2016 Reading List

Books I read AND REVIEWED in 2016.

Currently Reading: Always With Love

Always With Love (Billy and Me #2)
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
First Published: June 6, 2016
Publisher: Penguin UK
Pages: 400 (Paperback)
Rating: 4.5/5

I’ve finally caught up with the rest of the “Billy and Me” series! I feel quite accomplished, mainly because they had been on my “to read” list for months (and the Christmas novella since last year). Giovanna Fletcher writes the most charming books – her stories are absolutely adorable!

“Always in Love” is the direct sequel to “Billy and Me,” and takes place right after “Christmas with Billy and Me.” Sophie and Billy finally fly out to Los Angeles to introduce Sophie to the Buskins in real life (and not over the phone or via Skype). Whilst in LA, Billy gets an opportunity to star in a movie and ends up taking it, ending his acting hiatus and causing Sophie to return to Rosefront Hill alone. So, this time around, Sophie needs to figure out a way to cope with being in a long-distance relationship with her high-profile celebrity boyfriend. (more…)

Currently Reading: Christmas with Billy and Me

Christmas with Billy and Me (Billy and Me #1.5)
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
First Published: November 6, 2014
Publisher: Penguin UK
Pages: 49 (Paperback)
Rating: 4/5

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is curl up in bed with a Christmas-themed book and a lovely holiday cuppa. So this year, I curled up with “Christmas With Billy and Me,” because I needed a short break from all my last-minute holiday shopping and wrapping. The novella was so cute, and took less than an hour to read (but I’m also a relatively fast reader). It made me smile, which is always a good sign for holiday-themed novellas.

“Christmas With Billy and Me” takes a little after “Billy and Me,” and involves Sophie being recruited to help plan a proposal at her café in Rosefront Hill. Billy is also a featured character, but the novella really shines a light on Sophie’s new “patchwork family.” (more…)

Currently (Re)Reading: Billy and Me

Billy and Me
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
First Published: May 23, 2013
Publisher: Penguin UK
Pages: 432 (Paperback)
Rating: 5/5

I love rereading books. It’s my adult version of a baby blanket or a favorite toy – there are a few books that just comfort me when I’m having an awful day, so I love rereading them. One day, I’ll reread all the books I originally reviewed on this blog – it’s always good to give a book a second (or third) read. I might even change my mind about a book (or two).

I also have this inane need to reread books if I’m going to read through a series. I can’t just pick up book two or three in a series and start reading it – I need to start at book one and then read through the series until I hit the newest book. I’ve always done this – I think the only exception was when I read a “Nancy Drew” or a “Boxcar Children” book. (There was never really a need to read all the series in those books.)

I’m determined to finish an insane amount of books this weekend, and three of those books that I want to finish are in Giovanna Fletcher’s “Billy and Me” series. “Billy and Me” was Fletcher’s debut novel, and I remember this being one of my favorite books of 2013. The book tells the love story between a super shy girl, Sophie May, and famous actor Billy Buskin, whom she meets in her hometown café, as he’s in town shooting Pride & Prejudice. They fall in love but as the relationship grows, Sophie May wonders if her relationship is really worth all the constant scrutiny that comes with dating a celebrity. (more…)

Currently Reading: You Will Not Have My Hate

You Will Not Have My Hate
Author:
 Antoine Leiris (translated by Sam Taylor)
First Published: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Penguin Press
Pages: 144 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5+/5

If the name Antoine Leiris sounds familiar, then you probably remember, or heard about, the powerful letter he shared on Facebook – the one he wrote days after losing his wife in the horrific November 2015 terrorist attack on the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. In that letter, he stated that he refused to give in to these terrorists by reciprocating their hatred. He refused to allow his infant son to be defined by that one act of hatred. He, like many other Parisians, decided to continue living his life refusing to give in to the terrorists’ goal of sowing division and hate in society – sending the message that love and happiness will always triumph over hate.

“You Will Not Have My Hate” feels like an expansion of that open letter Leiris posted on Facebook – the letter is its own chapter in the book. It’s Leiris’ train of thoughts during the days following Hélène’s murder – from him finding out about the attacks in Paris to attending her funeral. It’s his account of how he adjusts to being a widow and a single father to a 17-month-old. It’s a story of how a father and son endured after a mother’s murder – and a portrait to the love the family shares. (more…)

Currently Reading: Born a Crime

Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
Author:
Trevor Noah
First Published: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Rating: 5+/5

I’m a fan of Trevor Noah – I’ve been enjoying his takeover of The Daily Show, and I’ve enjoyed watching some of his stand-up work on YouTube. So when I realized he’d written his memoir in the same voice, I couldn’t put it down. Actually, I’m pretty sure I finished it in a few days, and that was only because I started it late at night… and it was Thanksgiving and we had guests.

“Born A Crime” is the story of Trevor Noah’s childhood, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Noah was born in South Africa during apartheid, to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss-German father, which means he was literally born a crime. His childhood was all about hiding his identity, and his teen years (when apartheid had ended) all about finding his identity. The stories also greatly feature Noah’s amazingly strong mother – and their adventures together are just unbelievable.

(more…)