Recent Reads | 2019 Wrap Up #5


Hey guys this is another recent reads
video where I review all the books that I have recently read. Self-explanatory,
right? I have finished Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. This is YA contemporary
romance and this is about a girl and boy who used to be best friends. They are
total enemies now, they hate each other, they won’t have anything to do with each
other and they end up going on the same
camping trip and the main character, the female characters Zory, did not know
that her ex friend Lennon was going to be on the trip. They’re there with a group
of friends from school and all of the other friends ditch them. So they are
stranded in the mountains, in the wilderness together and Zory is a girl
who did not want to go camping. She’s very indoorsy. [laughs] She hates going outside.
And then Lennon is the guy and in the like year or so since they’ve talked he
apparently has become really outdoorsy and he’s kind of a survivalist so he
knows his way around the woods and they face things like bears and snakes and
thunderstorms and illness and injury and all that kind of stuff
and they have to rely on each other even though they hate each other. Like they
are the only two people left out here and they have to find their way back to
civilization. I love survival stories and this really
like checked all those boxes for me. The way that these characters had to rely on
each other, the way that they were facing the elements and everything. I also
really enjoyed the romantic tension because not only was this an enemies to
love trope it was also kind of a friends to love because it was friends to
enemies then to love. That made it a little more complex. It had more depth
to it, like you could feel that these characters had a good background and
that their emotions were like all over the place. Their personalities are kind
of opposites so that was also kind of a cutesy factor going into it. So this is a
pretty fluffy story but it was like a comforting type of fluffy and I’ve never
read anything by Jenn Bennett before. I’ve wanted to read some of her other stuff
but I haven’t been able to get those yet and this definitely made me want to read
more by her. I think that she writes romance in a way that I enjoy. Now I
hated the friends, the ones that ditched them. Like as a mom
I wanted to like call up these characters’ parents and just give them an
earful. Like you don’t strand somebody in the woods! But that’s kind of
the setup of the story. You’re not supposed to like those characters so you
know that’s not a big deal. I just – it really got to me. Like it did what it was
supposed to do in making me hate this situation so that was, that’s actually a
good thing when the writing can portray that and make you get like all up in
your own emotions. I really want to talk about one scene and I think it might be
considered spoilery but I’ll make that the last thing I say about this book so
if you don’t want to hear this, if you don’t like knowing how romance ends up
when it’s in a romantic book – like do they or don’t they actually get together? –
then maybe mute or skip. I have timestamps in the description if you
want to skip to the next book that I’m going to talk about or when I put this
down you will know that you can you know unmute the video. The thing I want to say –
mute or skip now, this is your last chance – um, these two characters end up having sex and there’s a scene before it happens
where they’re talking about it like in the heat of the moment and at first it kind
of had my hackles up. Like the the male character seemed like he was trying to
convince or coerce the girl into saying yes because he was like ‘come on this is
why this would be a good idea’ or whatever and I was like that’s not cool.
Like you shouldn’t convince somebody. If someone only says yes because you are
like convincing them or pushing them… if you have to convince
that’s not consent. But as the scene went on I realized that she made her own
choice and that I liked seeing characters discuss their intentions and
discuss what they wanted because so often, in YA especially, I feel like
characters don’t have a discussion. They don’t talk about it, there’s not a lot of
forethought. It’s just like ‘we’re kissing in the moment it happens.’ So I actually
really appreciate it. I went from being cautious to highly appreciating the fact
that this book showed a conversation. And it didn’t feel like she was actually
being manipulated into it or anything. She made her own choices but she
addressed her concerns beforehand and he addressed his desires beforehand and so
to me that felt more healthy and more… it built the tension more because like you
could just feel that these characters were thinking about it seriously and
that you know it was building up to it. It had more build up than just a lot of
other books where they just hop right into it you know? I don’t know if I’m
conveying myself right but I appreciated that there was a conversation about it.
So, I really liked this book and I would recommend it if you like comforting
fluffy romance or survival stories because that was kind of an unexpected
part of this. You don’t normally find romantic survival stories. But I really
did enjoy this book. I finished An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and
Sarah Pekkanen. This is an adult psychological thriller. There is a
psychology professor who is running a morality and ethics study and we follow
