This month’s reading list is a longer one… but the great thing is that nearly all of these books can be read in a day or two if you’re a fast reader (I am). Lots of good beach books, this month – I really (more or less) enjoyed them all!!!
In last month’s reading list, I featured The Husband’s Secret. Loved it. That was probably my favorite book last month. You can probably tell by now that I love a good thriller. And so I started this month with Big Little Lies (by the same author, Liane Moriarty) and just adored it. It was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I read it in less than two days. It’s a murder mystery “whodunnit” and you learn from the beginning that someone has been killed. You don’t know who died… and you don’t know who the killer is, either. More or less, it deals with three very different women – all mothers to kindergarten classmates, and their unique (but intertwined stories). The ending has so many twists and turns and I found myself being surprised at both who the victim was and who the killer was!
So anyway I liked Big Little Lies so much that I had to read What Alice Forgot next. I guess it’s safe to say that I’m really, really into all things Liane Moriarty right now. The main character (Alice, of course), wakes up at the gym. She’s fallen off of her spin bike and has forgotten the past ten years of her life… the years between 29 and 39. A lot has changed. She’s estranged from her husband, has three children who she does not remember, and finds all of her new friends to be… rather annoying and obnoxious. I thought it was especially interesting how the book explored the relationships between the characters… managing to portray such a realistic look at what can change in all types of relationships (family, friends, marriage) over time… and the work that you have to put in to repair them.
In a sea of thrillers, it was fun to read something sweet. I checked out A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (several of you had recommended reading it), and I loved every minute. It was one of the sweetest, most heartwarming books I’ve read in ages. I am not a big crier, but this one had me choking up (poolside, glass of rosé in hand… causing a lot of confusion to my friends). I can’t say enough good things about it… it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read all summer. It will make you look at the older, grumpier people in your life a bit differently.
I really enjoyed Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain. It alternates between the protagonist (Molly)’s upbringing in a small North Carolina town + her life in present day San Diego as she tries to adopt a child (whilst dealing with some pretty heavy issues from her own childhood). Although there were a lot of times throughout the story that I was very annoyed/frustrated with Molly, (I’m sure this was intentional on Chamberlain’s part)l, I eventually warmed to her and I really loved the ending.
Okay okay, I hate saying it, but I was very disappointed by The Widow from Fiona Barton. I am including it here because I still enjoyed it… it was well-written and intriguing to read… but everyone was hailing it as the next Gone Girl. So I read and I read, the whole time, expecting a big plot twist. There was no twist, and I was bummed out. It’s still a good book… but it wasn’t Gone Girl. A word to the literary critics out there – just because a book is ultra dark doesn’t make it the next Gone Girl.. it needs to have a good twist!
I absolutely LOVED The Assistants, by Camille Perri! This was such a fun read that I read it in under a day. If you loved The Devil Wears Prada, you’ll love this. The characters are incredibly real (and likeable) and the story is (while a bit implausible at times) totally crazy and fun. I really hope that they turn this one into a movie as I could completely envision it being such a good one.
Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s to Us is another great beach read. I don’t know how, but I’ve never read any of Hilderbrand’s books and she has written SO MANY! (So many of my girlfriends are die-hard fans). Anyway, this one deals with the death of a celebrity chef and his crazy family (consisting of his three ex-wives and three children from each marriage). Could you imagine, three wives living together in a beach house for a long weekend? Oof. With lots of different stories and plot lines going on with each character, I found myself immersed in this one… I (again) read it in a day.