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  • When No One is Watching

    A-
    Grade: A-

    When No One is Watching

    This book was excellent. As you probably know by now I am on a pretty much never-ending hunt for more thrillers written by Black women (Tiffany D. Jackson is a favorite!) and I could not put this one down. And in my opinion, it’s a social justice book (tackling racism and gentrification) packaged in an unputdownable thriller. Sydney Green was born and raised in Brooklyn, returning to her mother’s brownstown after her divorce. But the neighborhood is changing – the Black families she grew up with are disappearing and new White families are moving in to flip and build condos. She decides to channel her frustration (and love of the neighborhood and its incredible history) into a community walking tour. Through a series of events Theo (the good looking White man across the street becomes her rather unlikely assistant, but as they dive deeper into the neighborhood’s history they begin uncovering secrets… including connections between the real estate company that’s selling all their houses, a big corporation, the city jail, the police and so on and so forth – and maybe all of those families aren’t leaving as willingly as they would have liked to believe. It’s fast paced and twisty and what’s maybe the scariest part is that given the current climate, doesn’t feel very far-fetched. I loved it

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  • Follow Me

    C
    Grade: C

    Follow Me

    On the one hand, this was a fun and twisty thriller that kept me guessing. On the other hand, I absolutely hated it because frankly, the author did such a terrible job portraying the main character (an influencer). We will get to why but this is a massive pet-peeve of mine: the portrayal of influencers as vapid and annoying (and the main character Audrey is so annoying that you almost want her to die?). I really hate it as it perpetuates a stereotype and is also just… false. I hate trashing this book but it’s so clear she didn’t do her research (or maybe she just hates influencers, I don’t know). A special shout-out to Kate Stayman-London and Jennifer Weiner who got it right in One to Watch and Big Summer…. this made me appreciate their books even more. This book is about Audrey, a 29 year old influencer with a million followers who moves to Washington DC to work at her dream job: running social media for one of The Smithsonian’s galleries. She’s struggling financially (sorry but an influencer with a million followers is not going to be struggling) and the only two people she knows are her college friend Cat and her ex-boyfriend Nick, the guy she can’t seem to shake. But from the day she moves into her basement apartment (again: not realistic!), she can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. There’s her creepy upstairs neighbor… and she feels like she’s constantly being watched/stalked. The book alternates between the perspective of Audrey, Cat, and “him,” her stalker. The author really went deep on the dark side of the Internet and privacy concerns, I just wish she could have spent even just a little more time researching influencers and their business (or talking to you know, actual smart people who do this for a living) as that ruined the book for me.

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  • How to Be An AntiRacist

    A+
    Grade: A+

    How to Be An AntiRacist

    This was my anti-racist pick for August. To be honest, this one was a little bit intimidating (it’s long!) but came highly recommended. I listened to it as an audiobook, which I would definitely recommend. So not the point but I love Ibram X. Kendi’s voice. I had heard him speak on podcasts before and just really like it. You can consider this your anti-racism masterclass. I am glad that I didn’t start with this (the first anti-racist book I chose was So You Want to Talk About Race) as he covers SO much ground… it was good to have had a primer, first. I really really love what a scientific/academic approach he takes, while still managing to seamlessly weave in anecdotes and … covering everything from racism in science to all of the different types of racism and how it can emerge in so many different ways (ethnicity, bodily, culturally, etc). He talks about racism throughout history, and things I hadn’t even thought of like Black on Black racism and his own biases and mistakes he made as a teenager and how we woke up from his own racism. The end result is a book that is important, powerful, and educational… while simultaneously being engaging and interesting. I can’t recommend it enough!

