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.
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 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.
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.
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+
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.
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.