My Girlish Whims Book Club #4

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I've been reading, reading, reading again and I'm back to share the reviews of my most recent books as well as an update on my book club in real life!


My local book club met for a second time at True Food Kitchen in King of Prussia and we had such a fun time! I shared about our fist meet up in my last post. There was a group of girls who came back again from the first meet and a group of newbies as well. It was nice to catch up with the repeat members, meet some new friends, and then obviously just have fun chatting about books and life over some yummy food and wine! We are all squared away to meet again in the beginning of November: it's so fun having some other locals who love to read just as much as I do and enjoy an excuse to get out in the middle of the week for a little fun. I just started the book for our next meeting this week though so I'm going to have to rush a bit to make sure I'm done in time! Luckily I enjoy reading and am pretty fast so I think I'll be ok :) Here is the round-up of my pick for the last book club meeting as well as three other books I've recently read as well!

A Stranger In the House

By Shari Lapena. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There's a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes.  Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

I picked this book for my official book club read because I read "The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena first and absolutely LOVED that book. The mystery was so good and I just could not figure out what was going to happen next.  I still enjoyed this book, but the mystery was just not quite as intense.  I felt like I had figured out the ending about 60% of the way through the book: there was a little twist to it but generally I saw where it was going. Overall I still liked the book: it was a pretty easy read but kept me interested.  The characters were a little...flat? Slightly unrealistic? and I'm getting a little tired of the whole "temporary memory loss" used in modern mystery novels to draw out the story line...but I still liked the book and it kept me interested. 

Fitness Junkie: A Novel

By Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Synopsis from Amazon:

When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin—the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin—her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don't fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman's tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can't help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

I knew I was going to like this book when the very first page had the main character out on a breakfast date with a friend and he pulls out a food scale to weigh his turkey bacon from the restaurant on the table.  I could relate all too well ;) This was a really fun read for me since I feel like my life revolves around the health and fitness industry so much that it was really fun to read something that tastefully poked fun at some of the most ridiculous parts of the industry. It was funny for sure: I definitely laughed out loud during a few spots but it was also a feel-good and cathartic read. I really liked following along on Janey's quest which started as just a quest to lose 30 pounds but turned more into a life experience/awakening journey. My favorite line from the book which I actually highlighted and posted to my instagram was this:

CJ paused for a second. "You know...I think it's a lie that all women want to be skinny. I think we just want to be told it's okay to look the way we look."

Hit me in all the feels! I totally could relate and walked away from the book feeling very refreshed - this is a must read for sure.

You: A Novel

By Caroline Kepnes. Synopsis from Amazon:

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.
There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.


As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.


A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age. You is a compulsively readable page-turner that’s being compared to Gone Girl, American Psycho, and Stephen King’s Misery.


This book was...weird. And intriguing. And interesting. And messed up. And I really kind of overall really really liked it. First and foremost, it seems like I read a lot of books told from a female point of view, and this book is completely written from a male point of view which was a nice change up. They also talk a lot about books throughout this book because the main character Joe works in a book shop and starts dating a writer.  I actually wrote down a few of the books they were discussing to add to my "to-read" list.  Joe has been through some tough things in life and does some weird and messed up things throughout this book, but somehow overall we really still like him.  He is an odd, messed up protagonist and I really should have hated him by the end of the story but I just couldn't.  The book is a bit racy at parts so prepare for that but really I just could not stop reading this one.  Joe's stalkerish ways kept drawing me into this creepy story and I just wanted to keep on reading to find out what happened next.

Dark Matter

By Blake Crouch.  Synopsis from Amazon: 

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

I loved, loved, LOVED this book.  When I read the synopsis, I was really not blown away because I’ve never been into science fiction type stories, but I heard a lot of good things about the book so I decided to give it a try.  I had just finished reading a lot of psychological thrillers as well, so I was ready for a change of pace.  The “science” portion of the book was nothing too difficult to understand: it definitely was a crazy idea to think about but the book did not focus on the nitty gritty details of scientific concept that made the story-line of the book possible: more the story line itself about a man trying to battle his way back to his wife, family, and life as he once knew it.  I really was kept interested through-out the whole novel: and about 75% of the way through I really started to get anxious and wanted to just sit and do nothing else but read! It was heartwarming to see Jason struggling so much through the book to just get back to his family: something he once almost took for granted but now he realizes is the 100% most important thing in his life. I love a good love story ;) but this one was done in such a different and unique way, I 100% recommend it to all!

 So - have you guys read any of the same books??? What did you think! I'm always open to new suggestions as well: so feel free to share your recent reads in the comments!

3 comments

  1. I love that you're doing book reviews. Everything but Dark Matter sounds really good. I'm a mystery/true crime buff. I love cozy mysteries-think Janet Evanovich & Joan Hess.Pinning these to remember to pick up.

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