Settle in everyone because this is going to be a long one! I haven’t posted in forever… Seriously, it’s embarrassing. And what’s even worse is I haven’t posted a wrap up since June. JUNE. EEEK!
So, since it’s been a while I’m going to combine July, August, September, and October into one giant Wrap Up post, and hopefully I won’t fall so horribly behind again in the future. *crosses fingers*
I have sixteen, yes sixteen, books to talk about. Over the past four months I’ve read nine physical books and listened to seven audiobooks. I’ve been in a bit of an audiobook slump (and still am – please send help), but overall seven books in four months is not too shabby, I think. So let’s get to it!
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (4 Stars)
At the center of this small British town lies the drowning pool, a place where women across the centuries have lost their lives to the watery depths. After her own traumatizing experience in the water, Jules wants nothing to do with this town or her sister – but when her sister’s body is found drowned in the pool, Jules must return to care for her niece and discover the truth about her sister’s death.
I enjoyed this book, although not as much as I liked Hawkins’ first book, The Girl on the Train. It was a little tough to follow on audiobook as there were a lot of characters, but overall it was a good mystery and fun listen.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (5 Stars)
After his mother becomes President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz is immediately cast as American royalty. He’s handsome, charismatic, and smart – and he cannot stand Prince Henry of Great Britain. When the two are forced together for a Public Relations scheme, Alex realizes his first impressions of the prince were wrong – very wrong, in fact. His feelings for the prince may not be hate after all, he might actually love him.
Red, White & Royal Blue is as sweet as a romance novel can get. It was a little cheesy here and there, but it was a perfect, feel-good summer read.
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani (2 Stars)
When Myriam decides to return to work after having two children, she and her husband hire a nanny to care for the kids. They think they’ve hit the nanny jackpot with Louise, who appears to love the children, cooks for the whole family, and cleans the apartment, going above and beyond her required duties. But resentments begin to build and one day Myriam returns home to find her two children stabbed in the bathtub.
Yes, this book had a twisted ending but that’s about it. The rest of the story was relatively tame, aside from Louise’s little quirks. Overall, I didn’t think it was much of a thriller at all.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (4 Stars)
Every ten years the Dragon comes down from his tower to Agnieszka’s village to claim a young woman as his servant. Agnieszka never suspected that she’d be chosen, but after she is and she moves into his tower, she realizes that she has nothing to fear from the Dragon, and everything to fear from the Woods beyond the valley.
I really enjoyed Uprooted, which is saying something because I tend to not like overly-hyped fantasy novels. This one had just the right amount of folklore to balance out the fantastical elements.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen (4 Stars)
In classic Sarah Dessen style, this story follows Emma Saylor as she spends a summer with her mother’s family – people she hasn’t seen since she was a toddler. As she gets to know her family for the first time, Emma finally begins to piece together her deceased mother’s early life, and falls for the handsome Roo in the process.
This was a sweet coming of age story. I loved Sarah Dessen as a teenager, so reading this book was a charming walk down memory lane. Like usual, Dessen tackled tough topics such as the early death of a parent and class conflict, in a wholesome way.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (4 Stars)
Olive has never gotten along with Ethan, which is horribly unlucky because his brother her sister are getting married and they’ll be forced to spend a whole weekend together. But one weekend turns into a whole week as she and Ethan unexpectedly go on their siblings’ honeymoon to Hawaii following an ill-fated bout of food poisoning at the wedding reception. Suddenly Ethan doesn’t seem so bad afterall…
This book was adorable. Completely predictable, yes, but utterly adorable. If you want a feel-good, fast-paced, tropical romance then this is the book for you. I will definitely be checking out more Christina Lauren novels.
From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon (2 Stars)
Twinkle Mehra is on track to become the next great filmmaker. She has the vision, drive, and skills to create meaningful films – she just needs the opportunity to share them with the world. When she gets the chance to create a film for the Summer Festival she can’t believe her luck – especially because that means getting closer to her crush, Neil, through his twin brother Sahil (her producer). But maybe she’s crushing on the wrong brother?
To be honest, I didn’t really like this book. It was cute and had some sweet moments, but Twinkle was obnoxiously clueless. I enjoyed Menon’s first book, but this one fell a little flat.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (4 Stars)
Millicent and her husband are trying to be good parents, supportive partners to each other, and keep the spark alive in their relationship… they just go about that a little differently than most couples.
