April 2019 Reading List.

April 2019 Reading List

This was a great book of reading (and you can tell I was traveling as I definitely read more than usual!) I still can’t stop thinking about Verity – it left me totally shook! WOW. Colleen Hoover has definitely established herself as one of my favorite authors. And of course Alyssa Mastromonaco’s new book (pictured above!) is an absolute must-read. I read a lot of other fantastic books though – this reading list has it all: thrillers, drama, memoirs, magic, and two great literary reads.


Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real time to my Amazon Shop. And, check out last month’s reading list, too.

And one last thing! What should I read next? Your suggestions are the BEST… thank you, thank you!

The Highly Anticipated Follow Up…

So Here's The Thing, by Alyssa Mastromonaco.So Here’s The Thing, by Alyssa Mastromonaco.

If you have been reading here a while, you know I LOVED Alyssa’s first book, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea. Like, really loved it, buying copies for several friends. You can read my review of that first book here. If you aren’t familiar with Alyssa, she was Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff and is now one of the co-hosts of the Hysteria podcast (from Crooked Media). What I love about her is how she manages to be so incredibly accomplished and aspirational; while also being refreshing and relatable. This book of essays covers everything from her friendship with Monica Lewinsky, to IBS, to how Jennifer Aniston got her through a breakup. I think her real message though is that you can be successful, you can be a badass (and work for the president if that’s what you want!) while still being yourself. And that’s a message I think women of all ages could really benefit from… we need more of this! So naturally, I really loved this book. And if you listen to our podcast on Wednesday, she is our guest! (Ep 47!) This book is a must-read for women of all ages – it’s informative and empowering but also hilarious.

  • Overall Score: A+

A New Favorite Author whose books will you destroy you in the best way.

Verity, by Colleen Hoover.Verity, by Colleen Hoover.

Holy crap. This book. It left me completely paralyzed at the end. I actually had to go out and leave my apartment and have drinks with a friend because I needed to have someone to talk to. Wow. This book. Lowen is a struggling writer who receives the opportunity of a lifetime: to finish Verity Crawford’s best-selling series. Verity has been in a horrible car crash and will likely never recover from her accident. Prior to her accident, the family suffers terrible loss: losing one daughter and then the other. Lowen moves up to the family’s Vermont house to go through Verity’s office and find any material she can use to begin the remaining books. But then she finds Verity’s autobiography; containing horrible secrets. Lowen struggles as she finds herself more and more attracted to Jeremy (Verity’s husband) and contemplating whether she should tell him about the manuscript. I am not going to say anything else as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but there’s a huge twist and then another twist. This book was brilliantly executed and I STILL can’t think about it. Definitely tune into episode 45 of the podcast to hear Becca and I chat about it in greater detail!

  • Overall Score: A+

It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover.It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover.

After reading Verity, I wanted more Colleen Hoover. Cassidy (my old intern) recommended reading It Ends With Us, saying that it destroyed her. (Um why am I such a masochist, WTF!?) I will start by saying that if you have experienced domestic abuse it could be triggering. This is the story of young Lily who grew up in a household with an abusive father. She moves to Boston and becomes immediately successful at just 23; opening her own successful flower shop. Then she meets dreamy, sexy Ryle. He’s a neurosurgeon and complicated – not wanting to be tied down. They ultimately fall in love but then her first love comes back into her life. It’s dramatic and upsetting and I don’t want to talk too much about the specifics of the plot to give anything away but it’s about domestic abuse; and hard to read at times – there are parts where I had to tell myself “Grace, it’s JUST A BOOK.” If you can handle this, I highly recommend it.

  • Overall Score: A-

The Weird but Beautiful One.

The Seas, by Samantha Hunt.The Seas, by Samantha Hunt.

Okay, I finished this book and was like WHAT DID I JUST READ!?!? How to even describe it. This is a feminist fairytale of sorts; originally released in 2004, a little ahead of its time. It was re-released in 2018. It’s so beautiful. The writing is exquisite, almost like poetry. But also, I couldn’t tell what was real and what was fake. It’s set in a northern coastal fishing town (In envisioned the most northern parts of Maine) and it’s the story of an (unnamed) nineteen year old narrator. She’s a misfit, living at home with her mother and grandfather. When she was young, her father disappeared (walking into the ocean and never returning); but he’s told her that she is a mermaid. She clings to this belief and water is an omnipresent theme throughout. She’s in love with an Iraq war vet, Jude – he’s thirteen years older than her. The romance ultimately lands her in jail. I struggled to understand what was real and what was a dream; and whether she was insane in the real world or sane in a magical one. It’s a little weird but I couldn’t put it down and would definitely recommend it (and would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read it!!!).

