What I Read: January & February

Ok ya’ll. I don’t know about you, but book review day is kinda like Christmas to me. I look at other people’s book review posts and post my own so it’s like the wondrous giving and receiving of Christmas. Yes, I’m a nerd, and I’m ok with that.

So, I kinda went on a book binge these last 2 months. I “blame” it on football/Super Bowl and all my regular shows being on winter hiatus. I did take a couple weeks off from reading in the middle there because my whole entire family got hit with “Flupocolypse 2018,” and all I could manage to do once nap time came around was lay comatose on the couch and watch White Collar. But once we were all feeling better I dove right back into some really great books! 

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Ok this book. Woah. Once you start reading, you literally c.a.n.n.o.t. put it down. If you enjoy books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this book will be right up your alley. 

Meet Will and Iris, who have been blissfully married for 7 years, but on the morning Will is supposed to fly to Florida for a business trip, Iris gets a call that he was actually on a flight to Seattle, that has crashed. With a million questions flying through her mind, “why did he lie to me about where he was going??” “why did he go to Seattle??” “is he really dead??” she sets out on a journey to find the truth, and what she unravels is tons of lies her husband has fed her throughout their entire relationship and lots of unexpected twists along the way. 

My cousin and I were reading this at the same time, and she finished it before me and all she said was, “the last page is CRAZY…but DON’T look ahead!” And she was so right…now that I’ve said that, I’m sure it’s going to be super tempting to peek at the last page, but DON’T, just know that the book’s unexpected twists and turns don’t end until the very last word!! 

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

China Rich Girlfriend is the second book in a 3-book series by Kevin Kwan. And I have to say, after reading all 3, (my review of the 3rd book is below,) this was my favorite one! Maybe it’s because there aren’t 42 million characters to keep track of, and it focuses on a handful of the main characters. But I just loved the storyline and how Kwan develops a different aspect to the lives of the characters. 

This book focuses more on Rachel Chu, who if you read the first book, is engaged to Nicholas Young, heir to the Young fortune. A fortune, however, that might be taken away from him because of his choice to marry Rachel, going against his family’s severe rejection of her as his prospective spouse. 

On the eve of their wedding, even though Rachel has everything (and more!) she could have ever dreamed of for the perfect wedding, she is still saddened by the fact that she never knew her birthfather, and he will not be walking her down the aisle. But a chance accident reveals his identity to none other than her future mother-in-law, and from there, Rachel and Nicholas are thrown into the crazy world of Shanghai wealth. It’s a crazy ride from there, and one that will cause you to read late into the night! This was a fun one, people. 

What Remains by Carole Radziwill

This book was equally riveting and depressing. I absolutely loved it, but I cried so hard reading it. This was my non-fiction book for January, and it’s made me so happy with the choice to dive into the world of non-fiction once a month. 

Spoilers are ahead, but this actually happened, so history (and the back of the book) is one big spoiler…

Carole Radziwill married Anthony Radziwill, who was John F. Kennedy Jr.’s cousin and best friend. So naturally when JFK Jr. started dating and evenutally married Carolyn Bessette, they became instant BFFs. But back to her marrying Anthony…before they get married, Anthony finds out he has a small cancerous tumor, which is removed, causing them to think they’re in the clear. But when they return from their honeymoon, he finds out he has another tumor, and from there it only gets worse. 

The summer that they anticipate as Anthony’s last, they spend with John and Carolyn, desiring to create a summer to remember while they still have Anthony. Unfortunately, it’s also the summer that JFK Jr. crashes his plane carrying Carolyn and Carolyn’s sister. Three weeks later, Anthony dies. 

So yea, it’s a tad depressing, but at the same time, it’s such an amazing read. To read someone’s account of so much loss, and how she made it through was encouraging. To read about how she stuck with her husband, even though their whole marriage was shared with the big C, was inspiring. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh and you’ll wish Carolyn was still alive so she could be YOUR bff. 

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

This book was probably my favorite of all I read throughout January and February!! It’s such a fun book, but one that will make you cringe at what some people can do through manipulation. 

