We really really need to discuss more books around here.
I’m sure y’all know that I’ve become quite the book worm in the past two years. Last year I shared all the books I read in recap posts, with a small blurb about my thoughts on the book. I think a lot of people liked those type of posts – so we need to get started on all the books I’ve read this year!
To date, since Jan 1 I’ve read 26 books this year. How crazy is that!?
Even more crazy, is that I’ve read 19 of those books since the beginning of April. I’ve been really really enjoying having time to read on my summer break. During the school year I only had time to read when I made time. Versus now, when I have lots of time and I choose to read above all other activities (including watching tv and unfortunately blogging)! I’ve been pouring through books every few days.
SO let’s get started. Here are the first 20 books I read this year. As usual, y’all can find the plot to these anywhere – so I’m sharing my personal thoughts on the books.
If you want to keep track of my reading – find me on Goodreads
I’m also putting MY goodreads rating, out of 5 stars.
Here’s my standard scoring scale:
1 star – couldn’t finish
2 stars – finished, but suffered
3 stars – it was just okay
4 stars – great book, but missing something
5 stars – amazing!
1. I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk (I Heart #2). 2/5. I read the first book in this series at the end of 2011 and LOVED it. I was so excited to keep moving through the series and was severely disappointed when I read this book. Unfortunately the main character, Angela, is so frustrating and makes horrible decisions. She whines about everything was exhausting.
However, I’m 4 books into this series and I will say – it’s a good series overall, so this book might be one you have to endure. OR maybe you like Angela more than I do.
2. Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate by Kyra Davis (Sophie Katz #3). 3/5. Another series read. I LOVE this series, I really do. This book wasn’t the best in the series, but it wasn’t bad either. It had a very strange plot involving some weird political/sexual circles. I absolutely love the main male and female character in this series and it was hilarious to read about them being involved in some very weird antics. That being said, it didn’t live up to the first book.
3. I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk (I Heart #3). 3/5. Given how much I didn’t like I Heart Hollywood, I was hesitant to read this one. I liked it better than Hollywood, however Angela just gets exhausting. She isn’t growing as a character through this series and it’s disappointing. I felt this story wasn’t completely wrapped up when the book ended, with quite a few loose ends. However, I just love the relationship Angela is in, so I keep reading.
4. Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella. 3/5 I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella and I love listening to her books on audiobook while I commute. This was my method of “reading” for this book, but for some reason it didn’t capture me the way that most of her other books do. I liked the story and it kept me interested, but I guess the plot was slightly less believable than I wanted it to be. Given another one of her books involves a ghost, which I loved, I’m not sure this is an excuse. I think it was just missing some of the charm I’ve found present in her other books.
5. Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich. 2/5 Another audiobook and this one was SHORT. It was only about 4 hours I think, so I finished it pretty quickly. If you want a really fluffy, light hearted short story to listen to while commuting – it’s worth your time. But otherwise, don’t bother. It’s really flat, the characters were super undeveloped and it was totally unbelievable. However, it was better than listening to the radio for hours on end.
6. Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. 5/5 Y’all – this book is SO southern. I also listened to this on audiobook and I didn’t know if I could make it through with the thick Georgia accent. However, I’m glad I kept listening because I LOVED this book. Oh man, what a great story it was. I had read a MKA book last year and did not like it, but I think that one was just a dud because now I’m loving the MKA books I’ve read recently.
If you don’t know much about the south, you might not get all the references in this book, but I think you’ll still enjoy it. This book also has a TON of information on interior decorating, which isn’t really my thing – but if you like that stuff, there’s another reason to love the book!
7. Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis (Sophie Katz #4). 2/5 I don’t think I got off on a very good start with this book. I never really felt connected to the story and I couldn’t keep all the characters separate. I started it in January though and didn’t finish it until March, so it’s very possible that I was just really swamped in life during that time and couldn’t commit to the story.
However, I do love this series and this book gives you a lot of history on Sophie’s family. Oh and I love Anatoly, so it was delightful as always to be reading about him!
8. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella. 4/5. I read this for my book club, which was so great – because I probably would have read it eventually on my own. This book was so different than the other Kinsella books for me, but yet still had the same feel – slightly airy, slightly ridiculous, but very entertaining.