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  • Monday’s Not Coming

    A
    Grade: A

    Monday’s Not Coming

    I said this on instagram stories but Tiffany D. Jackson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! Last month, I read Allegedly. It haunted me. The ending!!! GAH!!!! This one is just so good! Claudia is a 14 year old Black girl, growing up in DC. She spends every summer at her aunt’s house in Georgia, but this summer when she gets home, her best friend Monday (who is more like a sister than a friend) is absolutely nowhere to be found. She doesn’t turn up for school, no one knows. She goes to Monday’s house in the projects and is told to GO HOME and stay out of it. No one knows where she is, and no one seems to care… until Monday is found nearly a year later. This one is chilling and upsetting and while it’s an excellent thriller (the twist at the end got me!) it could also be a social justice book in it’s own right, looking at how the town failed to protect this little girl. I loved it and couldn’t put it down and can’t recommend it enough. I read it very quickly, in a few days… staying up late to finish it. I should note that I’ve also pre-ordered Jackson’s next book (Grown, 0ut 9/15!) and cannot wait for it to arrive. I LOVE her books!

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  • Majesty

    A+
    Grade: A+

    Majesty

    You know I’m a huge Katharine McGee fan (stan?). I loved The Thousandth Floor trilogy and I ADORED American Royals, which imagined what the US would look like if George Washington had become king as opposed to president. Her books are technically YA books, but I call them YA for adults as the characters and relationships are complex. This one picks up where American Royals left us…  A terrible tragedy has taken place and Beatrice finds herself the queen of America. But nothing is as it should be. She can’t be with the man she loves (her guard, Connor), she is betrothed to the man her sister kissed (Teddy), and her sister hates her for it. This one was really calm and almost soothing to read for the first two thirds of the book. There are surprise love interests for everyone (Sam especially), and it’s not at all what I had predicted. The villain (Daphne) had a bit of a redemption (or at least we felt badly for her/came to better understand her plight, there were a few different romantic surprises, and it felt like I was catching up with old friends. But then of course, all hell breaks loose in the last third of the book and it is so juicy and fun. And surprisingly (well not surprisingly, if you know Katie/Katharine) feminist! I loved that about it. I couldn’t put this book down. I wanted to cry when it ended because I already miss the characters. She didn’t really set it up for a third (just that there is no big dramatic cliffhanger) but I’d be so happy if she decided to continue the story. Katie is my friend so I feel a little biased giving it an A+ but it’s an A+. I loved it so much. And it’s going to be our September Bad on Paper pick!

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  • The Changeling

    B+
    Grade: B+

    The Changeling

    This book. Wow. It was creepy. Really creepy and upsetting and gave me super weird dreams! It is a few years old but I interviewed the author (he was really cool!) for Random House’s summer reads panel so I wanted to read it but had no idea what I was getting into, only that it had received incredible press and accolades. Trigger warning for just about everything: violence and child murder and monsters. Do monsters get a trigger warning? It starts out innocently enough: Apollo Kagwa is a rare books dealer whose father disappeared when he was child. He meets Emma; they marry, and start a life together. But one day he wakes up and Emma has committed a terrible act and ran away. Apollo’s search for her leads him to all sorts of places: a mysterious island of women and children in the middle of the East River, a graveyard, a Norwegian neighborhood in Queens, and the only forest in New York. The book is gruesome and scary, the writing is beautiful (while totally different in terms of plot, the writing reminded me quite a bit of Emily St. John Mandel’s writing in The Glass Hotel. All sorts of other things come into play: racism, sexism, postpartum depression and anxiety… I am going to be really honest with you: this book is a masterpiece and beautifully written but I did not enjoy it. Honestly, I just wanted it to be over with (though I could not stop reading?) So it could get an A+ for writing and deserves all of the acclaim but I’m only going to give it a B+ because this is my blog and I do what I want. I will say it’s going to haunt me for a very long time.

