Happy February! All the pink stuff is everywhere, and I just spent $20 on paper trash for my kid’s classmates. (He’s two…) You know what that means! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!
Obviously I’m not sentimental about Valentine’s. Honestly, I could care less about it and we don’t celebrate it. It’s a nice idea, I guess, but I don’t find it in any way romantic. But I will never criticize anyone who does enjoy Valentine’s Day! So for all you lovers out there, this Calendar Girls theme is for you!
Meet Cute: Favorite Romantic Comedy
This theme was not difficult for me at all. I love romantic comedies, but I have a hard time finding literary ones that I truly enjoy. To clarify, I don’t consider romance novels Rom-Coms, even if they’re funny. To me a Rom-Com MUST be PG-13 with sex only implied. Because that’s how the movies are. I’ve found a few I’ve enjoyed since I started book blogging, but with contemporary romance on the up-swing, good romantic comedies are not easy to come by. However, this past November I fell in love!
SURPRISE! We’re still here!!! I was over the moon when Flavia, one of the original creators of Calendar Girls, offered to take over when Adrienne and I were needing to take a step back. Long-time Calendar Girls participant Dani will also be taking over hostess duties for now. It is with the utmost excitement that I leave you in their very capable hands.
Our theme this month is New Beginnings: First Book in a New Series. That means, it’s a FANTASTIC book in a series, but none of the sequels have been published yet. This … isn’t easy for me. I much prefer standalones, and I rarely read the rest of a series. However, I read several great first books in a series in 2019!
Quick honorable mentions. These two books I technically liked better and rated higher on my list last year, but in both cases I felt like they don’t quite fit the prompt. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey was my favorite rom-com OF ALL TIME, and has a new book in the series coming out in 2020. However, romance series are typically loosely connected, so I just didn’t like it for the prompt. Enchanteé by Gita Trelease was also a favorite, however it felt like a standalone novel to me, and I understand Trelease originally intended it to not be a series. Anyway, I highly recommend both!
So, here it is! My favorite first book in a new series. A series that I (and I can’t stress this enough) actually plan on reading.
I think I speak for everyone when I say THANK GOD 2019 IS OVER. Golly, this has been a stressful and difficult year for me, to say nothing of the state of the social internet. But I’m so excited about 2020 and what it’s going to bring for me professionally, personally, and as a blogger.
It’s been an interesting year for me here at my third year at Never Not Reading. I set an all-time personal record, reading 74 books this year (mostly thanks to my children’s and young adult literature class). I “discovered” graphic novels and non-fiction. But I haven’t been blogging much. Non-review posts have basically dropped off my blog altogether this semester, and my bookstagram has come to a screeching halt a whopping three times this year. So the blog has had its ups and downs.
So thanks, y’all, for reading. This community is so amazing and supportive, and I love every one of y’all.
Wow, what a year! This might be my best year for reading ever. Which I’m pretty sure I said that last year too, but it’s even more true this year. I read so many books that could have been on this list. Six 5-star books is an all-time record for me, and there were countless four-star books that were a HIGH four stars. For the last three or four months every time I’ve had to bump a book off the list it’s been such a difficult decision. The books that did make the list have been re-arranged multiple times. For the first time since I’ve started blogging, this could have been a Top 20 list.
Yet, alas, for some reason I limit myself to a Top 10. So without any additional rambling, here they are, my favorite books of the year.
1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchet
This book gave me ALL of the feels. I connected with it on such a deep emotional level. Bonus points for the love of music that permeated the novel.
Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.
When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?
FINALLY!! A romantic comedy that was everything I wanted it to be!!!!
Waiting for Tom Hanks had everything I was hoping for: sizzling chemistry without on-the-page sex; people who talk like real life without dropping f-bombs every other sentence; a hapless heroine who is neither a damsel in distress or a bad-ass; quirky side characters that don’t get annoying in their cliches; preposterous situations that didn’t take themselves seriously. If more romance novels were PG-13 rated like this one I would read them ALL THE TIME. This was a feel-good book that gave me all of the fuzzy tingly romance things without the awkwardness of stumbling across a sex sequence while sitting on the couch next to my mom. I loved it, and I will absolutely be reading anything else Winfrey writes, and I am also taking suggestions for more PG-13 romance novels. ❤