Hello, yes it is another Taylor Swift related post on teatimelit. We really do love Taylor, folks, and you know what? She has blessed us in 2020. Today I’m posting my wrap-up of the Taylor Swift Playlistathon on Twitter, hosted by the lovely Lisa (@lisamariereads), Daryan (@daryanreads), and Kasey (@kaseycanread). The read-a-thon took place from November 13th 2020-December 13th 2020, featuring prompts inspired by every song on Taylor’s eight studio albums from Debut to folklore (rip us we had no idea another album was coming).
With a total of 121 prompts, there were lots of options and I personally am the kind of person who will pick a book to read and then see if it fits one of the prompts as opposed to picking the book because of the prompt. I’m big on mood reading, so if I’m not in the mood to read the book I just won’t finish it. That being said, I completed 25 of the prompts, which is actually way more than I had anticipated reading, so I’m really happy with that!
- ✧: ARC
- ✬: An ARC but as now been released
- ✢: Reread
I have done my best to list all trigger warnings that I can think of from my own personal notes, other reviews, and from websites like Book Trigger Warnings and Trigger Warning Database. That being said, there may be things that I have forgotten and if so I apologize! If you’ve read any of these books and notice that I’m missing some triggers, please please let me know so that I can update the trigger lists!
Picture to Burn: A book with fire in the title or on the cover
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
This year I’ve read three of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books, and With The Fire On High has got to be my favorite so far! I basically sped through this book! I was also really glad that when I started this book I was, in fact, making myself dinner because otherwise, I would’ve been so hungry! All of the recipes Emoni made sounded amazing and I kind of want Elizabeth Acevedo to release a cookbook with those recipes.
Trigger Warnings: Death (family, past), parental abandonment, teen pregnancy, racism, shooting (mentioned), vomiting
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
A Place in This World: A book set in a country outside your own
✧ Sixteen Scandals by Sophie Jordan (May 25, 2021)
I love period pieces both in literature and in film/tv so I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of Sixteen Scandals from Edelweiss +! This book is super fun and full of shenanigans which is always fun and I like that Prim is a very headstrong character. I got a few Pride and Prejudice vibes from some of the characters as well.
Trigger Warnings: Animal cruelty (on page), blood, sexism
The youngest of four daughters, Primrose Ainsworth is used to getting lost in the shuffle. But when her parents decide to delay her debut into English society, Prim hatches a plan to go rogue on the night of her sixteenth birthday.
Donning a mask, Prim escapes to the infamous Vauxhall Gardens for one wild night. When her cover is nearly blown, a mysterious stranger intercedes, and Prim finds an unexpected partner in mischief . . . and romance. But when it’s revealed her new ally isn’t who he says he is, her one night of fun may last past dawn.
In this frothy regency romp perfect for fans of Austen-esque flirtation and Shakespearean hijinks, sometimes a little scandal can be a good thing.
Our Song: An audiobook
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
If a book has fake dating I will be reading it. It’s one of my favorite tropes and Rent a Boyfriend is a perfect fake dating story! I was hooked right from the start and didn’t want to put it down. I’ll probably read it again soon because of how much I loved it!
Trigger Warnings: Fatphobia, slut shaming, mentions of racism and xenophobia, homophobia, family estrangement
Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.
Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.
When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.
But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?
White Horse: A book set in a small town
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
The Twelve Dates of Christmas has a really sweet childhood friends-to-lovers slow burn that definitely had me saying, “JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY!” and was filled with lots of cute Christmas-y activities that had me wishing it snowed here in California so that I could participate in them as well.
Trigger Warnings: Death of a parent (mentioned), mentions of sex, marital infidelity
When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?
Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . . .
The Way I Loved You: A book with the enemies-to-lovers trope
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
This was apparently the year where I read all of Jasmine Guillory’s books (except The Proposal which I have already read) and I did enjoy them! I like how all the stories are slightly connected but you can read them as stand-alone novels as well. The Wedding Party features the enemies-to-lovers trope, which I’m a huge fan of and it is a well done enemies-to-lovers story.
Trigger Warnings: Sex on the page (slightly explicit), traumatic brain injury/concussion
Maddie and Theo have two things in common:
1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other
After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking.
But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.
Mine: An own voices book
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
I am OBSESSED with this book! It was so so so good! I honestly can’t say enough good things about it, I recommend it to everyone. I loved the relationship between Kimi and her grandparents and I wish more YA books had stories between teens and their grandparents. I’m probably going to read it again soon because I just adored it.
