“Reading was a joy, a desperately needed escape — I didn’t read to learn, I was reading to read.” – Christian Bauman
We are back again and here to give a few more book suggestions based off books that we definitely have, and you might have, read! It happens to all of us where we finish a book and loved the author, or loved the genre, or even just the style of writing or topic, but then we cannot seem to find our next read! We love going to #booktok, #bookstagram, and even Goodreads to try and help us find recommendations and suggestions based off of the books we have read. Some of them have been awesome finds! Here are some of our suggestions for books we have read, and then found something similar. We hope you are able to add one or even all to your own TBR List!
Our first suggestion is for those who are fans of Kristin Hanna's Winter Garden. If you enjoyed this story, then we highly recommend When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal. What is the connection? Sisterhood and motherhood. In Winter Garden, we follow the story of Meredith and Nina Watson, sisters who are as different as any sister could be. Each follows a different path in life with Meredith choosing to stay home, raise a family, and run the family apple orchard business; and Nina, travelling across the word as a photojournalist. When their father becomes ill, they come together again alongside their cold, harsh mother, Anya. Even through this difficult time, she does not offer comfort or a shoulder to her daughters. On his death bed, all their father wishes is for the girls to hear from their mother the Russian fairy tale one more time, and this time all the way to the end, that she used to tell the girls as children. Through the fairy tale, we see the truth and journey that Anya lived through as a child herself, a life in war-torn Leningard, more than fifty years ago. The story is told alternating between the past and Anya's point of view growing up, and the present with Nina and Meredith learning the truth and secrets their mother has kept from them that would rock the foundation of their family. This was a rollercoaster of emotions type of book and Kelli absolutely loved it. We will not give anything away but even though there is dysfunction for this family, the love and hope comes through wonderfully. We cannot recommend this book enough!
Winter Garden was a fantastic read and made Kelli want to find a story with a similar plot of sisters and she found that in When We Believed in Mermaids. This story by Barbara O'Neal is a rollercoaster tale of two sisters, the mountain of lies, and search for truth that they live through. As far as Kit Bianci knows, her sister, Josie, was killed in a terrorist attack on a train fifteen years ago. So, how is it that she is now showing up on her television screen on live footage of a club fire in Auckland? The resemblance is uncanny and sets Kit through a world of emotions of grief, loss, and anger. Kit is having none of it and decides to travel to New Zealand to find out if it was truly her sister she saw on the television or not. Through her journey, Kit reminisces on her childhood with Josie, days spent on the beach, the boy who meant everything to them, and the trauma that affected the rest of their lives. The story is told in alternating perspectives with one chapter from Kit, and the next from Josie. This is a story about shared scars from their childhood and relationships with their parents, and how each of them works to overcome them. And when Kit finds Josie? Wow. A lot of truths and secrets come out, raw honesty between the sisters for probably the first time ever, and then healing and growth for both of them. A very good story that will pull you in for sure.
Our next suggestion is for those who are fans of memoirs and autobiographies. Kelli is a huge fan of Nikki and Brie Bella, The Bella Twins, largely thanks to her husband and Monday nights watching WWE! They instantly stood out to her and she started watching their shows Total Divas and then Total Bellas to see more of their lives. They wrote Incomparable, a co-memoir, a few years ago and she instantly bought it. You learn more about them as women and entrepreneurs in that book than watching season after season of both of their reality shows. They both touched upon difficult topics; Nikki with her teenage sexual assault and Brie with the death of a loved one, and showed an honest representation of feelings and how they handled these momentous occasions. They also touched upon the difficult childhood they had but also what they learned from that childhood, and how they used it to become the women that they are today. They have grown an empire - they've wrestled and have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, they were reality tv stars, started a winery business, a clothing business, and have a podcast.
Now how does this connect to Eat, Pray #FML by Gabrielle Stone? The writing! The Bella Twins and Gabrielle have very similar writing styles. It's easy, quick, but definitely gets the story across in a first person style. You feel like they are talking to you more than just reading a memoir if that makes sense. And the stories? They both show how they take something and turn it into success. In Eat, Pray, #FML, Gabrielle chronicles her journey from finding out her husband of a year and a half had been having an affair, to meeting a man two weeks later that she fell madly in love with, to being dumped by that man two days before leaving for a month long romantic vacation in Italy. What does she do? Stay home and be heartbroken? Nope! She decides to travel across Europe by herself for a month. Gabrielle chronicles her adventures, her heartbreak, the friendships she made, and how to change your life by just taking a leap.
Now, we have a feeling you've heard about Emily Henry's Beach Read. Emily Henry is a favorite of #booktok and #bookstagram. We can't scroll through either without seeing at least one of her books, and for good reason. She writes rom-coms that you just can't put down. In Beach Read, we meet Augustus and January. Both are writers spending the summer at neighboring beach houses to have dedicated writing time. Problem is, they're stuck. Neither can think of anything to write about, so they decide to spend time writing what the other specializes in. Literary fiction for Augustus and romance for January. Every week, they spend time conducting research - interviewing surviving cult members and rom-com worthy dates. It's so easy to fall in love with these characters and just get lost in their world.
So, besides the two books being rom-coms, how are Beach Read and How to Fail at Flirting similar? You don't want to put either of them down. In How to Fail at Flirting, Naya is a professor in a university and her department is on the brink. So, she goes out for a night on the town with a daring to-do list to move out of her comfort zone and forget about her worries. She meets a handsome stranger who's in town on business and decides to complete her to-do list, including a no-strings-attached hook up, with him. But of course, things don't go to plan. Naya is struggling to regain her self-confidence after an abusive relationship, and Jake - her handsome stranger - makes her feel alive. Things soon turn complicated when Naya and Jake realize there's a professional connection. Will Naya be able to keep both her career and Jake? Does she want to?
Stephen King is the master of horror, and he doesn't disappoint in The Institute. The Institute starts off with intruders breaking into a home, killing the parents, and kidnapping the son, Luke. Luke wakes up in The Institute in a room that looks exactly like his own. The Institute is filled with children who have been kidnapped for their special abilities, telepathy and telekinesis. Luke and the others, he realizes, are in The Front Half, which means others are in The Back Half. The staff of The Institute are working tirelessly to extract these special gifts from the children, and if you act up, punishments are ruthless. Luke is hellbent on escaping, but how? No one ever has before.
How are The Institute and The Sun Down Motel similar? They both weave together the paranormal and the ordinary extraordinarily well. In The Sun Down Motel, Viv is working at roadside motel to earn money to move to New York. Why is this weird? Thirty-five years earlier her aunt disappeared while working at the Sun Down Motel. Viv realizes while working there that something just isn't quite right at the Sun Down. Viv becomes determined to figure out just what is going on at the Sun Down, while trying to simultaneously figure out what happened to her aunt all those years ago. Does she figure it out? Or does Viv end up disappearing, just like her aunt?
Have you read any of these books? If not, we hope that we might have piqued your interest into checking one or all of them out! Is there a book that you have read you feel is similar to any of the ones we have mentioned? We are always looking for new reads and suggestions for books that we love! If you’d like to see what we are reading now, check out our Goodreads profiles (Kelli and Chelsea) or follow 2 Girls Bookin' It on Instagram and Facebook! If you’re excited to see what other topics we’ll be covering in the coming months, make sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading with us!