Quick Lit: September 2020

September wasn't my best reading month in terms of quantity, but I love the majority of what I read so I have no complaints on the quality. I finished nine books and am reviewing all of them today! I had a great mix of non-fiction and different genres of fiction. If you enjoy this feature, check out other readers' reviews at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE BY LORI GOTTLIEB – This was such a thought-provoking book about therapy, what it means to be human, and how we cope with pain, our pasts, and try to change our future. It read like fiction, in the best way, and was very insightful. My least favorite aspect was the author's personal journey, even though her therapist was great. I couldn't stop myself from being surprised that someone who sounded like a mess could help people sort out their own lives, but I also respected her vulnerability in showing that therapists are human, too. They don't have all the answers! I loved the patients' stories and how Gottlieb saw their humanity and provided perspective on their decisions. That made the book so engaging, and I So Loved It!

ANNA K BY JENNY LEE – If this book had been adult, instead of YA, I probably would have enjoyed it more. It had the wealth of Crazy Rich Asians, the teen drama of Gossip Girl, and a plot inspired by Anna Karenina. I found much of it creatively reimagined for a modern retelling, but there were also elements that made me cringe so hard because it involved teens. I got so hung up on how much I disliked the casual drinking, drug use, and sexual content. I don't want to read about teenagers having clandestine hookups. And yes, my mom side is showing! The dialogue was awkward because the characters talked like they were texting, and I'm not sure the author would have made that stylistic choice if she'd been writing about adults. I So Liked It, partly due to nostalgia for teen dramas.

MAJESTY BY KATHARINE MCGEE* – After loving American Royals last year, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this sequel. How would these characters come to terms with what happened in that cliffhanger ending? I had some predictions on where McGee would take this story, and she totally surprised me! The romantic shakeups + personal growth of a few characters were just what I needed. I wish one character got more of a comeuppance, but I can imagine it for myself. If you're looking for an in-depth look at what America would be like with a monarchy, you won't find it here. This is more about the romance and drama with a cleverly imagined world that we just glimpse from afar. This sequel might have mixed reviews, but I So Loved It. Gimme all the royal drama!

BLOOD & HONEY BY SHELBY MAHURIN – Hmm... I have really mixed feelings on this book, and I feel like I'm still processing them. I loved Serpent & Dove last year and then re-read it before this release to refresh my memory and get hyped again. I was disappointed to see the duology had become a trilogy, but I held out hope that it would still work. Unfortunately, it didn't for me. I felt like the book dragged on and on. I listened to it on audio and never felt compelled to keep listening! The drama and conflict seemed like smoke and mirrors to me – it appeared flashy but had no real substance and didn't move the plot forward very much. The characters were acting so juvenile and getting on my last nerve, too! I'm just So Okay With It and will be forever bitter it didn't stay a duology.

TROUBLED BLOOD BY ROBERT GALBRAITH – Whenever I'm in Cormoran's world, I don't want to leave. Each time I finish a new installment, I chase the feeling it gives me but no other mystery series can match it. This one was no exception! I enjoyed the mystery, but it's the dynamic between Cormoran and Robin that had me clutching my book like a giddy schoolgirl. You know that scene in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy clenches his hand after helping Elizabeth into her carriage? Cormoran and Robin are a relational manifestation of that moment. They are the reason no other mystery series can compare! I loved all 900+ pages, though the zodiac/astrology element was strange at times. The reveal was amazing, and I loved the journey to get there. I'm So Obsessed With It!

YOU HAD ME AT HOLA BY ALEXIS DARIA* – When the Goodreads summary referenced Jane the Virgin, I had to read this book. I am obsessed with that show! You Had Me at Hola focuses on two actors who are starring in a new telenovela, and this setting was so delightful. That's what most reminded me of Jane, and I loved that the book had chapters that focused on the shows' storyline and characters. I won't lie – I was most invested in that aspect! I loved learning about the cast and crew, being on set, and following the show's arc. The main romance was just okay for me, and it was definitely too steamy for me personally. I was less invested in the hero and heroine than in the characters they played on screen because they got a little too angsty. Overall, it was a fun read, and I So Liked It!

THE EMPIRE OF GOLD BY S.A. CHAKRABORTY* – I've really enjoyed the Daevabad series so far and couldn't wait to find out how everything would conclude. It didn't disappoint! I love this world – rich in Middle Eastern influences and with a complex tangle of social and political conflicts. They have a different feel than most fantasy I've read, and I love it. There was a lot of thought and detail put into this world and its magical system, so I always feel like I'm one step behind Chakraborty's mind when it comes to predicting the various twists and turns of the plot. I've loved listening to this series on audio but am thankful there's a glossary at the back of the book, too. It's got action and adventure, complex characters, and a well-developed world. What more do you need? I So Enjoyed It

THE UNWINDING OF THE MIRACLE BY JULIE YIP-WILLIAMS – This memoir was a mixed bag for me. I loved Yip-Williams' brutal look at cancer and death and her refusal to sugarcoat things. I thought her history was interesting and would have loved to learn more about it. But the book focused too heavily on the treatments she underwent and got bogged down in some of those details. I believe it was a series of blog posts, originally, and it retains that feeling. It's just all over the place! Any memoir is a bit self absorbed, but I found it strong at times here and thought the casual references to her privilege (such as degrading a hospital that largely treated immigrants) were alienating, even though she and her husband had clearly worked hard for their financial security. I'm So Okay With It.

BUSY TODDLER'S GUIDE TO ACTUAL PARENTING BY SUSIE ALLISON – I've been following @BusyToddler on Instagram for a while now and was so excited to find out she had a parenting book coming out that compiled 50+ of her most popular activities into one book. The day I bought it, I sat down to read a few pages and didn't move until I was done. I loved every word! I bought it for the activities and didn't expect to feel so inspired by the advice. It felt like sitting down with a friend who is just a few steps ahead of me on this parenting journey and has such wisdom, perspective, and grace for this season of life. I repeatedly thought, "Why didn't I think of that before?!" I'm so glad to have these tools/phrases/ideas in my arsenal now and will refer back to it repeatedly. I So Loved It

*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 comment

  1. I've described Anna K to other people as being the type of story where you're witnessing a train wreck happen and you can't look away from it. I couldn't stop reading once I'd started, even though I definitely had lots of thoughts on the behavior and choices the characters made in the book!

    You've totally convinced me that I must make it a priority to finish out the Daevabad trilogy this year. I have all three books, so I really have no excuse ;)


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