READ RECENTLY | 5 Books I've Finished (Plus One in Progress!)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

One bonus to the sickness and rainy weather we've been experiencing around here for the past couple of months is that it's been the perfect excuse to get some reading done. Once spring/summer rolls around, I tend to gravitate toward equally lighter books -- thrillers, love stories, etc. But I also always love a good biography/autobiography. 

Ever since (finally -- just a little late to the game!) downloading the Kindle app I've been ending the night with a book, and it's been really nice. I'm currently about halfway through It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, but here are some others I've read recently:

Read Recently

Verity (by Colleen Hoover)

From the description: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My take: This was one of my personal favorites of the group, probably tied with Where the Crawdads Sing (completely different types of stories and writing!). I read it the quickest out of all of them -- in fact, I couldn't put it down until I finished it. It has a great mix of mystery, creepiness, and romance. It does get pretty dark at some points, but not dark enough that it turned me off from this twisted story. 

The Wife Between Us (by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen)

From the description: When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement -- a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing. 

My take: In the case of this book, the marketing strategy definitely worked! The purposefully non-descript description of this book reeled me in and made me want to see what the assumptions were; what was real and what was not. I thought the storyline was pretty compelling, but I did get a little bored with the writing style after a while. I felt like I couldn't really relate to the main character. The BIG twist didn't come until the end, but it was an interesting one.

Where the Crawdads Sing (by Delia Owens):  

From the description: For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My take: Wow. I really loved this book... it was unlike anything I'd ever read. The detail in the writing was absolutely stunning, especially when it came to describing the details of the marsh and all of the creatures that inhabit it. I wasn't sure if I was going to get sucked in at the beginning, but I was less than a chapter in when I was hooked; it was suddenly easy to be transported to this entirely different world, life, and experience the author describes so beautifully. I laughed and cried both tears of happiness and sorrow. Highly recommend!

The Couple Next Door (by Shari Lapena)

From the description: Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My take: This is the type of book that keeps you guessing and then throws in little hints, twists, and turns throughout so you're never quite sure who you can trust. I was actually a bit surprised at the way it panned out but it was an entertaining read and I flew through it pretty quickly!

The Woman in the Window (by A.J. Finn)

From the description: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
My take: This book was very well written, but man, I felt like it took a loooong time to get to the really juicy, fast-paced, good part. I'd say I was about 75% through the book before it really picked up. I understand that the author wanted to really establish the main character and why she was the way she was before jumping in, but I did feel like it dragged at the beginning to the point where I was tempted to put it down or skip ahead. The ending was shocking, though, so it was worth getting there!

Becoming (by Michelle Obama)

From the description: An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

My take: This one is still in progress! It's a hard copy and it sits on my nightstand so when I've had time or needed a break from suspense, I've picked it up and have really been enjoying it. No matter your political views or affiliations, Michelle Obama is a smart, accomplished, and interesting woman to read about. I've always love reading about strong women and their backgrounds (what shaped them into who they are now, and who they are constantly evolving to be). Reading about others' journeys and things they may have overcome (Michelle talks about miscarriage, marriage, motherhood and so much more) provides me with perspective and renewed hope.

What about you? What books have you been reading? Any favorites?

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