2021 Book Challenge Quarter 2: 12 – 20

Every year I challenge myself to read 52 books and I try to update every quarter. Here’s my 2021 Book Challenge Quarter 2 update!

A little behind this quarter, but in my defense A LOT has been going on and I got really into a few podcasts which kept me pretty distracted from reading properly! Still not too bad to be at 20 books by the end of June — only six off!

Everything I Read from April – June 2021

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler | 2021 Book Challenge

12. My Horizontal Life

QUICK SUMMARY

Comedian Chelsea Handler delves into her early sexcapades.

THOUGHTS

My friend told me Handler’s books were pretty hilarious and this was a good one to start with! LOL It’s definitely a bit more of its time as some of the jokes are very not PC, but it definitely made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Bookmarked her other autobiographies to read later!

The Wicked Redhead by Beatriz Williams | 2021 Book Challenge

13. The Wicked Redhead

  • Author: Beatriz Williams
  • How I Read: Kindle/Library
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Location: Cocoa Beach, NYC
  • Support Local // Buy on Amazon

QUICK SUMMARY

Our sequel to the Wicked City! The Wicked Redhead picks up right where we left off with Gin and Anson fleeing to Cocoa Beach, Florida to recover. Meanwhile in the present, Ella Dommerich begins to try to figure out who the redheaded woman in her antique photo was exactly.

THOUGHTS

Okay, okay I see you Beatriz Williams. This book brings Ella and Gin’s plots closer together, though there’s still a sequel coming out later this year, so not all questions are answered. I loved re-visiting Stefan and Annabelle in their old age and seeing all these familiar surnames start coming together in 1998. Very intrigued to see how The Wicked Widow ties up the trilogy as well as how it incorporates other books in Williams’ universe.

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams | 2021 Book Challenge

14. Cocoa Beach

  • Author: Beatriz Williams
  • How I Read: Kindle/Library
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Location: Cocoa Beach & France
  • Support Local // Buy on Amazon

QUICK SUMMARY

The book goes back and forth between 1917 and 1922. In 1922, newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in Cocoa Beach to look over her estranged husband’s affairs while in 1917, we see just how Virginia fell in love with Captain Simon Fitzwilliam and why they separated so quickly.

THOUGHTS

Okay, so I should have definitely read this one before The Wicked Redhead because it’s obviously a giant spoiler to this whole book in the first chapter. Also should’ve read A Certain Age before this one, as this is its sequel. Oops! I enjoyed this book and getting to know Cocoa Beach. You have the burgeoning love story admist World War I in the past mixed with a present day mystery around Simon’s death in a fire in 1922 and what could have led to it.

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams | 2021 Book Challenge

15. The Golden Hour

  • Author: Beatriz Williams
  • How I Read: Kindle/Library
  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Location: Nassau, Bahamas, Swiss Alps
  • Support Local // Buy on Amazon

QUICK SUMMARY

The book weaves between Lulu Randolph’s story in 1941 in Nassau and 1943 in London and Elfriede’s story at a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps in 1900. In 1941, Lulu is in the Bahamas to cover the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for a familiar magazine back in the States (the same one Vivian Schuyler writes for in The Secret Life of Violet Grant). In 1943, she’s trying to find her missing husband in war torn London. Meanwhile, we learn just why Elfriede is stuck in a fancy sanatorium in Switzerland.

THOUGHTS

Ah, the plot of this book is really, really good but I do think it’s too much for one book. Like just following ONE of these stories would’ve filled a whole book well. I did love realizing it’s not only tied to other books of Williams but very much in the thick of things! I still think you could’ve done away with the Windsor stuff in Nassau and figured out another way to have Lulu’s British husband go missing during World War II.

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens | 2021 Book Challenge

16. This Time Next Year

QUICK SUMMARY

Born on New Year’s day, Minnie Cooper was raised believing her birthday to be unlucky ever since someone named Quinn Hamilton was born just minutes before her and took her name. Now she’s turning 30, she’s finally meeting this infamous Quinn — after spending the night locked in a bathroom!

THOUGHTS

Lol I should put this book under Fantasy considering it takes place in 2020 and we all know there was no accidentally running into your soulmate constantly in various locations all over London in 2020.

That aside, this book is cute. It’s very predictable, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you want something sweet and easy to read to warm your bitter heart, this is the perfect book!

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman | 2021 Book Challenge

17. Anxious People

QUICK SUMMARY

Two cops are trying to get to the bottom of a hostage situation that happened during the open house of an apartment. The only problem is – all of the witnesses are being uncooperative and they can’t find the robber!

THOUGHTS

I read this for my book club and loved it. I mean I love all of Fredrik Backman’s books — he does such a good job of creating these character studies in the most mundane-seeming people while adding a bit of quirk no matter the story. With Anxious People, he takes a look at everyone involved in this hostage situation — their back stories, their motivations, their interactions with each other… It makes you love even the most grumpy of them.

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee | 2021 Book Challenge

18. The Idea of You

QUICK SUMMARY

This is what happens when a 39-year-old divorcee, Solène, starts a love affair with a 20-year-old British boy band heart throb, Hayes Campbell. One problem – if word got out, it would destory her 13-year-old daughter who’s August Moon’s biggest fan.

THOUGHTS

Well, the first thing you should know is this book is steamy. Like way steamier than I was expecting. I definitely should’ve gotten the Kindle version and not listened to it.

The second thing you should know is that this book takes itself just a touch too seriously given the subject matter. Like Solène has a French mother and speaks French, and she’s a rich art gallery owner so she can afford to jet set and wear designer and be a bit culturally snobby. And Hayes is British and written to be wise beyond his years and worldly and deep and yadadada. The author tries to discuss ageism for women, boy band/celebrity pressures, and other things but it’s just a lot for a fantasy-esque book where they spend half of it in various stages of naked.

I do like the author’s writing, so I’ll definitely be reading more of her. Maybe it’s because I’m 28 and every 20-year-old man I see seems so young that I can’t imagine adding another 11 years and finding them attractive!

Vietnam: Rising Dragon by Bill Hayton | 2021 Book Challenge

19. Vietnam: Rising Dragon

QUICK SUMMARY

Published in 2011, this book is a look into how modern Vietnam came to be after finally ending decades of fighting in 1975.

THOUGHTS

This was at my friend’s apartment, so I read it out of curiosity! I think it does a really good job examining Vietnam from all angles — tourism, economy, financial, etc. This is the kind of book that would be better for a college class where you could take the time to read each chapter, read supplemental materials, and discuss it with each other, but it works as a simple read too. It’s fun to read after living in Vietnam for a year because it puts into words the impressions you’ve had but haven’t been able to articulate!

I would be curious to see how things have changed if a follow up was written in 2021 as ten years is a long time in Vietnam!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley | 2021 Book Challenge

20. The Guest List

  • Author: Lucy Foley
  • How I Read: Paperback
  • Category: Thriller
  • Location: Inis an Amplóra (fictional) off the coast of Connemara in Ireland
  • Support Local // Buy on Amazon

QUICK SUMMARY

It’s supposed to be the wedding to start a new trend as the bride, founder of a blog-turned-magazine, and her groom, a rising television star, opt to wed on the unique Inis an Amplóra! Except during the wedding night someone dies.

Told from the POVs of the bride, the bridesmaid, the plus one, the best man, and the wedding planner who all have their own secrets — who would want to ruin the wedding of the year?

THOUGHTS

Oh, I liked this book! It’s kind of a thriller-beach-reach vibe where there’s definitely mystery to keep you turning but it’s not super complex. I mean, you can probably figure some of it out before it’s revealed but it still makes for a fun read!

What have you been reading?

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