Oh man, what a mind fuck. This book was disturbing and impossible to put down. I don’t want to give away too much, but the twist at the very end REALLY threw me off and I have no idea what to believe anymore.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal (5 Stars)
Set against London’s Great Exhibition in 1850, this historical thriller follows three characters: Iris, a young woman with artistic dreams; Silas, a collector and purveyor of the strange and macabre; and Albie, an errand boy struggling to stay alive on the streets of Victorian London. When Albie accidentally introduces Silas to Iris he sets in motion a dark and chilling obsession.
Oh WOW. This book was disturbing and creepy in all the right ways. If you liked You by Caroline Kepnes and Devil in the White City by Erik Larson then read this book. You won’t be disappointed.
The Likeness by Tana French (5 Stars)
Dublin Murder Squad Series Book 2: Cassie Maddox has left the Murder Squad and has no intention of returning. But when a body turns up that looks just like her and is carrying the ID of Alexandra Madison, one of Cassie’s former aliases, she can’t help but be pulled back into the squad.
I loved The Likeness! As of now, this is my favorite of the DMS series and I think it will be hard to top. It reminded me a lot of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History which is one of my all time favorite books, so how could I not love it???
Faithful Place by Tana French (3 Stars)
Dublin Murder Squad Series Book 3: As a teenager Frank Mackey had dreams of running away to England with his girlfriend to find a better life. On the night of their planned escape Rosie doesn’t show up and Frank (along with everyone else) assumed she must have gone on without him. Now, more than twenty years later Rosie’s suitcase is found in an abandoned home and Frank, who is on the murder squad, cannot help but get involved.
Faithful Place is my least favorite book from the DMS series so far. I was able to figure out the mystery pretty quickly which made the rest of the novel drag on a bit.
Broken Harbor by Tana French (4 Stars)
Dublin Murder Squad Series Book 4: When Mick “Scorcherˮ Kennedy is called to a grisly murder scene at Broken Harbor, a housing complex outside of Dublin, he thinks it will be an easy solve. But what seemed at first to be a simple case of family homicide turns out to be far more twisted and complex than he ever could have imagined.
Broken Harbor was just the right amount of crazy. I was guessing and second guessing all the way through this one – which is what you want in a good mystery novel.
The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 Stars)
This collection of short stories is everything you could want from Adichie. All of the stories are rich, complex portraits of the human experience in Africa and beyond.
I have a hard time rating and reviewing collections of short stories, but this one was fairly easy. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a beautiful writer and this book is a wonderful addition to my Adichie collection.
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (3 Stars)
Jessica Farris is a little cash-strapped, so she jumps at the chance to make some easy money by participating in a psychological study. At first everything seems normal, but as the study progresses Jessica begins to realize the woman behind the study might be using her for more than academic research.
I LOVED The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen so I was psyched to dig into this book. Unfortunately, it was not nearly as thrilling as their first novel (which had multiple mind-blowing twists). Honestly, An Anonymous Girl was a thriller without a twist, and therefore more than a little disappointing.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike (5 Stars)
As Christianity begins to sweep across ancient Scotland, the struggle between the Old Way and the New threatens to destroy Languoreth and her family’s way of life. This beautiful novel brings to life one of Scotland’s most powerful and forgotten queens.
I loved this book so much! It’s historical fiction with a dash of romance at it’s finest. Kristy Logan described it as “Outlander meets Camelot,” and I’d say that was pretty spot on. This is the first novel in an expected trilogy and I cannot wait for the next two books!
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (4 Stars)
Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed tonight – just like she’s been killed every night before and every night to come. Aiden is tasked with solving her murder – but there’s a catch, he has 8 days to solve her murder and everyday he wakes up in a different person’s body. Will he be able to use the skills and cunning of his respective hosts to solve the mystery, or will he be doomed to stay in the purgatory of Blackheath forever?
This book is a sinister Downton Abbey / Groundhog Day combo and it was SO GOOD! I’ve never read anything like it before – it was an intriguing and complex take on the classic murder mystery.
Have you read any of these books? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading!