Quick Lit: May 2020

I read 16 books in May, and I'm reviewing six of those books today. What about the other ten books? One is published in July, so I'm holding my review until then. One was The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez, which I reviewed a few weeks ago. I'm working on a separate post for the Travis series, and I'll review the Mortal Instruments books once I've finished the whole series. Finally, you can find brief thoughts on my two re-reads at the end of this post. Whew! If you enjoy this feature, check out other readers' reviews at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

THE GUEST LIST BY LUCY FOLEY – I'm always on the lookout for a lighter mystery that doesn't get too dark, and this seemed like it would fit the bill based on the summary. And I was correct! In some ways, it reminded me of a modern-day Agatha Christie novel. I loved the remote Irish setting and how it made everything closed off. The writing was very atmospheric, too. It's a slower-paced mystery, but that worked for me. I liked getting multiple point of views – they each added different things to the story. I did guess one of the reveals, but the ultimate resolution was a fun surprise. I don't think the book will wow people who read heavily from this genre, but I So Enjoyed It. If you wanted to be whisked away to a destination wedding where something evil is afoot, give this one a try!

THE WORST BEST MAN BY MIA SOSA – I was browsing romance audiobooks on Hoopla and noticed this adorable illustrated cover. The premise sounded tricky – a woman who falls for her ex-fiancé's brother – but seemed to include one of my favorite tropes: hate to love. My favorite aspect was the heroine's Brazilian roots, and Sosa did a great job incorporating that into the story. My biggest issue wasn't with the book itself; the male narrator was awful. Any time he attempted a woman's voice, I cringed. So I didn't connect as deeply to the romance because I couldn't wait to get past his sections. But there were a lot of cute things about it, including the witty dialogue, the supportive secondary characters, and the wedding planning element. I So Liked It but advise you to skip listening to it.

HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT BY LAURA HANKIN – This was such a happy surprise! I took a chance on it for my May Book of the Month selection but tried not to get my hopes up. I've been burned by books about rich, entitled moms before! Thankfully, this ended up being such a fun read. I couldn't put it down once I'd started, and I loved the realistic look at motherhood through a more satirical lens. I was invested in the characters and their dramas, and I was so happy that I couldn't ever really predict where it was going. There's a bit of a mystery at play, and it reminded me of Big Little Lies in that regard. The characters aren't always likeable, but that's fine with me. I still wanted to see what they'd do next, and I thought it had a very satisfying resolution. I So Loved It!

THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MONEY BY DAVE RAMSEY – One of my 2020 goals is to learn more about personal finance, and I figured Dave Ramsey was a great place to start. He's known for his Financial Peace classes, and I was already aware of (and agree with) many of the principles he teaches about debt, term life insurance, emergency funds, and more. While his writing is pretty average, I did appreciate the conversational, no-nonsense tone. Ramsey provides straightforward explanations for financial concepts – writing about them in an accessible way. It was nice to see where my husband and I are ahead of the game and begin to develop a plan for the areas where we could be doing more (like investing). I So Enjoyed It and am glad I started here.

FOR THE LOVE OF DISCIPLINE BY SARA WALLACE – We joke that our big boy is, in the words of Mary Poppins, 'practically perfect in every way.' He's the sweetest, most loving little boy and has been so easy to parent. That being said, I'm so glad I picked up this book. I enjoyed how Wallace explored the purpose of discipline and included lots of Scripture and biblical truth about how the Gospel plays a role in shepherding our children's hearts. It reminded me of Paul David Tripp's Parenting in some ways. There were practical suggestions throughout, several of which I plan to implement. I have a feeling I'll end up revisiting this one. It was thought-provoking, easy-to-read book that was just what I was looking for since it's geared more towards moms of little kids. I So Enjoyed It.

THE SWITCH BY BETH O'LEARY – After loving O'Leary's debut, The Flatshare, this was one of my most-anticipated 2020 releases. I ordered a copy from the UK so I could get it sooner and have this adorable cover! Unfortunately, it was pretty disappointing. The premise is cute – a woman and her grandmother switch houses for two months, a la The Holiday, because they're both in need of a change. For me, the execution left a lot to be desired. The story was boring and had too many unnecessary secondary characters, so it felt like a series of scenes connected together without a strong drive to the narrative. And it was just so cheesy! It was like reading a Hallmark movie, and I just had no patience for it. It was cute, but in a light, shallow way that was ultimately forgettable. I'm So Okay With It.

I re-read two books via audio in May. The first was Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. It's such a sad story, and I always forget that fact. There is a puzzle-like aspect to the book, and it takes until about halfway through before the pieces start fitting together. Even though I've read it before, it still felt a little confusing at times! But I'm So Obsessed With It still and thought narrator Rebecca Macauley did a great job. The other book I listened to was Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, a Pride and Prejudice retelling that I had fond memories of. I won't lie – I liked it less on re-read than I expected. I'd probably still say I So Enjoyed It, the same rating I gave it my first read, but I found myself mentally nitpicking it while listening. It wasn't bad, but the characters grated on me more via audio.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. Audiobook narrators can really affect my enjoyment of a book - it's always hard when there's just one person narrating and they have to provide voices for men and women - it never sounds real.

  2. I felt very similarly about The Guest List! It reminded me And Then There Were None, and it was also fun to listen to on audiobook.


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