Summer Reads and Mini-Reviews

Hello, and happy Saturday! Today I’m sharing some of my favorite recent reads with you.

Are you a fan of seasonal reading? I always seem to prefer certain genres or story lines during specific seasons. In the fall, I tend to read classics, especially the brooding and Gothic ones. In the winter, I find myself cosying up to historical romances. During the spring, I love to read L. M. Montgomery novels, or anything that makes me feel alive and in love with everything. And during the summer, I usually binge young adult novels or humorous romances.

Here are some of my favorite recent summer reads:

Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Shortly after her mom passes away, Jessie moves to a new town, where her school is full of bullies, her new stepmom and stepbrother aren’t very hospitable, and where loneliness threatens to choke her. The only person who seems to understand is a mysterious online penpal named Somebody Nobody, who quickly becomes Jessie’s lifeline as she copes with grief and high school.

My Thoughts: This novel is full of dark and light bursts of emotion. The penpal aspect is fun and intriguing, and Jessie is a realistic teenager, easy to relate to whether or not you’ve experienced grief like she has. Although the book opens with Jessie battling through the black holes of loneliness and grief, it ends will some uplifting feelings that left me with heart eyes for days.

Can You Keep a SecretCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Emma has a huge heart, a lot of secrets, and a big mouth, which unfortunately shows itself when she’s overcome with terror. During a particularly turbulent plane ride on the way back from a disastrous business trip, Emma spills all of her most embarrassing and hilarious secrets to the stranger sitting next to her. The plane is surely going to crash, so who cares, right? But then the plane lands safely and the stranger, who now knows the most private details of Emma’s life, turns out to be her boss (the CEO, actually).

My Thoughts: This book is dangerous to read in public, and not for the reasons you might suspect. You will laugh out loud until you cry. I did this so many times, my husband kept giving me strange looks. This book is hilarious, and has some great messages about being proud of who you are, knowing what you deserve, and not giving a crap about what others think of you.

The Hating Game.jpgThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Lucy hates her coworker Joshua. He’s her exact opposite in every way: he’s uptight, unlikable, and critical of everything Lucy does. The two of them play these subtle and petty games with each other, and Lucy can never seem to get an edge over her nemesis. So when Lucy and Joshua are up for the same promotion, Lucy decides to change her strategy. But soon Lucy starts to discover that hating someone can feel a lot like being in love with them.

My Thoughts: This book is real steamy, so if that’s not your cup of tea, this book is probably not for you. The office rivalry/romance makes this book a quick page turner, and Lucy’s character development is admirable. Joshua will surprise you, but you may also be rooting for Lucy to slap him. I adored Sally Thorne’s writing style; it made this book so much more than another chick lit romance.

Finding AudreyFinding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder and depression. After being traumatically bullied at school, she can no longer leave the house or make eye contact, hence the dark sunglasses she wears even around her own family. But then her brother’s friend Linus starts writing notes to her and soon he challenges Audrey with little dares: go to Starbucks, make foot contact with someone, ask a stranger directions to the circus. It’s not long before Audrey feels ready to reenter the real world, despite her therapist’s warnings of doing too much too fast.

My Thoughts: Sophie Kinsella is officially one of my new favorite authors. Audrey’s home life will crack you up, and the sensitive way she covers mental disorders will also soften your heart. The characters in this novel were all so lovable (especially Linus), and I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of Audrey’s mother’s freak outs.

The Only Thing Worse Than MeThe Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

♥♥♥♥

Synopsis: Trixie and Ben are lifelong enemies, academic rivals, and intellectual equals (although don’t bring that up–it’s a sore point). It’s their senior year and neither of them wants to be outranked by the other. So when their best friends start dating each other, forcing Trixie and Ben to hang out together, it seems impossible that they will ever act civilized in each other’s company. Until one of them overhears a huge secret that changes everything.

My Thoughts: I didn’t realize until a few chapters in that this is a nerdy YA retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite Shakespearean comedy. There is plenty of witty banner, disguises, and mischievousness occurring both on and off the page that will keep you entertained. My only problem with this novel was a lack of suspense (which is really just because I loved the webseries adaptation Nothing Much To Do and how it handles the big scandal. I can’t help comparing it to every other retelling).

