Books I’ve Read and Enjoyed Lately

It feels like it has been a long time since a Show us Your Books linkup! When I went to look, I realized that it had in fact been 5 weeks (due to the timing of the weeks) πŸ™‚ How is everyone’s summer going? I have been reading up a storm after a bit of a COVID-19 lull there for a few months. I have read some fantastic books lately and I’m excited to share them!! Check out Steph & Jana’s blogs for more bookish posts! I’m on vacation with my family this week at cottages a few hours away so I won’t get to read all the other posts till later in the week.

This is an image of a collage of books that Heather has read in the past month.

I’ve been reading a lot lately so I included a TL;DR at the bottom πŸ˜‰

The SwitchThe Switch by Beth O’Leary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Switch was one of my most anticipated books of 2020, so much so that I debated buying it from the UK to get it a few months early until my friend bought it for me & it arrived in the mail!! The premise of this book sounded fantastic, and it was. Leena and her grandmother (and her mother) have both had a rough year after Leena’s only beloved sister lost her battle with cancer. Leena has a panic attack at work one day and is told to take 2 months of paid vacation. She goes down to visit her grandmother in a quaint English (adorable) town called Hamleigh and ultimately convinces her grandmother to swap places for 2 months.
This book is told in two perspectives, and I loved them both. I am a total sucker for small-town characters, and the ones in this book were fantastic. I loved Leena’s friends in London too whom her grandmother Eileen spends time with. There were really just so many lovely characters to root for and love in this book.
In many ways, this reminds me of the movie The Holiday, but with one of the house swap people being 79, there were some different layers to the plot, including a lot of no-nonsense life wisdom.
I loved this book so much and in a completely different way than I loved her debut, The Flatshare. Can’t wait for it to be out in North America in August.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Flatiron books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseThe Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few people recommended this book and I was quite intrigued by the cover so I requested it on audio and when it became available, I started it immediately. This book sucked me in immediately and I fell in LOVE with Coyote and her many fun friends on a road trip. This book was both parts absolutely hilarious and absolutely heartbreaking and so well done for a middle-grade book about grief. Cannot recommend it enough – plus, road trip books are always fun in the summer!!

Inside Out & Back AgainInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a quick but powerful read. I tried to read it to my older daughter and she got completely lost in the language, so we will try again in the future. I personally loved the verse it was told in and the story itself.

Excellent if you are looking to immerse yourself in what is presumably a completely different cultural experience than many of us born and raised in North America.

Dear Emmie BlueDear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I went into this book knowing very little about it, and then I flew through the first 50% in one sitting from 8-11 pm one night. I woke up and promptly finished it. This book took me completely by surprise and caused me to tear up, sob, laugh, grimace, and cheer on the inside all at once. Emmie Blue is a character who absolutely steals your heart and you want everything to work out for her against all odds.
Throughout this story, you find out about Emmie and Lucas, who have the MOST serendipitous meeting you could ever imagine at age 16. Emmie experienced a devastating situation one night and wrote a message attached to a red balloon that she let go of. Lucas, who had just moved to France from London and was desperately angsty and homesick, finds her balloon and emails her and they become best friends. Throughout the years of their friendship, it grows and changes and is ultimately put to the test when Lucas gets engaged. There’s another important character in this scenario too – Lucas’ older half-brother Eliot.
Emmie has unbelievably loveable friends and a landlady who unfolds as a main character throughout the book as well. This story will tug at your heartstrings and be difficult to put down. It has been months since I’ve read a book that made me as emotional as this one did. I absolutely loved it.

Thank you to Atria and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the BeastBeauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really, really enjoyed reading this book aloud to my children although I do feel that parts of it may have gone over their head language-wise. No worries, they can always re-read it in the future πŸ™‚ The language in this book is beautifully lyrical, the story is familiar but different, and the characters are endearing. Fantastic if you are a fan of Beauty & the Beast in any format.

The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2)The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After I absolutely adored The Royal We, I was delighted to find out that there was a sequel coming out. I loved this book nearly as much in very different ways. I can’t necessarily say that it is more serious, although maybe parts of it are (there are some BIG serious events in the first book though, let’s be honest)…the characters do feel a bit more grown-up though. I loooooved Eleanor in this book and how her relationship with Bex evolves. I LOVED all of the royal history and a few major events that happen around lineage and inheritance. Of course, it was a joy to read more about Nick and Bex and Freddie and all of their friends. I really enjoyed the way certain topics were handled in this book, and I loved the ending.

Thank you so much to Grand Central Publishing for the finished copy in exchange for an honest review. If you loved The Royal We, I definitely believe you will adore this book too.

