the band + their team/manager is all reminiscing back over the band’s heyday. It’s set in the seventies and has this Almost Famous kind of vibe to it.
Daisy Jones is this stunningly beautiful singer who winds up working with The Six. We heard it’s based a little bit off of Fleetwood Mac. Daisy has a drug problem, Billy (the lead of The Six) is in recovery… but combined, they make (musical) magic, with a whole lot of sexual tension. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s a really fun read.
- Overall Score: B+.
More than Words, by Jill Santopolo.
Okay first of all, I still think about The Light We Lost. In my circle, that book was a little bit polarizing. Some thought it was annoying, other people really related to it. To each their own. I was more meh on this one. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it, but similar to Daisy Jones it didn’t live up quite as well to my high hopes. It’s still worth reading, though! Nina Gregory is a wealthy hotel heiress who always does the right thing. Dates the right guys, does the right thing for her career, etc etc. But when her father passes away (leaving behind a couple massive secrets) her whole world falls apart and she finds herself changing.
She’s torn between her boyfriend Tim (who was also her childhood best friend) and her sexy politician boss Rafael. If you’ve read her other book, you know Santopolo does a love triangle really, really well. It is an enjoyable for sure, but in my opinion fell a little bit flat. I didn’t love the ending and I felt like the characters could have been better developed… but that didn’t stop me from reading it in a single day.
- Overall Score: B
Two That Are Seriously Screwed Up.
The Perfect Girlfriend, by Karen Hamilton.
Okay this book is so messed up. Like so messed up. To the point where I wasn’t sure if I liked it as parts were really really implausible. But that didn’t mean I didn’t spend an entire flight tearing through it. It was also fun/weird to read on the plane as so much of it takes part on planes as the two main characters are a flight attendant and a pilot. Elizabeth is dead set on getting her boyfriend back and goes to extremes to do so. Like, a lot of extremes. She has one of those personality types where she fixates on things (friends, boyfriends, etc) and it’s just SUPER creepy and messed up. You cringe and feel secondhand anxiety for her all the while being like “WOW IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING!?” It’s not the best thriller I’ve ever read but it still definitely held my attention. Crazy stuff.
- Overall Score: B-.
Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough
I had put the call out on Instagram stories – asking if anyone had read anything as creepy and disturbing as Verity and several of you recommended this book. I don’t know how I’d missed it, I mean.. Stephen King blurbed it! Julia is struggling – she’s a single mom and a receptionist. Her husband has remarried and nothing is really going her way. But then she’s out one night and meets (who she thinks is) the man of her dreams; only to find out that he is her (married!) boss. So the book gets off to an awkward start. She then meets Adele, and strikes up an unlikely friendship with her.
Adele and her husband are new to the neighborhood and they definitely have secrets. He’s controlling, Adele is always on edge. It has serious Couple Next Door vibes but it’s a completely different book. If you’re looking for something dark and twisty this is your perfect psychological thriller. I will say that it does venture into fantasy territory; something I’d ordinarily love but wasn’t prepared for, especially for a thriller. So the book becomes a bit implausible.
- Overall Score: B+
If you have a strained relationship with your Mother in Law!
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth.
Fans of Liane Moriarty are going to love this one. I borrowed it from my friend Kate while on vacation and read it in a day. It’s a fast, fun read with a mysterious twist. Lucy marries Ollie and all she wants is to have a close relationship with her mother-in-law, Diana. But Diana is hard to crack. She’s polite and friendly but not warm and fuzzy, and she definitely has more of a tough-love approach with her kids. Fast forward years later and the mother-in-law is dead. Alternating between past and present it is the story of Lucy and Diana’s complicated relationship and ultimately a murder! What I liked about this book is that both characters come across as very endearing. I actually think that reading this book could be helpful for someone who has a strained relationship with their own mother-in-law. But there is a small twist (and a murder), and though I guessed who the killer was, I still really enjoyed this book, mostly for the complicated family dynamics!
- Overall Score: A-
Literary Fiction, set on Cape Cod.
The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess.