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  • Rodham

    A
    Grade: A

    Rodham

    Rodham imagines what would have happened if Hillary and Bill had never been… Hillary and Bill. Or rather, if they had dated but broke up and never got married. What both of their lives would have looked like… and how the world would be different. I REALLY wish I could sit down with Hillary Clinton (and a glass of wine) to get her thoughts on this book. Wow. Truly – if she read it (which is probably doubtful), I’d just die to know. It was so fun to read – I couldn’t tear myself away. But, shiiiit – it was also awkward as hell to read at times! It starts out (potentially?) true to Hillary’s story, feeling a bit like fan fiction: she graduates from Wellesley, heads to Yale, and meets and dates Bill Clinton. But what if they broke up? This is a wild retelling. The story is told in three parts: their early courtship (this isn’t a spoiler but there’s quite a bit of sexy stuff – in particular, a scene where a naked Bill plays the saxophone for Hillary. This is now imprinted on my brain and I cannot get the image out of my head, help!). From there, it follows her story (and bits of his) all the way through the seventies through present day. I really enjoyed the book. But was weirded out at times, mostly just because Sittenfeld nails Hillary’s crisp, dry way of writing (the book was clearly well researched!) which made it feel so real in a way that is truly quite eerie! I was a little emotional reading it, especially when it gets to modern day – I won’t say anymore about why as I don’t want to spoil it. It’s fun and clever but will definitely confuse you a little as at times it feels so real. Also: the Donald Trump cameos are pretty incredible.

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  • Destination Wedding

    A-
    Grade: A-

    Destination Wedding

    This book was not what I was expecting at all. The pink and purple cover made it look like a romance novel (it was a little bit romantic but I wouldn’t call it a romance!). The book centers around Tina Das, who attends her cousin’s ultra-lavish wedding at a private country club in Delhi, India. She’s there with her best friend Marianne and her amicably divorced parents – and their new significant others. Her mother is dating a white man, her father’s been set up with a Delhi widow by an Indian matchmaker. Tina’s character was both really relatable (she’s a TV producer living in Williamsburg!) and someone I could learn a lot from (I really loved seeing her experience as an Indian woman growing up in the midwest and her experience living, working, and especially dating in New York).  Throughout the book, all of the characters make some very bad decisions (and some good ones t00!). There is drama, there is romance, there are flings.. I could go on. I loved it. I did find it hard to follow at times (Basu writes in an interesting style, rapidly changing back and forth between characters – it definitely kept me on my toes!) but really, really enjoyed it. It also made me realize how few books I’ve read about Indian characters. Oh and I also loved that it talked about a wealthier, more glamorous India (everything I’ve read/watched only has shown the poorer side). Anyway, I loved this and now I’d love to read more books about Indian American women so if you have any recommendations definitely leave ’em in the comments!

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  • Party of Two

    A
    Grade: A

    Party of Two

    Let it be said! Jasmine Guillory is one of my favorite authors. I am not a big romance reader but LOVE her books. I had been saving this one and out of all of her books, I think that this one might be my favorite (a bold statement for sure… all of her books are EXCELLENT). This one is about Alexa (from The Wedding Date)’s older sister, Olivia Monroe. (Note: you don’t have to read all of her books, but if you are familiar it’s kinda fun when old characters make a cameo) Olivia’s just moved to LA to start her own law firm. While staying in a hotel on her first night in town, she chats up a handsome man at the hotel’s bar. When she gets up to her room, she realizes she hadn’t recognized him: she’d been talking to senator Max Powell. This gives her a laugh at first but when they reconnect at a conference a few weeks later, sparks fly and soon they are falling in love. But can Olivia handle the spotlight? The media commenting on her appearance and digging up her past? I love the famous person dates regular person trope, I loved Olivia as a character (she’s smart and funny and ultra relatable), and I liked that the characters were my age… sometimes reading romance novels about twenty-somethings depresses me a little bit. It was realistic, it was sexy, it was fun, smart… can’t recommend it enough!

