March 2019 Reading List.

March 2019 Reading List by Grace Atwood

This was another very good month of reading. (February’s list was a favorite, as is this one!) I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish the Neapolitan Quartet. I love these books so much. Luckily they take me a while to get through and I still have two left. Where the Crawdads Sing totally lived up to the hype and I really really enjoyed The Banker’s Wife.

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

Every month I update it, so 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 one last thing! What should I read next? Your suggestions are the BEST… thank you!

The buzzy one! Read this if you loved Educated.

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.

GAHHH THIS BOOK. Back in November I had so many friends tell me I needed to read this book. A lot of you told me to read it too. And it was on my list and  but then Becca (from the pod) told me that she read the kindle sample and didn’t like it. So I deprioritized it. But I knew I had to read it (I consider it part of my job, in a sense, to read and review the popular books here) so I packed it in my suitcase for Minnesota, figuring that I would get to it when I finished My Brilliant Friend.

Cue me being glued to the book once the boys went to bed, obsessing over it, and crying at the ending while my sister laughed at me. Guys, this book! It’s so good! But you probably already know that. It’s the story of a little girl (Kya) who is abandoned by her family and essentially raises herself in a tiny shack on the marsh of North Carolina. With the help of her one friend, she learns how to read and slowly educates herself to become a respected marsh scientist; even publishing a book.

Meanwhile, a murder takes place in town and she’s put on trial for it.

It’s the story of unfairness; of being treated cruelly for being different; and rising when everything seems to be against you. I read this book in about 36 hours. It’s beautifully written so I wanted to make it last longer but I couldn’t help myself – I needed to know what happened! I couldn’t put it down and you won’t be able to, either. Some books get a lot of hype and don’t deserve it. This book has gotten a lot of hype, all 1,000% deserved. I can’t recommend it enough. Just be prepared to cry.

  • Overall Score: A

The next in the Neapolitan Quartet.The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante.

The Story of a New Name, by Elena Ferrante.

This is the second book in the Neapolitan Quartet, and the sequel to My Brilliant Friend (which I reviewed last month). I was a little bit nervous as several of you said you loved the first one and didn’t like this one. I actually felt the opposite. The characters are now in their late teens (through early twenties) and a lot more mature so I related to them more. Lila is now married – it picks up at the end of the wedding. I don’t want to say too much, but her husband is not who she thought she was. This follows Lila and Elena on totally different paths.

Lila gets married and goes down that route; whereas Elena takes the scholarly route and heads to Pisa for university (a huge deal for her as no one really leaves their small town). It’s such an amazing look at female friendship (like the first one) and just brilliantly, beautifully written. I can’t get enough of these books. They are a little bit slow and take me longer to get through, but completely worth it.

  • Overall Score: A

Two Great Thrillers that will keep you on your toes.

The Banker's Wife, by Cristina Alger.The Banker’s Wife, by Cristina Alger.

Oh my god – this book! It was supposed to be a light and easy palette cleanser of sorts, something fun to breeze through. And I did read it in just over a day because I could not put it down. It’s a really, really good thriller. Not so much twisty as it is suspenseful. It follows three women as they investigate the biggest data leak (and money laundering scheme) in decades. Matthew Werner flies into a storm and disappears. He’s presumed dead and his wife Annabel is left trying to figure out what happens. She begins a search for the answers.

Meanwhile, there’s journalist Marina Tourneau who’s become recently engaged to the wealthy Grant Ellis, whose father is running for president (I thought of this family sort of like a Democratic version of the Trump family). Her mentor dies (we think it’s a murder), which causes her to launch an investigation of her own. The two investigations overlap. It’s a suspenseful thriller as we figure out what happened and who was behind it. I really enjoyed how much I learned about the world of finance (and off-shore bank accounts + money laundering); that part was fascinating. And the book kept me on my toes the whole time. I loved it and highly recommend!

  • Overall Score: A-

An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

So I knew that this would be good as this is from the duo behind The Wife Between Us (which I reviewed in my September 2018 Reading List). And of course, it was excellent. Jess is a broke makeup artist who agrees to be a test subject in a professor’s psychological study about ethics and morality. It starts with innocent questions and seems like a great way to earn extra money. With time, things get more and more out of hand and she finds herself being manipulated.

The book is fast paced and written in a similar way to The Wife Between Us, meaning that it keeps you on your toes the entire time. It’s packed with twists and turns. A few, I guessed… a few had me blindsided. I really loved this book and read it in just a couple days. If you’re looking for a fun thriller I would 100% recommend this one! If I had to pick between The Banker’s Wife and this I would choose The Banker’s Wife but I still loved this one, too! Hendricks and Pekkanen have such a way with words when it comes to writing a twisty, high stakes thriller! Serious suspense!

  • Overall Score: B+

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship…Tell Me Lies, by Carola Lovering.

