Ten Most Recently Added Books to my To-Read List

A little while ago I did a minor cleaning of my To-Read list (TBR). I deleted books I had added because of contests, book club options, or other various reasons that I had either lost interest in or have been on my list for years and I still haven’t touched them. Now, don’t go thinking I went crazy. I maybe deleted 10-20 books from my list. I was just proud of myself for getting back under 200 books on my TBR. But of course, then I went and added more. So, I decided to update you all on what the ten more recent books I’ve added are! (By the way, you should totally follow me on Goodreads)

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1. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This is a sort of sequel to The Kiss Quotient which we read for book club last year. It’s a sequel in the sense that it takes place in the same world with the characters from Kiss Quotient, but focuses on a different set of characters. I am curious to see if this book will be as fun and enjoyable as the first.

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2.       The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

I added this book on recommendation from a friend. I’ve seen it around and it has also been on Reese’s book club list. Seeing as my friend and Reese have never steered me wrong, I finally added this book to me list. I love love stories and I also love when they have a catch. The story starts in present day and then goes back to the beginning. It seems cute and I also like the cover and I’m a sucker for a good cover.

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3.       The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

I was offered to read this book for review, which is how it came to be on my TBR. It follows a Polish couple, one who is a ballerina and the other a student who emigrate to America. Their son, Yuri, is born with a rare health condition that causes him to be unable to interact with other children. They get a teacher to tutor him at home and she has past ghosts of her own to deal with.


4.       The Unhoneymooners by Christna Lauren

Honestly, I had zero idea what this was about until after I added it. This past year Christina Lauren became an automatic read author for me. It looks like it’s going to be a hate-to-love romance trope which is my absolute favorite, so I am very much looking forward to this book when it comes out.

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5.       Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

I think I found this book on a blog of books that someone was looking forward to in 2019. The idea of a guy having to find a girl with his ex’s same name in order to use her train tickets as they travel across the US is too juicy to pass up. It does sound like there will be some insta-love, but I hope that it will be done well. I’ve read a book or two by Smith in the past and enjoyed them, so I’m looking forward to this one.

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6.       Who Slays the Wicked by C.S. Harris

This is another book that I was offered for review, but it is a series that I have been reading and reviewing for a few years now. I didn’t expect a sequel to come out so soon so I’m excited! This series is different from what I normally read as it happens in past England and is sort of a murder mystery type series, but there are so many other storylines within. I’m curious to see where the story continues to go.

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7.       No Judgements by Meg Cabot

I about screamed when I saw that Meg Cabot was coming out with a new book. Similar to the Christina Lauren book, I added this one without even looking at the summary. This is easily up in my top 3 most anticipated books of 2019.

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8.       Normal People by Sally Rooney

This was a book that caught my eye based on the cover, but the cover has changed and I don’t like the new one nearly as much. Admittedly, I would not have checked out the description if this had been the original cover. Luckily though, it has already been added and the summary is one that interests me. Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other at school, but they are connected. They spend the next couple of years circling each other, but always ending up connected again. I’m curious to see what their relationship entails and what causes them to come back together over and over again.


9.       The Huntress by Kate Quinn

In January I picked The Alice Network for my book club book and loved it. This next book also follows a female in World War II. I loved the pacing and tone of The Alice Network, so I wanted to read another book by Quinn. I hope that I enjoy this book as much as the first, because I would love to have a new favorite historical fiction author.

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10.       Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

My tenth book was, yet again, an auto-read author for me. 2019 is going to be a good year for books since so many of my favorite authors are coming out with something new! This story follows a female firefighter dealing with being the only female in the firehouse. Of course, there’s a love story thrown in there that will, I’m sure, be wonderful.

Do you have any of these books on your list? What are some of the books you’ve recently added that you’re looking forward to.

Final 2018 Goal Updates

When I started the year I was feeling pretty positive and ambitious. For the past three years I had solidly read more than 80 books per year and I had a solid handful of new releases I was looking forward to. I was confident in my ability to reach all the goals, so I even added a reading challenge back into my life this year!

Well… you know what they say. Man plans, God Laughs.

