Happy Monday guys! I’m back today with another round of my favorite books! I’m planning to make these reviews a more regular feature since I read so much, typically 5-6 books per month. This list is a mix of the thrillers, contemporary fiction, & YA novels that I’ve read in the last few months. Let me know if you have any recommendations for me!
1. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.
Way back in college (not telling you how many years ago that was!), my roomie & I used to live for the movie Practical Magic. It’s still “our” movie & we still randomly send each other quotes from it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Alice Hoffman released a prequel to the book last fall. The Rules of Magic follows the story of the 3 Owens siblings, 2 of whom go on to become the aunts in Practical Magic. As anyone who’s read or seen Practical Magic knows, the Owens family was cursed by their ancestor, Maria Owens, in 1620 – anyone who loves an Owens is doomed to be ruined. Although Susanna Owens tried to protect her children with strict rules, each one knows that they are different & finds their way to try to escape the family curse. It’s a wonderful story about love, family, redemption, & the human spirit, with a little humor & a lot of magic!
2. The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham.
Meghan has everything that Agatha wants – the perfect family, the perfect friends, the perfect home – & details it all online in her popular parenting blog. When Meghan meets Agatha at the grocery store where Agatha stocks shelves, the women bond over their pregnancies. But both women are keeping secrets that could destroy their seemingly perfect lives. The overall theme is that you never know what is going on behind closed doors or behind those shiny facades that people present to the world. I could not put this book down! The story alternates between the two women, so you see everything from both perspectives as their relationship develops, but you also know what is going on in each woman’s personal life. I just had to know whose secret was going to be exposed as their lives seem to spiral out of control!
3. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.
Yet another thriller bc, yep, I’m still on that kick! This book was fascinating bc it takes place almost solely inside one house, where Anna Fox lives alone as an agoraphobic. It’s like Rear Window, in that Anna spends her time watching her neighbors & helping others through an online forum. Then, one day, Anna believes that she witnesses the new neighbor kill his wife. But when she tries to get to the bottom of what she saw, she faces resistance from the neighbor’s son, disbelief from the police, & hostility from the neighbor himself. Just when you’re starting to agree that Anna is losing her grip on reality, drinking too much wine, or taking too many pills, there’s a twist that you never saw coming! It reminded me of The Girl on the Train, in that the narrator isn’t entirely reliable.
4. A Court of Thorns & Roses series by Sarah J. Maas.
This is a YA novel (well, sort-of bc there are some seriously steamy scenes that I wouldn’t let a teenager read) that I stumbled upon, but then stayed up all night reading & raced through the entire 3 book series. It’s not high-quality fiction, but it was definitely a guilty pleasure! Fairies used to rule the land that Feyre grew up in, until they were pushed back beyond the invisible wall just north of Feyre’s home. When Feyre kills a wolf in the woods near her home, a monstrous creature arrives to seek retribution for her kill. It turns out that the monster isn’t a monster at all, but a seriously sexy fairy Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court. Feyre gets sucked into the fairies’ world, where something sinister is threatening the fairies & eventually the human world. It’s YA , it’s romance, it’s fantasy, everything you need in a light, fun read!
5. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine.
Like The Secrets She Keeps, this is another tale of envy among women. Daphne Parrish has the glamour & power that Amber has always wanted. The Parrish’s are the toast of the town & Amber has a plan to take all of that away from the woman she believes takes it all for granted. As Amber begins to insinuate herself into Daphne’s life, she doesn’t realize that the Parrish marriage isn’t all that it seems & that someone else has a plan all their own. This book had all of the glamour & power of the chick lit books that I love combined with the mystery & suspense that I’m addicted to lately. It’s a little dark, a lot suspenseful, & full of twists!
6. After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman.
Felix Brewer had never played by the rules as he grew his fortune & lavished money on his family. He was on the verge of serving a 15 year prison sentence when he disappeared in 1976, leaving behind a wife, three daughters, & a mistress. No one believed his wife when she claimed to have no idea where Felix or his money went & everyone believed that his mistress, Julie, had gone to join him when she vanishes 10 years later. Through flashbacks, we get the story of Felix & Bambi’s marriage, plus the real-time investigation into Julie’s disappearance. It was fascinating to see how Felix’s disappearance affected each of the women that he left behind. While I wasn’t as invested as I thought I would be in figuring out “who done it,” it was an overall good read.
7. Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan.
This was recommended to me by my friend Lauren. This novel pits two families, one British & one Muslim immigrant, against each other after a tragic accident. Noah Sadler was found floating unconscious in a canal & only his best friend, Abdi Mahad, knows what happened. Macmillan carefully handles a hot social issue & delves into what it means to be a friend, a parent, & a child. Although this is, at its heart, a suspense novel, I mostly enjoyed the story of friendship & sacrifice that unfolded, as well as the careful handling of what it means to be an immigrant right now.