Okay so of course I was intrigued by this one – books, summer, Cape Cod? It sounded right up my alley and it was set in the eighties in Truro, where my family vacationed when I was young! Eve (formerly a secretary for a publishing house) leaves New York and moves into her parents’ summer house in Truro where she takes a job working as a summer assistant for a prestigious author. She’s immersed into a world she’d always dreamed about (Truro’s creative elite) and all sorts of chaos ensues. I don’t want to give too much away but everything sort of explodes and falls apart – it’s an epic catastrophe. For that reason, I could see this translating very well to film. I really enjoyed this but it was a little bit slow for me.
- Overall Score: B
The Second in the Seasonaires Series.
Malibu Bluff, by Janna King.
Okay I am not really quite sure why I kept reading this book but I did. Honestly, I had enjoyed the first Seasonaires book but this one fell really really flat. I was simultaneously a little bit bored but also having a hard time keeping track of all the characters. I don’t know why it was so hard (and I didn’t have this problem with the first one, I gave the original a solid B). But this book fell very flat for me. I almost put it down several times but needed to know what happened (whyyyyy).
I was invested in the main character’s story line. So I wanted to know what happened but none of the other characters really appealed to me so I found myself slogging through just to get to the end. I powered through and I liked the ending but I don’t know, this book annoyed me.
- Overall Score: C
photography by Carter Fish.
Too bad you didn’t like the books much! But three books in three days – now that’s amazing! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
It was definitely a mixed bag but there were still some great ones!
I’ve heard so many great things about Daisy Jones! I need to get back into reading and I think that’s the first book on my list.
Kendal / Life With Kendal
It’s a great book! Def listen to our podcast ep and then come talk to us in the BoP facebook group.
Thank you so much for these lists, Grace! Every book I’ve purchased since I started reading your blog has been based on your recommendations and I tend to love all the same ones you do. I highly recommend Chelsea Handler’s new memoir, Life Will be the Death of Me”. Much more raw and less hilarious than her previous books but I couldn’t put it down!
That is on my list! I LOVE her so much – thank you for the reminder!!!
I’m still stoked I won a copy of The Idea of You – cannot wait for that to be one of my trashy beach reads;) Also I couldn’t get into the Seasonnaires…but I think I’m going to attempt to give it another try. I didn’t know there was another book in the series. Adding The Perfect Girlfriend to my list!
Dana | The Champagne Edit
Ahhhhh it is SO SO SO SO GOOD!!!!
Thanks for the reviews, Grace! Right now, I’m reading Lost Roses. I looove historical novels and this one is a prequel to Lilac Girls. I’m a recent follower so not sure if this genre is something you enjoy but Lilac Girls is actually more non-fiction than fiction. I loved it. Next on my list are The Idea of you and Daisy Jones & the Six (because I want to listen to your podcast episodes on them ha!)
I am dying to read that!!! Lilac Girls was one of the best books I read last year.
You will LOVE Idea of you + Daisy!
I’m so glad you finally read – and loved – The Idea of You!!! I can’t wait until June’s podcast!!
Funny thing, though…I think I might be the only person who isn’t dying for a sequel. I guess because the book reminded me of some dating advice my dad once gave me. He said that successful relationships come down to two things: finding the right person and timing. You can meet the greatest person who is so right for you but if the timing is off for either or both of you, it. just. won’t. work. I’ve had my heart broken more than once thanks to bad timing, and it’s so hard. So much harder than when a relationship with a jerk ends. But that’s why the ending of TIOY was so perfect to me. I was devastated by it, but also in a weird way, it felt complete to me.
Now on to Daisy Jones and the Six!
That is so funny. I definitely want a sequel.
Just imagine – the daughter is in college, he’s a little bit older… the timing finally works!
Ugh, fiiiiine. I finally broke down and ordered The Idea of You. It arrives today, along with Lisa See’s new book The Island of Sea Women (which takes place in Jeju, Korea—I am STOKED to read this book, for obvious reasons).
I was also reading some article about the royal family in Britain and someone recommended the book Sex with Kings—non-fiction, historical, all about the mistresses in major courts. Excited about this one!
I also started There There (which was a nom for the Pulitzer in fiction this last year) and OMG the writing just explodes off the page. It’s heavy though, so I decided to pause it and read something light, then head back to it. Did you read The Overstory yet? Still my fave book of the last year.
