Do you remember this post, where I said my reading goal for the year is 50 books?
AND I accused Eddie of being a hater because he didn’t think I could do it?
Well… I am 11 books behind schedule. I’ve only read 16 out of 50 books! Girl.
I go through phases where all I do is read and phases where I don’t read at all. Right now, we are on the “not reading” phase since I’m watching two different K-Dramas. I still have faith I can hit my goal and I especially want to prove Eddie wrong. But, I wanted to share a few of my favorite past reads in case you need recommendations to help you hit your book goal for the year!
Books To Add To Your Reading List
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation centers around Poppy & Alex who are polar opposites of each other, but have been best friends since college. Poppy is currently based in New York City and Alex is based in their hometown in Ohio, but every summer they take a vacation together. Except they had a falling out on their last vacation two summers ago and haven’t spoken since. Since Poppy is in a rut over her seemingly perfect life, she convinces Alex to take one more trip together to fix their relationship while avoiding the longterm elephant in the room.
I read Beach Read by Emily Henry last summer and loved it so I naturally gravitated towards her newest book. And I have to say, this one is definitely my favorite out of the two, it’s so good! There are so many fun/funny moments that I was actually laughing out loud. The chapters alternate between present time and flashbacks from past vacations and it made my travel loving Sagittarius heart so happy. I loved both main characters and their differences were so charming and they balanced each other out.
Everyone has said that the ending is predictable, but good. Honestly, I’m a rom-com girl so I’m not mad at a predictable ending. I expect a happy ending and this is truly the book to read while on vacation, while lounging on the beach.
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany centers around the Fontana family, specifically the second-born daughters of the family who have been cursed to never find love. Emilia is a second-born Fontana daughter who works in her family’s bakery and has accepted her fate. Until her estranged great-Aunt Poppy calls to invite Emilia and her cousin Lucy, who is desperate for love, to Italy for the summer to break the curse. So the three second-born daughters set off to Italy for a summer adventure to break the curse while uncovering family secrets.
If you follow me on any social media platform, you have probably heard me talk about this book. It’s one of my all time favorites and I can not stop talking about it. I sat down one night to read a chapter or two and ended up finishing the whole thing because I couldn’t put it down. To start, the scenery depicted in each chapter made me want to book a flight to Italy ASAP. I felt like I was there myself. There is also so much character development, especially in Emilia and I found myself relating to her, rooting for her and being inspired by her. And the overall family dynamic and family secrets drew me in and I was absolutely floored. The chapters alternate between present time and flashbacks to great-Aunt Poppy’s story as a young woman to really give you a well rounded story and help you understand the family dynamics.
The only way I can describe this book, is that it is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
Over the Top is Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye’s autobiography. He takes you through his childhood of growing up in a small town, his journey of coming out, his early college years, how he started in his career, how he landed on Queer Eye and every mistake and lesson learned along the way.
I love people with a story. I love people who have hit rock bottom and made their way out. I love people who have learned from past mistakes to make them a better person because I feel like those are the most genuine people. People with a past are the most non-judgmental people and I would prefer someone with a past to someone who makes it seem like life is perfect and they are perfect. So naturally, I adored every moment of this.
If you watch Queer Eye, you know that JVN is known for being bubbly, happy and funny and I think since he’s always happy on t.v, we can forget that he’s a real person with a real story. While the JVN humor we have come to know and love is present in the book, there were also a lot of heartbreaking moments. But, it was really inspirational to see that for every failure or mistake, it just led him on a different path which led him to where he is now. It was a quick read, but really interesting and inspirational.
“You” series by Caroline Kepnes
There are three books in the You series, starting with You, Hidden Bodies and the newest release, You Love Me. It is a psychological thriller that centers around Joe whose misguided feelings leads him to manipulate and stalk women that come into his life. The first book takes place in New York City and moves to Los Angeles in the second book of the series.
I first discovered the series after watching the show on Netflix and became so obsessed with the premise of the story, I had to read the book. For the most part, the first book and first season match up. I found the book to be much creepier since you really explore Joe’s inner monologue and see how misconstrued his outlook is on different situations. The second book, Hidden Bodies, was by far my favorite out of the two. I loved the book more than the second season of the show. There were some major differences between the book and movie and while I understand and even appreciated the changes made, I just preferred the book version. I haven’t read the third book yet, but it’s on my “to read list” in preparation for the third season of the show to be released.
I’m not a huge thriller genre reader, but I really enjoyed this series. I found it really relevant in our society today and there’s just something about it that draws you in.