Paradise CoveParadise Cove by Jenny Holiday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I might have enjoyed this one even a smidge more. Jenny Holiday’s books are some of my favourite contemporary romances. I love the small-town setting, all of the side characters, and the personal and emotional plotlines she weaves effortlessly into her stories.
Nora and Jake were adorable and SO much fun to read about. Moonflower Bay seems like an adorable and fun place to live and absolutely reminds me of Stars Hollow, as is referenced once in this book. There are some sad/triggering moments in this book but I found those plotlines were handled really well. Cannot WAIT for the third book in this series next summer.

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever for the e-ARC and the finished paperback in exchange for an honest review.

Today Tonight TomorrowToday Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like it says in the blurb, this book reminded me a LOT of a cross between The Hating Game and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Rowan Roth (aka Artoo as a cute R2D2 reference) and Neil McNair have pushed each other throughout high school to better one another and be the best in their classes. On the last day of school, the senior class traditionally plays a game called Howl which is a bit like assassin and Rowan and Neil end up pairing up. Of course, once they are stuck together, they get to know things about each other they hadn’t known at all in the 4 years they competed against each other and they don’t hate what they learn about each other.

This is pure fun YA and if you’re a fan of that genre, this one should definitely be on your radar. It moves quickly and is quirky and fun and nostalgic. The fact that Rowan loves romance novels and is writing one of her own is just icing on the cake πŸ™‚

ARC received in exchange for an honest review from Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgalley

The Girl with the Louding VoiceThe Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi DarΓ©
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a little while to get used to this book, but once I got to “know” Adunni, I realized she was one of the easiest characters to root for EVER. She was so young and had so much growing up to do SO quickly that it was heartbreaking, but also SO inspiring. The dialect in this novel is one of the best parts even though it takes a bit to adjust to it. In many ways, this was a hard book to read, but it’s a story that needed to be told. (Enjoyed the audiobook)

Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks, #2)Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I definitely enjoyed this book somewhat more than the first in this series, but it still lacked a little something for me personally. Overall, I really, really liked the characters but I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to them as I have in other similar-genre books. Still, the ending was adorable, Nick was a total sweetheart, and I did laugh out loud once or twice mostly due to a hilariously immature secondary character πŸ˜‰ True to its premise, this book absolutely reads just like a cheesy rom-com so it definitely fits that bill!!
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Henna ArtistThe Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a little while to familiarize myself with these characters, but I was pretty soon completely hooked on this story. I was profoundly moved by Lakshmi’s tenacity as a single-ish woman in 1950s Jaipur who encounters numerous roadblocks on her journey but never stops standing up for herself. All of the supporting characters are totally endearing too. This was a time period and part of the world that I knew very little about, and I enjoyed learning more about it through this fantastic fictional tale.
BONUS: I was able to join in a book club Zoom call with the author and she is lovely!!! Her tale of writing this book and its sequels (!!!!!) was incredible to hear first hand.
I listened to this on audiobook but I had to look up a lot of the spellings just so I knew myself. The audio narration was extremely well done.

The DilemmaThe Dilemma by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WOW!! This book was nearly impossible to put down. I could not flip the pages fast enough. I went into it expecting a similar genre to B.A. Paris’ other books – i.e. a bit of a psychological thriller, and this one was more along the lines of family secrets/drama. It reminded me a bit of Liane Moriarty’s books. There was a lot to unpack here, and everything happened over a short period of time with reference to past events and time periods. I adored this family, felt very emotional about everything that happened, and felt that this book was exactly what I needed (i.e. an escape that held my attention SO completely). PERFECT summer beach read that is not fluffy or filler – deals with some very serious things.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Stars From Me to YouThe Stars From Me to You by Nicole Bea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book grabbed my attention immediately because I love stories about twins and I was heartbroken when one twin (Rion) was in a coma at the beginning of this story. I was intrigued by his twin Bellamie’s ability to communicate with him while he is in limbo. This was an excellent middle grade read about sexuality, identity, mental health, and family.

Thank you to Nevermore Press & the author for the finished copy in exchange for an honest review!

The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project, #1)The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fun office romance with good characters, an intriguing plot that I didn’t see coming, and great chemistry. Samiah and Daniel were too much fun and their workplace sounds like a dream!! I can’t wait to read the next couple of books in this series (I hope!!) Thank you to Forever and Netgalley for granting my wish for an ARC!!

