Everything I Read in April 2020.

Everything I Read in April 2020

This was a good month of books. Last month I definitely struggled more with reading; but this month was definitely a lot better. As we settle into this new {temporary!!} normal, it has gotten a bit easier to focus, which has definitely made it a lot easier to read and I’m very thankful for that.

Everything I Read in April 2020.

This month, I started out with a non-fiction pick. This book about Instagram is fascinating; I learned a ton from reading it. If you work in the social media or tech spaces or just love learning about startups, I think you’ll really enjoy it. I also loved reading Kristy Woodson Harvey’s latest book – she is a really good person to read right now; her books are like a warm, happy hug. (God, do I miss hugs!) and a SLEW of fun thrillers. And of course Emily Giffin’s book (not out until June, but worth the preorder!) was fantastic. She never disappoints.

TELL ME WHAT YOU ARE READING! I’m always looking for great recommendations… I love reading your comments!

IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.

We just redid it and it looks so good! Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past five years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) and now filter by GRADE to find exactly what you’re looking for or just peruse my top picks. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list and everything I read in 2019!

All of these picks are linked over at Bookshop.org, too! (Read my post about them; I love the work they’re doing to support indie bookstores.)

The untold story of Instagram!

Everything I Read in April 2020No Filter, by Sarah Frier

This book has gotten a lot of buzz in the social media world and as someone who has been on Instagram since the early days (when I just used it as a filter to post my photos to twitter – LOL) I found it fascinating. I loved learning more about the decisions behind each of the choices the founders made. And it was so interesting to learn how they built the business and grew it from a tiny app into the thing we all know and love today. I really enjoyed learning more about the founders and the decisions they made along the way to become successful, what it was like making the decision to sell their company to Facebook (and ultimately surrender creative control).

Everything they did (even the filters!) was done for a reason and has a story behind it. Frier also talked to several prominent influencers and touched on influencer culture a bit. It was all just SO interesting. I couldn’t put it down and learned a TON from reading it. It’s not as salacious as The Social Network (the story just isn’t as scandalous!) but if you enjoyed that book, you will probably really enjoy this one!

  • Overall Score: A-

A must-read, feel good book!

Everything I Read in April 2020Feels Like Falling, by Kristy Woodson Harvey.

If you’ve been reading here a while, it’s no secret that I ADORE Kristy Woodson Harvey’s books. Kristy is the voice we need right now during the pandemic. Her books are just so heartwarming and happy.. you always put them down feeling warm and fuzzy or crying happy tears. (If you love Elin Hilderbrand, Kristy’s been compared to the Southern version, which I would agree with!) Being the thriller addict I am, I always read them, waiting for one of the characters to turn bad or become a villain, but that rarely (never? trying to think here!) happens with Kristy’s books.

This book is the story of two women; Diana and Gray. Gray is the super successful founder of an affiliate marketing company. She’s just lost her mother and is going through a divorce. Diana is 40, breaking up with her loser boyfriend, and just fired from her job. The two women could not be more different but find themselves in an unlikely friendship, coming to really lean on each other. Their friendship is the most important part of the book but there’s also a hefty dose of romance and redemption. I couldn’t put it down and just felt so happy upon finishing it.

  • Overall Score: A-

A few fun thrillers!

The Last House Guest, by Megan MirandaThe Last House Guest, by Megan Miranda

I love Megan Miranda’s books and this one did not disappoint! (She is so great at a twist!) This one (set in a coastal Maine vacation town) is about the death of one of the town’s summer residents, Sadie Loman. The death is ruled a suicide but Sadie’s best friend Avery has evidence that proves otherwise. And so she embarks on a search to figure out what really happened to her friend. Alternating between the summer of 2017 (when the Sadie’s death happened) and a year later, this one is very fast-paced, has a lot of twists and turns and constantly kept me guessing. And having grown up on Cape Cod of course I loved the dynamic between the locals and the summer residents (it felt very real!).

  • Overall Score: B+

When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica.When the Lights Go Out, by Mary Kubica.

TW: Infertility. Okay so I have read most of Mary Kubica’s books and really love her writing but felt let down by this one’s ending! I was like WAIT WHAT and it felt like an easy out!  Still, it was enjoyable – one of my measures for how much I enjoy a book is if it keeps me up all night or if I want to wake up early to read a book and this one made me want to wake up early.

