I am usually loud and proud about the fact that I would rather read nonfiction than fiction. However! I've had the good pleasure of reading some really good novels lately. I'm all about the fiction right now and I'm going to tell you all about it. The great, the good, the awful. Buckle up.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan-5 stars: I could not have loved this book more. It was like the grown-up Princess Diaries and let me pretend to be an older Mia Thermapolis in literary form. The story is so obviously Will and Kate fan-fiction and I don't even care. I'm not even a huge Kate Middleton fan, but this story almost made me want to be her. It's about a girl from the US who met the Royal Prince while studying abroad at Oxford and their ensuing semi-private relationship. Normally I'm not one for partying and drunken shenanigans, which is what this story mostly is, but this book was really funny, well-written, and total escapism. If I had the time, I would've read it in one sitting.
Also--I've heard some rumors that Lauren Graham is making this into a movie? That should be all the endorsement you need.
For fans of: Will & Kate, fairytales, drunken shenanigans, all things British, Mia Thermapolis
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion-2.5 stars: If Sheldon Cooper had never met Amy Farrah-Fowler (the horror!), this would be a book about him. Don is a genetics professor and outcast with zero social graces. The plot alludes to him possibly having autism? I'm not sure. But he decides he needs a wife, so he draws up an extensive application for women to fill out. Instead, he ends up meeting a new friend and helps her find out who her father is. I think the narrative was supposed to come off as charming and quirky, but I found it kind of boring and like reading a dry textbook. It has rave reviews and overall it is a cute story, but for whatever reason it didn't thrill me.
For fans of: Sheldon Cooper, awkward love stories, secondhand embarrassment
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton-4.5 stars: This is the book that won me over to Kate Morton. I mean, it's a masterpiece. It's happy, it's sad, you'll feel every emotion you're capable of feeling. I could not put this one down! The story follows several characters and jumps around from the early 20th century to modern day and in-between and takes place in England and Australia. It's the story of a little girl raised by a family who found her abandoned on a dock and how she, then later her granddaughter, discovers who she really is and who her family was. I was so emotionally invested in this story and I want to read it all over again.
For fans of: historical fiction, mysteries, the inability to put a book down
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen-4 stars: This is the one non-fiction book I've read lately. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager, because it would've been so good for me. When Maya was 13ish, she found a teenage guide to popularity written in the 1950s. Maya was awkward, shy, and a bit of a social outcast, but she forced herself to follow every single tip in the book exactly to see if it made her popular and if advice from the 1950s is still relevant today. My inner middle-schooler cringed at some of the things she did, and I relived those horrible years with her. This girl is so brave and a breath of fresh air. I can't get over how eloquent she was at an age where I was a full-fledged drama queen obsessed with boy bands and frosted eyeshadow. Ugh. We need more Mayas in the world.
For fans of: underdogs, reliving your awkward high school years, the 1950s
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton-3 stars: I have so many mixed feelings about this book. In true Kate Morton fashion, she kept me guessing until the last page. It was definitely more tragic than The Forgotten Garden, but still a very good story. In the 90s, Edie discovers her mom was evacuated to a castle in the country during WWII. Edie visits the elderly three sisters who still live there and once took care of her mother. She learns about their crazy, twisted past and her mother's and how they all intertwine. The ending made me a bit angry, but it's a beautifully haunting story.
For fans of: mystery, tragedy, historical fiction, WWII
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty-4.5 stars: I adored this book. It was hilarious and witty while dealing with heavy issues like abuse and domestic violence. The whole book is a series of interactions between catty kindergarten moms that all lead up to a murder. It sounds a little ridiculous, but it was so entertaining. I stayed up incredibly late every night I read this book, because I did not want to put it down. I was so into the story I started dreaming every night that I was investigating murders. Basically, it was an exhausting reading experience but totally worth it.
For fans of: murder, mystery, humor, cattiness, Australian kindergarteners and their crazy parents
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal-2 stars: Nope. This book had so much promise and sounded like a happy story, but it was deeeeeepressing. In my humble opinion, most of the characters were obnoxious, some of the chapters were extremely boring, and I just don't like the way the book was written. The story is about a renowned midwestern chef, and each chapter focuses on the people and food that influenced her. Unfortunately, I wanted to punch most of those people in the face. I like the idea of the book, but I did not like the execution. It did, however, make me very hungry.
For fans of: cooking, the midwest, jerks, depression
What are you reading? What should I read? Spill!
Let me confess something: I'm currently reading Little Women right now for the very first time. It's the sweetest book.
Are you on Goodreads? Let's book-stalk each other.