I’ll be honest, I have not enjoyed reading as much as I used to. I cannot remember how I consistently wrote blog posts about books, and especially how I reviewed them. That said, I have really liked most of the books I have read this year. So I am going to do a few mini reviews, and then later on I’ll show you what books are on my TBR.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu Rising is about four famous siblings in Malibu during the eighties. Despite their fame, they endure struggles, and the reader learns what these struggles are leading up to Nina’s end-of-summer party she throws every year.
I finished this book the other day and really enjoyed it. After getting through the first part, the second part was really easy to read because it only goes over a few hours. The first half was incredibly gripping and I got lost in the Riva family’s life. They were so interesting and their story was written really well. I didn’t enjoy the second half as much because it’s a little drawn out and focuses on a lot of characters, most of whom seem unnecessary. I just wanted this one thing to happen and there’d be a hint of it, then the next chapter would be a character doing something and I’d be like, I don’t care, get to the good bit!
Still, it’s a fun read. The family dynamic was the best part of this book. I also, of course, loved the Malibu setting. This is my fourth Taylor Jenkins Reid book and it’s my second favourite behind The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People follows Marianne and Connell, two students from a small town in Ireland. Their story begins in high school, when Marianne is a loner and Connell is popular. Their social status gets in the way of their love affair and over the years they continue to see each other during separate points in their lives.
I finished Normal People in about three sittings. Once I got started, it was hard to put down. It is a raw and thought-provoking romance. It reads like literary fiction and invites you to think about love and life more critically than a typical romance.
The beginning was masterfully written and captured my attention immediately. I resonated with Marianne and then, after a while, I resonated with Connell. As the book went on I felt more connected to Connell but still enjoyed reading from Marianne’s perspective. These characters are very original and I feel like I haven’t read characters like these before. The premise is so simple yet worked really well because the writing flowed well and the characters had interesting thoughts and experiences.
Sidenote: I recently finished the tv show and I don’t think it’s as good as the book. It’s quite slow and it doesn’t fully capture the essence of the book.
The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
The Queen’s Gambit is about a young chess prodigy who discovers her love for chess while living in an orphanage. The orphanage forces her to take tranquillisers, which is the beginning of a drug and alcohol addiction that continues into adulthood.
I read The Queen’s Gambit because I watched the miniseries and loved it. It is a very good show and translated to the screen amazingly. The book is also fantastic – the writing was astounding and eloquent. Beth was a remarkable protagonist; her love for chess was strong through the pages.
It only took me a few days to read and even though I knew the story very well from watching the show, I was still hooked. It is just a great story, I really loved it. However, there is one scene that wasn’t very well discussed in the beginning, and I think it could have been explored a lot better.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue is a very addictive romance between an English prince and the son of the US president. They initially loathe each other, but then begin a secret love affair.
I read this book earlier in the year after seeing it raved about many times on TikTok. I think it’s a very strange book to read post-2020, because most of it is set in 2020. It was published in 2019 and was written to imagine a world without Trump as president. However, the author clearly had no idea that there would be a pandemic, so it’s kind of funny to read knowing there’s absolutely no way any of this would have happened.
None of that is important, though! I just think it’s funny. The characters are very likeable and the romance in the book is strong. One of the only things I didn’t like was how cheesy it was, as I found the ending predictable. Aside from that, it was a heartfelt, entertaining read.
I can remember when I used to put about five books on my TBR per month and I cannot comprehend doing that now. This year I have averaged reading less than one and a half books each month. Oh well, in the past two weeks I’ve read two books, so maybe the second half of the year will look better?
All of these, except for The One, which is thriller, are romance. As indicated from my favourite books of the year, I think it should be obvious it’s my favourite genre. Though in public, whenever someone asks, I always say my favourite genre is contemporary because it sounds more pretentious. I think people really judge you when you say your favourite genre is romance!
One Last Stop is by the same author as Red, White & Royal Blue, so I’m hoping it will be as good. Find Me is the ‘sequel’ to Call Me By Your Name, which I really loved, but the sequel has mixed reviews – I don’t really have very high hopes for it. I impulse bought The One because I saw someone on TikTok talk about it, and I saw The Light We Lost in a book shop on sale.
Am I a book blogger again? Unlikely. But the good thing about a blog is that you can come back to it!