Hello friends! I hope that everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! We spent most of the weekend relaxing & I spent a good bit of it it curled up with a book, which you know if my happy place! I’m back today with a roundup of everything I read in June. As usual, it’s heavy on the thriller/mysteries, with a Jodi Piccoult thrown in for a little variety. I read two books by Alafair Burke this month, The Better Sister & The Wife, both were excellent! What are you reading right now?
The Better Sister (5/5 stars)
Although Chloe is the younger of the Taylor sisters, she has always been the one to have it together. Nicky was the restless & reckless one. Chloe got a scholarship & moved to NYC, landing a job in publishing. Nicky seemed to find happiness with a promising young attorney, Adam, & their son, Ethan. The sisters became virtual strangers. More than 15 years later, Chloe is married to Adam & helping to Ethan when Adam is murdered by an intruder. She reluctantly lets Nicky back into her & Ethan’s lives. When the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect, the sisters have to unite to save him & confront family secrets they’ve tried to bury. This was such an interesting concept for me – the good sister marries the bad sister’s ex-husband & takes over raising his son. The plot didn’t move as quickly I expected, but the storyline was suspenseful & complex enough to keep me guessing. The relationship between the sisters also kept the plot moving, as they discovered how much they actually had in common & that not everything is always what it appears to be.
The Night Before (4/5 stars)
Another story about sisters, this one centers on Laura, who has always been unlucky in love, & her stable sister, Rosie. After the end of her last relationship, Laura flees her life in NYC to stay with her sister in their Connecticut hometown. Laura is haunted by a high school tragedy, but she is determined not to give up on love. When Laura doesn’t return from a date with man she met online, Rosie fears the worst & desperately begins searching for her sister. But Rosie isn’t just worried about what might have happened to Laura, she’s also worried about what Laura might have done. This one was hard to put down & the pace moved really fast. I was sucked in trying to figure out what happened to Laura in the present & what happened in her past. I only gave this one 4 stars because the plot twist & ending were a little unconvincing.
The Wife (5/5 stars)
For Angela, her marriage to Jason was a chance to reboot her life. She & her son were able to move from East Hampton to Manhattan, where no one knew about the tragedy in her past. Six years later, Jason has become a public figure, despite Angela’s avoidance of the spotlight. When a college intern & a colleague make accusations against Jason, the couple’s life begins to unravel. Angela believes her husband’s denials, but when one of the women goes missing & she is asked to testify on behalf of her husband, she realizes that her loyalty to Jason could cause old secrets to be revealed. This one was so good! Literally could not put it down! Something to note – the same lawyer is a character in this one, The Better Sister, & The Ex. There were so many times that I thought I had this one figured out, but was wrong. I loved that Burke added several different layers to the mystery & kept me guessing until the end!
The Last Time I Saw You (4/5 stars)
When her mother is found murdered, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire, who rushes to be by her old friend’s side. The night of the funeral, Kate begins receiving threatening text messages. Blaire begins investigating on her own, alienating Kate’s friends & relatives with her relentlessness. But the murderer could be anyone – friend, neighbor, family. I really wanted to love it since I loved The Last Mrs. Parrish, but it just wasn’t as good. The characters weren’t as interesting, though they are numerous, & the plot seemed to drag on. I suspected what was going on early on in the story, but there was one twist that I didn’t see coming. Overall, it was good but not great.
Small Great Things (5/5 stars)
Ruth is an experienced labor & delivery nurse. During a regular shift, she begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be reassigned minutes later because the parents do not want an African American to touch their child. The following day, when the child goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery, she hesitates before performing CPR. When Ruth is blamed for the child’s death & charged with murder, the case becomes a media sensation. You all know how much I love everything by Jodi Picoult, & this one was no exception. Once again, Picoult tackles a very timely subject with amazing sensitivity & empahty. The characters were so well-rounded & relatable, I especially loved the relationship development between Ruth & her lawyer. Piccoult shows all of the small & large ways that race & white privilege plays a part in everyone’s lives.
The East End (3/5 stars)
Corey is a Hamptons local who breaks into mansions at night for the rush & escapism. Just before the Memorial Day weekend, while he is breaking into the estate where he & his mother work, his billionaire boss, Leo, arrives with his lover. Corey witnesses a tragic accident that leaves the lover dead. Leo will do anything to cover up the death as family & friends begin arriving for the long weekend. This one was billed as Revenge-ish summer read, but I was sadly disappointed by it. The characters were pretty stereotypical & there wasn’t too much mystery to the plot.
The Missing Years (5/5 stars)
Alisa inherited half a house from her mother. The other half belongs to her father, who disappeared 27 years ago. When Alisa & her half-sister move to the house in the Scottish Highlands to settle their mother’s estate, strange things begin to happen when Alisa is at the house & she notices that animals refuse to set foot within the garden gates. Her sister believes that it’s all in Alisa’s head, but she can’t shake the feeling that someone or something wants her gone. I loved the spooky, slightly ghost-story vibe of this one! The relationship between Alisa & her sister was so well written. My only complaint was that, while the ending definitely caught me by surprise, it was a little unbelievable.