Advertisements

Where I’ve Been

It has been nearly 3 months since my last post and I’m finally ready to explain where the heck I’ve been lately. Prepare yourself for some not so fun stories, but I will start and finish this post off with happy things, don’t worry!

Since I don’t think I ever posted a wrap-up post from February, I never got the chance to squeal about some of the big, exciting things that happened for me and my husband at the beginning of the year, so let me just do that real quickly right now:

  • My husband was offered a job in Wilmington, NC which he took! He’s been working now for 5 months and he really enjoys it.
  • We officially relocated from Maryland to North Carolina at the end of March and we love it here! We’ve made so many friends and are almost finished settling into our place (this month I’ve been restoring and repainting furniture and I’m hoping to unpack the last few boxes in the coming weeks).

And the biggest news of all is:

  • We are expecting our first child!

    Mother's Day

    Family photo back from Mother’s Day. Matt thinks he looks goofy here but I think he looks like a proud Papa :)

  • And…

    It's a Boy

    Little Baby French Fry is due on October 26!

I am officially 21 weeks along today, and I am finally enjoying the “honeymoon phase” of pregnancy. After my first trimester I was beginning to lose hope that I would enjoy anything about being pregnant, and that’s all thanks to those lovely hormones that give some women morning sickness and others, like me, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. I was never diagnosed, but I can tell you that I had early pregnancy depression and it turned my world completely upside down. (Yes, here come those not so fun stories I warned you about)

We had been trying to conceive for roughly two years, but earlier this year we weren’t actively trying due to Matt’s new job and our impending move. So it came as a big surprise (and for me I was in disbelief for a while) when the tests came back positive. WE’RE HAVING A BABY! Of course we were both happy, but a few days later I started feeling worried; Was this the best time? Would we be financially secure? What if I couldn’t find a new job when we moved? Would I be a good mom? Why am I not happier?

These thoughts plagued us both for the first month, but while my husband handled his stress by working hard and solving all our housing problems, I tried as hard as I could to feel happier and more positive but to no avail. All of the normal things I loved to do suddenly turned me off. Reading made me nauseous, I had no desire to write anything for my blog and I even avoided social media (and not for good reasons), and I gave up my attempts to finish my 25 Things list because I no longer cared about anything.

Finally, after a few weeks, I told my husband about how I was feeling because the last thing I wanted to do was isolate myself with those dark feelings. He was nothing but supportive and encouraging. He reassured me that this was all hormone-related and that eventually I would feel like myself again. Honestly, I only believed him half the time, but I would try every now and then to pick up a book or watch one of my favorite TV shows or crochet, and if I couldn’t do it, I tried not to focus on any repercussions (i.e. not updating my blog for months or finishing my 25 Things list before my birthday).

It was really hard. People asked me regularly what I was reading lately or why my blog was so silent, and I hated telling them, “My pregnancy hormones are making me depressed,” because shouldn’t I be happy about having a baby? I wish someone had told me that it’s not uncommon to feel depressed during pregnancy. At least that would have made me feel less ashamed.

But long story short, eventually I did find myself again. After going from reading a book a week to not reading a book for over two months, I finally picked something up and finished it. My husband was happy the old me was back, but he was never once negative or pessimistic about what I had been going through; he was constantly supportive and there for me, even when he was living in NC and I was still up in Maryland. I will be forever grateful to have him as my husband, and I know he’s going to be a great father to our little boy :)

So now I’m finally ready to return to the world of blogging. I won’t be posting as often as I used to, but I will try to post twice a week. I even have a Top Ten Tuesday post lined up for tomorrow!!

Thank you to all of you who read this post or who have encouraged and congratulated me over the past couple of months. I really have missed the friends I’ve made through blogging, and I’m sorry I disappeared but I’m very much looking forward to posting, reading my favorite blogs, and participating in blogosphere events again!

<3 Maggie