You’ll meet Lily Dane, who is back in Seaview, Rhode Island, where her family has summered for generations. But then one day, she hears someone else is back in Seaview: Budgie and Nick Greenwald, Lil’s ex-best friend and ex-fiance. Lily is quickly pulled back into a crazy friendship with Budgie, and forced to see a love she thought she had put behind her. 

Then a huge hurricane heads towards the east coast, and with it, truths that were long buried, lies revealed and all of their lives are changed forever. 

Like I said, this book is amazing, although I must note that it’s on the verge of an R rating, maybe more like PG-13 in our culture today, but if you choose to read it, just be prepared for some sexual scenes. They’re easy to skip over, and the book is still good enough I’d recommend it, just go in with the awareness of some spicy parts. 

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner

If you had an incredibly popular blog, was asked to be a “test subject” for this new website called “Pinterest,” had a husband who was an extremely successful Hollywood producer, and had been offered an HGTV show, would you throw it all away for a slow life in the midwest? 

Yea I don’t think I would either. But Erin Loechner did. She realized the exhausting rat race that was her L.A. life wasn’t worth what she was giving up any longer. In her book Chasing Slow, Erin recounts how her life changed from the world’s definition of success, to living a slower, but more enjoyable life. It’s a great read, even though I found it ironically a little slow. Erin teaches us all a great lesson that real life is lived in the slow, quiet moments, and the grass is not always greener on the other side. 

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

And now to wrap up one of my favorite series! I seriously loved all 3 of these books, despite the enormous amount of characters, and the very necessary family tree in the beginning. This book, similar to the first book does have an enormity of characters, (which, like I said above, the 2nd book didn’t have as much,) but after reading 2 books, keeping track of the characters is slightly easier. 

In the final book, Nick’s grandmother, Ah Ma, is in the hospital and not doing well, so of course, the whole family comes to Singapore like sharks circling, hoping to score a piece of the wealthiest inheritance in the country. However, even though Nick always loved his grandmother, and he was clearly the favored grandchild, Nick is absent from his grandmother’s bedside. He is still upset that she was so rude to his now wife, Rachel, and assumes he has since been written out of her will. But when Rachel encourages him to go see his Ah Ma one more time to say goodbye, he heads to Singapore, only to face some unforeseen obstacles. 

Kevin Kwan wraps up the series well, and even though the 2nd book is my favorite, I loved the way the series ended. If you’re willing to get past the million characters, I’d highly recommend this series! It feels just like a Chinese Gossip Girl, and gives you a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous. It’s just plain fun!

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

This book was super fun! I read Katherine Reay’s debut novel, Dear Mr. Knightly a couple years ago, and loved that one as well! Her writing is fun and breezy with a little Jane Austen thrown in. (Never would’ve guessed by the title…) 

This book is about Mary Davies and her childhood friend, Isabel, who she’s grown distant from in the past couple years. But when Isabel offers Mary a free 2-week stay in a huge manor house in England that provides dress and experience as if you were living in Jane Austen’s Regency era, Mary reluctantly agrees. But when Isabel mysteriously loses her memory and actually believes she is a character from an Austen novel, Mary discovers a lot about herself and her friend she never expected to. 

Like I said, this book is a fun and quick read, and if you like Jane Austen, you’ll especially love it. After finishing it, I immediately requested 2 of Reay’s other books from my library!

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

I just finished this book 2 days ago and really enjoyed it! It’s about identical twin sisters (betcha didn’t see that one coming…) who haven’t spoken in 14 years, and also live on 2 opposing islands; Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Layer upon layer of their lives and their falling out is slowly revealed, and soon you find out that although they’re identical on the outside, they could not be more different on the inside. 

After their father dies, they pull a Parent Trap and switch places in hopes of fixing things on opposite islands. And it gets more and more fun from there. 

My only hesitation on recommending this book is that I’m not a huge fan of cheering for an affair, and you may find yourself doing just that as you read through the book. But all things considering, this book is a fun beachy read, perfect for any chick lit lover like me! 

Like always, if you have any recommendations, please share! My cousin, Katie, and I are always looking for new books to add to our digital book club :)

For more great book reviews check out my top 5 books of 2017!