Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 2011
Summary: Lincoln’s new job is to monitor the emails of the company’s employees to look for any threats. In the process, he finds himself more than monitoring, but rather reading the correspondence between two employees. He becomes invested in their lives, and develops feelings for one of them.
Why I Am Recommending: The concept of this story is admittedly creepy, but Lincoln becomes so endeared to you that you bypass his stalking tendencies and start rooting for him. Rainbow Rowell is so good at writing sweet love stories full of substantive emotions and authentic portrayals. The format of the book is unique and although it took me a while to remember which storyline went with which sender, I came to find it a quick and effective way to propel the story forward. Although selecting a favorite Rainbow Rowell is like choosing a favorite child, I would say this one is definitely a contender. Enjoy!
Title: Shelter Me
Author: Juliette Fay
Published: January 2009
Summary: Janie is depressed. Her husband recently died, leaving her with her grief and two young children. Every day is a struggle for her, but that is made slightly easier by the support of her family. This is the story of Janie trying to pull her life together.
Why I Am Recommending: I read this book a while ago and have also reread it, which is a very unusual thing for me to do. I really connected with Janie and found her character and her predicament to be very realistic. I like that Fay showed her grappling with the grief and the daily struggles in a way I would imagine to be fairly believable. I think the character development in this book is great and I grew to love all of the characters. I am not sure everyone I recommend this to would give it 5 stars like I did (I just totally synced with Janie), but I do find that it is mostly well-liked.
Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: December 2012
Summary: Lou lives a simple life within the small town she was born and raised. Struggling to find employment, the local temp agency places her in a home as a caregiver for a parapalegic man, Will. Will led an adventurous and fast-paced life prior to his accident, which is in stark contrast to Lou’s way of living. Lou helps will find happiness in the smallest things and Will helps Lou imagine a bigger life for herself.
Why I Am Recommending: This is one of my go-to recommendations because I find it to be fairly universally enjoyed. The topic is interesting, the characters are quirky, there is romance, there are tears, it is in essence, everything a good book should be. When I say tears, I mean grab a big box of tissues. Jojo Moyes is a great author and you can always feel confident that the writing will be great and she will have researched her topic thoroughly. This book will not let you down.
Title: Swear on This Life
Author: Renee Carlino
Published: August 2016
Summary: Emiline, an adjunct professor and aspiring writer, is surprised when she reads the new bestselling novel written by J. Colby and finds it to be a portrayal of her childhood. Emiline reads this account of her painful upbringing and is hurt that her childhood friend, whom she has not heard from in over a decade, is finding success by telling her story.
Why I Am Recommending: I loved this book as intensely as Jax and Em loved each other. I devoured this book in just a few days and was sad to see it end. The book within the book is just as good as the story unfolding. This technique of having a book within the book also immersed me more fully in Emiline’s perspective as I felt like I was going through this experience with her. The romance was swoon-worthy and it shows that Carlino is known for her romance novels. If you are sensitive to the graphic tendencies of romance novels, you may not enjoy this book as it tip-toes in that arena, although it is not a book I would fully classify as a romance novel.
Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: February 2013
Summary: Eleanor & Park is the story of two high school students who don’t quite fit in, finding their way through the challenges of school, home, first love, and awkward adolescence.
Why I Am Recommending: This was my very first Rainbow Rowell book, and I actually listened to this book on audiobook, which was very well done and I completely recommend that medium as well. This book instantly swells me with all the feelings. It is incredibly heartwarming and a tender portrayal of these two misfit characters trying to negotiate figuring out who they are and how to manage the cards life has dealt them. The writing is absolutely outstanding. Your heart will ache with them and swoon with them. Told from both Eleanor and Park’s perspectives, this book will take you back to all that is great and awful about high school. Enjoy!
Title: The Royal We
Author: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Published: April 2016
Summary: Rebecca, an American, goes to Oxford to study and while there meets Nick, the future king of Britain. This story follows their relationship and takes you inside the life of a British royal. In essence, it is everything every little girl dreams of…
Why I am Recommending: I am not really sure there is much more I need to add here to say why I am recommending as I believe the summary makes it fairly obvious. It is literally my dream, your dream, every girl’s dream to happen upon royalty, have them fall in love with you and then live happily ever after. This book allows you to live that out. It is cotton-candy goodness and you won’t want to put it down. That being said, I enjoyed the writing and that it doesn’t shy away from the less glamorous side of fame, fortune, and expectations. I think the ending could have landed a bit better, but it is an excellent read. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Title: One True Loves
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: June 2016
Summary: This is the story of Emma who finds herself with both a fiance and husband. How is this possible you ask? Emma married her high school sweetheart, but after he went missing and was presumed dead, she slowly puts her life back together. In the process, she meets and falls in love with another man. When her husband is found Emma has to decide between the two and the life she wants for herself.
Why I Am Recommending: I loved this book so much! I loved it from the very beginning and it never let up until I closed the book. I actually read this in less than 24 hours and was pretty useless to the world until I completed it. The writing almost disappeared as I got immersed in the story. I also naturally imagined what I would do in her situation and found myself giving my husband lots of hugs and kisses as I made my way through the novel. Be sure to grab a box of tissues and block off your schedule, because it is one you won’t want to put down until you finish.