  • Overall Score: B+

The one about magic.

An Unkindness of Magicians, by Kat Howard.An Unkindness of Magicians, by Kat Howard.

If you’ve read here long, you probably know that I love magic. And this book did not disappoint. I wasn’t sure whether to classify it as YA or not, as it definitely felt more adult (kinda like the Discovery of Witches books.) This is set in modern day New York except there is this whole Harry Potter-like magical world that the “mundanes” cannot see. And every twenty years there is what they call The Turning, where a big tournament (a series of duals) between the magical houses. The Turning comes early this year. Our heroine Sylvia emerges from The Shadows (but you will learn what that is), appointed champion by one of the smaller houses. She’ll face Ian Merlin and Grey Prospero (from two  of the larger, more established houses). Secrets emerge, and Sylvia has quite a score to settle. At first I found it hard to keep up with (so many characters, so many magical terms, but once I settled into a groove with it, I couldn’t put it down!

  • Overall Score: A-

The buzzy literary one.

Normal People, by Sally Rooney - April 2019 Reading ListNormal People, by Sally Rooney.

I was lucky to get my hands on this one a bit early as Book of the Month asked me to review it for them (it’s one of April’s picks)! It’s hard to put this book into words but it really just captures friendship and dating (especially those weird relationships where you care deeply about a person but aren’t actually together). This novel is raw and real and also a little bit political. Connell and Marianne meet in high school. Connell is the popular one; Marianne is the outsider – the weird girl that no one wants to be friends with. They develop a secret romance of sorts; you can tell they both care about each other but don’t want to acknowledge it. The book follows them to college where the dynamics shift – suddenly Marianne is the popular one.  Throughout, they try being together and not being together. It’s depressing and sad at times but also so realistic – the characters are so relatable. I really loved it and I won’t spoil the ending but it had me thinking for days afterward! We are discussing this one on the podcast in a couple months and I can’t wait.

  • Overall Score: A-

Photo by Carter Fish.

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  1. Your reading posts always motivate me so much! I can’t wait to get my hands on a few of these books. Thanks, Grace. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    4.2.19 Reply
  2. I don’t know if it’s just me but whenever I want to buy a book I can never find book recommendations that I trust I’ll like so I really enjoy your book recommendations, thanks for sharing!

    4.2.19 Reply
  3. aglass:

    I just started reading My Lovely Wife last night and I stayed up until 1:00 am reading…couldn’t put it down. Very original and so engaging. Not sure how it ends, I’m 3/4 of the way through, but Definitely recommend.

    4.2.19 Reply
  4. I loved Normal People as well! And just finished 2 other 5 star books – Miracle Creek (also an April BOTM pick) and Daisy Jones & the Six, which is everywhere but the hype is real and it has a great chance at being my #1 book of 2019. It’s going to be hard to beat it.

    4.2.19 Reply
  5. Lisa Autumn:

    Oh they all sound amazing1 Thank you girl!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

    4.2.19 Reply
  6. Colleen Hoover is my FAVORITE author!!! It Ends with Us is one of my favorite books ever! Recent winners I’ve read that you might enjoy: Cancel the Wedding, How to Walk Away, & Swear on this Life. All so good!

    4.2.19 Reply
  7. Kate:

    I just finished “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls” by Anissa Gray and would highly recommend it. The story is about three sisters, one of whom is in jail at the opening of the book, and each chapter is told through their alternating voices—you piece together the story of what happened, and what is currently happening. Definitely a character-driven story of family, relationships, and mothers and daughters.

    4.2.19 Reply
  8. Lacey:

    I just chose Normal People from BOTM (because of your wonderful review). I have Verity on my Kindle (sounds like I need to get to it already) and I cannot wait to read Alyssa’s new book. I loved her last one.

    This month I read:
    The Sea of Tranquility – I’m pretty sure it’s YA, but there are some very non-YA things going on, IMO. But I just loved it. I could not get enough of it and wanted more when it was over.

    An Anonymous Guest by Greer Hendricks and Sara Pekkanen – This was a fun thriller. I really enjoyed it.

    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – Have you read this? It doesn’t fit in my typical genres, but it was so refreshing.

    The Lost Man by Jane Harper – This is my first Harper book and now I need to read them all. Really loved this one.

