Friday, April 30, 2021

Book Club: April

 

It's Book Club Day!! We just love this day each month. We chat books with each other a lot behind the scenes so it's fun to give you a peek behind the scenes of what we've read, what's up next, and all the thoughts we spill to one another as we read along. We love hearing your thoughts too! 

We also love love love this time of year for reading. We love most genres, but if we had to pick our very favorite it's what is determined as "the beach book" genre. Our favorite authors all release books this time of year, and we can't wait to pool/boat/beach with all the good ones! Fruity cocktail in hand of course. 

If you're right there with us, then stay tuned for Monday! We have been working on our annual Best Books of Summer list for months now. We've chatted with authors and publishers, gotten sneak peeks at what is to be released, and have some fun surprises for a few of you too! 

So MONDAY - BIG DAY if you are a reader. 

But first, let's knock April's book reviews out of the way.





WHAT WE READ...

CARRIE BETH

In last month's book club I said that I had picked Colleen Hoover's Ugly Love as my next read. I bought it on Audible, downloaded it, and halfway into the first chapter it hit me that I'd already read this book. I was honestly bummed that I'd wasted an Audible credit on a repeat book until Jen let me know that you can "return" a title on Audible. I had NO idea you could do that, but for anyone that might end up in the same situation, now you know! 


Because I REALLY enjoyed Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren last month, I wanted to try another one of hers.  I ended up with Beautiful Bastard and oh my was it SO very different.  I was surprised because I felt like there was so much depth to Love and Other Words and while it was a love story with some romance scenes, it really tugged at my heartstrings.  Beautiful Bastard was not like that at all.  It was super spicy, not much of a plot, and a ton of very rated R romance scenes. Not complaining, just really different than what I was expecting. If I'm being honestly though, I probably could have predicted what I was getting myself into from the title and cover art. 


Jen suggested Back in the Burbs by Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff so that was my next pick this month. It follows Mallory, a woman in her mid-thirties, who it just seems can't have anything go her way.  She is going through a bad divorce, has never really reached her full career potential and learns that she has inherited her late Great Aunt's home in the suburbs.  It was such a cute story and anyone living in the suburbs can relate. From Stella & Dot parties to crazy HOA regulations, Mallory starts to fix up her Aunt Maggie's house and in turn starts to fix up her life. There is a hot neighbor living across the street that adds a little romance to her life and together they help each other find happiness.  


After two easy-breezy love stories I decided to dig a little deeper and listened to Good Morning America's Book Club pick, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.  It has about a zillion great reviews so I was excited to see what the fuss was all about.  The story opens with Nora, a mid-thirties woman, who is extremely depressed, cannot find anything good about her life, feels incredibly lonely, and decides to end her life by overdosing. Between life and death she visits this library where she finds an infinite about of books containing different versions of the story of her life. All the variations are based on decisions she made and how things would have turned out of she had made different decisions. She gets to try out many different lives to see if any of them would truly be better than the one she was living. In the process of trying out these other lives she learns all of her many regrets are not really regrets after all.  It touches on parallel universes and all of that was a bit much for me, but the idea of being able to see how the many decisions we make in our life effect the outcomes was fascinating to think about.  One lesson that was repeated throughout the story was to: 

"Never underestimate the big importance of small things." 

This message, along with many others in the book made me realize why so many people rave about this. To me it is one of those books that I feel like is good to read and be able to talk about with people because it is so popular, but it isn't really my cup of tea. However, I did enjoy that it makes you stop and think about your own life, the many different paths we can decide to take, and the power we all have to make the most of the life we are living.  


| THE WIFE STALKER by Liv Constantine | TO LOVE AND TO LOATHE by Martha Waters | SURVIVING SAVANNAH by Patti Callahan | EVERYTHING AFTER by Jill Santopolo |


JEN

Right now I have a massive "to read" pile stacking up on my bookcase. In April, I pulled out a few to read and let everyone vote on what I should read first. TO LOVE AND TO LOATHE won out by a smidge over SURVIVING SAVANNAH. But no worries - I read them both! And a few more. 

Okay, a lot more. There were several long cheer mom car rides in April. So Audible and noise canceling headphones were my survival. 

The good news out of it all...I have a little something for everyone this month. Historical fiction, thriller, romance, mystery - I've got you.


THE LOST APOTHECARY by Sarah Penner was first up for the month. This is one I actually started in March, but didn't quite finish in time for last month's review post. I heard so many great things about this debut novel, so I couldn't wait to sit down and read it. I absolutely loved this magical historical fiction journey that Penner took us on! It's a mystery and historical fiction all rolled into one with two separate timelines and several heroines. From the first page I was sucked in. A fun read that I have a feeling will be popular for years to come! 



By popular vote TO LOVE AND TO LOATHE was next on the list. 
To Love and to Loathe is the an adorable Regency era enemies-to-lovers rom-com that is just plain CUTE. I hate I don't have a better adjective, but from start to finish this is a read that will have a smile on your face. The witty banter and the fun story line make To Love and to Loathe the light hearted romance novel we all need right now. I loved the constant back and forth between Diana and Jeremy, and their friends' commentary on their "bet/proposition" is just as entertaining.

