Oh my, I’ve been a terrible reader the last three months! I will say that a lot of it feels out of my control. I’m honestly so much more tired than usual at this stage in my pregnancy. I would say that, since May, I fall asleep within minutes of getting into bed. So, I’m reading so much less and reading so much slower. Some nights, I barely get through reading three pages of my current book even if I’m really into the book. This is the case with my current book, The Heir Affair, which is the Sequel to The Royal We. I’m loving The Heir Affair and feel very invested in the characters.
I’ve actually been setting my alarm a little earlier in the mornings because I can hardly get through a page at night right now. The exhaustion is real! So, I’m afraid, I have a disappointingly short list of books I read in May, June, and July 2020. Hopefully I’ll get more reading in this fall because at some point of every single day I think about how much I miss reading and about how many books are on my to-read list!
Books I Read in May, June, and July 2020
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Everyone is reading this book right now and I’m no exception! I saw this book reviewed and written up on a bunch of book lists that have surfaced from BLM so I was excited to pick it up for myself. The book is the fictional story of two light skinned black identical twin sisters, Stella and Desiree Vignes, who grow up in a tiny town in Louisiana. They grow up inseparable until they decide to run away from their town to New Orleans. From New Orleans, their lives start to take two very different turns. Stella creates a new life by passing as white and marrying a wealthy white man. She embarks on a life fueled by lies that has her wondering if it was worth it. Desiree, the sister who most wanted to leave her home town for bigger things, ends up escaping an abusive husband by finding herself right back in her small town. The book spans decades following the sisters and their daughters as we watch them lead completely different lives and we watch their daughters cross paths as adults. I found myself more compelled by and more eager to read about Stella and Desiree than their daughters so I enjoyed the beginning of the book more than the later half (which is why I gave the book a B+ instead of an A- or an A). This family drama explores issues of race in the US from the 1940s-1990s, how the past shapes the present, and how one person’s decisions can affect so many people around them. P.S. I read that HBO is developing this book! I will definitely be tuning in! Grade: B+.
The New Girl by Daniel Silva
If you peruse my book lists frequently, then you’ve probably gathered that I’m a huge Daniel Silva fan. I read every single one of his books. This book, The New Girl, is the 19th book in Silva’s ‘Gabriel Allon’ series. Yes, I’ve read them all! The 20th book in the series just came out this month and I can’t wait to dive into it. The New Girl is the fictional story of the daughter of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who is kidnapped in Switzerland. The crown prince was once celebrated for his social reform efforts in Saudi Arabia but has since been denounced and criticized by the international community after his role in the murder of a dissident journalist (sound familiar?). The crown prince is left with no choice but to turn to one of the men most unlikely to form an alliance with him, Gabriel Allon, the chief of Israeli intelligence. With a promise from the crown prince to separate Saudi Arabi from radical Islam, Allon joins forces with the crown prince in a search for his daughter that ends up unraveling much more than the kidnapping. If you love international relations, espionage thrillers, and fast-paced reads, then consider picking up this book or one of the other books in the Gabriel Allon series. P.S. The cast of characters remains the same by and large from book to book but you can read them as stand alone novels or read them out of order. Grade: A-.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
This book was not what I expected. Upon starting it, I think I was expecting something like the novel Something Borrowed but I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t see the twists and turns coming. I say “pleasantly surprised” hesitantly because the twist I didn’t see coming is a sad one that sets the tone for much of the book but I still really enjoyed it. The book follows two best friends, Dannie and Bella. They are very different. Dannie is very calculated and a planner while Bella is free spirited and makes decisions off the cuff. Danni’s perfectly planned out life is turned upside down when she has a dream in which, in five years, she finds herself in an unknown apartment with an unknown man who is not her current boyfriend/fiancé. Dannie wakes up again in her current life but simply can’t shake the dream and finds herself counting down the five years to see what becomes of her future. Meanwhile, Bella’s life seems to finally fall into place on solid ground until absolutely everything changes in ways no one would predict for a girl with a bright, beautiful future. I really liked this book because, at the heart of it, it is a love story but not a traditional one. I think it is a touching love story of friendship but I’d love for you to read it and tell me what you think. Grade: B+.
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
Well, I don’t know what it was with me and this book. Readers seem to love it on both Amazon and Bookshop but I truly couldn’t get into it and really didn’t enjoy it. I honestly barely got through it. I was intrigued right out of the gates with the book but then really quickly lost interest and started having a very hard time continuing to read the book. Needless to say, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. However, in case you’ve heard good things from someone else and are curious to learn a bit more, the book is the story of two sisters who go missing in a remote part of Russia. In the months following the disappearance of the girls, the police are unable to turn up anything, which leaves the community in fear. The books jumps around from a dozen or so different women who all come to be connected somehow by the crime. However, it is extremely unclear how the women are connected and feels as though you are reading random stories when each new women starts. I often enjoy books told from multiple characters but, with this book, I just found it confusing and convoluted. None of the characters were particularly interesting or memorable. The whole thing just fell flat for me; however, there are clearly a whole bunch of other people that feel very differently than I do. So, if you’ve heard rave reviews from someone else, then maybe give this book a chance? Unfortunately, I’m not a fan. Grade: C-.
Books I read in May, June, and July 2020:
Photography by Edwin Eversole