Happy Book Day, friends!
I have been super excited to talk to you today because this month, I loved so many of the books I read!
Now, before we begin, don’t forget, you can always see the running list of my books for the year HERE plus, you can now see many of my favorites grouped together by genre HERE.
This month, I read five fictional stories that were all very different, all very unique and a few of them could even possibly make it into my Top Three for the year starting with…
…The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver. Friends, I loved this book!! If you’ll recall, Silver also wrote another book I loved, One Day in December, but if it’s possible, I think I even loved this one more (and you know how much I loved that one!).
This story is about a woman who basically ends up living in two parallel universes (it’s not realistic, but you just have to go with it!). She’s cruising right along in life until, at the very beginning of the book, her fiancé unexpectedly dies, so from that moment on, one chapter, you see how her life unfolds without him, but then in the next chapter, you see what would happen if he wouldn’t have died. Make sense? You get both sides of the coin…and you know what they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I really loved the main character in this novel and my heart hurt for her while reading many of the pages. It’s one of those British books I love with lots of quirkiness and banter, but it was also a little deeper and more thoughtful than most chick-lit books I read. All in all, I really feel liked it plus, it was pretty PG too, and I could absolutely see it in my Top Three for the year!
If you’re looking for a good book about life, loss and what ifs, here you go. It really reminded me of The Dinner List too (which I loved) which brings me to…
…In Five Years …a novel by the author who indeed did write The Dinner List. And guess what? I loooooved this one too!!! In fact, I cannot tell you another book I read as quickly as this one. I finished this in 24 hours as I stayed up until 1:30 AM just to see how it ended.
I LOVED this book!
This is another book where you kind of have to go along with things even if they’re not exactly realistic. In this book, a young attorney has the job of her life, the brand new fiancé she’s always wanted, a gorgeous apartment in New York City and then one night, falls asleep and has a dream about her life five years from that date but nothing is the same. New apartment, new love, new everything. This dream is so realistic and freaks her out so much because she just knows it’s her future…and then, the story unfolds from there. I could not put this book down. It’s very similar to the first book where it’s about love and loss in a magical little way, but it’s also about taking chances, reinventing yourself and risking your heart. I cried at one point when I read this one because it has a really sweet and sad subplot too that tore at my heart. Friends, I loved it! (FYI: for those of you who ask, this one is more PG-13ish.)
Now, I’m bracing myself to talk about the third book I read this month because it was highly recommended by many of you but, as much as I hate to say it, I did not like…
Please don’t be mad.
Ugh, okay, where do I begin? Um, I’m not a huge fan of Ng’s books. I like some, don’t like others, so that’s why I never picked up this novel in the first place. BUT now that there is a show/series based on this book, it’s back and super popular, so many of you suggested I read the book and watch the show. I read the book. I didn’t love it. I don’t plan on watching the show. Please tell me I’m not alone! Anyone else?! Here’s the deal…I didn’t hate it, I just thought it was okay. I didn’t love any of the characters, I wasn’t pulling for anyone, I kept waiting for someone to leap out at me as “the one” to root for, and it never really happened. I didn’t love the plot and thought the first half was kind of just stuck in there with the second half but didn’t think they complemented each other in a real organic way. I don’t keep the page numbers at the bottom of my Kindle because I don’t like to know where I am in the story, but during this book, I must have swiped up a dozen times to see if I was almost finished with it, and I wasn’t. In hindsight, I should have put this one down, but I kept thinking it would redeem itself. I don’t know about the show, but I would probably rate the book a strong PG-13 for content as well.
Now, all of you leave me comments telling me how I’m wrong 😉 . I’m prepared. Ha! I just didn’t love it. I hope that’s okay?!
After reading the previous book, I wanted something light and HAPPY, so I opened up The Jetsetters because the reviews promised me a darling little read…and it was…but it was also so much deeper than I ever thought it would be! Geez! Where are the light chick-lits this month? These books all had heavier undertones than I was expecting. Great books but heavier than some of the fluff I also love to read.
This is a fictional story about a woman in her 60s who wins a European cruise vacation for herself and her three grown children. Now, there was so much to love about this book as I’m a “cruiser” myself and couldn’t get enough of the delicious details about their itinerary, their ship, their food, their cabins…the traveler/travel agent in me loved it all! BUT (you knew there was a but coming), this novel also covered some really serious topics…everything from suicide to depression, resentment, infidelity, alcoholism, acceptance and more. It covered some really serious topics between the pages of Mediterranean cruise fluff. All in all, I really liked this book. I loved the main character, I liked all of her kids, I was pulling for certain people in big ways, I loved the detailed descriptions of their vacation…I liked all of it. The only thing I didn’t love was that, in my opinion, it ended a bit abruptly. After the whole big story, I was hoping for more at the end. I will say that based on the topics this book covers, I’m going to rate it R for those of you who might be sensitive to such things.
I was really, really excited about my fifth and final book because the author also wrote MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK OF LAST YEAR…
…Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer.
Awwww! I love when I pick up a book by one of my favorite authors, and it does not disappoint. This one was just as fantastic as I had hoped it would be.
Now, all of that being said, this book was painfully hard for me to read at times, and I want to go ahead and throw it out there that if you (or someone you really love) struggles with severe depression, postpartum depression, suicidal thoughts or someone you love has committed suicide, you might not want to read this book. There were multiple times during this book when I stopped and talked to Andrew about it. Even though this story is a work of fiction, the picture it paints was very similar to ones people I love dearly have expressed to me about how they live with mental health issues. This book broke my heart in many ways, but also gave me peace and joy in others. (That probably all sounds super dramatic but seriously y’all, this book is deep and hits to the core of depression.) This story toggles back and forth between three different characters who live decades apart and is about a family coming to terms with new discoveries made after the patriarch gets really ill. This book not only focuses on depression, but since half of the book is set in the late 1950s, it also focuses on women going to extraordinary lengths not to be pregnant in order to avoid the reoccurrence of postpartum depression. It’s really heart wrenching, friends and yet so thought-provoking too. I would again, probably rate this one R just because the subject is really raw and graphic, and I know many of you are sensitive to that.
Where was the light chick-lit?!
I am going to need to read me something fluffy this next month 😉 .
Speaking of which, what should I read????? I would love some fresh ideas please!!!!
Comment, share, discuss and tell me what to read next 🙂 .
As always, you can see the other book reviews I’ve done so far in 2020 right HERE along with my TOP THREE books of 2019 and a list of every book I read in 2019 ? .
Happy Book Day!
April Z. says
Thought I was the only one that felt that way about Little Fires Everywhere! Thank goodness, haha! Can’t wait to read the first two books you read. I just started the Jetsetters too!
I hated it too! I am an avid reader in a friend group of non-readers and with the show coming out at least 3 people have texted me asking my opinion. I always answer with “It was one of my least favorite books ever and I won’t watch the show no matter how awesome the cast is!” Harsh but true. I really do not understand the hype surrounding this one.
Yes!! Agreed. I didn’t hate it, I finished it, but after I very clearly thought – what did I miss?? Why all the hype?! Definitely not watching the show.
Michalina Peterson says
I didn’t love the book “Little Fires Everywhere” either. To be honest, I only read about half of it then returned it to the library. I just couldn’t get into it, the characters never grabbed me either. But, I did watch the show, and I really liked it. I binged it in 2 days. Maybe it was different because I really liked the actors who portrayed the characters? I think you should give the show a shot!
This is so interesting. While I liked the book ok, I decided to watch the show knowing I never like shows/movies as much as the books. But I love Reese! I HATED the show. I stopped watching. So different than the book and they added so many unnecessary things. And I found absolutely no one likable in the show – especially Kerry Washington ad Mia. Disappointing.
I have NEVER liked a show/movie better than the book, but in this case I sure did! I didn’t like the book AT ALL, but I loved the show! And I liked the ending in the show so much better than the book!
Jen G says
Completely agree! I couldn’t finish the book but really loved the show. The acting by Reese and Kerry is amazing. Definitely recommend the show over the book.
Maci Nichols says
If you want something lighthearted and a cute love story ready Unforgettable You by Brenda Novak!! I just finished this one and it was so cute about a girl who falls back in love with her one true love after many years apart. It is a little PG-13 but the story is so sweet and predictable but overall the perfect chick flick! I highly recommend! 🙂
Holly K says
I REALLY REALLY disliked “Little Fires Everywhere” and still don’t understand what all the hype is about. It just didn’t click with me and actually made me mad because i wasted reading time on it in the hopes it would get better and it never did. Found the characters unlikeable and the overall plot just ehh. There are \far better books out there and the fact that some think this is one of the greatest books ever makes me sad for them! 🙂 I’m tempted to watch the show just to see if it’s any better but we’ll see. Love your recommendations and many were already on my TBR list.
I thought I was the only one too!! Everyone I know LOOOOVED it and I was like meh ? it was raved about so much and I did not love it at all!!
I liked the book but I was disappointed with the show and I wanted to quit watching after a couple episodes. It felt overdone and over-acted.
