This was a very good month of reading. Between COVID and a few other things, I couldn’t really handle anything too heavy or literary so I stuck mostly to the light stuff. Also, I am giggling a bit because out of everything I read this month, the B.A. Paris book was the only one I didn’t enjoy.. but I’d preemptively shot it (I usually love her books!) and Tyrion was truly on his A-game, so I used the photos anyway. Note to self: no more shooting books before you’ve read them. I thought I was being really organized! That book was highly skippable, the rest… I enjoyed! Top of my list would be Mean Baby and Dear Child and I absolutely loved Tippi as an audiobook. Also, just in case you missed it: my giant roundup of the best beach reads!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BEAUTIFUL BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every book I’ve read in the past seven years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre. Now you can also 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 of course my big post of everything that I read in 2021.
Everything I Read in May 2022
This month in thrillers
The Dilemma, by B.A. Paris
I would not usually lead with an image of a book I didn’t enjoy very much but I typically love any and all things B.A. Paris (she’s up there with Greer Hendricks + Sarah Pekkanen for fun, read in a day thrillers) so my photographer shot it pre-emptively. They are cute photos so I am using them anyway. This was just.. not good. In theory I liked the plot (a couple each knows something bad that they need to tell the other one but they want to preserve the other person’s happiness), but the characters were so unlikeable.
Livia has been planning her 40th birthday for the past 20 years (yes seriously – sorry but what the heck!?) but she’s hiding a secret from her husband that could unravel the whole family. Meanwhile, her husband learns terrible news the day of the party… so he is hiding that from her. It is fast-paced and had potential (I like that it is told hour by hour, in alternating perspectives) but the characters were so unlikeable (and unrelatable) that I found myself bored and annoyed throughout most of it. I read it in a single day, but that doesn’t mean it was any good. You can skip this one (still, love this author. If you haven’t read Behind Closed Doors, it’s such a good one!). Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org
- Overall Score: C
Dear Child, by Romy Hausmann
This is one of those dark and disturbing (but not so dark that you feel sick, there is a difference!) thrillers that you think about weeks after finishing. I tore through this thriller in just a couple of nights because I needed to know what happened! It has been compared to a combination of Room and Gone Girl, which is pretty spot on.
A woman escapes from a windowless shack in the woods; a little girl in tow. She says her name is Lena, who had disappeared without a trace 14 years before. But as her family is called in to reunite with their daughter, they know it isn’t her. Meanwhile, the little girl she’s with (who has never experienced daylight) clearly has secrets. This is twisty and suspenseful, a little bit scary, and completely captivating… it’s a perfect thriller. I really enjoyed it. I can’t believe it’s the author’s first book! Order on Bookshop.org or Amazon.
- Overall Score: A-
The Counselors, by Jessica Goodman
Oh my gosh, I loved this! It might just be my favorite of all of Jessica’s books, I can’t decide. It deals with a group of three best friends, all counselors at an idyllic summer camp in upstate New York that caters to wealthy, exceptionally gifted students. Except, as the “townie” of the group whose parents work at the camp, Goldie never feels quite like she fits in – her two best friends Ava and Imo both come from wealth. She constantly feels the divide between the locals in her town (who hate the camp) and the kids at camp (who mock the town and everyone who lives there). It is the summer after graduation and all three girls show up to camp with more than their fair share of secrets.
We know that Goldie has become the town pariah after a horrible accident that past winter, and that Ava is hiding something too. When a local boy winds up dead in the lake (on camp grounds), the town swirls with questions… and secrets come out. I couldn’t put this down. It’s YA but the kind of YA adults will enjoy too. It is fast paced (and a little scary at times) and it surprised me a few times. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org!
- Overall Score: A-
The Younger Wife, by Sally Helpworth
I read this book in one day while I was sick! I am a big fan of Sally Hepworth. I’ve read two of her books so far (The Mother-in-Law and The Good Sister). She writes books that are thrillers/suspense… but also, strangely heartwarming? And this was no exception… I just loved it! The book opens with sisters Tully and Rachel Aston meeting their father’s much younger (younger than them) new fiancé. The women are naturally upset, seeing her as an interloper who is clearly just a gold digger. Meanwhile, their father Stephen is perfect. The golden heart surgeon that everyone loves.
