I can’t believe that I read 8 books in June! This is probably because the quarantine is on-going & I spent a wonderful weekend in the Arkansas mountains. I had plenty of time to curl up with a book! I just got in several books from the library, so next month’s list may be another long one. This month was a great mix of my traditional thrillers, with a fun satire & some YA thrown in. What have you been reading?
Happy & You Know It (5/5)
Claire, a struggling musician, hits it big when she is hired to play for a weekly playgroup for the infants of wealthy NYC mothers. She quickly learns that there’s more than meets the eye with “welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.” This one is a fun, snarky look at modern motherhood & the struggle to have it all. I enjoyed it so much more than I expected to! It is refreshingly smart & funny, while also hitting on some very real issues that mothers face, with a little mystery thrown in!
The Hunting Party (4/5)
This was the first Lucy Foley book that I read this month. A group of college friends gets together every year for NYE & this year they’ve chosen a secluded lodge in the Scottish Highlands. One of them is found dead on New Year’s Day & they’ve been snowed in so the killer is still with them. I had trouble getting into this one, but it ended up being a satisfying thriller. While the plot kept me guessing, I didn’t particularly like any of the characters & wasn’t too invested in why one of them ended up dead.
A Good Marriage (4/5)
This was my BOTM pick. Lizzie has taken a position at an elite law firm to help pay off debts incurred by her alcoholic husband. While working late one night, she gets a call from a law school friend who’s been arrested for his wife’s murder. As she begins to investigate, Lizzie discovers that Zach (& the couple’s wealthy friends) may not be what they appear. It was a fast-paced read, but I didn’t really like the main character, Lizzie, who was a bit of a pushover. The ending was a surprise, but the whole premise how the characters were connected was far-fetched.
The Betrothed (3/5)
I absolutely loved The Selection series, so I couldn’t wait to read the beginning of this new series by Kiera Cass. The premise is easy – a bachelor king sets his sights upon a young woman of his court, who in turn falls for a commoner. Maybe it’s that the premise is so close to The Selection, it’s easier to compare the two, but this one just isn’t as well-written, the characters aren’t as likeable, & the plot seems forced. All in all, it was a nice pallet-cleanser after several intense thrillers.
Catherine House (4/5)
Catherine House is a secluded & mysterious college, with an experimental curriculum, that has produced some of the world’s best minds, but requires students to cut themselves off from the outside world for 3 years of study. It seems like the perfect place for Ines to escape her party-girl past, until she discovers that the environment is one of sanctioned partying & decadence. After tragedy strikes, Ines begins to realize that the school may be hiding a dark secret among the students of its most selective & secretive concentration. The atmosphere of this somewhat Gothic story was outstanding & the house really became it’s own character. My only issue was that the plot seemed to lag sometimes & get bogged down in unnecessary details.
The Girl from Widow Hills (5/5)
I love Megan Miranda, so I snatched this one as soon as it was released last week. As a child, Arden Maynor was sleepwalking when she was swept away in a flash flood & found days later in a storm drain. As an adult, she goes by Olivia to escape the fame that her mother sought as a result of her tragedy. With the 20th anniversary approaching, the body of a man from her life as Arden is found on her property & Olivia wonders if her previous life is catching up with her. The constant sense of being followed & being uneasy was so clear in the one, you really felt for Olivia. I really enjoyed the backstory & the interspersed news stories, transcripts, etc that tell it. This one really kept me guessing until the end.
The Perfect Stranger (4/5)
Leah is a disgraced journalist who is looking to escape Boston when her former roommate, Emmy, comes back into her life with a plan. The two have settled in a small town in Pennsylvania when bodies begin to pile up & Emmy goes missing. As police investigate, they find no record of an Emmy Grey, putting Leah’s credibility at stake & making her wonder who she Emmy really was. This one was good, but more predictable than The Girl from Widow Hills. It was also a little far-fetched & unbelievable, though fast-paced & engaging.
The Guest List (5/5)
4 stories, told through 6 perspectives, collide during a posh wedding weekend on a remote island off the Irish coast. The groom is a rising reality TV star & the bride is the founder of a successful online magazine, so everyone wants an invite. The novel starts with a murder during the wedding reception & a victim that everyone has a motive to kill, then travels back through the weekend to discover who is responsible. I enjoyed this one more than The Hunting Party, even though the premise is similar. Foley does a great job of building the full backstory of each character, which helps keep them all straight & makes you care about them. Plus, the atmosphere of a remote island during a stormy weekend is perfect for a murder mystery. I highly recommend this thriller that kept me guessing!
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