Recent Reads Vol. 13

How perfectly fitting that this day fall on Valentine's Day, as so many of us found our first true love in books themselves, or within their pages.

I'm going back to last year with some of these, because I was pretty slow-paced on the reading thing up until I got my Kindle Paperwhite this Christmas. I re-read the Harry Potter series on audiobook, and then didn't prioritize book reading for a while, opting for articles and—I confess—Netflix instead.

Along with books one through six of Harry Potter, here's what I've read lately:

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
I enjoyed the whole read, but I don't think it needed to be quite as long as it did. All the characters were well fleshed-out; even if I didn't enjoy them I got a real sense of them, which I always appreciate in a book. I'll definitely look forward to reading more from this author.

Recommend? – I hear it's not the best one by this author, but for a non-challenging yet interesting read, go for it.

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
I'm a fan of this type of book, and this author's contemporaries, and I think you probably have to be in order to enjoy it. New York City of decades ago, replete with sex, drugs, and disaffected young adults. This one had a unique narrative structure that I enjoyed, and if you like reading the likes of my guy Bret Easton Ellis, you'll probably like this.

Recommend? – Not a can't miss, but if you like the genre, I highly recommend.

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
This one took me a while to read, but I still enjoyed it. I was trying to read it alongside 2-3 others, and it kept being my last pick at reading time, but each time I picked it up I enjoyed it, if that makes sense. I know I put this on the list after Erin recommended it and told me it's set in NJ, and I'm a sucker for that. In fact, the towns she mentions are the towns I lived in as a baby or have family in now, so even though they're just mentioned by name, I find that kind of thing pretty cool. Everything is always set in NYC or LA or a no-name/made-up place, so it's fun when authors or screenwriters plop their plots down in my stomping grounds. Anyway, I enjoyed the book well enough, and in fact more than I thought I would, and was especially enthralled in the last 25 percent.

Recommend? – You'll be fine if you skip it, but I don't see any reason not to give it a spin.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
I liked this. It was an easy read and most of it flew by on bus trips to and from D.C. I fully admit I picked it up because I'm a fan of Lauren Graham's, but it was pretty much what I thought it would be in terms of readability and I just enjoyed it. Franny is sweet and relatable and there are some really funny lines and moments.

Recommend? – Perfect to save for the beach or a plane, train, or automobile.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
I'll start with the disclaimer that I haven't read Gretchen Rubin's first book, The Happiness Project, and I don't really plan to. It's not that I don't think I could learn something from it; I just feel like I've gotten the gist (I read her website and used to listen to her podcast) and am not particularly interested. Similarly, I skimmed a lot of this book as well, because she basically took a bunch of (really good) ideas that could have been an article each and walked us through her thought process long enough to turn it into a full-length book. I read a lot of this kind of stuff, so for me, it felt a little unnecessary, but I'm sure it's hugely valuable for others, so I don't think it detracted from the book; it just didn't interest me.

Anyway, back to the book. I took notes—lots of them. I had several a-ha! moments. (Turns out, I have been a Questioner trying to will myself to behave like an Upholder all this time.) I found it revealing and really, really helpful. I won't go out and start a massive campaign to just turn my life into a series of habits, but the things I learned about how to approach tasks in a way more suited to my strengths are really valuable.

Recommend? – I totally think there's something to be gained from reading this one, for everybody!

Linking up with Steph and Jana. What are you reading?


    i liked the last anniversary but definitely not my favourite from her. it was enjoyable though.
    i absolutely love when a book talks about places i've been or lived, especially smaller places. it makes me feel like i'm in the book. girl waits with gun is in my library pile.. hopefully i'll get to it soon.
    i haven't read any of gretchen rubin's books - i want to, but i have no idea where to start, and i'm not sure if i have gleaned enough info from other people's reviews or posts and random articles, or if i should just go ahead and read them all. always room for self improvement lol.

  2. Someday, Someday Maybe was one of the first books I read/reviewed when I started blogging! It wasn't my favorite ever or anything, but I remember really liking a few lines from it too, and would definitely read a sequel!

  3. I really liked Last Anniversary. If you take away the fact that it is a Moriarty book, I think people would be kinder with their review. Sure it is no What Alice Forgot or Big Little Lies but it is quite an interesting read. But yes, a bit long. Better Than Before is on my list of to read ASAP because I really loved The Happiness Project last year and I wanted to give myself a few months before starting this one.

  4. I loved Better than Before and I find it a bit more interesting than The Happiness Project (which I actually really liked too). I haven't read The Last Anniversary yet, but I'm sure I will sometime because I have enjoyed most of her other books!

  5. I've been clear on how I feel about the Kopp sisters books. I'm glad you enjoyed it even if you're not a superfan like I am.

    Better Than Before keeps haunting me, reminding me I need to read it.

  6. It's been years since I read it, but I absolutely loved Bright Lights, Big City when I did. I remember it as a time when I read a bunch of edgier books and really enjoyed it.

  7. I have Graham's other book- Talking As Fast As I Can- on hold at the library, hoping it is as good!

  8. I had the exact same feelings over The Last Anniversary. I just wanted it to end already.
    Girl Waits With Gun is at the top of my TBR list.

  9. I really enjoyed Girl Waits with Gun. The second book, Lady Cop, a little less. I'm adding Better than Before to my TBR. I read The Happiness Project last year and it was an okay read. Since it's an older book, none of the information felt particularly fresh, but her newer work sounds a bit more intriguing to me.

  10. I thought Someday, Someday Maybe was pretty cute! Like you said, it works well for an airplane/beach read.

  11. My friend loaned me Girl Waits With A Gun but I've been sitting on it. I'm not sure why. I was about to add Bright Lights, Big City to my TBR, but realized it's already there... oops! I read (and greatly disliked) The Happiness Project, but I'm willing to give her one more shot, since this one seems more about figuring out and using her habit-changing tips to help yourself than reading about what she did.

  12. Oh, hey, that's me getting a shout out! Thanks for that :)
    Looks like you've got your reading mojo back! Hooray for books!!

  13. I could not get through The Last Anniversary. It was SO long that I got completely bored and gave up on it. Which was a big surprise because I normally enjoy Liane Moriarty's books. Great picks on the other books -- definitely adding Someday, Someday Maybe to my list!

    I've been so on the fence about getting a Kindle even though I have an iPad mini! How do you like yours? Sometimes I just want to shut down and read without any other distractions!

  14. I love Gretchen Rubin. I've read her two happiness books and Better Than Before, which I'm glad you enjoyed. You really do learn a lot.

    Lauren @

  15. I liked The Last Anniversary because it wasn't as formulaic as Moriarty's other books. That said, if you liked that, you'll like the others even more. I like Gretchen Rubin in theory, but her books are too long for me.


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