I have a round up of what I’ve been reading over the last few months along with what is on my fall reading list. My summer reading a little hit or miss but I am so pumped about what I have on deck for the fall.
One thing I want to talk about in regards to my fall reading list is the book by Colleen Hoover, Verity. This book has received an insane amount of buzz and it seems like everyone I know or follow on social media has read it and raved about it. Just last week, my mom was telling me about “this book a friend told her about that she was going to try” and it was Verity. My grandmother also downloaded it an added it to our shared Kindle. I am on the fence about whether I want to read it. The subject matter is dark and I haven’t been much of a Colleen Hoover fan in the past. I know some people devour everything she writes but I haven’t found a groove with her. I would love to hear your thoughts of Verity and Colleen Hoover. Is this truly a title not to be missed?
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: SUMMER 2022
For each book in the “what I’ve been reading” section of this post, I am giving you a brief book description along with my rating and overall thoughts on it. Just a reminder…I hesitate to assign star ratings as I find it so interesting how people’s experiences with books vary so greatly. Personally, I sometimes place too much emphasis to Good Reads star ratings and reviews. I will find that I don’t want to read a book if the 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.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley – 2/5
Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge. Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
I may be in the minority with my opinion of The Paris Apartment but it just didn’t do it for me. I found this book to be overly drawn-out and the characters unlikeable, especially the main character Jess.
Meant to Be by Emily Giffin – 3/5
The Kingsley family is American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. In 1967, after Joseph S. Kingsley, Jr. is killed in a tragic accident, his charismatic son inherits the weight of that legacy. But Joe III is a free spirit—and a little bit reckless. Despite his best intentions, he has trouble meeting the expectations of a nation, as well as those of his exacting mother, Dottie.
Meanwhile, no one ever expected anything of Cate Cooper. She, too, grew up fatherless—and after her mother marries an abusive man, she is forced to fend for herself. After being discovered by a model scout at age sixteen, Cate decides that her looks may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, Cate’s face is in magazines and on billboards. Yet she feels like a fraud, faking it in a world to which she’s never truly belonged.
When Joe and Cate unexpectedly cross paths one afternoon, their connection is instant and intense. But can their relationship survive the glare of the spotlight and the so-called Kingsley curse? In a beautifully written novel that captures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells the story of two people searching for belonging and identity, as well as the answer to the question: Are certain love stories meant to be?
I have read all of Emily Giffin’s novels and Meant to Be was my least favorite. Giffin loosely based this book on the relationship between JFK and Carolyn Bessette but with a different ending which felt a little bit on the disrespectful/fanciful side. Her author’s note clarifies that it was written as a “what if” scenario and some people seemed to really like it. This book felt repetitive as you’d read the same account of a story from two different characters in back to back chapters. All that said, I was entertained and finished this one quickly.
These Tangled Vines by Juliann Maclean – 4.5/5
If Fiona has learned anything in life, it’s how to keep a secret―even from the father who raised her. She is the only person who knows about her late mother’s affair in Tuscany thirty years earlier, and she intends to keep it that way…until a lawyer calls with shocking news: her biological father has died and left her an incredible inheritance―along with two half siblings.
Fiona travels to Italy, where the family is shocked to learn of her existence and desperate to contest her share of the will. While the mystery of her mother’s affair is slowly unraveled, Fiona must navigate through tricky family relationships and tense sibling rivalries. Fiona both fears and embraces her new destiny as she searches for the truth about the fateful summer her mother spent in Italy and the father she never knew.
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.
This was a beautiful book on many levels. While I was drawn to the vivid descriptions of the Tuscan villa and winery, I really connected to the way that the author so accurately captured the complexities of family secrets and love.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry – 4/5
One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn’t see coming…
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
Book Lovers was a redeeming Emily Henry book for me after how much I disliked People We Meet On Vacation. While I instantly liked Libby, it took me a minute to get into Nora and Charlie. I struggled at times with how closed off Nora was but I’m pretty sure that’s because I saw some of myself in that! I also enjoyed the NC mountain setting because I feel those towns can seem unassuming but hold a whole lot of magic. <3
Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney – 4.5/5
Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts–paper, cotton, pottery, tin–and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.
Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.
This is one of my favorite thrillers of 2022. I listened to this on audio and couldn’t stop! I loved the spooky rural Scottish converted church vibes along with the yearly letters from Amelia. This book kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez – 4.5/5
After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable.
While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people.
Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?
Gosh, I love Abby Jimenez books so much. They make me laugh out loud and are always fast and easy reads for me. I think she excels at developing characters and relationships – I always find myself invested. This was a sweet story.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware – 2.5/5
April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.
Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.
Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.
I listened to this book on audio and it was sooooo slooooooow. The action did pick up for the last 25% of the book but overall this was a big miss.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – 4/5
Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.
Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.
When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
What drew me into this book was that the story was complex, layered and full of twists and turns. There were some super interesting characters and I also liked the whole pharmaceutical company subplot. I listened to this on audio and the narration for Avery drove me bananas but other than that, I enjoyed the book!
