I’m happily trucking along through my GoodReads goals and feel so lucky to take you along for the ride. Reading has been the perfect anxiety escape and my anxiety must be SKY HIGH because I’ve already read fifty books this year.
I can’t wait to see how many more I can read and share with you this year.
Please know how much your support means and how much each of you are appreciated in these crazy times!
Not only that, but here’s the scoop on the fun bonuses you will receive, every dang month!
5 Out of 5 Stars
Heart and humor are always a winning combination for me and this novel combines both beautifully, landing it in in my 2021 favorites pile.
Karachi, Pakistan is all that Anyar has ever known so that’s why it is such a shock when his parents decide to start their lives over again California.
They would have never expected which family members would adjust well into this new life and which would struggle to find their place there, but the contrast is swift within their family.
While Anyar’s brother is a model-Muslim, Anyar decides to commit to being a bad Muslim and all that he believes that entails.
At the same time, Safwa is living in a war-torn Baghdad and takes a dangerous path to escape to America. Safwa’s life is a difficult one, made more difficult by her grief-stricken father and her time in America is anything but easy.
Safwa and Anyar find their paths begin to intertwine into some surprising ways as they discover solace in one another and away from their conservative upbringing.
This relationship is beautifully woven together as they each try to meet their family’s expectations while discovering independence in their new country.
I can’t rave enough about this beautiful story that would lend itself so well to any of your planned book club discussions this year.
Set in 1995, it also offered a lot of great ‘90’s nostalgia, for this reader, that I really appreciated.
Don’t miss this read!
5 Out of 5 Stars
I love books about “chosen families,” and that theme is just what you will find in this powerful debut mystery novel that I would HIGHLY recommend adding to your stack.
Isaac is mourning the loss of his teenage son, Daniel, and has been experiencing all the loneliness and isolation that comes with this.
Next door, a working single mother, is also struggling with the tragic loss of her own son, but for very different reasons.
When a sixteen-year-old girl shows up, needing a safe place to stay and food to eat, she seems like the perfect person to fill the loneliness in Issacs’s heart.
Her presence gives him purpose again to his step as he tries to be a steady person in her life.
Evangeline is hiding a secret though and it is a secret that will bind these neighbors together in some surprising ways.
I can’t say enough good things about this haunting story and how beautifully woven these alternating chapters came together.
It was such a satisfying page-turner that will remind you how tragedy can bring about unexpected blessings.
As an aside, this may be my first novel that features characters of Quaker faith and I found these sections of the story so beautifully done.
The quiet faith of these people and how our church can step in to support us through these moments was heartwarming.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
4 Out of 5 Stars
Katherine Heiny is, truly, such a witty writer and her latest novel is another absolute delight.
If you are looking for an endearing character-driven story, that makes you laugh out loud, I think this one fits the bill.
Heiny’s trademark humor seems to have hit the right notes with critics too, as it tops all the “best of 2021,” lists this year.
Jane is a school teacher that has found love with the town’s most eligible bachelor, Duncan.
Duncan has seemed to live up to his playboy reputation too, as Jane encounters his old girlfriends everywhere.
Jane begins to wonder if a serious relationship could ever exist between the two, due to Duncan’s inabilities to commit, and if this relationship is even worth pursuing.
They could never guess though how radically their lives would change after a tragic car accident.
Not only are their lives altered, they are thrown together into an unexpected family that deepens bonds with people she could have never guessed would be part of her life.
Heiny is such a gifted writer and I kept reading passage after passage to my husband, who belly-laughed right along with me.
This has Schitt’s Creek level cuteness that I gobbled up during these pandemic-filled days.
4 Out of 5 Stars
This novel was a Reader’s Choice pick for our MomAdvice Book Club and I could not be more grateful. It is one of those instant modern day classics that I can imagine sharing with so many people in the future.
Nora has had a string of bad luck and when her cat dies, she decides that she just can’t go on anymore. W
hen she decides to check out of her life she is introduced to the midnight library that holds a Book of Regrets, filled with Nora’s missed chances and opportunities.
Nora has the opportunity to live out some of her biggest regrets that help her realize the consequences of those choices, for better or worse.
The reader gets to go into these regret-filled moments and live vicariously through Nora’s missed opportunities, making this a fun literary escape for the reader.
While the messaging might have felt a little heavy-handed at times, it seemed to be so appropriate for this moment in our world.
As many of us struggle with the mental health consequences of our world right now, the encouragement to go on and how we can unexpectedly impact others was a beautifully bittersweet reminder that life is tough, but so are we.
3 Out of 5 Stars
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing a review copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you are looking for a quick romance novel to enjoy, this novel gave me Lifetime TV vibes in book format.
A couple becomes famous for designing smart small living spaces that brings them an audience and a publishing deal.
