April 2018 Reading List.

april 2018 reading list | the stripe

Another month of reading! Honestly, this month was a mixed bag. There were winners and losers. My favorite book this month (far and away) was The Alice Network, which was recommended to me by SO many of you! I’m so glad I finally picked it up! My copy is now with my mom and she is loving it too. This was a slightly lighter month reading wise as I got sucked back into Blindspot on TV. Isn’t it the best when you forget about one of your favorite shows and then there’s an entire season to binge!? This month I added ratings to my reviews… hope that’s helpful!

If you’re looking for a book, don’t forget – you can always check out my Book Club Page. I have literally listed every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years…. and you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for And of course, you can also take a peek at March’s reading list, which was a good one – I read seven books last month!! Also, in case you can’t wait til next month, I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading to my Amazon Shop.

AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my FAV… I literally shop the comments section of these post – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

* The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah is definitely a departure for me in terms of the books I typically like to read. (I’ve never been into books about survival/cold weather or Alaska), but I wanted to read this as I absolutely love the author (The Nightingale was one of my favorite books; you can read my review of it here). Oh my gosh, it’s SO SAD. But also very uplifting at the same time. It’s set in the seventies – the story of Leni and her parents, who move from Portland to Alaska. Her dad is a Vietnam vet (suffering from major PTSD which went undiagnosed at the time). There are so many messages within the book, but really it’s the story of survival – and the strength that Leni and her mother find. In between there is a love story, a murder, and so much more. What I took away from it (and loved) most were the strong female characters – and their unbreakable relationships. This one is sad, but it’s an amazing story – and having read The Nightingale, really showcases Kristin Hannah’s versatility as an author. I know a lot of you didn’t love this one (based on DM’s that I received) but I really enjoyed it. (For the record, I did like the Nightingale better, but that’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.)

  • Overall score: B+

* Not That I Could Tell, by Jessica Strawser was my Book of the Month pick! It was described to me as Big Little Lies meets Gone Girl, and that’s pretty much exactly it.. maybe just add a little Desperate Housewives to the mix. 5 women (neighbors) meet for wine one night and the next day, one has disappeared. Everyone is a bit foggy from the night before, and the investigation quickly centers around Kristin (who’d always seemed the perfect mother/friend/PTA member)’s husband Paul. Did he kill her? Was he abusive? Did she run? That’s the question and I will just leave it at that. In between the mystery, it focuses on the other women in the story (mainly Izzy who is new to town, and Clara who was Kristin’s closest friend) and their own personal crises + histories. I tore through it. I wouldn’t say it’s the best (or even one of the best) book I’ve read, but it was fun and juicy and the ending definitely surprised me and you know I love being surprised.

  • Overall score: B

* The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn had been recommended to me by SO many of you. And oh my god I’m so glad that I listened to you. It was an amazing, amazing read – alternating between WWI and post WWII. It’s partially based on the true story of  Louise de Bettignies (codename Alice) who managed The Alice Network (a network of female spies during World War I). The book is the story of Charlie (a young, pregnant American, in France – looking for her cousin in the WWII aftermath) and Eve (a former spy). It alternates between 1915 and 1947… telling Eve’s story as a young girl turned spy (working for the mesmerizing Lili/Alice; the things she did to get secrets) and Charlie’s as she hunts for their cousin. This book is kind of everything you could want: there’s a great mystery, it’s incredibly heartwarming, there are parts that are factually based (so you learn a bit) and who doesn’t love spies! This was a really, really good read. I know I’m late to the party here as this was a reader rec from so many of you, but if you haven’t already read it, read it now!!

  • Overall score: A

* One Of Us is Lying, by Karen M. McManus, is a super fun read-in-one-day mystery. Five students get detention, during which, one of them dies. Each student is pretty much your stereotype (the brain, the beauty, the jock, the troublemaker) and of course it is the outcast that dies. As it turns out, the outcast in the group has a Gossip Girl style blog that was about to reveal juicy secrets about each of those four students. Immediately, the remaining four students are called into question. One of them is lying… or is someone else the killer! Honestly, I didn’t think that this was particularly well written (it could be the author’s attempt to sound like a teenager, and I get that) but it didn’t flow particularly well and there were a lot of grammatical errors. That being said, I loved the story and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in a day. Spoiler alert: This may or may not be our next Young Adulting book… but tune into tomorrow’s episode for more on that!

