May 2018 Reading List.

Another busy month of reading! There was a lot of trash this month (I’ve been reading so much YA, thanks to the podcast and the podcast’s Facebook group – you guys are terrible influences!!!) but also a few good thrillers. I absolutely LOVED Then She Was Gone – it was definitely one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a long time. And I’m so embarrassed by how quickly I devoured Paper Princess (and the two other books from the trilogy). But hey – sometimes you just need a guilty pleasure. Right? Right.

If you’re looking for a book, don’t forget – you can always check out my Book Club Page. I have literally listed I’ve read in the past few years…. and you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for And of course, you can also take a peek at April’s reading list, which was a good one – I read seven books last month!! Also, in case you can’t wait til next month, I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading to my Amazon Shop as I go… I know it’s nice having everything in one place.

AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my FAVORITE… I shop the comments section of these post – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

* The Good Liar, by Catherine McKenzie, was a really awesome thriller. Set in Chicago, it’s the story of the aftermath of a giant explosion – and the families of the survivors. There’s Cecily who lost her husband; Kate who fled the scene and is now living far far away; and Franny who lost her birth mother to the explosion. The funny thing is, they’re all very much interconnected and they all have pretty giant secrets. This one kept me on my toes the whole time with twist after twist after twist. I really really loved it. I love those books where you feel that amazing rush/satisfaction of having guessed the twist, only to be shocked and surprised by yet another big twist. This was one of my favorite books from the month.

  • Overall Score: A-

* Royals, by Rachel Hawkins, was a light and fun read. I have to be really honest with you with the royal wedding coming up I can’t get enough of ANYTHING royal-themed. We are re-reading The Royal We for our podcast, and this book is super cute and fun. Daisy Winters’ sister Ellie is engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. After constant tabloid attention, her family decides to uproot her for the summer (moving from America to Scotland to be near her sister and hopefully out of the press). If Ellie and Prince Alex are Kate and William, Sebastian (Alex’s charming younger brother) is Harry – wilder and unruly. Daisy is in for a wild ride (along with the Royal Wreckers – Sebastian’s friends). There’s a cute little love story and lots of adventures. This is the sort of book you can read in one or two sittings – it’s a fun read and perfect for the beach.

  • Overall Score: B

* Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell is the last thriller I’ve read that I got so obsessed that I truly could not put down. If this doesn’t end up getting a TON of press and/or being turned into a movie, I will be shocked. It’s reminiscent of The Lovely Bones (anyone else read + love that one??) where a beautiful girl (Ellie) disappears. She was the perfect daughter, student, etc. and just disappeared into thin air on her way to the library. The story takes place ten years later (though it also goes back in time) as her mother Laurel tries to piece things together. She ultimately meets the perfect charming man, Floyd… only to meet his daughters – the youngest of which looks JUST like missing Ellie. It’s both incredibly disturbing and addicting; and I could not put it down! It was one of those mysteries where I suspected everyone… and if I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about it! You definitely must read this one.

  • Overall Score: A

* People Like Us, by Dana Mele. Okay before I fully dive in I had a big realization here. When it comes to YA reads, I tend to prefer books that are written like an adult is writing them and not like a teenager is. Does that make any sense? When it actually feels like a teen is talking to me, I get annoyed. And while I liked this book (the plot is fantastic), I got really annoyed by it because it felt like a whiny, sullen teenager was talking at me for 375 pages. This gives me mixed emotions. I mean for one, it shows the versatility + talent on the writer’s behalf… but teenagers are kind of annoying. I hope this makes sense. I digress. This is the story of a girl (Kay Donovan) attending Bates Academy (a super exclusive boarding school in New England). Kay comes from humble roots (unlike her peers) and has skeletons in her closet but has managed to become the captain of the soccer team and a part of the popular crowd. Then a dead body shows up in the lake and the dead girl sends her on a computer-coded scavenger hunt where Kay will ultimately isolate all of her friends and implicate herself in the murder. The plot is witty and brilliant; and besides the narrator being a bit annoying (as teenagers can be) I couldn’t put it down. I definitely didn’t guess the ending and there was a really heartbreaking twist at the end.

  • Overall Score: B

* Paper Princess, Broken Prince, and Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. Okay we are just going to treat these three books as one. I have so many feelings here. First of all, if you read The Selection and miss that feeling you get when you guiltily hole up for an entire weekend reading what really just is absolutely terrible, drop what you are doing and order these right now. I can’t even write out the plot without feeling bad about myself so we’ll try. Ella Harper is poor and orphaned and supporting herself via stripping until rich Callum Royal shows up – he’s her (deceased) father’s best friend and has been looking for her. He moves her into his mansion, alongside his five sons. At first the 5 sons are terrible to her, but ultimately a romance develops. This book is weird as it’s definitely YA but there’s quite a bit of sex. It’s pure guilty pleasure… totally trashy but also totally addicting.

  • Overall Score: C (but you know this going in, so you should still read it if you’re in the mood for something that’s terrible yet addicting!!!)

Disclosure: I received advanced copies of Royals and The Good Liar.

photography by Trent Bailey.

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  1. I love, love, love that you always have a thriller in your book posts! Thrillers are my absolute favourite, can’t get enough of them. Thank you for your recommendations, Grace! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    5.3.18 Reply
  2. These books sound so good! I’m currently trying to finish reading I”ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, and then hopefully Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I’ve been trying to start the later for ages and haven’t been able to yet.

