We read a ton of books this month between the two of us. We were both trying to find the perfect book for February’s Reading Challenge. After a few false starts, I settled on re-reading one of my all-time favorites. Meanwhile, Jackie’s reading challenge pick ended up making it onto the list of her all-time favorite reads! We also tackled quite a few new and upcoming releases to help you choose what to read, and what to pass on. Enjoy the February 2020 Novel Ideas round-up!
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I read this book as research for the June reading challenge pick and I think I found our book club winner! This YA novel is all about Olympic Gymnasts. It follows a fiction gymnast’s quest to make the Olympic team while trying to juggle friendships, family, rivalry, and chronic pain. The book also heavily discusses sexual abuse from a Team USA coach. I think the balance was handled well for a book geared at young adults. It balances the fun of the games with the seriousness of the assault scandal quite well. 4 stars.
I loved this story as much on my reread as I did the first time I read it. It truly has it all; romance, intrigue, suspense, family secrets, Shakespeare, and Prosecco. It’s Romeo and Juliet reimagined with their modern-day descendants in a race to break the curse on their families. It’s in my top 10 of all time. This was the perfect book for our reading challenge prompt. 5 stars.
Wow. I wasn’t expecting this book to be such a serious look at life after the loss of a loved one. It was moving in multiple places and I was full-on SOBBING at the end. The concept is fascinating. Lydia’s fiance dies in the first chapter but when she goes to sleep, she is able to live her alternate life by his side. We see her try to adjust to life without Freddie in one life, and her trying to find her new self, the one that remembers that he isn’t alive, trying to remain who she used to be in her dream life. Don’t go in expecting a romance. It’s a raw look at grief and how it changes us. 4 stars.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my advanced copy. All opinions are my own. This clever book is unlike any I’ve ever read before. The entire book is comprised of lists written by Daniel. Daniel records important things like his finances and the state of his marriage in list format, as well as silly things like underrated songs and ways to get into fights on Christmas Day. It’s a great one-sitting read. 4 stars.
Thanks to Berkley for my advanced copy. All opinions are my own. I absolutely adored this royal read about Grace Kelly and had trouble putting it down. The storyline is split between Grace’s rise to Hollywood stardom and her future as a settled in Princess. The writing was so captivating that I found myself sneaking pages on my kindle all over town. Kerri Maher brought Grace Kelly to life in this book about her life. I had no idea about her home life struggles, her many romances, or the state of her marriage to Rainer. 5 stars.
Thanks to MacMillian for my advanced copy. All opinions are my own. What a cute story. Taking place at a dated luxury hotel at Christmas time, there is an abundance of antics afoot. Jewel thieves, ghosts, kid-nappers, back-door dealings, and teenage drama fill this tome. Though it was billed as a YA book, it felt more like a middle grade read to me. Adorable but not quite what I was expecting. 3.5 stars.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my advanced copy. All opinions are my own. I’ve been a long time fan of this duo’s thrillers, but this one missed the mark. While the story was unique (no spoilers), it was also dull. I wasn’t really invested in it. There was maybe one twist that caught me off guard, but I expect more from this duo. Given my love for their work, this story didn’t hold up. 3 stars.
Jackie really loved this story, so I decided to try it out. It was so meh for me that I ended up deciding not to finish it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it was a good book, it just didn’t hold my attention at all. Oh Well. No stars.
A coming of age story featuring Mallory and her return home to the family vineyard. When Mallory returns to her family winery to celebrate a major milestone, she is reunited with her former best friend and her ex. Her reconnections with them force her to remember the last summer they spent together. Will she repeat the same mistakes again or will she figure out who she really is? 3 stars.
A cute, engrossing story about 3 friends who set out to conquer Hollywood during its golden era. Their tale of homophobia, racism, and sexism was balanced by the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle. This was definitely a gritty tale that looked at Hollywood’s underbelly with a frankness that took away some of the sparkle. 3 stars.
This contemporary fiction story had been on my TBR for a long time now. When my hold came through from the library, I dove right into this tale of surrogacy and modern parenting. The story isn’t based on a real place but it easily could be. The ethical questions that came up in this book would make for an interesting book club discussion. 4 stars.