That’s exactly how I feel about the show. It’s like they’re trying too hard to get the audience to feel something. I don’t understand why Kerry Washington always has a disgusted look on her face. And the Lexi character isn’t likable at all like the book claims she is.
So happy there is a community of dislikers! I honestly was questioning myself thinking I might be the only one that didn’t think this book was good. I was like, “Am I missing something??” especially when I heard they were making it into a series. There was not one likable character. I didn’t finish it either.
I didn’t like Little fires everywhere either. It took me a long time to finish it , I kept reading other books and going back to it to get it done. I was so surprised Reese Witherspoon did a tv serie which I did watch because of Reese Witherspoon the series was better than the book but not much.. just a boring story with good acting.
Heeeeelp. I’m not sure you’ll see this in time…and there wasn’t a comment box under the recipe…so I’m commenting on here. Anyhow, I am trying to make Shaeffer’s Pineapple Casserole for a small going away party that is today at 9am. I thought I had all of the ingredients to make it, but I messed up and only bought one can of pineapple. Is there any way I can make this in a smaller pan and just half all of the ingredients? My grocery store doesn’t open until 8 and that doesn’t give me enough time to get more.
Mix and Match Mama says
Yes!! Make it in an 8×8 or something similar! For sure!
I have Happy Ever After Playlist next up on my Kindle. I believe it’s the sequel to The Friend Zone. I also LOVED Two Life of Lydia Bird and You Were There Too. This month I read and really liked The Other Mrs. and Evvie Drake Starts Over.
Sami Moss says
Yes! I’m reading this one now and it’s so good! I didn’t love The Friend Zone so I didn’t have high hopes for Happily Ever After Playlist but it is way better!!! Easy, breezy, sweet. Love it.
I just finished Evvie Drake Starts Over too. Loved it! A lighter book to read and perfect for right now where you might not want thread something heavy.
I felt the same way about Little Fires Everywhere. The first half was soooo long with boring, insignificant details about the characters and even after, I still felt like I didn’t know them. Then the plot completely changed and I was like, huh? Then it just ended! And now, the show is on and I felt obligated to watch it to see if it was better. But Kerry Washington is driving. Me. Nuts. And I’m not sure if I can finish it. Ugh!!!!
I loved the Friend Zone and can’t wait to read Happy Ever After Playlist!
Totally agree about Little Fires Everywhere! After all the hype, I was very underwhelmed with the book. The tv series was decent though…very slow though, and they definitely changed a few things from the book.
I always look forward to your book reviews and getting ideas for books to read!! I don’t know if you have read any books by Sophie Kinsella. She has lots of lighthearted chick books. Two of my favorites are Remember Me? And Undomeatic Goddess. Another favorite of mine is Outlander, the book series is amazing. It is not necessarily a light chick lit book but sooooo good!!
Mix and Match Mama says
I love her books!!!!
Kinsella books are my version of perfect, light chick-lit. Have you read Twenties Girl? One of my favourites with an element of “not realistic, but just go with it.” Also, have you ever heard of the podcast “What Should I Read Next?” Forty-five delightful minutes of the host analyzing the guest’s reading preferences and then recommending three books for her to read next. Very satisfying just listening to people talk about the stories they love and why they love them.
Ashlee Brown says
I think you need to try The Bromance Book Club. It’s so cute and I love that it focuses on a married couple. Also, one of the lead characters is a MLB player. If you love it, there is also a sequel called Undercover Bromance that I really liked as well.
Katie Cameron says
I didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere Either but the show was really good. They did a good job with character development in the show. Our son was adopted from South Korea and I struggled with the way they dealt with adoption. For once, I prefer the show to the book.
Erika Slaughter says
I’m in the middle of the Sun Down Motel and I’m pretty positive you’d hate it. ??? Basically, I’m saying don’t put it on your list!
I didn’t really like Little Fires Everywhere either, so you are not alone. I also agree The Jetsetters came up short. It was just so so overall for me and then the lack of a real finish confirmed that. Sometimes I read books that others have recommended and wonder if I just can’t spot good writing anymore since millions of others loved it.
Mix and Match Mama says
“lack of a real finish” YES!! You nailed it!
I’m beginning to see a trend that I don’t love the books that Reece Witherspoon picks lately, despite me wanting to as I love her.
Ashley P says
I agree with you about Jetsetters. I didn’t really like it all the way through, and the lack of ending solidified that for me.
I didn’t ready Little Fires Everywhere but I loved the TV series! I have heard the TV series is better than the book- give it a try!
Haven’t read the book but loved the TV series too! But I love Reese Witherspoon. Her character reminded me of her character in Big Little Lies which I also loved and had hoped would come back for another season..
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez. It’s the follow up to the friend zone… I’m not even done with it yet but
I love it so far
I’m reading that right now too and I listened to the Friend’s List on my phone in a day!!!
Read the overdue life of any Byler! It’s pretty light 🙂
Or the Oxford/stiletto series by Lauren Layne!
Michelle V. says
Yes!!! The Overdue Life was light and perfect!
I’ll chime in here, too – The Overdue Life of Amy Byler was a great light read! Made me laugh several times, and was an easy and enjoyable read.
Amy Owens says
Yes! I just finished this and really enjoyed it! (There was a typo – it’s Amy Byler!)
I also recommend The Overdue Life of Amy Byler! It was GREAT! The Printed Letter Bookshop and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill are also fantastic and have bookstore/library settings, which are just magical to me!
I loved The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, too! Nice, lighter read!
Couldn’t get past chapter 3 of Little Fires and I tried to read the book 3 times when it came out. I did watch the show and thought it was really good
So with you on Little Fires! That was my April’s book club book and I was so underwhelmed. Why did it take half the book to get to the plot? I don’t understand the hype!
(I also just read The Great Believers and do not understand how it’s a NYT best seller so maybe it’s one of those “it’s not you, book… it’s me” moments.)
Currently reading American Dirt (per your suggestion) and loving it!!!!
Yeah, these heavy books are 100 percent not for me.
Rayne Osborn says
Thanks for the review! I also didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere. I haven’t watched the series, but it seems to be well liked, so I might give it a chance. I do love Reese and Kerry! I have two great light and enjoyable chick lit recs for you. The Simple Wild and the follow up, Wild at Heart by K A Tucker. I have been just like you, finishing so many good but deep books during this past month and craving something light. These two books are great, love the plot and characters, very entertaining! I read them both in a few days!
Wait one more: The Happy Ever After Playlist, same author as the Friend Zone. It was a great chick lit book, def more rated R for language. The K A Tucker books are more PG-13
Katie Compton says
I completely agree about Little Fires Everywhere! I started it when it first came out and couldn’t get into so stopped. Then the show came out and I was determined to finish it before I watched. But when I was done, I just felt “Meh.” I did enjoy the show much better than the book!
Rosa Dunn says
I started reading Little Fires everywhere and just couldn’t get into it! You’re not alone! I also thought about giving it another try because everybody was talking about it, but not so sure now.
Samantha Barnett says
I wasn’t a big fan of Little Fires Everywhere either. It took me from March 9 until last week to finish it. Now part of that is because I am a teacher and came home from Spring Break to everything sifting majorly and due to that, I don’t have much time to sit and read. I obviously didn’t stay engaged though. I started watching the series and feel like it has added a bunch of things that was not in the novel (and not in a good way) and has created a different character in Mia than the novel portrays. I liked Mia and rooted more for her in the novel and sort of despise her in the series. Does that make sense?
Oh my gosh, I agree 100%! I didn’t like the book either and I’ve been watching the show and I HATE the way Mia is being portrayed. She is so angry and I likable, nothing redeeming about her in the show when in the book I had empathy for her.
Yes!!! Tv show is awful. Probably better than reading the book. But Oh my haven’t dislike a show so much. No real ending, brush on subject but no real depth. Mia character is so disliked and hard to watch the disgusted face all the time. Glad I didn’t read the book.
So glad I found this thread – I thought I was the only one who disliked the show! Totally agree that Kerry Washington’s portrayal of Mia is off. In the book I could connect to Mia a bit. The book helped you understand why she was who she was. She didn’t come across as just an angry person. But on the show she’s always just angry and disgusted (I actually used the disgusted face description in a comment above as well. That’s exactly how she always looks). It’s uncomfortable to watch.
Amy Scott says
The Bromance Book Club! I am loving the cute story and it’s just what I needed.
Mix and Match Mama says
Adding it to my list!
Ashley P says
Did you know there’s a second book?? That’s what I’m reading right now.
Julie G. says
Have you already read Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center?
I tried to read Little Fires Everywhere three different times and could never get into it. However, I loved the Hulu series. It was masterful and so complex. Give the show a go! It’s only 9 episodes.
Lisa De says
I’m just finishing Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra. My favorite book of the year, so far….and there’s a sequel! Some of the best chick lit ever!
Yes, I LOVED Meg and Jo! It’s a modern day version of Little Women, it’s so cute. The sequel, Beth and Amy, comes out this year.
Just got this in the mail yesterday!