I actually read it (instead of listened to it) and I think that definitely made a difference. I really liked the footnotes and felt they added substance and humor to the story (although, I always forgot to read them until I was about to flip the page). I enjoyed seeing the virtual relationship between Poppy and Sam!
9. Single in the City by Michelle Gorman. 3/5. I liked the story in this book, but I was very distracted by the author’s writing style. The story was laden with detail and I felt like she tried to fit too many events into just this one book. I was definitely confused about the story and characters while reading.
I read a lot of British Chick Lit, so it was interesting to see England from an American character’s perspective. Although, I feel like the author made it a bit too “British”. There were definitely slang words I didn’t know and references I didn’t get – and like I said, I read a lot of British Chick Lit.
And frankly, the ending was a cluster. I’ll probably read the sequel at some point – but the story didn’t grip me enough to read it anytime soon.
10. Faking It by Elisa Lorello (Andi Cutrone #1). 5/5 Before I say anything about this book, you need to know that I read this book plus the sequel (#11) back to back in ONE day. These books were GRIPPING and I could not put them down, for even a second.
The plot sounds absurd – a male escort and a professor meet and develop a friendship. It sounds like it would be fluffy and ridiculous, but it’s absolutely the opposite. The writing was so deep and meaningful, and given the subject matter – the writing was very tasteful and appropriate. I expected it to be crude and erotic and it was not at all. I loved the characters and how they interacted with one another. And I was able to rationalize how the story ended, which wasn’t my first choice. I think that just shows how well written this book was!
11. Ordinary World by Elisa Lorello (Andi Cutrone #2). 5/5 I think I typically get my way as a reader when I read books. Meaning, the authors tend to do what is expected of them and give you the story that you want to read. However, Elisa Lorello isn’t that type of author. I knew coming into this book, it was already going to start on a different foot that I wanted it to. Given that, this book was just as gripping to me as the first. It was completely different than the first, but affected me all the same.
I think if you are someone who has experienced a significant loss of a loved one and you aren’t fully over it, you should NOT read this book. The writing was SPOT ON for dealing with the different stages of grief and it really hit me in such a raw, personal way. I think a lot of people may not be able to relate to the characters and their experiences in this book – but I understood them all as someone who has dealt with a significant loss. Some may tire of the back and forth, but again – if you’ve been through it yourself – you understand it.
I wish the story continued after this, but it sadly doesn’t.
12. Cooking Up a Storm by Emma Holly. 4/5 This book (honest to God) accidentally ended up on my to-read shelf because it was set on Cape Cod, where I love to visit. I later realized, as I was buying it to read it, that it was an Erotica book and apparently *quite* the read. I read people’s reviews and just didn’t think it could be that over the top. But y’all, this book honestly puts 50 Shades to shame. It was SO SO SO graphic and full of sex in every.single.chapter.
However, given the nature of the book – the story was actually there. The characters were developed and I genuinely cared how the story was going to end. I thought the author was great at captivating your attention when there was no sex going on. I’ll admit, the sex scenes were definitely past my personal comfort level, but I’m glad I read it. I will probably never read it again though. Just saying.
13. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster. 3/5 People have been telling me to read this book for years and I finally got the chance for my book club. I really really wanted to like this book, but it was just a struggle for me. There were SO many layered stories in another story, in another story, and I just felt straight up confused all the time. I wondered why she was telling this particular story, when it seemed to have no relevance to her general point.
I think Jen is a lot like Tucker Max, who I find hilarious, but I just couldn’t brush her off the way I can brush Tucker Max off. I think probably because Jen is a woman and her indulgences that put her in such a financial downward spiral are not indulgences that I would partake in myself. It was hard for me to have respect for her as a person, when I just saw over and over how she screwed herself over. And in the end, I wanted to believe that she had changed – but I wasn’t convinced.
14. The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot (Boy #1). 4/5 I’ve had this book a while and kept meaning to read it, but never got around to it. I’m glad I finally did because I really really liked it! I love books that are written in email format, as this book is. I flew through this book, as it’s quite an easy read and a page turner. I really loved the characters and I loved reading all the different correspondence between everyone. It’s perfect for a rainy day at home, a beach or a plane ride!