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  • Deadly Little Scandals

    B
    Grade: B

    Deadly Little Scandals

    This is the sequel to Little White Lieswhich we had as a podcast book club episode a while back. Becca lent me her copy and I held onto it for way too long before reading it but in my “no sad books in August” month, it seemed like a good one to read. Sawyer and her debutante girlfriends Lily, Campbell, and Sadie-Grace are back and now they are 18 years old and pledging a secret society! This time around Sawyer is super focused on figuring out what happened to her mother’s friend Ana’s best friend – and her baby! As with the last one, it alternates timelines: this time between present (where two of the girls are trapped in a hole!), past (25 years ago with the parents’ timeline), and a few months before. There is a gigantic (but extremely unrealistic) twist that you won’t see coming – despite being totally unbelievable, it was still fun. I will be honest and tell you that this one went a little off the rails for me. It wasn’t very believable, there are some pretty gigantic plot holes, and the ending had me scratching my head. Still, it was enjoyable… and creative! You definitely have to read the first one back so if you are looking for a fun, light thriller pick up both posts. But if I’m being really honest, there are better books out there!

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  • Allegedly

    A
    Grade: A

    Allegedly

    OK I don’t even know what to say about this book because the last chapter is going to maybe haunt me forever? (TW: a baby is murdered, some violence). I had been asking you guys for recommendations for thrillers by Black authors and Tiffany D. Jackson kept getting suggested (I’ve ordered her other books too!). This did not disappoint. Mary Addison is a Black girl who (allegedly) killed a (White) baby when she was nine years old. After serving six years in baby jail, she goes to a group home where all the odds are stacked against her. She faces social workers who could care less about, her, intense bullying, and the women in charge of the group home turn a blind eye to it. She’s basically on her own with no support system (her churchgoing mother is untrustworthy), though she dreams of reopening the case against her… and taking the SAT’s to go to college. Now, she has her boyfriend Ted and has a baby on the way but as a ward of the state (and given her history), the state is threatening to take her baby away. I don’t want to ruin the plot for you but I will just say that this one has a Verity-like twist. It hit me over the head and SHOCKED me!

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  • When They Call You a Terrorist

    A+
    Grade: A+

    When They Call You a Terrorist

    I cannot recommend this book enough. Please read this book. I think it’s especially powerful after reading one of the more academic anti-racism books like How to Be Anti-Racist or So You Want to Talk About Race. I split my time reading and listening to this one and preferred the audiobook, especially as it’s narrated by the author. (I used to be soooo anti-audio books but have come to really enjoy them, particularly for memoirs when the author of the book reads it to you.) Patrisse Cullors is one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the book is her memoir. From growing up Black and queer and watching the men in her life struggle with addiction and mental health issues (and wind up imprisoned for it) to founding what has become a global movement, it is absolutely amazing (though yes – very hard to read at times). It’s hard to read. I didn’t know the whole story of how BLM was founded and hearing the stories of the early movements (especially leading up to Trump’s election) feel eerily similar to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I loved this book and I hope you all will read it. It’s an important book. It will break your heart and is a lot to absorb but it’s definitely one of my favorite books from this year.

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  • They Wish They Were Us

    A
    Grade: A

    They Wish They Were Us

    Oh boy this is a good one. It’s a twisty, YA thriller… the perfect summer thriller, in my opinion! I stayed up all night reading it. It’s been compared to Gossip Girl meets One of Us is Lying, which is a pretty perfect description! Jill Newman is a high school senior at Gold Coast Prep. She has it all: a full scholarship to one of the best prep schools in the country and is on track to head to likely Brown in the fall, a loving family, a handsome and smart boyfriend… and she’s a member of The Players: an elite (not so secret) society. Everything’s perfect except for the fact that her best friend Shaila Arnold was murdered three years ago. Her boyfriend at the time confessed to it and the case was closed. But three years later, Graham and his sister Rachel are insisting he’s innocent. Jill is torn: open up old wounds, or move forward with that “perfect” senior year? The book alternates between past and present day as we get to know Shaila and some of the secrets she was hiding, and come to find out what really went down on the night of Shaila’s murder. I highly recommend this one – you won’t be able to put it down!

