I read fewer books than usual this month and this was for a few reasons. First of all, I read The Book Thief. At 550 pages, it took me a while to get through. The other reasons were travel (two weeks in Europe and not much reading) and deciding to subscribe to the paper newspaper. Having the NY Times delivered every morning is such a treat but keeps me reading the news instead of actual books. But anyway, I loved everything I read this month – the perfect mix between my two favorite categories: dark thrillers and historical fiction! There are only three books, but they are three quality books – each one is 1,000% worth your time. And if you are looking for more book recommendations, check out my February Reading List, as well as our interactive Book Club Page, where you can filter to find the perfect book recommendation based upon what you are looking for!
* The Book Thief by Markus Zusac was beautifully written but be warned, it is going to break your heart. So many of you recommended this one and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it yet. Set in Nazi Germany and told from the perspective of “Death”, you can imagine that you will need tissues… a lot of tissues. It follows the story of the main character Liesel (aka the book thief) from age nine to fourteen and what her life was like during Hitler’s rule. It’s heartwarming and even funny at times but also heartbreaking. Over 10 million copies have been sold – it’s a classic, I’m not sure how I only just read it this month. Be prepared to laugh and cry… it’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while!
* All The Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda was particularly interesting as it’s a psychological thriller, told in reverse. Nicolette (incidentally one of my best friends’ names) returns home to care for her ailing father after ten years. Ten years ago, her best friend Corinne had disappeared. Shortly after arriving back home, another girl goes missing. Throughout the course of the book, Nicolette unravels the story of what happened to both missing girls… revealing secrets about her family and friendships. Megan Miranda writes very similarly to Gillian Flynn and there have been a lot of comparisons between the two. What I really loved most about the book was the way that the narrative is told in reverse. I’ve never read a book with a story structure like this and that was fun. You wouldn’t think it would work but it does… spectacularly!
* The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams was probably (definitely) my favorite book from this month. If you loved The Dollhouse (from our February Reading List), you will love this (but maybe wait a little while before you read it as they are very similar!) Similar to The Dollhouse, it alternates between modern day(ish – 1998 in this case) New York and the past (The Dollhouse took place in the fifties and this one took place in the Prohibition-era twenties). The two main characters are highly likable… I really loved and identified with each of them, for different reasons. In present day, you have Ella – who just discovered that her husband had been cheating on her with a prostitute. Back in the twenties, you have Gin (short for Ginger) who has been charged with helping to take down her sadistic stepfather who is also one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers. I loved how Williams was able to develop such distinct voices and personalities in each character… in reading the book you will become really invested in each of them. When I was finished I felt a little bit sad, as though I was saying goodbye to two close friends. To me, that’s the sign of a great book.
And now the important part: what should I read next? Your comments and suggestions are my favorite!
I’ve been meaning to read The Book Thief for the longest, longest time… how have I not gotten around to it yet?
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I don’t know! It’s such a good one! xo
Love Beatriz Williams! Can’t wait to read this one. She has another one coming out in June! You should pick up The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. It’s about New York City in the early 1900’s. Brilliant. Also glad to hear you’ve subscribed to The NY Times.
Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite writers… I read that but it was a while ago!
right now I am reading “Corn a crime’ by Trevor Noah which I am loving. I just finished ” they left us everything’ which I also enjoyed. So many good books, so little time 🙂
that is the story of my life!!! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂
I’m reading Queen of the Night right now – it’s a little long like the book thief but it’s so good!
Thank you for the suggestion!
I can’t believe I haven’t read The Book Thief. I need to add that to my queue immediately. Have you read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh? Also, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood.
Yes, you should read it!
I Let You Go was one of the best books I read this year. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things sounds amazing too though 🙂
Go for a non-fiction read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – its going to be TV movie this spring with Oprah – you should read it first.
I just finished The Handmaid’s Tale (somehow missed reading it in school) and it blew me away. It’s hard to describe, except to say that it was written 30 years ago and the society that’s created in the book feels not too far away – in not so good ways. But, a fascinating and thrilling story, and really makes you think! I read most of it in 2 days and am still thinking about it!
Oooh thank you for the suggestion, Kate! I love when you still think about a book a few days later.
Ahhh that’s amazing! Thank you for the suggestion!
Omg, I LOVE these recs. I’m now dying to read The Book Thief!
Pink Champagne Problems
Oh good! I hope you read it! x
I’ve had The Book Thief on my shelf for a while, I hope to dive into it soon! I think you’d enjoy Swing Time by Zadie Smith – it’s a long one, but a great story set on multiple contents exploring friendships, mother daughter relationships and all of the complexities that come along with finding yourself.
I also just finished Exit West, which was a great, quick snow day read and very timely –the love story of two refugees forced to flee their war-torn country.
Happy reading, Grace!
Thanks for the suggestions!!! Definitely read The Book Thief… it’s a good one!
I read a memoir by Oliver Sacks — called On The Move (https://www.amazon.com/Move-Life-Oliver-Sacks/dp/0804170932): it’s the most amazing, touching memoir, with some science knowledge packed within and the most breathtaking of writing. It breezes by but will substantively change your life and outlook. I read a book a week (long commute!) and this has been, by far, my favorite book of the past 3-5 years, and easily in the top 5 best I’ve ever read (and it’s been MANY, haha).
