What I’m Reading

It appears that I’ve fallen a bit behind on my book reviews! I did plenty of reading but June was a pretty crazy month and I never found the time to sit down and write a review for any of them. So, here’s what I read over the past month, along with a quick review!

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about How to Walk Away. On one hand, I really liked Margaret, the main character. You can feel her pain throughout her experience and how let down by everyone she felt. Ian was enjoyable up to the end and then things just got ridiculously hopeless Rom-Commish. I digress …

There were definitely parts of this book that I felt were irrelevant, (Maggie’s sister and her mom’s feud, for example), and unrealistic (travelling across the ocean to not-crash but crash a wedding), but overall it was a decent read.

Random, unfortunate coincidence: I started reading this a day after the RCAF Snowbirds crash happened here in my city. So that weighed pretty heavily in my mind while I read this and may or may not have reflected my thoughts on the book.

My rating: ★★★★/5 stars

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

If you never read The Handmaid’s Tale don’t even bother picking this one up! You’ll end up way more lost and confused that you already may be.

Anyway, similar to Handmaid’s, The Testaments takes a bit of time for the storyline to pick up and make sense, but once it did, it was such a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one over its predecessor. Atwood kept me wondering where everything was going and in the end I was quite pleased, with the exception of the whole rowboat and water tower situation. (Surely there was an alternative to that?)

Anyway, I thought it was a fantastic way to “end” Gilead and I couldn’t help just chuckle every time Canada was mentioned as something evil. Yup. That’s us. We lure your women into allowing them to live freely.

My rating: ★★★★/5 stars

The Lies that Bind by Emily Giffin

The Lies that Bind was probably one of my Top 3 Most Anticipated Novels for me this summer. Once again, I feel that Emily Giffin delivered.

It’s true that if you loved Something Borrow and/or Something Blue, you’ll likely enjoy this one as well. (Spoiler alert: Rachel, Darcy and Ethan make a special guest appearances.)

Anyway, back to the book itself. The Lies that Bind is full of passion, compassion, and well, lies (duh), but it’s all brought together so wonderfully that it all just works. Told around the events of 9/11, the love stories, are relatable, and in my opinion, believable. It shows how tragedy can create the most unexpected relationships. I’ll admit that Cecily was perhaps a little too naive when it came to Grant, and that her friendship with Amy was a little farfetched. Overall I really enjoyed reading it and remain a huge fan of Giffin.

My rating: ★★★★★/5 stars

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

I have a lot of feelings about American Dirt, so first, I’ll start with the good:

The story as a whole, while tragic and painful, was an amazing one to read. I felt Lydia, Luca, Soledad, and Rebeca’s grief. I feared for their lives with them. I wanted them to get to “el norte” so, SO badly. I seriously had the hardest time putting this book down, it was so good.

Now, onto the not-so-good: My gripe with American Dirt is that is was written by woman who self-identifies as white and only has a slight sliver of ethnicity. I feel that she over-emphasized the slang and language a little too much, especially for a non-Spanish author.

Considering both my positive and negative opinions of American Dirt, I still think it’s a valuable read that presents many valuable conversation starters.

My rating: ★★★★½/5 stars

Follow Me by Kathleen Barber

Very rarely do I pick up thrillers, and after reading Follow Me it’s unlikely that I’ll pick up another one anytime soon. (Unless Gillian Flynn pens a new one, then I’m game.)

If Follow Me was a lesson in anything, it was that today’s generation cares too much about their online presence are are oblivious to the dangers of posting too much information. Audrey, the main character, had so many moments where I wanted to slap her, I nearly abandoned the book at least a half-dozen times. Yet here I am …

Aside from that, the characters were grossly underdeveloped and the ending was anti-climatic. The only reason why I finished it was because I wanted to know who did it, and even that was ridiculous and as I mentioned, underwhelming.

My rating: ★/5 stars

What I’m Reading: All We Ever Wanted

0385689705From the book jacket:
Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

My review:
If I could describe this book in one word, it would have to be “relevant.” All We Ever Wanted covers so much of what’s going on in the world today politically, from the most recent US presidential election to the #metoo movement. I think this may be one of the most thought-provoking books that Emily Giffin has ever put out, and I honestly loved it.

The main characters of the book, Tom, Lyla, and Nina are all likeable and relatable on some level, even if you don’t fit their social status. While she was fortunate to marry a successful businessman, Nina seems genuinely down-to-earth and caring, especially after what accusations were made against her son. She doesn’t use her financial status to try and buy forgiveness, and without trying to spoil the book for anyone, I’m certain that she wants her son to be punished accordingly based on her own past experiences.

Nina is your typical teenaged girl no matter where you live; she wants to be cool, wants the popular boy to like her, wants to be accepted. It’s all something that every girl has experienced growing up in some shape or form. Even what something awful happens to her, she fears for her reputation more than anything and would rather ignore the fact that something is wrong than be labeled as “that girl” at school.

I think the main reason why I loved this book so much is because it covered such an important topic in today’s society in such a literary way. Personally, it really made me think, is enough really being done to prevent sexual misconduct or abuse? Are we really in a world where we have to teach our children what’s right and wrong when it comes to this? Should we not, as moral human beings, know the difference instinctually?

All We Ever Wanted really expresses how abuse has no societal boundaries and how the way that it dealt with depends on the haves and have-nots.

There is so much more that could be said about the topic of the book alone, but instead of getting into that I’m just going to say that it is definitely worth reading. There isn’t one single thing about the book that I didn’t like; I didn’t want to stop reading because I was so drawn to the storyline. It’s most definitely worth 5 stars out of 5. Thank you, Emily, for penning this!


What I’m Reading: First Comes Love

26192467From Goodreads.com:
In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.
Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

My review:
I was beyond excited when I first learned that Emily Giffin was penning a new novel, so the day that it was released I snatched up my copy from the local bookstore. Of course, I was in the middle of reading a different book, so it took me longer than desired to start reading it.

Once I did get to it though, I had mixed feelings. While I wasn’t head over heels in love with the characters (Meredith and Josie are both blind to their own shallow behaviour and put the blame on one another too much), I did enjoy the story itself. Too often in life do you hear about people choosing  what they think is right for everyone, not just themselves, and it’s easy to forget that you need to do what’s best for you and your own happiness.


I didn’t think Josie’s decision to venture into motherhood via donor was selfish – being a single parent scares the ever-loving bejesus out of me. There are so many wrongs ways go go about having a child, and she chose her method wisely.

(However, I would’ve perhaps liked to have seen more romance for Josie instead of awkward friendship dates with her donor.)

And Meredith … I just don’t know. I don’t think she stood up for herself enough, but I suppose that was the theme of the book. She wasn’t honest with herself and paid the price when it came to her marriage. I think the only thing she was really honest about was not wanting to have another child, and it frustrated me that her husband was upset about that. (I could write an entire post on that topic though, so I won’t get into here.)

But again, I did like the story itself. When something tragic happens, it’s really hard to find closure and it’s hard to realize that not everyone grieves the same. For some, it may take only a few weeks, or like in the case of Meredith and Josie, it may take someone years to wrap their heads around what happens and to come to terms with it. I cannot fault the characters for that whatsoever.

Overall, I’m giving First Comes Love 4 stars out of 5. There could have been a few more layers to the characters, but it was still enjoyable.