APRIL READING LIST.

Posted: May 2, 2017 by Rachel

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

 

I’m on a Roll

Posted: March 2, 2017 by Rachel

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

Posted: January 24, 2017 by Rachel

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)

Posted: January 4, 2017 by Rachel

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?

THE BOOK LIST | #6

Posted: December 19, 2016 by Rachel

Here’s what I read in December:

 

AFTER I DO BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID

 

“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love.

What a beautiful thing to have been.

What a sad thing to be.”

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! This is my favorite TJR read yet, and she has cemented herself as one of my new favorite authors of all time.

TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN BY LAUREN GRAHAM

This book was exactly what I expected it to be. I could easily have glossed over some of it, but that’s okay, because really, I just wanted to hear about Gilmore Girls and her writing career. Done and done.

NAILED BY STACI HART

As a big fan of Staci Hart’s, I knew I would devour this little, sexy novella. Four stories. Four sets of strangers. Four sexual encounters. I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about such a thing before? These stories were short and delicious … just like I knew they’d be.

FOREVER, INTERRUPTED BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID

At the time of this review, I have read three of Reid’s novels, and I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that all three have made me cry. What a truly, truly wonderful story. And what an inspiring, yet heartbreaking ending.

MILK AND HONEY BY RUPI KAUR

I loved this collection of poetry, mainly because it is just how I like my poems; short, direct and powerful. This book is one I’m happy to own and will be reading over and over again.

SWEETBITTER BY STEPHANIE DANLER

Ok, where do I start? I was on the library waiting list for this book for MONTHS. When it finally came, I was so excited and read the first section with gusto. But then, despite the beautiful language and the intriguing cast of characters, I had to continually push myself to keep reading.

THE BOOK LIST | #5

Posted: August 2, 2016 by Rachel

Here’s what I read in July:

WASTED WORDS BY STACI HART

This was my first Staci Hart read and it certainly won’t be the last. This kind of genre fiction is my favorite: something I can get lost in. Something that makes me smile. Makes me feel. I really liked this book and can’t wait to read more of her work.

BECOMING BY LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

Loved this one so much that I wrote a full review about it, here.

WE COULD BE BEAUTIFUL BY SWAN HUNTLEY

This book was, much like its cover, incredible. I was pulled into the world of the characters right away, finding so much about the book very relatable. WCBB is an epic story of love and greed that leaves you wanting more.

I LET YOU GO BY CLARE MACKINTOSH

I had heard so much about this book, and was excited to read it. So when I got the email notice from my library that it was my turn to read the ebook, I was thrilled. I jumped in with both feet, completely in awe. 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 🙂 A GREAT read.

MOONSHOT BY ALESSANDRA TORRE

This was my first Alessandra Torre book, and certainly not be my last. Moonshot had me hooked and I read it in a few spurts over a span of a few days. Great read. I’ve gone and purchased two more of her books (in paperback this time). I so wish I’d bought the gorgeous paperback of this one instead of the eBook…

SOME THOUGHTS ON BECOMING, BY LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

Posted: July 26, 2016 by Rachel

I’m a little late to the game, though maybe not, seeing as this book isn’t yet available in the US. I waited something like four weeks from the release before I simply couldn’t take it anymore. So I ordered it from Amazon.uk, and when I saw the total (with the exchange rate and shipping), I sucked it up and hit order.

I sure don’t regret that. Not one bit.

It’s been almost over two weeks since I finished reading Becoming, and I still feel as though I can’t quite put into words how it made me feel. I was underlining sentences and marking up the margins with asterisks and jumbled notes to myself. I even wrote notes on scrap pieces of paper, like this one, which so well sums up how this book made me feel.

I saw a lot of myself in this book — and in Laura. Maybe not all of the sex (though there was some of that, too) but the desperate desire to find myself and my place in the world. In many ways, I’m still working on that.

I haven’t read many reviews of the book, but I know what people are saying: that’s it’s all about dirty sex and promiscuity. I’m not going to say that isn’t a big part of it, but that so many people are taking only that away from the novel is an absolute shame.

Becoming is about a woman’s journey to find herself after she was broken. And as we all know, that can be a long and messy road.

I’d followed Laura’s blog for a few years before reading Becoming, so I knew what I was getting into. Except, I didn’t really, because she blew me away. Her writing blew me away. And while the book didn’t have the WOW ending that one might expect from a memoir, as a reader, it was enough to know that she could go through all she did and come out on the other end standing tall. That is her WOW.

And that was more than enough for me.

6 PERFECT VACATION READS

Posted: May 21, 2016 by Rachel

It’s that time of the year when I start daydreaming about all the vacations I’m not going to get to take this summer, LOL. Well, that’s not entirely fair seeing as I spent three glorious child-free days in La Jolla, CA with my hubby at the end of April, and just came back from four days in my Canadian hometown. Let’s just say that’s probably it for the holidays until at least the fall.

Regardless, there’s one thing I love about vacations — besides getting away from the norm — and that’s vacation reads.

Here are a list of 6 books I’ve read that are perfect to take on vacation no matter where you go.

