Books Lately

From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood.
— Betty Smith

Now that I’m settled into my apartment and living in Los Angeles, I'm falling back into my reading groove. Still not quite at my usual book-every-two-days pace yet, but that’s okay. I’m learning that less is more in all facets of life, including reading. There’s no reason to stress myself out trying to read 50+ books a year. Instead, I’d rather focus on reading books that interest and excite me. If that means that at the end of the year I’ve only read like 20 titles, at least I will have enjoyed every one of them.

With that in mind, I’ve read a few awesome books this year already.

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The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

I was most excited to read this book in 2019, as Jasmine’s other books, The Wedding Date and The Proposal, are two of my favorite contemporary romances. This one might be my favorite, though! Maddie and Theo are sworn enemies with a shared best friend. They find themselves in a months-long situationship after an accidental hook up with a firm end date. But, of course, the two fall for each other and that’s where things get good. Theo is an absolute delight, and I won’t spoil anything, but any guy who likes alphabetized spice racks is a keeper in my book.

While all three of Jasmine’s books exist within the WBU (aka the Wedding Book Universe), you don’t have to read them in order. I will say that doing so makes reading much more fulfilling since characters from previous books frequently show up. If you’re like me, you’ll get giddy when you see their names.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune by Roselle Lim

Good food, family, and a little bit of luck and fortune meet in Roselle’s debut novel. After the death of her mother, Natalie Tan returns home to San Francisco to discover she’s inherited her grandmother’s restaurant. Unfortunately, Natalie’s smooth journey to re-opening it is muddled with tense neighbors, gentrification, and lingering guilt from estrangement with her late mother. You’ll enjoy this book too if you like good food and soulful writing with just a bit of magic.

FUMBLED BY ALEXA MARTIN

Second chance love isn’t always the best idea, but when it features a football player who gives off hunky Thor vibes, you’ve got my attention. Alexa’s followup novel to last year’s Intercepted follows single mom Poppy Patterson, who is unexpectedly reunited with her high-school sweetheart and pro-athlete TK Moore. Sounds, um, tense right? Exactly. Alexa’s sharp writing keeps things entertaining and fun, while also sparking an important conversation about lasting effects of tackle football on a player’s health. Plus, you know, the normal rom-com elements that make everything tingle.

ON THE COME UP BY ANGIE THOMAS

What happens when you go viral for all the wrong reasons? This is exactly what 16-year-old Bri learns in Angie’s sophomore YA novel. Bri wants to be the greatest rapper of all time and follow in the footsteps of her father. Much like the main character in Angie’s The Hate U Give, racial profiling plays a large part in keeping Bri down, though. What I liked most about this book is the fact that Bri wasn’t afraid to speak for herself even if that meant looking like an “angry black girl.” More unapologetic characters this way.

TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET BY KAREN MCMANUS

The best kind of murder mysteries? Teen murder mysteries. You get all the same twists and turns that adult series have, but with the nativity and unwavering curiosity that only young people seem to possess. Set in the small town of Echo Ridge, this book follows new friends Ellery and Malcolm on their journey to find out who’s slaying homecoming queens in the town and keeping secrets. After devouring Karen’s debut book last year, I knew this one would be good too. Happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

MEET CUTE BY HELENA HUNTING

For all the fangirls out there, what if you went to college with your celebrity crush? Now, what would you do if you grew to hate him and then years later he shows up in need of your help? That’s a doozy right. Kailyn Flowers finds herself in this predicament when former actor Daxton Hughes becomes the sole guardian of his younger sister. Kailyn is unlikeable at times and a few moments were a bit predictable, but overall, I enjoyed it.

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON

Okay, so this book came out in like 2015. I know, I know. What the hell took me so long to read it? It’s been on my list for forever, but I didn’t feel a pressing urge to crack it open until I learned it would be adapted into a movie. The story follows two teens, who meet and fall in love with each other over one day. Prepare for lots of laughs, lots of tears, and tons of scientific references. Spoiler alert: My favorite part is the book's ending, which is ruined in the movie. So yeah, just read the book.

What should I add to my reading list next?