Diane VandenPlas says
I agree with you on reading Little Fires Everywhere – BUT YOU NEED TO WATCH THE SERIES! It veers from the storyline in the book in such a creative way, and the acting is beyond fabulous! EVERYONE that I know that watched the series loved it – including members of my book club that didn’t like the book at all. You owe this one to yourself Shay!
Mix and Match Mama says
Okay, you have me convinced! I never would have thought that!
Yes watch it! So good!!
I 100% agree with this! I was not a fan of the book at all but I did watch the series. I loved the way the actors portrayed the characters. Even though I read the book and knew what happens, I couldn’t wait to watch the next episodes. Very rarely do I think the show/movie is better than the book, but in this case that was absolutely true.
You took the words right out of my mouth with your review of Little Fires Everywhere. I was on the library waitlist for 6 months to read that book and jeez I did not like it one bit!!!
Christi Grossman says
I didn’t enjoy Little Fires Everywhere either but out of boredom watched it and I really liked the show. Give it a try, it’s a bit different than the book.
I totally agree, disliked the book, love the show!
I read Little Fires Everywhere a few years ago and did not understand the hype! I did not enjoy the book at all, but LOVED the show! I highly recommend watching it!
I agree!! I thought the book was ok, but the show seems so much better! Maybe it’s because I like the actors who play the characters I didn’t really care about. Shay, you should watch it!
I just finished Truths I Never Told You. Such a good book that just touched my heart in its raw honesty. I read it in two days.
I’m in the middle of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and I love it! Sweet, fun, light, and making me laugh!
Mix and Match Mama says
Why haven’t I read that one yet?! I keep hearing great things! Adding to my list now!!
I second the Bookish Life of Nina Hill! Such a fun, easy read and I cheered for Nina the entire book.
I loved Bookish Life of Nina Hill!
I think you enjoyed The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez… just read The Happy Ever After Playlist which is a continuation of sorts and based on the same characters. I enjoyed it!
I confess, too! I read Little Fires too and did not like it! I kept thinking I should so I checked your book reviews to see what you thought! Ha!?I knew we liked most of the same kind of books! The others look like great beach reads-if I ever get to go again?
I have just finished a couple of thrillers – The Wives by Tarryn Fisher and You are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Both could be read in 24 hours 🙂 sooo good!
You are not alone was so good!
Truths I Never Told You is at the top of my to-read list since I also loved Things We Cannot Say. Looking for something light? I liked The Friend Zone (thanks to your rec) and the author has a new book out right now. Thanks for giving all of us a very long TBR list. 🙂 My latest book reviews ~
Tanya – The Other Side of the Road
Kelly Bonner says
I’m currently reading The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey & so far so good. I’m just a few chapters in. I think you’d like her style of writing.
Kristy Harvey says
Thank you so much for reading The Secret to Southern Charm! I hope you enjoy! xo Kristy
Oh my word … I was just looking over these comments and I saw that Kristy Harvey commented!! The Kristy Harvey and I am totally fan freaking!! I love your books!! And I’m about a quarter into your brand new one “Feels like falling” and I’m already loving it!! ♥️♥️ Ok. I’ll stop now but I couldn’t see the comment and not comment. I loved your “The Peachtree bluff series” absolutely loved it!!! Ok I’m really stopping now!! ♥️♥️♥️
Mix and Match Mama says
Isn’t she so cool to comment?! I love her books too!
I have really liked books by Jill Mansell, so far I have read The One You Really Want, Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay, and Maybe This Time – all really good.
Shay, I agree with you! I was so excited as I’m a cruiser also to read Jetsetters. Then the end just let me down. It just ended. I wanted to know what happened to all the characters. That was such a disappointing ending.
I loved In Five Years, also! Right after, I read Oona Out of Order, which is another time travel book (when did this become a thing?) but it’s just as good as In Five Years! Highly recommend it! It was Good Morning America’s April Book Club pick. The author has a book club discussion on GMA’s sure that I just had to watch after reading. It was that good a book that I needed more!
Little Fires Everywhere. I didn’t love the book either. However, they change the story for the show. They change a lot. So much that I now like the book better than the show. I had to read a few articles afterwards as to why they changed the show and could not agree with them. The show ending was a disappointment to me. The book was better, which isn’t saying much. I’d watch it just to see how it all unfolds.
Please read Oona Out of Order! You will love it! Such a good book. No heavy topics. She lives in Brooklyn and has fun adventures.
Loved this month’s reviews!
I agree about LFE……however, the series on tv is soooo good and soooo different!! I never like a show/movie better than a book, but I did with this one. Some parts are shockingly different! And at least with the series, I feel like I may get some closure (which didn’t happen with the book). ??
Love on Beach Avenue-available on your Kindle for free right now if you have Prime.
Total chick lit-happy and fun. Story about 3 sisters who run a wedding planning business and the oldest is type A who isn’t married yet until she starts planning a summer wedding for an old friend whose annoying older brother gets involved in the planning.
It’s all kinds of predictable but just what you would love in a beach read.
I agree with you on most of these books. I didn’t love love Lydia Bird, but I enjoyed it. You should pick up The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan and Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey. They are great family stories. I think you’ll love them! Happy Reading!
Kristy Harvey says
Thank you so much for reading Feels Like Falling, Sarah! xo Kristy
I am reading Dear Edward right now and it is fantastic. Not light, but just wonderful writing and storytelling. I also read two Diane Chamberlain novels before this. She is an amazing author and her stories draw you in and keep you hooked. I read Necessary Lies and Big Lies in a Small Town. Fantastic historical fiction! Can’t wait to read more by her. I also have The Happily Ever After Playlist ready to read next because I loved The Friend Zone so much as a light read!
Dear Edward has been my favorite so far this year. It really stays with you!
Shalimar C says
Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain was in my top 3 last year!
Shannon schupp says
I read dream daughter last month and it was amazing!!!
I’m in the middle of Dear Edward right now. And I love Diane Chamberlain! The Dream Daughter was SO good (time travel but in a believable way!)
Erin Smith says
100% agree on little fires…I found it so slow! Heard the show was good so maybe I’ll try that.
Rachel Manfedi says
I’m currently enjoying How to Walk Away by Katherine Center!
Mix and Match Mama says
That one is amazing!!!
Becky Simpson says
I bought Little Fires Everywhere, but have not started it yet. I am in the middle of the show and am loving it. I love Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. I did this also with Big Little Lies- watched the show and then read the book. I read In Five Years a few weeks ago. Made me cry as well at the end!
So I didn’t like Little Fires either when I read it. In fact, I contemplated not finishing it multiple times. Then when the show came out I had no interest in watching it. But then all of my friends couldn’t stop talking about how good it was and I kept saying “but the book was terrible” and they would still go on and on about how it was amazing. So yesterday I had a very rainy lazy day and decided to watch episode 1 and now I’m HOOKED. I stayed up late binging half of the series. The acting is amazing. So I would definitely give the show a try.
I couldn’t finish Little Fires… I did not get why everyone loved it. I watched the first episode in the series, and I didn’t care for it. Just couldn’t get in it. I wanted to though. I can’t wait to read All of these on your list. I just read, I’m Fine and Neither are You and The Overdue Life of Amy Byler. Both very easy and very light!
rachel white says
i didn’t love reading “little fires everywhere”. i didn’t hate the book, either. it was a 3 out of 5 for me. the SHOW is WAY better than the book!! it’s definitely not light & fluffy in topic, but the acting is superb! interesting, i noticed how amazing the music was throughout the series; so many rearrangements of classic 90’s hits, and played in just the right way during just the right scene. i loved that!
I loved The Bookish Life of Nina Hill!
Julia Beckley says
I read Little Fires when it first came out and liked it but that was before any hype! Just finished Jetsetters and it was a definite no for me – I wanted a light beach read and I thought none of the characters had redeeming qualities and they didn’t grow as I hoped they would throughout the book. I’m going to try the Two Lives of Lydia Bird!
Defending Jacob by William Landay is really good. I read it several years ago and I still think about it. I saw they it was either made into a movie or series on Apple TV but I don’t subscribe to that just now.
I agree. Defending Jacob was amazing.
I just started Kristy Woodson Harvey’s new one Feels Like Falling, seems like a good chick lit read!!
The friend zone and happy ever after playlist were so good! Match making for beginners by Maddie Dawson (the sequel is our next week, happy catastrophe!).
And little fires everywhere maybe the first time the show is actually better than the book. I have told a few people skip the book, just watch the show, and I never do that!
Oh I’ve read so many books over the last five weeks. And I always look forward to this post each month! I recommend- The Silent Patient, Run Away, The Wives, Before We Were Yours, Night Road!!!
Kiandra Adlong says
Another good book by Kelly Rimmer is Before I Let You Go.
I just finished Feels like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey. It’s a good chicklit beach read! I finished it in 2 days.
Becca Gwin says
I just finished Windfall by Jennifer Smith. It’s a really cute story about 3 seniors in high school and how their lives change when one of them wins the lottery with some romance mixed in. Also finished and loved Slightly South of Simple by Kristi Woodson Harvey, which is the first in a trilogy! It reminded me of Elin Hildebrand’s stories.