that point of view as well as a woman who is a subject in the study. She signs
up to participate and answer like a questionnaire and as she starts
answering the questions it’s like really getting into like really deep
complicated messy personal territory. So what I liked about this book is that it
was very intense at first. Like it grabbed me in right away. I was so
curious and so interested to know what was going on, what was the purpose of
this study. You just know something sinister feels like it’s happening
and you don’t know what and you really really want to know, or I really really
really wanted to know. I also really loved that the professor’s point of view
is like in second person almost. It’s a lot like the book You buy Caroline
Kepnes. The character is being watched and it makes you feel like
you’re being watched. The things that I did not like about this is I guess I was
about halfway or 2/3 of the way into the book and I just started getting bored. I
felt like it was dragging because it felt like the same things were being
asked of the character and she started to have like her suspicions up and she
knew what was going on and how to proceed and then she just
didn’t. She just kept going in circles and so I felt like maybe the story got a
little bit aimless towards the middle and it felt like it was dragging. And
then the ending – I did not like the ending. The ending of the book took a
full star off of my rating. Like this would have been such a good book if it
had had any number of other endings. Like I can think of so many other endings
that would have been so much more satisfying to me. I felt like the authors
had written themselves into a knot, didn’t know how to untangle it, so they
just cut it down the middle – like the Gordian knot or whatever. They just
decided to cut things off abruptly in a way that did not seem genuine to a
character that was involved and it wasn’t fulfilling. It didn’t do justice
to the action that happened. Just… [sigh] I didn’t like it. I just don’t think this
was a fitting end. Anyway, I don’t know what else I can say about this book. I
really loved the beginning of it and I think if you like psychological
thrillers there’s a good chance you would like it but the ending didn’t work
for me personally. I finished The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory. This is an
adult romance about a woman who, she’s been seeing this guy casually, very
casually, for a few months and it’s his birthday and he wants to go to a
baseball game so she goes with him and his friends and then over the like
Jumbotron screen he asks her to marry him and this is out of nowhere because
like they’ve never even said I love you, they’ve never talked about marriage and
so she rejects them and it’s very public. So then there’s another character Carlos,
who is a character from this author’s previous book, he was a side character,
and Carlos is the main male character in this book and he sees this happening and
he’s only a few rows away so he and his sister go down to get this woman and
pretend like ‘oh hey we know you, we were friends from school’ or whatever and they
like basically rescue her because she’s getting booed and everything. So this
book talks a lot about the conception of like the angry woman of color, the angry
black woman. And Carlos is a a man who, he’s actually very considerate
and very aware of how men are perceived by women and the way that they may seem
threatening or they may seem too aggressive or domineering even when
maybe they don’t intend it but he understands why it can come across that
way so I really enjoyed him as a character because he was very
considerate. He was very self-aware. He made a lot of feminist comments. That was
cool and in that respect I liked him better than the guy from Jasmine
Guillory’s first book. Her first book was The Wedding Date and The Proposal is a
companion because it follows a side character from the first book. You do not
have to read these books in order but The Proposal will spoil the ending of
The Wedding Date because those characters from her first book do show up in this
one. So if you want to read The Wedding Date, read it first. In this book I really enjoyed the characters, I liked their romantic build
up and situation, I loved the discussions that were brought up on race and
feminism and relationships and the way that we perceive things from other
people. So I really really liked it. I have also finished Let’s Talk About
Love by Claire Kann. This is new adult because the characters are in college
and this is following Alice who is asexual but she is not aromantic. She is
alloromantic – she wants romance but she is not interested in sex at all
and at the start of this book her girlfriend has just broken up with her
because she wants to have sex but Alice doesn’t and Alice is holding herself
back from dating at this point because she’s afraid that, you know, she’s had it
happen in her past where people break up with her because she doesn’t want to
have sex and so she doesn’t want to get into that situation again. She meets a
guy and she is instantly attracted to him like aesthetically, like he looks
handsome to her. I love Alice as a character, I love Takumi as a character, I
love that it was set in college and that they work in a library – I mean I love
anything set around books, right? I loved that she goes to therapy and that this book
normalizes therapy. I love the discussions about friendship and attraction and
