Recent Reads: Spring 2019

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So many books to read…so little time! Here’s a short list of books' I’ve read thus far this Spring.

1 | Year of Yes by Shondha Rhimes

Description: “With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.”

My Rating: 5/5 - This book deeply resonated me. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading it. I can relate to Shonda Rhimes. We’re both black women, single. Nerdy, introverted and sometimes shy. She has adopted children and I’m super interested in adopting a child someday. I loved this book and am not quite sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it. After all, I’ve faithfully started watching Grey’s Anatomy since Day 1 and depend of it for my weekly dose of tear inducing drama (Pisces feelings!). I highly recommend this book and feel inspired to starting my own ‘year of yes’ after reading this book.

2 | The Idea of You by Robinne Lee

Description: “Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles, is reluctant to take her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band. But since her divorce, she’s more eager than ever to be close to Isabelle. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things. 

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate and genuine relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways in Paris and Miami. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.“

My Rating: 5/5 - This book. wow. It destroyed me in the best way. I consider reading romance novels as a pillar of my self-care practices. Writing one is on my life bucket list. This book had great dialogue, an interesting plot and steamy love scenes. It’s also purported to be One Direction fanfic (Admission: I barely know who One Direction is with the exception of recognizing Harry Styles in celebrity photos…). Regardless, I thought about the characters long after I finished the book.

3 | Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Me Before You Series #3)

Description: “Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life. 
As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart—wherever that may lead?”

My Rating: 3.75/5 - I thought that this book was a good sendoff for the characters in the Me Before You Series. It had a tinge of sadness like all of the books in this series. It was also interesting to see NY through the eyes of someone who works for a rich family rather than as a visitor/tourist which is how I know the City. If you’re looking for a book to pack on your next vacation this summer, this is a decent one to read.

4 | Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

Description: “Charlotte Walsh is running for Senate in the most important race in the country during a midterm election that will decide the balance of power in Congress. Still reeling from a presidential election that shocked and divided the country and inspired by the chance to make a difference, she’s left behind her high-powered job in Silicon Valley and returned, with her husband Max and their three young daughters, to her downtrodden Pennsylvania hometown to run in the Rust Belt state.

Once the campaign gets underway, Charlotte is blindsided by just how dirty her opponent is willing to fight, how harshly she is judged by the press and her peers, and how exhausting it becomes to navigate a marriage with an increasingly ambivalent and often resentful husband. When the opposition uncovers a secret that could threaten not just her campaign but everything Charlotte holds dear, she has to decide just how badly she wants to win and at what cost.”

My Rating: 4/5 - I’ve been a fan of Jo Piazza’s books since I read The Knock Off. But this one really resonated with the current political landscape. Even if you aren’t a DC based low key political junkie like me, this story will resonate as Charlotte juggles the competing and demanding duties of a high-powered career, marriage and parenting young children in between all of that. Since the ending sort of leaves the door open for it, I hope there’a sequel.

5| An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Light by Sabaa Tahir (AN Ember in the Ashes Series #1 and #2)

Description: “In a fantasy world inspired by Ancient Rome, the story follows a girl named Laia spying for rebels against the reigning empire in exchange for their help in rescuing her captive brother; and a boy named Elias struggling to free himself from being an enforcer of a tyrannical regime.”

My Rating: 4/5 - I love a good fantasy or dystopian series. I also love dashes of magic, political intrigue, and slow burning romances. I’m counting these books as one since I read them back to back. While I think these books were pretty violent to be classified as YA, I really inhaled them within the space of a week. I’ll definitely read the third book, The Reaper at the Gates by the end of May.