Here's a quick review round-up of some of my March reads!
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (2018)
Essie is a preacher's teenage daughter, a preacher who also happens to have his own popular reality show, starring his family. Essie's pregnancy wouldn't be good for the family's image, so a plan is hatched for her to marry a classmate of hers, Roarke Richards. But, is her family hiding more than Essie's pregnancy?
I really enjoyed this book. Essie was a lot smarter and more calculating than I thought she would be. The behind-the-scenes look at the filming of a reality show was fun. The story ended up being a lot darker than I expected, and I appreciated seeing it all play out from both Essie and Roarke's POV. There's also another POV, reporter Liberty Bell, and while I didn't think her backstory added a ton to the plot, it was nice for Essie to have another form of support. 4 stars
On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (2012)
T.J. and his tutor Anna are flying to his family's vacation home in the Maldives when their plane crashes and the two are stranded on a deserted island. As they struggle to survive, they begin to fall in love, despite their age difference.
I love a good survival story, so that aspect of the book really drew me in. Although it felt a little repetitive at times, I liked the way Anna and T.J. worked together to survive on the island. They each had strengths and were a good team. The romance felt like it progressed naturally. Minor spoiler: they do make it off the island and then have to adjust to life back home, where their relationship is questioned. Again I felt like the story was a bit repetitive, and Anna and T.J. just kept facing the same issues without the story moving forward enough. The ending was a bit quick and tied everything up a little too neatly for my taste. 3.5 stars
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms (2019)
When Amy Byler's estranged husband offers to take their two children for the summer, Amy takes the opportunity to visit NYC, where she indulges in some self-care and even a little dating.
Although it took me a little bit to get into this book, I ended up really loving it. At first, the characters just felt like a little too much - too snarky, too quirky. But, the story quickly found its groove and I couldn't stop reading. Amy has been a single mom for three years after her husband walked out on the family, but he seems serious about reconnecting with the kids for the summer. Amy finally gets a break - to read tons of books, get some nicer clothes, and do things on her own schedule. I think lots of moms will be able to relate to Amy and her devotion to her kids, while still wanting some alone time, but even readers without kids can identify with Amy's feeling that she has lost herself in the mundane of everyday life. Plus, Amy is a huge bookworm and her devotion to her job as a librarian is really awesome. At times both wildly funny and very emotional, this book was a real winner. 4.5 stars