Books I’ve Read Recently

Washington, DC, USA

Books I’ve Read Recently

During this mini break from blogging, I had to fill my time somehow. Because juggling multiple jobs, playing on a soccer team, hanging out with family and friends, having two pets, and volunteering at the animal shelter just left my calendar wide open 😅. 

Books I’ve Read Recently

Something I really wanted to get back into was reading. I’ve always been an avid reader but since going back to the office, I’ve slowed down a bit. It was time to catch up on my TBR (to be read) pile that was rapidly growing on my nightstand.

Most of these books are by Colleen Hoover because let’s be honest she’s all the rave these days and for good reason. I plan on reading all of her novels and then rating them later on, but until then here’s a breakdown of everything I've read recently.

Please note some of these books have a trigger warning (TW) and these are my opinions (IMO) some blurbs may contain spoilers (SPA).

The “Gossip Girl” Series

I'm SO CLOSE to finishing this series and boy has it been rough. Seriously stay tuned for that in-depth blog post. This series is perfect for pre-teens/teenagers. And when I first started this series I was 14 and obsessed with it. Now that I'm almost 30 though…and I’ve seen and love the tv show…this series was rough. The first few books were intriguing and I loved seeing all the differences between the show and the books, but the chapters really drag on. *IMO* Basically this series didn’t need to be as long as it was, but if you’re a GG fan the nostalgia might bring you some comfort.

Beneath the Stars” and “Beneath the Stands” by Emily McIntire
“Beneath the Stars” was a book I devoured in less than 2 days last summer. OH MY GOD. This book was more than I could have hoped for. It was soooo good and really took you through the years with these characters. This love story is epic with so many twists and turns but it all ties together perfectly at the end. It felt very “realistic” though being a fictional story. And the reason I say that is because the events that happened in the book are very “real” things that happen on a day-to-day basis. Overall this book gets a 10/10 from me. Now, I mentioned there were a lot of characters. There are two more books from this series that go through three other characters’ love stories. And since I loved “Beneath the Stars” so much I thought I would love the other ones just as much. Keyword: thought. I think spin-off series of books like this are hard because you fall in love with the main characters from the first book you read, and even though you love the side characters in the main storyline…that doesn’t mean you’ll care as much about their love story. And that’s exactly what happened with “Beneath the Stands.” I love the characters and the storyline is intriguing, but I found myself only caring about the original main characters from “Beneath the Stars” that I eventually kind of got bored of the new storyline. So while the spin-off books are probably just as great and well-written, I would START with the spin-off books and then read “Beneath the Stars.” Because all the storylines intertwine together. The other two books in this series are “Beneath the Hood” and “Beneath the Surface.” Maybe I’ll pick up this series again in the future, but until then I definitely recommend “Beneath the Stars.”

*TW* This book does contain physical and emotional abuse. As well as death and addiction.

"Everybody (Else) is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks and Likes" by Gabrielle Korn
This book was on my TBR list forever and when I finally got around to reading it I loved it! This book is inspiring, insightful, and really makes you think about your career. Gabrielle Korn shares her story of how she worked her ass off to build her dream career, but also how that career ended up not being everything she originally desired. If you’re looking to get into the hustle and bustle of NYC media and publications—definitely pick up a copy of her book!

The “Twilight” Saga by Stephanie Meyer
I know what you’re probably thinking…Michele, really? 🙄 And while I don’t blame you for your judgment…let me explain haha. This is just a compiled list of books I've read recently..that includes re-read too. Because I do re-read books especially if they’re some of my favorites. So after watching the movies one rainy day I decided to dig up my copies of the saga out of my mom’s attic and binge-read them. I loved the first one—obviously, especially after reading Midnight Sun last year, and New Moon because as I’ve gotten older I have an appreciation for that movie/book. But around Eclipse I got kind of bored hah! I do love this saga and if you’ve never read it I really suggest you do!

