I began this month finishing a few books from May, and in total I read 9 books!
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly: This was a beautifully written book about a horrific chapter in human history. Kelly’s female characters are always richly written, even the villains. I really loved that I read Lost Roses first, even though it’s a ‘prequel,’ because I loved that I knew Caroline’s background a bit. While it was a bit graphic in parts, it was such a vivid & well-written book I didn’t want to put it down. 4.5/5 stars.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark: I am a very proud Murderino. I love binging this podcast (and take recommendations for other true crime pods!!) However, this book, that I had been super excited about since they announced it last year, just didn’t hold up to the hype for me. I was expecting lots of fun anecdotes and some true crime stories, but really didn’t get much of either. I felt like most of the stories that they spoke about in the book were stories that they had mentioned or alluded to on the podcast, so I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new about them. There wasn’t really much true crime in the book, either. It was an ambitious undertaking that just didn’t quite reach its mark. The best part for me was the meetup with other Murderinos at my local Barnes & Noble and learning about their Spotify playlist – it’s been on heavy rotation for about a month now, and inspired me to create my own #GrrlPower playlist. 3/5 stars.
A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson: This was one of my THREE June Book of the Month picks, and I’d been seeing it hyped all over bookstagram for a while, so I was so excited to start it! It was told from three perspectives: a father, a daughter, and a mother, all dealing with the aftermath of a murder the daughter is accused of committing. It was really twisty and kept me guessing the whole time, until the very last page! It takes place in Sweden & was originally written in Swedish, so I feel like I may have missed some of the cultural aspects of the original, but otherwise it was a great read. 4/5 stars.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane: This was another of my BOTM picks, and probably my least favorite of the bunch. It felt like it took a LONG time for the “action” to ramp up. In the end, it was a decent family drama, with lots of well-developed characters, while a few of the character arcs did fall short for me. I think the book was a little longer than it needed to be, and I felt pretty frustrated for a few of the characters. 3.5/5 stars.
The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson: I won this one in a Goodreads Giveaway! YAY! I will be writing a separate post with my review on this book’s Pub Day!
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams: This was the 3rd BOTM pick for June, and my favorite of the three. I read my first book by Beatriz Williams last month (Summer Wives) and absolutely LOVE the way that she creates setting and makes relatable & fun characters. Her women are always strong & feisty and I LOVE that, especially in her historical contexts. This book was cool because there were real-life figures involved – the Duke & Duchess of Windsor (aka Edward, who had to abdicate the throne to marry Wallis, very scandalous!) I did have to do some googling about them & this time period, since I didn’t always know exactly what was going on. This book takes place in the Bahamas before, during, and after World War II. Williams does a phenomenal job of creating a lush setting. It was romantic, beautifully written, and an all-around gorgeous read. 5/5 stars.
The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth: This book pleasantly surprised me. I was expecting yet another domestic thriller, and while there were definitely aspects that reminded me of books like The Other Woman & Big Little Lies, this book is a stand-out in this genre. It ended up being a heartfelt story that showed that there are always many, many sides to the truth. There were multiple perspectives which really underscored that you need to see the world from someone else’s point of view, and it was an astounding look at trying to understand one another. 5/5 stars.
Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen: I got to purchase this one when we were at The Strand in New York City a few weeks ago and I was SO GLAD I did! It has been described as Mad Men + The Devil Wears Prada, but honestly, it was so much more than that. It was about feminist icon Helen Gurley Brown, told from the perspective of Alice, a newcomer just trying to make it in NYC as a photographer. It was really cool hearing about New York in the 60’s and recognizing some of the faces & places described in the novel. I love when authors discuss their writing process with an Author’s Note, and this one was just like the icing on the cake. Rosen did an amazing job weaving together fiction and reality. 5/5 stars.
Whisper Network by Chandler Baker: I won this one in an Instagram Giveaway! YAY! I will be writing a separate post with my review on this book’s Pub Day!