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  • Miracle’s Boys

    A-
    Grade: A-

    Miracle’s Boys

    This was recommended to me by Elizabeth Acevedo when she came on the podcast. Published back in 2010 this is more of a children’s book than a YA adult (I think?) and I wanted to read it because a) it’s a big focus for me to read stories about people with different backgrounds than my own and b) Elizabeth Acevedo recommended it and she’s one of my favorite authors/someone I respect so much. It’s told from the perspective of a 12 year old Black boy (Lafayette). His father died when he was just a baby, his mother died more recently (his 22 year old brother Ty’ree is raising them and working around the clock to try to keep the family together), and his formerly loving and sweet brother Charlie has just gotten home from reform school and is now hostile and cruel. The book is short but powerful. One weekend, events unfold and the brothers must choose whether to be there for each other or give in. This one made me cry! It’s a fast read only 131 pages and larger text… read it in an afternoon and then pass it along to someone younger!

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  • The Wife Stalker

    A-
    Grade: A-

    The Wife Stalker

    I am a big Liv Constantine fan (fun fact “Liv” is the pseudonym for sisters Lynne and Valerie Constantine) and The Last Mrs. Parrish was one of those books I devoured in a single day (you can read my review of it here). I somehow missed that they released a new book (this!) in May, so was v excited about this. I devoured it in a day. I stayed up late reading it and then woke up to read it the next morning. There’s a fantastic twist that totally got me, too. Piper Reynard moves to Westport, CT to set down roots and move on from a horrible tragedy. When she meets successful and handsome lawyer Leo Drakos, the wedding ring on his finger is just a minor obstacle. Meanwhile, Joanna has just seen Leo through a terrible depression and is waiting for the man she fell in love with to return to her. Slowly he starts to come back to life… only to throw her out of the house and fall in love with Piper. Joanna returns to her mother’s home, told by Leo that she can still see the kids. She won’t let him go so easily though and becomes determined to find something she can use against Piper… diving deeply into her past and unearthing terrible secrets as she does. I loved this book. It was a fast, fun read and I love that I didn’t guess the twist!

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  • Born a Crime

    A+
    Grade: A+

    Born a Crime

    So many of you recommended this and I am so happy I read it as I absolutely loved it. I have been a huge, huge fan of Trevor Noah (and of course The Daily Show) for a very long time and had somehow not realized he had a book. And it’s amazing. As one would expect, Trevor tackles heavy stuff with grace, wit, and (when it is appropriate), humor. This is the story of his childhood in South Africa. Because of apartheid his birth was a literal crime (his father was a White Swiss man and his mother was a Black Xhosa woman), so he was kept inside for most of his early years. Then, as he got older we learn about his more mischievous teenage years (from his love of computers as a teen to his early encounters with girls and life as a “colored” child – not Black, not White, never quite fitting in.) The book is at once light and optimistic while also talking about serious things like domestic abuse. I cannot recommend it enough and while I am usually a paper books purist, this one is especially wonderful as an audiobook as Trevor himself narrates it. My favorite part was everything in regard to his mother: fiercely independent and fervently religious. She seems like an absolutely incredible person. I will warn you that the last 25 minutes are extremely intense but everything wraps up okay in the end.

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  • The Comeback

    A
    Grade: A

    The Comeback

    Oh I loved this book. There’s so much to talk about with this one. (TW: Sexual Abuse – it’s not graphic but wanted to share) Becca and I were in a reading “war,” over what our August book club pick would be and this was her pick and did not disappoint. A young actress (Grace, great name) disappears from Hollywood mysteriously, at the height of her career (the night of the Golden Globes). When the book opens, we aren’t sure what’s happened to her or why she’s decided to leave behind what by appearances seems like the absolute dream. As the book alternates between modern day (living at home with her parents in Anaheim and eventually returning to LA) and the past, we learn the abuse and trauma she suffered at the hands of her famous director boss Able Yorke. We slowly learn what he did to her and how he managed to manipulate her for eight years, and how she moves on. While Grace is not always likable (you see a lot of how what she endured impacts her relationship with her family, friends, and husband), you also understand why she did the things she did and you root for her, wanting her to thrive. I tore through this one and loved the mix of a thrilling page turner with the importance of the #MeToo movement and standing up for what is right. Similar to The Boys Club (another fav from the month), it weaves heavy issues into something unputdownable.