  • Overall score: B

* The Secret to Southern Charm, by Kristy Woodson Harvey, is a part of Harvey’s Peachtree Bluff series (you can read my review of her first book here). Last year, Kristy reached out and sent me her first book and I grew so attached to the characters that it felt like actual  agony to have to wait a year to find out what happened to them next. Now here I am again, slightly satisfied, but dying for the next one. This series is SO GOOD. If you love Elin Hilderbrand, you’ll love Kristy’s books. This is the story of a big family (grandmother, mother, three daughters + lots of grandchildren) living in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia. It’s heartwarming and sweet and she is just one of the best storytellers. My only complaint is that I am DYING for the next one (and looking back at my review of the first book, that’s what I said then too!) If you haven’t read the first one, do yourself a favor and order both books. They are just the best.

  • Overall Score: A-

* Do Not Be Alarmed, by Maile Meloy was honestly just meh. Two families go on a cruise, bringing their kids along. Everything is going swimmingly until they go on an excursion and everything goes to hell. The adults end up separated from the kids, and the kids end up getting kidnapped. The story alternates between the perspective of both the adults and the children. It was anxiety inducing and scary but it just kind of left me wondering why I’d spent hours reading. I didn’t get much out of it, there weren’t any twists, and it dragged for long stretches. I gave it a B- because it is beautifully written – the author is a really good writer. But I feel like maybe she should stick to literary fiction as the plot was just okay.

  • Overall Score: B-

photo by Carter Fish.

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  1. Yay, another monthly reading list! I always get so excited for them. 🙂 Not That I Could Tell sounds just like my cup of tea! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    4.3.18 Reply
  2. sharon:

    I am reading the Alice Network right now and am loving it. My 2018 selections so far have been hit or miss. I also enjoyed Slightly south of simple but was quite disappointed in Anatomy of a Scandal. The Woman in the Window was very good but I am pretty sure that you have already read it! Love these posts!

    4.3.18 Reply
  3. sydnee:

    I just added The Alice Network to my list! Love your recs, as usual! xo

    Design by Sydnee | life+style

    4.3.18 Reply
  4. Alisande:

    In the vein of The Alice Network, I highly recommend the Marian Sutro books by Simon Mawer. There are two- Trapeze and Tightrope (I’m not sure if he will write more). Marian ends up working for the French Resistance- there is action, romance, and WWII history. Great books!

    4.3.18 Reply
  5. I really did not like “Do Not Be Alarmed”. It was a rare time I actually just gave up with the book. I was nervous about reading it because we’re going on a cruise this summer with my two young kids but I just found the whole thing so unbelievable that it didn’t even induce real life anxiety in me, haha.

    Also listened to your podcast this morning and have “The Selection” on hold at the library! You said something about it being 3 books- there’s 5!

    4.3.18 Reply
    • I’m glad I’m not alone here!

      And yes! I know there are 5, but the last two are about her kids… we decided to skip those 2 books, we’d had enough. The first 3 are about America and the prince.

      4.3.18 Reply
  6. Sarah Livingstone:

    I just finished reading The Heart’s Invisible Furies and The Bright Hour, LOVED both! If anyone reads The Bright Hour, there’s also a Modern Love podcast episode based on a chapter from the book, read by Kate Winslet that was amazing/heartbreaking. Happy reading 🙂

    4.3.18 Reply
  7. Suze:

    On recent long flights- loved “The Wedding Date” (excited that the author has a new novel coming out in September!) and also the new one from Chris Bojahalin- “The Flight Attendant”. I enjoy a non-predictable thriller!

    4.3.18 Reply
    • OOOH I’m excited too! Didn’t know that.
      Thank you for the rec will check it out!!!

      4.3.18 Reply
  8. Rowena:

    I just finished The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah…all I can say is Oh. My. God. I’m not an emotional person at all but it left me heartbroken in a good way if that makes sense! Strong female protagonists, a truly fascinating storyline, and allll of the emotions. This was the first book of hers that I have read, and it started off a little slowly but the second half absolutely more than makes up for the slow going first half. I’m actually reading the selection series right now because I needed something light and fun that I didn’t have to think about after finishing that! I’m also completely obsessed with The Selection right now (embarrassingly so haha), so thanks for that reccomendation!

    4.3.18 Reply
  9. I also LOVED the Alice Network.
    I am just finishing Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and I love it! I also just finished Broken Girls, the new book by Simone St James. She write paranormal historical fiction and I love all her books.

    4.3.18 Reply
  10. Cory:

    Ok…I really need to read The Alice Network. It keeps getting recommended to me and I keep forgetting about it. Ordering now! I am currently reading The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian. I hadn’t read one of his books in a long time and forgot how much I like his writing.

