It’s time for a quarterly round up of the books that I’ve been reading and listening to. I have been on a pretty solid reading streak lately.
I typically listen to mostly non-fiction on Audible but when I listen to fiction it’s almost always in the genre of thriller. These books tend to suck me in and I end up binge listening to them while I’m driving, walking the dogs, folding laundry, etc.
The books I read on my Kindle were a mix of family dramas, rom coms, psychological thrillers and more.
For each book that I read, I’m giving you a brief description of the book along with my rating and high-level thoughts on it. I hesitate to assign star ratings as I find it so interesting how people’s experiences with books vary so greatly. Personally, I have a hard time with giving too much credence to Good Reads star ratings and reviews. I oftentimes find that I don’t want to read a book if its star rating is less than four but then you browse through the reviews and they range from “one star – hated it” to “five stars – best book I’ve ever read.” All that said, I am going to give star ratings because I think some of you have followed along long enough that you know if we have similar reading styles/interests.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the books below if you’ve read them!
To wrap up the post, I’m sharing my spring reading list and what I’ll be listening to and reading next!
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: WINTER 2022
The asterisks indicate books I listened to on Audible.
*Pretty Things by Janelle Brown – 4.5/5
Who’s really following you on social media? The scam of a lifetime brings together two wildly different women in this page-turning thriller about greed, legacy, and betrayal.
Coming in just over 16 hours, this was a long listen. I did listen to it at 1.4x speed but finished it in under a week because I got so into the story. The character development is great in this book. Oftentimes, I find myself not caring for or invested in all the characters in a book but that wasn’t the case here. I thought every single main character was fascinating and well-developed. I also liked the social media influencing theme and found a lot of the narrative/commentary about it to be accurate.
*Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre – 4.5/5
Every Last Secret is an entertaining psychological thriller about two women who go head-to-head over a married man. The other woman will do whatever it takes to snag a ring. His wife will do whatever it takes to protect what’s hers. Who will win in the end?
This one was highly entertaining and I LOVED the ending. Really thought-provoking and relatable.
*His & Hers by Alice Feeney – 4.5/5
Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep. His & Hers is a twisty, smart, psychological thriller. A gripping tale of suspense, told by expertly-drawn narrators that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
His & Hers did keep me guessing until the literal end of the book. I thought I had it all figured out but was left with my mouth hanging open at the end. Beyond the surprise ending, I liked a whole lot of things about this book. Trigger warning: there is an underlying theme of SIDS/infant loss.
*Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed – 5/5
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
This was my second listening to this book. I first added it to my Audible library six or seven years ago. It’s a collection of Cheryl Strayed’s responses to letters sent to her advice column that were never before published. She answers many of the letters through shared personal experiences. It’s all so real, raw and relatable. I got just as much, if not more, from my second listen of this book. I really wish she was still doing her Dear Sugars podcast. It’s worth going through and listening to if you never did when they were actively recording.
The First Wife’s Secret by Claire Amarti – 3/5
Family secrets abound in this gripping, suspenseful, and ultimately uplifting page-turner about buried pasts, little white lies, and the twists and turns that finally lead us home.
I found this family drama to be overall underwhelming.
People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry – 2/5
Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love. From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read comes a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.
I know that a lot of people absolutely adored this book. It is an easy rom-com read but I just couldn’t get into Poppy and Alex as characters or the overall story. It also started to really drag around the midway mark and felt like a lot of the same over and over. And I just can’t with Alex’s “sad puppy dog face.”
The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews – 4/5
From Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.
I love Mary Kay Andrews and this novella is a perfect short, sweet holiday read. Such a heartwarming story. It was the perfect thing for me to read the week of Christmas.
The Push by Ashley Audrain – 5/5
A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family—and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for—and everything she feared.
THIS BOOK!!!!!! I started it on the night I threw my back out in Durham and stayed up until 1:45a reading it. I finished it the next day. It completely sucked me in and I went through a whole host of emotions while reading it. It’s dark and complex and really hard to read at times but I also think it brings up some really important aspects of motherhood and parenting. Trigger warning: child loss.
