The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Oh goodness.

First and foremost – I have no connections nor do I follow William and Kate. I didn’t see them in this book.

I love love loved the first 20% of this book! It was off-kilter and funny. Open. Easy. Different. Then the relationship happened.

Bex is American. Nicholas is an English prince. They meet at college and slowly develop a relationship. This was all adorable! However the relationship itself wasn’t the story – 900 relationship issues were the story.

Much of the book was about family pressure and the outside world conspiring to crush a relationship. On a royal scale. Bex made some bad decisions. And kind of turned into a moron. Nick was a non-entity. He merely served the purpose of placeholder so that the relationship issues had context.

However, it was quirky and cute. Something I would recommend for a comfortable and completely okay read.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Bc it’s my favorite book of all time it feels ludicrous to review it. It feels like writing a review of my husband. “He’s kind. He can fix things. I love his eyes.” Any attempt makes a mockery of my marriage bc whatever I feel for my husband is deeper than words. It’s the same for Owen Meany.

When I read it I feel it in the arches of my feet. I cry on and off for about half the book. I sob at the end. My faith, my belief in the goodness, is restored over and over and over again. It is the only book I’ve ever read that spoke to me this way – the only book that’s ever meant so much.

Nothing I write will do it justice. And I don’t suggest you read it. To recommend it is pointless. My feelings for it are thus that I can’t tell you if it’s a good book. I’m past the story and the writing and the characters. I’m past objectivity. I won’t profane my literary soulmate by trying to explain it to others. It is what it is – the best book I’ve ever read.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

This book was fantastic. The absolutely perfect beach read.

Plot – a bunch of awful people go on vacation. Family problems ensue.

It was snarky and fun. Everyone was unlikable, but none of them made my skin crawl. They were selfish and terrible and amusing. There were sweet moments, funny moments and meaningful moments. There was some depth – the perfect amount. The characters were the story – their quirks, actions and reactions. I laughed out loud a few times, and once I got a little sniffly.

It wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but it was one I was excited to get back to.

A World Without You by Beth Revis

So let’s focus here. On the good and the bad. A simple pros and cons review. Bc I’m too jumbled for much else.

Pros –

– super interesting concept! Mental illness – viewed from within and without

– broken down and simplified – an easy read

– stayed bright even with dark subject matter

– well-written

– a lot of thought-provoking information provided in a comfortable manner

– a lot of back story was provided in flashbacks. It worked with the story but was also clunky as hell. (So a pro and a con)

Cons –

– I felt like Bo had too much control of the story. You knew he was an unreliable narrator, but he was left mostly in charge. And his fantasy was aggravating bc it went on and on. (I’m also considering this a pro. Bc it seems like an accurate portrayal of Bo’s mental illness – it does go on and on)

– maybe this was a little too light? It felt like we stayed on the surface

– a lack of fleshing out of any of the characters. Everyone was a sketch. Maybe this is part of the narrative, but it made things flaky

– it felt a little long. Bo’s situation just kinda drug out

– I would have liked an additional perspective. Phoebe was kinda self-absorbed. I got her points, and I would have liked to hear from someone about Bo not so closely related

All in all I say read it. It’s interesting. And aggravating. And it could be better. But it’s an unusual story that stirred up some thoughts and feelings. I don’t think I’ll be mentally letting this one go any time soon.

PS – If you want a story like this that’s breathtaking and will stop your heart check out I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. Now that’s a damn book.

The Mother Road by Meghan Quinn

I love reading a romcom. Getting lost in the funny is one of my favorite ways to unwind. Unfortunately this book more frequently made me uncomfortable than amused.

It was gross. And juvenile. And the dude’s chapters were sooooooo wussy. Jeez. I sprained something rolling my eyes at fart jokes and dick talk liberally sprinkled with his inner monologue about her candy lips.

TBH – if I’m gonna read ridiculous and over the top I’m going straight for Debra Anastasia. Her junk is so awkward and awful and hilarious. It makes me cry when I read it. This book just made me cringe a lot.

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Interconnected storylines told in rotating chapters. We get Lucy’s diary entries about an old family secret and Justine’s real time story of saving herself and her kids from the mess she’s created.

I enjoyed the mystery for the most part. It’s nice to be impatient to turn the page – to get resolution. In the back of my mind, as i read, I was hoping that the big issue wouldn’t be what I thought it was. When the thing id been dreading came to pass I felt a little let down. From there on out the book felt a little shabby.

It has to be difficult to write a book like this. You spend 250 pages building toward this secret – this huge reveal. You have to give the people what they want. But there’s a balance, right? That place btw the humdrum and the ludicrous. Here I felt we tumbled ass-over-teakettle into the unbelievable.

Additionally (and this is a ME issue, guys) I could not stand Justine. I have a huge personality. I’m loud. I’m take-charge. No matter how I try I cannot connect with the mousy woman who is pushed around for 87% of a book before coming into her own. I wanted to shake this heifer til her teeth clacked together.

Still, not a bad book. The author did pretty things with imagery. The lake was every bit as large a character as Justine. I could feel the cold and the misery. I needed to know what happened to Emily. I’m glad I read it.

The Assistants by Camille Perri

So that was a thing.

The Assistants is a ridiculous, mad-cap, silly, sweet, funny, read-in-one-sitting ode to the power of woman.

Plot – some assistants at a huge company figure out how to rip off their bosses. It snowballs.

Fast moving. Relatable writing. This is not a book that takes itself seriously. A goofy ensemble cast – not delved into deeply but enjoyable nonetheless.

Definitely OTT. Engaging. At least 3 times I laughed til I had tears running down my face. This is an easy-peasy-cheesy way to lose yourself for a few hours.