Hoo boy, it’s been a busy two months. I have to apologize for the lack of updates and the fact that I skipped March’s round-up completely, but here it is now in combination with April’s.
I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t manage to read as much as I wanted to, but sometimes other things have to take priority. That said, I did manage to read 3 books in March and 3 books in April, one short each month of my 4-books-a-month goal. Thankfully I had a cushion from reading more in previous months, so I’m not quite behind yet!
If you’d like to see what I read in both March and April, click on!
(all summaries and covers from Goodreads)
1. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…
Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
3.75 out of 5 stars
As you may know, I loved The Hating Game, and I was super excited to read this one from the second it was announced. I always end up comparing books by the same author, so I will say that I did prefer The Hating Game to 99 Percent Mine, but they were both good books in their own right.
99 Percent Mine is definitely less steamy and less cutesy than The Hating Game, but I think that’s what made me enjoy it so much. Darcy was bold, crass, and unafraid to speak her mind, and yet it was done in a way that didn’t even remotely annoy me. I love a tough FMC, even if it is a facade of sorts to protect a soft interior.
And Tom. Sweet, precious, golden-hearted Tom. I loved him. Hell, I still love him and probably will for a while. The match-up of him and Darcy just seemed to work.
Now, for the not-so-great parts. I didn’t like how Darcy kept comparing Tom to an animal—a wolf, to be exact. The mention of his “paws” or him “lick[ing] up blood” made me a little uncomfortable. He’s human, not some furry cartoon creature that she drew as a kid and named after him. Like… yikes. And there was something about the heart problems angle that didn’t sit quite right with me for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on.
All of that said, I tore through this book in a few hours in between getting some work done. Even though I had some issues with it, I couldn’t put it down. Sally had me hooked, y’all!
2. Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.
Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.
Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
5 out of 5 stars
You guys… this book Spoke To Me.
I’d been excited to read this for ages mainly because, hello, Persian rep!!! While I’m not a teen boy taking a trip to Iran with my family, I am someone who’s also half-Persian, has felt a disconnect to that culture, and has dealt with depression and anxiety in my life. So let me tell you, this was almost like taking a peek into part of my world.
Reading about Darius’s struggles to fit in, make friends, and connect to a culture he doesn’t feel fully a part of just… wow, it made me Feel Things. He was so relatable and his voice was distinct without being overwhelming, something Khorram pulled off unbelievably well.
And the relationships in this book! The friendship between Sohrab and Darius just about melted my heart, and the struggles that Darius had with his father definitely made me tear up a little bit.
This was definitely very character-based, something I don’t always love, but this was done perfectly. I feel like any sort of huge plot would have taken away from Darius himself, whom I truly grew to love throughout the book.
(Also I loved the fact that his little sister was named Laleh, okay bye)
3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Life is good for Lara Jean.
She is head over heels in love, her dad’s finally getting remarried and her sister Margot is coming home for the summer.
But change is looming. And Lara Jean can’t just ignore the big life decisions she has to make – where she goes to college for one. Because that would mean leaving her family – and possibly the boy she loves – behind.
When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
3.5 out of 5 stars
I felt the same way about this book as I did about P.S. I Still Love You: enjoyable, cute, but completely unnecessary. Like, don’t get me wrong, I love Lara Jean and her little world, and I love Han’s writing so, so much, but… I didn’t need this.
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
5 out of 5 stars
I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THIS BOOK. I don’t know what exactly I expected when I opened this book, but WOW IT WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED.
It’s been a long time since I’ve really considered a book “unputdownable” but this bad boy… man, I had a difficult time closing it and going to bed the first night I started it. Look, Reid knows how to end a chapter so perfectly, so succinctly, so gasp-worthy that you can’t help but turn the page and continue on.
The narration, the characterization, and the general writing style was just so perfectly executed that I could almost cry. Honestly, nothing I can say will do this book justice, so read it for yourself if you can.
5. Intercepted by Alexa Martin
Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…
Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.
Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.
Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.
2 out of 5 stars
I wanted to like this, I really did. I love sports romances and I’m definitely here for interracial couples, but this didn’t do it for me. From the snarky girl hate (which, I get, is sometimes reality, but here is just felt like Too Much), to the near constant use of hashtags, and scenes/plot points that felt seriously unnecessary (and cringeworthy at times), I was pretty disappointed.
Nevertheless, it was still relatively light and entertaining read, so it wasn’t all bad—but it definitely outweighed the good.
6. Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.
But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?
Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.
2.75 out of 5 stars
Is it really an edition of “Simone Read What?” if Simone didn’t read a Christina Lauren book? I feel like it’s a must at this point, honestly.
But oh boy, I can’t seem to figure out what keeps drawing me to Christina Lauren books. Maybe it’s the writing style, maybe it’s the sexy-times, or maybe it’s just that they write “easy” reads for me—as in, I don’t really have to turn on all parts of my brain in order to read and (sometimes) enjoy. Whatever it is, they’ve got me hooked, even if I don’t absolutely love any of their books.
It was nice to see an “older” (she’s 33, she’s really not old at all) single woman as the FMC, because tbh, I’m getting a little tired of the “if you haven’t found your significant other by 25 you might as well die” pressure that exists in our world. I also appreciated how it tackled gender inequality in the workplace, which isn’t something you see often in romance.
But speaking of romance… I wasn’t particularly feeling it. This book focused a lot on the characters as individuals, which, you know, isn’t a bad thing, but I wanted more of them together. Plus, this gave me vague The Hating Game vibes at times, but what drew me to THG and kept me going even though there wasn’t any immediate romance wasn’t present here. I just didn’t feel the spark.
Six books in two months isn’t particularly great for me and the goal I’m trying to reach by the end of the year, but you know what? Despite how busy I’ve been, I still read six books! I have a feeling May will also be a slow month of reading for me as well, but we’ll see what happens.
Did you read anything good this month? Any recommendations you want to share? Let me know in the comments!