July Reading List

It’s been hot as heck here in Las Vegas this month. I mean, uncomfortably so. I don’t spend much time outside when the weather is like this, unless I’m in the pool. And if I’m in the pool, I want to be laying in our new margarita pool float with a book in my hand.

Most of what I read this month, though, I read inside where there is air conditioning and iced coffee never too far out of reach. My kid has even taken to pick up a book off my shelf, slid back onto the couch and open it. “I’m mama!” he says, laughing hysterically. To his credit, he is pretty damn cute when he does it.

What I read in July


In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life — I’ve been on the wait list for this ebook at the library for quite a while and am so happy to finally be jumping in.
  • The First Taste — because I’m slowly working my way through all the Jessica Hawkins books on my iPad.

Coming Up

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

“Goodbye, Vitamin” was an Unexpected Gem

Goodbye, Vitamin

Before reading “Goodbye, Vitamin” I did something I don’t usually do—actually, something I downright refuse to do, which is look at the reviews of a book before I read it. You see, I want to open a book unbiased; I don’t want other people’s thoughts swarming around in my head before I’ve even given the book a chance.

I logged on to Goodreads and read four or five reviews.

Thankfully, they didn’t stop me from buying the book.

Goodbye, Vitamin, though short, is written in small vignettes that read just like a diary. Ding, ding—I’m in love already. You give me anything that looks even remotely like a glimpse into the private, inner thoughts of someone and I am all in.

All. In.

If you need proof of why I loved this book so much, here it is:

“It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants.”

And:

When I brought it up, months later, Joel said, “What are you talking about?” because he didn’t remember it—he’d forgotten it completely—and it was at that point I realized that I could remember something and he could remember something different and if we built up a store of separate memories, how would that work, and would it be okay? The answer, of course, in the end, was no.

And, especially:

If I were you is something I’ve never really understood. Why say, “If I were you”? Why say, “If I were you,” when the problem is, you’re not me? I wish people wouldn’t say, “Since I am me,” followed by whatever advice it is they have for me.

And haven’t we all felt this way before:

What I want to know is what counted for something and what counted not at all. Now I feel like shit for spending that time–that’s the word it’s convention to use: spending—on what turns out not to matter, and neglecting the things that did, and do.

And, oh oh oh:

You know what else is unfair, about Joel? That I loosened the jar lid, so somebody else could open him.

That last quote… well, it stirred so many thoughts in me. But it’s safe to say that’s what the whole book did to me.

It reminded me that life is short. That nothing is guaranteed. That sometimes love doesn’t work out. It reminded me to pick up the phone and call my parents more often. To say “I love you” more.

Goodbye, Vitamin was, to sum it up, an absolutely unexpected gem.


To read more of my book reviews, click here.

June Reading List

After reading as much as I did in May I had a feeling that June wouldn’t be as plentiful. And I was right. Instead of reading this month I spent time traveling for work, watching too much TV (like season five of Orange Is The New Black and finishing re-watching the Dexter series with my husband) and trying (and failing) to make progress on my Finding Lily novel re-write. Not feeling sorry for myself though, no–that would be silly. (Hello sarcasm!)

I can tell, though, that things will pick up again in July. I always read a lot in the summer months–it’s got to be something about all the time spent poolside, sipping on riesling out of the new plastic wine glasses I bought because my husband can’t be trusted with glass, ha!).

What I read in June:

  • THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid (BOTM) – I quite literally don’t have the words to describe how much I adored this novel. Go pick up a copy for yourself if you haven’t already. I talked about the book a little more in depth here.
  • SOMEBODY ELSE’S SKY BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Like the first in the series I read this book quickly, devouring it. Knowing I have to wait until October to read the final installment in the trilogy is torture.
  • SLIP OF THE TONGUE BY JESSICA HAWKINS – Ok, so I’ve been reading a lot of her work lately. It’s just what happens when you fall in love with an author. Like all her other books that I’ve read, this one didn’t disappoint.

In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


Coming Up

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

Some Thoughts on “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo since I finished it five days ago. This is not abnormal. Not when it comes to novels by Taylor Jenkins Reid, who quickly became one of my favorite authors after reading One True Loves last year.

Reid has this extraordinary way of creating at once the most complex, infuriating, satisfying and likable characters I’ve ever had the honor of getting to know. The Seven Husbands is no exception to the rule. In fact, Reid took her skills to a whole other level.