Tell Me Lies, by Carola Lovering.

This was a recommendation from Ashley! Oh god. I’m going to be honest, this book was super triggering for me and very emotionally exhausting at points. If you’ve ever dated (or are currently dating) the bad boy or the guy who you think/hope/wish will change and decide to settle down, read this book. (And if you know better than that, you should still read it because it’s a great book.).

This is the story of beautiful Lucy and charming Stephen; who meet in college. It follows them (and their torrid on-again off-again relationship) through Lucy’s freshman year all the way through after college, living in Manhattan. UGH. Stephen is charming and fun and wins Lucy over (despite him having a girlfriend at the time). There’s this magnetism and chemistry between them – even when he’s in a relationship. It’s pretty awful. It made me upset and made me want to shake Lucy for putting up with Stephen’s bullshit and giving up her dreams for him when you know he isn’t worth it.

It honestly brought up so many old feelings as I’ve definitely gone for the guy who just doesn’t want to commit in the past.  I’ve since outgrown that behavior but could really, really relate to Lucy and her stupidity – I wish I read this book when I was in my twenties! If you have a friend who is in a toxic relationship, make them read this! It ends well but could have gone really dark – I’m glad it didn’t! I loved this book!!!! I really liked that it painted a realistic picture of relationships. So many novels can be really problematic for women (like with Sex and the City – the commitment phobe guy always changes, which usually isn’t the case in real life).

  • Overall Score: A-

A fun YA read // If you loved Little White Lies…

The Seasonaires, by Janna King.The Seasonaires, by Janna King.

This is a fun, fast paced novel set on Nantucket. It opens up with a murder on the fourth of July and then flashes back to the start of summer. Fashion giant Lyndon Wyld hires six beautiful “seasonaires” every summer… three guys, three girls. Basically the seasonaires are influencers, hired to promote the clothing all summer on social media. All of their expenses (for a summer on Nantucket) are paid and they’re also paid $20k. It’s a dream job of sorts.

Wide eyed Mia with a sick mother (from South Boston) applies and gets the job and lots of drama ensues: a romance, a rivalry with seasonaires from another fashion label, and of course – the murder. The pace and tone reminded me a lot of Little White Lies and it’s definitely a fun read. Parts are very implausible and the writing jumps around a lot but it’s also a YA read. I’m only giving it a B but I still definitely enjoyed it!

  • Overall Score: B

photography by Carter Fish.

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Comments

  1. Yay, more thrillers! Can’t get enough of them. And Tell Me Lies actually sounds like a really good read too! Thanks for the recommendations, Grace. Much appreciated. 🙂

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

  2. Rachel says 3.5.19

    Great roundup! I may have to check out that book quartet. Have you read The Dinner List? I just finished it last night and really liked it!

    • Yes!!! I absolutely loved it!
      You should listen to our podcast ep with Ashley Spivey; it was one of her favorite books of the year!

  3. I’m with you on Crawdads, The Banker’s Wife (I appreciated a thriller that wasn’t domestic for once…despite the unfortunate title), An Anonymous Girl, and Tell Me Lies. I too wish Tell Me Lies had been around when I was younger…Ashley Spivey and I discussed this when she came on my podcast!

  4. Cara says 3.5.19

    Yay, to the Banker’s Wife. Loved it. Also gone down a Fiona Davis home since the books are historical fiction set in NYC.

  5. sydnee says 3.5.19

    The Banker’s Wife is on my list. Happy to hear you liked it! You might like Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup about the medical debacle. Fascinating!

    Design by Sydnee | A Lifestyle Blog

  6. I’ve had three of these books on my TBR (The Banker’s Wife, Tell Me Lies, and Crawdads) and definitely bumping them to the top now! Glad to hear they were really good. I just started listening to No Exit, which is supposed to be an Agatha Christie-ish thriller…hoping it lives up to that!

  7. Brianna Rooney says 3.5.19

    I am reading Where the Crawdads Sing for my office book club and I am SO glad to hear you thought it lived up to the hype. I am a little nervous to start it for that reason.

  8. Jenn Lake says 3.5.19

    Thanks for so many good suggestions as always, Grace! Hope you trip is going well!

  9. dana mannarino says 3.5.19

    Added ALL of these books to my list! I’m really intrigued by The Banker’s Wife and Seasonaires!

    The Champagne Edit

  10. Ellen says 3.5.19

    I added Crawdads, Seasonaires, and No Exit to my list (thanks Jackie!)

    I agree with Bad Blood – it’s thrilling. You’ll really enjoy it if you liked the Fyre Festival docs.

    Did you ever end up reading The Idea of You that Ashley suggested?? I read it in a day recently. It’s addicting/cheesy/will make you feel all warm inside then break your heart. I’m currently reading Verity too!

