Sweet Valley High #19 – Showdown – “When Lila Fowler’s mysterious new boyfriend finally appears at her pool party, Jessica Wakefield is dazzled. Jack is handsome, sexy, and exciting — even more perfect than Lila described him. So Jessica wastes no time making sure he notices her, too. Unknown to Lila, Jack dates both girls — Jessica during the week and Lila on weekends. But the sight of Lila’s happy face on Monday mornings is more than Jessica can stand! Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, warns her to drop Jack before she really gets hurt. But Jessica would rather get Lila out of the picture. Then Jack will be hers — all hers.”
Sweet Valley High #20 – Crash Landing! – “George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he’s going to tell her something he’s known for a long time — he doesn’t love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he’ll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love. But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can’t possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?”
Sweet Valley University #16 – The Other Woman – “Jessica Wakefield is in love with the wrong man. Both she and her professor, Louis Miles, know that getting involved will only lead to heartbreak. But can they deny the force of their passion? Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins are shaking up Sweet Valley University! They’ve discovered corruption in the administration that is more rampant than anything they could have imagined. But is blowing the lid off the scandal worth risking their lives? Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman are living together! They’ve got a perfect apartment, perfect furniture, and the perfect relationship – until their families cut them off. Can Lila and Bruce live on nothing but love?”
Sweet Valley University #17 – Deadly Attraction – “Jessica Wakefield is crushed. It turns out her new love, Professor Louis Miles, is married – and his wife is out for blood. Will Jessica’s bittersweet romance end in tragedy? Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins are running out of time. If they can’t expose the conspiracy that’s tearing Sweet Valley University apart, they may not live to see another day. Winston Egbert in the army? Now that Winston’s been caught cheating, his father is teaching him a lesson – by sending him to boot camp! Lila Fowler and Bruce Patman defied their parents and moved in together. Now they’re sleeping under a leaky roof, on a sagging bed, with only roaches for company. Who ever said that poverty was romantic?”
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.
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.”