Trigger Warnings: Mentions of Japanese Internment camps, estrangement from parents
Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.
She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.
When she arrives in Japan, she’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.
In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.
Sparks Fly: A book with a green cover
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
I still haven’t fully processed this book but holy crap it is SO GOOD! The world is so vivid and detailed with a fully fleshed out and complex group of characters. It’s a story that I know I’ll be reading multiple times to fully process everything, but it’s absolutely incredible. Mary wrote a blog post about it recently, check out her review here.
Trigger Warnings: Ableism, antisemitism (violent, mentioned), anxiety, bullying, character death, child abuse, homophobia, loss of a loved one, physical abuse, racism, spiders, torture, violence
No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
Back to December: A book with snow on the cover
The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi
Okay, so if I haven’t fully processed The Gilded Wolves then I still can’t believe The Silvered Serpents exists. Roshani Cokshi did that y’all! SHE DID THAT!!!!! Honestly, this was such a fantastic sequel that left me breathless and I cannot wait for the third book.
Trigger Warnings: Antisemitism, blood, body mutilation, child abuse, fire, infertility (mentioned), kidnapping (past), poisoning, racism, sexual content (brief), suicide (mentioned), violence
They are each other’s fiercest love, greatest danger, and only hope.
Séverin and his team members might have successfully thwarted the Fallen House, but victory came at a terrible cost — one that still haunts all of them. Desperate to make amends, Séverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God.
Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where crystalline ice animals stalk forgotten mansions, broken goddesses carry deadly secrets, and a string of unsolved murders makes the crew question whether an ancient myth is a myth after all.
As hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them, the crew will discover new dimensions of themselves. But what they find out may lead them down paths they never imagined.
A tale of love and betrayal as the crew risks their lives for one last job.
Speak Now: A book set at a wedding
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
I’ve always really liked stories about wedding planners or people who are heavily involved with planning weddings (I love films like The Wedding Planner and 27 Dresses) so when I saw this book I figured it was right up my alley. It was really fun and enjoyable and Lina and Max had great chemistry.
Trigger Warning: Alcohol, racism, sex scenes (fairly explicit), sexism
A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.
Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning —absolutely off-limits — ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.
If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.
But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…
Last Kiss: A book with the themes of betrayal
✧ Not Our Summer by Casie Bazay (May 11, 2021)
Not Our Summer is Casie Bazay’s debut novel and after reading this one I will for sure be checking out her future novels. I love the idea of these two cousins, who really don’t know each other at all, fulfilling these bucket list items that their grandfather left for them and along the way learning more about each other and their family. I thought this was a great coming of age story.
Trigger Warnings: Death of a family member, LGBTQ slur (one at the beginning), marital infidelity
Five trips, two cousins, one family feud, and a summer that will change their lives forever.
It’s bad enough that estranged cousins Becka and KJ see each other at their grandfather’s funeral, but when he leaves them a bucket list of places to visit together over the summer, so they can earn their inheritance, it seems like things are about to get much worse.
However, with each trip the cousins complete — like riding mules into the Grand Canyon or encountering a bear and a hot tour guide at Yellowstone — they steadily learn about and begin to trust one another. That is until the truth behind Grandpa’s bucket list, and their family feud, is revealed, testing Becka and KJ far beyond their limits.
Will they find a way to accept each other or will their grandpa’s wish to mend his divided family end up buried alongside him inside his grasshopper green casket?
Red: A book with a red cover
The Wedding Date Jasmine Guillory
Again with the fake dating! As we have established I love fake dating, so this really was right up my alley. All of Jasmine Guillory’s stories flow really nicely and are easy to read, so I breezed through all of the books. Plus, I love stories that involve weddings.
Trigger Warnings: Classism, profanity, racism, sexually explicit scenes, sexual harassment
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…
They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…
Begin Again: Reread a favorite
✢ If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
At every opportunity I get I tell people that If We Were Villains is my favorite book. This book lives in my head rent-free always. This was my 4th reread of it this year, and in fact, I was supposed to be buddy reading it with some friends and I ended up reading it in 2 days (sorry again, y’all). I won’t go into why it’s my favorite book here, but I will be making an in-depth post on it in April for the 4 year anniversary of its release so keep an eye out for that!
