Review: When You Read This

When You Read This by Mary Adkins

Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss. 

What I loved about this book is that it is just regular people living regular lives. There’s no catch or hook or surprise murder mystery or magic to make this book more interesting. It is literally just people talking to each other. YES.

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Review: An American Marraige

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-elusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel. 

Wow. What a beautiful book. The writing was so lush, and lovely, and lyrical. I was expecting this to be a powerful book, but I was completely taken by surprise by how incredible the writing was.

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Review: An Ocean of Minutes

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Genre: Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

This book is so different from what I was expecting. The time travel elements were essentially just a plot point, not a major player in the function of the story. Instead this novel operates as a dystopia.

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1,000 Followers??? THANK YOU!!! (and giveaway!)


When I started Never Not Reading in May of 2017, I kind of expected that either I would soon be internet famous or that I would never garner more than 100 followers. I didn’t really know anything about the online bookish community, I just wanted an outlet, any outlet, for my book reviews. I figured there weren’t really many book blogs (seriously, who still BLOGS???), so either I would be satisfying some kind of niche thing that nobody else out there was doing, hence the internet fame, or that it would be so boring nobody would care.

Luckily, I was completely and utterly wrong.

This community is so amazing, and I am so blessed to be a part of it. Time and again I am just in awe that there are 1,000 people out there who actually CARE about what I have to say. This has been especially shocking to me in light of my complete and utter indifference for reading anything new.

So while I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing it for me, I’m so glad that in the process I have met you all. Thank you for following me. Thank you for talking to me. Thank you for doing Calendar Girls with me.

Thank you for being my friends.

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Favorites February: Emma, Volume 1

Hello all, and welcome to the second annual Favorites February! *wild cheers* This year I am reading Emma by Jane Austen. I like to read an Austen novel every year, and it’s been too long since I’ve had an Emma re-read. But it’s such a long novel, I felt I needed to devote the whole month to it. So, here we are. I hope you enjoy, and please, play along in the comments!


Emma Woodhouse is rich, beautiful, and doesn’t have a care in the world. Inspired by the recent match between her former governess, Miss Taylor, and her neighbor, Mr. Weston, she has determined herself a brilliant match-maker. She will not rest until she has found a husband for her new friend, Harriet Smith. But Emma over-estimates her judgement of people, and her schemes can only lead to trouble for all…

Why I Love This Book: Volume 1

  • This book, especially volume 1, is laugh out loud funny. And you don’t have to know a lot about the era to get the jokes.
  • I love the playful tone. Emma doesn’t take itself too seriously.
  • Many readers hate this book because they hate Emma. But I adore reading about a so obviously flawed heroine. She is so interesting because of her flaws, and her refusal to really learn from them.
  • Which, by the way, I think makes her intensely relatable. Maybe readers hate Emma because she reminds them of the worst parts of themselves.
  • Emma and Mr. Knightly’s snarky arguments.
  • Mr. Knightly’s brother, who is delightfully grumpy and has some excellent burns.
  • OH MY GOSH! I had forgotten that this volume ends by implying that Mr. Knightly is jealous of Mr. Churchill! SO ADORABLE!

Favorite Quote

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

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Review: Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

bel cantoGenre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give.

I don’t know how to adequately express how much I loved this book or why. It was so beautiful, and I connected with it so deeply. Continue reading