I love reading your reviews! Last month I read The Friend Zone after you mentioned it’s a book version of a Hallmark movie! I was sold! I loved it so much. Now I am reading the author’s newest book that just came out about two weeks ago? The Happy Ever Playlist. I’m only halfway through but I think I love it more than The Friend Zone (which I didn’t know was possible!). I highly recommend that for May! Thanks for sharing ?
I did not like Little Fires Everywhere and also vowed I would never watch the show. I felt like overall it cast mothers in a bad light and there was never a character to really root for. To me it was sad from beginning to end. I’m with you!
Paige Gasper says
I read Little Fires Everywhere last year and I thought it was just ehh. But then with the tv show and all of the hype it’s getting now, I thought that maybe it was just me and I needed to give it another try? So glad to hear you had the same thoughts!
Shannon schupp says
I skipped your review of Little Fires Everywhere bc i am halfway thru it and didn’t want to read any spoilers! I didn’t love her other book either but everyone seemed to rave about LFE so I thought I’d try it! I LOVED In 5 Years!!! So so good and easy to read!!! If you haven’t read The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain, add that to your list!!! One of my faves lately! I just bought The City if Girls & The Book of Lost Friends.
Wasn’t the dream daughter so good?!? I loved it!
Tracy A says
I didn’t like Little Fires everywhere either! I am finishing Jetsetters so good to know on the ending. I loved Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.
Katie T says
Reading your review and then some of the comments makes me feel SO much better about not liking Little Fires Everywhere. I tried twice to read it and just gave up. Not my thing. LOVE your reviews this month! Thank you!!
The dream daughter by Diane Chamberlain was amazing!
I did not enjoy Little Fires Everywhere either, but did like the show. That hardly ever happens that way! Also- what kindle do you have? Looking to purchase one and have no idea where to start. I thought you might have had a post about this once?
I felt the same way about about Little Fires Everywhere…I just didn’t love it! I even told my book club, “I don’t remember what I didn’t like about it, I just know I didn’t enjoy it.” I can’t wait to read your first 2 recommendations though!
Amber LaRussa says
I’m reading and LOVING Jessica Simpson’s autobiography, Open Book. I think you will find it very interesting-its worth reading it just to get the scoop on her relationship with John Mayer!
Mix and Match Mama says
I loved it too!!!
I love book review day and I am currently reading The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and enjoying it! Several book recommendations I have are Dear Edward by Ann Napilitano, Long Bright River by Liz Moore and The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
Kathleen Drummond says
I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Little Fires Everywhere! I thought it was so bland I didn’t want to finish it, but I just can’t not finish a book. I’m tempted to watch the show but don’t want to be disappointed by Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon
Hi! Well I’m on book #18 of quarantine so I’m thankful for this post and the comments, I get so many good suggestions!
I also read In Five Years and The Two Lives of Lydia Byrd and thought both were excellent! I love a little magic in there sometimes!
For a super light “chic lit” – From Notting Hill with Love….Actually”. Very cute, British and uses many movie references.
I also thought “The Happy Ever After Playlist“ was a great follow up to “The Friend Zone”, I may have liked it more!
I have been Waiting to read little fires everywhere and is I’m not sure…but I love reading this first thing this morning with my coffee!
Emily R says
You are not alone on Little Fires Everywhere. I spent most of my time on it trying to figure out if I had missed “what happened.” But nothing really happened. Sometimes I like books that seem to be more of a look into a fictional life and don’t have a big climax, but this one definitely fell short.
I just finished “Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson. It has a really far-fetched plot but I liked that it was different and a quick read!
Sarah DeWald says
I thought the end of Little Fires Everywhere just ended so abruptly but I did like the book. I also liked the series mostly because it was a little different than the book. SPOILER ALERT But the whole adoption thing just spoke to me and the ending in the book and in the series was my biggest fear growing up. I was terrified that would happen to me. That my birth family would show up and take me in the middle of the night.
I didn’t enjoy reading Little Fires Everywhere either, but LOVED the show. The characters are much more fleshed out and likeable. Try one episode!
Elizabeth Stiles says
I just finished Christina Lauren’s new book, the Honey Don’t List and it was really cute! Took me a bit to get into it (maybe because I’m home and covered up in young kids all day), but it turned out to be a good one!
A great light read I just finished (in 24 hours!) is the Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory! It’s the same author as The Wedding Date and The Proposal (which I think I remember you reviewing), definitely worth a read!
Hi Shay, Thank you for the book review, I really look forward to it! I appreciate your input along with your readers comments! I read Love Lettering, cute chick lit I think you would enjoy! I just started The Happy Ever Playlist by Abby Jimenez and I am loving it so far, very cute! Take care!
Hi Shay – I have a recommendation for you. The Book of Joy (Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama have a conversation over several days about what joy is and how everyone in the world can and should have it). I am reading for my kids’ school book club and it’s very fitting for the time right now when things don’t seem particularly joyful. I am loving it and I really believe you would too.
I didn’t like Little Fires Everywhere either! I thought I was the only one. Definitely didn’t feel like rooting for any of the character….I have heard the show is much better!
This blog post is always my favorite!
Love on Beach Avenue by Jennifer Probst. Disclaimer: rated R for intimacy
I knew when you said you didn’t like one of the books that it would be that one. I didn’t like it either! It was highly recommended from a FB group I’m in, but I just didn’t love it. Not terrible, but not great. I’m excited to try out the books you do recommend!! ???
Gail Poore says
I think Oprah’s new pick Happy Valley Road is the best book I have read in a long time. It is a fascinating true story of a family with 12 kids and schizophrenia. Definitely not a light chick flick but a book that stays with you a long time and I learned so much about the disease and mental health. A must! I also did not like Little Fires Everywhere or Jetsetter. I would say the tv show for Little Fires is rated R if you need that warning.
Ashley Anastasi says
You still have to read The Dream Daughter!! I thought I would hate it because it’s about time travel , but it was so good !!!
I agree with you about the book Little Fires Everywhere. I never finished it. But, I loved the Hulu series. You should try it.
I had Little Fires Everywhere On my list because I watched the series and thought it was phenomenal, but after your review and reading other comments I think I will pass on the book. I vote you try the show! 🙂
I did not read Little Fires Everywhere but I loved the show on Hulu. Its only 8 episodes so I think you should give it a shot. I recently read Happily Ever After Playlist, the sequel to Friend Zone, and I loved it!
Ahhh you have to read “Beach Read.” I I read it in a day, and really think you’ll love it.
Mix and Match Mama says
I wrote that one down just yesterday!!
I am so glad you felt the same way I did about Little Fires Everywhere. I had to force myself to finish it….and even though I was SO hoping to like it, I didn’t.
I haven’t read Little Fires Everywhere but I LOVED the show. It sounds way better than the way you described the book (which I’m glad I didn’t read now lol). I just started Jetsetters-so I’m glad you liked it bc I get all my recs from you! I’ve suggested this one before and SO hope you read it. It’s different and suspenseful and so good!! It’s called Wicked River by Jenny Milchman.
Okay, so I read Little Fires Everywhere a few summers ago, and I remember finding it very hard to get into… But once I did, I was hooked. Not so much so because I loved it, but because I needed to know how it ended! I myself was not thrilled with the storyline (or how they portrayed adoption), but I definitely found the book to be intriguing.
I was excited to watch the TV series when it came out. Like others are saying, I would definitely recommend watching! The acting by Reese and Kerry Washington is truly incredible, and the plot differs a bit from the book. I also did not like Mia’s character very much in the TV series (as someone else commented). Overall, I really enjoyed watching! It was a great “quarantine binge” show! Curious to hear what you think about the show if you watch!
I am not surprised you didn’t think you’d like Little Fires Everywhere but not for the reasons you list above. I am curious, if you’re willing to share, your thoughts about the adoption plot line, particularly having two girls from China. I’d have to think that aspect of the book would be gut wrenching to even think about, let alone read for entertainment.
Mix and Match Mama says
I have so many mixed feelings about that…but as far as the book goes, I thought that subplot could have been a book in itself. I didn’t feel (to me) like a natural tie with the rest of the book. I think adoption is super complicated and born out of grief, so there are no easy answers to that (or similar) situations. It made me sad to read, but at the same time, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to the characters or book.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere! I trudged my way through the book and refused to watch the show even if Reese is my favorite. But. We needed something on while we puzzled one night, started the show and even my husband was hooked. The show was 1000 times better than the book!!
Erin Upton says
I agree with you on Little Fires Everywhere! I was not a huge fan at all! I read the book before the TV show and even though I love Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the show.
Did NOT like little fires everywhere either! I do not understand what the hype about that book is. Still mad I wasted my time reading it. ? however, I did watch the show and it’s a billion times better than the book! That’s a first right?
Have you read The Royal Heir? It’s the sequel to The Royal We and I loved that one. Curious if it’s as good since I know you were a fan as well.
Mix and Match Mama says
I think it comes out in September, right? Or is it out now?
