My Girlish Whims Book Club #3

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I’m back with another round-up of some of my most recent reads, and I’m so excited to share that this month I actually hosted my very first book club in person!!! I’ve been enjoying sharing my reads here on my blog and on my Instagram account, and a follower commented on one of my posts that I should start up a local book club! I loved the idea so I put some feelers out, picked a book and a location, and we just had our very first meeting on Tuesday of this week! I had almost SEVENTY people email me that they were interested in joining, and just under 20 girls showed up to our meeting.  Who knew there were so many book worms like me out there ;) We had a great time meeting some other locals, sharing some laughs, drinks and apps.  We kept the book discussion pretty low key, not a structured formal discussion since there was so many of us and we were spread out among two different tables, but the overall consensus was everyone LOVED the book and loved meeting up with some other locals, so we are going to be continuing to meet-up! If you are local to the Philly suburbs and are interested in joining shoot me an email at  We met up this week at Paladar Latin Kitchen in King of Prussia – they have such yummy drinks and appetizers, it was the perfect spot for a night out.

I’m already brainstorming our next book and location, please let me know if you have any suggestions for either (do you know how hard it is to find a spot to fit at least 25 book worms?! Hah!)

Anyway…here is the round-up of the past few books I’ve read and my thoughts on each!

In a Dark Dark Wood

By Ruth Ware. Synopsis from Amazon:  

What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller.

Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.

This was the book that I picked for our first book club meet.  I picked it because it is written by the same author who wrote “The Girl in Cabin 10” which I read and LOVED and the movie rights were just sold for it to Reese Witherspoon’s movie production company, so it should be turning into a movie soon as well! This book was supposed to be a thriller, and I was definitely freaked out from it at times.  There is one scene in the book late at night where the characters are all investigating a noise in the night and I LITERALLY got goose bumps and was scared reading it.  I get SUPER freaked out by scary movies, but if a BOOK can actually give me goose bumps, that’s really saying something!  Overall, I liked the mystery and thrill of the book but I got very frustrated at how unrealistic some parts of the book were.  Some of the characters seemed a little too petty and unrealistic…it’s hard to describe without giving away any spoilers but the main motive behind the crime that happens in the book seemed so DUMB and unrealistic to me, so I was frustrated when we eventually learned what that was.  There is a scene almost at the end of the book too where in typical “horror movie” fashion a character falls ploy to the obvious villain and I’m like…CAN YOU BE ANY MORE STUPID?!? Hah.  Anyway, ranting aside, besides a slightly unrealistic storyline I still overall really enjoyed the book and would recommend reading it, but I 100% think that “The Girl in Cabin 10” was a better book.  This was actually the FIRST book that Ruth Ware wrote, Girl in Cabin 10 came afterwards but that one became popular first.  So, read Girl in Cabin 10 first, and if you like that style of book this is definitely one you should add to your list as well.  

Into the Water

By Paula Hawkins. Synopsis from Amazon:

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she'd never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Once again, I got this book to read because it was from the same author who wrote Girl on the Train which I read and LOVED.  The mystery in that book was SO interesting so I was really excited to read something else by the same author. It took a little bit for me to get into this book.  The subject matter is pretty dark and depressing at the beginning and it was kind of getting me down (it's literally about a river where tons of people have committed suicide or been drowned in) especially because I was reading it on vacation at the beach and was maybe more wishing for a more light hearted read.  I considered switching to another book when I was only 15% of the way through...but I had it rented for free on my kindle from my local library and they give you a time limit for how long you can "rent the book" AND I had already been on the wait list for this one for months so I decided to just stick it out.  Overall I did like the book and the mystery was good, it just took a little bit for me to get into it and start enjoying it and wondering what was going to happen next.  Overall, Girl on the Train was still better, but this really did keep me guessing until literally the last chapter of the book when we finally found out what actually happened. 

Here's To Us

By Elin Hilderbrand.  Synopsis from Amazon: 

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe--a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life--and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn't be more different. Laurel: Deacon's high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They've established a delicate understanding over the years--they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon's tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon's final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they're left to pick up Deacon's mess. Now they're trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories--a house that they now share in more ways than one--along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon--and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends--let alone three women who married the same man--into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together--for better or worse--will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon's honor?

The more books I read from Elin Hilderbrand, the more I just love love love her as an author.  I seriously just want to move to Nantucket for a summer and go around seeing the the sites and restaurants and do all the things that take place in her stories. This book was another winner from Elin for sure: it was based around the story of a chef so woven into the book were a few recipes, some which one of my favorite food bloggers How Sweet Eats created specifically for the book! There was one recipe for a champagne soaked strawberry cake that I want to make STAT. Drool-worthy for sure.  This was another fun summer read: the main character of the book "Deacon" is found dead right at the beginning of the novel so the rest of the story is told from his family and friend's point of view including his three ex-wives and children, but it also weaved in flashbacks of his life before he died. I really enjoyed watching the story develop for each individual character, but everything was all brought together and tied in at the end as they celebrated the life and death of Deacon and it was a great read overall. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon.  Synopsis from Amazon:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

    This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

I saw this book come up on a list of "100 Books you Should Read" recently and knew I had heard of it before, but had never actually read it. Turns out my mom actually had a physical copy of this book (say what?!? I seriously read all of my books on my kindle these days hah) so I borrowed the book from her and read it in two days while on vacation.  The story is told through the eyes and voice of 15 year old boy who has special needs.  He is EXTREMELY smart, and is very good at math but he is also only 15 and has behavior issues and sees the world just a little differently than most: thus the story of this book was told a little different than most stories. It took me just a bit to get used to the tone of how the story was told, but it was actually a really fun: very sweet, cathartic at times, and engaging.  The best part of the book was reading between the lines of what Christopher was able to understand versus the events he was describing which told the story of his family and the drama going on in his life and ultimately: the curious incident of the dog in night time.

Have you read any of the same books? What were your thoughts on them? And of course PLEASE share in the comments if you have any good recommendations for what I should read next!

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