Looks like I passed February's record and I read ELEVEN books this month! A mixture of mystery, suspense, drama and chick lit to balance it all out. I hope you find one you'd like to add to your reading list!
by Emma Rous ****
I recently read The Au Pair by Emma Rous which I loved so I immediately grabbed this one. I love books that feature historic homes as the setting and this one was intriguing. Beth lives a life that is filled with oddities as she joins the Averelll family at Raven Hall. Told through dual timelines we are reintroduced to Raven Hall of 2019 through a scheme I didn't see coming!
1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game--and nothing is ever the same.
2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she's got nothing to lose.
In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined--even with damage from a fire decades before--but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there's something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.
by Lucy Foley ****
An eerily told story that is filled with darkness and left me questioning until the end. This book was like watching a thunderstorm and being exposed to the dangers. While there were some connections in this book that felt a little too coincidental, I still really enjoyed the suspense of this story.
The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
by Susie Yang ****
Young Ivy is trapped between the worlds of her restrictive Chinese family and the wealthy world of her private school and the social ladder she longs to climb. The choices she makes along the way to become one of the elite and the girl on Gideon's arm are twisted and left me feeling desperate to call a therapist to help poor Ivy.
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates.
Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.
Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.
Filled with surprising twists and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story, as well as a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.
by Mary Kay Andrews ****
I love Andrews books for lighthearted chic lit! From romance, mystery and drama you find it all within these pages. I liked Conely's character and was rooting for her throughout the pages.
It’s a new season...
Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.
For small town scandals...
When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”
And big-time secrets.
Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer.
by Ruth Ware **
Ruth Ware knows how to keep her readers on edge and looking for answers. This one however didn't really keep me all that engaged. There was too much information sharing about the technological sides of Snoop, too much about avalanches and too many characters that fell flat. I knew who the murderer was from the beginning, which kind of defeats the point of a mystery!
Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them.
When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?
by Meryl Wilsner **
I honestly picked this one based on the cover. I wanted something silly and fun and while this met both of those criteria it wasn't all that great. I liked that the book dealt with work place harassment, with questions regarding ones personal sexuality and featured two females who were falling in love. However, Jo and Emma were the type of characters you want to sit down and give a good shake - like could you two communicate once! I felt like the plot had potential but missed the mark.
Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn't come at a worse time--threatening Emma's promotion and Jo's new movie.
As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a "source" is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is "no comment".
With the launch of Jo's film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all...but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?
by Riley Sager *****
Absolutely LOVED this book. A historic home, mysterious occurrences and
Told through dual timelines - of Maggie's childhood and of her current time as an adult. Readers experience all the creepy occurrences within the walls of this old Victorian in Vermont making you want to sleep with the light on!
Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.
Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
by Janelle Brown **
Wow - what a train wreck of a family! Some one call a therapist pronto! So much going wrong to some overly privileged people so it was super hard to feel sorry for them. Every cliche is within these pages - divorce, teen pregnancy, bankruptcy, cheating, dieting, drug addiction, angry feminism... I felt kind of sickened by money in this book - it was a great destroyer and motivator for way too much.
When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune.
Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers’ older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling post-feminist magazine, Snatch. Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.
The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything crackles with energy and intelligence and marks the debut of a knowing and very funny novelist, wise beyond her years.
by Rachel Hauck **
Five strangers from NY are all brought together and spend time helping each other over dinners in a historic library each week. I found myself rooting for each character and hoping they would succeed. I enjoyed how they all formed bonds with each other but some of it did feel a little too unbelievable. I was waiting anxiouisly to find out who sent the invitation and it was a bit of a surprise at the end as I was not aware that this was a christian fiction piece. I didn't find the religious element too pushy or imposing in the story line but it did surprise me.
Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.
Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.
Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.
Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.
Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.
When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to bare their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.
Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.
by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Another fun author to read if you are looking for some good chick lit. When Di and Gray meet you'd never expect them to end up being the rocks each of them truly needs to move on and grow. Over the course of a summer both of these strong women build each other up and experience some of the best kinds of surprises and love. While some of the love matches felt a little bit too easy - second date "I love you's" and all if you don't think to much about reality this book was a pleasant read!
It's summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin' is easy. Unless, that is, you've just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy. Diana Harrington's summer isn't off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience. With Gray's kindness, Diana's tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana's help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.
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