1. UGLY LOVE BY COLLEEN HOOVER
From Amazon: When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her: Never ask about the past. Don’t expect a future. They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

2. THE VACATIONEERS BY EMMA STRAUB
From Amazon: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

3. FINDING LILY BY RACHEL DEL
From Amazon: Lily Gardner thought she’d found her soul mate when she met and married the handsome and well-off Thomas Gardner. But eight years later, with a two-year-old in tow, she finds herself wading through the messy waters of divorce, and crying herself to sleep at night wondering if she’s lost her chance at love… and herself in the process. When she’s assigned the task of working with Nathan Trainor to reel in a popular author who is seeking new representation, she must put her troubles aside and do whatever it takes to get the job done. At once touching and hopeful, FINDING LILY is a contemporary inspirational romance novella that captures what it feels like to be given a second chance at life… and love.

4. THE SUMMER GAMES: SETTLING THE SCORE BY R.S. GREY
From Amazon: As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she’s landed in Rio, she’s ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true:The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs, the committee passes out condoms like candy, the games continue long after the medals have been handed out… As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she’s forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent–too bad he’s unavailable in a way that “it’s complicated” doesn’t even begin to explain. In other words: off limits. It doesn’t matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. Suffocating. Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there–shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase “international affairs”.

5. THESE ARE THE MOMENTS BY JENNY BRAVO
From Amazon: You can’t go back in love… or can you? Wendy Lake… Big dreams. Small bank account. Back home from college, she’s the girl with the day job, the girl whose mom still packs her lunches, the girl with the memories she can’t shake. Simon Guidry … The boy who holds her past in his pocket. And maybe her heart, too. This is the story on-again, off-again Wendy and Simon, told in the now and then of their relationship. As the couple is thrown back into each other’s lives through their friends’ wedding, These Are the Moments dares to ask the questions: Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, do they even want to?

6. EIGHTYSIXED BY EMILY BELDEN
From Amazon: Emily Belden has no idea what to do with her twenty-something life (particularly as it pertains to love), which is a tough problem for a hopeless romantic who’s fresh out of a failed relationship. Never one to admit defeat, Emily vows to get back in the dating ring. But the more she tries to get the most out of her Match.com subscription, the deeper down the rabbit hole she goes. While recovering the pieces of her broken heart, Emily’s dating pool soon fills with a classic mix of drug addicts, embezzlers, perverts, and (spoiler alert!) pimps. But just as she begins to believe that a bottle of wine might be her only shot at lifelong happiness, a chance encounter with a man whose path impossibly crosses hers changes the game in a big, big way.

IF YOU’VE READ ANY OTHER BOOKS THAT ARE PERFECT FOR VACATION READS, COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW SO THAT I CAN CHECK THEM OUT!

25 BOOKISH FACTS ABOUT ME

Posted: April 9, 2016 by Rachel

I’m kind of a sucker for these kinds of posts; where you get a little glimpse into other readers and/or writers. I’m actually surprised that it took me this many years of blogging to finally write one of my own. But, better late than never, right?

Here are a few bookish things about me:

  1. I read more physical books than ebooks, simply because I much prefer the feel of a real book in my hands.
  2. If I’m not writing first thing, I get most of my reading in in the half hour I get up before my son.
  3. The smell of library books is one of my favorite things.
  4. I am rarely found reading without a cup of coffee nearby.
  5. I find it impossible to narrow down my choices to a few favorite books. So I don’t.
  6. I definitely judge books by their covers.
  7. You will never see me dog-ear the pages of a book I own or borrowed from someone else (but apparently this doesn’t include library books…).
  8. I think that my weakness for romance novels stems back to never seeing my mother without a Harlequin romance in her hand as I grew up.
  9. The last book I read was “An Unforgivable Love Story” by B.L. Berry
  10. I am capable of suffering from terrible book hangovers.
  11. Receiving books as gifts is the best. thing. ever.
  12. I try to write reviews right after I finish a book so that I don’t forget what I want to say about it. And trust me, I will forget if I don’t do it right away.
  13. I can’t read hardcover books with the dust jacket on. It drives me nuts.
  14. My favorite genres are probably contemporary romance and literary fiction.
  15. If a book keeps coming across my radar (ie, everyone I follow online is blabbing on about it), I’m more than likely going to give in and read it. Case in point: The Love that Split the World.
  16. I’ve written and published three novellas, and am currently working on what will hopefully be my first published novel.
  17. I pretty much always carry a book with me. You never know when you’ll be stuck waiting somewhere.
  18. Books are my favorite type of home decor.
  19. Bookstores are where I go when I need time to myself.
  20. I organize the books on my shelves by their spine colors.
  21. I share most — if not all — of what I read on Instagram, using #rachelreadsthis
  22. I’m obsessed with bookish photography (hello crimebythebook and sweptawaybybooks)
  23. I get genuinely excited when someone asks me for book recommendations.
  24. I am not a fan of audio books. at. all.
  25. I go through phases with my favorite authors, but currently I’m majorly crushing on Meg Wolitzer and Emily Henry.