I’m may be confused but I think book 2 comes out in July and is The Heir Affair.
Oops, it comes out in July. I saw it on goodreads and missed the “pre” on the “pre-order”. ??♀️ Can’t wait to read it obviously!! Lol
Didn’t like Little Fires Everywhere at all!!
Maxi Davis says
Celeste Ng has only published 2 books, including “Little Fires Everywhere”. You must have her confused with another author…
Mix and Match Mama says
I was specifically thinking of Everything I’ve Never Told You (something like that)…and it was okay…not my fave…I remember it, but not fondly.
I love your book reviews! I started to read Little Fires and couldn’t get very far. I started watching the series, though, and love it!!
I always love these posts! Next book you should read is Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. Super fast fun read! 🙂
-Holley @ beesimplyorganized.com
Kim Fleming says
I completely agree with the two books I have read on your list!!! I bought as an audible, The Jetsetters, I was deeply disappointed by chapter 3ish! I felt blah so I stopped. I bought Little Fires Everywhere and found it very hard to get into the book and again I stopped! My friend loves the show though! Thank you for the other recommendations!!
Thanks for the review! I was anxious to see what your thoughts were about Little Fires. Did not love it at all but many of my friends did. Also, if you want to take a break from fiction, let me highly recommend “Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me”. I really think you would love it!!
Patti M says
I need some good chick-lit, too!
Kristy Woodson Harvey’s book is arriving at my door today (Feels Like Falling)
Just read Lisa Wingate’s new book (The Book of Lost Friends). Historical fiction, could not put it down the last 100 pages.
Also another great historical fiction book is Diane Chamberlain’s The Stolen Marriage
Paige M. says
I didn’t read Little Fires Anywhere so I can’t comment on the book but I did watch the show. Overall I liked the show, however, I thought it ended kind of abruptly. I still had a ton of unanswered questions when it was over. Not sure if the books the same way but after reading your review I probably won’t read it lol.
I’ve been getting into more Anita Hughes books…she wrote Christmas in London. Right now I’m in the middle of White Sand, Blue Seas. It’s really good and I see she has tons more. Good chick lit with a bit of story to it. Also if you are looking for a super chick lit, ONE DAY, read…check out the Beach Plum Cove series. I think she is a small author (so there are a few editing errors) but super great one day pool books that are about Nantucket, love and great food. Happy Reading!
I should add, there’s not a ton of plot to the Beach Plum Cove but sometimes you just need a happy story all the way through and the mention of the food and recipes makes me happy.
I didn’t like Little Fires Everywhere and disliked the show even more!! I was super disappointed after seeing everyone’s hype about it!
I know you and Colleen Hoover have a volatile relationship ? But Ugly Love is SO GOOD- truly I think it’s one of her best! If you haven’t read it and want to give her another shot it’s the one to pick up!
Mix and Match Mama says
Hahaha! We do!! 😉
Loved Ugly Love too. It Ends with Us is my favorite but i really loved Ugly Love and November 9, too! And anything Diane Chamberlain- some of my absolute favorites. The Things we Cannot Say has been my favorite book of the last year… i was nervous to read her new one for fear of being disappointed but glad to hear it was great.
I haven’t read Little Fires bc I’ve heard such mixed reviews…. but I know you mentioned loving and not loving Celeste Ng’s books you read prior to this one. She only has two published novels, though.
I really enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere, but I heard it’s been hit or miss for a lot of people.
I’ve heard a lot about In Five Years, I’m looking forward to getting into it.
Holly Allen says
I hated Little Fires Everywhere. There. I said it?. I couldn’t even finish it, which says a lot because that’s only ever happened to me about a handful of times. Im excited to check out some of these!
I stopped reading little fires- just didn’t like it! You are not alone! Lol!!! Given quarantine- I tried the show….better than the book (which is generally so rare!). But still not in love with the story regardless of the medium. Have read so many of the books you highlight and you never disappoint! Thanks!
Read Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson for a return to cute chick lit.
I am SO thankful to see I am not the only one who did not enjoy “Little Fires Everywhere.” Like you, I felt the first half was slow and essentially a recap of what life in the 90’s was like. I also really struggled with the adoption story line. Without spoiling it for any readers, I very much disagreed with the ending and felt it was not in the best interest at all. But I was made to feel very guilty over this by some friends who also read the book. (They loved it in general and made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not enjoying it. Seriously, they even kept telling me to read it again because I must not have understood it…. um no, I just did not enjoy it and have a different view of the world I guess!)
As an adoptive mother, I would love your thoughts on that aspect!
Erin Lloyd says
I DID not like Little Fires Everywhere either!!!! I had a friend tell me they loved it and I just couldn’t figure out how?! I am with you completely!! I cant wait to read the first two books you talked about!! I just started A good neighborhood. I cant remember if that was from your book list?! I have so many books in cue! Have you read Untamed yet? Really good!!! Thank you for these book reviews! It is my FAV day of the month!!!
Ok, so I loved Little Fires Everywhere, both the book and the show, but I totally see what you mean about not rooting for a specific character and how that can be a bothersome aspect. But… I really think you should watch the show!!!! It’s only 8 episodes so it’s quick enough if you totally hate it and I think it is actually one of those times with the show is better than the book!
Karen Engelke says
I read Little fires everywhere last year and like you did not enjoy it. I did watch the show and it’s so much better than the book!! I never feel that way!! Anyway you might give it a shot, much better character development, who you root for shifts as you watch, etc..
The other night I read “A Man Worth Shaving For” by Michelle Pennington. It was a cute little chick lit book that I literally read in about 5 hours. I stayed up till 2:00am reading just because I wanted to finish. Nothing serious, just a cute book!
You NEED to read November 9!!!!! It’s not totally fluff, but not super heavy either! The sweet and slightly unrealistic love story is THE BEST! You’re rooting for the characters the whole time!!
Sarah Headley says
I actually haven’t been loving the show Little Fires Everywhere (didn’t love the book either). I’ve only gotten through 4 episodes, and each time I watch I’m half asleep and checking the clock for when it will end! I usually love Reese and Kerry, but Kerry is way too intense/dramatic in this show in my opinion!
I had similar feelings about Little Fires Everywhere. It was a bit blah. But, the show takes some liberties and changes it up quite a bit, making it deeper with more racial undertones. I’d recommend the show even though the book wasn’t your favorite.
Always love your book reviews!
Ashlee Brown says
I think you need to try The Bromance Book Club. It’s so cute and I love that it focuses on a married couple. Also, one of the lead characters is a MLB player. If you love it, there is also a sequel called Undercover Bromance that I really liked as well.
Also, Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center was very cute. It’s about a woman who is recently divorced who decides to participate in a hard core nature survival course. Harmearming but also funny.
I just love your monthly book reviews! I couldn’t get past the first few chapters of Little Fires. I do want to watch the show then maybe try the book again.
I also devoured Five Years but when I finished I couldn’t help thinking “what?!?That was not good!” At the end they are saying what a good friend she is…then she sleeps with her friends’ fiancé after the funeral?!? I’m going to go ahead and say she’s a terrible friend!
I did read the Bromance Book Club and that was a cute and spicy chick-lit read. I also really liked “The Girl with the Louding Voice” as it was so different from what I would normally choose.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid has that dual storyline thing like Two Lives. It’s a little lighter but there’s still some depth to it. I just finished Bromance Book Club and it would definitely fall into the light category! It was interesting to read one that had the male perspective of all of these books 🙂
Jennifer Wilder says
I read In Five Years this month too and couldn’t put it down. I also read Kiss the Girl’s and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins. Clark. It’s not a light fade but a good suspense. If you like a me too eta type of book it’ll fit well: Child’s Play by Danielle Steele is a good one that is intense but not draining in any way, very addictive. The Prenup, Tweet Cute, some Women. All of those are light and feel good.
I agree on Little Fires Everywhere. I’ve tried reading it twice and haven’t gotten. Past Chapter 3…
These are seriously my favorite posts each month!! I can’t wait to read Two Lives of Lydia Bird! In Five Years has been on the top of my list for so long! I need to just get it! The Jetsetters, has been as well! I had Little Fires Everywhere but I saw your review on Goodreads and realized I would never read it now that it was a show. So I deleted that of my list. I read The Silent Patient, The Friend Zone (have the sequel on my Kindle already!) and Such a Fun Age. I loved them all! I needed some fun books after reading the Silent Patient. I can’t wait to read everyone’s suggestions above! Always the best!
You and I have VERY similar reading tastes, and I too did not like Little Fires Everywhere. In fact, I could not even get through it and quit the book halfway through…I never do that! I did watch the show (because Reece W. :)and it was very well done. However, given the adoption content and the way it plays out on the screen, I don’t think you should watch it! My momma heart could barely handle it.
