Recent Reads Vol. 3

A few months back I pledged 10 books for Kels' Bookish Side of Life Reading Challenge, and it's check-in day! Here's what I've read since we last linked:
The Blonder Side of Life

The One and Only by Emily Giffin
This was my first Emily Giffin read, though I have seen (and loved) the film adaptation of her Something Borrowed. I didn’t really know anything about her as an author before I read, but I realized after the fact that slightly-sordid romance was kind of her thing. Okay, this book… the Goodreads description didn’t really prepare me for it. There’s a romantic thread that I was not expecting, though it turned out to be the majority of the story. And it kind of squicked me out. 

Here’s a thing you should know: when it comes to love/romance/related activities, I am a very “live and let live” person. Whatever floats your boat. But I didn’t love this thread and I kept reading more out of morbid curiosity than whatever is supposed to make you keep reading a book like this. Aside from that, I thought it was weird how this book kept bringing up and then barely resolving plot points, and there were some places where delicate matters (i.e. death, mourning, and sexual assault) were touched on so haphazardly that I would have preferred she didn’t attempt it at all. Keep it light if you can’t do “heavy” well.

All that said? It wasn’t a bad read. I finished it, and I was interested throughout. It’s not a great work of literature, but if you need something for a flight or the beach, it’ll do.

Recommend? — If you don’t have anything better to read, sure. 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
I absolutely flew through this book. I’ve seen it recommended by bloggers a few times before, but I was just never sold by the Goodreads description or the reviews I’d read. I decided to go for it out of convenience and I really loved it. In a lot of ways it was completely not what I expected it to be. I was pleasantly surprised by the plot, writing, and storytelling throughout.

Recommend? — Hands down!

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
This was my second Jojo Moyes read (Me Before You the first) and I’m hesitant to be honest about how long it’s taken me to read. I like it, but for whatever reason it can’t keep me for more than a few pages at a time. It’s weird—I always look forward to getting time with it at the end of the day or on my lunch breaks, but I don’t have trouble putting it down. It’s weird. Anyway, it’s one of those books that’s just a good read. Do you know what I mean? It wasn’t amazing, it didn’t change my life, the story wasn’t ground-breaking, and the writing didn’t make me stop and take notes. It was just a book, and it was good and I’m glad I read it.

Recommend? — Yes!

The First Bad Man by Miranda July
I just started this but I’m tearing through pretty quickly. Before I started I wasn’t quite able to land on what this book was about (although that may be because I have this bad habit of not really reading Goodreads descriptions; I really just skim them and hope something sticks.). I’m still not totally sure, but it is listed as humor and so far I’m enjoying it, even if I don’t really have as good an idea as I would like about what the hell is going on.

Recommend? — Let me get back to you on that. But as of now, yes, if it appeals to you whatsoever. 

*UPDATE. I don't know what's the matter with me, but I forgot to add one book in this post originally, so here's another I read this month.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
This is another one I absolutely flew through. I was a little hesitant when the not-quite-normal part of the storyline picked up, but it didn't bother me. And by the end I reached a place I don't normally reach in works of fiction: I didn't care if it made real-life sense, and just enjoyed it for what it was. I thought the protagonist was very well-rounded, real, and complex, and I genuinely liked her, despite obvious flaws. I was always anxious to get back to reading this one (for the whole two days it took me) and was all woe-is-me when it ended before I was ready to move on to new characters.

Recommend? – Undoubtedly!

And so with that, I’ve successfully completed the Bookish Side of Life Reading Challenge! I anticipated I’d make time to read 10 books from the start of summer through the end. Thank you to Kels for hosting and giving me a reason to tear through some reads this summer. Did you meet your goal?


  1. I love Emily Giffin, but did not like The One and Only, honestly I think I got halfway through and quit reading it. I recommend Something Borrowed and the other books that go along with it. I just couldnt like Where'd You Go Bernadette, I think its because I just didnt really like any of the characters. Have you read The Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult? Its a similar story line but I liked it a lot more.

  2. I need to read Where did you go bernadette - it's been on my list for a while now!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  3. I JUST put Where'd You Go, Bernadette on hold at the library yesterday! Even more excited to read it now! The One and Only wasn't really my cup of tea either.... I liked the football element of it, but I think that was about it.

  4. I loved Bernadette more than I thought I would.

  5. Your reviews have become my favorite :)!

  6. yay! i put "where'd you go" on hold at my library and they even had available copies...that almost never happens :)

  7. Bernadette and One Plus One are on my list to read. Now is One and Only the weird plot where the best friend sleeps with the girls dad??? Because my friend Laura listened to it on audio and kept messaging me telling me how messed up it was lol.

  8. congrats on finishing! i have heard of that bernadette one but it never sounded like my kind of book. adding it now!
    i had to google squicked hahaha i laughed so hard. definitely not reading that one!

  9. If you liked Where'd You Go, Bernadette I think you would love Big Little Lies and The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. She has such a realistic but funny way of writing!

  10. First, congrats on finishing the challenge! Where'd You Go and One Plus One are on my list as well! I read Something Borrowed before the movie and really enjoyed it, but none of her others have really grabbed my attention enough to want to read them.

  11. I keep intending to read Jojo Moyes, and I haven't yet. I think it's my year to finally read some of these female authors I've intended to read (Jodi Picoult - done!, Liane Moriarty - done!), I need to visit Jojo Moyes.

  12. Loved Bernadette and One Plus One!!! Didn't like The One and Only at all. I thought it was terrible. And it grossed me out, too, and that says am lot because most things don't bother me.

    Jojo Moyes is on my binge read list, and having read three of her books so far this year, I can say I am not disappointed.

  13. I've stayed away from reading The One & Only by Emily Giffin because I had heard it wasn't her best and the story line touched on too much without finishing it up. I'm glad to get your thoughts because I don't know that I'll actually pick it up now. But, I am adding Landline back into my list because I love Rainbow Rowell and her books never seem to disappoint!

  14. Yay so proud of you! Also I've read all but one of these books so clearly we've both got good taste in books!

  15. Great job! I added Landline to my "must read" list. I'd heard of it before, but wasn't too sure if it would be good. I'll trust your recommendation!

  16. You're the 2nd person, besides on Goodreads, to recommend Where’d You Go, Bernadette! I need to get my hands on that before the end of the year.


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