Well, I didn’t reach 35 reads this year, but I did read one more book than last year, so that’s a start, right? Hmm … I blame it on Outlander. Stupid 800-page book. You can find my earlier reads here, here and here.
The Duke and I. Julia Quinn may very well be my new favorite romance author. Her dialogue is what really grabs my attention. The main characters are so likeable in this book; I wish that they were my friends and that we could all hang out. Plus, the Bridgerton family is hilarious. I love the way the brothers interact with one another and how Daphne doesn’t take crap from anyone. The way she reacts to Simon’s bullshit hero dilemma proves that she is strong-willed, determined, loyal and fierce. The plot plays out like an 18th century Drive Me Crazy. (Before Adrian Greenier became Aquaman.) I loved this book and was eager to start reading the rest of Quinn’s Bridgerton series. Strongly recommended. 4 1/2 STARS
Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl. I decided to try out another memoir, but unfortunately I didn’t quite dig it. The premise itself was intriguing: How does a college graduate with an impressive degree become an English hooker? I guess I imagined some insight from a shamed woman about how anyone might do anything to survive. Instead I read musings from someone who seemed very likely to become a call girl; someone who spoiled herself with high-end clothes and shoes; someone who quite often disgusted me with her sex life (I’m not a prude or anything, but a lot of it was so vulgar); and someone who seems to have become a pro at keeping her readers at a distance. I just didn’t quite believe that all of her customers have been that kind (you know, for someone who hired a prostitute). It felt false. I won’t go so far as to recommend this book, but I will say that it had some interesting parts. 2 1/2 STARS
Never Let Me Go. I really dug this book and its veiled premise. It begins with three friends who attend what seems to be an idyllic boarding school in England back in the 60s. I don’t want to describe too much lest I give away the plot. Let’s just say this book makes you rethink friendship, love and morality. There were a few things I wish they had delved into a little bit more, like boarding schools outside Hailsham, but overall I thought it was the right amount of reflection and narrative. Those poor creatures. 4 STARS
The Help. This book came highly recommended and now I know why. The story is told by Aibeleen, Minny and Skeeter, three extraordinary women who each have their own story to share. I clicked with Skeeter and loved that her happily ever after wasn’t finding a husband, like her mother wanted. She found her own path. I connected with Aibeleen and her compassion for that child. And I adored Minny. She is absolutely hilarious and I still can’t believe what she did to that evil Hilly. This was a great read that not only explored living in Mississippi during the Civil rights movement but also the power of friendship. 5 STARS
The Viscount Who Loved Me. This is the second installment in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. It wasn’t as good as The Duke and I, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Quinn admits upfront in an author’s note that the hero dilemma this time around was a little bit of a stretch, so I approved of her admittance of that. I think it helped me find humor in the situation. Anthony, the first born in the Bridgerton family, is afraid of death. His father died young and he just can’t see how he could ever live longer than his father, who was quite possibly the greatest man he knew. So he decides to marry purely for producing an heir. Enter Kate. I adored Kate. She was everything I love in a heroine. Strong-willed, determined, snarky, classy, funny and open to love. 4 STARS
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I have mixed feelings. I loved the beginning and I adored the ending, but the middle was just so wishy washy. The story is about a couple. The wife goes into labor the night of a blizzard, which forces her and her husband (a doctor) to detour to a smaller clinic where only one nurse waits for their arrival. It turns out the woman gives birth to twins, but unfortunately one of these twins has Down Syndrome. The husband, realizing this, makes a terrible decision: He asks the nurse to take the baby to an institution for cases such as hers, then lies to his wife about it. But the nurse, who has a heart, after all, can’t do it and flees the state to raise the child as her own. It sounds so interesting, right? The rest of the book is basically the husband feeling guilty, the wife being depressed over her daughter that “died” and lots and lots of whining from everyone. But the ending was great and made up for the bulk of the story. (And you may think “This sounds like a Lifetime movie!” Well, it just so happens they turned it into a Lifetime movie. The book is better.) 3 STARS
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? Leave me a comment and let me know!