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Recent Reads: What Have I Been Reading Recently?

I’m back for another wrap up of everything I’ve read recently. I’m beyond happy with my reading journey so far. As of now, I have read 17 books this year which is already more than my total for last year. 

Of course, reading should not be looked at as a race or competition to see who can read the most books, but like Rebecca, as she explained in her article, one of her resolutions for the year is to read more, and that was one of mine as welTo see what else I’ve read this year, check out my wrap up from over winter break here.

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

This is a classic little rom-com novel following newly-engaged Poppy as she runs into some bad luck involving her fiance and his family throughout her wedding planning. She lost the family engagement ring and her phone, causing her to adopt a phone she found in the trash that belonged to businessman Sam Roxton’s assistant. Sam wants the phone back, but Poppy needs it as it’s the phone number she’s given to people in order to find her ring. As you might be able to guess, the two form a bond as they share the phone. Overall it was a really cute, fun read.

Rating: 4/5

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

OMG. This is my new favorite book *ever.* I loved everything about this book and wish I could read it for the first time all over again because it was that amazing. Like one of Reid’s other books that I’ve read, Daisy Jones and the Six, I would categorize it as being historical fiction. It follows an unknown journalist, Monique Grant as she is assigned to cover one of the biggest Hollywood icons of all time, Evelyn Hugo (think Marilyn Monroe because that’s who the woman on the cover of the book reminds me of) for her magazine. The catch is that Evelyn actually wants Monique to write her biography which is what a majority of the book covers. It covers everything that has happened in her life and is organized by the seven husbands she had throughout her life. Evelyn’s story reveals a lot about identity—both with sexuality and ethnicity—as a Hollywood icon. In addition, it brings awareness to other things such as abortion and domestic abuse. There are so many other things I would love to talk about but I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself to see how amazing it is!

Rating: 5/5

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

This is an adult contemporary romance novel. When I say adult, I mean adult as it’s quite steamy/smutty which I didn’t know going into it. It follows a young woman, Georgie, who has always been looked at as the baby of her family and has not been treated like the adult she wants to be treated as. She has had a crush on her brother’s best friend, Travis, for as long as she could remember. When Travis comes back to town after his baseball career came to an abrupt end due to an injury, she and Travis start a relationship which is initially fake. I love the fake couple trope where it’s a fake relationship that blossoms into a real one, but in this particular case I didn’t. Travis was just overly possessive of Georgie and called her “baby girl” about a million times. 

I also thought the writing was quite poor throughout. Of course I wasn’t expecting Pulitzer Prize worthy writing going into this, but it was bad as the constant “baby girl” pet name being used might allude to.

Rating: 2.5/5

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

This book has been on my radar for years now, and I finally got around to reading it this year. It follows high schooler Willowdean, who is plus-sized. It follows her life as she continues to cope with the death of her aunt, starts dating boys and deals with her own self-image by entering a local beauty pageant that her mom happens to be in charge of.

I personally think Murphy could have done a better job in terms of messages about positive body image. Also, I was slightly annoyed by the way Willowdean treats other characters in the story such as making fun of their weight or the way they walk. Overall, though, it was still a cute coming of age story.

Rating: 4/5

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

This is an adult contemporary romance following yet another lost baseball player, but this time the female protagonist is a widow, Evvie Drake, who was planning on leaving her deceased husband the day he died. I thought it was an average book, nothing spectacular really happens, and I didn’t really see any chemistry between the two main characters. They were quite bland. If anything I was hoping that Evvie would end up with her best friend! It is definitely more of a character driven novel in that we see Evvie develop into a woman outside of the abusive marriage she was in. The writing in this book was enjoyable though!

Rating: 3.5/5

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

This book is an adult contemporary novel that is very similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (also a great read and also a pick from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club—I think her book club picks amazing books out). It follows a woman named Susan who has always tried to control every aspect of her life down to the wire, however, she begins to lose that control after the death of her mother and the news that she herself is about to become a mother. This book is also more of a character driven novel, but I thought it was much more interesting than Evvie Drake Starts Over

Rating: 4/5 

“King Lear” by William Shakespeare (Assigned Reading)

This is the second time I’ve read this classic play, although this time, I have a newfound appreciation for it that I didn’t get the first time around. It follows an aging king who decides to split up his kingdom between his three daughters in exchange for them declaring how much they love him. He doesn’t receive that from his youngest daughter, and the events following help him realize what is truly important in life. “King Lear” is definitely in my top three favorite Shakespeare plays now behind “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Rating: 4/5  (Original time around I gave it a 3/5)

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

I absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient! It follows Stella as she hires a male escort, Michael, in order to show her the ropes of being in a relationship, especially when it comes to sex. Stella is on the autism spectrum which makes some things from conversations to breaking her routine, a little bit harder for her. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book as Stella voiced these concerns herself. Again, this book does contain a bit of smut (but not as much as Fix Her Up), so if that’s not your thing, beware. Overall, I thought this book was really cute and hope to read more from Helen Hoang in the future!

Rating: 4.5/5

American Royals by Katharine McGee

This is a young adult contemporary novel following the Washington family, the royal family of America. It presumes that America was instead a monarchy following the line of George Washington instead of a democracy which is interesting. It mostly focuses on the personal lives of the Washington children—Beatrice who is about to become the first Queen of America, her sister Samantha who feels ignored and younger brother Jefferson as he deals with girl troubles. The book is written from multiple perspectives which sometimes in books does not go so well, but I think in this case the author did a good job. It definitely reminded me of a mix between the TV show, Gossip Girl and the film, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. I finished it quite quickly considering it is a 400+ page novel. It was quite entertaining, but the end was a cliffhanger which was kind of a bummer. The much anticipated sequel, Majesty, doesn’t come out until the fall.

Rating: 4/5 

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (Assigned Reading)

This book deals with the events leading up to the housing market crash of 2008 and how the credit-default swap market was created. It stresses on how no one really saw it (the housing bubble bursting) coming except for a select number of Wall Street outsiders. There is a lot of discussion in relation to finance, and I am by no means a financial expert, but I thought Michael Lewis’ writing was great in the way he developed the “characters” of the real people he’s writing about. I also enjoyed his usage of metaphors in an effort to describe what is happening.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Another adult contemporary romance, how surprising! I had been meaning to read one of the raved about books by duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings for a long time and this one certainly did not disappoint. It follows Olive as she goes on her twin sister’s honeymoon for her after she, her new husband and all of their other wedding guests get sick after eating the food. The thing is though, that she must also go on the honeymoon with her sister’s new brother-in-law who Olive has always had a disliking for and pretend that they are the married couple on the honeymoon. As you might be able to tell the two get to know each other and start a relationship. Overall, it was a really cute book! It would be a perfect beach read this summer!

 

 

There are all of the books I’ve read and for the most part enjoyed the past couple of months. I hope this helps you in finding your next read!

Happy reading!

Emily Tsoi

Geneseo '21

Emily Tsoi is a Senior English major with a minor in Art History. She is an avid journal writer who has one too many rolls of washi tape. When she isn’t studying or journaling, she enjoys reading, watching 80s movies and going to baseball games.
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