    • I have not read The Idea of You but it’s on my list!!! Becca (from the podcast) is OBSESSED. She talks a lot about it in tomorrow’s episode. Please DM her, or go to the BOP Facebook group to talk about it, she is dying for someone to talk to about it – she said she’s in a book hangover and loved it so much that she can’t read anything else!!!! haha!

      Dying to read Bad Blood as well! My TBR pile is just too high!

      • Ellen says 3.8.19

        Haha, OK I’ll go on the FB group and chat. I literally finished the copy and mailed it to one of my besties who is obsessed with boy bands.

        Quick question, I’m looking for quick, cheesy books for the beach. Would you recommend starting The Thousandth Floor series or The Selection series first?

  11. Julianna says 3.5.19

    Oh my god, my library hold list is out of control!! Between the podcast last week, this post and a few other recommendations, I think I have like 35 books on hold – I am never going to catch up haha the worst kind of problem 🙂

    I loved Where the Crawdads sing… in the end. It took me a bit to get into/become more interested in all the scenery descriptions, etc. but I loved it and really liked how the ending brought it all together. I had some theories of what happened, but it ended in a way that I didn’t fully expect.

    • Hahahaha I know, and I FEEL YOU!!!! There are too many books and not enough hours in the day. xx

  12. Bailey Carver says 3.5.19

    My Amazon cart is full yet again …

  13. Lacey says 3.5.19

    I think I’m going to have to breakdown and read Where The Crawdads Sing. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews and I honestly had never read the synopsis before today. 🙂 I just read An Anonymous Girl and agree – fun thriller.

    I read Station Eleven last month and I honestly don’t get what all the fuss is about. I also read the second book in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness and Duma Key by Stephen King.

    Have you read How to Walk Away by Katherine Center? It’s in the romance genre, I think. I’m not a huge romance fan, but I thought the book was an easy read, albeit predictable.

    • I haven’t read that one yet!!! Thanks for the suggestion. Sometimes a predictable romance is just what you need!!

      Def read Crawdads. I felt the same and LOVED it – so, so much!! Come back and tell me what you thought once you finish! xo

  14. Sheila says 3.5.19

    You have to read We Were the Lucky Ones, couldnt put it down!

  15. Laura says 3.5.19

    I will be honest, I am one of people that did not love My Brilliant Friend, but am going to give the second one a shit based on your review.
    We don’t always like the same types of books, but I can almost always tell if I will like a book based on your review. So thanks!!

    • It’s very polarizing (and I’m not offended!) My mom and sister (and Carly from Carly the Prepster) all did not like it, but I loved it!!!

      I’m also of the mind that if you don’t love a book, put it down – there are SO MANY great books out there! But if you do pick it back up and end up liking it, do let me know!

  16. Ella says 3.6.19

    YES! So pleased you read The Bankers Wife and loved it.
    Where the Crawdads Sing is on my list for the month – can’t wait!

  17. Lisa Autumn says 3.6.19

    Thank you for the inspo girl!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  18. I absolutely adored the Elena Ferrante series. Adored them!

  19. Emma says 3.6.19

    This is a little older as it came out last year, but I just finished “Calypso” by David Sedaris and loved! He has such a hilarious way of writing about his family and day-to-day life, often saying things we all think but are too afraid to say out loud. I found myself laughing while reading on the bus to work. Highly recommend for something a bit different!

    • Ooooh; thanks for the rec!!

      • A Girl, A Style says 3.7.19

        You always have the best recommendations, so thank you so much for all of these!

        I also just bought the Tangerine Girls (after I recommended it to you I thought it looked so good I should read it myself, even though I’m not usually a big thriller reader – mostly because I read at bedtime and then have nightmares, haha) so can’t wait to get stuck into that when I’m done with the 6 books I’m currently halfway through (why do I do this?!)

        Hope you’re having the best time away!

        Briony xox

        • A Girl, A Style says 3.7.19

          Tangerine, not Tangerine Girls! And sorry for accidentally writing my comment as a reply (you’d think I would know how to do this by now….)

          Briony xx

          • I have heard such good things about it!!! Buying next time I’m at the bookstore!!!!

  20. Regina says 3.8.19

    Oooh, some great suggestions this month! Have added them to my list! I really enjoy this monthly roundup. I’m currently reading The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. It came out a few years ago, but got a lot of attention. It’s a collection of short stories and essays written while she was in college. She died 5 days after her college graduation, before she could start work at The New Yorker. Tragic end for a promising writer. Her writing is wonderful.

  21. Jill says 3.28.19

    This month I read some really good books…just going to list them and you can check them out. The Story Tellers Wife…just so good it took me awhile to get it out of my head. So well done.
    Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Bedani also excellent
    The Last Mrs. Parish..quick read but fun.

    I am going to read The Bankers Wife next:)