Thank you so much for the suggestion!
The Baker’s Daughter
The After Party
The French War Bride
Park Avenue Primates
Thank you for the suggestions!
Putting The Wicked City on my list! I really loved The Dollhouse, so can’t wait. And All the Missing Girls was really fascinating- the backwards story telling was definitely a gimmick that I didn’t think would work.
I agree!!! I didn’t think it would work but I loved it.
My recent favorites: Faithful by Alice Hoffman. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. The Book that Matters Most by Ann Hood and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I also really liked The Chemist by Stephanie Myers. I did not expect much but it was fast paced and entertaining. Enjoy!
Ahhh we have similar taste – I loved Faithful and Small Great Things… and have bought Commonwealth to read soon!
Hi Grace! I read All the Missing Girls over the summer and loved it as well. I do read a lot of psychological thrillers/crime novels, though 🙂 I was just in Florida and read Wilde Lake by Laura Lippmann, and absolutely loved it. It follows the life of Lu, a 40 something lawyer, and alternates chapters in present day following her career/home life with chapters about growing up in the late 60s and 70s. Lippmann is a really great writer and she does an amazing job of intertwining two times in Lu’s life that have seemingly no connections.
Thank you so much for the suggestion – this sounds like something I would really enjoy. x
All The Missing Girls is at the top of my to-read list. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it! This kind of book sounds right up my alley.
yesss! Such a good one 🙂
A Separation by Katie Kitamura
Happy to hear you loved the book thief – it’s a wonderfully written classic! If your wanting a bit of non-fiction/biography try ‘Flesh Wounds’ by Richard Glover. An Australian radio presenter with highly eccentric/distracted parents, Glover’s book considers what it’s like to have a family very different to the one you would’ve ordered. Sad, yet hilarious and optimistic, I loved it!
It’s such a classic!!!
Thank you for the recommendation – this sounds amazing! xx
I love Beatriz Williams! She really is able to write such vivid and distinct characters. I just added her book and The Book Thief to my reading list for this month. I had to take a break from historial fiction/heart wrenching novels after The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See, but I think I’m ready to dive back in. Have a great weekend!
Caitlin | http://sunnystyleblog.com/
I love her too! Such a talented writer. And that is funny as I did the same thing after The Nightengale! xo
Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
(Both of these have twists.)
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
(Unique story and presentation.)
Thank you for the suggestions!!!
Love this post! I’m new to your blog- do you ever read Colleen Hoover? Her books are great. I just finished ‘It Ends With Us’, it was so good!
I haven’t but thank you for the suggestion – I will check her out! xx
I haven’t read any of these and can’t wait to take you up on a few of your suggestions! Love that you do a reading list, it’s so helpful because I’m always wondering, “What do I read next?”
Isn’t That Charming.
Oh good!! They are all great but Wicked City was far and away my favorite.
Read ANYTHING by Chevy Stevens, amazing author
thanks for the tip!
The Book Thief is so good, but it broke my heart!
Same here – it was a sad one.
Love your Reading List posts- I definitely want to check out The Wicked City!
I loved it!!! Hope you give it a read and enjoy it as much as I do!
Thanks for the book recs! We’ve read a lot of the same books, it looks like! I just read The Dollhouse and a few of my all-time favorite books are on your list. I was a little late to the Where’d You Go Bernadette? train, but I recently read and loved it. Also: This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell is probably my most recent favorite.
Love that! We have read so many of the same ones. I have not read This Must Be The Place – adding to my list!!!
Just found your blog – wow so much great content! I look forward to reading your backlog of style + book posts. I saw that you enjoyed The Nightingale – if you haven’t already, I’d recommend “All the Light you cannot see”. I loooveed this book, and it is kind of a similar genre
aw that is so nice!!! All the Light we cannot see is on my list!!!
I have not met anyone else who loves dark thrillers and historical fiction! Thank you for sharing these recommendations with your readers! I hope there are many more similar suggestions to come! Do you have an all-time favorite thriller? Or perhaps a book that combines both? My most recent FAVORITE book is “The Persian Woman” by Thomas Booker. This book somehow manages to mix the action/suspense/thriller genre with romance in an interesting and unique way. The book follows the unlikely relationship between Jeffrey Quinn (ex Navy seal) and Muslim FBI Agent Parvin Sassani. Jeffrey has extreme biases towards Muslims because his wife was killed by a jihadist. The book is refreshing in the sense that it covers a very real issue that is happening today with unfounded biases against certain cultures and religions. He is forced to learn about her ethics, culture, and belief system and in turn he falls for her. The characters are extremely likable and the story is riveting from start to finish. You can read more about it on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Persian-Woman-Thomas-Booker-ebook/dp/B014TQ1B7Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1492526103&sr=1-1
Let me know what you think! Happy Reading!
Oooh funny! Those are my favorites!!!!
I am not sure. The Devil in the White City is one of my all time favorites as it is a combo of thriller and historical.
I think I’d probably love The Persian Woman… thank you for the rec! xx
Hi Grace: I just discovered your website via Instagram. What did you decide to read this month?
I’ll have my April reading list out this month! A bit late as I’ve been so busy with my move!