This was the first time since setting a Goodreads challenge that I didn’t meet it. I know that this is mostly because of some life changes and difficulties, but it’s still a little bit of a bummer. I went from being ahead at the beginning of the year to pretty much coming to a halt the second half of the year. Now, I still read over 70 books and I know that’s not too shabby, but it’s easily the least I’ve read in the past 4 years or so.

One positive is that I did read 7 of the 8 books I shared as the ones I was most looking forward to in 2018. In regards to the eigth books, The Elizas, I think I got suckered in by the cover and the author. When I picked it up and re-read the description I just knew it wasn’t something I really wanted to read so I didn’t bother.

I’m still thinking about whether or not I want to do a most anticipated list for 2019. There are definitely books I’m looking forward to (hello Things You Save in a Fire and Famous in a Small Town) but I don’t know if I have a whole list full. We’ll see.

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Lastly, I attempted the Uppercase Reading Challenge. I even intended on updating on this challenge quarterly, but only did so at the end of March. When I last updated you, I had completed 4 of the 10 challenges. As of the end of 2018, I have completed 6 of the 10 challenges. While this isn’t a complete failure as it’s more than 50% completed, I had ideas in mind for the remaining challenges that I didn’t get around to.

I think what I’ve learned is that I’m not a reading challenge kind of girl. I like challenging myself with what I read, but I’m not great at checking off challenges set by someone else. For example, I challenged myself last year to read more books by diverse authors and ended up finding one of my new favorite authors, Maureen Goo!

I don’t have a specific challenge for myself yet for 2019, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something!

Are you completing any reading challenges? Any goals you have for yourself for the upcoming year?

Book Club January 2019- The Alice Network

I got the honor of picking the first book club book of the year for 2019! I was a bit nervous because  I wanted to make sure that we got off to a good start. I also have been a bit disappointed in my past few picks so I really wanted to pick a good one this time around. I tend to gravitate towards World War II historical fiction in the winter and I had had The Alice Network on my TBR for a while, so it seemed like the perfect pick.

By: Kate Quinn
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 532

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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

What I thought

I am so glad that this was my first read of the year. I absolutely loved it and am hoping that this is a foreshadow of my reading year to come!

The Alice Network alternates between two stories in two different times that intersect. In 1914, Eve is in France as a spy during World War 1. In 1947 (present day), Charlie is unwed and pregnant in London and France, searching for her cousin Rose who disappeared in World War II. Charlie’s only lead is Eve.

So often when a book has multiple storylines across multiple timelines there is one story that I connect with and enjoy significantly more than the other. That is most definitely not the case for this book. I loved both of the storylines and never found myself rushing through one to get back to the other. Quinn did a wonderful job of balancing the stories. The book moved constantly because when one story was a little slower the other story picked up. I also feel like a lot of the times with historical fiction it can take a little while to get into the story because it’s setting up a lot of information, but The Alice Network jumps you right in!

I am a fan of learning about how women made a difference in previous wars since so often it is the men/soldiers that are haled as heroes. Learning about the real life Alice Network and the female spies in World War I was fascinating. Eve and Eve’s superior, Lili are such strong women and I loved reading about them.

Charlie is a good contrast to Eve. She starts off a bit more shy and reserved to Eve’s hard and strong, but she grows nicely as the story goes on. The only bit that shocked me was the point in the story at which Charlie’s story reveals certain information. I hit a point in Charlie’s story where I wondered where it was going to go, but it was handled better than I expected and I still enjoyed Charlie’s story a lot.

I am going to push this book on anyone and everyone. Even if you don’t think you’re a historical fiction person, I think you would enjoy this book. It has a very modern feel to it and I enjoyed all (well…most) of the characters.

What Book Club Thought

Everyone loved this book! A lot of the comments were similar to the ones that I have already talked about. It was a great book to discuss and there were a lot of aspects that we talked about. We also discussed how we would like to see this as a mini-series on HBO or Amazon. Maybe, since it’s a part of Reese’s book club, she’ll pick it as her next project for a TV show! I would highly recommend this book in general but if you are looking for a book club suggestion then you should definitely add this to your list.