It’s told in alternating timelines – in 1996, with a young wife (Eden) who only wants to be pregnant. It’s consuming her whole life, affecting her marriage, her friendships, her career. In modern day, we have Jessie who is feeling lost after the passing of her mother while simultaneously finding herself in a mysterious situation: when she goes to enroll for financial aid at school, and provides her social security number, she is told that she is dead. This is a fun mystery, good for right now but again I felt like the ending was a bit of a cop out. If you’ve read it I would love to hear your thoughts!

  • Overall Score: B-

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix, by Grady Hendrix

This is our Bad on Paper May book club pick and I’m so excited to talk about it! The fact that it was a book club, set in Charleston, involving vampires and murder was enough for me but my mom also really loved it and my mom has the best taste in books so I knew it was a must-read. It’s addicting – once you start it, you won’t want to put it down. It’s also GRUESOME… more of a horror novel (haven’t read many of those) than a thriller or mystery. This isn’t a spoiler but there is a scene involving rats and another involving cockroaches and my skin crawls just thinking about both! Eeesh. But I digress.

The book centers around Patricia Campbell, a lonely housewife and mother. She joins a book club, making a close knit group of Charleston women. One night she’s viciously attacked by her elderly neighbor, which ends up bringing the neighbor’s charming, well-traveled niece James into her life. But James is not who everyone thinks he is (or maybe he is… I don’t want to give it away!) Patricia finds herself convinced that James is actually a vampire. Of course, everyone around her thinks she’s insane for thinking this. As Patricia and her friends watch children from the neighboring town vanish, they know something is not right.

  • Overall Score: A-

Some Upcoming Releases – worth the pre-order!

The Lies That BindThe Lies That Bind, by Emily Giffin, by Emily Giffin (out 6/2/20)

Emily Giffin is one of my most favorite authors so I was really, really excited to get my hands on an advanced copy! This one is set right around September 11th and takes place in New York and while 9/11 and COVID-19 are obviously such different things, it felt oddly reassuring to read something set in New York during a crisis.

Cecily Gardner is a tabloid writer and has just broken up with her long term boyfriend who would not commit. She’s out at a bar in the East Village, about to drunk dial him, when she hears a voice say “don’t do it!” And that’s when she meets Grant Smith. The two end up falling head over heels in love but then on September 11th, things come crashing down and Grant goes missing. As Cecily searches for him, she realizes she isn’t the only one looking for him. Turns out Grant had some massive secrets. I won’t say any more but I LOVED this one so much!!!! Emily Giffin is what the world needs right now I just love her books so much.

  • Overall Score A

The Guest ListThe Guest List, by Lucy Foley, by Lucy Foley (out 6/2/20)

I didn’t realize I was reading this early as it was my Book of the Month pick! (I love when BOTM gets things early!!!) It’s set at high-profile, beautiful power couple Jules + Will’s wedding on a tiny, secluded island off the coast of Ireland. Jules owns a digital magazine and Will is a rising actor. On paper, they are perfect… and in person, they are gorgeous together. It’s a fast-paced, Agatha Christie style thriller. We know right from the start that there’s been a murder, we just aren’t sure who was killed… or who did it! It’s told via the perspectives of the bride, the best man, the bride’s sister, the wedding planner, and a plus-one.

While I did guess the biggest twist, there were other little twists throughout that completely shocked and blindsided me. I will say that the first half of the book was a little slow (all the characters and the Irish names/phrases took me a little while to get into) but once I did, I fell in love with the book and couldn’t stop!

  • Overall Score: A-

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. No Filter sounds really interesting! As someone who is addicted to Instagram, I think I need to read it! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Brianna Rooney says 5.6.20

    I’m waiting on Big Summer to arrive and hoping it’s here by the weekend to enjoy with some rose!

  3. Stephanie says 5.6.20

    I love Emily Griffen and her books are always so good, but I really want to read The Guest List!

    Stephanie | SPV Living

  4. Melanie says 5.6.20

    Putting these all on my list! I always have too many to ready. Currently trying to finish Dear Edward (so sad though) and Undone (the third Will Trent book). And a book for work book club, That’s What She Said.

    • I heard that Dear Edward is great but sad. It’s def on the list once I’m ready – have to be in a certain mood, ha ha.