    Kendal / Life With Kendal

    5.3.18 Reply
  3. I read “Love & Other Words” by Christina Lauren last week in like 6-7 hours, and I just could not put it down! The story is based in two timelines – one when the central characters are 17/18 and the other when they are 28/29. Thoroughly loved racing through this one…

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  4. Elizabeth:

    Love book posts! I just finished The Perennials and really enjoyed it. And bonus – beautiful cover! 🙂

    5.3.18 Reply
  5. I can’t wait to read this thriller! They are my favorite pool reads. I’m currently reading The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I’m almost done, and it’s very good. It really makes you think.
    Happy Reading!

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  6. Erika:

    Excited to read The Good Liar & Then She was Gone at your recommendation. I absolutely loved The Lovely Bones. I’ve recently been reading Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg (FB COO) and have been absolutely loving it. I would consider it somewhat of a self-help/ motivational book, but the things she talks about really resonate, and would probably do so with most professional women (& men)!

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  7. sydnee:

    I just finished Then She Was Gone and you’re right, I couldn’t put it down either! So good! I’m reading Friend Request now…so far, so good.

    Design by Sydnee

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  8. Allie:

    I’ve totally read the Paper PRincess series and felt SO guilty reading it because it was SO terrible but also needed to find out what happened. Why does YA do this to us???

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  9. Totally reading those thrillers!! This post is also great timing since I just finished my book yesterday. Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

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  10. Cory:

    Loved Good Liar and Then She Was Gone. I am currently reading the first book in the Luxe series that someone on the podcast FB page recommended. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but it is definitely another guilty pleasure type of read.

    5.3.18 Reply
  11. Kristen:

    Oh my, I just discovered your blog via your podcast (which came to me via Hitha’s blog post!) and could not be more thrilled – it seems we have EXACTLY the same taste in books, and I’ve already put library holds on most of the books you recommend here! So excited!

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  12. Erica:

    I highly recommend “Sometimes I Lie” by Alice Feeney – it’s an amazing thriller/mystery! It begins with the main character telling you three things: 1. I’m in a coma. 2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore. 3. Sometimes I lie.

    It’s honestly more twisty than Gone Girl and so good!

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  13. Sarah:

    So pumped you’re re-reading The Royal We for the podcast. I will pretend we’re back in the DR while I’m listening to it.

    5.3.18 Reply
  14. All the books I’ve been reading lately have come from your Book Club Page or the Podcast! Currently reading The Assistants!
    Have your read The Hating Game? Its a little similar to The Wedding Date! Also another book I loved was The Hopefuls set in DC all about two couples on the presidential campaign trail!

    Aimee x

    5.3.18 Reply
    • That makes me soooo happy!!! I haven’t read The Hating Game but I loved The Wedding Date!

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  15. Nicole Walker:

    Hey Grace, Love reading these monthly posts! Have you read “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han? It’s an awesome YA book and the first of a three book series. It’s such a quick and easy read, but doesn’t sound like a teenager is writing it, as you referenced above. Check it out, could be a great one for the pod! (Which I am loving by the way.)

    xoxo Nicole

    5.4.18 Reply
  16. I would highly recommend Only Child by Rhiannon Navin! Don’t let the subject matter turn you off. It seems like it would be very depressing (in which, yes, there are some tearful moments), but I thought the author made some really interesting points about emotional intelligence in both adults and children that were uplifting at many times. We’re reading it for our book club, and I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks!

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    • Thank you so much for the suggestion!

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    • Katie:

      Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve been reading it for a few weeks but keep reading other books in between, it’s just so depressing, but I know I need to read it. It’s so hard to read about a problem and know we haven’t solved it…not even close. Thanks!

      5.6.18 Reply
  17. Kat:

    Omg Paper Princess. This time last year I stumbled upon it by accident and found myself completely sucked in and feeling just as guilty as you, haha!

    Then She Was Gone sounds awesome, adding it to my list!

    5.4.18 Reply
  18. Lacey:

    I’m currently reading Circe, Then She was Gone is on my nightstand waiting (and with your glowing review I’m even more excited to read it) and I just added The Good Liar to my TBR list. I love a good twist.

    5.7.18 Reply
  19. Sarah:

    Young Adult is a category of books for 14-18 year olds, so it would make sense that they’d sound like teenagers…

    5.9.18 Reply
  20. I look forward to this post every month! I picked up The Good Liar after seeing your Instagram post on it. I can’t stop thinking about it! I am a huge Catherine McKenzie fan. Have you read Fractured? I devoured it in a weekend. Highly recommend!

    I am definitely gonna check out Then She Was Gone. I love Lisa Jewell’s writing! I read and enjoyed The Girls in the Garden and The House We Grew Up.

    Currently reading The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy and I cannot put it down.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful book posts!

    5.15.18 Reply
    • Ooops… I meant The House We Grew Up In.

      5.15.18 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the suggestions!!! You’re going to LOVE The Good Liar – such a great book!!! I haven’t read Fractured yet but adding it to my list now!


      5.16.18 Reply
  21. Kasey:

    Day of Wrath by William Forstchen! It’s pretty short and really addicting so it’s a fast read! I couldn’t put it down and read it in less than 24 hours. The topic is a lot different from your typical thriller and it’s a very emotional read, but definitely worth it.

    5.15.18 Reply
  22. Stacey:

    You have to read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate!! If you like historical fiction this is a great one! I loved it!

    5.18.18 Reply
  23. I couldn’t put The Selection series down and have been looking for something to replace it! I’ll have to give Paper Princess a try! Thanks for the recommendations!!

    5.28.18 Reply
  24. Kayleigh:

    I highly suggest “Summer Sisters” by Judy Blume. My best friend from college gave me a copy to read when I last visited her in Boston (she had two copies if that says anything), and I spent a summer Saturday devouring the book. It’s about Martha’s Vineyard and follows two best friends growing up. Definitely makes you crave the summer and your closest friends!

    6.3.18 Reply