Trigger Warnings: Death, depression, drug overdose, eating disorder, homophobia, injury, murder, physical abuse, ptsd, racial slur (usee of romani slur), self-harm, slut-shaming, substance abuse, suicide (mentioned), transphobic comment, violence
Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Welcome to New York: A book set in New York
Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd
Me 🤝 Olivia: being obsessed with Christmas and wanting to spread Christmas cheer. This story started off really cute and had fake dating so obviously, I was all over it! Around halfway through the book the tone of it changes and I wasn’t fully prepared for that so it took me out of it a little bit. Even with that, the book was still pretty enjoyable and I read it all in one sitting. I would also like to thank the author for putting trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. All authors should do that.
Trigger Warnings: Mentions of sexual assault and rape
Olivia Langley is the human embodiment of Christmas cheer, and she has absolutely no problem spreading it around for all to hear.
Christmas sweaters? She has twenty. Christmas cookies? She’ll take three dozen. Christmas movies? Yeah, she’s seen them all.
So it’s no surprise when she’s put in charge of Loveridge & McGowan’s holiday festivities. Secret Santas? Yep. Ice skating? Of course. Holiday trivia? Duh. Christmas-themed bar crawl? That’s one big jingle bell hell yes.
Kissing her boss at a Christmas tree lighting in front of his ex-girlfriend? Well… it is the season of giving.
And Olivia does not come with a gift receipt. No exchanges. No returns. No refunds. All sales are final.
In an effort to ungrinch the grinchiest man she’s ever met, Olivia enlists herself, Santa’s Executive Helper, to scheme up a plan that includes sleigh rides, snow days, and one too many mistletoe kisses, which certainly gets Asher’s tinsel in a tangle.
She’s pretty sure that she sleighed this whole fake dating thing.
Well… until she realizes there’s nothing fake about her feelings for Asher, and suddenly tangled tinsel, unsolicited Christmas trees, and celebrity heartthrobs are the least of her worries.
Blank Space: Any book you want
✧ Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales (March 9, 2021)
I loved this book. I was so invested in these characters and their stories, once I got really into it I couldn’t put it down. There’s also this whole acquaintances-to-friends-to-lovers slow burn going on and I am ALL ABOUT IT. This is a book that I’ll be reading many times.
Trigger Warnings: Alcohol, drugs (marijuana), cheating, vomiting, biphobia (external and internalized), toxic parents, divorce
Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?
Out of the Woods: A book with nature on the cover
We Met in December by Rosie Curtis
We Met In December was different than I expected. Based on the cover, with all the snow and the ice skating and Christmas trees, I had expected this to be a cute little Christmas romance but it wasn’t that. It was a cute book mostly, but I found it a little forgettable.
Trigger Warnings: Sexism
Two people. One house. A year that changes everything.
Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.
But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Alex has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.
I Wish You Would: A book someone recommended to you
Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra
If you know me then you know that Little Women is one of my favorite books of all time, and it shaped me during my childhood. When it comes to retellings of my favorite books I can get weary, but I really enjoyed Meg & Jo. I thought that the characterization of all four March sisters was spot on and I can’t wait to read the sequel Beth and Amy when it comes out in 2021.
Trigger Warnings: Marital separation, sex
The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.
Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.
One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.
Bad Blood: A murder mystery
✧ Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price (April 6, 2021)
When I first heard about the new Jane Austen Murder Mystery series that Tirzah Price is starting I couldn’t have been more excited! I love Jane Austen and murder mysteries so this seemed like it would be perfect for me, and I really enjoyed it. I thought that the characters were true to the original while still being different so that they fit the story that was being told this time. I’m looking forward to the next books in the series.
Trigger Warnings: Death (on page), murder, sexism, implied racism
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman who desires a law career must be in want of a case. So when seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet hears about a scandalous society murder, she sees an opportunity to prove herself as a solicitor by solving the case and ensuring justice is served.
Except the man accused of the crime already has a lawyer on his side: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates law firm. Lizzie is determined to solve the murder before Darcy can so that she can show the world that a woman can be just as good as a man. (The fact that Darcy is an infuriating snob doesn’t help.) But there’s still a killer on the loose, and as the case gets more complicated, Lizzie and Darcy may have to start working together to avoid becoming the next victims themselves.
I Know Places: A book in the same place the whole time
✬ The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West
I love dark and gothic books, which I feel like most people wouldn’t assume from my personality, but those are actually my favorite types of books to read and The Bitterwine Oath definitely ticked all the boxes in that regard! I was part of the TBR and Beyond blog tour for the book earlier this month and you can read my full review here.