Their latest novel is all on the success of their partnership and marriage, but behind-the-scenes is quite a different story.
In short, this couple is a hot mess.
When they have to go on tour, their assistants go with them to help supervise the “messaging and brand,” while finding immediate chemistry with each other.
As the HGTV couple’s marriage starts to fizzle, the reader follows along with the relationship that isn’t fizzling.
I am loving how romance novels are starting to really embrace characters with real health challenges (i.e. “Get a Life, Chloe Brown”), and appreciated how they weaved this into their story.
These real-life challenges added a little more depth to this novel, while keeping it sweetly satisfying.
4 Out of 5 Stars
I have always been fascinated by Depression-era cooking and the smart resourcefulness that was required to feed a family.
This well-researched historical fiction novel really dives deep into those creative wells by creating a BBC cooking contest that focuses on how creatively women use these rations to inspire others for a fresh first-ever female program.
This utilizes alternating perspectives from these four women and their motivations for winning this contest.
As they work to bend the rules in their favor, they come to admire one another and support one another in some beautiful ways throughout the contest.
Each chapter shares their recipes to really showcase how these dishes were created.
It added a really lovely element to the story to read through these and see how these women used their rations in such clever ways.
Honestly, I learned SO MUCH more than I had expected about this era and how the ration system even worked.
The entire concept was beautifully executed, and I found the characters to be quite endearing.
This is one of those novels you could hand over to anyone in your life and they would thoroughly enjoy it.
4 Out of 5 Stars
I fell in love with Hankin’s satirical writing style with her first novel, “Happy & You Know It.” If you haven’t read this one and need a good laugh, I really recommend reading it.
I became an instant fan after the belly-laughs that I got from that one.
This latest novel spins out from the Madeleine Albright quote, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.”
This “special place,” is exactly what Hankin crafts up in this creative concept with an exclusive women-only social club where New York City’s social elite meet.
A down on her luck journalist, Jillian, discovers that there is a secret club in town that may have influenced the mayoral election and decides that joining it would make the perfect piece.
The problem is that she doesn’t really know if her hunches about how the women are abusing their power are correct and she can’t imagine the directions that this club will take or how she will pull off this article when no one is allowed to question their motives or tactics.
This, admittedly, went into some interesting magical places that I wasn’t really expecting.
This ended up being a very genre-bending book that really explores this concept of female empowerment in such a unique way.- I really couldn’t put this down
I could see this one being developed into a really successful film (editorial note: this has now been optioned for a television series!!) and appreciated the creativity that Hankin brought to this concept.
If you are looking for a fun book club pick that explores feminist topics, I think you would love this one.
4 Out of 5 Stars
This book is making big buzz this year and I’m HERE FOR IT, especially since I have enjoyed Laura Dave’s prior books so much.
Not only was this book selected as a Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection, but it also has been chosen for a brand new series, starring Julia Roberts.
Imagine if your husband disappeared and only left behind a note telling you to protect his daughter and a bag of money.
Well, that is exactly what ends up happening in this intriguing mystery, from Laura Dave.
Unfortunately, not only does Hannah want to get to the bottom of the mystery, the F.B.I. would like to.
What Hannah and her stepdaughter discover though is that Owen has been leading a double life and that his lies go so much deeper than they could ever expect.
It forces both of them to question everything about their past relationship and a deep desire to discover why Owen was so intent on hiding the truth.
I would recommend this novel for fans of, “The Husband’s Secret.” If you need an audiobook this month, I would encourage you to give this one a spin.
The narration was really well done and the mystery was solid from start to finish.
I really look forward to seeing what they do with this series, especially with such a great casting choice.
5 Out of 5 Stars
For some reason, this phenomenal thriller slipped past my radar, but I’m SO thrilled to have picked this one up this month.
I can’t say enough good things about how beautifully developed the twists were.
My only regret was that I, truly, could not turn the pages fast enough.
A whirlwind romance isn’t always a good thing, but when Skye & Burke fall in love, they just can’t get to their wedding day fast enough.
While Skye is over the moon to have found her soulmate, her family and friends remain skeptical about Burke because she knows so little about him.
It doesn’t help that Burke really doesn’t have a lot of friends or family to back up the story of his past.
Burke’s real story though is one that it is deeply twisted with another woman and Skye is about to find out why she has become the target of Burke’s affection and just how deep his lies go.
If I tell you more, I’d blow the whole plot for you.
This is one of those books that you should read as little as possible about and just enjoy one of those crazy 24-hour stay-up-way-too-late thriller vibes.
I really don’t like to throw around the phrase, “the next Gone Girl,” because it is used too much, BUT Lovering’s writing proves that she has the writing chops to rival the twists of Gillian Flynn.
Don’t miss adding this one to your stack this month.
I promise, it won’t disappoint.