// Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
This book was… fine? An escape to a tropical island with sandy beaches and fruity cocktails sounds really nice right about now. But it also involved a helicopter crash and a death and a secret life. I liked the main character, Irene Steele, most of all, and found myself really rooting for her. Beyond that though i didn’t feel much for this book. It’s the first in a series and the mystery doesn’t get solved in this one, but I’m not sure I feel strongly enough about it to track down the sequel.
// Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
I flew through this book in a single day. It’s the story of a 25 year old black babysitter for a white family and an event she goes through that changes a lot about her reactions to the family. It’s also about the mom and how she deals with the same event and what follows. It deals a lot with microaggressions, with privilege and race, and with how the way we see ourselves affects the way that we see other people and deal with situations. I really liked it a lot!
// The Holdout by Graham Moore
I don’t love thrillers but I DO love a court drama and this book totally qualifies. Ten years ago, Maya was a juror on a murder case. She was the only one who didn’t believe they should convict the defendant. One by one, she persuades the other jurors to come to her side. In the present day, she’s a defense attorney embroiled in her own court case – the murder of one of her fellow jurors – and she’s accused of killing him. I loved that this book was like solving two cases in one. The ending left me a little bit disappointed but I still definitely recommend this one.
// A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
This book is prime book club material. It tackles race, neighborhood divisions (literal and emotional), growing up, environmentalism, purity culture and a few things I’m sure I’m forgetting. I liked it but I also had a hard time getting through it. Parts of it were very good and other parts left me feeling kind of icky, though the writing was good all the way through.
// Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur
This is about being a daughter and motherhood and self parenting and being put in a situation way above what you should has to handle when you’re just a kid. I liked it, and I felt bad for the author and the way her narcissistic mom’s behavior had a lasting impact on her. I thought it was pretty good. The writing flowed great and the food descriptions were amazing.
// November Road by Lou Berney
Frank Guidry is a mob lieutenant who fears he knows too much about the assassination of JFK and may soon be killed; Charlotte is an unhappy mom of two girls and wife to an alcoholic husband. They both go on the run from very different situations, and they cross paths at a time both of them needs it most.
I felt like it was the characters and the setting that shone most in this book. There’s a road trip west, some good backstory, and a pair of charming daughters who are themselves fleshed out. And at the same time I didn’t LOVE it, I thought it was just alright.
// Beach Read by Emily Henry
This is a perfect read that gave me goosebumps by the end. A romance writer who doesn’t know if she believes in love anymore and a serious literary writer are summer neighbors (and college rivals!) on a lake in Michigan, where both are struggling to write their next book.
It has fleshed out characters with great backstories. I absolutely loved it and I would like to recommend it to everyone I know. It’s warm and fun and funny and the perfect read for a time like what we’re going through right now. I also loved that it’s set in Michigan, where both my siblings went to school, and a place I feel like I don’t find in literature too much.
// Untamed by Glennon Doyle
“Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.” ✨
This is my favorite book I’ve read all year. I can’t stop thinking about that quote above. I feel like it maybe changed my life. It’s just one of many, many nuggets of wisdom. I already can’t wait to reread it and make note of everything I loved. I even bought a copy to lend to friends since I knew I wouldn’t want to let this one go.
My top recommendations: Untamed, Beach Read, and Such A Fun Age.