“[The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo] is an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.”

I can’t even begin to put into words how much I loved this book. It was beautiful and engaging and a little something like reading a gossip column, but in the best way. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it. Reid has outdone herself, continuing to show amazing growth as an author. I can’t even begin to guess where she’ll take us next, but I know I’ll be first in line to buy it.

And can we talk about the book cover for a moment? Everything about it is so beautiful, the colors so rich. It is so perfect.

Because I share so much of what I read online I often get asked the top five books that I would recommend. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has definitely found itself a place on that list (speaking of which, would anyone actually like me to share my top five list?).

Anyway, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is out tomorrow, so you should think about grabbing yourself a copy.

 

May Reading List

Wow, somehow I managed to read six books in May, which kind of blows my mind considering all I had going on. Wait—that’s not entirely true. When life gets crazy and my stress levels go up, I find I read more in order to try and balance things out.

What I read in May:

  • BROKEN BAY BY ANDREA DUNLOP – This one was short and sweet and boy oh boy did I want more. Andrea Dunlop is a fantastic writer.
  • WOMAN NO.17 BY EDAN LEPUCKI (BOTM) – This one started off with so much potential, but left me wanting.
  • WRITE NAKED BY JENNIFER PROBST – This book was absolutely brilliant. I am certain that Jennifer’s teachings will take my writing to a new level. A must for every romance writer.
  • THE FOXE & THE HOUND BY R.S. GREY – I enjoy Rachel’s books; they’re light and fun and always funny. While this one wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it.
  • YOURS TO BARE BY JESSICA HAWKINS – My first (and certainly not my last) Hawkins read. This book was so sexy and I absolutely loved it. So much so that I finished it, put it down, and picked up Something In The Way.
  • SOMETHING IN THE WAY BY JESSICA HAWKINS – I read this book in one day, that’s how good it was. If you like forbidden romances, pick this one up. But just a warning: it’s a three part series, so it leaves off on a cliffhanger.

In Progress

Here’s what I’m currently reading:


Coming Up

I’ve just put in my order for BOTM and here’s what I chose:

If you want keep up with what I read during the month, follow me on instagram @racheldelxo and @alovelettertobooks.

APRIL READING LIST.

So, I’ve been bad about posting my book lists each month. When the writing is flowing, everything else seems to fall to the wayside. But I’m not complaining one….tiny… bit. I’m actually surprised that I got through four books (and started reading a fifth) this month.

As always, comment and let me know what you’re reading, or what I should be reading. Or even what I should steer clear of.
1. STARTUP BY DOREE SHAFRIR
Startup is a novel based around the hyper-competitive tech startup market. A tech blogger uncovers a juicy secret and, well, most everything unravels from there. This was such a funny, topical book. I found myself nodding along, or groaning in embarrassed agreement. And let’s not forget about the strong women at the core of the novel—you’ve got to love that.
2. REVELRY BY KANDI STEINER
I could have devoured this book, but chose instead to read it slowly. To savor it. To really enjoy it. And I’m so glad I did. I loved this book. No surprise there! Kandi Steiner remains one of my favorite authors these days, and REVELRY is a perfect example of why.”He was trying to figure out my story–who I was, why I was there. And I’d have told him, but I didn’t know myself.”Whether or not I could relate to the fact that she was going through a divorce, Wren is an incredibly relatable character and I found myself rooting for her from the very first page. And as usual–I wasn’t disappointed.
3. WHEN YOU FIND OUT THE WORLD IS AGAINST YOU BY KELLY OXFORD
Read this one quite quickly because I couldn’t not. Witty, clever and so relevant. And man did she make me miss Canada!
4. ALL AT SEA BY BECCA AITKENHEAD
I really enjoyed All At Sea by Decca Aitkenhead. Though heartbreaking, it left me feeling grateful for and in awe of my life and the little family I have built. A great reminder for those of us who are just going through the motions every day instead of truly living.

Revelry by Kandi Steiner

Happy release day to my girl, Kandi Steiner. She killed it with this one, you’re going to want to pick up a copy for yourself and all your girlfriends.

 

SYNOPSIS

Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.

She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.

Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.

Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.

He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.

Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.

