book reviews

All the Books I’ve Recently Read

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Sweater | Jeans | iPhone case | Dresser | Rug

I just downloaded my most recent audiobook and realized that I hadn’t done a book review post in awhile and I have gotten through quite a few books! Here are all my recent reads:

1. The Great Believers – This story follows a group of friends throughout the AIDS epidemic in the 80’s and also the present day. Yale is a development director for a gallery in Chicago and begins losing his friends to AIDS, and soon the only person left is his friend’s little sister Fiona. Fiona is struggling with her own issues as she is searching for her daughter whom she hasn’t spoken with in more than a year. The book follows both Yale and Fiona’s stories though decades apart. The book is very well written and gets better as it goes on, but it was not my favorite out of this list.

2. Before She Knew Him – I gravitate towards mysteries and thrillers more than any other genre so you can always bet there will be at least one if not a few in my book review posts. This one was a good mystery but not on the edge of your seat (though I don’t think all of them need to be). Hen and her husband decide to have dinner with the neighbors one night and Hen notices a trophy on her neighbor’s shelf that may be related to a murder that happened a few years ago. When she looks into it, things take a strange turn and she is left knowing more than she wants to. The ending has some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming which made me like the book even more!

3. The Better Sister – Chloe and Nicky are sisters but couldn’t be more different. Chloe is an overachiever and builds a very successful career in publishing, while Nicky can’t seem to get her life together. What makes things even more complicated is that Chloe ends up marrying Nicky’s ex-husband, Adam, and is now a stepmother to her sister’s son. But when Adam is murdered one evening while Chloe is out, she is forced to reconnect with her sister in an effort to find out who the killer is.

4. Whisper Network – This book is part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club and I enjoy many of her picks so I decided to give it a go. To be honest, it took me awhile to get into but I did enjoy it as the story went on. A group of women executives at a sports apparel company decide to file a sexual harassment suit against their boss who is positioned to become CEO of the company. Unfortunately things don’t go as they hoped and it becomes a he said/she said case made even more difficult when something happens to their boss unexpectedly. After finishing the book, I listened to an excerpt from the author about why she wrote this book. She talks about her own experience with sexual harassment in the workplace and how she struggled with standing up for herself. While the book wasn’t the best read out of the bunch, I did enjoy it and felt it brought to light the issues that many women face in the workplace.

5. The Lost Girls of Paris – A less interesting version of Lilac Girls if I had to sum this novel up in one sentence. It follows the lives of a few women that were recruited to be spies during WWII, and the tragic fate that awaited them. Lilac Girls was much better.

6. Winter Solstice – Oh Elin Hildebrand, how I love your sappy romance novels. If you enjoy stories about family, love, life struggles, a bit of drama and some romance thrown in, then pick up an Elin Hildebrand novel. It’s a great beach read (or more like a crisp fall day read).

7. The Masterpiece – I LOVED Redeeming Love which is by the same author so I definitely wanted to read more from her. This was really good but I still enjoyed Redeeming Love better. It had the same feel – two people that aren’t right for each other come together in unique circumstances and find out they are meant to be. There is a strong religious undertone in all her novels, which does not bother me but it was quite significant in this book. So if that is not your thing, you may want to skip this one.

8. Before We Were Strangers – This book has been recommended to me so many times so I finally decided to read it. Sloane McBride’s mother went missing more than 20 years ago and she has always suspected that her father had something to do with it. After moving to NYC and becoming a successful model, she decides to go back home to Texas and see if she can uncover the truth about her mom’s disappearance. Unfortunately the person standing in her way in the investigation is her own father. This book takes a few twists and turns and I couldn’t really decide if her father did it until the very end of the book.

9. The Good Girl – An abduction gone awry. Mia is the daughter of a powerful judge and socialite in Chicago who goes missing suddenly. The man hired to abduct her decides at the last minute not to deliver her to the men who want to hold her for ransom. Instead he takes her to his cabin in the woods and they hide out. Things become complicated the longer Mia remains in his custody and her family must decide how to get her home. The book definitely kept my attention and the ending really threw me for a loop!

