I’ve decided to create a book list to record what I’m reading and share it with you all! Do know that I almost always listen to books on Audible! I love that I can do chores while listening to a great book
#32 The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 5 out of 5 stars. I was recommended this book by my friend Leslie and I really liked it. It was light and fluffy and just what I wanted. I gave it 5 stars because I kept wanting to find out what happened and listen to it until it was done! I liked how it was beginning, middle, and end. So if you need an easy beach read, this is your book.
Summary: Olive is a twin to Amy and is coined the unlucky twin. Bad things just keep happening to her and it’s almost comical if it weren’t so frustrating. And then there is her twin sister Ami who is seriously lucky. Ami even managed to get her entire wedding free by winning a bunch of clues. Even including her honeymoon. As Olive braces for the Ami’s wedding, she also braces herself to have to be around her brother-in-law’s brother, Ethan, whom she does not like. And the feeling is mutual. Then luck struck her when bad luck struck everyone else at the wedding. Her allergy to shellfish and Ethan’s aversion to buffets saves them from severe food poisoning. Well the next day was the honeymoon and since Ethan and Olive were the only ones not sick they decided to take the free trip to Maui. What is going to happen in Maui and what will Olive find out about her new brother-in-law?
#32 Devil in the White City by Erik Larson 1 out of 5 stars. I hate to do this but I did not like this book. I was so excited about it. It has incredible ratings. The story sounds so interesting. I like to learn about history…but this book is DRY! It almost read like a textbook. I just felt bored. Ugh I truly hate to do this.
Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.” (I took this from the Amazon website. Because I didn’t like it I just couldn’t write a good summary. I tuned out so much during this book)
#31 Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant 5 out of 5 stars. I will say this is one of my favorite books I’ve read all year!!! I couldn’t get enough. It’s not my typical book but I just loved it. I keep telling everyone about it. You have your idea of what a mermaid is and this is not it!
Summary: The ocean is full of mystery and myths. Some feel magical and some feel scary. Well Into the Drowning Deep is going to take a magical myth and turn it into something truly scary. The Atargatis went on a expedition to the Mariana Trench to make a mokumentary about ancient sea life, particularly focusing on mermaid. Well the ship was found abandoned and no one was ever seen again. A hoax or a tragedy?
A new crew was put together to get some answers. This time not for a mockumentary but to validate the greatest hunt of all. To find the mermaids. What happens next could never be predicted and you will become sucked in to the story!
Secrets of the deep come with a price.
#30 Gitana-Life Plan by Beth M. James 4.5 out of 5 stars. The only reason I gave this book a 4.5 instead of 5 is because I wanted more at the end of the book. We had the immense pleasure to have Beth M James join out book club and talk about her book, her writing process, and read from another of her books. If you missed our discussion you can see it here.
Summary: What happens when you are forced to start over, cope with your past, build new friendship, and maybe even find love? Gitana Sothers is thrown into a whole new world after her husband divorces her. After giving everything up for her husband she now has no choice but to navigate a new life and finds her true passions. Her new life does not come easily, she has to make ends meet. She has to accept that she can’t get pregnant, so the life she previously wanted doesn’t exist anymore. Then comes Cade, a driven gallery owner and sculptor, who takes her on a new journey. Then something unimaginable happens and he feels utterly duped. Will their love be enough?
Summary: In April of 1942 Lale, a Slovakian Jew, is transported forcefully to the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau. He tells his captors he can speak several languages and is put to work at the tattooist. He permanently marks his fellow prisoners. This job helps to keep his “safe”. In the concentration camps for more than two and a half years, Lale has seen more atrocities that a human should ever see. He also shows much bravery by risking his life to help other prisoners by trading jewels for food. Lale meets Gita, prisoner 32407 in July of 1942. After tattooing her arm he vows to keep himself and her alive and be able to marry her.
#28 The Last Flight by Julie Clark 4.5 stars out of 5. I really enjoyed this book and thought the author did a great job telling two different women’s stories all the while combining their lives.
Summary: “Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.” Claire Cook appeared to have the perfect life. With an abundance of wealth and the appearance of a perfect husband you would think she has it all. But when the doors close, life is as far from perfect because her husband has a terrible temper and using his staff to control Claire’s life. What her husband doesn’t know if that Claire wants out and knows the only way to do that is by vanishing. Then comes in Eva who in a chance meeting convinces Claire that they should switch plane tickets. Claire takes Eva’s flight to Oakland and Eva travels to Puerto Rico where Claire is expected. Unfortunately, tragedy happens and the plane to Puerto Rico crashes and and everyone on the plane perish. What will Claire do and can she stay hidden? What really happened to Eva?