Hi! Thanks for your recap! Totally agree about LFE! My main issue with the book was that I didn’t like the plot either! Ha! And I think that’s a pretty important component to like when you’re reading a book. What I will say though, is that even though the actors in the TV show were really great, I didn’t love the show either! I disliked the plot changes and I disliked the story even more. It’s way too long too. I think it’s worth a watch just to see how they interpreted it, but I also don’t think you’re truly missing anything if you skip it. Now, this week I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle in one sitting and I have not stopped thinking about it since. I am so obsessed. I read the author’s other two books also in one sitting afterwards because I just loved her words and her thoughts so much. I love memoirs though so I just want to put that disclaimer 🙂
Angie Angel says
I did like the book but can see your perspective for sure. For the first time maybe ever I liked the show better. They cover some really important topics on race, privilege, and choices and the show develops the characters more. It’s slow to get into but it’s worth a watch. I don’t think it would disappoint you like the book.
I highly recommend Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It totally reminds me of the Two Lives of Lydia Bird (which I also loved)!
Hi Shay-I’m so excited because I was on the fence about 3 of these (In Five Years, Jetsetters and Truths) so I’ll add those to my list. I recommended Lydia Bird last month-I LOVED it and her first book is still one of my favorites-it needs to be a movie. Okay, I did not love Little Fires Everywhere when I read it. A lot of the same feelings as you. But I’d say give the show a chance because I loved watching it and thought it was actually way better than the book?
I am LOVING “Little Secrets” by Jennifer Hillier for the next time you want a page turner/suspense book. It is one of those books you always feel like picking back up and I don’t want it to end! Definitely a stay up until 1:30 am book. It’s about a woman whose child goes missing, and she then finds out a secret about her husband. I don’t want to give anything away but there are tons of twists and turns and the writing is very good! I hadn’t heard a lot about this book, but I’m so glad I stumbled on it on Goodreads. One of the best suspense books I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot!
If you need a light read, “Hold on but don’t hold still” (Krisitna Kuzmic) was very cute with lots of good parenting advice. And “That’s what frenemies was for” was good too. Can’t remember if you read that! I had hoped that would be light chick lit, but it went a little dark at times actually!
Love your book reviews and thanks for giving me three new reads to check out!
Lisa Herr says
Hi, I read an adorable, funny, romantic book you may enjoy for your light read: Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie. We all need something light to escape to right now 🙂
Thanks for the reviews!
Kelly M Sites says
I highly suggest The Aviator’s Wife. I loved it, and read it in 24 hours.
I just finished “You Were There Too” by Colleen Oakley last night and I loved, loved, loved it.
So many comments we could start a ‘I didn’t like Little fires’ club…glad I”m not alone. I’ve been struggling to read during this chaos but loved the Friend List and I’m currently reading in Five Years and The Happily Ever after playlist. About the only book I loved was the short story by Elin Hilderbrand called ‘Summer of ’79’. I’m really looking forward to her new book; Jennifer Weiner’s new book and Kristy Woodston Harvey’s new book! Thanks for these honest reviews. I have 3 on her to add to my ‘to be read’ list….hopefully they have some in e-books at my library since it’s still closed here and won’t open until at least June. 🙁
You’re not alone… hated little fires everywhere. I thought I’d give the show a chance and I got half way through the first episode and hated it even more! I don’t understand the hype..
A light chick lit I recently read is The Grace Kelly Dress.
You’ve gotta watch Little Fires Everywhere. It’s SO good!!
Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu was so good. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington did such a fenomenal job.
Lisa Willey says
I’m with you! Loved the show but didn’t like the book. You should try In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn. Def not fluffy but oh so so good!
Have you ever read the Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross? They are so much fun, especially the first two I would recommend reading them in order. They are not new, but SO worth looking into. They kind of remind me of ” Steel Magnolias”, except all sass, no sadness!! Speaking of oldies, but goodies, have you read “Patty Jane’s House of Curl”? It’s also very light-hearted and fun, but both recommendations have great characters with meat on their bones.
Kim Bean says
Omg I felt like I was the only one on the planet who did like Little Fires Everywhere. Like not at all! Thanks for the awesome review! Can’t wait to read them. xoxo
Beach Read by Emily Henry. Very Cute easy read!
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Septeys. Historical fiction, it is sooo good!
Shay! I’ve been following you for for awhile and I’m always jealous about your book review posts because in my normal life I don’t have near enough time to read like I want to. But now that we are all home, I’ve been reading a ton (on my 9th book of quarantine) and I can actually relate to your reviews and the comments! Making a list from your readers’ recommendations and I’m so excited!
Hi Shay! I love your book reviews ! Have you read the Sweet Magnolia series ? They are turning the books into a Netflix show starting in May! So far only on the first book and it’s good!
AnnaMarie Cover says
I would like to suggest The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent. It’s a quick read but has a few twists that I didn’t see coming.
Jennifer Bridges says
Didn’t read Little Fires but i liked the series. And honestly, i love Reese Witherspoon but by the end i kept having to remind myself that she was just playing a role. ? Not likeable AT ALL. Honestly i think the most likeable characters are some of the teenagers. ??♀️
I LOVED In 5 years too! So good! This month I read 8 books (thank you quarantine):
1. Postscript (4/5): this is the sequal to PS I Love You. I thought it was a bit slow but then it all came together for me in the end and left me crying.
2. Bread and Wine (5/5): Thank you for the recommendation!!! I would be surprised if this wasn’t my favorite book of the year.
3. Dear Emmie Blue (4/5): I loved this book! I would highly recommend picking it up when it releases in July. It is such a great Chick Lit read.
4. The Wife Stalker (4/5): Also loved this book. Its a thriller and not light-hearted at all, but so good.
5. The Guest List (4/5): I read this one in a day. Also more of a thriller type book. I really enjoyed it.
6. He Started It (3/5): I was really excited for this one because I loved My Lovely Wife, but this one fell flat for me.
7. The Engineer’s Wife (3/5): Really interesting story about the wife who was married to the man who built the Brooklyn Bridge.
8. Eight Perfect Murders (4/5): Also really enjoyed this one as well.
There is a RomCom series by Penny Reid. Each Winston Brothers book features a different sibling and how they find their partner/love interest. They are light happy. reads. They are set in the South 🙂
Have you read any other a Kelly Rimmer books? The Things we Cannot Say is in my top 5 of all time. I’m nervous to read more by her because the pressure is on! I read Winter Garden by her and it was just ok.
Mix and Match Mama says
The Things We Cannot Say would be in my top 5 of all time too!!
I think Kristin Hannah wrote Winter Garden, not Kelly Rimmer. Unless there is another book with the same title that I’m missing…sorry if so!
I didn’t read Little Fires Everywhere, but I watched a few episodes of the series. I really don’t like it either. I’ve stopped watching it.
Since a friend told me about you, I get almost all of my book suggestions from you! Your reviews are very validating for me. We almost always agree! My daughters are watching the show, Little Fires Everywhere and I had told them I wasn’t interested. I did not like the book. I am trying to get through Everything I Never Told You by her right now and I’m struggling!
Have you read With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo? It’s a YA book, technically, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has characters you can really root for and it’s a quick read.
My favorite post of the month! I have zero desire to read Little Fires Everywhere after seeing your review and all the comments. I wasn’t particularly drawn too it but there has been so much rave about it.
My recent faves are “The Happy Ever After Playlist” – love the author. You should follow her on twitter. She is super funny. Also, last month my top fave was “The Simple Wild”- It will be really hard to beat this one for the year. ALL THE FEELS!! The Follow up is fantastic too “Wild at Heart” both by K.A. Tucker. I just really loved them both. The Underdog Series by Kate Stewart. The Guy in the Middle, The Guy on the Right and The Guy on the Left….I know the titles sound dumb but the books are good!!! I have listed all of these before but they are all SO good. I am reading Dear Edward right now and the story is compelling and I think it would interest you. Helena Huntings book “A Secret for a Secret” comes out in May and I CANNOT WAIT! Fave author and her All In Series is AMAZING!!! R for sure but so good! I have Beach Read and Big Summer on my list too for May as I hear they are fantastic. Off to grab my next book!
Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale. This book was gifted to me and I loved it. Just a fun, light, beachy read.
Yesssss! Couldn’t agree more! I’ve heard good things about the show, though!
I found Jill Mansell a few months ago and I’ve thought of you from the moment I started reading one of her books. They are all set in England-usually a cute small town. They remind me of Sophie Kinsella and I might even say I like them more. Her writing is funny, relatable, and a true chick flick type book. I HIGHLY recommend!
I actually stopped reading Little Fires Everywhere halfway through! I just couldn’t get into it and completely agree about the lack of character development. However, I was surprised by how much I loved the series – you should watch!
Some good ones I’ve read lately that I think you’d like are: That’s Not a Thing by Jacqueline Friedland, Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren, Well Met by Jen DeLuca, and anything by Charles Martin. Enjoy!
I always love your book review posts the most and you’ve opened me up to many books and authors. I LOVED Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton. Both books are very similar in style as Beatriz Williams books, both historical fiction with romance weaved in. It would be great if you had a facebook group book club where we could discuss the books you’ve read with you and others. I also just read In Five Years, could NOT put it down but have mixed feelings about what happened with the guy in the dream, don’t want to say too much so I don’t spoil it. I just cannot imagine doing that. Anyways, I plan to read the Lydia Bird book, thanks for the tip!