    4.3.18 Reply
  11. M Beckwith:

    Something for your “to read” list – coming out in May… “The Map of Salt and Stars” by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar A masterful debut novel already getting huge buzz in the publishing world !

    4.3.18 Reply
  12. I read The Great Alone in March and absolutely loved it as soon as I could stop sobbing! I also read High Performance Habits. It was GREAT!

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  13. I love reading posts! I’m currently reading The Hideaway.

    4.3.18 Reply
  14. I felt the same way about “Do Not Become Alarmed” – as I was reading it, and after, I just felt like, why did I just read that? It was definitely well-written but I just kept waiting for some twist or for it come together in some meaningful way…it felt strangely random. The Alice Network sounds great, can’t wait to read that! Can’t remember if you’ve read it but just finished “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,” and it was really good!

    4.3.18 Reply
    • I loooovedd Eleanor – I read it a few months back and really enjoyed her character.

      4.4.18 Reply
  15. jamie:

    You have to read Pachinko. I could not put it down and now that i’m finished with it, i can’t quite thinking about it. Multi-generational, sweeping epic tale.

    4.3.18 Reply
  16. You are wonderful!!! Thank you so much for including me, Grace. I appreciate it so much!! xoxo Kristy

    4.4.18 Reply
  17. Allie McCabe:

    I just made my entire summer reading list from your reviews! All in my Amazon cart so I hope you get your credit 🙂 I didn’t see Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan anywhere, I think you will enjoy it.

    4.4.18 Reply
    • Allie McCabe:

      Oh and Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue.

      4.4.18 Reply
    • I haven’t read that one yet – thanks for the suggestions!!!

      4.4.18 Reply
  18. Regina:

    Will definitely add The Alice Network to my list!
    Just finished The Power by Naomi Alderman and highly recommend it! It’s about how teenage girls and women start to develop a special power that males don’t have, and it totally shifts the power balance and society throughout the world. Not sci-fi, just good fiction.

    4.4.18 Reply
  19. gina:

    I love your reading lists! I try to add them on audible so that I can read some at night before bed and listen to others on audible in the car. I’m finishing up The Alice Network now! Have you read Crazy Rich Asians?? I am on the second one now called China Rich Girlfriend and I am loving it. I think they are working on a movie now too

    4.5.18 Reply
    • I actually really didnt’ like that series! I couldn’t get into it and think I’m the only one!!!

      4.5.18 Reply
  20. Yes! Love your reading lists 🙂 Buying The Alice Network today. Heard it on your podcast first though obvs!

    4.5.18 Reply
  21. Ela:

    Tore through The Wife Between Us. I have a weakness for ‘woman wronged’ thrillers. The Alice Network was really good. Can I recommend Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. I read it at the beginning of the year and it has just stayed with me ever since.

    4.6.18 Reply
  22. Lia:

    Love your book lists! Would love to see more diversity in your book recommendations though, there are some great books out there by diverse authors. Hopefully we’ll see more variety going forward. 🙂

    4.9.18 Reply
  23. Beth:

    Love your recommendations, as always! I have been reading the Maggie Hope Mystery series by Susan Elia MacNeal, about an American-born woman living in London who becomes a codebreaker and spy for the British government during WWII. Very readable and interesting, especially if you like historical fiction.

    4.10.18 Reply
  24. Adare:

    Reading Rosie Colored Glasses – sad but liking it a lot! Otherwise we’ve read pretty much the identical books so far this year

    4.11.18 Reply
  25. Emily:

    Since you like thrillers, I figured I should recommend “The Six” by Anni Taylor. It’s around 400 pages, and I read it in less than a day, because I couldn’t stop! She has written 2 thrillers under the name Anni Taylor and 5 YA paranormal/sci-if books under the name Anya Allyn. I’ve read each book in a day. They can be kind of weird, I’m not gonna lie, but she has become one of my favorite authors!

    4.13.18 Reply
  26. I’m almost done with Not That I Could Tell and its a fun read. I really want to follow along with the Young Adulting podcast discussion so it will either be The Selection or One Of Us Is Lying…so I can have a light read for my weekend travels. But, the Oracle Year is a definite up next read for me.

    4.17.18 Reply
  27. Lauren:

    Check out The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin! Just finished and it’s one of my favorite books that I’ve read in a long time!

    4.21.18 Reply
  28. Loving this — trying to do more reading and as much as I like holding the actual book I took advantage of that Kindle deal someone in your FB group mentioned (yay!!) and super excited about the idea of reading during two upcoming trips. Going to check out Alice Network… thanks! And ps: love the rating system this month.


    4.25.18 Reply