Summer Reading

I have a love/hate relationship with reading.  I love it so much – but when a story really takes me in, I’ll be MIA for hours or days on end.  No joke.

For example –

I was in college when I started reading the Twilight series.  Specifically, I was on an airplane to AFRICA when I started reading the first book.  I was so enthralled that I spent majority of my nights (alone) in the hotel reading my little heart out while the rest of the group experienced the local nightlife in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.  Granted, to this day, I’m not a nightlife kind of girl, so there is zero part of me that regrets it.  Mostly because as others in my group were nursing hangovers, I was able to fully enjoy the sites and sounds of the cities all day long.

(No judging please.  I think the movies fully ruined those books.  I’m only semi-embarassed that I loved them so much.)

Anyhow.

I’m a streaky reader, too.  Meaning, I will go about a month where I read book after book nonstop, but then I’ll go three or four without any desire to read a word (outside of the the many blogs that I pour over every single day)!

One of my favorite parts about visiting my parents (outside of my parents, of course) is knowing that I have extended periods of time with minimal distraction where I can sit and read for hours or days on end.  They live a ways from mostly everything, which means it’s perfectly quiet – except for that lovely waterfall flowing into their beautiful pool.  Or the occasional elk that decides he wants to try and eat one of their dogs.  But, that’s a story for a different day.

Summer Reading - mwnHere’s what I’ve been enjoying thus far this summer –

Me Before You – JoJo Moyes
The story centers around Louisa, an ordinary girl, desparetely needing a job.  She finds work caring for Will, a man wheelchair bound after an accident.  Louisa finds herself surprised that Will’s happiness becomes so important to her and sets out on a mission to show him that life is worth living.
Last summer, I read Moyes’ Blackberry Winter.  That is a great book and highly recommend that one as well.  But, that’s how I got turned on to her novels.   The book takes a turn I never would have expected.  I had tears and lots of smiles – overall, a quick and easy read.

The Last Letter from Your Lover – JoJo Moyes
In 1960, Jennifer  wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending. (synopsis taken from amazon)
This book is written in similar style to Blackberry Winter – in that it skips between present time and the past. I was rooting for the main characters through its entirety.

The One (final book in The Selection triology) – Kiera Cass
The Selection triology follows a Bachelor-like process, in which the Prince Maxon of Illea (future USA) must find his princess.  America is selected to enter the competition.  In the third book, America must finally decide if she has feelings for Maxon or if her heart still lies with her childhood love, Aspen.  And even if she does choose Maxon, will Maxon choose her?
I love, love, LOVED this trilogy.  After reading the Hunger Games, I fell in love with the dystopian genre.  Honestly, after I originally read a summary of the book, I thought it sounded so silly, but gave it a go anyway.  I haven’t talked to a person yet that hasn’t enjoyed them as much as I have!

If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Mia is in a tragic accident, though she has no memory of it.  In its wake, she pieces together all that she has lost, what she has left, and her decision to stay or go.
I chose to read this after seeing a preview for the film they’re making based off of the book. Parts of Mia’s relationship with her boyfriend seem a little deep for a high school romance, but in the end you can’t help but root for them.

Where She Went – Gayle Forman
A fantastic follow up to If I stay, it follows Mia’s boyfriend, Adam.  Adam’s music career has made him wildly successful.  Meanwhile, Mia has moved on, without Adam, to become a world class cellist.  When their paths unexpectedly cross in NYC years later, they spend a night reconnecting and gaining understanding that was lost in the aftermath of Mia’s tragic accident.
I think I liked this one more than If I Stay.  Again, there are parts of Adam’s reality that seem unrealistic (and annoying – get over it already!), but I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the story.  Highly, highly recommend these two books!

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler
Told from Zelda’s perspective it follows the rise and fall of the Fitzgeralds in the 20’s – giving insight on just who the infamous Zelda Fitzgerald really was.
I loved The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  Historic fiction is another genre I tend to enjoy quite a bit, so upon learning of Z, I thought it’d be another easy read.  Not so much.  I had to pick it up several times (with months between) before it finally captured my attention. In the end I enjoyed it, but I still haven’t decided if it was worth the effort.

The One & Only: A Novel – Emily Giffin
Shea has lived her entire life in Walker, TX, a town that lives and dies with its football team.  Along with her best friend, Lucy (who also happens to be the daughter of Walker’s head football coach), Shea grows up living and breathing college football.  When tragedy strikes their small community, Shea forces herself to reevaluate where she is and where it is she wants to go, finding unexpected love along the way.
This was a little far-fetched for me.  Not to mention I don’t love football, I’m more of a fair-weather fan, so I found myself skimming a few sections where it talked a lot of football. Of Giffin’s novels, this was my least favorite, but enjoyable regardless. 

Just One Day – Gayle Forman
Allyson has lived a life of order and routine.  After her high school graduation, she goes on an educational tour of Europe where she meets Willem.  When Willem asks her to abandon her plans and join him for a single day in Paris, shockingly, she finds herself saying, ‘yes.’  This uncharacterisctic decision leads Allyson to learn about risk, romance, and liberation – a day that will change her life forever.
Again, there were parts of this I thought to be a little far-fetched, but then I remind myself that it is fiction after all.  I definitely had moments “okay, get over it” (similar to what I had in Forman’s Where She Went), but again, found myself rooting for her.  I wanted her to find answers and closure.  You’ll have to read to discover what she finds.

Just One Year – Gayle Forman
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. (synopsis taken from amazon)
I’m in the midst of this one right now.  It’s interesting to see Willem’s perspective on events that transpire after he spends the day in Paris withe Allyson.  I have a feeling I’m going to get anxious, knowing where ultimately ends up (because of how Just One Day ends), but I’m trying not to skim!  That’s the perk of reading on a Kindle – I can’t easily read the last few pages to get my answers!

I honestly recommend any of these books.  I won’t bother finishing a book I can’t read.  I picked up The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) numerous times and I could just never get through it.  I don’t know if it was the writing style or if I just found it plain boring.  I think it was more the boring part – if I’m being totally transparent.  But, it’s a darn good thing we don’t all like the same things.  I don’t fully expect each of you to enjoy all of the books I’ve listed – but I did – so therefore I’m recommending them.

Happy reading!

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