    The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – the last in the All Souls trilogy – kind of just glad it’s over. I liked the first book the best.

    Firestarter by Stephen King – Loved it – had a great build up and great ending, IMO.

    Have you read any of these?

    4.2.19 Reply
  9. As always, so many brilliant recommendations that have gone straight into my cart – I especially can’t wait to read An Unkindness of Magicians (fellow Harry Potter nerd) and Alyssa Mastromonaco’s new book (as a former politico, I love anything written by a current or former DC insider).

    Briony xx

    4.2.19 Reply
    • P.S. I’ve just started reading Stephen King’s 12/22/63 – did you ever read it? It’s a few years old but I just found it while cleaning up our bookshelf (the ‘to read’ pile is vast in our household) and it is SO good and possibly right up your alley!

      Briony xx

      4.2.19 Reply
    • You are going to absolutely LOVE them both!!!!

      4.2.19 Reply
  10. Verity sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    4.2.19 Reply
  11. Caroline:

    Adding “normal people” tp my list. Sounds just up my alley. Thanks for sharing

    4.2.19 Reply
  12. Melissa:

    Daisy Jones & The Six!

    4.3.19 Reply
    • YAS – it’s on the list as we are reading it in April!!!

      4.3.19 Reply
      • Ashley:

        I will be curious to hear your thoughts on DJ&6. It was a great read and thoroughly kept me interested. Still, it fell short of all the hype (IMO -before I get slayed!). I kept waiting for one more layer, one more ‘thing’ to really pull me all the way under. One of my fellow book lovers said it was better than Evelyn Hugo… for me, not even close.

        Love following your book suggestions and all your readers’ comments!

        Have a great weekend.

        4.19.19 Reply
        • I liked it but it was not my favorite!!! We are talking about it on Wednesday’s episode of the podcast!!!
          Would tend to agree with you – Evelyn Hugo was SO MUCH BETTER – but that was one of my absolute all time faves!!!

          4.19.19 Reply
  13. Just read Ghosted and loved it and think you will too.

    4.3.19 Reply
    • I LOVED Ghosted! You should listen to episode 24 of our podcast – we did a book club episode around it!!!

      4.3.19 Reply
  14. dana mannarino:

    Another month, another 31890283 books added to my TBR list 😉
    PS: VERITY STILL HAS ME SHOOOOOOOOOOOOK. Cannot believe you didn’t talk about it ONCE during the live show hahah

    The Champagne Edit

    4.3.19 Reply
  15. I’m dying to read Verity now! It Ends with Us was my first Colleen Hoover book and it made me want to read everything she has written!

    4.3.19 Reply
  16. I love your monthly roundups! I have been wanting to get my hands on some of Colleen Hoover’s books!


    4.4.19 Reply
  17. These all sounds great! Normal People is already on my TBR


    4.8.19 Reply
  18. Kristy:

    I love the podcast but I’m so sad I listened to your episode about Verity because there’s no point reading the book. The twists at the end were completely given away. Maybe there was a disclaimer that I missed (I’ve been binging the pod as I only just found out about it!), so if that’s the case, I’ll just be mad at myself! LOL I am just so bummed that there’s no point in me reading this A+ book recommendation because I know what happens in the end . . . 🙁

    4.18.19 Reply
    • Hey Kristy,
      I’m so sorry that happened – but yeah, that’s sort of the thing/theme of the podcast – we announce the books months in advance so that everyone can read, and then discuss in a book club format! We just announced the next few books on our feed so hopefully you can read the next few ones and follow along!

      4.18.19 Reply
  19. AC:

    I just finished it in a day and the roller coaster of emotion was just whoa. Like you said you needed someone to talk to haha like my therapist maybe?!
    I am a therapist myself and I love psychological thrillers and most bore me at points because I tend to predict the end too fast but this one had me the whole time!! Wow wow wow

    12.31.19 Reply
  20. EC:

    I’m surprised that you liked Verity so much because I have loved most of your recommendations, but this one was a huge miss for me. The writing was really bad (you don’t need to explain every thought a character might be having, it feels childish and dumbed down…kind of like a romance novel), and the sex scenes and the violence were gratuitous and unnecessary. It read exactly as a romance author attempting a thriller, and I don’t think it was successful at all.

    Regardless, I appreciate your recommendations and always look forward to find out what you will read next!

    1.14.20 Reply
    • Aw that’s too bad! I really enjoyed it – yes a bit dumbed down but fun and the twist at the end killed me. To each their own!

      1.14.20 Reply