I didn’t read quite as much in March as I would have liked, but I did read five books, all novels – I found they kept me turning the pages! I seem to have moved away from non-fiction in the last year, and I think that’s okay. There is so much non-fiction reading I’m doing for work and in my personal life, to understand COVID19 and how the world is changing, that maybe it’s okay for me to stick to lighter books that entertain rather than educate!
Majesty, by Katharine McGee: I absolutely loved the first American Royals, and then completely missed that this one got published – I was thrilled to pick it up! I found the characters and plot just as engaging and relatable as the first. After the death of their father, Beatrice is now Queen of America and Samantha is now next in line for the throne, and they, their brother Jeff, and their best friends Nina and Ethan all try to navigate romance while in powerful / public positions. I didn’t love that this sequel involved a lot of partner swapping (hated that on Friends, didn’t like it here), but the way things turned out made sense so I was fine with it. Except… I was very frustrated by the ending for another character, Daphne, which seemed both unfair and unfinished. (Frustrated to the point that I came on Goodreads to see if everyone else was as upset as I was by that and to make sure there wasn’t a third book in the series to give me the full happily ever after I wanted!) Overall, I thought McGee did an awesome job building this world and helping me relate to the characters – I especially empathized with Beatrice, inadvertently intimidating people even as she’s a relatively down-to-earth responsible person just trying to do her job.
Heartbreak for Hire, by Sonia Hartl: This was a really fun concept – a startup where women are hired to break the hearts of men who’ve hurt other women. (Can’t say I agree with it, but I could totally see someone starting it.) Without giving too much away, the heroine is busy doing her job when she starts falling for one of her targets. This was somewhat predictable, but not in a roll-your-eyes way, and it definitely kept me reading – I finished in two days! This wasn’t quite as saccharine as some rom coms, and I liked it a lot.
The Wedding Game, by Meghan Quinn: This was a fun, quick read, and I stayed up late reading because I didn’t want to put it down. I loved the premise (basically “Great British Bake-Off” but for crafting / DIY), and found it really fun to see behind the scenes of a reality TV show. I also liked both main characters, and was really rooting for them. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of were all the sex scenes, which were definitely more detailed than they needed to be.
That Summer, by Jennifer Weiner: This is a tough review to write, for several reasons. First, it’s hard to describe much of the plot without spoiling it. Basically, a tragic incident occurs during “That Summer” when one character was young, and two women with the same name meet up as adults, with one seeking resolution for her trauma. But second, while I know this probably makes me a terrible / unempathetic person, I found the main characters so weak and unlikeable – one unwilling to take responsibility for moving past her trauma and willfully choosing to wallow in it for decades, and the other unwilling to stand up for herself in even the smallest of ways and having a completely miserable life as a result. The assault in “That Summer” is of course horrific and deserves retribution; by no means do I blame the victim for it happening. But it really bothered me that the victim let it rule her entire life, not even seeking counseling for years afterward. (And whatever mental health professional she ended up seeing seemed to not be very good, given that she seemed to be encouraged to get revenge rather than dealing with her pain in a healthy way.) Having unfortunately suffered a similar trauma when I was a naive college student, I couldn’t relate to a woman who chose to allow it to define and destroy her life rather than moving on. While it was interesting to see the twists and turns as more information was revealed, the beginning was very slow and the initial mystery of who suffered “That Summer” too contrived – it didn’t add all that much to the story to slowly mix in the past, rather than leading with it to remove the reader’s (clearly intentional) confusion. Overall, this book was mildly thought-provoking, but fairly depressing.
Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty, by Lauren Weisberger: I’ve loved Lauren Weisberger’s other books, and found them to generally be pretty fluffy (not a bad thing). This one was a bit meatier – while it had a good bit of “lifestyles of the rich and famous”, it really focused on the relationships between sisters Skye and Peyton, their mother, and Peyton’s daughter. Peyton is a news anchor who gets the family embroiled in a college admissions scandal, and while it’s first unclear whether she is meant to be Lori Loughlin, Loughlin is then mentioned later in the book and there are lots of other timely references that make this book feel very current. (No COVID though.) This wasn’t as light as I expected, and it took me a little while to get into the characters, but then it was a really enjoyable read that I stayed up to finish quickly.
Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.