“The Ultimate Guide to Pokémon”
I picked up this magazine around February and during my lunch break, I would read parts of it. I just finished it and I feel like a Pokémon expert! I love this deep-dive guide into the world of Pokémon and learning about the brand, games, merch, and more! If you see this at the grocery store you should definitely pick up a copy!

“Archer’s Voice” by Mia Sheridan
This book recommendation was from Caitlin Bea and let me start by saying if Caitlin Bea suggests a book—trust that suggestion. A few of these books on this list are on the list and she has *chef’s kiss* good taste. “Archer’s Voice” was unlike any book I’ve ever read. It was a little dark, a little hopeful, and just enough drama to keep you interested. Plus the main character has a history and as the story unravels you understand why he is the way he is more and more. The ending is beautiful and I really liked this book! I will say I am very picky when it comes to the endings of stories. I find a lot of endings are rushed (Colleen Hoover's books are ALWAYS rushed in my opinion) and this ending felt a bit rushed as well. I would have loved more Archer stories or points of view, versus Bree’s. But overall, I still enjoyed this book, and reading this helped me understand Ridge’s POV in “Maybe Someday” by Colleen Hoover. If you plan on reading “Maybe Someday” I suggest reading “Archer’s Voice” first.

*TW* This book does contain sexual assault, death, and bullying.

“Say You Swear” by Meagan Brandy
When I say Caitlin Bea does not disappoint…I mean she DOES👏NOT👏DISAPPOINT! She has talked about this book non-stop on her socials and this book had me in a chokehold from the beginning. Now look…I work in editorial. I literally edit text all day long. And I make mistakes…I do. So I get it if you’re posting a tweet or writing a blog post because it can be edited at any time. But if you’re publishing something like a book, then the grammar and spelling need to be top-tier. I love this book so much that I was able to push PAST the grammatical errors (which were more than I care for) because the story was THAT unique. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever read. And so far, no one has been able to beat Edward Cullen as a book boyfriend but Noah Riley just moved Cullen to #2 😜.

*TW* This book does contain death and hospitals.

Alright, guys, it’s time for the meat and potatoes of this blog post. Colleen Hoover books. CoHo has taken the world by storm this past year with her easy-to-read romance novels that always have a dark twist to them. I’m going to go in order of what I read first. There is no “correct order” to read these in as none of them connect (kind of) but if you’re just diving into CoHo and you want to start strong then I definitely recommend starting with “Verity.” Because while the others might disappoint you and discourage you from reading others, “Verity” will set the bar and have you excited to read more by her. Alright, let’s get into it!

"It Ends with Us" by Colleen Hoover
The book that started it all. This book went viral on TikTok and I understand why. As I mentioned before, Hoover is really good at adding a dark twist to the story that you never expected. She’s able to bring real-life situations to the fictional world. This book kept me intrigued until the very end. The past and present chapters really painted a picture until the very end. And that is where my interest started to fall off…the ending. I will say this now so I don’t sound too much like a broken record but Hoover really rushes her endings in my opinion (*IMO*). I find a lot of her stories need another 2-3 chapters to really wrap things up because it goes from one storyline to “ten years later they lived happily ever after.” I personally don’t care for those types of endings. Spoiler alert (*SPA*) if you haven’t read this book yet, skim to the next book blurb, but if you have read it let’s talk about the ending.