romance and asexuality. But the friendship just, it got under my skin. I
did not enjoy it because there is this fight between them and I was so firmly
on Alice’s side because I have experienced friend fights about kind of
the same thing that they were fighting about. I’ve experienced that in my life
so like I just did not like the other character and like I felt like they were
selfish and just absolutely running all over Alice and not caring, like not
allowing Alice to have her feelings. Things didn’t actually resolve. They get
into a big fight and then her friend ends up saying something like “you know
you’re my family right? I would die for you. I love you.” And that’s the end of it.
It’s like sweet words don’t just sugarcoat the way that you’re treating a
person over and over to the point where it’s become this giant wound and hurt
and conflict. You can’t just brush it away with sweet
words and to me I didn’t see it as a healthy friendship but look I can’t
judge anybody else’s friends. I can’t judge their relationships. I have no idea
where these characters go from here, like maybe in the future they actually work
things out and things change, like that’s cool but in this book I didn’t enjoy
reading those scenes because I’ve had friend falling outs, friend fights before
and I just viscerally reacted to it. I did not like it and this came up so
often and so intensely that I just couldn’t enjoy the book. Like it took a
lot of enjoyment away from me. I’ve also finished Forever Interrupted
by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is an adult contemporary book. The book opens up with
we have a character and her husband they are newlyweds. They’ve been married for
like a week and like in the first chapter he is killed in a car accident
so the rest of the book is all about grieving. This story takes place over one
year and it is told in flashbacks. So the book starts in our present timeline
where he has been killed and the main character Elsie is grieving and she is
dealing with meeting his mother because their relationship happened so quickly
that she actually never met his mother and he never even told
his mother that he was seeing someone, like it was a whole complicated
relationship with his mom so the mom did not know he was married and there’s all
of this question about the legitimacy of their marriage and like does she
actually have a right to his stuff and his belongings. And the story flashes
back to when they first met so you do see how they met, how they fell in love.
And I think that because of that format you really got so invested in this
relationship, like you saw the entire lifespan of it. This book was incredibly
difficult for me to read, especially at the beginning because like that’s a huge
fear of losing my spouse. I do not know what I would do and so like I listened to
this on audio and I got like 20 minutes in and I was just, I couldn’t do it. I was
so torn up. My anxiety was so spiked. I was sobbing and I put the book down. I
was like I want to read everything by Taylor Jenkins Reid but I don’t know if
I can read this book. Like I didn’t know what this actually was about before I
picked it up. I was just trying to read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s backlist.
That’s like one of my limits. I don’t enjoy reading about the death of spouses
or of children or missing children or anything happening to children, which
this book also kind of covers that because you get to know the character’s
mother-in-law and she is grieving her son who, he’s only in his 20s so he’s
still really young. So not only am I sitting here reading from the point of
view of someone who’s lost her husband but you’re really getting to know
someone who’s lost her son and I am just like, I was just like in panic mode for
the first bit of this book and I put it down for a few days. I thought it was
just gonna have to stay unread but over those couple of days I just kept
thinking about it and like the part that I had read. I kind of wanted to know what
came of this character and how she was grieving so I picked it back up and I’m
glad I did pick it back up because that intense anxious moment was really only
like the first couple of chapters and then it was it was over with and you get
more into the grieving process and more into finding out how they met and fell
in love and more into the main character connecting with her mother-in-law and
that stuff was so much more enjoyable to me. But this book was an extremely
emotional ride and although it was very uncomfortable and anxiety inducing for
me it was a very beautiful, well-written story and so I did really like it and
I don’t know how much of my five-star rating is because of how it was able to
pull on my emotions but I don’t think that it did that in a superficial way. I
don’t think that this story was about something else and all of a sudden
introduces some kind of tragedy just to pull at your heartstrings and you know
manipulate an emotional reaction from you. This was the entire story, like
this is a book about grief so it felt fitting. It was supposed to be like that.
It was hard to read but I still thought it was beautiful. That’s all I’m gonna
have time to review today. Thank you guys so much for watching. If you have read
any of these books let me know your thoughts on them down below and just let
me know what you have been reading recently. Thanks so much for watching and
I will see you in the comments! [music only]

