I used to be able to read over 100 books a year. Back when I was still book blogging, I was never without a book (or two) in my bag. I’d easily finish a book in three days, two if I stay up too late to finish reading it. And then I’d actually sit down, compose a review on a blog and on Goodreads and then talk about the book with people.
Where did I ever find the time to do all of that back then?
Anyway, as years passed the total number of books I read every year started going down, down, down, until I stopped setting reading goals because it didn’t seem like a goal I’m interested to reach anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped impulsively buying books, or because through those 100+ book years I’ve refined what I like reading more and stuck to that, and lost some patience slogging through books that I find hard to read/end up not liking anyway? And maybe because there’s also just so much more things happening in life + I need more sleep so reading now takes a backseat.
I do miss getting lost in a very good book, though. So now when I find a book that pulls me in and makes me want to read every free second I have, I hold onto it and cherish the time I have with it because it’s such a rarity to find something to hold my attention nowadays.
So I don’t know if this will be a blog series too, or whatever, but I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve read this year that gave me that feeling again — that can’t-put-this-down, I-have-to-read-more, why-is-it-over-too-soon reading feeling that all readers are looking for. And hopefully, you get to pick up one of these books, too, and tell me what you think about it when you read it?
Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg
Aka Logan Walker is my new book boyfriend! I have seen Melissa Tagg’s books on Scribd before but only started reading her when I got my new Kindle and found a bunch of her books on Kindle Unlimited. I started with her Christmas collection and just fell in love. Small town romance, quirky characters, all the good swoony moments and not-preachy discussions on faith? SOLD.
Like Never Before is the second book on her Walker family series, and it’s funny because I think I liked Logan already even while I was reading From the Start, the first book that featured his sister Kate. This book isn’t on Kindle Unlimited but it’s on Scribd and I am so glad it is there because oh my gosh, swoon? I love everything about Logan – a doting single dad, a strict but caring Kuya (older brother) and his romance with Amelia the town newspaper editor? *chef’s kiss* Needless to say I’m always on the lookout for Kuya Logan in all the next Maple Valley books. Thank goodness the author is also in love with this character, heehee.
Start with Me by Kara Isaac
Kara Isaac’s books opened me up to a bunch of new authors–leading me eventually to Melissa Tagg, so I always put them together–and I devoured her backlist since listening to the audio of Then There Was You, her book set in Australia about megachurches and worship bands (hahaha aka my younger life). I was so, so happy that she released a new book and I finished it a few weeks ago and let me tell you: this is her best, yet.
Victor and Lacey are characters from her old books, but this book stands alone (although reading Can’t Help Falling and One Thing I Know would help put things in context, I think). I hated Victor in that old book, but I loved him here and I loved how his redemption arc was drawn. What stands out to me here is how he just really wanted to do the right thing now, and it was done without putting Lacey down or pinning hopes on her–the same way that she wanted to do the right thing for the people she loved. I love it when the book shows two characters who are perfectly capable on their own and really do not have to choose to be with the other…but then they make that choice, anyway.
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
I think I picked this up because of a Twitter rec and sped through the entire book on Scribd in like a week? It’s been a while since I read YA and to be honest, I think I stopped reading it because sometimes I read YA and all I could think of is how old I’ve become. LOL. But then sometimes, YA is exactly what our reading selves need. Perhaps even more now in these strange times–especially YA romance.
The Fill-In Boyfriend was absolutely charming, and it felt like such a breath of fresh air to read about friendships and a cute guy whose name we don’t get to know until a few chapters in (which I will not reveal because it’s part of the charm of this book). I really enjoyed this, and how invested I got with all of them and how some things were (not really) resolved at the end — just like how real life works, right?
And of course, there is kilig, and lots of it. And it is the best.
Vlog Like You Love Me by Clarisse David
Iloilo-based blogger gets dumped in public so she gets even by fake dating with Harry Potter fan. Just that line and we know it’s already cute, but everything inside is just adorable. I love the nerdiness of the LI, Michael and MC Bianca’s passion for her growing social media empire that it was pretty easy to just fall in love with this book. Besides the fact that it’s in Iloilo City, a city I miss so much.
And you know, if you’ve never read a Clarisse David book, why are you doing? What are you waiting for? Start with this, or start with the rest–but this one hits all the good spots with me, and as a newbie Funko Pop collector, I absolutely loved one part of it that it made me hug the book happily when I was done.
Songs You Come Back To by Jay E. Tria
Gimme my band romance! It’s so nice to be back in Trainman’s world and here is Son, our impulsive wild child who’s trying to be better for Alice. I remember in my book blogging days that I always search for band romance, books with musicians, books with people managing bands–maybe because I’m very frustrated with my own non-musicality.
And as expected, this was fun, and Jay’s writing is gorgeous so it was easy to immerse back into Trainman’s world and watch the band’s fun antics and ultimately root for Son–but also maybe scoff at him together with Alice for what he did. But of course, there is happiness for all, and we get to move on to the next one–which is also already available, so yay.
Also, don’t read this without having bread within your reach. 😀
Keeping Miss Kalila by Tara Frejas
I finished this just the other day and I am still smiling randomly at the warm fuzzies this book gave me. I love all the dynamics of this book–how Datu and Kalila’s past is established and so easy to believe, the people surrounding them and the problems they encounter outside of them navigating the rekindling of their relationship.
Tara’s books always have that warm quality that shows how much care she put in building her worlds and her characters. The great thing here is because I know who her pegs are, I can actually hear their voices in my head in the dialogue. So when Tara talks about Datu’s dimples or Kalila wrinkling her nose or Datu’s deep voice, I know exactly what they look and sound like. So fun.
(But my favorite Alvez is still Kuya Isagani, ok. Can’t wait for his book. Heehee no pressure, Tara :D)
Right now I have a few books in my currently reading, but the one that’s been capturing my attention is Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes. I’ve seen this book mentioned by Melissa Tagg in one interview and saw a lot of gushing around this so I thought I’d borrow it from Kindle Unlimited to try.
I’m still not completely sure what it’s about or where the story is going but there’s a story about twin brothers during World War II from a small town in Maine called Ansel by the Sea, and then the grandniece of one of the brothers in present time who went back to this town to help her granduncle and figure out something in her life and his past. There is also this sort of grumpy but probably soft guy who is accompanying her, and I sense there is a brewing romance there, so I’m looking forward to that.
I am really enjoying it so far! I think books set in small towns are really my jam. I can’t wait for the workday to end so I can go back to this. 😀