“Dumplin'” series by Julie Murphy
The Dumplin’ series centers around characters from Clover City, Texas. Most of the leading characters are plus size and struggling to find their place in town. I’ve only read the first two novels in the series. The first book of the series, Dumplin’ follows Willowdean as she navigates the pageant world in town, made famous by her beauty queen mother while dealing with a potential new love. Puddin’ follows Millie as she makes an unlikely friend and comes into her own. There is a middle grade version in the series called Dear Sweet Pea and the newest installment, Pumpkin.
The series is just a feel-good, coming of age story. I first came across the series after watching the Netflix movie adaption of Dumplin’. I genuinely fell in love with the story and for a period of time, it was always playing in my house. My best friend, Anna actually read the first two books and recommend them to me which is why I dove into the series and I have no regrets. They are just so adorable and you will walk away feeling good and smiling.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The Hating Game centers around Lucy, an executive assistant, who is charming and beloved by her coworkers except for Joshua, a fellow executive assistant who she shares an office space with. The two are constantly in competition around everything and anything and always at each others throats. There is a big promotion up for grabs and whoever wins would be the boss of the other, but things get complicated when they start developing feelings for each other.
This is the quintessential rom-com story even featuring the best trope, enemies to lovers. There is even a movie adaption coming out starring Lucy Hale! Sally Thorne did everything right when it came to this book. The enemies to lovers trope was so fun to read and I found myself smiling at so many moments when the leading characters were arguing. The character development and the chemistry was spot on and it’s hard not to love and root for Lucy throughout the book. It’s an easy and fun read and I think even if you’re not a rom-com lover, you would enjoy this.
Anything by Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang is the author of The Kiss Quotient, Bride Test, and her newest novel out in August, Heart Principle. She is a Vietnamese author who incorporates the Vietnamese culture into her books and since I’m half Vietnamese, her books are near and dear to my heart. It’s just really great to see the genre I love, but with Vietnamese characters and familiar cultural references. The leading lady in her first novel has Asperger’s and the leading man in her second novel has autism, which I thought was really great to experience because it’s not something you see often in a rom-com story.
Her books always have great chemistry, amazing character development and steamy moments. I’ve loved her first two books and I’m really excited to get my hands on the next one!
“Hot & Hammered” series by Tessa Bailey
The Hot & Hammered series starts off with Fix Her Up. It centers around Georgette Castle, whose family runs a home renovation business in a small town on Long Island, and Travis, who is Georgette’s brother’s best friend and her childhood crush who just moved back to town. The other two books in the series center around supporting characters from Fix Her Up. The second book, Love Her or Lose Her centers around Georgette & Travis’s mutual friends and Tools of Engagement centers around Georgette’s sister and an employee of her family’s business.
I loved this series so much that I read them within a few days. Classic rom-com with a little bit of that enemies to lover trope. There are so many funny moments along with steamy moments. I also loved the connection between all three stories and reading each one just felt like coming home because you’re familiar with the characters.
Tessa Bailey just released a new novel, It Happened One Summer, that is apparently Schitt’s Creek inspired so I’m really excited to read that one!
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
The Dating Plan centers around Daisy and Liam. Daisy is a Marvel obsessed, Indian American, software engineer who is tired of all her Indian aunties trying to set her up with different eligible bachelors. Liam, a venture capitalist and also her childhood crush who stood her up during her prom. After running into each other at a hotel, Daisy enlist Liam’s help to pose as her fake fiancee in order to get her meddling aunties off her back. But, the two start falling for each other again after a few fake dates.
This was such a fun read. I found myself relating to Daisy on her love for all things Marvel and her desire to help everyone. I also loved all her aunties and just learning about the Indian culture in general. And I loved how we were able to explore both Daisy and Liam’s origin stories to understand their present day situations. Just another great classic rom-com.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Anxious People centers around a group of strangers at an apartment open house, who have been taken hostage by a bank robber and everything that ensues after that and during the hostage negotiation. I honestly can’t give too much away because the story was so complex in that all of their stories tied together in some way and I was genuinely shocked at all the twists and turns at the end.
I absolutely loved this book. My best friend, Anna read it and wasn’t a fan, but this book has almost 5 stars on Goodreads so she’s obviously wrong.
I just really loved how everyone started off as strangers, but they all had an impact on each other and their lives connected in one way or another. It was just a really great reminder that we have no idea what goes on in someone’s life and a little kindness goes a long way. Even passing someone on the street, you can have an impact in their life and with everything opening back up since the pandemic and interacting with more people than we have in over a year, I think this was just a great reminder and a really touching story.