15. Why I Love Singlehood by Elisa Lorello. 3/5 Since I loved Elisa’s other books – Faking it (#10) and Ordinary World (#11), I decided to give this one a try. I felt like a completely different author wrote this than the other books! While I loved the characters and the overall story here – I felt like the flow and the writing were unpolished. Something just felt off the entire time that I was reading. The characters were well developed and the story had a definite catch to it, but it just didn’t all come together for me. However, it’s worth a read if you really like Elisa Lorello – just to pay credit to her!
16. I Heart Vegas by Lindsey Kelk (I Heart #4). 3/5 I was kind of confused while reading this. I feel like some characters just appeared from no where, and that kind of consumed my thoughts while reading. As tired of Angela as I have become, the book (and series) actually picked up for me around the middle here because I FINALLY felt like Angela was learning something. I was so proud of Alex for standing up to her and finally making her decide to change her crazy ways. I also loved seeing one of the main characters from the Hollywood book come back into this story and help out Angela.
After reading this, I was really stoked to read the next book – London, which I can’t say I’ve felt in this series since finishing the first book. However, it was published ONLY in England. SIGH. So I’m currently debating if I’m going to wait for the US publication or if I’m going to order one from the UK on Amazon. I haven’t caved yet.
17. Exs and Ohs by Beth Kendrick. 5/5. This is another book I’ve had a while that I never got around to reading. I LOVED IT. Oh man, this book was freaking hilarious. It was absolutely 100% different than the way I thought it was going to be, but it was such a great surprise. This book reminded me of the movie, “Prime” and an early episode of the office rolled into one. It was just so awkward, but just so hilarious. I’ll admit, the end got a tad bit fluffy for me – but overall, such a pleasant surprise and breath of fresh air for the seemingly typical fluffy chick lit books I love to read.
18. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews. 5/5. Another book club read and another MKA book. I loved this one as well! Such a great balance for a chick lit book – great characters, good story, a little mystery/suspense. It wasn’t too fluffy, but was definitely a page turner and a very easy read. It also made me long for the Cape and the Beaches, where I spent my summers growing up.
I loved the overall themes of the book of being true to yourself and seeing the best in others.
19. Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (Gossip Girl #1). 3/5 I love the show and Kristina has been reading this series, so I thought eh why not. For starters, this is not Young Adult fiction. I would never let my teenager read this book, which was surprisingly even worse than the show. Anyway, I was bored with this book. Of course I love the show so I had heard the story, and I was like eh – yeah I know all of this. Overall – I was glad to read it and see where the show’s inspiration came from, but I wasn’t overly impressed after reading this book.
20. 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James (50 Shades #1). 5/5. I could literally write 1,000 reviews of this book (and series) and never be able to fully capture how strongly I feel for it. Simply put, this book changed my life. It’s made me completely aware of the types of books I really enjoy reading, which probably hasn’t been the books that I’ve been reading for such a long time. Even writing the reviews of the previous 19 books – I could tell the types of books that I used to love are now becoming tedious to me. I think more than anything else I’ve read, reading this series has caused that shift for me.
I was GRIPPED by this book. This book made me run the gamete of emotion – from anxious, to nervous, to uncomfortable, to inspired, to happy and to sad. I was just literally a mess while reading and I was straight up consumed. I’ve probably never cared more for two characters in my life and never been as impacted by a book before. I try to separate this book from the other two and I realize that I was devastated at the end of the book. The last scenes were such an emotional roller coaster that I was lost when I finished.
I love this book because it makes you reconsider how you react in your relationships. It makes you consider your past and question if/how you are letting people in or out of your life based on what’s happened to you before. It definitely make me reconsider myself and my actions many times, which I consider definitely a good thing.
I’m trying to put a little more distance between myself and the book before I re-read, just so I can see how much different the interpretation is the second time around. But I’ll admit, I can’t wait to go back and re-read them all again. Not a day has passed since I started these books that I haven’t thought about them.
Plain and simple – read it. Just read it, and if you don’t like it, that’s okay. But hopefully you fall in love with it as much as I have.