*SPA* Obviously I’m so happy that Lily didn’t stay with Ryle. That's freaking obvious. Also while we’re at it…Ryle is a stupid name. But the part of the ending I just couldn’t deal with—was the fact that she had the baby and co-parented with him!!! Your own opinions aside okay…Ryle is messed up. He needs serious help. And what is to say that that would even be a safe environment for your child? Or for you? Do you think he’s not going to act out again? Or on your child. OH, YOUR CHILD THAT YOU NAMED DORY AS A NOD TO YOUR FIRST LOVE AKA THE REASON RYLE HIT YOU!?!?!?!? Okay… that makes… no it makes no sense. So first of all I don’t trust Ryle as a man or a father. Cut him out of your life, girl. Second, do you mean to tell me that Ryle the abuser was cool naming HIS daughter Dory!??? No. No. Hard no. No. He read the diary. He knows what that name means to you. THEN you end the book with Lily and Atlas meeting up and foreshadowing a future together (which does eventually happen—see a sequel “It Starts With Us”) and Ryle is just “cool” with this? NOPE. Not believable. Don’t agree. Horrible ending *IMO*. This isn't to say that people can't change or get help and be better. And at the end of the day, she chose to have this child and be a family in some way. Which can be beautiful in a lot of ways—BUT because it was rushed, it all just felt too soon. If we got to see Ryle's therapy journey or maybe Lily and Ryle in family counseling together I think that I would have made peace with it more. But the story for what it was we went from an abusive relationship to let's raise a baby just didn't...meld right with me. My hope is that in the sequel "It Starts With Us" we do see some of this healing transition between Lily and Ryle because I was left with more questions than answers at the end. The book had some great potential, but this is the most over-hyped CoHo book *IMO* when she has written so many other great stories! See down below!

*TW* This book contains domestic and physical abuse, as well as sexual assault.

"November 9" by Colleen Hoover
This book. THIS BOOK. Not only were the characters to die for, but the storyline. The plot, the twist, the chemistry…oh my god. This book has a hold on my heart I can’t break. The way this book was written was…how does one even explain greatness? Okay, I’ll try. This book follows Fallon and Ben through their five-year love story. For reasons (explained in the novel) they meet up every year on November 9 and spend the day together. They basically want to live their adult lives without being tied down to anyone and decide if after five years they still want to be with each other they can be. But as we all know a lot can happen in five years. And that’s exactly what did happen. The twists and turns this book takes you through are insane. And each chapter ends on such a cliffhanger you can’t put it down. Overall this book gets an 8/10 from me. And why is that? You never would have guessed…the ending was rushed.

*TW* This book contains suicide, death, and arsen. 

*SPA* Here’s what I call bullshit on in the story. And I get it—it’s fiction. But it should still make sense and this part just didn’t make sense to me and left me with more questions and opinions. And that’s the part about *TW* the mom’s suicide. Although it led to Ben and Fallon’s connection, here’s why it didn’t make sense. I don’t know very much about life insurance and how all that works. But I’m pretty sure (comment down below if I’m wrong) that if you leave a note (which the police did read and took into evidence) that states that you’re killing yourself so your sons can have your life insurance, I'm pretty sure that you no longer qualify for said insurance. Insurance fraud is when they find foul play in a death (ex: you kill your husband to get the life insurance money). What if that canceled out the insurance plan? Then the kids would have had nothing. She would have ultimately left them with nothing. So her death would have been pointless. But okay, let’s say that doesn’t void her insurance and it worked out (as it did in the story somehow). Do you know what else really stuck out to me around this part of the book? THE FACT THAT SHE LEFT HER 17-YEAR-OLD SON TO FIND HER BODY! WHAT MOTHER...WHAT THE FUC—! You couldn’t have waited another year? A month for him to graduate high school? You couldn’t have gone somewhere where you would have been found? Maybe outside of a police station or hospital? No, you had to take your life where your youngest son would find your body before the school day began. I am getting irritated just remembering this part of the story. When I tell you that when I got to this point of the book (which was right at the end) I threw it. Literally at the wall. That was the stupidest *IMO* storyline I have ever heard. And it’s not because I'm insensitive to this topic because I know stuff like this does happen…but it was the “cushioning” around the actions that were supposed to make what she did heroic somehow. If you read the book you kind of or do get what I’m saying. It was like saying what she did was okay because she did it out of love for her kids. But if you really loved your kids you wouldn’t have made them walk into that. And I'm not talking about her taking her own life. I’m just talking about the manner in which she did it. Her cancer was still in its very early stages. She could have waited a little bit. The timeline and the way she went about it is the part that makes my heart hurt. I think there were less selfish ways to go about this. And that’s my point. It’s not that I'm naive to things like this in the world. The world is messed up. And people go through things I can’t even begin to imagine. But don’t sugarcoat a horrific incident because “it turned out fine” in the end. That’s what I didn’t like about this novel. And it’s the ONLY thing I didn’t like. Everything else about this crazy and twisted story is insanely beautiful. But when something horrible and dark happens, it’s okay to admit that it was horrible and work through it. And Ben did that—kind of. But what if he never met Fallon? What if he didn’t have a shining star to pull him out of the dark (as most people don’t) then what would have happened to him? I just think that the mom’s storyline, as much as it set the story in motion, was sort of swept under the rug *IMO*.