My July Reading List

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I’m back with all the books I’ve finished last month. To be honest, there were three additional books that I read this month that I didn’t list below because they were awful. Two I couldn’t finish and the third I just skimmed the last few chapters of the book because I couldn’t take it anymore. LOL But the six I’m sharing below are all worth mentioning and reading! You can browse through all of my past book reviews posts here if you want more recommendations of things to read.
1. We All Love the Beautiful Girls – This book was good but wasn’t my favorite out of this bunch. Mia and Michael’s family and life begins to fall apart after they find out their best friend scammed them out of their life savings and their son has an accident at a party that leaves him very injured. The story is about their journey through it all and how it affects their friendships and relationships. It kept my interest but there were much better books that I read this month.
2. Redeeming Love – Wow. Wow. Wow. Based on the cover of this book, I was expecting a cheesy romantic love story but this was so much more than that! Angel is sold into prostitution at a young age and is living a life of emptiness and hatred until she meets Michael Hosea. Michael is extremely religious and feels that God wants him to be with Angel. He visits her at her brothel and tries to convince he to leave with him. After she is beaten badly one night by a client, she agrees to go with Michael and ultimately marry him. Since Angel never learned how to trust a man, she struggles with being Michael’s wife. Michael stays steadfast to his commitment to God that he will love this woman and be with her no matter how hard she makes it for him. To be honest, I did not think I was going to like this book as much as I did and was so sad when it was over. Such a great (and emotional) read.
3. Not That I Could Tell – A group of neighborhood moms who are all friends get together one night to drink wine and chat around the fire pit. By the next morning, one of the mothers has vanished and taken her two children with her. Everyone is stunned by her disappearance, most of all her soon to be ex-husband who fears something has happened to her and the children. At first, her ex-husband is not a suspect but slowly becomes one as more about him is revealed. This book moved a bit slow in the beginning but the ending really threw me and it saved the entire book for me. I ended up really liking this one.
4. Then She Was Gone – This book was a bit twisted but a thrilling read. Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together after the disappearance of her daughter ten years ago. One afternoon Laurel meets Floyd at a coffee shop and is surprised at how quickly a relationship develops between them. Floyd has two daughters and Laurel is taken aback when she meets his youngest one who bears a very strong resemblance to her daughter that disappeared years earlier. As Laurel learns more about Floyd and who he really is, her world is turned upside down. Loved this one and couldn’t put it down!
5. This Is How It Always Is – Out of all the books I read, this one was my absolute favorite. Rosie and Penn have four boys and when they get pregnant for the fifth time, they are hoping for a girl. When Claude is born, they are overjoyed for his arrival and have accepted that their family will only be boys. When Claude is five, he begins to start wearing dresses and says that he wants to grow up and be a girl. While Rosie and Penn think it is just a phase, they soon learn it is not. After much discussion, they decide to let Claude begin dressing like a girl and allow him to change his name to Poppie. Unfortunately the school and community are not as accepting of this and it ultimately forces the family to move to Seattle. They make the decision to not tell anyone in their new city about Poppie and hope that in time they can reveal the truth and people will accept her. Keeping this a secret puts a great deal of strain on the entire family. The dynamics of the family and the struggles that they face trying to allow their son to be who he feels he is inside brought out so much emotion for me while reading this. It’s such a wonderful book.
6. My Lovely Wife – This book is a bit twisted but a really good read. Millicent and her husband seem like the normal suburban couple with two kids and a great life. Except they like to murder people in their spare time. Eek! They decide to try and pin it on a local serial killer that has already been convicted of similar crimes in the past but that plan soon fails and they must regroup to figure out how to prevent themselves from being caught. There were quite a few twists and turns in this book and the ending was a huge surprise for me!

 

What are you currently reading? Any books that you would recommend?

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Past Posts

All the Books I’ve Finished This Past Month

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A Duster Cardigan + My Recent Reading List

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