Quick Lit: February 2020

I wasn't sure how much reading I would get done in February since I had my baby on the 7th, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I finished 11 books. I'm reviewing nine of them in today's post, and I briefly mentioned the other two (both re-reads) at the bottom. And honestly, I'm patting myself on the back for writing all of them in a timely manner. If you enjoy this feature, check out other readers' reviews at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

YOU WERE THERE TOO BY COLLEEN OAKLEY – I loved Oakley's Before I Go and Close Enough to Touch, so I couldn't wait to read her newest release. It didn't take me long before I was hooked on this story about a woman who meets a man she's been dreaming about for years... and learns he's been dreaming about her, too. It throws everything in her life, including her marriage, into question. As I expected, Oakley's writing is fantastic. She excels are creating well-rounded characters in complicated, emotional situations. The premise itself was fascinating, but it didn't totally work for me because I wanted more answers. I loved the theme and the emotion it evoked, but my biggest hangup was the ending. It got a little too dramatic for me. Overall, I So Enjoyed It – and the audio was great!

IF I NEVER MET YOU BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE* – I’ve been obsessed with McFarlane since 2014, and with each new release it becomes harder to name my favorite from her. They are all perfect in their own way! I love how McFarlane centers her stories on the heroine’s personal journey and growth. The romance had me swooning — but my emotional investment in the heroine, Laurie, went so much deeper. I cried for her, laughed with her, and rooted for her with every turn of the page. The use of the fake dating trope had me hooked and reminded me of a grown-up To All the Boys I've Loved Before (but with even more depth). They even agree on a contract beforehand, and we allllll know that’s just tempting fate. Heartwarming, emotional perfection! I'm So Obsessed With It.

TWEET CUTE BY EMMA LORD – I don't read a lot of young adult contemporary anymore, but this reminded me of what I love about the genre when it works. The concept of dueling brands on Twitter was clever, and I could totally imagine it playing out in real life. The various family dynamics added depth, and I always appreciate getting to see a teen's parents/siblings in a book. Pepper and Jack both have their own point of view, and it made me so invested in them both. And I'm always a sucker with hate-to-love when it includes witty banter! With hints of You've Got Mail, I enjoyed its predictability. It was genuinely cute, didn't take itself too seriously, and was packed with baked goods that sounded so delicious. I So Loved It and can't wait to see what Lord writes next.

OPEN BOOK BY JESSICA SIMPSON – I generally have no interest in celebrity memoirs and didn't have a strong desire to learn more about Simpson's life. But then her promotional tour for the book started! The more I heard about the book, the more I wanted to read it. I ended up reading all 400 pages that day because I couldn't put it down! I wanted to read it for the gossip, but I ended up being impressed at Simpson's blend of vulnerability, honesty, and self-deprecating humor. Reading it was like chatting with a friend who has all the best stories but never veers into nastiness. The book gave me more respect for Jessica, less for her parents, and confirmed that John Mayer is just as awful as I've always believed. I So Enjoyed It and am so glad I took a chance on it!

LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME BY JULIE WRIGHT – Once again, I was reminded of how often I'm burned by books that I pick up because they reference Jane Austen in the title or summary. I could swear not to fall victim to this marketing ploy in the future, but there's always that one book that makes all the bad ones worth it. Unfortunately, this was a disappointment. I didn't read the summary closely and wish I'd realized it had a love triangle involving brothers (kind of). Ugh. The heroine jumps to some pretty big conclusions, and I still don't know why the one brother attempted to get back together with her (or why the other brother was encouraging it). I didn't connect with any of the characters or understand their motivations, which was my biggest issue with the book. I'm So Over It.

PRACTICAL MAGIC BY ALICE HOFFMAN – I've never seen the movie adaptation of this novel, haven't read anything by Hoffman, and generally don't read books about witches. So why did I pick this one up? I honestly have no idea! This was one of those circumstances where I really enjoyed the author's writing but didn't care about the story at all. I ended up borrowing the audio from the library, even though I owned the paperback, and was about halfway through before I realized I didn't care about the characters. But by that point, I figured I'd just see it through to the end. While it never grew on me, I don't have any major complaints either. The writing and autumnal vibe were nice, but the story itself was mediocre. Though I wouldn't personally recommend it, I'd say I'm So Okay With It overall.

WHAT HAPPENS IN PARADISE BY ELIN HILDERBRAND – After enjoying the first book in this series, Winter in Paradise, I couldn't resist buying the second one after it came out last year. Unfortunately, this one suffered from Middle Book Syndrome. It recapped a lot of the first book and contained mostly filler content with very little resolution. For a book with "what happens..." in the title, very little actually happened here. I'm not sure the conclusion to the mystery is going to deliver any real surprises, but we shall see. I'm still planning on reading it, and I'm more interested in what happened to the dead husband (and his shady business) than in anyone else's future plans or happiness. I'm So Okay With It, and the last book will determine whether or not I'd recommend this series.

THE HARP OF KINGS BY JULIET MARILLIER* –  When I saw this new release on NetGalley last year, I couldn't resist it since I've been of fan of some of Marillier's earlier books. The first 20% got off to a strong start, and I was immediately invested in the three main characters (each get their own point of view). Once they went on their mission, I expected to become even more invested. Sadly, I thought the writing was overly detailed, and the pace slowed down considerably. Plus, I was frustrated by how often the characters did the opposite of what they were told to do. How can you join an elite band of warriors if you can't even follow orders?! And though it's one of Marillier's trademarks, the Fair Folk aspect did not work for me. I So Liked It overall but won't continue the series. 

CHASING CASSANDRA BY LISA KLEYPAS – Cassandra was the Ravenel sibling that I knew the least about, so I was curious to get to know her better. While she still wasn't the most memorable heroine for me, I enjoyed her love for fiction and her desire to help others. However, I hated how often the book referenced her weight. Why was that needed? The hero, Tom, is an intelligent, wealthy businessman with a touch of social awkwardness. While I didn't like how much of his initial interest in Cassandra was based solely on her looks, he won me over in the end because he listened to and valued her opinions. Their dynamic was pretty enjoyable, but the plot itself was thin because there was no real conflict. I So Liked It, but I did feel like it was one of Kleypas' weaker stories.

In February, I also re-read two books on audio. The first was The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker, and I'm still So Obsessed With It. The narrator was great, too! I'd planned to re-read and then immediately pick up the new sequel, Wild at Heart, but I realized that I really liked where it ended and wasn't sure I wanted more. For now, I'm happy to envision my own future for Calla and Jonah. The second book I re-read was Act Like It by Lucy Parker. It's my third time reading it in as many years, and it's becoming a go-to comfort read for me. When I want to laugh and swoon, I turn on the audio for this delightful book. I'm obviously So Obsessed With It, too.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. I enjoyed reading Wild at Heart a lot, but you are definitely not missing out on much if you do not read it. There weren't any major developments in the story, it was just nice following Jonah and Calla further into their story.

  2. Tweet Cute was seriously adorable! I definitely enjoyed that one a ton, and was totally craving grilled cheese when I finished it.


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