Summer is coming to a close, and my days of reading on the beach are over til next year. It was a wonderful summer for books; I read ten books and listened to two audiobooks and one book I did not finish. It was a mixed bag of romance, time travel, dark thrillers, and historical fiction. I hope you can find something that you can add to your bookshelf. Remember, you can find all my favorites in the My Library tab.
Lessons in Chemistry
Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 1960s. The problem is that she is the only one who views herself that way. Her male colleagues cannot get past the fact that she’s a woman and treats her more like a secretary and doormat, acknowledging her only long enough to steal her work. That is, until Calvin Evans, another brilliant chemist, comes along and sees her as an intelligent woman. But life can throw us curve balls, so a few years later, Elizabeth is somehow the host of a cooking show. But she still desires to be genuinely seen as a chemist in her heart.
Elizabeth Zott is fearless in the face of adversity, stays true to herself, and never lets others intimidate her because she is a woman. She is the epitome of a strong female character.
Lessons in Chemistry was so refreshing. It was funny, witty, and relatable. With so many books out there, don’t miss this one.
So, Cover Story is apparently inspired by Anna Sorokin/Delvey’s massive scam, and if you are up-to-date on Anna’s crimes or enjoy the Netflix show Inventing Anna, this might be the book for you.
I am not up to date on the scam and had not heard of it until I started investigating this book. As a result, this book was just so-so for me.
Lora Ricci, an intern at Elle magazine who dropped out of NYU after a rough semester, lost her scholarship. Lora is broke and hasn’t shared this plan change with her parents. At Elle, Lora meets contributing editor Cat Wolff and is captivated by Cat’s engaging personality. The two women develop a friendship, and Lora shares her current academic and financial struggles with Cat, who makes her a business proposition she can’t refuse. They begin working together, with Lora serving as Cat’s ghostwriter and living lavishly at The Plaza Hotel.
Many people loved this book, but it wasn’t for me. It’s told through diary entries, emails, and text messages, and it was a fun way to read, but it made it hard for me to connect with the characters. If you read it, I’d love to know your thoughts.
This is the perfect summer beach read–it’s a fun adventure story with treasure hunting and some steamy romance.
Something Wilder follows Lily, the daughter of well-known treasure hunter Duke Wilder. While a childhood of neglect left Lily uninterested in treasure hunting, when her father passes away and leaves her with nothing, she uses his coveted maps to guide tourists through the canyons of Utah on staged treasure hunts. When a former love, Leo Grady, ends up on one of her tours by chance with a group of his friends, Lily and Leo have to confront their past, and the trip takes a turn for the worse. They end up on the adventure of a lifetime, forced to work together and face their pasts to go on a real-life treasure hunt.
This was my first book by Christina Lauren, the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. But it won’t be my last.
This Time Tomorrow
In This Time Tomorrow, Alice Stern, faced with the imminent death of her beloved 73-year-old father, confronts her boring life, stuck for years in the same tiny studio apartment and the same job in the admissions department of the Upper West Side Manhattan private school she attended decades earlier. After a night of too many drinks celebrating her 40th birthday, she wakes up in her childhood bedroom on the morning of her not-entirely-sweet 16th; she wonders if, by making different choices, she can change the way her life and her fathers have played out.
I loved this book. I’m usually not a fan of time travel in books, but it doesn’t overshadow the larger story of Alice’s emotional journey. This book begs you to ask, “What would you change in your life if you could?”
A perfectly delightful beach read.
A Fall of Marigolds
A Fall of Marigolds tells the story of two women, a hundred years apart; two spur-of-the-moment decisions that caused their lives to intersect with tragedy and resulted in the loss of the men they loved; and one mysterious marigold scarf that connects them and changes their lives. Both women experienced traumatic and personally devastating events almost one hundred years apart.
Clara witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in Manhattan, while Taryn saw the Twin Towers collapse on September 11, 2001. This is a story of their healing journey and their decision to risk love again.
This book has been on my shelf for a couple of years. I picked it up once but could not get into it, so I saved it for another time. I am so glad I did! These women and the events they overcome are a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, finding hope, joy, and love again on the other side.
If you are a historical fiction fan, you will love this story.
