My Girlish Whims Book Club #27

I feel like I'm right in the middle of my own Big Summer - after months and months of no plans during quarantine suddenly I've got trips three weeks in a row!

Will and I headed back down to Chincoteague, VA last weekend to spend time with some visiting family members and to again take advantage of our current ability to work from home and enjoy some beach time at the same time.

Now I'm currently sitting at the Boston airport waiting to fly back home from a trip out to Nantucket for the 4th of July! I'll wait to share pictures from that trip until my next book round up though - obviously while I was there I had to read some Elin Hilderbrand books so I'll share more on the trip and those books in my next post.

After a few days back home I'm off again this weekend to hit up Ocean City Maryland with some girlfriends.  We've got a big Air BnB, masks, and I'm planning on parking my butt in a beach chair on the beach for hours with a few good books and a wine cooler or two in the sun :)

While these are all fun trips I am looking forward to getting back to a more calm routine again after they are finished - it takes a lot out of you being gone so much after spending so much time at home recently! I will be very ready for some more relaxing weekends at home with plenty of time to read when I get back again.  So without further ado, here are the most recent books I've read since my last round up!

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Big Summer

By Jennifer Weiner. Synopsis from Amazon:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

I'm normally a big Jennifer Weiner fan but I really didn't enjoy her last one - "Mrs. Everything" which I reviewed here before. I was hoping her newest release would be a better hit for me and luckily it was! I enjoyed this one a lot.  I giggled a bit connecting with the main character Daphne Berg who is an online influencer - a role that I randomly feel into as well! I liked her headstrong body positivity focus and she was a kind and likeable main character.  The first part of the book we get to know Daphne and her friends and family and it's a pretty standard chic-lit scene.  However I also enjoyed following the story line to the ridiculously over the top wedding in Cape Cod where the story twists a bit and we get romance, fights, and mystery! This was a pretty quick and easy summer read with good messages of strong female empowerment and worth, how people are never as real as they seem online, and a decent amount of drama and mystery to keep us entertained along the way.

The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

As I mentioned in my last book round up, I want to make a real effort to read more books written by authors of color.  When I asked my instagram for some fictional recommendations of where to start, I got a lot of recommendations for The Hate U Give.  While this is a young adult book (which admittedly, is by far NOT a favorite genre of mine any more since I pretty much exhausted all books available there when I was a book worm pre-teen) but I still thought this was a good book and an EXTREMELY fitting story for what has been going on in current events lately.  It was shocking to me as the reader to to watch how the shooting situation escalated so quickly.  How did we go from Khalil and Starr being pulled over with a simple, non-aggressive traffic stop to the policeman shooting him dead on the scene for merely moving?  It was baffling to me that a simple excuse of a "hair brush that looked like a weapon" could deem the situation worthy of shooting someone dead in cold blood.  Obviously, it was not a valid excuse and the police officer was in the wrong in this story, like many cops in real life have been as well in situations involving black people. I am a firm believer that there are more good people in the world than bad, and I am in no way a police basher, but reading a fictional tale so vivid like this was a very personal way for me to connect and see there are still major issues going on in our world that need change.  Khalil may be made up, but how many similar situations have occurred in real life and how many "Khalil's" have been shot at, abused, or just treated differently because of the color of their skin? Before I write these reviews I sometimes like to glance at some on Amazon to see what others think of the same books I read.  While there were many positive reviews for this book I was shocked at the ones deemed "most useful" which were basically white people saying this book was biased and they could see why Khalil was shot. Yes he was black, in a bad neighborhood late at night in a bad part of town. Yes there were rumors of him getting involved with dealing drugs.  None of that makes it OK to shoot an innocent, non-violent teenager though. Not that I condone dealing drugs - but do you know how prevalent and easy that is to come by these days? Not just for poor black people, but also for rich white kids? If this was a rich, white teenager going for a joy ride late at night who also was rumored to be dealing, there is zero chance this narrative would have worked out the same.  If you actually read the book and listen to characters you get a real insight into what living in a neighborhood like that, with the cards you have been dealt in life, really forces you to do to take care of yourself.  I learned a lot from Starr's Dad in the book.  I learned a lot in general! Yes, the main character is an immature teenager.  Yes, the language and dialect is not going to be what you are used to reading in a "white" novel.  But if you write this book off for either of those reasons you are missing the entire point of the story.  If you are uncomfortable with what you have seen in the news lately - if you don't know how to respond to police hate or protesting; read this book.  It's not going to change everything but coming from a very white, sheltered and privileged women, this was a very good and eye opening place to start. 

  In Five Years

By Rebecca Serle. Synopsis from Amazon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.

She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

This was an an enjoyable and quick read for me.  I heard a lot of good things on bookstagram for it and it was a fun read for me, but since it took me all of 5 days to read on a Monday-Friday (quick for me when I am working full time and such!) I probably would have waited until I could rent it for free on overdrive or at a library instead of spending $13 bucks on my kindle for it.  I enjoyed the premise of the story a lot: Dannie has this "picture perfect" life with a "picture perfect" plan all laid out for her next five years.  She's a great lawyer with a great new job, has a caring and supportive new fiance, and all her plans laid out until BAM she gets a glimpse into a very different future five years from now.  Her "vision" from 5 years in the future then comes back to "haunt" her normal life at times as she tries to live her life according to plan but gradually gets hints of where the future could be taking her.  I enjoyed Dannie's character but didn't find her over the top likeable (she is very headstrong, career driven, and not super in tune with her emotions) but I still really enjoyed the story and the unexpected turn it took (which I will not spoil for you!)

Daisy Jones & The Six

By Taylor Jenkins Reid. Synopsis from Amazon:

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

I was obsessed with this book. Hands down a fabulous book that I literally GOBBLED up. I brought this down on our recent trip to Chincoteague Island again and finished it after a few days reading on the beach and was so sad when it was over! I also loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which I reviewed on my blog here by the same author, so obviously she is a great writer. While this is a fictional story, I actually really thought that this was a book about a real life rock band.  I had to google it after the fact to find out that no, it wasn't based on any one specific band, but the details and way the book was written really made you believe it was!  The book was written in an "interview" style which was a very different style from what I am used to reading, but it worked SO well for telling this story.  It was great to be able to hear the story told from everyone's point of view, and I cracked up multiple times at the different re-telling of the same event by different band members.  There was one point in the book where the author interrupted with an "author's note" that literally gave me goosebumps while reading because it all just felt so real! The book at it's core is about, love, drugs, and rock and roll but the author brought such life and and vivid characters to the story that made it feel like so much more.  Buy this book and read this book pronto if you have not already: it's a good one!

Solid book choices this time and I am very much looking forward to my own "Big Summer" and continuing to read along the way. And now I will be closing down, crossing my fingers our flight stops getting delayed, and pulling out my next book to finish up on the airplane ride back home to Philly!

1 comment

  1. I'll have to check out Big Summer, currently I'm reading When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal. I love light summer reads!