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  • The Boys Club

    A
    Grade: A

    The Boys Club

    Oh how I LOVED this book! I read it in just a couple days; despite being a thicker book, I could not put it down!!!! (TW: Attempted rape + some violence.) This is the story of a first year law associate (Alex) who moves to New York, fresh out of Harvard, to work in Biglaw. It’s (true to the name of the book), a Boys Club. As she strives to make her way in the hyper competitive environment working in mergers and acquisitions, she finds herself changing. Drifting from her long-time boyfriend, getting competitive with the women she works with, developing a crush on the handsome partner at the law firm, letting down her family. I have likened it to Devil Wears Prada (toxic, stressful work environment) meets Suits (an old favorite show of mine with good looking lawyers and lots of drama), Tell Me Lies (toxic relationship, coming of age story as our loveable but human protagonist makes some terrible romantic decisions). I could not put this book down. I loved it so much. It’s such a New York book (and made me mourn the days of fancy restaurants and big nights out), and it’s very fun to read while also touching on the really important stuff like sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexism. It was one of those books where once I got invested (early on), I literally could not stop reading. I can’t recommend it enough! I also think it is so interesting that the author still works in law but writes under a pseudonym.

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  • Big Friendship

    A-
    Grade: A-

    Big Friendship

    As a long time listener of Call Your Girlfriend, I was excited to read this book! I think one of the most interesting things about the book is the voice that Aminatou and Ann decided to use… it’s written entirely in third person! This is effective for so many reasons but I think the biggest thing is that it allows them to talk about their friendship in a really objective manner. The book itself was fascinating and deeply relatable. It’s the story of their “big friendship.” The good parts, the bad parts, and how they’ve gotten through the tougher times. I flew through it. If you’re a listener of their podcast, you’ll love it because you’ll feel like you know them so much better after reading. (I really identified with Aminatou’s introvertedness – and her openness about it… she said a lot of things I’ve thought but been unable to articulate as eloquently!) And if you don’t listen to their podcast (you should!), I think you’ll still get a lot out of it as it’s an interesting story about their friendship and also a hard look at being a better friend. I also took away a lot from the chapter about having an interracial friendship and the nuances of that. Highly recommend it!

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  • Head Over Heels

    A
    Grade: A

    Head Over Heels

    When Becca told me that I had to read this romance novel about gymnastics, I was not exactly sold. But I “knew” the author from social media and after reading some really heavy books this month, I desperately wanted to something light and happy where the ending was tied up in a bow. And this book delivered! It’s so much more than just a romance story. There’s a redemption story (I love when a character gets her act together and finds her passion… falling in love along the way), a powerful friendship between the female characters, and the coaching dynamic was very sweet and heartwarming. Avery is a former gymnast whose career was ended at the Olympic trials with a devastating injury. Since then, she’s never been able to get her act together… dropping out of college and never really figuring out her passion. When she’s brutally dumped by her quarterback boyfriend, she returns back to her hometown, desperate for a fresh start but unsure what that will look like. When an old (and very handsome) acquaintance reaches out with a coaching job she accepts, and things finally start to fall into place. But it’s not all perfect… there’s a shocking scandal that rocks the gymnastics world, and old struggles with her former best friend and coach (who are now married!). I read this in a day and absolutely loved it.