Summary: Jenny Lawson only ever wanted to fit in. That never happened because of her eccentric childhood but she takes the most terrible moments and laughs about it.
#26 Dare to Lead by Brene Brown 4.5 out 5 stars. Of course we’ve all heard of Brene Brown so when I came across this book I figured I’d read it. It’s definitely more focused lead in a work setting. Since I’m a stay at home mom and have my own blog with my sister I don’t necessarily “lead” people in the work setting, but I read the book and took a lot from it. Everyone can benefit from reading this book.
Summary: “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and have the courage to develop that potential.” This quote from the book’s summary is exactly what I took from the book. We can see potential in others and develop our own potential by having the courage to ask questions and listen to them. We can’t pretend we know it all and have all the answers because that doesn’t make a successful leader. You also can’t avoid all the hard conversations and situations, we need to lean into them. These are situations that happen in everyone’s life, no matter where you lead.
#25 The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune 4.5 stars. Full disclosure this isn’t my normal type of book. It was recommended by my friend Leslie. As I was listening (on Audible) and I just wasn’t sure. I had a bit of hard time following it, which unfortunately is common for me with Audible, but I never find the time to sit down and read so listening to books just works better for me. By the end of the book I was so in love with the characters. Oh my goodness, this book is unusual, creative, and beautiful. I HIGHLY recommend. The reason I took a 1/2 star away was because I had a hard time getting into it. I’m not sure that would’ve been a problem if I was actually reading it though. (Just being honest)
Summary: Linus Baker has a tiny house with a naughty cat and lives a quiet life. He is a case worker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. His job is to make sure the well-being of children in government orphanages are okay. Linus is then asked by the Extremely Upper Management to work a highly classified assignment. He is to travel to Marsyas Island where 6 “dangerous” children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyver, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. His fears were heightened but he takes his job very seriously and truly cares for the well-being of the children. The caretaker of the secret island, Arthur Parnassus, will do anything to keep his children safe. Arthur and Linus grow close and more secrets come out. This is an enchanting story in a place you would expect where you find family.
#24 Spilled Milk by K.L. Randis 4 out of 5 stars. Trigger Warning! This is an excellent book but it’s about physical and sexual abuse. It’s well written and it makes you think. But it definitely has a tough theme.
Summary: Brooke is the daughter of a man who is abusing his family. She makes an anonymous phone to social services to get help. With social services reaction, and her fear of safety, she choosing to keep her dad’s secret. As Brooke starts dating someone she sees how a typical family works. As the brutality continues she starts getting closer to her boyfriend’s mom who helps her get some help. With her revealing the truth she risks losing her family and learns some people don’t want to be saved.
#23 Sting-Ray Afternoons: A Memoir by Steve Rushin 4 out of 5 Stars. I will say that if you grew up in Minnesota in the 70s and 80s then YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK. This book talks all about coming of age in that time and all that went with it. It talks about landmarks and events during the 70s and 80s. It felt so familiar I couldn’t help but LOVE it.
Summary: This is a memoir of a boy growing up in the 70s and 80s in Bloomington, MN. From the wood-paneled station wagon (where the kids didn’t use seat belts) to Saturday morning cartoon for 5 straight hours. This book brings back all the products to life that were a huge part of life and places that only people who grew up during this time period can truly appreciate. A big part of the book is about his father who is one of 3M’s greatest salesman and travels across the country providing for his family but really wanting to be home with his family.
#22 Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews 5 out of 5 stars. Part of my rating is because I loved this book in my youth and wanted to revisit it. It’s a nutso story but it’s well written and I enjoyed reading it again. However, now as a mom I read it very differently than I did as a young adult.
Summary: The Dollanganger family was the perfect family, until tragedy struck. For the need of money and to earn her way back into her father’s good graces, Mama needed to keep her 4 children out of sight as if they never existed. They were kept in their grandmother’s attic alone and were not allowed to leave the room. This is a tale of family, greed, murder and forbidden love. It’s also the first book in the Dollanganger Series.
#20 Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly 4 out of 5 stars. This is a historical fiction based off letters that were found during the Civil War. Historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre but I really liked this book. The author talks through different women and perspectives of that time. Really interesting and you truly feel what three women went through during this historical time.