MY REVIEW

Having just finished REVELRY an hour before sitting down to write this review, I feel as though I’m still working through my feelings. What I DO know, is that I loved it. No surprise there! Kandi Steiner remains one of my favorite authors these days, and REVELRY is a perfect example of why.

“He was trying to figure out my story–who I was, why I was there. And I’d have told him, but I didn’t know myself.”

Divorced or not, Wren is an incredibly relatable character and I found myself rooting for her from the very first page. And as usual–I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m on a Roll

I don’t want to jinx anything, but, when it comes to books, I’m on a roll.

It started early this year with Lucky You by Erika Carter—which was so beautifully written. There’s something about young women trying to find themselves and make sense of their messy lives that always gets me. And then I jumped right into History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. The writing was exquisite and the characters so well-formed that I didn’t even mind being left with unanswered questions in the end. Shortly after that, I read All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood, which was so uncomfortable and beautiful and attitude-altering that I will probably always get chills when I think about it. From there, there was Dark Matter (devoured) and The Animators (truly a touching story of the vulnerability of women and friendship) and I’ve put the smallest dent into The Possessions in the past twenty-four hours. 

These would be the books that sit out on my bedside table (if I had one—but seriously, I’m in the market for one, I’m just so damn picky and cheap) because I never want to be too far away from them. And beside them would be the perfect reading lamp (that is evading me) and a collection of my favorite pens (that, in another word, my toddler wouldn’t run off with). A glass of water. Lip balm. Hand lotion. Now I’ve gone off topic…

All of this is just to say: there are truly some incredible books out there. And I’ve read five of them already this year.

I Want to Start Reading Like Ksenia Anske

I’m a bookworm. I always have been and I always will be. It’s rare that I don’t have a book with me. It’s rare to see me, in my spare time, not with a book in my hand or close by. I love to read … but lately I feel a little like I’m not enjoying it as much as I could be.

It made me think of the incredible, Ksenia Anske.

I follow Ksenia on social media religiously, so I knew she was—for lack of a better term—really paying attention to the books she read, even before she wrote this post about it. I read her post. I read it a second time. And then I thought: this is what I need to do. Maybe not write notes in the detail that she does, but take the time to truly notice how they’re written. I have this bad habit of racing through books—especially the ones I like. And sometimes I feel like that’s going it a disservice. What I really should be doing is slowing down and enjoying it.

So that’s what I’m going to do. And I have no doubt that it will make me a better reader and a better writer. I just might snag myself a pretty little notebook to write in, too, just like Ksenia. And I might just share my experiences with it, because, well, this is my little space on the internet to talk about whatever I want to.

Usually, I want to talk about books.

THE BEST BOOKS I READ ALL YEAR (THE 2016 EDITION)

Here are (in my humble opinion) the best books I read in 2016, in no particular order:

IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover

There are only two books I’ve ever read that have made me cry, and It Ends With Us is one of them. It was brave and heartbreaking and glorious and absolutely unforgettable.

A LOVE LETTER TO WHISKEY by Kandi Steiner

If you’ve read A Love Letter To Whiskey, you know I don’t even really need to explain why this was one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go was well written and had me staying up late for three nights reading it. It was engaging and kept me guessing for the most part (I will admit that some of it was predictable, but it’s pretty much impossible NOT to have some predictability). That twist in the middle, though… that one got me 🙂

AFTER I DO by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Let me gush about the perfection of AFTER I DO for a moment. This book. This. Book. I felt as though I crawled into Ryan and Lauren’s life. I felt their pain. I felt their frustrations and indifference and joy. I laughed. I cried. Oh how I cried!

A PLACE IN THE SUN by R.S. Grey

A Place In The Sun was romantic in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time. It wasn’t the fastest paced, nor did it give you emotional whiplash … but I was grateful for that. It was … exactly what I needed it to be: light, funny, sweet and full of hope. R.S. Grey out did herself.

THE DREAMLAND SERIES by E.J. Mellow

I love when I pick up a book that I would usually pass by … and love it. The first of the series, The Dreamer was one of those books. I’ll be honest, I’m not usually one to read fantasy, but I gave this series a go and I was absolutely not disappointed. I will say this: buy all of the series in one go, because ending this one where it left off without having the next book was torture!

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SOPHIE STARK by Anna North

I absolutely loved this book. Such beautiful writing. I was on vacation when I read this and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

What are the best books you read last year?