I had three goals in mind as I planned out what to read this month. First, I wanted to finish reading Elizabeth Warren’s memoir A Fighting Chance before the Iowa Caucus on February 3rd. (You can find my reviews of the memoirs by the other Democratic presidential frontrunners here.) Second, I wanted to read more books by African-American authors in honor of Black History Month. And third, I wanted to read some fun romance themed books to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Reading about resiliency, politics, and race relations last month was gratifying and edifying but not exactly a walk in the park.
A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren
I cannot recommend A Fighting Chance more highly, especially to those who think Elizabeth Warren is just a big nag, an annoying college professor who wants to kill the rich.
Warren’s love for her family, her country, Americans of all backgrounds, her work, even her dogs, is all so evident and touching. She is funny and warm.
Warren is a talented writer and her stories of her upbringing, personal life, and career are just as readable as the sections about bankruptcy and other financial concepts. This book is one of the best political memoirs I’ve encountered, and both times I’ve read it I devoured it in just about one sitting.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming is just as good as everyone says it is. Maybe better. Reading her story made me realize how much we owe to her and the partners of other public leaders, how much they sacrifice for the good of our country. I don’t know what to say about this book, about Michelle Obama herself, except that it should be required reading for one and all. (And if you aren’t much of a reader, I’ve heard the audiobook, read by Michelle Obama herself, is excellent as well.)
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test was just fine. Not as good as Hoang’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, not something that I’ll remember the plot of in six months, but fine. A pleasant, quick read with unique characters.
As an aside, this wasn’t as graphic in the romance department as The Kiss Quotient was. It was still a little steamier than I prefer, though.
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
I like Jasmine Guillory’s books. I don’t love them. But I like them! The characters are fun and well written, even if the plot is incredibly predictable from book to book. You can say that about The Proposal, which I read last month (you can read my review of that here), and you can say that about The Wedding Party, too.
I don’t love that in each of her books Guillory perpetuates the notion that if you give people who say they just want to be friends with benefits a little time, eventually they will fall deeply in love with you. That’s pretty far from the truth in real life and yet that’s been at the heart of all of the books in this series so far.
But, I like the world she has written and this book is a nice enough read to pass the time.
Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Royal Holiday is my least favorite of the first four books in the Wedding Date series. I like Maddie and Vivian. And I like that this book features a romantic relationship between two older characters. I don’t even mind that this book takes place away from the other characters that have been introduced thus far in California! But the royals aspect of the plot made it hard for me to suspend disbelief. I just couldn’t quite buy that a random mother-daughter duo would spend Christmas with the Queen and her family at Sandringham.
I also found much of the internal dialogue to be really repetitive (yes, I get it, Vivian is very responsible and very much in need of a vacation) which made the book drag on.
But, like all of Jasmine Guillory’s books, Royal Holiday is pleasant enough and I’m sure fans of hers will enjoy this.
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveler’s Wife is truly one of my favorite books of all time. I re-read it every couple of years and it never disappoints. I love the matter-of-fact way that Henry’s time traveling is treated. The way the author jumps around between timelines is so well done. I love the relationship between Clare and Henry. And I love the relationship between Clare, Henry and Alba even more. Every time I read it I cry. Now if only Niffenegger would hurry up and finish the sequel!
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I’ve mentioned before how much I like One True Loves. It really couldn’t be cheesier, but it’s bittersweet and well done. Of all the fluffy romance books like this that Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote before her writing got slightly more serious with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (one of my favorite books of hers – review here!) and Daisy Jones and the Six, this is my favorite.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
My Lovely Wife is fine, but it was a pretty joyless read. Nothing fun or exciting about it. There are so many great suspense novels and thrillers out there, that there’s just no reason to read one that isn’t really, really *fun*, ya know?
The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine
I really liked The Last Mrs. Parrish, Liv Constantine’s first book. I even recommended it as a top Christmas gift for mystery lovers! So I had high hopes for The Last Time I Saw You, but sadly it didn’t deliver. Constantine delivered suspense, but didn’t create characters that I was invested in, making it hard to really care what happened. Also, I don’t feel like the pace kept up like I like in a thriller. I didn’t feel a desire to keep reading until I found out what happened. If you have an insatiable appetite for thrillers and mysteries, this is a decent read. However, it’s not one I’ll be recommending to most readers.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Woven in Moonlight isn’t the kind of book I would usually choose to read. I saw it marketed as Young Adult Magical Fantasy which is far away from my reading comfort zone. But this was my book club’s February 2020 pick so here we are.
I’m surprised to be saying this, but I really liked Woven in Moonlight! It felt repetitive and predictable at times but I wouldn’t have classified it as Young Adult if I hadn’t known that was Ibañez’s intention. It took me 50 pages to get into it and understand the magical world that the author had created. But once I got past the initial hurdle I enjoyed the world and the characters in it.
I was very surprised by how relatable the political story at the heart of the plot felt. There are so many parallels with current events, and it gave me a lot to think about. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re reading! And remember that you can find all past book reviews here.