May Wrap Up!

WOW! Busy month — I had a getaway to Nashville, and Nolan turned 1! I’ve been a mom for a year — what a ride it’s been! Also, astonishingly, I read 15 books in May!

  • The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean — 4/5 stars. An Australian coming-of-age story that was reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides, and I found the inclusion of the Lindy Chamberlain (you know, ‘the dingo ate my baby’) story in the background a really fascinating addition.
  • Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza — 4/5 stars. Full review here!
  • 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne — 2/5 stars. I almost DNF’d — these characters just didn’t do it for me. I found the story a little cliche and this one just wasn’t for me. Oh well.
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager — 5/5 stars. WOW! This book will be published in August 2019, and I was lucky enough to receive an eARC from NetGalley. This book was a wild ride through the Bartholomew, a famous tenement building in New York. I really don’t want to give anything away — just be prepared to have your mind blown when it comes out!
  • All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin — 5/5 stars. This book was a really interesting look into parenting and thinking about how the small things that we do can have a huge impact. Nina is a mom who admits that she’s become complacent in her parenting, letting her husband handle things. When her son Finch does something completely inexcusable, we see the steps that she takes in order to reclaim the values she holds dear while trying to raise her son. There were a number of ethical and societal dilemmas in this novel — the #MeToo movement, sexual assault, social media, bullying — and it was interesting to think about how I would deal with a scenario such as this, knowing that I am raising a son. Definitely worth checking out — it’ll give you a lot to think about! 
  • Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak — 4/5 stars. Nina & Stella have been friends since college, and Nina seems to always be picking up after the wealthy & privileged Stella. When these two strive for success, they go HARD. Who knows what lengths they’ll go to in order to reach the top?
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter — 3.5/5 stars. When Claire was a young girl, her sister Julia went missing, and it fractured her relationship with her sister Lydia. In the present day, another girl goes missing in a similar fashion. Lydia & Claire reunite in a very graphic, though gripping novel, filled with twists & turns. I was engaged the whole time, but some scenes were a little much for me.
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton — 4/5 stars. A Cuban-American woman, Marisol, returns to the Havana of her grandmother’s past, when her grandmother Elisa dies and requests to have her ashes spread on her home island. Elisa and her family fled to the US in 1958, and this sweeping novel was fulled with history I didn’t know about, lush settings, and gorgeous romances. I can’t wait to read When We Left Cuba to hear more of this family’s story!
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware — 3/5 stars. I was hoping for a bit more of a gothic mystery with this one, and I was a little disappointed. Great setting, good twists — just felt more like a thriller that fell flat than a good mystery.
  • The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams — 4.5/5 stars. I read this in its entirety on my flight to Nashville! It had a lush setting and even some references to Portuguese culture that I found to be both accurate & sweet. There were parts of this that reminded me of Evelyn Hugo and some that reminded me of Elin Hildebrand’s writing. A satisfying read!
  • The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker — 5/5 stars. What a sweet, sweet romance in a gorgeous setting with fun, likable characters! After reading The Great Alone last year, I’ve been increasingly interested in life in Alaska and this book was just wonderful. This was my first book by this author — but won’t be my last!
  • The Guest Book by Sarah Blake — 3.5/5 stars. I’m grappling with my feelings about this book, filled with family drama & tension after the death of the family matriarch. This book made me think about how relationships change when a major shake-up happens, and how truths come out & make you question your family history. My feelings aside, I thought it dragged a little bit, but the setting was stellar.
  • A Stranger On The Beach by Michelle Campbell — 4.5/5 stars. I was lucky enough to get this as an eARC on NetGalley and I loved it! This author did an amazing job making me constantly guess at which was actually the truth. This book will hit shelves this summer and is a perfect beach read!
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