Well, well, well, look who’s back in action. It’s been a while my friends, but I’m happy to be here. Hopefully, I won’t ever again take a break as big as this last one. 2020 has been a smack in the face to a lot of people, and I am no different. But on the bright side, I’ve been reading a lot these last few months, and I can’t wait to share some of my top recommendations.
Before I jump into things, I wanted to let you know about this app I discovered that’s been helping me read so much more. Since we’ve been under a Stay-At-Home order in Nashville, I discovered Libby. It lets me borrow books from my library virtually. I originally downloaded it so I could start listening to audiobooks, but when I found out I could also read e-books, I was hooked. I’ve never been much of audiobook or e-book reader, but quarantine has definitely brought out the reader in me. Since I can’t get physical books from the library, I am definitely making do with what I have. I love listening to audiobooks while I go on walks or get ready in the morning, and e-books are perfect for when I’m out-and-about but still want to get a few pages in.
Okay, let’s get started!
1 // Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Audiobook)
I read Girl, Stop Apologizing in March, and when quarantine started, I figured I would listen to Hollis’s first book while cleaning out my closet. I wasn’t blown away by either book if I’m being completely honest, but here we are. Each chapter in Girl, Wash Your Face focuses on a specific lie Hollis has been telling herself for years. She tells an anecdote about the lie, and then wraps up the chapter with how she managed to break her loop. It’s your run-of-the-mill self-help book. 3/5 stars
2 // The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
I read books 1-4 of the Throne of Glass series before reading the prequel. I was feeling pretty burned out on the series when I decided to read The Assassin’s Blade, and I’m so glad I did. It completely reinvested me into the series and gave me a reason to keep reading until the end. I think I like this prequel so much because it’s a series of short stories the build upon each other to give an overarching view of Celaena/Aelin’s backstory. Sometimes I can feel like nothing is really happening in Maas’s books since she’s such a lover of words, but I felt like every word used in The Assassin’s Blade had a purpose. 5/5 stars
3 // Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Empire of Storms was one of my favorite books in the series, and I think I owe that entirely to The Assassin’s Blade. This book follows Aelin as she and her court round up some of her old friends to help her in the war against Erawan. It’s action-packed and ends on a complete cliff-hanger. Reading the next book is going to be torture since I just want to know what happens next. 4/5 stars
4 // Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Audiobook)
I finally listened to this whirlwind story about truly crazy rich Asians. Kwan’s book was great. I haven’t seen the movie, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I really enjoyed the world he created. If you don’t know, Crazy Rich Asians is about a Singaporean family that is, well, rich. Some of the members are snotty brats, but some are just like normal people. The book follows a handful of characters, but the main story is about Rachel and Nick. They are attending Nick’s best friend’s wedding, and Rachel has no idea what she is about to step into. Nick, who works as a professor in the state’s, hasn’t told her anything about his rich family, and she is in for quite the treat. From catty bridesmaids to an evil mother-in-law, Kwan’s story has it all. 4/5 stars
5 // The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (E-Book)
I strictly read light reads when I read an e-book because I mostly read them before bed. The Devil Wears Prada is a classic. It follows Andy, an aspiring writer, during her first hell-ish job as an assistant to the Miranda Priestly — Editor-in-Chief of Runway Magazine. Andy is required to do all the normal assistant tasks such as order breakfast, grab coffee, and deliver magazines, but everything is 10 times worse because Miranda is insane. I didn’t absolutely love this book, but I also didn’t hate it. It was just there. I felt like it lacked a sense of conflict — or maybe the conflict was just too predictable. Every time I thought Andy was going to royally mess up, the bubble never seemed to really pop. 3/5 stars
6 // It by Stephen King
17 months later and I finally finished this chonker. King is an amazing author. The worlds he is able to create and put on paper will never cease to amaze me. It follows a group of friends during two time periods in their lives — as 11-year-old kids and then 27 years later. During each time in their lives, the gang is battling a mysterious evil in their town to try to save kids in Derry from dying. King explores themes of childhood innocence, friendship, memory and trust. It’s hard to get into what makes this book so amazing without giving anything away, but I can say that it is totally worth the 1200 pages of reading. 5/5 stars
7 // China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (Audiobook)
Of course, I had to keep reading once I finished the first book. China Rich Girlfriend follows Rachel and Nick on a journey to get to know Rachel’s new family. She meets her half-brother for the first time, and they go on a series of adventures with him and his girlfriend. I didn’t like this story as much as the first one, but it was still a wild ride from beginning to end. 4/5 stars
8 // We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (E-Book)
We Were Liars is about four teenage friends that live at the beach during the summer. Mostly, the kids are from wealthy families, and they see how greed and desire can corrupt a family. The main character, Cadence, starts to suffer migraines after an accident that occurred during her fifteenth summer — an accident she can hardly remember. The book is focused on figuring out what that accident was, and it takes a heartbreaking turn. While I thought the twist was creative, that’s all the book really was — the twist. It wasn’t particularly well-written, the characters weren’t particularly well developed, and once you discovered the twist, it just kind of ended. 3/5 stars
9 // The Dreamers by Karen Walker Thompson
I read a book about a mysterious illness during quarantine. I understand my choices were a little odd, but I actually think I got more out of the story by reading it during this time than I would have if I read it under any other circumstances. In Thompson’s world, Santa Lora — a small college town — is put under lockdown when kids at the college start falling asleep and not waking up. The disease is contained in the town through extreme measures like the National Guard and police officers stationed at the borders of the town ensuring nobody can leave. Thompson follows five or six main characters as they experience the virus in vastly different ways. No spoilers, but reading this book actually gave me more hope for the world during COVID-19. 5/5 stars