January Wrap Up – Books

 

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton – This book was an excellent way to start the reading year. Trent Dalton is able to write such charming and vivid characters, and the backdrop of Darwin in wartime was unlike anything I’d read before. This was a truly beautiful story, and I feel like the imagery of Molly Hook’s journey will stay with me for a long time.
 
Beach Read by Emily Henry – This was a light and refreshing read, a perfect choice for the aftermath of All Our Shimmering Skies. I love reading a romance where I feel like I might actually be attracted to the male character, it makes things a bit more interesting for me. This was a fun little romance, and was a page turner that warmed my heart.

February TBR

 

Erotic Stories for Pubjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – “Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a creative writing course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community. Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected–and exciting–kind. As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s moral police. But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife–a modern woman like Nikki–and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.”
 
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez – “Kristen Peterson doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen — especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.”
 
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – “Meet Naomi and Nicholas: the Perfect Couple. Their glorious, lavish wedding is coming up in three short months… and they are utterly, miserably sick of each other. Unfortunately, whoever backs out first will end up bearing the brunt of the wedding bill. When Naomi finds out that Nicholas has been feigning contentment too, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of sabotage, pranks, and all-out emotional warfare to see who can annoy the other into surrendering first. Now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves. In fact, they’re having so much fun getting on each other’s nerves that it starts to feel like something else entirely…”
 
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – “For years, rumors of the Marsh Girl have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.”

Nostalgic Book Haul (January)

 

Sweet Valley High #35 – Out Of Control“Aaron Dallas, the handsome co-captain of the Sweet Valley High soccer team, used to be friendly and likeable. But suddenly he’s changed. He explodes whenever the smallest thing goes wrong, and lashes out at everyone, including his teammates and his girlfriend, Heather. Elizabeth Wakefield is concerned about the change in Aaron. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey French, is Aaron’s best friend. Jeffrey keeps making excuses for Aaron, and Elizabeth can’t persuade him that his best friend really needs help – until Jeffrey himself becomes the target of Aaron’s rage.”
 
Sweet Valley High #49 – Playing For Keeps“Jessica and senior A.J. Morgan are in love. He is different from most of the guys she has dated, and Jessica is sure that he would love her even more if she acted more like her sister, Elizabeth. But when she begins to act like Elizabeth, A.J. gets bored, and she has to fight for her man!”
 
Sweet Valley High #50 – Out Of Reach“All Jade Wu wants is to be as all-American as her classmates, but her traditional Chinese father will not let her do anything the other kids do–especially date attractive David Prentiss. Then an ugly rumor threatens to destroy her dreams, and Jade despairs of ever being happy.”

January TBR (Nostalgic Reads)

 

Sweet Valley High #17 – Love Letters“Caroline Pearce has always been one of the least popular girls at Sweet Valley High. But when she invents a new out-of-town boyfriend, people finally start to pay attention to her. Brown-eyed, six foot Adam and his romantic love letters are the talk of the school. Caroline has everyone fooled – even clever Jessica Wakefield. But what begins as a bid for love and attention quickly becomes the worst jam of Caroline’s life, when her friends insist on meeting the boyfriend she’s been bragging about. Can Caroline keep the truth a secret, or will her lies be her downfall?”
 
Sweet Valley High #18 – Head Over Heels“Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snob, and the only person he’s ever cared about is himself. Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can’t last. She knows Bruce too well. She’s even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can’t afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won’t be happy for long.”
 
Sweet Valley University Thriller Edition #3 – Kiss of the Vampire“Elizabeth Wakefield is falling in love… with Nicholas des Perdu, her boyfriend Tom Watt’s new boss. Nicholas is tall, dark, dangerously handsome… and keeper of deadly secret. Will Elizabeth abandon her friends, her family – and even her life – to be with the man she longs for? Jessica Wakefield is desperate to save her twin sister – but she’s up against a force stronger than any she’s ever known. Together Jessica and Tom must fight the evil that threatens to destroy them all.”
 
Sweet Valley University #15 – Behind Closed Doors“Jessica Wakefield has sworn off love forever. Tired of heartbreak, she’s throwing all of her passion into her classes. And no one’s more surprised than Jessica when Louis Miles, her gorgeous professor, asks her to stay after class… for private lessons. Elizabeth Wakefield has promised to help Todd Wilkins regain his starting position on the SVU basketball team. Elizabeth is willing to take on the corrupt athletics department, but when the whole administration turns against her, will she be able to stand her ground? Winston Egbert has been so absorbed in his relationship with Denise Waters that he hasn’t opened a book for weeks. Now he’s willing to do anything to pass his physics exam. Is Winston about to make the biggest mistake of his life?”

January TBR

 

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton – “Darwin, 1942, and as Japanese bombs rain down, motherless Molly Hook, the gravedigger’s daughter, is looking to the skies and running for her life. Inside a duffel bag, she carries a stone heart, alongside a map to lead her to Longcoat Bob, the deep-country sorcerer who she believes put a curse on her family. By her side are the most unlikely travelling companions: Greta, a razor-tongued actress and Yukio, a fallen Japanese fighter pilot. The treasure lies before them, but close behind them trails the dark. And above them, always, are the shimmering skies.”
 
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – “Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups? Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behave as if Laura never mattered. But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do.”
 
Beach Read by Emily Henry – “Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. They’re polar opposites. In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighbouring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.”
 
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings – “Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?”