Trigger Warnings: Mentions of parental and family abuse, cults, murder, mentions of parental death, blood, animal sacrifice (on-page), mentions of molestation, mentions of incest
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copycat killer? Or a man-hating murderess?
Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true-crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real. And magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.
But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims–including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
You Are in Love: Read a book with the friends-to-lovers trope
✧ You Have a Match by Emma Lord (January 12, 2021)
You Have a Match is one of my favorite reads of 2020. I simply adored Emma Lord’s debut novel Tweet Cute and couldn’t wait for You Have a Match. It exceeded all of my expectations and then some! I recently reviewed it for the blog and you can check out all of my thoughts here.
Trigger Warnings: Grief, anxiety, injury (mild), death of a family member, adoption/transracial adoption, parental conflict
When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.
But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.
When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.
The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.
But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.
Gorgeous: Read a book with a gorgeous cover
The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg
Well anyone who knows me knows that I myself have basically become an insomniac throughout quarantine, so reading this in the middle of the night while I couldn’t sleep honestly felt pretty fitting. I happened to stumble across this book on Instagram the other day and since it sounded interesting I thought I’d check it out and I really enjoyed it! It was full of intrigue and mystery and I was hooked from the start. I figured out the big reveal like maybe a paragraph before the main character did and I couldn’t believe it.
Trigger Warnings: Injury (concussion from diving), underage drinking, underage smoking, underage drug use, pedophilia
When seventeen-year-old competitive diver Ingrid freezes up and sustains a head injury at a routine meet, her orderly life is turned upside down. Now housebound and sedentary on doctor’s orders, Ingrid can’t sleep and is haunted by the question of what triggered her uncharacteristic stage fright.
The only thing she remembers about the moment before the dive is seeing Van, her neighbor, former best friend, and forever crush, on the sidelines. Then one sleepless night, she sees Van outside her window…looking right back at her. They tentatively begin “not sleeping” together every night but still living separate lives by day.
Ingrid tells herself this is just temporary, but soon, she and Van are up every night together, increasingly intertwined in helping each other put pieces of memory together. As Van works through his own reasons for not being able to sleep, both of them are pulled into a mystery that threatens to turn their quiet neighborhood into a darker place than they realized.
Dress: A book with someone wearing a dress on the cover
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
While this book did not actually focus on a fictional version of the British Royal family there were still some fun little mentions of the royals which was fun. It was a cute story that I read in one sitting. I also don’t remember the last time I read a romance novel about a woman in her 50s, and honestly, I thought that was nice and it was a nice change from what I usually read.
Trigger Warnings: Sex, mentions of cancer
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?
The Man: A book written by a woman
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
While I breezed through this book, I, unfortunately, didn’t feel very connected to any of the characters and had a bit of a hard time focusing on the book. I can totally see why this book resonates with a lot of people, but unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.
Trigger Warnings: Death of a grandparent (on page), death of a parent (in the past), cancer (mentioned), drowning (mentioned), suicide (mentioned), grief, depression
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince: A book featuring political themes
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
While I have enjoyed reading Jasmine Guillory’s books, I do feel that the plot lines are all pretty similar. That does not stop me from enjoying them though, and will I read her next book? I absolutely will. Like her other books, I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read.
Trigger Warnings: Injury (traumatic head injury), mentions of jail time
Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.
Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?
The 1: A book with a one-word title
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Okay, I’m gonna be totally honest here, I read Rebecca because I wanted to watch the Netflix film with Lily James because I’m a huge fan of hers, but I wanted to have read the book beforehand. While I thought that the premise was super interesting it left a little to be desired. I had expected it to be more of a thriller than it actually was and sometimes the main character annoyed me.
Trigger Warnings: Ableism (including dated language), adultery, cancer, dementia, drowning, murder, social anxiety
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
Exile: A book with dual perspectives
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo has a way of writing stories that you can find yourself getting fully immersed in and Clap When You Land is no exception. I was hooked from the start, I read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Trigger Warnings: Assault, attempted rape, attempted sexual assault, cheating, death (parent), grief, parental death (past), parental separation, plane crash, premature labor, risk of child death (neonatal), sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, threat of forced sex work
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
If you have read this whole post….you deserve all of the good things in the world. Comment below if you’ve read any of these books!