Today’s post covers the second half of the books I read in February 2021. I shared the first half of the books I read here. My top books of the month can be found here. I also shared the book And Then She Vanished separately. I will be linking up this post with the Show Us Your Books Link Up, and the Amazon links to the books I’ve read are affiliate links and if you use them and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. If you’ve read any of these books or are interested in them, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Author: Bethany Mangle
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2/23/21
Source: Books Forward Friends
Why I Read It: Sent to me for my review
My Rating: 3 Stars
I was expecting something different from this book than what I got. While it started out somewhat good, I became bored along the way.
“Always be ready for the worst day of your life. This is the mantra that Becca Aldaine has grown up with. Her family is part of a community of doomsday preppers, a neighborhood that prioritizes survivalist training over class trips or senior prom. They’re even arranging Becca’s marriage with Roy Kang, the only eligible boy in their community. Roy is a nice guy, but he’s so enthusiastic about prepping that Becca doesn’t have the heart to tell him she’s planning to leave as soon as she can earn a full ride to a college far, far away. Then a devastating accident rocks Becca’s family and pushes the entire community, including Becca’s usually cynical little sister, deeper into the doomsday ideology. With her getaway plans thrown into jeopardy, the only person Becca can turn to is Roy, who reveals that he’s not nearly as clueless as he’s been pretending to be. When Roy proposes they run away together, Becca will have to risk everything—including her heart—for a chance to hope for the best instead of planning for the worst.”
I expected more of a survival type book, but it was mainly about Becca trying to decide whether she could leave her sister behind in order to leave the community. This book contains emotional abuse.
Title: Amelia Unabridged
Author: Ashley Schumacher
Publisher: Macmillan Audio, 2/16/21
Why I Read It: Sent to me for my review
My Rating: 4 Stars
I listened to the audio and then the print copy arrived in the mail. I read so many raving reviews of this book on Instagram!
“Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college. In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future. When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.”
I really enjoyed the whimsical feel, the bookstore setting, and Amelia’s inner strength. I wasn’t so sure I loved the insta love story line though. I think Amelia’s grief over losing her best friend led her into a sort of transference of feelings. I also found myself annoyed at how Amelia took so long to stand up for herself and to live her life the way she wanted to. I definitely want my daughter to read this one! This book contains loss including deaths of close relations to the main characters.
Title: The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Genre: Rom Com February
Publisher: Berkley, 1/30/18
Source: Own Purchase
Why I Read It: Rom Com February / Waiting on my shelf
My Rating: 3 Stars
This was my least favorite of the romances I read this month! The male lead, Drew, was conceited and unlikable. Alexa, the female lead, had self-esteem issues, especially around her body, which I wished were addressed better. Although this book featured an interracial couple, there was only a bit of discussion of racism – and that was the part of the book I appreciated the most.
“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….”
The relationship seemed very immature and lacked true communication. All they did was fly back and forth to see each other, eat, and fool around. I think with more conversation I could have bought into the story more than I did!
Title: Just Mercy
Author: Bryan Stevenson
Publisher: Spiegel and Grau, 10/21/14
Source: Little Free Library
Why I Read It: Antiracism Journey / Waiting on my shelf
My Rating: 4 Stars
This very inspiring book made me think about how much work still needs to be done with regards to prison reform. The book mainly focused on the story of Walter McMilllian, a man who was wrongly placed on death row in Alabama.
“Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.”
What this book has to say is important. I just wish there was a way to help, and reading about the injustices in the system does make me feel helpless. There has to be more than an individual can do other than make donations, doesn’t there?
Title: Meet Me in Paradise
Author: Libby Hubscher
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Berkley, 3/23/21
Source: Publisher via Net Galley
Why I Read It: Reading ahead on Net Galley / Buddy Read
My Rating: 4 Stars
I went into this book expecting a rom com, and by about mid way through I realized that was not what I was getting. Marin is a very careful and fearful person, while her sister Sadie is the opposite. Sadie arranges a trip to a Caribbean island so Marin can experience everything she hasn’t yet.
“Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline. When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters’ spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin’s luggage gets mixed up with another passenger’s, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister’s seat. For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she’s been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.”
There is a love story involved, but it takes a back seat to the true sister relationship story that is the main point of the book. Without wanting to spoil too much, I will point out that the book is sad. I loved the island setting – it turns out Saba is real and I want to go there!
Daisy is a planner. When she runs into her high school crush, she is surrounded on one side by her ex and her former boss and on the other her auntie and the man her auntie wants her to meet. She agrees to kiss Liam, even though he broke her heart in the past. That may have solved her problems for a moment, but then Liam finds out he has to get married in order to inherit his family’s distillery and Daisy needs his help to save her start up company. So, Daisy makes a plan.
“Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé. Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.”
The Dating Plan consists of a series of dates with objectives, leading towards approval from Daisy’s family. What Daisy doesn’t count on is that Liam may actually have feelings for her and a good reason for having left her behind all those years ago. I enjoyed this cute, sweet, and funny look at a second chance for love, family dynamics across cultures, and all the ways planning can go wrong.
Title: The Book of Lost Friends
Author: Lisa Wingate
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine, 4/7/20
Source: Library Audio App / Publisher via Net Galley
Why I Read It: Working on Net Galley list
My Rating: 4 Stars
While this book was meaningful, I found it a bit long and hard to focus on at times. It takes place in two time lines – in 1875, focusing on Hannie, a freed slave, and in 1987, focusing on Benny, a teacher in the same town where Hannie lived.
“Bestselling author Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual ‘Lost Friends’ advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away. Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope. Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt—until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.”
I was a little uncomfortable with the viewpoint of a freed slave being told over by a white woman, as well as with the white savior narrative that Benny represented. I did appreciate the history project that Benny’s students worked on, in which they discovered the hidden history of their town.
This covers 7 books I read in February! Of these books, 4 were print, 2 were audio, and 1 was an ebook. Genres included were YA, rom com, non-fiction, contemporary fiction, and historical fiction. Can you tell I like reading a mix of genres?
Have you read any of these books or do you want to? What have you been reading lately?