Thursday, April 9, 2020

Books I've Read So Far This Year

It has been far too long since I shared what I’ve been reading with y’all. I used to be pretty decent about sharing books as I finished them on my Instagram stories but have since gotten out of the habit and have failed to share them here too. Since I feel like most of us are looking for activities that involve a little less screen time while adjusting to working from home, reading has been my first choice for that. So far, I’ve only made it through two books, which is less than I would have thought, but I’ve found that I’m having a harder time staying focused on one task at a time since working from home and spending the majority of my time here. Maybe that will get better with time, and I hope that’s the case since I ordered a few books that I am really excited to get started on. 

For those of you who have been around here for a while, you may already know that my favorite genres include psychological thrillers and self-help/inspirational books. That’s a weird combo, I know. And if people were to really study my bookshelf I could see it creating a puzzled look across their face but I’m not going to deny that those are my top picks. I’m sure I am forgetting a few of the books I’ve read so far, and since there aren’t that many to list, I’ve also included the ones I have on my reading list for the coming weeks. I went ahead and added the Amazon description of each of the books beneath it so that you wouldn’t have to jump back and forth between pages and are hopefully able to find something worth reading right here. 



And I’m going to put the same disclaimer I included in Phoebe’s “What To Read Right Now” post here since it’s still just as important: Also, I’ve linked directly to Amazon for these books since that allows you to read the full synopsis, but if you have a local favorite book store and the means to purchase a book or two, I’d recommend trying to buy your books from there for the time being. I have no doubt Amazon will be in good shape when this is all said and done, but smaller businesses are more likely to be hurting. 

What I’ve Read So Far:

Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a helicopter crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.

After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. 

Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series.

Rush by Lisa Patton
Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid―no matter what.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl―as her “babies” like to call her―has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta―and maybe the entire Greek system―forever. 

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people - an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. 

When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin - with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony - everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield - and no couple is perfect.

Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach book.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better. 
Shay would die for them to like her. 
She may have to.

Next On My List:

This is an approach that will empower you to sell your way to success in business and in life. For example, you’ll learn how to create your own “Strike Method” or signature move to help you feel confident entering any situation. Combining case studies and personal stories, Lydia also shares tips from some of the most powerful and successful women in business, fashion, journalism, sports, and the arts.

This book will show you how to take your career to the next level, whether it’s overcoming your fear of asking for something or bridging a wage gap. Lydia has been there and come back more powerful than ever. Inspiring and encouraging, Lydia’s hard-won advice will help you walk into any room with the confidence of a leader and motivate others to find their voice as well. Get ready to embrace your natural strengths, map your career, and take ownership of your life.

What Happens In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too. 

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -- and death -- of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures. 

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of America’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

Suffer Strong by Katherine & Jay Wolf
After miraculously surviving a near-fatal brainstem stroke at age 26, as told in their memoir, Hope Heals, life for Katherine and Jay Wolf changed forever - and so did the way they viewed God, the world, and themselves in it. There was no going back to normal after such a tragedy. Yet Katherine and Jay learned that suffering is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new story. 

In Suffer Strong, they invite us into this new story as they share universal lessons and helpful practices that will help us to:
•    Recognize we are being equipped for an uncommon assignment, not cursed by our story.
•    Transform our unmet expectations into brave anticipations.
•    Disrupt the myth that joy can only be found in a pain-free life.
•    Rewrite the narrative of hard circumstances by turning our definitions of suffering into declarations of strength.
•    And, ultimately, thrive even in the lives we never imagined living.

Revolver Road by Christi Daugherty (This is the 3rd in the series)
Even in the chill of February, no place touches Harper McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warned her that someone wanted her dead. The call was too specific to ignore. The caller knew everything about her. But that was months ago, and she’s getting tired of being scared.

Her only escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne. The singer had a hit album on his hands, and was about to go on tour, but then he walked out of his beachfront home and vanished. The police believe he drowned, but Harper suspects his disappearance may be more ominous than that. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

His bandmates and actress girlfriend say he’s run away before. They expect him to come home. Until a body washes up with two bullet holes in it. Now everyone in Rayne’s life is a suspect. As Harper digs deeper into the case, though, the threats against her own life return. The phone call she received was very real. A killer from her past is coming for her.

Now she must solve two murders, or end up dying on Revolver Road…

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough
Marriage can be murder… 

SOMETHING OLD
Marcie’s affair with Jason Maddox catapulted her into the world of the elite. 
Old money, old ties, old secrets. Marcie may have married into this world— 
but she’ll never be part of it.

SOMETHING NEW
Then Jason’s boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. 
Young, attractive, reckless—nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. 
Including Marcie’s husband.

SOMETHING YOU CAN NEVER, EVER UNDO…
Some people would kill for the life Marcie has—what will she do to keep it?

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
North Carolina, 2018:

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940:

Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Let me know of any good books you've read lately as I'd love to add them to my list!


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