Love LetteringLove Lettering by Kate Clayborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really really liked this book. I’d been seeing it everywhere and hearing about it for months, and it wasn’t quite what I expected but I was quite happy with how it played out. There was a surprise element at the end that I have to admit I did NOT anticipate in the least, so that was interesting. This book was well written, unique (I LOVED all the games about seeing letters in NYC) and definitely made me want to visit New York and look at all the signs and sights and art.
I also really like Meg and Reid together and the way they met again. Loved Reid’s family and Meg’s character development throughout the story. ESPECIALLY loved the ending, obviously.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters, #2)Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After enjoying Get a Life, Chloe Brown earlier this year, I was antsy to read about her sister Dani in this second book in the series. I have to admit that I liked this book even more than Chloe’s. Dani was such a likable character, and I *loved* her and Zaf together and their story. This is a classic “fake relationship starts to feel like more” type of story but it was handled a bit differently than many other books and I was impressed with the depth of these characters’ development and how their pasts affected their present and future lives and relationships. I also really enjoyed the supporting characters, including Zaf’s family and Dani’s best friend and sisters.
A perfect summer contemporary romance, in my humble opinion!!
Thank you to Avon and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I also read the 2nd book in Sarah J Maas’ Court series (A Court of Mist and Fury), The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Adventures with Waffles with my kiddos, and a few other books not worth mentioning. LOVING the Court series!!

I read Me and White Supremacy and White Fragility too – I recommend both of these but I still need more. Any other recommendations?!

TL;DR: I highly recommend The Switch (it’s listen now on Netgalley audiobooks!!!), Dear Emmie Blue, The Henna Artist, The Girl with the Louding Voice, and The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. I also loved Paradise Cove and The Heir Affair but you’d have to read the first in those series first πŸ™‚

Currently Reading: City Spies on audio for Molly & A Court of Wings and Ruin. I’ll probably try to read a book on the beach this week too! πŸ™‚ What are you reading?!

17 responses to “Books I’ve Read and Enjoyed Lately”

  1. You read some great books! I can’t wait to read The Switch and Coyote Sunrise’s journey. Pinning!


  2. I got put off The Dilemma by something so stupid but my brain latched onto it and I couldn’t let it go. LOL. I hate when that happens.


  3. shootingstarsmag Avatar

    Coyote Sunrise sounds like a good one. I love MG books. I still need to read The Flatshare – but I’m glad you loved The Switch.



  4. Wow, you’ve read so many books! Kudos and The Heir Affair is on my reading list. I have heard great things about it and can’t wait to get my copy. Have a great time at the cottages and happy Tuesday!

    Maureen |


  5. Girl there are so many good ones on your list I dont evem know where to start. Saving most of them to my TBR. The Switch sounds good!


  6. I liked The Dilemma a lot, but I think I’ve enjoyed all of her books.


  7. You have so many good books here! Loved Louding Voice and The Boyfriend Project, and I’m seriously looking forward to The Heir Affair and The Switch! Great reading month.


  8. So much good summer reading here. Thanks!


  9. aw man, so many books i want to get to RIGHT NOW. dear emmie blue and coyote sunrise. stupid life and work and stuff. the stars from me to you sounds good! i finished paradise cove last night, gah. almost 5 stars for me i think, still sitting on it.


  10. We had some books in common this month! Coyote Sunrise is on my list, as is Dear Emmie Blue!


  11. I like that Talia Hibbert’s books are about sisters. It’s nice that two separate books have overlapping characters and it would also be cool to hear different perspectives of people who have had the same experience.


  12. Waiting on the switch & I really enjoyed emmie blue too!


  13. I’m waiting for The Switch from my library, I can’t wait! I also enjoyed Love Lettering. The Girl with the Louding Voice is also on my TBR, and I’m intrigued by The Henna Artist too–how cool that you got to join a Zoom book club with the author!


  14. The Switch sounds truly delightful! And I’m so happy Dear Emmie Blue is already on my TBR list πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing and enjoy your month!


  15. The Dilemma has been on my TBR list for ages – I’ve read other books by B.A Paris and just cannot put them down!
    The Switch sounds like something I’d enjoy and I like the sound of Paradise Cove. Reminds me a bit of the Debbie Macomber series I used to read – I enjoyed the setting.


  16. The Dilemma was really something. Hard to put down but it was so ridiculous. Liv (was it Liv? I can’t remember?) was insufferable, I thought. Planning a big party like that lol.

    I remember being so excited about Inside Out and Back Again…I was going to read it to my class one year but then I saw it was written in verse and I don’t know why I struggle so much with books in verse. I just don’t see the point of that device.


  17. I am adding The Switch to my Overdrive hold list… I am #56 so it may take a while, haha!

    Here are my recent reads, if interested!


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