Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Reading Recap

I read 8 books this summer which I think is pretty solid considering I'm full time looking for a real job. After the first two I decided that I was only going to read things I could find at the library. I'm now a huge fan of the library! Why pay $10 for a book that you can read for free?

How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue: ***
Annie and Julia were best friends until Julia helps spread a rumor about Annie senior year of high school. The two haven't spoken to each other since Annie's mom's funeral 10 years ago. Now the two are reunited when Annie is hired to bake cupcakes for Julia's wedding shower. Julia, not able to fully cope with wedding planning, decides that opening a cupcakery with Annie is just what the two need not just to restore their friendship, but to set them on their paths to a happy life.

I was really very pleasantly surprised with this book. It has all the elements that a good story needs, enticing plot, relatable characters, suspense, and descriptions of yummy food. The worst part was knowing that I'd never taste these delicious cupcakes described.

The Very First Bit by Cynthia Langston: **
Lanie has 10 weeks to lose 20 pounds, have a better job, and make her boyfriend commit so that she can confidently attend her high school reunion. Add to the story her anxienty about whether her high school best friend, who ended their friendship without a word, will show up and if she'll finally be able to get the answers she's been searching for for years.

The writing wasn't the best, but I think we can all identify with the basic story. Plus the descriptions of some of her dieting fads are pretty hilarious.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: **
This is a fiction, based on fact, story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. It follows them from their first meeting through their eventual divorce. The bulk of the story is based on their life in Paris where Hemingway spent his early writing career producing some of his most famous works.

It was interesting because I really didn't know much about Hemingway's life. It includes many famous names that are interesting to piece together. The story wasn't that exciting, it was really rather depressing because their life together was so tragic. I would probably recommend this one for the history lesson only.

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella: **
Lexi wakes up in the hospital and suddenly it's 3 years later than she can remember. She last remembers her life as less than stellar, but wakes up to the seemingly perfect one. She tries to navigate her new life hoping to include the best of her old, new, and future.

This reminded me of a happier, funnier version of The Vow. It was okay, but not great, and to be honest not that memorable.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan: ****
April, Bree, Sally, and Celia are roommates at Smith College, with nothing in common other than the floor they share in their House. The novel follows them through the ups and downs of their friendship through college, jobs, marriage, and even a baby.

Easily the best thing I read this summer. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did I couldn't put it down. After reading it I wanted to call up all my girlfriends to chat and plan a vacation together. The character develop is great, the story is great, and the writing is great. I look forward to more from this author.

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsellat: **
Within the span of just a few days Lottie tells an entire Lady's restroom at a nice restaurant that her boyfriend is about to propose, she dumps said boyfriend when he doesn't, reunites with her gap year boyfriend, marries this boyfriend whom she hasn't spoken to in years, and heads to Greece for her honeymoon. Fliss, Lottie's bitter divorced older sister realizes what a mistake Lottie is making and makes it her mission to ensure Lottie can get a quick annulment by sabotaging her honeymoon.

This is probably my least favorite of all Kinsella's books. The main characters had annoying very English names which were distracting. I just couldn't identify with any of the characters. It wasn't awful, but I wouldn't really recommend it either.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: ***
In the same afternoon Poppy loses her family heirloom engagement ring and her cell phone. She finds a phone laying in a trash bin and in a "Finders Keepers" mentality takes it as her own so she can have a number to leave should anyone find her ring. This would all be perfect except the phone belonged to Sam's ex assistant, who throws it away on her way out the door to pursue her modeling career. Sam agrees to let Poppy keep the phone until her ring is found so long as she forward all the incoming messages.
There are multiple side plots that keep the story interesting right until the very end. This is probably one of my favorite Kinsella books, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for an enjoyable chick-lit read.

Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close: ***
The title is a bit misleading, the girl who is the main main character isn't married by the end; from the title I was expecting a story about girls who are all in each other's weddings, but this is really more a story about single girls. It follows 4 girl friends who are recent graduates living in New York as they navigate the tricky post-grad dating, first job world.

This is written more like a collection of short stories that go together than a true novel. Because of this it was sometimes hard to follow, especially at the beginning or when two main characters had similar names. Half way through I really started to enjoy it though and wasn't ready for it to be over by the end.  I would recommend this to all 20 something girls trying to figure out life and love.

Here's my tentative Fall reading list - Side note when I re-synced my iphone to my icloud it deleted all my notes, including my to read list, anyone know a way to get it back?
  1. Austenland by Shannon Hale
  2. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
  3. LeanIn by Sheryl Sandberg
  4. 5th Avenue 5am by Sam Wasson
  5. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
  6. Last of the Southern Girls by Willie Morris
  7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

What's on your Fall reading list? Any suggestions to add to mine?

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