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Recent Reads #23

Thursday, February 2, 2023

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

Basically: This is a sequel for the very popular, It Ends With Us. You get to find out what happens with Lily and Atlas after all the drama of the first book. 

My Thoughts: Ultimately, I thought this was an unnecessary book that was probably just a cash grab because the first book was so popular. I still flew threw it and I guess it was nice to see where everybody ended up.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

Just Go With It by Madison Wright

Basically: Lo's life is a mess, including having a chronic illness. Weston is a famous YouTuber, and when the two reunite after years apart, the world starts to think they are together. He needs some good press, she needs health insurance. So they decide to get married. 

My Thoughts: This was a cute, clean romance. I really enjoyed the various plot points, like the chronic illness and their unique situation in the public eye. These characters felt like real people. 

Rating: 4.5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

Basically: Kenna is fresh out of jail and heading back to her hometown to reunite with the baby daughter she's never met. Everyone in her past is determined to keep her from coming back.

My Thoughts: I don't know what it is, but I keep reading Colleen Hoover even though I think I don't like her books, haha. She really knows how to suck you in. I thought this was a great, unique premise. Lots of eye rolls though, and really hard to believe storylines. I also HATED her daughter's name. So dumb. This one wasn't for me.

Rating: 2 Stars ⭐⭐

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Basically: Nina is the daughter of a con artist. Her mom is sick, so desperate for money, Nina and her boyfriend starting working on a big scam. The target? Vanessa, and Instagram influencer with secrets of her own.

My Thoughts: Ate this up! While I felt like it was really long, I loved the alternating POV. She did a great job revealing different things by switching up the narrators. 

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Live Wire by Kelly Ripa

Basically: Kelly Ripa's memoir. She shares various stories from all the different seasons of her life. 

My Thoughts: You know I love a good celebrity memoir! However, I should have known I wouldn't love this. I know it sounds mean, but I am not really a fan of Kelly Ripa. She annoys me on her show Live. Mainly because I've noticed she makes everything about herself. So why did I read her book you ask? Great question, haha. Ultimately, some of these stories are hilarious and I enjoyed parts of this a lot. But, mostly I felt like it was entirely too longwinded. It says that in the title so I shouldn't complain, but it really was a negative for me. 

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Basically: Margot is a journalist who is heading back to her hometown to take care of her sick uncle. When she was a kid, a terrible crime happened and a little girl was murdered. Now that another woman has disappeared, Margot can't help but think that these cases are connected. 

My Thoughts: If you love true crime, you'll love this! It's def inspired by the Jon Benet Ramsey case. 
I'll be honest, my head is still spinning from this. I'm not even sure exactly what happened in the end! 

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Obsidian, Onyx, and Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Basically: This is a YA series about teenaged Aliens living in West Virginia. 😂 

My Thoughts: I had high hopes because someone reviewed this on Booktok. Don't bother, honestly. The first book was enjoyable enough - although it felt like really immature writing. Not because it's a Young Adult book, but because it felt like a High Schooler wrote it. I kept going because it was free on Kindle Unlimited but got really bored really fast. There were also a ton of really dated references that made this very much a 2010s YA book. 

Rating: 2.5 Stars Max. ⭐⭐

The Whole 30 and Food Freedom Forever by Melissa Urban

Basically: The Whole 30 outlines the rules for the elimination diet and also has tons of recipes. Food Freedom Forever outlines the guidelines for what you do after the Whole 30. 

My Thoughts: Overall, I'm a huge fan of the Whole 30 experience. The Whole 30 book was helpful, but I am so happy they are going to be updating this soon. It's very dated in it's tone and references. I don't think it really captures the Whole 30 spirit as it is in 2023. Food Freedom Forever is really balanced, but I think I need to read it again now that I'm actually done with my first Whole 30 round. 

Rating: I am not sure how to rate these, but I feel like you should read them if you are interested in the Whole30 experience.

Just Between Us by Madison Wright

Basically: This takes place in the same universe as Just Go With It. Ellie manages her parent's apartment complex, but she's on thin ice with them. That's why they can not find out she's interested in one of the residents. 

My Thoughts: Not as good as Just Go With It, but still cute. I thought it was good, not great.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

The It Girl by Ruth Ware

Basically: Hannah meets April at Oxford. April is the ultimate It Girl who has it all, and Hannah gets swept up into her world. But, unfortunately April is murdered. The story jumps forward 10 years into Hannah's future. She's put the past behind her and is now married and pregnant, and April's murdered has just died in prison. But the mystery around April's death is still tempting to solve.

My Thoughts: Some of this was so great, and other parts weren't. I didn't love it for some reason. 

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

Basically: A real life love story. Timbi and Saro meet in Italy and are an unlikely pair. Against all odds they build a life together. Tembi has to learn to live without her husband and deal with the grief of losing him.

My Thoughts: A absolutely heartbreaking, but super authentic love story! Don't read this unless you are in a good headspace. The grief just pours off the page. 

Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Basically: Sam has grown into a colorful and vibrant school librarian. The new principle knew her at her last school when she was less herself. In fact, she left that school because of him. So now that Duncan is her new boss she feels like she might fall back into that old invisible personality. And Duncan has his own issues.

My Thoughts: Meh. I really enjoyed The Bodyguard by Katherine Center, so I had high hopes for this! But I really barely liked it. Some of it is quite cute, and it's a really positive/upbeat story. The characters just didn't click for me, and the "twist" about what happened to Duncan was so obvious all along. 

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Basically: You've been living under a rock if you don't know what this is about! A fairytale story about true love!

My Thoughts: I have to admit, I think the movie is better. But I still loved this story and it was a great light read. 

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

Basically: Best friends Chess and Emily are reuniting at a villa in Italy. This house has a lot of history. Namely murder. You jump back in time to read about the 1970s when a few friends rent the same villa one eventful summer.

My Thoughts: This started out strong, but I got so bored. 

Rating: 2 Stars ⭐⭐

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Basically: Jess needs some quick cash, so she enters a psychological study about ethics. But the study leaves the classroom and all those ethics and morals are really put to the test. 

My Thoughts: I always love Greer and Sarah's books! Great writing, great pacing, great twists! Plus there is hardly ever language or explicit scenes in their books, which makes them easy to recommend. 
Such a cool premise on this one, and the Dr.'s POV was so creepy from the beginning! 

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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