  5. clare says 5.6.20

    I know this isn’t book related but I stumbled across something you might be interested in called The Makeup Museum! It’s an exhibit in NY scheduled to open in May (likely changing due to COVID) and will run through October. The website is super cute and looks like something fun to look forward to once we can all emerge again. You may have already heard about it but wanted to share 🙂

    https://makeupmuseum.com/

  6. Kim says 5.6.20

    So excited for the vampire book, how fun! I was really turned off from Emily Giffin’s racist IG posts about Meghan Markle, so don’t think I can support her anymore. But glad to hear you had a great month of reading!

    • I just saw an article about that and need to read. That bums me out as I’ve always been a big fanZ!!!

  7. Caitlin says 5.6.20

    My favorite pandemic reading discovery has been Hannah Orenstein. She wrote playing with matches and love at first like. Playing with matches is about a matchmaker and love at first like is about a jewelry store owner both in NYC. Really light, fluffy, relatable and good! She also has a book coming out in June!

    • I’ve heard really good things about her books!!!

    • Laura says 5.6.20

      I just finished American Duchess which is a historical fiction novel about Consuelo Vanderbilt. It’s a good novel but it was quite slow at times. I think you have to be in the mood for historical fiction reads.
      I just started Save Me the Plums this morning. I can already tell I will love it!

  8. Laura Ramirez says 5.6.20

    Have you read Outlander? It took me most of April to read it, but I loved it so much!

  9. Steph says 5.6.20

    These are my favorite posts. Sounds like a great month of reading! I also picked The Guest List from BOTM and can’t wait to dive into it. Stay well!

  10. Aly says 5.6.20

    Have gotten super into mystery/thriller types during Quarantine! Why don’t I always read these, I’m having so much fun!!!. Really loved The Neighbors Upstairs and Bittersweet. Now reading The Historians (also about Dracula + vampires) and really enjoying it. They’re constantly bouncing around different European cities which is an extra treat right now.

  11. Kristy says 5.6.20

    Love these lists! Thank your for the time and thought put into these!

  12. Caroline says 5.6.20

    I actually just added that second book my list. I am also going to add that last one, it sounds really good! I always look forward to when you do these blog posts too so thank you for sharing! Have a great day too! <3

  13. Kelly says 5.6.20

    I loved The Last House Guest and that Emily Giffin book sounds totally up my alley! Currently reading If I Never Met You and have All Adults Here, The Nickel Boys, From Scratch, and Daisy Jones & The Six on deck! I also just finished Me Before You, which I’ve been wanting to read for YEARS. It completely gutted me and I couldn’t read or think about anything else for days.

    I love all your book (and skincare!) recs, especially during quarantine so keep em coming!! xx

  14. Michelle says 5.6.20

    This is always one of my favorite posts. I love either learning about new reads to add to my TBR or hearing what you think about ones I already have on my radar. I’m currently reading Beach Read which was also an early BOTM book.

    • I’m so glad to hear it! How are you liking Beach Read? I have an ARC but Becca really didn’t like it so I deprioritized!

  15. Sam says 5.6.20

    I’m currently listening to American Dirt. It’s pretty good. But I’m halfway through and ready to start something new.

    • I heard that one was good. I ended up not reading it bc all the drama earlier this year but am still curious!

  16. Kelly says 5.6.20

    Love these recs thank you!! The best two I’ve read lately are Know my Name by Chanel Miller. She’s an absolutely FANTASTIC writer and tells her story so bravely and so poignantly. So happy I read it even though it makes me so angry how rape victims are treated. Also Where the Crawdads Sing was an amazing read also, and it was the author’s first book! So we’ll written too.

    • LOVED that book and agree with your thoughts; it was beautiful but also enraged me!

  17. Lauren says 5.6.20

    The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is a gorgeous historical thriller published in 2013 about an architect who designed hiding places for Jews in Paris in WWII. Totally unpredictable and creative. This book is a great pandemic read – I read the whole thing within 24 hours! Plus, the author is wearing a cozy turtleneck in his bio photo on Amazon and goodreads, which makes me appreciate him even more 🙂

  18. E says 5.6.20

    Because of your recommendation, I recently read All These Beautiful Strangers and cannot shut up about it! TBH – I’m not sure this is something that I’d normally pick up. I don’t read a lot of YA and I usually could not care less about something set at a fancy prep school. However, this book was just what I wanted! It was such a page turner! Thanks so much for suggesting this (even if that rec was a long time ago!)

    • OMG that one was SO good!!! Love anything set at a fancy prep school though… rich unsupervised teens is a fav genre of mine!

