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Reading List: No. 16

Ace of Spades

Reading List: No. 16

There are a lot of solid books on this reading list. Nothing is in the running for the best book I’ve read all year, but it’s still a solid list of books I enjoyed reading recently. 

The Soulmate Equation is the latest release by best-selling duo, Christina Lauren. Jess Davis is a single mom and data whiz. Jess lives with her grandparents who raised her after her mom disappeared when she was six. When Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever, she impulsively gives it a try. When her results show an unheard of compatibility with the founder of GeneticAlly, she can’t believe the numbers because she already knows Dr. River Pena, a stuck-up, stubborn man. Then GeneticAlly offers Jess an opportunity she can’t refuse to earn some much needed cash in exchange for getting to know him. 

While Love and Other Words remains my favorite book by Christina Lauren (and one of my favorites from the past 5 years), The Soulmate Equation is a fun read. I was routing for Jess and her daughter, Juno, from the start.

Rating: 3

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah takes place during the Great Depression. It’s told mostly from the perspective of Elsa, a mother of two, living in the Texas Panhandle in the 30’s. After her son develops dust pneumonia during the Dust Bowl on the family farm, she heads west to California in search of a better life for her children. There she finds hardship after hardship while struggling to find work and provide for her family. Through the hardship, she finds her voice while always showing her children how much she loves them. 

I haven’t read a Kristin Hannah book that I haven’t loved and The Four Winds was no exception. I had no idea the devastation that the drought and dust bowl created during this time period. Kristin writes such strong female characters and I learn something whenever I read her novels. 

Rating: 3

Ageless Beauty the French Way by Clémence von Mueffling is written from the perspective of three generations of French women. Advice is broken down by category (skincare, makeup, perfume, sleep) and age (15-35, 35-55, and 55+). 

While I appreciated some of the advice, particularly broken down by age group, I couldn’t get past the author’s tone. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way and I ended up returning this book to the library before I finished it.

Rating: 1/DNF

People We Meet on Vacation by Emilie Henry follows two best friends, Alex and Poppy, as they vacation together every summer over a span 10 years. Poppy and Alex are opposites in almost every way, but somehow they are the best of friends. Until two years ago when their summer vacation went mysteriously awry and they haven’t spoken since. Poppy convinces Alex to take one last trip together in the hope of patching up their friendship. It alternates between their current and past trips. 

This is a good book that would have been even better if I read it while lying on a beach somewhere. You will feel like you’re on vacation with them. It’s a solid summer read that I recommend!

Rating: 3

In Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino, Emiline is a writing instructor living in San Diego in a bumpy long-term relationship. When a debut novel by author J. Colby becomes a bestseller, Emiline gives it a read and immediately recognizes her own troubled childhood described in its pages. Which means J. Colby must be the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in 10+ years. 

After reading Before We Were Strangers, I wanted to check out another book by the same author. Swear on This Life didn’t have the magic of Before We Were Strangers so read that one instead!

Rating: 2

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley follows Piper Parrish. Piper lives on a small island, Frick Island, on the Chesapeake Bay. After her fisherman husband disappears during a storm, Piper carries on as if he is still alive walking him to and from the docks each day and going out to dinner with him. The islanders adore Piper and go along with her. A recently graduated journalist is sent to Frick Island to cover the town’s annual cake bake. 

This is my favorite book of the bunch. It’s a really cute story unlike anything I’ve read. I mean, the entire town pretends her husband is still alive because they love and care for Piper. It’s heartwarming with a touch of climate change.

Rating: 3.5

Rock the Boat by Beck Dorey Stein follows three high school friends as they reunite in their hometown one summer. Kate’s life in Manhattan unravels when her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her. She returns to Sea Point to figure out her next step. Miles has also returned home to Sea Point to prove to his mother that he can run the family business. He’s also promised to help his friend Ziggy figure out his financial future after Ziggy’s father passed away. 

I enjoyed the different storylines in Rock the Boat and looked forward to picking up the book every chance I got. 

Rating: 2.5

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand is my first foray into the queen of Nantucket. After a bad breakup, Adrienne heads to Nantucket for the summer and lands a job at The Blue Bistro as the hostess. She soon falls in love with her boss, one of the restaurant’s co-owners. 

If you’ve ever worked in restaurants, you’ll definitely find parts relatable and familiar. It’s a solid beach read, but I thought parts of it didn’t hold up great (it was written 10 years ago). 

Rating: 2.5

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé centers around two students, Devon and Chiamaka, at an elite high school as they enter their senior year. They are targeted by “Aces” as personal details are leaked to the entire student body. Through their quest to find out who Aces really is, Devon and Chaimaka uncover a much bigger plot than they could have ever imagined. 

Amazingly, Ace of Spades was written by the author when she was in college. Wow! It tackles issues of race, equality, and homosexuality in a suspenseful thriller. 

Rating: 3.5

tbr: up next

I have an entire reading list for the year mostly made up of books I already own and there are a ton of new releases by favorite authors this year too. So many books, too little time! I am making my way through So You Want to Talk About Race and have The Sum of Us, Malibu Rising, and The Magic of Found Objects on my nightstand to read next.

rating system

5: A book that you treasure and keep prominently displayed on your bookshelf. All other books will likely be measured against this one.

4: Could not put it down, possibly read through the night, still thinking about it, extremely satisfying and highly recommended

3: Captured my interest, entertaining, would seek other titles by the same author, would recommend

2: Okay to pass the time, probably not memorable, just okay

1: DNF or ended up feeling dissatisfied

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