The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews – 3.5/5
Hattie Kavanaugh went to work restoring homes for Kavanaugh & Son Restorations at eighteen, married the boss’s son at twenty, and became a widow at twenty-five. Now, she’s passionate about her work, but that’s the only passion in her life. “Never love something that can’t love you back,” is advice her father-in-law gives her, but Hattie doesn’t follow it and falls head-over-heels for a money pit of a house. She’s determined to make it work, but disaster after disaster occurs, and Hattie’s dream might cost Kavanaugh & Son their livelihood. Hattie needs money, and fast.
When a slick Hollywood producer shows up in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, cast against a male lead who may be a love interest, or may be the ultimate antagonist. Soon, there’s more at stake than bad pipes and dry rot: during the demolition, evidence comes to light that points to the mysterious disappearance of a young wife and mother years before.
With a burned out detective investigating the case, an arsonist on the loose, two men playing with her emotions, and layers upon layers of vintage wallpaper causing havoc, it’s a question of who will flip, who will flop, and if Hattie will ever get her happily-ever-after.
Romance, HGTV themes and mystery all wrapped up into one book. Cute and easy to read. I liked the mystery and house flipping aspects of the book but found the romance to be underdeveloped. The last two Mary Kay Andrews books that I have read (this and The Newcomer) have felt about 100 pages too long. I think she did a great job writing fun characters and spinning mysteries into both of these books but they could have been tightened up a bit.
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier – 4.5/5
Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.
I almost stopped listening to this book 10 minutes in because it’s about a child close to Finn’s age who is abducted. That scene is written so vividly from the mother’s perspective that my heart was racing and I felt so much anxiety. I stuck with it though and ended up liking this book much more than I though I would.
FALL 2022 READING LIST
Verity by Colleen Hoover
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 her family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could 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 loving her.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Can you stop a murder after it’s already happened?
Late October. After midnight. You’re waiting up for your seventeen-year-old son. He’s past curfew. As you watch from the window, he emerges, and you realize he isn’t alone: he’s walking toward a man, and he’s armed.
You can’t believe it when you see him do it: your funny, happy teenage son, he kills a stranger, right there on the street outside your house. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your son is now in custody, his future shattered.
That night you fall asleep in despair. All is lost.Until you wake…and it is yesterday. And then you wake again…and it is the day before yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. With another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lies an answer. The trigger for this crime—and you don’t have a choice but to find it…
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs
Jerome Sugar learned the art of baking in his grandma’s bakery, also called Sugar, on historic Perdita Street in San Francisco. He supplies baked goods to the Lost and Found Bookshop across the street.
When the restaurant that shares his commercial kitchen loses its longtime tenant, a newcomer moves in: Margot Salton, a barbecue master from Texas.
Margot isn’t exactly on the run, but she needs a fresh start. She’s taken care of herself her whole life, pulling herself up by her fingernails to recover from trauma, and her dream has been to open a restaurant somewhere far, far from Texas. The shared kitchen with Jerome’s Sugar bakery is the perfect setup: a state-of-the-art kitchen and a vibrant neighborhood popular with tourists and locals.
Margot instantly takes to Jerome’s mother, the lively, opinionated Ida. The older woman proves to be a good mentor, and Margot is drawn to Jerome. Despite their different backgrounds their attraction is powerful—even though Jerome worries that Margot will simply move on from him once she’s found some peace and stability. But just as she starts to relax into a happy new future, Margot’s past in Texas comes back to haunt her…
The Change by Kristen Miller
Big Little Lies meets The Witches of Eastwick—a gloriously entertaining and knife-sharp feminist revenge fantasy about three women whose midlife crisis brings unexpected new powers—putting them on a collision course with the evil that lurks in their wealthy beach town.
Pack up the Moon by Kristan Kiggins
Being a widower is not something Joshua Park ever expected. Given his solitary job, small circle of friends and family, and the social awkwardness he’s always suffered from, Josh has no idea how to negotiate this new, unwanted phase of life. But Lauren had a plan to keep him moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him, giving him a task for every month in the year after her death. A plan that leads Joshua with a loving hand on a journey through grief, anger, and denial.
It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his first outing as a widower to buy groceries…to an attempt at a dinner party where his lack of experience hosting creates a comic disaster…to finding a new best friend while weeping in the dressing room of a clothing store. As his grief makes room for new friendships and experiences, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.
Funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life’s greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.
But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.
At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.
In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.
The Measure by Nikki Erlick
Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.
It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.
But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.
From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?
As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?
The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.
Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.
The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest
This is a book about self-sabatoge. Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good. Coexisting but conflicting needs create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile. But by extracting crucial insight from our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence by better understanding our brains and bodies, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to act as our highest potential future selves, we can step out of our own way and into our potential. For centuries, the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb. In the end, it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.
Would love to hear your thoughts/opinions on any of the books in this post!!!
What’s on your Fall 2022 reading list?