A meh book IMO. I was on an old Hollywood book streak and this one ended it for me. Maybe I’ve read too many of this genre recently, but this one just never had any heart to it. I rolled my eyes, sped through it, and promptly forgot everything that happened. 2 stars.
I absolutely loved this story about Oona who at the stroke of midnight on her 19th birthday she finds herself in her 51-year-old body. She is greeted by a stranger who is waiting for her in her home and tells her that every year, she will jump to another point in her life- she will live her life out of order. This is an emotional, well written story that will not only keep you quickly turning pages but make you think about the small things in life that we take for granted.
Thank you to @librofm and @flatiron_books for my free copy of this book. I loved it so much, I also ordered a physical copy. 5 stars
All I can say is wow. This story is so poignant, relevant and eye-opening. and deals with the Philadelphia opioid crisis. Mickey is a police officer searching for her sister Kacey while women in Kensington are turning up dead. She is desperate to find the person who is killing the women before her sister is the next dead body that turns up. the story builds slowly until it comes speeding toward the end. I loved this book. 5 stars
I read this book on Kirsten’s recommendation and I was not disappointed. It is the perfect mixture of History, romance, and mystery. This is the story of Romeo and Juliet in the past and present with the two stories blending seamlessly. The whole time I read this book I kept hoping for a different ending than the one Shakespeare wrote. 4.5 stars
Thank you so much to Atria for sending us To Have and To Hoax. It was the perfect read for February for our reading challenge. I loved this hilarious read. Lady Violet Grey and her husband Lord James Audrey fell in love and got married in a whirlwind romance. Five years later, they barely speak because of “the Argument”. When Lady Grey receives a letter that says her husband is unconscious after being thrown from a horse, she rushes to his side only to find him awake and drinking in a tavern. She decides to teach him a lesson.
The story is a quick-moving battle of wills that will have you simultaneously rooting for them and wanting to smack some sense into them. It’s perfect for fans of Jane Austen.
I don’t know how I have never read a book by Lisa Gardner before! I must have been hiding somewhere. Even though this book has three characters from previous novels come together, I did not have a problem getting to know each of them. The story is a fast-moving and twisted thrill ride that follows Flora Dane, Detective D.D. Warren, and FBI agent Kimberly Quincy. While trying to find more information on the serial killer and rapist Jacob Ness, the three women find themselves in the hills of Georgia where graves are being discovered and bodies are piling up. Who can they trust in this small town? I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to see what happened next. There is no good place to stop because the story is non-stop action. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy of this book. What a great read. 4 stars.
When a small town is rocked by the murder of Jenny, a 13-year-old former pageant queen, her older sister is determined to find out who did it. The police are set on who is guilty but Virginia isn’t convinced. The Prized Girl is a mystery/thriller that is told from Virginia and Jenny’s POV. This engaging book is easy to get into and fun to read. The ending isn’t a complete surprise and the story is a little bit predictable but, it was easy to read and overall, quite enjoyable. I’d recommend this one to those looking for a mystery to bring on their next vacation. 3.5 stars
I enjoyed this book so much more than the second book in the series. I found that the characters had more substance and the story moved more quickly. This was a fun read. 3.5 stars.
This was a very cute read for our challenge to read a romance this month. Finally, a romance where the male character isn’t the quintessential bad boy and the female isn’t completely helpless. The two main characters help each other in this sweet, if not predictable story. There is a little twist at the end that makes the story more fun. 3 stars
Ruth Ware’s books are always totally readable and a lot of fun. I found myself liking this book more than most of her book; however, I found myself with questions. I asked my mother- who read the book as well, and she couldn’t answer them either. This sort of issue always changes how I feel about the book. I hate having unanswered questions! If you read this and want to discuss it, please let me know! 3 stars
I had high hopes for this book and I am still not sure how I feel. It was an interesting story with some unique characters but they were not completely believable. Zelda is a 21-year-old Viking enthusiast who also has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She lives with her brother Gert and they must live by basic rules to make Zelda comfortable. I think this story had potential but did not hit the mark for me. 3.5 stars
A Micheal L Prints Honor book and highly recommended by my son,I decided to give it a try. I did not like this book at all. I thought Colin was annoying and whiny. The story was predictable and I silly. oh well. 2 stars