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We all need to have a moment real quick. Because this post right here? This moment? THIS is the inaugural post of what may soon come to be your favorite thing here on That’s Normal. That’s right. Prepare yourself for …
We know you. You like to read. You like someone to tell you what to read BUT you don’t want to hunt all the internet for reviews that are as long as the books themselves. Well, here ya go. Real quick reviews of books we REALLY liked. Every couple of weeks. You are gonna have so much to read that you are going to hate us.
please don’t hate us
Written by: James W. Loewen
Reviewed by: Beth
Recommended for: Homeschool moms who aspire to be “the cool teacher”
Rating: One of those books everyone should have to read
I know this is not our regular TN fare, but I devoured this book over the last week, and I loved it. American history is taught from overly sanitized and biased textbooks; everyone know this. But Loewen took 18 of the most popular history textbooks and scoured them for half-truths and hero-worship, comparing it with primary sources and even the accepted history texts of earlier centuries to tell the truer story. The one with stakes and mistakes.
Teaching history has been my favorite part of homeschooling my kids, and any chance I get to enhance their experience and knowledge of humanity past makes me feel like a freaking rock star, so I’ll be revisiting this one over and over. If you like history, if you think you might not like American history but would like to have more empathy, learn more about our political system, founding fathers, wars, etc. or if you’d like to understand our current national sentiment better … you should read this. Basically, everyone should read it. Buy it
Written by: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Reviewed by: Tiffany
Genre: I am hesitant to call it this, but I guess it would be considered Contemporary Romance.
Recommended for: For those who like a little humor, a good cry and well written drama.
Rating: All of the Stars
If you are unfamiliar with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels, do yourself a favor and pick them up, like all of them. In One True Loves, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart after dating him for years. After a year of marriage, her husband Jesse dies in a helicopter accident. The book takes us through the mourning process with Emma and eventually she bumps into a good friend from high school. Sam got friend zoned by Emma in high school but always held a torch for her, but when they meet again a couple years after Jesse’s death, Emma knows that she must learn to love again. Shortly after Sam and Emma’s engagement Jesse is found alive and Emma is forced to choose between her one true loves.
I know it seems like I just gave a lot of the book away, but you literally learn almost all of this within the first chapter. I usually hate books with love triangles but this one had me so torn. Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote two men that made me understand why the contestants on The Bachelor say that its possible to love two people at once. Its a must summer read! Buy it
Written by: Penny Reid
Reviewed by: Heidi
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Recommended for: Those who like their romance novels to be laugh out loud funny.
Rating: 4.5 well-groomed beards out of 5
I have to admit that I’m biased when it comes to novels written by Penny Reid. In fact, my Goodreads review of Grin and Beard It just says, “Penny Reid could write a Communist manifesto and I would still find a way to love it.” Penny writes whip-smart, hilarious, and endearing characters. I highly recommend reading her entire collection of contemporary romances, but if you can only pick one, read this one.
Grin and Beard It is the second in an installment about the Winston Brothers which is a spin off of her Knitting in the City series. This book focuses on Jethro, the eldest of the Winston Brothers, a bad boy who has turned his life around but is still haunted by the sins of his past. Don’t let the country name fool you, it’s part of his charm. Through a series of events Jethro ends up meeting Sienna Diaz who is an Hollywood darling, plus-sized stunner and hilarious screenwriter. Their love story is unexpected, so funny, the conflict is believable, and the love scenes will have you fanning yourself. Did I mention all the Winston Brothers have beards? Like, the hot kind of beard, you’ll be into it. I promise. Buy it
Reviewed by: Anne
Genre: Contemporary Adult
Recommended for: Those who like unreliable narrators.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’m on a book high right now, and have been loving most of the books I’m reading. This one has been out forever, but I finally got around to picking it up and couldn’t put it down. Alice suffers a head injury while she is at the gym one day, and wakes up believing it is 1998 instead of 2008. She thinks she is pregnant with her first child, and is generally in the dark on what has happened for the past 10 years of her life. I don’t want to say much more than this, because it the other details are revealed to the reader as they are revealed to Alice, which is much of what makes this such a page turner. I love unreliable narrators but the last couple of books I read with them (Girl on the Train and Gone Girl) I didn’t like the main characters, which made me not enjoy the books as much. Alice is a main character that I can get behind and root for, which made this book all the more enjoyable. Buy it
Reviewed by: Anne
Genre: Young Adult
Recommended for: Summer. Those who like to travel and like kissing.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
It’s summer which means it’s the perfect time for sweet stories about vacations and falling in love, which is pretty much the whole premise for Wanderlost. Girl who just graduated high school and has never left Ohio ends up having to lead a tour group of senior citizens through Europe, while pretending to be someone else and kissing a boy on all the bridges in Europe. Lots of misadventures and sweet characters, this is a quick, easy summer read that will leave you smiling. Buy it
Written by: Katie McGarry
Reviewed by: Carrie Jo
Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended for: those who like YA romance
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I have never had a desire to read about a motorcycle club (gang?) before I picked up Nowhere But Here (book 1 in this series), but I’ve loved both the books in this series. There’s just something about slightly dangerous boys that ride motorcycles that makes for an engaging read. It doesn’t hurt that main character of this installment is a really smart girl who was nerdy without being a stereotype (her brain obsesses over codes and puzzles and is always working on one, whether she really wants to or not). And Katie McGarry always delivers some seriously swoon-worthy kissing scenes. Buy it
There you have it! Real quick reviews for books we loved … real quick because we lazy. Hope you find something new to read. But in the meantime, tell us what you are reading in the comments or on twitter using #TNReads.