This is the second novel in Water's Regency Vows series, and already can't wait to see which characters of her sassy ton she features next. If you enjoyed watching/reading the Bridgerton series this one will be up your alley. 



SURVIVING SAVANNAH by Patti Callahan is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read! The topic is so intriguing, and being a Georgia native I was so shocked to learn of such a tragedy attached to a place I’ve been a dozens of times and never realized.

The story is written in duel timelines from several points of view, and is based on the true events of the 1838 Pulaski Steam Boat disaster. Dubbed “Titanic of the South”, the Pulaski was a luxury boat carrying the south’s most prominent and wealthy families to their summer homes in New York. One fateful night of the journey, everything goes wrong. Patti Callahan weaves a magical tale of love, loss, and survival between those of the tragedy and those in present day surviving their own. Not only do you learn so much about the real life events, but you get a sense of truly relating to the families and what they experienced through the amazing cast of characters Callahan presents.

In the modern day spin, Callahan introduces to us Everly Winthrop - a women trying to mourn and survive her own losses when she is presented with the ultimate job opportunity. Her whole life, Everly has heard tales of the Pulaski and now she has the chance to curate the recently discovered shipwreck and its treasures for her museum. But the findings hit a little too close to home.

I could not put this one down! From start to finish it was intriguing, addicting, and has an end that ties everything together, but is so beautiful you just want more. Well done Patti!!!



From start to finish I loved BACK IN THE BURBS by Avery Flynn and Tracy Wolff (Side note: Tracy Wolff is the author of the Crave series we are both now addicted too. However this is SO different.). This is one of the few rom-coms that made me actually laugh out loud. Several times. I loved the banter between the main characters, and the slow burn romance had you begging for more at each page turn. It was funny, witty, relatable (even if you aren’t going through a divorce, renovating a decor nightmare as your inheritance from your favorite Aunt recently deceased, job hunting, and dealing with 47 HOA violations), and super sweet. Throw in some wine, a few book boyfriends that will have you scouring your local Zillow listings for fixer uppers, and major family drama - Back in the Burbs is the book I’ve been recommending to all of my girlfriends this month. 



For the back half of the month, I switched things up a bit. I needed something a little more along the lines of "edge of your seat/keep me awake so I don't crash" genre so that I could stay entertained on long road trips. After perusing Audible, I landed on EVERY VOW YOU BREAK by Peter Swanson. Okay - for me - this one was a little dark. The story follows a couple on their honeymoon. It's a rich husband/saved broke young woman living in New York scenario. The women enjoys "one last fling before the ring', and then happily marries her dream man. Quickly the honeymoon becomes tangled in a web of mystery and terrifying events begin to occur. Her fling shows up, and things quickly go south. About halfway through the novel it takes a really dark twist. I don't want to spoil it, but if thriller novels are your thing - this book is for you. As for me...I think it was well written, and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. But also up at night. I think I need a little less "thrill". 




WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW by Jessica Hamilton is like the perfect ghost story...for adults. I listened to the audio book of this and it was excellent! I was instantly invested in the story, and couldn't stop listening. The story is told from two POVs: Two sisters. One sister is a ghost and one is alive. They both recently found out that their mother never sold their family vacation island from their childhood, even though she told them she had while they were in their teens. One event leads to another and the remaining sister decides to work through her grief at the island. But then strange things start happening, secrets start emerging and ghosts (both past and present) appear. There is twist after twist, with a murder mystery wrapped into it. I enjoyed What You Never Knew from start to finish, and refreshingly the ending was a total surprise. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future!



FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT - This book was just plain fun! From start to finish I laughed out loud several times. Finlay Donovan is a recently divorced mom of two and it seems like every part of her life is falling apart. Bills are piling up, her ex and his fianc√© are making a case for full custody, and her latest novel was due like yesterday. Just when things couldn’t get worse a chance meeting in a Panera Bread turns Finlay’s life on a crazy rollercoaster filled with murder, Mob bosses and male attention in the unlikeliest of situations. With Vero, her nanny/partner in crime/accountant Finlay sets out to solve a laundry list of crimes, write the next best seller, and maybe keep her run down van working for at least another week.

The end of the book leaves us wanting more and I already can’t wait for the sequel to continue this hilarious mom turned accidental hit woman series. Oh and to get a little more of the hot lawyer underwear model bartender. ;) (If you didn’t want to read before, you do now, right?!)


WHAT'S UP NEXT...

CARRIE BETH

After something pretty deep I needed a light and fun read so I'm getting ready to start Mary Kay Andrews' The Newcomer.  I feel like it's going to put me in the mood for summer, which is just around the corner for us! 




JEN

I think I am going to follow suit with Carrie Beth and read THE NEWCOMER too! MKA is one of those authors you just want to be besties with, and her books are always so fun to read. Bring on all the fun summery beach novels! 



WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE ADD TO OUR LISTS? WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU READ LAST MONTH THAT YOU LOVED?


BOOK CLUB 2021

January | February | March |



Follow along with us on Goodreads!


HAPPY READING! 


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1 comment:

  1. I read the Midnight Library this past month too and while I didn't love it I did really like the idea of how all those life choices big and small really add up.

    ReplyDelete

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