Summary: Georgey Woolsey is from a lavish family but that life isn’t for her. She follows her dream of being a nurse and helping out during war times in New York. Jemma is from Peeler Plantation in Maryland and lives with her mom and dad. She has a sister who is enslaved at the plantation next door. Jemma is then sold to a horrible mistress Anne-May. When the Union army comes through Jemma takes her chance to escape but she has to leave her beloved family. Anne-May is left to run Peeler Plantation when her husband joins the Union army. While she is in charge of the household she follows the opportunity to be a part of the Southern network of spies. These three women’s stories are caught in a country in turmoil.
#19 Sober Stick Figure by Amber Tozer 4 out of 5 stars. I am fascinated with memoirs and stories of recovery. I was introduced to this book from a blog and bought it several years ago. With this book challenge I am going through all the books I’ve purchased. This is one of them. I really liked it and Amber tells her story very well.
Summary: Amber comes from a family with many folks who have alcoholism. In her teenage years, she is a very athletic girl who is an overachiever. This books describes all her funny and embarrassing situations she puts herself into because she starts to experiment with booze. She ignores the warning signs of her drinking for a long time. She just likes to party. Amber talks about her accomplishments, her moves, and eventually hitting rock bottom. She knows she has to stop drinking.
#18 My Lost Family by Danny Ben-Moshe and Dasha Lisitsina 5 out of 5 stars. Well I happened to have this in my Audible library and decided to listen. I loved it so much. Very Very interesting. It’s only 2 hrs and 14 mins. As I was ready to put it here I realized it was actually a Podcast. Oops but since I thought it was a book I decided to put it here anyway because I liked it so much.
Summary: Lillian grew up in a poor Yiddish speaking home in London in the 1950s. As a teenager she marries an older man whom charms her named Raymond. After life takes a turn the circumstances change. One day he asks to take the children to a park and he never returns…and neither do the children. Forty years later the children reappear and they start searching for the truth.
#17 City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert 4.75 out of 5 stars. This is an excellent book. I almost think it could be separated into two different books. I loved the narration of the book and the story is one I’ve never read before.
Summary: Vivian Morris in 1940 is nineteen years old and after attempting college was kicked out for not working very hard. He affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who live a flamboyant life and owns a theater called Lily Playhouse. Vivian is introduced to a life to which she was not accustomed to at all. She began hanging out with showgirls and lives a fast life. Vivian then makes a scandalous mistake that changes her course in Manhattan. She is sent back to her hometown where she tries to live a “normal” life. The narration is Vivian at 89 years old telling her story.
#16 Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a good book but honestly I’m not much for cops and robber books or shows. It’s a quick read and if you do like private investigating books I do think you’ll like it. I did want to find out the ending.
Summary: Private is the first in the Private series with 15 books. Jack Morgan a former CIA agent runs a prominent private investigation company called Private. In this first book in the series Jack takes over Private from his incarcerated father. Private is known for ultimate discretion and serious force. Jack and his team are investigating a NFL gambling scandal and unsolved murdered of high school girls. All the while Jack’s best friend’s wife is found killed. Will they be able to solve all these serious events.
#15 The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 4 out of 5 stars. I really like this book. It is definitely a bit depressing because of the subject. Kristin Hannah writes beautiful books and this one does not disappoint.
Summary: In Texas in 1921 they were all optimistic about what life could be! Elsa though is thought to be too old to marry. Then she meets Rafe and her life changes direction. Her reputation is ruining and now she must get married to a man who doesn’t love her.
Then in 1934, life changed as drought and dust storms hit the Great Plains. Farmers are just trying to survive. Everything is dying and Elsa is just trying to take care of her children.
Elsa has to make a really hard decision to try to give her family a better like. Will they be the haves or have-nots. Resilience and strength is the only thing that can help these brave people.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa- like so many of her neighbors – must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.
#14 Verity by Colleen Hoover 5 out of 5 stars. OOOOHHH if I could give this book a 6th star I would. I absolutely loved it! It is a thrilling book where you don’t know the end until the last page. We are featuring it for our April Book Club and I can’t wait to discuss it! It really is a page turner. I will definitely be really more of Colleen Hoover’s books.
Summary: When Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, had to stop working to help her dying mother, she got into seriously financial hardships. Jeremy Crawfor, the husband of a bestselling author, Verity, asks Lowen to finishing writing the remaining books of Verity’s series. Verity was in a serious accident and was incapacitated and couldn’t finish her books. Lowen had to accept, she really had no choice. Jeremy invited Lowen to his house so she could go through his wife’s notes in order to finish the series. While researching, Lowen finds a secret manuscript of Verity’s, one that details horrific events in her life. The details would greatly affect Jeremy and his child. What should Lowen do? Should she share the manuscript or keep it a secret. Lowen and Jeremy begin to have feelings for each other, yet Verity is just upstairs in a vegetative state. What is the disturbing truth?
