2. Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe In Another Life

So, have I mentioned that I have a perfect boyfriend recently? No? Okay, well here goes.

This past Christmas, one of my gifts was ‘from’ my dog (actually something my boyfriend bought for me). As if that’s not cute enough, the gift was an autographed copy of my favorite author’s newest book. Wait, it gets better. Taylor Jenkins Reid signed these books at a bookstore near where she lives, in California, which is on the opposite coast of where I live. So he had the book shipped from California to Vermont just so I could have an autographed copy. Adorable, no?

Anyway, this past weekend I read the book. I’ve been trying to hold off on it for as long as I could, because I knew I would finish it in one day and I didn’t want to be done with it, but I finally caved.

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Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life (photo taken by me)

The book starts out with the main character, Hannah, moving from New York to LA, where she grew up. Hannah is almost 30 and has never stayed in one place for very long, but she gets out of a bad relationship and her best friend Gabby convinces her to move home.

On her first night in LA, Hannah goes out with Gabby and her friends, where she runs into her high school boyfriend (who she always thought was the one), Ethan. They start talking and flirting, but before long, Gabby shows up and says she’s heading home, asking Hannah if she wants to go too.

From there, the chapters of the book alternate between two different worlds – one in which Hannah stays out with Ethan, and one in which she goes home with Gabby. The two worlds quickly take very different turns and we see how one simple decision can affect so much.

The book says a lot about the idea of fate, while we follow Hannah through two very different lives full of their own struggles.

Of course, since this is my favorite author we’re talking about, I loved this book. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of hers, but it’s still really good, and I fell in love with both stories. My only complaint would have to be that the ending kind of left me wanting more, although overall I was pleased. I give this book two thumbs up.

 

1. Emily Giffin – Something Blue

Hey guys! I haven’t set my goal for books as high this year, so I haven’t gotten as much reading in, and that’s why I haven’t been very active on here.

But, last weekend, I finished my first book of the year! It was Something Blue by Emily Giffin, the follow up to Something Borrowed, which I read last year.

The first book was about a woman named Rachel, who had always been in love with her best friend Darcy’s fiance, Dex. One thing leads to another and Rachel and Dex start hooking up. *SPOILER ALERT* By the end of the book, Dex has called off his wedding to live happily ever after with Rachel.

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Emily Giffin – Something Blue (photo taken by me)

In the second book, we follow Darcy after her wedding is cancelled. We learned at the end of the last book that she had also been cheating on Dex and had become pregnant by his friend Marcus. So at the start of this book, Darcy starts a new relationship with Marcus.

Of course, a lot of problems and complications come up, and we follow Darcy all the way to London while she prepares to have Marcus’ baby.

I liked this book. I’ve always been a fan on the movie version of Something Borrowed, and I loved the book version too, but I wasn’t so sure I would like the second book because the main character was not my favorite in the first book.

However, the character really develops throughout the book and I grew to love her. I’d recommend this book if you’ve read the first one, it’s a great follow up.

56. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Hey, today is Christmas Eve Eve! Yay!

To get into the Christmas spirit (not that I haven’t been already – I’m listening to Christmas music as I write this and just finished making some gingerbread cookies), I decided to read some Christmas themed books!

The first one is Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. These two have written a few books together, including Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, which as you probably know was made into a movie.

After finishing this book, I read in the back description that the two authors wrote this book by emailing each other a chapter at a time without deciding where the story would go, and that made me like the story even more.

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Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (photo taken by me)

The book is (obviously) about two teenagers named Dash and Lily. At the start of the book, it’s a few days before Christmas and Dash is in the Strand bookstore in New York. He finds a little red moleskine journal mixed in with some books, and opens it to find a puzzle of sorts.

The notebook takes him around the bookstore to solve a riddle and asks to be left for the original owner to reply.

Naturally, the original owner is Lily, a Christmas-obsessed teenage girl whose parents are out of the country for the holidays, meaning she has nothing to do.

The two of them exchange the notebook many times without ever actually meeting and began to feel really close to each other by sharing their stories.

As you’re reading it, you can’t wait for the two main characters to finally meet, but it didn’t happen the way I would have expected.

I really enjoyed this story, it’s a Young Adult book and it’s pretty short so it’s an easy read. I grew to really like the characters even though I can barely relate to either of them, but I think this is a really cute story to read around Christmastime and I’d like to read some of the other books by these authors.

53. Garth Stein – The Art of Racing in the Rain

Well, after reading a book that took me so long to get through, it was nice to fly right through one!

This week, I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

I don’t remember how I first heard about this book, but I knew of it without knowing what it was about. When I was home for Thanksgiving break, my mom went to Costco and I asked her to pick me up a book. She called me and named some of the books they had, and it was the only name I recognized, so I chose that one.

So, I really had no idea what this book was about going in, and looking back, I think that was a good thing. For that reason, I’m not going to go too much into the plot.

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Garth Stein – The Art of Racing in the Rain (photo taken by me)

The story is told by a dog named Enzo, which is really cool. We learn the story of Enzo’s life and his family’s through his perspective.

Overall, Enzo’s owner’s life is not the easiest, but it’s sweet to see it from the dog’s point of view, since he loves his owner so much.

If you’ve ever read pretty much any book that centers on a dog, you can guess that the ending is pretty sad (I was SOBBING as I read it), but I walked away happy and loving the book.

My sister saw that I had this book and told me that it was weird before I started it. While I was reading it, there were some parts that I definitely thought were weird, but once I finished it, that didn’t reflect my view of the whole book.

I did think some of the situations in the book may have been a little far-fetched, but I do think that they were not completely ridiculous and all in all I liked the story.

