List: 6 Swoon-Worthy Reads

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Above all topics, love is my favorite. I am a complete addict when it comes to all things romantic in the realm of books and movies. I used to play this addiction down because I thought a respected book guru would spend most of their reading time on the New York Times bestsellers list, which rarely leaves space for cotton-candy, feel-good, love stories. I have decided that life is too short to read books I’m just not that into, and so I am embracing my romantic, sentimental side and putting forth a list of some of my very favorite swoon-worthy love stories. Enjoy!

 

Title: Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: April 2011

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is the story of how an IT specialist falls for a woman as he snoops on their email conversations under the guise of performing his duties. Although this can sometimes feel stalker-y, I promise it is a sweet love story. If my summary hasn’t piqued your interest then simply trust in the goddess author that is Rainbow Rowell. Her name is enough to endorse a gold standard in heart-warming fiction. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

 

Title: The Royal We

Author: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Published: April 2015

Rating:♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: American college student, Rebecca Porter, studies abroad at Oxford where she meets the crown prince of England. Their romance unfolds from here and you will devour every word of this insanely sweet, cotton-candy read. Trust me, this one is killer. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

 

Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Published: July 2005

Rating:♥♥♥♥

Summary: A WWII nurse, Claire Randall, is reacquainting herself with her husband on a getaway post-war in the Scottish Highlands when she falls through a portal and lands in 1743. This is a romance novel that also feeds the brain. Gabaldon does an impressive job describing life in the Highlands in the 18th century while telling an incredibly romantic story. I was skeptical of this book’s concept, but after seeing the pilot for the STARZ show I jumped at the chance to read the book. Every time I opened the cover I was immersed in this decadent tome. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

selection

 

Title: The Selection Series (#1-3)

Author: Kiera Cass

Published: April 2012, April, 2013, May 2014

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is a YA series that follows America Singer as she competes with other girls to be chosen by the prince and heir of Illea. It is like a royal version of the Bachelor in a semi-dystopian world. I breezed through these books…both times, but I can only recommend books #1-3 (of the 6 books and additional novellas).

 

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Published: December 2010

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary: This is another YA book. This story is about Anna, who is sent to a boarding school in France against her will, but she ends up finding her footing with friends and a dapper beau. This novel really captures angsty teenage romance, but also sort of reminded me of college, so there was a heavy dose of nostalgia when reading this swoon-worthy love story. Click here to look at my full post on this book recommendation.

Pride and Prejudice

 

Title: Pride & Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Published: 1813

Rating:♥♥♥♥♥

Summary: What list of romantic novels would be complete with out the créme de la créme of all love stories? This may have been the book that started it all for me and I am sure many others feel the same way. It amazes me that a book published more than 200 years ago is still relevant. Elizabeth Bennet is my all-time favorite character who has a good head on her shoulders and navigates an unlikely romance with Mr. Darcy in a most elegant way.

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

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Image from Amazon.com

Title: The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Published: November 2012

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


Summary: Nastya leaves home and moves in with her aunt to escape the trauma and pressure at home after a terrifying experience that eventually results in her choice to stop speaking. Moving to a new town and a new school is a chance for her to reinvent herself, but how long will the facade be able to last?

Why I Am Recommending: I wasn’t instantly in love with this novel. I found the lead character, Nastya, to be sort of annoying. As I read further and gained some insight into her past, I began to forgive her for her hard exterior and instead understood why she felt the need for its existence. Millay did a nice job with pacing the story and the development of her relationships. There were some truly sweet aspects of this book, which I felt most especially on the very last pages of the read. This was a solid story that was satisfying and heartwarming along with a depth of story that kept my brain engaged.

Book Club Pick: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

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Image from Amazon.com

Title: Hillbilly Elegy

Author: J.D. Vance

Published: June 2016

Rating: ★ ★ ★


Summary: An account of J.D. growing up in a working class family with roots in Appalachian Kentucky. A part memoir, part sociological observation.

My Thoughts: I have wanted to read this book since it came out last year. I had it at the top of my TBR list for months, but never was able to pull the trigger and read it. I thought it would be a perfect pick for our book club, plus it would force me to finally read it. Non-fiction is very rare for me. This might be the first non-fiction book I have read in over a year, perhaps longer. This book comes with so much hype, much from best-selling lists and media and much from myself. This is almost never a circumstance that bodes well for a book, and I wish I could say that Hillbilly Elegy escaped that fate, but it didn’t. I am glad I read it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. This book was at its best in the middle 50% when he was relaying his family’s history and his childhood. I was surprised at how much I was able to connect with his story having come from a small, rural town in an area that used to enjoy booming manufacturing and mill work. I found J.D.’s story compelling in and of itself, but also because although he had some great hardships, I found his story to be nothing exceptional. I liked reading about someone who I thought might actually represent a typical person living in his part of the world. Where this book fell short for me, was in the beginning and the end. I didn’t really appreciate his commentary on the world of the working class white. Although he cited research, it felt like he was passing his opinion as fact, which I don’t really enjoy or respect.

Book Club Discussion: This book was not very well-received by my family. My sister Janette couldn’t even read it after reading through the first 50 pages or so. I do agree that the first 50 pages are preachy, but she didn’t push past it to get to his story. Otherwise, Erin, my mom and I were all on the same page. There were some interesting aspects, but it was a bit too big for its britches. We all agreed that it felt soap-boxy to a great degree (this coming from someone who mostly agrees with his point of view) and that it could have been condensed into a shorter read.

Next Month’s Pick: Middlemarch by George Eliot (March & April)