Spring is finally here (although not in Minnesota) and I’m sharing book thoughts on my top 5 favorites from this winter. I’ve also reviewed the biggest letdown that I read this year. During the snowy season, I chose a mixture of fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and romance novels. I’ve been getting my thriller fix through audiobooks, which I find to be my favorite genre to listen to. Plus it’s the only genre I can get my husband to agree on for a car ride. I’m actually working on a future blog post titled, “The Best Thriller Audiobooks for Road Trips”, so stay tuned for that.
I love reviewing books on my blog but if you want to keep up with my reviews in real time, then follow me on GoodReads. Since the start of 2022, I leave reviews for all the books I finish, not just my favorites. I don’t get as detailed, but my GoodReads reviews are honest, messy, and immediate thoughts. Here is the link to keep up with ALL my book opinions and recommendations here.
Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
GoodReads Rating: 5/5
Honesty hour, I am particularly hard on Colleen Hoover. I start her books anticipating disappointment. There’s something about a cult following that makes me want to have an opposite opinion of everyone else. But I’m pleased to admit that CoHo has never let me down. Her books are really THAT GOOD. Reminders of Him was no exception. The story is about Kenna, a young mother released from jail, who is trying to meet her daughter for the first time. She gave birth to her baby while in prison and immediately had to say goodbye.
While trying to have a relationship with her child, she meets many roadblocks in the form of romance, hatred, and lack of understanding. This book was captivating in so many ways and as the reader, I felt myself slowly understanding Kenna mistakes, along with the other characters. Overall, Reminders of Him is a beautiful story about love, forgiveness, and accepting that we cannot rewrite the past. We can only move forward.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
GoodReads Rating: 5/5
If you’re looking for an emotional rollercoaster, then let me introduce The Hearts Invisible Furies. Which is a title fitting for all this book dishes to readers. Cyril Avery grows up as a gay man in the mid 1900’s. He spends most of his life in Ireland, an extremely religious country that is not accepting of homosexuality during this time period. Many in society even found it punishable with acts of violence. Although infuriating and hard to read at times, the story has sprinkles of satire and quirky characters to lighten the overall setting. I found myself laughing, pissed off, on the edge of my seat, and on the verge of tears while working my way through this novel. Overall, The Heart’s Invisible Furies is an incredible story about a man’s acceptance of himself and finding love in a world that doesn’t always accept him.
A House of Sky & Breath: A Crescent City Novel by Sarah J. Maas
GoodReads Rating: 5/5
If you’re an SJM fan and powered through this 800 page novel, then you know that the ending was mind blowing. I’ll leave it at that. A House of Sky and Breath is the second installment in the Crescent City series. These books take place in a different setting than Sarah Maas’ typical fantasy worlds. Crescent City is quite literally a modern city with modern businesses, with the exception that the residents are a mix of fantasy characters.
The main character Bryce is a half-fae woman in her mid 20’s, with quick sarcasm and interests that align with your typical young adult. The first novel focuses on her plan to uncover the murder of her best friend. The second focuses on finding the truth to bigger issues happening in this society. Although a thick book, HOSAB’s steady stream of unknowns and slow burn romances will keep you hooked the entire way through.
All the Ugly & Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
GoodReads Rating: 5/5
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is an interesting book. I say “interesting” because that word means different things to different people. From reading other reviews, I can tell you that there are mixed emotions with this story. The book focuses on a young girl, Wavy, who grows up in a tough situation with dead-beat parents and lack of proper direction. She finds an unlikely companionship with a man 10 years her senior, who takes on a protective role in her life. As Wavy grows into her teenage years, lines get crossed and some decisions made are questionable. I found this book hard to put down simply because the story is, again, interesting. It isn’t a book on morals and it isn’t a book on doing the right thing. It’s a story about people in shitty situations who are trying to find their way.
The War of Two Queens: A Blood & Ash Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout
GoodReads Rating: 4/5
The War of Two Queens is the fourth hefty book in the romantasy series, From Blood and Ash. What I love most about this series is the steamy romance, the action, and the incredible fantasy world-building. Some readers find world-building boring, but most of the time I enjoy it. I’m the girl who grew up on the Lord of the Rings movies, so I love good world-building. The fantasy beings in the Blood and Ash books are some of my favorites. This book continues Poppy’s journey to discover who she is, her capabilities, and her journey to take down the Blood Queen. She is fueled by her strong friendships, her lover, and desire to help people. The one thing I would change about this story is the slow progression. The characters spend a fair amount of time bantering and planning. But I still obsess over these books nonetheless.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
GoodReads Rating: 3/5
I picked up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo because it is a well-loved, bestselling novel. After reading it, I can see why it is loved by the masses. But I considered this book somewhat of a letdown. What I found thought-provoking is Evelyn Hugo’s journey through mid 1900’s Hollywood and what she endured to keep her career alive as a woman. However, the story timeline felt slow and monotone. Evelyn is a distinguishable character but the others don’t have much personality. I picked up on a similar sense I had reading Malibu Rising, another book by this author.
I read this book right after The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which takes place in the same time period, but in a different country. It is incredibly sad to read about all the hiding and shame felt by the LGBTQ community in this era. Unfortunately it still happens today. Overall, it’s a good story and the characters have real heart wrenching struggles, I just don’t vibe with TJR’s storytelling style.
I hope you found some awesome recommendations from my latest Book Thoughts blog post. As always, drop your thoughts in the comments below, I love chatting books! If you’re looking for more book suggestions, you can find Honest Thoughts on My 2021 Reads here.