Swerve by Inglath Cooper – 3.5/5
A story to remind us how quickly an otherwise straight-line life can swerve so far off track that it is no longer recognizable…
Whew. This book is about human trafficking and it’s horrifying to think about how fast something like this can happen. Inglath Cooper is a great storyteller and this book kept me engaged and enthralled to the end. There are many predictable scenes/situations but overall it’s a solid read. FYI: I really enjoyed her book That Month in Tuscany if you’re looking for a lighter read.
SPRING 2022 READING LIST
The asterisks indicate books I plan to listen to on Audible. The books that I am going to read on my Kindle are one’s that my grandmother has already added to our library. I figured…why not choose from what’s already there!?
*Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
In Atlas of the Heart, we explore eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human and walk through a new framework for cultivating meaningful connection. This is for the mapmakers and travelers in all of us.
*Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outsidemagazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.”
*Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney
Think you know the person you married? Think again…Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.
The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue, returns with a tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City’s most impressive Gilded Age mansions.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names, can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Listcomes a new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide…
These Tangled Vines by Julianne Maclean
A sweeping and captivating tale of one woman’s journey to the lush vineyards of Tuscany—and into the mysteries of a tragic family secret. Spilling over with the sumptuous flavors and romance of Tuscany, These Tangled Vines takes readers on a breathtaking journey of love, secrets, sacrifice, courage—and most importantly, the true meaning of family.
The Last Night in London by Karen White
New York Times bestselling author Karen White weaves a captivating story of friendship, love, and betrayal that moves between war-torn London during the Blitz and the present day.
We Begin at the End by Christ Whitaker
Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.
Any thoughts on the books above?
Do you listen to audiobooks? When’s your favorite time to listen to them?
What’s on your Spring 2022 reading list?
I loved we Begin at the End. And I’m excited to read the Paris Apartment and Black Cake.
I just listened to The Story Teller by Dave Grohl. I’m not a huge Foofighters or Nirvana fan (at all) but he’s got such a lovely voice to listen to and his stories are thoroughly enjoyable. I really liked it. I love listening to authors read their memoirs…so interesting to hear them. Some of the ones I’ve enjoyed recently include Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, Sally Field, Julie Andrews, Jessica Simpson, Andre Agassi, Rob Lowe, Katie Course, Seth Rogen.
I’m currently reading the second Finlay Donovan book. Light and breezy.
Love this list, thank you! Huge fan of psychological thriller books as well. I’ve added a bunch of these to my “To Read” list and requested some from the library. I’m currently reading “The Death of Mrs Westaway”.
I completely agree with your assessment of People We Meet on Vacation – I usually love this type of book but I just could not. Thanks for sharing – I’m going to add a bunch of your recs to my library requests! I love that you and your grandmother share a kindle library- so special.
I also did not care for People We Meet on Vacation, but I loved Beach Read by the same author. Try reading that one!
Completely agree with you on People You Meet on Vacation! Your last line about how you just couldn’t with Alex’s sad puppy dog face literally made me laugh out loud because I remember thinking the same thing when reading it… got a little repetitive and annoying!
Have you read The Henna Artist, and the sequel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur? Loved both of these! I also just finished The Winemaker’s Wife and it was soooo good.
Thank you for the list! We seem to have very similar taste in books so I always appreciate your recommendations. The most recent books that I read and would recommend are The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (definitely this one!!), and Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica. I’m currently reading Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak.
I finished Push in like two days! It was so mind f*ing! I’m currently reading People You Meet on Vacation for a book club, but I don’t think romances are really my jam. I’m a little halfway over and you are right, SOO many puppy dog faces 🙁 I’m challenging myself to read/listen to 30 books this year and so far I’ve finished 7! I actually really liked These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, which is a collection of some essays and The Personal Librarian was interesting. I have The Paris Apartment on my queue, Guncle, and Empire of Pain! Love these kind of round ups! I put Can’t Hurt Me on my hold!