YES! It’s such a fun and silly book.
Sex With Kings sounds amazing, i must read it!
I just finished Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I think I’ve read all of her books now. She’s so good!
I want to read them all!!!!
New blog reader here who recently took up your recommendation to read Colleen Hoover’s Verity and It Ends with Us. Soo freakin’ good – thank you for introducing these books into my life! Then, I had to listen to your podcast on Verity, obviously. I was wondering if you and Becca considered if (**spoiler warning**) the autobiography was real and Verity made up the story in the letter?! I still can’t make up my mind about which possibility I believe the most!
Anyhoo, I would love to see you review the Silent Patient, which I just recently read and loved! I think it would be up your alley 🙂
haha, go to the Bad on Paper facebook group to discuss. That’s all anyone can talk about! x
also! I’m about to read The Silent Patient – so excited.
YAY! Grace, your book posts are my favorite. I just finished “So Here’s the Thing”. I also have a recommendation for you (and anyone else reading the comments.) Freefall by Jessica Barry. It’s a thriller in the “Gone Girl” ish genre. The interesting twist is that the story is told from two perspectives, a mother and a daughter. Took me a beat to get into it but then I had trouble putting it down by the end.
Here’s a link https://www.amazon.com/Freefall-Novel-Jessica-Barry/dp/0062874837/ref=sr_1_1?crid=FD5QWDBH5LR5&keywords=freefall+jessica+barry&qid=1556761213&s=gateway&sprefix=freefa%2Caps%2C141&sr=8-1
Ooooh thank you so much for the rec!!!! I haven’t heard of that one and love a twisty thriller.
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer! Nightingale-esque.
Oooh thank you so much for the recommendation! I loved The Nightingale.
The idea of you sounds amazing!
x Lisa | lisaautumn.com
It’s one of my all time favs!!! So glad I was influenced.
Always love your book reviews. I’m currently reading Daisy and the Six (I LOVED everything else by Taylor Jenkins Reid) and next up for me will probably be the Seasonaries. Although disappointing to hear the next book is meh.
Let me know what you think – I am curious if it was just me!!!!
I read six books in April, but the most memorable is one that has already been mentioned, The Island of Sea Women. I very much enjoyed it. I definitely recommend.
I’m currently listening to Daisy Jones and The Six on Audible. It’s a whole cast, so it’s like a show. Very enjoyable.
Thank you so much for the recommendation!
I heard such great things about the Daisy Jones audiobook!
I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt let down by Daisy Jones. The formatting definitely wasn’t my favorite and I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen but it never came which is always a letdown. I’m excited to see this on TV though, as I think it will do much better and be able to dramatize the tensions between Daisy and Billy so much more.
Also, I won one of the copies of The Idea of You from the BOP giveaway and I’m SOOOO excited to tear through it!!
Yeah, I felt bad not giving it the greatest review but I think I just expected more since friends GUSHED, and since I loved her last one so much. I was a bit let down. I still enjoyed it but it wasn’t her best!!!
AND YAY – enjoy Idea of You! it’s such a fun read!
I liked Daisy Jones, but maybe that’s because I lowered my expectations after you shared your thoughts on it. I did see if my library had The Idea of You and surprisingly I liked it since that is not my typical read. I found the ending really sad. As in, it wouldn’t be easy for her to find someone like him (attractive, passionate and interested in learning about what she was interested in) who was her age.
That’s so funny. It really is all about your expectations going in.
I need to hire a friend to just tell me everything I read is going to be terrible; that way I will never wind up disappointed!!!
I just finished “behind her eyes” on audible. And although implausible Just like you said, I thought the twist was really good. Next up is “Daisy Jones” and finish “stillhouse lake”.
agreeed! It wasn’t believable but it was still so fun!
I just found your blog. I just finished “Daisy Jones and the Six”. I just loved it. It transported
me to the seventies. I also loved the tension. PS – There is a play list on Spotify made to go the book, that I highly recommend you listen to while your reading. It was fun.
Ooooh thank you so much for the rec! Sounds right up my alley.
Thanks! I just finished The Silent Patient, a psychological thriller.
I read that this month! LOVED. It will be in June’s list next week!