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  • Homegoing

    A
    Grade: A

    Homegoing

    While this book was excellent (beautiful story, beautiful writing, just a beautiful book in general), it was at times very very hard to read! And I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it but I do want to warn you. I read it during a week last month where it was thundering and raining every day and I hadn’t been sleeping very well, and this book really affected me. So I would recommend this book 1000%, but I’d also say that it’s probably best to read it when you are in an emotional place to handle all of the heartbreak that comes with reading it. Does that make sense? It is the story of two half-sisters. One is sold into slavery and one marries a white man. Every chapter is the story of a different descendent, working all the way from the 18th century to the 80’s. As someone who doesn’t like short stories, this one was hard. Every chapter was a different heartbreak for different reasons. And just as you felt yourself bonding with the character (or the storyline improving), the book moved on to a different person. A reader commented saying that “it ripped my heart out and threw it down the stairs in every chapter,” and those words are very true. The ending was magical and I really did love it, but I don’t remember the last time a book affected me so much or made me so sad.

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  • The Heir Affair

    A-
    Grade: A-

    The Heir Affair

    If you read and loved The Royal We as much as I did, The Heir Affair is going to be such a treat for you! Honestly, reading this book felt like I was being reunited with my long lost pals Bex, Nick, and Freddie. After a scandal turned their would be fairy-tale wedding into an absolute nightmare, Bex and Nick have fled the palace for a tiny town in Scotland where they’re working in a bookstore. But when the queen has a health scare, they find themselves having to return. Back at home, Freddie is furious with them and we aren’t sure the guys can ever recover… the media and their former (traitor) friend Clive is having a field day (especially with digs at Bex), and the whole family is having a hard time forgiving them for leaving. It starts out a little bit slow, but as Becca said to me, I’d read about these characters doing anything so I truly didn’t mind – it was just so nice to have them back in my life! It’s really in the last third of the book that things pick up and there is a new juicy scandal, baby fever, a romance for Freddie and much more… but I don’t want to ruin it for you! This was a very fun read (no surprises there), and despite being 460 pages long I read it in a single weekend! Highly recommend.

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  • Lakewood

    A
    Grade: A

    Lakewood

    This book is part horror, part thriller but not the usual light and twisty story about somebody murdering their husband or a wife that’s been locked up. You know I love those books, but this goes much further and deeper than those books.  This is an important book and a horror thriller of the psychological nature. It’s the sort of book that sticks with you and makes you break out in chills upon thinking back on it later. Lena Johnson is a college student with a heavy weight on her shoulders. Her mother is sick, her grandmother just passed away, and they are in a lot of debt. The best job she can find involves dressing up as a corn chip for $9.25 an hour. A new job offer surfaces and it seems like a dream. Move to Lakewood, Michigan with free rent, high pay, and health insurance for both her and her mother. It will be more money than she’s ever known. The catch? She’ll be participating in a secret research study. She drops out of college and takes the job, and that’s where the horrors start. From memory drugs to drops that can change your eye color, the experiments range from innocent(ish) to potentially devastating. As the book goes on it becomes increasingly difficult to tell what’s real and what is fake. It’s set in modern day but with a nod to the horrible tests and experiments that have been conducted on Black bodies in the name of science. It’s part Black Mirror, part Handmaid’s Tale and I can’t stop thinking about it.

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  • Older

    A
    Grade: A

    Older

    Oh I LOVED this book. And sometimes I will feel a little bit guilty reading something so far from the pub date (it comes out 9/8/20) but this one was sitting on my shelf just taunting me! If you know me, then you know that Younger (which is based on a book!) is one of my all time favorite shows, about a woman in her 40’s who re-enters the workforce, pretending to be 26. And this is the sequel. I didn’t read the first book but watch the show religiously so was fine. Liza is now turning 50, and a little lost in life. She’s broken up with her on again off again boyfriend Josh, her daughter Caitlin is pregnant, and she’s just published her book, Younger! Her friend Kelsey is out in LA, shopping the book around, and it gets optioned for a show. So Liza heads West to help work on the show. Through that we are introduced to a whole new cast (literally) of characters, including high-maintenance actress Stella and older dreamboat actor Hugo. Hugo is playing her boss (think Charles in the show) and the two of them develop quite a flirtation. I loved this book. It isn’t going to change your life or leave you thinking for days, but it scratched such an itch for me and made me really happy. Highly recommend pre-ordering it and that way in September you’ll get a little treat in the mail!

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