Years ago I saw the movie Sliding Doors starring Gwyneth Paltrow (made in 1998). It has stuck with me all these years because the movie is two storylines intertwined – In the first, she finds that her boyfriend is cheating on her and in the second, she doesn’t find out that he is cheating…and the implications of those two realities. (I had recently gone through a painful breakup so watching it was very therapeutic for me…more than you wanted to know ?) Anyhow, you might enjoy it, it sounds similar to The two lives of Lydia Bird. Which is now at the top of my reading list!!
Susan Christian says
I have read two recently that I absolutely adored….The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal and The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen. Both were stellar. Not quite chick-lit, but wonderful, can’t put down reads that were set in Europe (my fave!) that had love, mystery, and more. I highly recommend both. And, one of my all-time fave reads EVER…..The Nightingale. I’m sure you have probably read that one, but if not, drop everything and pick it up now.
Sarah Williams says
Hey Shay! Quick Question-Do you remember if there was bad language in “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird”? (By bad I mean like F-bombs or GD). I tried to read “One Day in December” but had to put it down because of language. I know you said it was PG, so I just wanted to make sure before I got it! Same with “Five Years Later”? (That one you said PG-13, but I wasn’t sure if it was for language) Thanks for your help, and have a blessed day!
Mix and Match Mama says
I don’t want to tell you wrong, but I don’t think there were in Lydia…but if there were, not enough for me to make note of it (which I try to do these days!). Maybe 2 or 3 but honestly, I have in my notes (that I always take when reading these books) PG for that one and PG-13 for in Five Years. I will say, I thought Five Years was a little more mature but definitely not enough to make R.
Lacy Healey says
You have to read the Happily ever after playlist NOW!
I started this yesterday afternoon and put it down at 43% to go to bed, but I CANNOT wait to pick it up today! Love it so much!
Totally agree on Little Fires and with others on Happily Ever After Playlist. So good. Another poster mentioned Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson and I highly recommend it. Such a great story about parental love that’s funny but will also grab at your heart. I also recommend Big Lies in A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, and Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa. Have you read any books by Christian fiction writer Rachael Hauck? I loved Memory House and her new one the Fifth Avenue Story Society.
I’m reading the Perfect series by Blake Pierce. The first book is The Perfect Wife, it was free on Kindle. I’m about to finish the third book and all of them have been good! Have you read Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series? I’m about to start the third and the first two were amazing!!
Danya Bell says
I didn’t like “Little Fires Everywhere”! I read it for a book club and we all didn’t like it! Under developed characters and unfinished stories that just stopped! My friends that watched the series loved it but I just not interested in watching! Thank you for your book reviews! I seem to like the majority if the ones you suggest!
I didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere either; I thought it was cute and an OK read but nothing to really love about it.. and while I couldn’t seem to look away from the show on Hulu I wasn’t a fan of it.
I didn’t LOVE Little Fires Everywhere, but I think the overall message of the book is important. The themes of motherhood and racism are evident and both bring good perspectives to the readers. Motherhood, in the sense that everyone does it differently and it looks drastically different for some families. What one mother thinks is great, might not be what another mom thinks is good for her family. Who are we to judge other mothers, and who are we to compete? I think Celeste Ng brought that important issue to the table for us to ponder. And being married to an Asian-American, I think the subtle tones of how microaggressions and racism really affect people day-to-day are important. I think the book (and the show) brought to light the importance of our words and how when WE think we’re being kind and inclusive… can actually hurt someone of a minority race.
I watched the show and loved it much more than the book. I think the huge pull for the show is how AMAZING the acting is. Both Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington knock it out of the park. Definitely binged it within a few days! It’s worth watching, it’s better than the book!!
Kathryn McShane says
I was not a big fan of Little Fires Everywhere either. The book was slow and just did not do much for me. BUT…I did watch the show and felt like they did a much better job at creating characters you could like, dislike and relate to all at once. They changed a few story lines that helped with this as well. I suggest you give it a try!
Ahhhh so much to say!
Same exact feelings as you on Little Fires Everywhere. I had no problem putting it down and finished it simply because I hate not finishing books. It never grabbed me and just felt dull to me the whole way through. I’ve heard great things about the show though! And I love Reese and Kerry.
Just read Lydia Bird this last month and loved it, too!! Loved all her growth throughout and the ending was just perfect to me.
Here are two recs! The Happy Ever After Playlist is incredible. I loved it even more than The Friend Zone and that was one of my top three last year. I adored the story and it was one book that 40 pages in, I knew I wouldn’t be putting it down at all that day. It just made me happy while reading it and that’s my favorite kind of book.
Second rec…The Simple Wild. Oh my goodness, I loved this book. I had my friend read it after I did and she texted me when she finished and goes, “This is my favorite kind of fiction. Characters you love, a good plot, and enough depth to make it a quality read while being light enough to fly through and enjoy.” I totally agreed. You’ll fall in love with the characters and the best part is there’s a sequel! And selfishly, I want you to read it bc I’m dying to read your review and what you think. Ha!
I’m on my 8th book for April! I did enjoy the book Little Fires Everywhere, but not the TV mini series. Maybe the characters are even less likable on screen? Lol. For light chick lit, I enjoyed The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.
Lauren West says
I hated “Little Fires Everywhere” too! It wasn’t cohesive, I didn’t enjoy the plot(s)?, and the ending was not great, at all! Thanks goodness I’m not the only one!
Oh! Don’t watch the show. It’s equally just as bad.
I did not like Little Fires Everywhere either! The show was entertaining enough. I liked it better than the book.
I just finished “When we believed in mermaids” by Barbara O’Neal…sooo good!
Excellent, excellent read!!
My reading group is getting ready to start The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren.
I’ve been reading a lot of chick lit books recently as well. Some of my top recomendations are:
Lighthouse Beach By Shelley Noble, One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak, and Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras
You must watch LFE!!! I also was not in love with the book however the show was fabulous. The casting was really great. Such a great story about two mothers coming from such different backgrounds.
I thought Little Fires Everywhere was just okay, but I really enjoyed the series! And I’ve heard the same about the book Normal People. Lots of people didn’t enjoy the book but say the show is really good. Just came out on Hulu.
These posts are my FAVORITE. Ok, here’s a few I’ve read recently and loved: Queen of the Tearling, Never Split the Difference, Save the Plums, and I Feel Bad About my Neck (LOVED this as an audiobook, she reads it herself- hilarious!). Thanks for all the good reviews, keep em coming!!
Kerri Mamo says
I didn’t love “Little Fires Everywhere” BUT I did love the show. There were differences in the show. I seriously struggled getting through the book. I would give the show a shot! At least it’s a short series!
Check the Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan. I love her other books too especially Elizabeth the First Wife.
Emily R says
Here are some authors for chick-lit: Jane Green, Emily Giffin, Janice Kaplan, Sophie Kinsella, Carole Matthews, Jennifer Weiner, Heather Cocks. Mitch Albom – (inspirational). Fun/Humor: Sophie Hudson, Melanie Shankle.
Love your book reviews and your blog!
Kelsey Mangan says
I didn’t love Little Fires Everywhere, and I don’t plan on watching the show!
I recently read a chick lit book (although it’s not all fluffy) that I LOVED. Sorry if you’ve already read this one or if someone has already recommended it–it’s called Joy for Beginners. It is the PERFECT book for this quarantine time, it’s about friendship and following dreams and it’s really uplifting. The character development and scenery/food descriptions are so good too. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend!
Lauren Ecklof says
I did not love the book little fires. However, the show was amazing. And I will say very different. I only watched the show because I love Reese and it did not disappoint. Must watch!
Every month I scroll through to find Shaeffer’s comment ? because it cracks.me.up. Did I miss it?!?
Mix and Match Mama says
She left one!! And of course, it was funny 😉 !
Angela Ellingson says
I’m assuming you already read this like 20 years ago, but I just started Little Women. 🙂
Mix and Match Mama says
Such a classic 🙂 !
You have to read Evvie Drake Starts Over!! It’s a romantic comedy with a big baseball element, set in New England, so I feel like you’d love it! Best rom com I’ve read in years!
Little Fires Everywhere….i totally loved the show and did not like the book. This is the first time I have preferred the movie/tv series over the book!
I felt the same way about Little Fires Everywhere! Loved the show though ?
I think you would LOVE When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal and also Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber.
Jen F. says
I did a free 30 day trial of Scribd this month. It was so great because I got to read or listen to many of the books you recommended that my library doesn’t have. My favorite had to be Swear on this Life, so so good. I also read and enjoyed In Five Years, Night Road, Homefront, and the Unhoneymooners. This is my favorite post of the month.
Loved the show Little Fires. Only 8 episodes, you might like it. They definitely left it open to do a second season. Love your book reviews and as always, added a few more to my list?
Kelly Stokowski says
I also hated Little Fires Everywhere! I’m shocked they made it into a show and that it’s gotten all the rave reviews it has… did nothing for me.