19 thoughts on “Recent Reads | 2019 Wrap Up #5

  1. An Anonymous Girl sounds interesting. I love listening to psychological thrillers. They tend to hook me very quickly. And Definitely adding Forever Interrupted to my TBR!

  2. Starry eyes is so good. Agreed with all your points so glad you liked it! I also recommend Alex, approximately, it’s my favorite by Jenn. So excited for Serious Moonlight 😀

  3. Ooh as soon as you said their friends left them stranded in the woods I was like WHAT.?!
    YES THANK YOU the friendship was so bad in Let's Talk About Love!!! and then when they make up we're supposed to feel like "oh both parties made mistakes" and I'm like. NO? What's-her-name is such a bad friend to Alice and treated her like trash!! gah. I read that book a year ago and I'm still SO MAD about it haha

  4. I absolutely agree with you about forever interrupted. I tried to read it last month but within the first 3 pages I just couldn't and moved on to the last book I hadn't read of hers (evidence of the affair). This kind of reminded me of one true loves but there we only get a few pages of her grief and that was more than enough for me I can't imagine a whole book!!!

  5. I felt the same way about Let's Talk About Love. I wanted to love it so much for the ace rep and everything else, but I was so distracted by the friend fight going on. I ended up being more invested in Alice reconciling with her friends than in her relationship with Takumi, which was kind of a bummer and ultimately disappointing since there wasn't any big resolution. I was definitely on Alice's side and it felt like it was just a "let's just say we love each other and not talk about it again" situation

  6. I was so mad at Zorie's friends for abandoning her like that, I was expecting some sort of confrotation in the end, and I really liked her relationship with her stepmom! It was truly adorable to read a story where the stepmother isn't a evil person. I'm finishing Queen of Shadows and I definitely think it's the best one in the series so far, I really don't get all the hate towards Chaol?! Was it weird that Let's Talk About Love was written in 3rd person? I'm used to reading contemporaries in 1st 😄.

  7. I really enjoyed your thoughts on The Proposal, one of only two (I think) positive reviews that I've come across on BT, which based on what both you and the other positive reviewer actually said about it, seems a little odd. Maybe because it was so different to The Wedding Date (which I really enjoyed)? Some people said it felt like it was written by a different author. Never mind, I'm still going to read it. TFS 🙂

  8. I finished An Anonymous Girl few days ago and I honestly loved it! I know mine is an unpopular opinion but I liked the ending, especially the epilogue made it for me coz it made me ask myself if the "psychological aspect" of this story got to that character more that we thought (hope it made sense, trying to keep his spoiler free) 🖤

  9. I love your reviews!!

    I read The Proposal as an ARC and didn't really love it because I had no clue it was a companion, and I felt the writing style was very generic, but I agree about the diverse cast and the messages in the book being awesome!

  10. I need to get into Taylor Jenkins backlist because I am obsessed with her two latest! I’m not sure where to start though.

  11. Just finished Superman: Dawn breaker by Matt De La Pena.Currently reading The Savior by JR Ward,The Red Scrolls if Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu,Raelia by Lynette Noni and Moon Captured by Jennifer Snyder plus some comics.

  12. I've been wanting to get to Let's Talk About Love. Unfortunate about the friendship, but I'm glad you enjoyed the rest of it.

  13. Starry Eyes! I LOVED that book. I loved hearing you talk about Forever, Interrupted. I’m currently making my way through TJR’s backlist titles but haven’t tried that one yet. Same for me too…. I have a spouse and a child as well, but I think the book has potential to make an impact on me! Great wrap up!

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