I was initially drawn to this book because the book is set in a strip club, and the author, Marie Rutkoski, a former dancer, uses her real-life experience to create a gripping crime novel.
Samantha is a dancer at the Lovely Lady strip club, working under the name “Ruby” to make ends meet. She does well for herself, having built up a loyal clientele over the years. When new girl Jolene arrives, bumbling and a bit lost, Samantha keeps her head down, not wanting to get caught up in the drama. But one night, against her better judgment, Samantha offers the girl a ride home. And when they’re run off the road, her life is irrevocably changed.
Real Easy story is about people doing their best to survive; it gripped me from the beginning and didn’t let go until the very end. If you love psychological thrillers, pick this one up.
Every Summer After
Every Summer After takes us through Persephone and Sam’s past and present-day lives. We follow their friendship as it becomes something more over many summers spent together. But then it all ends. When they both revisit the Bay, will they have a chance to repair what has been broken?
As the story unfolds, you realize that this isn’t just a romance – the story is about friendship, family, and the art of holding on and letting go. It’s a story of secrets and how you can’t outrun them, but you can face them. This story reminds you why every choice, every decision, can lead to a different life.
Grab this book now and enjoy it on your couch, the beach, or deck and prepare yourself because once you start, you won’t be able to put it down.nn
The Last Housewife
It didn’t take long for this psychological thriller to hook me. The Last Housewife follows Shay, a married magazine columnist who quits her job to focus on her novel. She listens to a true-crime podcast hosted by Jamie, an old high school friend, and this is how she learns that one of her college roommates, Laurel, died. The host theorizes that the suicide may have been staged to conceal a murder, and Shay immediately flies from her safe Dallas home to New York to solve the mystery.
I can’t say much more without spoiling it, but The Last Housewife is dark, intense, and, at times, downright disturbing. I am eagerly awaiting the next book by Ashley Winstead.
Published in 2020, I’m late in reading this one. Dear Edward opens with the crash of a sold-out flight from New York to Los Angeles. A conspiracy of freak weather conditions and pilot error sends the Airbus A321 rocketing into the ground somewhere in Colorado. Amid the wreckage of that downed jet, a 12-year-old boy named Edward is found alive.
We follow Edward as he navigates his grief and reconciles being the sole survivor of over 180 people.
I’m not sure why I waited so long to read this book. The story is about how we carry on while facing unbelievable loss and grief. The characters took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. I highly recommend this book.
The Last Thing He Told Me
I picked this one up because I read that Reese Witherspoon acquired the rights to adapt the book for television. I have loved many of Witherspoon’s adaptions, and I wanted to read this before the show came out.
The Last Thing He Told Me begins with the disappearance of Owen Michaels, who leaves behind a note for his wife, Hannah, that says, “protect her.” Hannah knows he’s talking about his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who lost her mother as a child and who hates Hannah. Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he disappeared.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I was drawn in by the growing relationship between Hannah and Bailey and how they forge ahead through each challenge. I didn’t love the epilogue, but it does offer some closure. I actually think the TV series might be better than the book.
The Silent Patient
Another book I should have read sooner. I listened to this audiobook and found myself aimlessly driving around so that I could keep listening.
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller about a woman’s act of violence against her husband – and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive. And that’s all I’m going to say for fear of giving something away.
The two narrators were perfect. Their collective voices brought the characters to life and left me screaming at them in my car—a must-read.
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of love, family, and forgiveness. The laid-back pacing of the three narrators transported me to the small Southern town of Wicklow.
Anna Kate has returned to the town of Wicklow to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate. Still, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a sweet, magical, feel-good book. I delighted in getting to know this little town’s characters and enjoyed watching their journey and growth. It left me wanting to move to Wicklow and enjoy a piece of blackbird pie.
Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance
In Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance, we meet Sally Holt, who is in awe of her older sister, Kathy, who seems to have all the answers to life’s questions. But when Kathy dies in a car crash, Sally is left to grow up in the shadow of her loss.
This was a DNF (did not finish) for me. Many people loved it, but I found it boring and hard to get into. I could not relate to the characters, and it was very slow. If you read this one, let me know your thoughts because I wanted to like this book.
That’s a wrap! Say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. I’m looking forward to reading on the couch with cozy blankets and a cup of tea.