This was not my best month for reading – I just found it hard to get in the right mental space a lot of the time (see this post about being overwhelmed as a sort of explanation). But I picked up a few lighter books and that’s helped me get back into it again. Even though the list is shorter, it has some of my favorite books of the year on it!
Here’s what I read in the last month.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
I had seen a lot of people raving about this book, and I was really looking forward to reading. A few pages in, the main character mentioned being disabled and having really bad migraines, and I got immediately nervous. There’s nothing that takes me out of a book quicker than reading an inaccurate, unauthentic portrayal of disability. But after doing some Googling, I found out the author herself has really bad migraines, and that’s why she wrote them into her main character. Sold! And the book was just as good as everyone said it would be. Eva and Shane meet as children, spend a week together, and then never see each other again for years… until they’re reunited for another week. The books flips back and forth between present time and their childhood, filling in more and more details and missing pieces as we learn more and more about their history. It’s a perfect romcom book, and I highly recommend.
This book ended up being a feminist anthem in a way that I did not expect at all! Set in France during the 1100s, Marie is sent from court to become a prioress at an abbey. While life at the abbey could not be any more different than life at court – the abbey is in disrepair, the nuns are impoverished and malnourished – Marie soon finds herself thriving in her life there. She works to improve conditions and gain status at the abbey, creating a community of strong women that she sees herself as the protector of. There were some parts of the books that confused me a bit (Marie’s past as a childhood warrior/Crusader), but overall it’s a really engrossing portrait of a strong woman.
This book was stunning – it’s an all-engrossing read about an alternate reality. Piranesi lives in a world that’s like a labyrinth – a place of infinite rooms and halls, with water that comes and goes with the tides. It’s an alternate reality of sorts, with Piranesi co-existing with only one other man, a researcher known as “The Other.” But then strange things start happening, and Piranesi learns that there may be more to his universe than he is aware of. I know my description sounds kind of strange, but I don’t want to give anything away! It’s a book where you keep learning more and more as you keep reading. I definitely recommend.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
When a new book comes out by Sally Rooney, I buy and read it immediately. While this book has romance, it’s really about friendship, which I love. Some of the book is actually written as letters/e-mails sent between Eileen and Alice, which I enjoyed a lot (it reminded of a book that I read as a kid, P.S. Longer Letter Later). Alice is a novelist, who moves to a new city to work on her writing, and Eileen just broke up with her boyfriend and is dealing with her heartbreak. Throughout the book, both women are trying to find themselves and their places – navigating their friendship, new romantic relationships, and the rest of their lives. Sally Rooney just has such a distinctive voice to me, and her characters feel really relatable.
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This is probably my favorite book of the month (and of the last few months too)! It’s a sequel to The Inheritance Games, and I have been waiting for the sequel to come out since the SECOND I finished the first book earlier this year. In the first book, Avery Grambs finds out that she’s been named as an inheritor in the will of a (very rich) perfect stranger, and works with the man’s grandchildren to try to solve the mystery of why she was included. This time, there are more mysteries to try to unwind, danger around every turn… and brothers to choose between! I just loved it so much. It’s technically a YA book but I think anyone would enjoy!
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I also loved Sally Rooney’s latest, especially the Alice-Felix storyline. Their arc felt so real to me. I know she can be a divisive author, but I am a huge fan of hers.
And thank you for the other suggestions — have just placed a few in my queue at the library!