#13 Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid 4 out of 5 stars. I wish this was longer! I am trying to listen to all my books I have on Audible and this was one of them. I didn’t have any knowledge why I had it or what it was about. My only complaint is I wish it was longer. On Audible it’s only 1 hour and 19 min.
Summary: Carrie finds love letters from her husband to the woman he’s having an affair with. Carrie finds that woman’s husband, David, and starts a writing relationship with him.
The letters between Carrie and David grows and develops over their similar experience of their spouses having affairs with each other. The entire book is told through letters of strangers comforting each other and their spouses love letters.
This story ultimately gives one woman liberation from a broken relationship.
#12 Sometimes I Lie by: A Novel by Alice Feeney 4 stars out of 5 stars. This book is great. An easy read you want to keep reading. I gave it 4 stars because I wanted more at the end. I feel like it just kind of ended. But I do recommend it!
Summary: Amber is in the hospital and quickly finds out she can hear everything but she can move, speak, or open her eyes. She doesn’t remember what happens to her but she is suspicious of her husband and her sister. The book takes you to moments of her paralyzed presence as well as before her accident. There are also childhood diaries that reflect on events from the past.
There are three things Amber wants you to know
I’m in a coma.
My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
Sometimes I lie.
#11 Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. by Laura Tremaine 5 out of 5 stars. We were so excited to feature debut author Laura Tremaine on our Book Club this month. She did not disappoint. Honestly, it was a highlight of my life!! She was AWESOME. Laura was open and honest and shared her thoughts and experiences with us. For all that attended had to agree she delivered! This is a book I read through and did the work, but I will definitely go back and reflect on her questions.
Summary: Laura’s mission with this book was to help women feel ok with sharing their thoughts and feeling. She begins each chapter with a question. She explains the meaning behind the question and starts first with her memoir style answer. Then offers up questions for us, as the reader, to share our stuff.
In a world filled with social media, women often feel lonely in our lives roles. The purpose of the book is to start thinking about ourselves and our vulnerabilities and share them with a friend to build our friendship and grow deeper understandings of each other.
We get to learn about her and truly learn more about ourselves. We learn how to have deeper conversations with the people around us to grow and deepen our relationships. Getting to hear Laura’s life stories will make you laugh and cry. You will want to hear more. (Which is easy because she has a Podcast 10 Things to Tell You).
#10 Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this little beach read. It’s an easy fast read that was just fun. It’s not a real thinker, which is exactly what I needed. I’ve had this book in my Audible for many years. I believe it was for my neighborhood bookclub book that I never read. I just really liked it.
Summary: In Ringgold, Georgia in the 1970s there is one stop light, one Dairy Queen, and the daughter of a Baptist preacher, Catherine Grace. She is full of life and knew she needed out of this tiny town.
Her mother died when she was young. Her father raised her and her sister in the church but helped her get out to Atlanta. As life was really taking off in Atlanta, tragedy happens and brings her back to Ringgold. Things change and Catherine Grace has to grow with these changes.
#9 When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee 4 out of 5 stars. Full Disclosure I am NOT an outdoorsy hiker and believe that if you loved hiking you would like this book even more. The first half of the book was a little hard for me but its not really my interest level. But I gave it 4 stars because it’s super informative, well written, and I really like the 2nd half of the book.
Summary: This is the story of Geraldine “Gerry” Largay, who’s trail name was Inchworm. Gerry went missing on the Appalachian Trail in Maine (very remote area) in 2013. When she didn’t meet up with her husband and their allotted time searches started. The Maine Warden Service followed leads for more than a year. even the U.S. Navy’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School searched.
Gerry’s disappearance sparked the largest lost-person search, which unfortunately ended in the presumption of her death. This is a story of heartache but also of personal perseverance and faith. It’s a testament to a woman who wanted to challenge herself in her 60s.
#8 My Brillant Friend by Elena Ferrante 3 out of 5 stars. I had a hard time with this book. It has amazing reviews and was referred to me but I did not get it and thought it was hard to follow. I finished it just to finish it. The end was better than the first half but ugh. I’m not sure what I’m missing. There is so much time saying names and not enough story in my opinion. It’s part of the Neapolitan Novels which is a series. I was super excited to have a series, like when I was a kid. I will not be reading further.