“Verity” by Colleen Hoover
Every time I get disappointed by the ending of a CoHo book—I'm sucked right back into a new world she creates. If you’re going to start with a Colleen Hoover book I suggest starting with this one because it sets the bar for the rest of her novels. This book is a thriller and my heart was pounding reading this at night before bed. Especially when my dog would start barking at the window, I got so scared 😂. I didn’t even care for the romance part of the story and honestly, there wasn’t that much build-up to it. It kind of seemed like they both were just attracted to each other and went for it hah—but the thriller and spookiness of this story were insane. I also LOVED Verity’s memoir—it was almost better than the original story itself! I honestly can’t say there was anything I didn’t like about this book. Even the ending as much as it drove me crazy because I wanted to know the truth…I get it. 10/10 for me. *SPA* But like why did she have to eat the paper? Could have just flushed it down the toilet 😂.

*TW* This book does contain mental illness and death (incl. children). 

“Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover

“Ugly Love” quickly became one of my FAVORITE books. And not just CoHo books. Like added to my favorites overall. A great romance story that yet again has a dark backstory that no one saw coming. I wasn’t into Miles' story at first because I thought this is some real Jerry Springer shit…but it quickly turned into something that left me gasping for air. But of course, the ending was a bit rushed for my liking. 

*SPA* I wish months, maybe a year had gone by before Miles and Tate found their way back to each other. But the ending with the plane and Captain…I cry. Also—read this book before reading “November 9” because Tate and Miles make an appearance with Ian’s family in “November 9.” So there’s your little CoHo connection within the books.

*TW* This book does contain death (incl. children)

“Maybe Someday”  by Colleen Hoover

I just finished this book as I’m writing this blog post and I still haven’t been able to pick up another book since. Even though “Archer’s Voice” is a completely different author and storyline, I do suggest reading that novel before reading this one because it just gives a bit more in-depth of how people with *SPA* a handicap can navigate life. Learning from Archer in “Archer’s Voice” I was able to understand Ridge in “Maybe Someday” a little bit more.

This book follows newly homeless college student Sydney and musician Ridge as they become unexpected roommates. Through their love of music, they soon find themselves attracted to each other. And as they fight every day to fight that attraction, there is a (yet again) dark past with Ridge that makes his fight even harder. I can’t even say more than that because I don’t WANT to give any spoilers to this book. Just read it. Read it again. And again. Because it is a new favorite.

*TW* This book does contain lifelong illnesses and hospitals.

“Maybe Not” by Colleen Hoover

This is a spin-off book from “Maybe Someday” which tells Warren and Bridgette’s story. It was a quick under-200-pages book that I finished in one day and it was super cute! I love that the characters have some serious development and because I'm such a fan of Warren this was an easy “must-read” for me. If you loved “Maybe Someday” then you definitely should read this book too. You could even read it before you read “Maybe Someday!”

I did not expect to really dive into the books this way, but talking about books has always excited me. And since I read quite a bit these past few months I wanted to give my two cents, even though no one asked for it 😉. Let me know your thoughts about these books by commenting down below. Do we have the same opinions? Please keep things nice though—no fighting just because people have different opinions. And leave me some good book recs down below because now my TBR list has dwindled down!

 xoxo, Michele

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