You have to read anything by Ruth Ware! Stories are so put together and keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time!
Love Lettering! Just finished it and loved it!
Laura Nailor says
I didn’t like it either! Was hard for me to stick it out to the end. On another note I finished It Ends With Us last night and I absolutely LOVED it!! So many emotions and thoughts and I’m sad it’s over!
I didn’t love Little Fires and I didn’t like the ending at all! I read it when it first came out and also didn’t get all the hype after I had finished reading it! That being said I did like the TV series..,they made changes from the book but overall I thought it was a good series!
Jessica C. says
I did not care for Little Fires either. I had to renew it twice to get through it.
I just finished The Bookish life of Nina Hill for my book club. We enjoyed it. Very easy read. I just started Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. So far not too bad.
I didn’t care for Little Fires Everywhere either, so I’m glad I’m not the only one. Some great books that I would recommend are The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Eight Perfect Murders, The Stationery Shop, and Don’t Believe It.
I disliked the book Little Fires Everywhere but I disliked the tv series even more. I think I said more than once, let’s just finish the last episode so it’s over forever. The characters were just to hard to root for.
I always giggle at myself when you ask for book recommendations. I start to recommend a book and then have to say to myself, “wait no, that was from Shay’s book review” and then again, “oh nope, that one was too…”. Turns out my entire reading list is from your recommendations. LOL! I am very excited to read the first two from this month’s list.
I have not read the book Little Fires Everywhere but have watched the Netflix series and I liked it.
Kelly S says
Your first two books sound a bit like a book I read this month – Oona Out of Order!
Amanda @ That Inspired Chick says
I’d be here all day if I read through all those comments (dang that’s a lot!) but I see you’re already reading what I was going to suggest (Happy Ever After Playlist) but you should also add “You Deserve Each Other” by Sarah Hogle to the list too! Chick lit perfection!! That Inspired Chick
Toni Marie says
I was “meh” about the book too, and I figured I’d be in the minority since it has been so popular. The show is much better in my opinion! There are a few things they put in there that aren’t in the book (and bothered me)…but it’s still much better overall than the book!
Melinda Marona says
I liked, not loved, the book Little Fires but I really enjoyed the show & it may be because I adore Reese in anything.
I introduced my 24 year old daughter to your Instagram a few weeks ago & she is obsessed! She is making all of your recipes & I made the air fryer Chicken Parmigiana tonight & it was excellent.
I first started following you because I loved Sean in the Batchelor & then your adoption stories have always tugged at my heart. Both of my girls are adopted & I feel like it’s a family for anyone associated with adoption!
Thanks for doing what you do!
I also was not a fan of LFE. I couldn’t love any of the characters, there was something about it that didn’t feel real to me, and I didn’t even read it all. You’re not alone, Shay!
Julie Bradford says
I don’t know if u have ever read any of Catherine Bybee’s books- I was goin thru my amazon prime & noticed there were 6 books n a series & they weren’t $ so I got the first 2 for free & then bought the others for basically nothing – anyway I’m on the 6th one halfway through & i DONT want it to end! I have loved them! Very predictable & lots of falling in love but a few twists too. Anyway maybe u have read them or heard about them- it’s the Not Quite Series.. can’t wait to read some of her others after this- 6 books n 3.5weeks is insane for me but after long days working from home & homeschooling I have needed some down time! ☺️
Book was so bland, it was like an outline of an unfinished manuscript. Characters were undefined and I was not invested in anyone and didn’t care what happened to whom. Kept seeing how many more pages until the end.
Did not like the show either. They changed things for tv to make it more dramatic but KW’s depiction of Mia was just unlikable. RW’s character was too much of an archetype and unlikable. Again, no one to root for. I only decently ‘liked’ the last two episodes.
Oooo you have to read Castle of Water or the Mountains Between Us. Place crash survival novels are my jam. I really think you would love them!
Mix and Match Mama says
Castle of Water was my third favorite book of 2018!! I loved it so much!!!
Have you read We Were the Lucky Ones??!!! If you have, I would love to read your thoughts!!! I got to chapter 4 and didn’t want to finish, but, wow! I’m so glad I did! Such a different book than I was anticipating! Deep, heavy, but wonderful! Onto a Brene Brown book…
I felt the SAME about Little Fires Everywhere! I felt like the author spent way too much time developing the characters the first half of the book that I lost interest. By the end I found myself wondering what the heck just happened and how do I get my time back? Ha!
Hey! Love all your monthly book recaps but was wondering do you read mostly on your kindle and if so which one?
Thank you! Stay safe and healthy!
Mix and Match Mama says
I read them all on my Kindle Paperwhite (the waterproof edition!). 🙂
Laura Fredlund says
I felt the same way about Little Fires Everywhere. It was just so negative… not that interesting. I don’t understand what people love about it. On the other hand, im looking forward to reading these other books! We seem to like a lot of the same books. I keep recommending CIRCE, because I reallllly enjoyed it and I think you would too. J read it last year for a book club im in.
I felt the same about Little Fires Everywhere! It was difficult to follow for me! I stopped reading it?. I’ve recently watched the show, though, and went back and skimmed the book.
I love reading you list every month and often use it as reference when picking books to read. I have read a few weeks over the last couple if weeks and I would like to recommend the following books to you:
The 24 hour cafe by Libby Page . (She wrote The Lido, another good book) This book is about friendship and really got me thinking.
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
Messy Wonderful us by Catherine Isaac
From a reader in the UK
I had mixed feelings about Little Fires Eveywhere. I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t love it. I agree that it felt choppy and I didn’t feel pulled to any particular character. I also feel like it ended weird.
I pretty much read all the same books as you! One suggestion is Montauk by Nicola Harrison 🙂
Sorry if this is a repeat, but The Dutch House is amazing. I haven’t been able to put it down, and if it wasn’t for work would definitely have read it in a day.
Jen W says
I notice a few people mentioned “Ugly Love” and I know you have a love hate relationship with Hoover’s book. I love hers except for Beritt. Anyway I just finished Ugly Love in one Rainey day, I couldn’t put it down! Definitely rated R like some of her books but just how she portrayed relationships and all of our flaws really had me fall in love with it.
Aparna todi says
Absolutely agree with you all! Read jet setters last month and thought it was okay…especially the ending was a letdown. I saw last month lot of you ladies recommended K A Tucker’s simple wild and wild at heart…read both and LOVED them! Also read say you still love me by the same author but didn’t really enjoy it. I think the best thing about the wild series was the entertaining dialogue between the protagonists and the description of life in Alaska of course! Just finished Daisy Jones and loved that one too! Thank you shay and all the ladies…love this thread.
Please try “My Real Children” by Jo Walden. It’s one of my favorites and sound like a similar concept to Lydia Byrd- a choice and then watching two versions of a life play out. As I read I was surprised by how I continued to debate which life was better.
Julie H says
Have you read Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewel?? Omgosh, so good!!!! Check it out!!
Caitlin Shoemaker says
I always love your book reviews! I opted to watch Little Fires Everywhere instead of read it just based on all of the negative feedback the book got. I actually noticed you rated it 1 star on Goodreads prior to your review here! Haha that helped me decide.
To me, the show was pretty entertaining on a quarantine day. It had great music! But you may not enjoy it at all if you have the bad taste of the book in your mouth. I had nothing to compare it to (other than Big Little Lies…which it does not come close to).
All of y’all are making me feel so validated for not loving Little Fires – I tried several times to read it but just couldn’t get going. Thank you, Shay for your reviews. I somehow get sucked into the suspense/serial killer books and read too much Stephen King (well, cant get too much King, but he’s not good for bedtime reading) – you always steer me right. And the commenters have so many good recommendations!!
Dannette Highley says
I totally agree with you on “Little Fires Everywhere”. I read it last year and I thought it was just “meh”! I had a hard time finishing it!
I joined Book of the Month club–my sweet husband got me a year subscription for Christmas. I have loved seeing their recommendations every month. Sometimes I will skip a month but more often than not, I will use multiple credits a month.
ANYWAY, Last month they oferred “Beach Read”. It was is about two authors that work in opposite types of literature–one writes romance, the other drama. they challenge each other to write and sell a book in the other’s genre. It has enough depth to give it support and interest (kinda like when your peloton instructor tells you to have enough resistance to feel secure) but enough joy and romance to make it light and thoroughly enjoyable (flat road with a Britney song in the background).
I know I am late to this post (re: homeschooling in Covid) but wanted to share. I think you’d really enjoy it. Hope you have a wonderful mothers day weekend!
I’m so excited! My daughter bought me In 5 years and the lives of Lydia ! Got them in the mail today for Mother’s Day !
I didn’t read the book Little Fires Everywhere, but I did watch the show. I really did enjoy the show though it was slow at times, because of the character development and I love Reese Witherspoon. However, I didn’t like the ending and it made me so disappointed since I had enjoyed the rest of the show. I’m SO glad I didn’t waste time reading the book just to get to that ending.
I always look forward to your monthly book reviews and just wanted to recommend “A Good Neighborhood”!