End of Summer Reading Recap

I was super lucky this year to have several vacations, pool days and chances to dive into a number of books. I didn’t have a goal in mind, but I’m really pleased with all that I have gotten through! I am trying to make a point to read more when not on vacation, so I’m open to any tips or suggestions you might have. Here is what I got through this summer, and a few books on the horizon for me over the next few months:

No Exit – Taylor Adams | 5/5 | This book was NUTS. It took me a second to get into it (my literary critic dad called it “tedious”) but by the end of it we were all hooked. My mom, dad and I all finished it in 24 hours each, so it’s a great one to pack for a vacation! The ending was HOTLY debated, so my family and I would love to argue with anyone who decides to read it.

The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley | 3.999/5 | I have a “type”, which could best be described as twisty suspense. This was OKAY in that field, but I can’t bear to give it a full 4. It was slow at times, predictable at others, but did have a few good punches.

The Perfect Couple – Elin Hilderbrand | 5/5 | My first Elin Hilderbrand book, and I must say I am hooked (at least as a beach read). I was a little hesitant about this one as it doesn’t fall within my typical genre, but I tore through it in a matter of hours. The characters were really well done, and I loved the setting, drama and suspense!

The Story of Arthur Truluv – Elizabeth Berg | 5/5| If I was hesitant about The Perfect Couple, I was REALLY hesitant about this one. Coming off the heels of several amazing thrillers, I was super unsure if this would keep my attention. However, I could NOT be more glad that I picked it up! My only regret is that I don’t live in this charming house being cared for by the elderly.

Without Merit – Colleen Hoover | 3/5 | I don’t even know. This one was fiiiine, I did finish it, and rather quickly, but I can’t really tell you what it was about. After reading and LOVING Verity, I wrongly assumed that Colleen Hoover was a thriller author. It had some good characters and a few compelling storylines, but overall I can’t say I loved it.

Verity – Colleen Hoover | 4.5/5 | This one was GREAT. A little odd, violent and PG-13 at times, but super addictive nonetheless. The ending left a bit to be desired, and I felt like it was needlessly graphic at times, so that’s the meaning behind my rating!

The Mother-in-Law – Sally Hepworth | ALL THE STARS | This one! Was! Great! It’s been a long time since I actively avoided society to stay enmeshed in a book, but this one was all that and more. It was suspenseful without being graphic, the characters were phenomenal, the story was outstanding and I truly didn’t see the ending coming. Oh, and as a bonus- it made me super grateful for my mom and mother in law 😉

Turn of the Key – Ruth Ware | 5/5| This one was perfectly twisty as well, and one of the more addicting Ruth Ware books I have read so far. She is often compared to Agatha Christie, and all of her work is really smart and thought provoking. This one was a good deal creepier than her others, which I appreciated (except for when I couldn’t sleep thinking about a China doll…). The ending was really unsatisfying in my opinion, which was the only letdown.

Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid | 5\5 | This was FUN and another weakness for me in terms of genre. I love a 70s moment, and am always into musical drama and behind the scenes celebrity situations. Some of the characters were a little exhausting/cliche, but overall it was a great deal of fun! I am still wracking my brain as to what the songs would sound like, and would definitely check out a movie or show if it was made.

The Dream Daughter – Diane Chamberlain | 4/5 | I am a Diane Chamberlain GROUPIE! In my opinion, she’s a little under the radar and I would say I am probably on the younger end age-wise of her fan club. However, without fail, every one of her books has a point where my jaw drops. They are kind of like Nicholas Sparks with an incredibly compelling secret woven throughout. I have always enjoyed all her books, and this was no exception. I did feel that it was slow to start, and I will say I ALMOST gave up, but once the plot twisted I was hooked.

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness |3.5/5| I am in the minority here, and I know it. I slogged through this to fit in with all the raving fans, and I can’t say I’m better for it. There are parts of it that reminded me of Twilight/Harry Potter/Thirteenth Tale, but overall I was pretty underwhelmed. I thought it was incredibly slow and I just couldn’t get into it! Hate me if you wish.

The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter | 5/5 | Oh Karin, Karin, Karin. How I always love your books but immediately regret exposing myself to the gratuitous gore. The books she writes are un-put-downable but MAN the details stick with you. She tackles all kinds of tough topics in each storyline, but it’s often hard for me to stomach. Another great true crime, thriller style book if you have a thick skin!

Where the Crawdads Sing– Delia Owens | 4/5| There are two camps with this book, either the obsessed or the unimpressed. I am partially in the middle here, I’m sad to say. I did enjoy it, but I think I let the hype get to my head. There were times that I was really drawn in,  but I never had trouble putting it down. I’m happy that I read it, but it wasn’t one of my top 3 for the summer.

An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena |3.9/5| Shari’s books are always decent, never super noteworthy in my book (ha!). This one kept me guessing, but again, no trouble putting it down. It was a fun pool book, a nice whodunit, but kind of unforgettable overall.

Listened:

The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win – Jeff Haden | 5/5| No matter what industry you’re in, what you believe in or what you’re trying to improve on, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. I usually avoid listening to professional development books because I am a note-taker and highlighter, but this felt like a super enlightening conversation with a knowledgable, funny friend. There were some things that weren’t relevant to me (hiring, leading a company, etc.) but it was easy to apply the tips and skills to what I do. Really fascinating concepts, eye opening facts and a great reader!

The Whisper Network – Chandler Baker |3/5 | Woof. I expected a lot from this book based on others’ reviews. I don’t know if it was the fact that I listened vs. reading it, the writing or the reader, but I was not impressed. I am still not finished, after 4 long car trip legs. The topic was somewhat interesting, and a few of the characters were compelling to follow, but it felt scattered and super cliche. It also didn’t help that the reader mispronounced words and butchered accents, which was super distracting.

Checked out/On Hold:

The Escape Room- Megan Goldin

The Family Next Door – Sally Hepworth

The Identicals – Elin Hilderbrand

The Things We Keep – Sally Hepworth

The Last House Guest – Megan Miranda

Never Have I Ever – Joshilyn Jackson

Hope this helps round out your fall reading list. I’d love to hear your take on anything I read, and if you have any recommendations for me to check out, I’m all eyes!

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