  19. Kathy says 5.6.20

    Unlike many, reading had been wonderful for me during quarantine. My favorites include: Beach Read, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, The Paris Hours, Untamed, Long Bright River, and of course, In Five Years. I’m excited to read All Adults Here and Big Summer this month!

    • I have been considering Beach Read but Becca hated it! So many have recommended it!

  20. Melissa says 5.6.20

    These all sound great! I’m definitely adding The Lies that Bind and The Guest List to my reading list and interested in No Filter too.
    I’m a little over halfway into Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires and it is SO good. I can’t wait for the BOP episode on it. I have learned the hard way that maybe its not the best book for me to read before bed (may have had a hard time falling asleep after the rat incident lol). Next up for me will be The Sun Down Motel by Simone St.James.

    • It’s SO good!!!! Gory and gruesome but fun. I made the same mistake (reading before bed) and def wish I didn’t!!!

  21. Sara says 5.6.20

    I’m a long time reader but this is my first post. Love your book lists and routinely add your top picks to my library queue–on that point I love when you add pre-release reviews but often forget about them. Would you consider adding a section on when books you reviewed are now available? That will prompt me to then buy or reserve it. TY and thanks again for the book recs they are a saving “Grace” during quarantine 🙂

    • Thank you so much!

      I don’t have the bandwidth – or the tech capability/finances to do that (just spent a LOT of money making the book page perfect and adding the ranking filter!) but I always include dates for upcoming releases. I’d recommend adding them to your calendar or preordering… those are the things I do! Pre-ordering is one of the best things you can do for an author you really love.

  22. Stef says 5.6.20

    Can’t wait to read The Guest List! I’m currently reading The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley and it’s so good! Secluded lodge, old group of friends, a murder (but you don’t know who), multiple narrators…it’s got it all!

  23. Caroline Cone says 5.6.20

    I’m really inspired by your monthly reading lists, so much so that I even started my own! The Guest List sounds really interesting, can’t wait to read!

    In April, my favorite books that I read were Homegoing and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle!

  24. Catrina says 5.6.20

    I’m glad you loved the Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I haven’t read it yet, but the author is speaking at our Junior League’s (virtual) book and author event this week and I am so excited to hear him talk about it!

  25. Amanda says 5.6.20

    I just started reading and watching Game of Thrones, so I finally realize how perfectly named Tyrion the cat is!! I’ve been watching an episode and then reading up until the episode’s last scene which might be unsustainable for me but is fun.

    I somehow got to read an unpublished manuscript of Megan Miranda’s first book Fracture many moons ago when I was a ~teen book blogger~ and recently realized that she’s the same Megan Miranda, bestselling author! So fun. Can’t wait to read her newest.

  26. Adrienne says 5.6.20

    Just finished The Sea of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman. I love her books, especially her early ones.

  27. Molly says 5.6.20

    Hi Grace! I wanted to update you I’m reading the Idea of You. I heard you loud and clear on Bad On Paper that it’s a must. Now I am worried what I will go to when I finish 🙂 My companion follow-up that won’t disappoint. Sending you love and thanks for your content.

  28. Lisa Autumn says 5.7.20

    Oh I need to read No Filter! Thank you so much for the recommendations girl x

    Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  29. Kristy Harvey says 5.7.20

    Yayyyy!! Thank you so, so much for reading Feels Like Falling. You’re the best! xoxo

  30. Tara says 5.7.20

    Looking at your Book Club page right now, and stunned by how many books you’ve read! Do you keep them all, or distribute them among friends?

    • Hi Tara,
      I give them to friends! At the end of every month I take a photo of all the books I read and then distribute accordingly. I mail a lot to my mom and also my aunt who loves thrillers just as much as me. And constantly giving to friends..

  31. Chris says 5.8.20

    Grace I live for these posts and usually get my entire TBR pile from them…but I don’t think I’ve seen you post abut this one yet. You simply must read “Reputation” by Sara Shepherd. Think Big Little Lies but at an elite liberal arts college (versus parents of kids at an elite elementary school). Such a page turning fun thriller!

  32. Katie Wheeler says 5.10.20

    I’m definitely looking forward to Feels Like Falling – thank you for sharing! I’m in need of uplifting and happy books right now, for sure!

  33. Katelyn says 5.16.20

    I cant Wait to for Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiners new books!!! Struggling to focus on some of the heavier books I usually love lately..

    I recommend Beach Read!! You and Becca will love it ♥️