My only complaint would be that sometimes Enzo’s word choice was just way too sophisticated for a dog. He does say repeatedly throughout the book that he has the spirit of a human and he knows in his next life he will be a human, so he’s supposed to be smarter than the average dog. However, even that, I felt like he was too wordy at some times.

This book really struck me, since I’m such a dog lover, and overall I did really like the story. When Enzo’s owner Denny was in bad situations, I was rooting for him and relating to Enzo’s emotions. And, without giving it away, I thought the ending was really cute.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs, just be warned that you’ll probably be crying at some point.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram page that goes along with this site, @beccasbookshelves (and my personal page @becc.adams)!

43. Kate White – A Body to Die For

I know I’ve been slacking lately on my reading (which is in part due to my utter lack of a to-be-read pile), but this weekend I read two books! This post is only about the first one and I’ll post about the second later this week.

So, this weekend was my cousin’s bridal shower. Because of that, I had to go spend the weekend at my grandparents’ house, which can get pretty boring. Luckily I brought two books with me (although I could have used more).

Kate White - A Body to Die For (photo taken by me)
Kate White – A Body to Die For (photo taken by me)

The first book I read was A Body to Die For by Kate White. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of Kate White. I really like her writing style and storylines. This book is the second in her Bailey Weggins series, following If Looks Could Kill.

In the first book, Bailey Weggins helps her friend and boss Cat investigate the death of Cat’s nanny. At the start of A Body to Die For, Bailey is on a weekend trip to her mom’s friend’s spa, to relax after dealing with investigating a murder.

However, on Bailey’s first night at the spa, a worker is found dead. Of course, Bailey does what she can to help her mom’s friend and tries to figure out what happened.

I really liked this book (shocking, I know). I actually read the whole thing in just one day, and I was so sad when it ended that I immediately ordered the next book in the series.

I’m always afraid when I read a new one of White’s books that I will see the ending coming, because a lot of the details in her books seem to be similar. However, with this book, I was totally off with my guess of who had done it.

As I’ve said before, I really like White’s writing style, and while there may be some cheesy romance parts, overall I really like her stories. They keep me interested and I always can’t wait to figure out how it ends. If you’re interested in mystery books, I’d definitely recommend these books.

42. Taylor Jenkins Reid – After I Do

So, I’m pretty much the most lame person ever. I just moved into school last Sunday and then this past Thursday, I went home for the weekend. I know, lame, right? But, it was so I could see my cutie cute nephew who came out to visit.

So anyway, since I went home, I had a six hour train ride, and I finished a whole book on the way. Yay!

The book was After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I don’t know if any of you remember, but I recently found a new favorite book, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Forever, InterruptedSince I loved that book so much, I was eager to read After I Do and had high expectations for it.

Those expectations were definitely met. I also loved this book. Not as much as the last one, but I still loved it.

Taylor Jenkins Reid - After I Do (photo taken by me)
Taylor Jenkins Reid – After I Do (photo taken by me)

Basically, this book is about a married couple who fall into too much of a routine and grow to resent each other. They decide the best way to move forward is to do a “trial separation” – they agree to spend an entire year apart with no contact at all, and at the end of the year see if they want to get back together. The reader follows the wife, Lauren, through that year of her life.

The book starts out by showing bits of their life together over the past eleven years, so the reader can see how their relationship has gone downhill. Then we meet up with the couple as they decide to split up temporarily and see the whole thing through.

You have to admit, this book has a unique concept. I wasn’t sure if I would like it all that much, but Reid does a beautiful job handling the subject. I really grew to love all the characters in the book and Lauren’s family had me laughing the whole time.

This book definitely pulls at your heartstrings and makes you appreciate all your loved ones. Toward the end of the book, I really wasn’t sure how Lauren and Ryan’s relationships was going to end up, which I really liked. I thought that it would have an obvious ending, but it kept me hooked all the way to the end.

I really enjoyed this book and continue to look forward to reading Reid’s other book (and any future books she may write). I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially if they have read Forever, Interrupted and enjoyed it.

41. Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After

This coming weekend, I’m leaving to head back to school for my senior year (don’t remind me). Yikes!

Which means, I likely just finished my last book of the summer, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This is the third in a trilogy, and I’ve previously reviewed both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Stephanie Perkins - Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)
Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)

One of my favorite things about this trilogy is that in the last two books, characters from the previous book(s) show up somehow in the story. I think that’s a really cool way to connect all the stories but also keep them separate stories, since they’re not super intertwined.

In this book, Isla is a senior at the School of Americans in Paris, the same school that Anna attends in the first book. Isla has had a crush on a boy named Josh (one of Anna’s friends) since she was a freshman. At the very start of the book she finally finds the courage to talk to him, since she’s all doped up from getting her wisdom teeth taken out. After this Isla’s crush only intensifies.

The rest of the story (obviously) follows their relationship. It has its ups and downs, of course, and it’s kind of a crazy story, really. If you’ve read the other two books, Isla’s story is more wild than the other two, in my opinion.

This was definitely not my favorite book of the three. I’d say Anna and the French Kiss is probably my favorite.

This book was a little better than okay for me. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. I liked the story over all and definitely liked the ending, but the story did seem to progress a little too quickly for my taste. It could just be because I read through it kind of fast, but the whole story felt rushed and everything seemed to happen so fast.

I did feel like some of Isla’s thoughts and actions seemed childish, but that might just be a trait used to intentionally make the character more realistic, since she is in high school. As a college senior now (again, eek!) the way she reacts to some things just seems silly to me.

Overall, I did like this book. It’s definitely an easy read so it makes for some good light reading. If you have read the first two in the trilogy and not this one yet, it’s definitely worth your time.