The only thing is, he has to divorce his current wife, suffering from dementia. And then there is Heather, the new fiancé… she has secrets of her own! I am not telling you much about the plot as I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but I really liked this. I will say that there are trigger warnings for domestic abuse and alcoholism. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org!
- Overall Score: A-
The Love of my Life, by Rosie Walsh
I netted out medium on this, only because I somehow (I have no idea) guessed the twist/plot pretty early in. When that happens, it kind of sucks because the book feels tedious. But if that hadn’t happened, I think I would enjoy it more. Emma and her husband are happily married with their young daughter Ruby. Leo is an obituary writer, and Emma is a famed marine biologist. When Emma falls ill with a rare type of cancer, Leo copes in the only way he knows how: researching and writing about her life.
But as he does this, he discovers a web of lies. Is she the woman he married? Has she been unfaithful? Does the Emma he loves so much even really exist? A fast paced journey ensues as Leo tries to uncover the truth and Emma tries to prove to him that she still is very much the woman he fell in love with. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org!
- Overall Score: B
Our favorite royal romance is back!
Rivals, by Katharine McGee
This book was such a treat. I read it while I was really sick and it was such a wonderful distraction. I think it might actually be my favorite of the whole trilogy? If somehow you haven’t heard of American Royals, you may want to just go ahead and order all three books. They are the best. The premise is this: Imagine that George Washington had become king, instead of president. Now layer on tons of Gossip Girl level drama with rich, royal!, (mostly) unsupervised teens, and you have one of my absolute favorite little series.
This go around, the main plot is between Nina and Daphne, former enemies who unite over a new mutual enemy. I loved this part, and I really love getting to see a more sympathetic side to Daphne. We all love a redemption story, right? Anyway, I could not put this book down and it has a giant cliffhanger ending. The good news is, Katharine has confirmed a fourth book. I cannot wait for it, I cannot get enough of this series. Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org!
- Overall Score: A
A fantastic celebrity memoir
Mean Baby, by Selma Blair
I went into this book not knowing what to expect. I’ve always liked Selma Blair, and of course I loved her in Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions. I also liked the cover of the book, had seen a lot of people posting about it, and let’s be honest: LOVE a celebrity memoir. So I scooped this one up, only to be unable to put it down. First of all, BLAIR CAN WRITE. The book is incredibly well-written. Second, she is very self-aware, and very raw and vulnerable. She talks about trauma, abuse, addiction (so CW for all of those), and of course her MS diagnosis in a way that is honest and messy, heartbreaking, but still somehow hopeful.
It’s a look at her life from birth (literally, she was born with a cute little smirk and deemed a “mean baby”), all the way through present day. There is also fun stuff: Hollywood tea, working with Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Michelle Gellar, the friendships she has made in the industry, etc. I tore through this in just a few days and think that you will do the same. Cannot recommend it enough! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org
- Overall Score: A
This Month in Audiobooks
Tippi, by Tippi Hedren
I read (listened) to this one on such a whim (it’s a little older, from 2015) because I had been watching Hitchcock films (The Birds and Marnie) and just loved Tippi Hedren’s style. Upon googling her, I learned she had a lot of drama with Hitchcock (and had blamed him for ruining her career). I also learned that she is Melanie Griffith’s mother. So I got curious, and downloaded the book. I loved (if that is the right word, it sounds like what she went through was horrible) learning more about her experience working with Alfred Hitchcock but the book is so much more than that. Her three marriages, but especially: living with LIONS. Yes, you heard that right.
She and her second husband lived with lions and established an entire lion preserve. That was the most fascinating part of the book. I felt like my very glamorous and exciting grandmother was telling me a story and just love love loved every minute of it. I highly recommend this book. Even if it feels a little bit random, I promise that you will enjoy it! Order on Amazon.com or Bookshop.org
- Overall Score: A
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photography by Laura Saur.