Summary: It takes place in a economically poor neighborhood in Naples, Italy. This is the first of four books that will take you almost 60 years. The majority of the book is the coming of age of Lila and Elena as they go through relationships, their place in the world, and the world around them. Their relationship grows in typical friendships. They are a safe place for each other.
#7 For Better And Worse by Margo Hunt 3.75 out of 5 stars. I listened to this book on Audible which I usually love because I can get through books while I get chores done. But sometimes it’s a bummer because you don’t like the voice of the reader. This was the case for this book. Could it have scored higher if I actually read the book? Very likely! I was actually recommended the book so I’m sure it would’ve been better with a different reader.
Summary: Natalie and Will had a first date in law school and talked about if they could get away with murder, hypothetically speaking of course. They were tested during their marriage when they found out their son was in danger by someone in his school. Natalie is a criminal defense attorney and won’t play by the broken legal systems rules.
Will has no choice but to help his wife take matters into her own hands. Will their marriage survive these hard decisions and missteps. Police are poking around. How will it all end?
#6 The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. 5 out of 5 stars. I LOVED this book. It’s super unique and unpredictable. I have never read a book like it and I must say it kept my attention the whole book. I often thought, what would I do in this situation?
Summary: In France in the year 1714 a young women, promised to a man for marriage that she does not love make a bargain with a dark god. Her bargain is to live forever but no one will ever remember her. As she embarks on adventures through continents, history and art, Addie LaRue tries to leave her mark on the world. After nearly 300 years she finally meets a man who remembers her. This is where the true adventure begins. How does he remember her and what will that cost her?
#5 The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really really liked this book. This thriller will not disappoint. A young dog walker seeks a better life and finds it in a man…or so she thinks. So many suspicions you just do not know where the story is going to take you. Highly recommend this book!
Summary: Jane is a broke dog walker in a very affluent gated community. Her luck changes when she meets Eddie, who is recently widowed. His dead wife and her best friend a drowned in a boating accident but their bodies were lost in the deep water. Eddie offers Jane a new life but Jane is constantly haunted by his dead wife. Will she be able to measure up? This thriller keeps you guessing until the very end!
#4 The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens 4.5 out of 5 stars. I loved this book. It takes place in Minnesota, which I love because I knew many of the places they were talking about. I loved the story of the main character, his brother, and neighbor. I didn’t predict the ending and couldn’t wait to read it. I highly recommend this book.
Summary: Joe is a college student and is given an assignment to interview a stranger for his English class and write a biography on the person. Joe goes to a nursing home and gets paired with Carl, who is a dying Vietnam vet and a convicted murderer. Aided by Lia, his skeptical neighbor, Joe fully tries to find the truth about Carl.
#3 Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman 3 out of 4 stars. This is our 1st Book Club book. I liked it but I thought it was a bit hokey and predictable. Definitely an easy beach read but I thought it could’ve been better.
Summary: Erin is documentary filmmaker and Mark is an investment banker. They are passionately in love and plan an incredible honeymoon in Bora Bora. After Mark loses his job they scale down their wedding and shorten their honeymoon. While they are scuba diving they find something in the water. What would you do? How will your decisions change the course of your life?
#2 The Guest List by Lucy Foley 4 out of 5 stars. This really was different than anything I have read. I like it and it kept my attention. There were a few different stories going on so to get to the ending wasn’t predictable.
Summary: On an island off the coast of Ireland there is an extravagant wedding planned for a rising tv star and his bride, a magazine publisher. The wedding is perfectly planned with all the luxe party favors you can imagine. The book is filled with parties, resentments, old friends, and old jealousies. Then someone shows up dead.
#1 The Dilemma by B. A. Paris. 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked this book. As I read it I couldn’t help but wonder how I would handle this situation if it was me. It is a family drama with expressed feelings that so many families feel.
Summary: Livia is turning 40 and plans a huge party for herself. She feels silly but she never had a big wedding because she was already pregnant and has always dreamed of having a big 40th birthday party. Everyone she loves will be at the party except her daughter, Marnie, who’s studying abroad. Livia’s husband, Adam, worked with Marnie to surprise her mom. However, Adam hears terrible news and doesn’t know if he should share it with his wife before or after the party. This is his dilemma. What decision would you make. Ruin the day or let this be the one last day before your whole world changes?
~links are affiliate links and small commissions can be made at no expense to the buyer