My Girlish Whims Book Club #12

I'm back to round up the last set of books I've read since my last recap! Since my last update, I traveled to a weekend away in Nantucket and got to do lots of reading while traveling there on the plane and ferry, and also while we had some downtime during the afternoon.  The B&B I stayed at had a beautiful outdoor garden area that was SO relaxing to sit and read in, especially with a good bottle of wine :)

I also got to meet one of my favorite authors of ALL TIME while in Nantucket: Elin Hilderbrand! I've included a bunch of her novels in my book reviews because I'm pretty much obsessed with everything she has written.  I planned my trip to Nantucket almost solely because of reading her books, so it was really cool to actually be able to meet Elin in person while I was there.

My in-person book club also just met up again this past week to talk over our October book, and we had a blast as always.  Lot of wine, giggles, and truffle fries were shared all around.  Yummmm....truffle fries....

Without further ado, here are the last four books I've read!

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The Beach Club

By Elin Hilderbrand. Synopsis from Amazon:

In The Beach Club, the juicy first novel by talented newcomer Elin Hilderbrand, a series of personal dramas are played out during one summer at a Nantucket Beach Club. It's about the love of summer, summer love, and the special feelings we all have for that special summer place--in this case, a hotel and an island.

Mack Petersen, manager of the hotel, has been working at The Beach Club for 12 summers. Only this summer is different. His boss, the owner of the hotel, Bill Elliot, shows up in the spring with a new set of demands. His girlfriend Maribel is pressing Mack to get married and Vance, the African-American bellman, who has hated Mack since the day Mack stole his job 12 years ago, threatens him in a deadly scene. Mack knows something's got to give.

Love O'Donnell, the new front desk person straight from the slopes of Aspen, is desperately searching for a stranger to father her child. The bellman, Jem Crandall, who posed as Mr. November in his college calendar, is on his way to LA to break into agenting, until he falls in love with Maribel. Emotions are at a peak when a hurricane threatens to wash away The Beach Club and all it stands for.

An engrossing, sexy novel that will sweep you away to the beach any time of the year.

I picked this book to read right before my first trip to Nantucket because it is the first book Elin ever wrote that was set on the island of Nantucket. As with all of Elin’s novels, you get to follow various character's stories throughout the book and the highs, lows, and dramas each character faces and how they intertwine together to create an overall novel.  This book takes place over the course of one season of a high-class beach club resort located right on the beach in Nantucket.  It was fun to read the various stories of the different types of guests that would come to stay at the club while following the main characters throughout the book as well.  I will say that this book didn’t have a true clear-cut love story in the traditional sense.  There were relationships: but up until the very end of the novel I was still confused as to if I was supposed to be rooting for the couple to say together or split apart.  The book touched on a lot more emotions and personal growth besides just straight forward relationships, which I actually did appreciate. My favorite quote of the entire book came on the closing page: “What was home, really, but the place where a space just your shape and just your size waited for you.” Overall a good read (as are all of Elin’s books) not my favorite one of hers, but one I am still glad to have read.

China Rich Girlfriend

By Kevin Kwan. Synopsis from Amazon: 

It’s the eve of Rachel Chu’s wedding, and she should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond, a wedding dress she loves, and a fiancé willing to thwart his meddling relatives and give up one of the biggest fortunes in Asia in order to marry her. Still, Rachel mourns the fact that her birthfather, a man she never knew, won’t be there to walk her down the aisle. 

Then a chance accident reveals his identity. Suddenly, Rachel is drawn into a dizzying world of Shanghai splendor, a world where people attend church in a penthouse, where exotic cars race down the boulevard, and where people aren’t just crazy rich … they’re China rich.

I continue to be impressed with this series from Kevin Kwan.  I read Crazy Rich Asians in my last book round up when I was kind of “forced” into reading it by a majority vote from my book club.  Well, I loved that first book so much I knew I HAD to read the second book in the trilogy and this novel did not disappoint.  There are certain parts of a story that can never be quite as exciting in a second book, but I liked this regardless.  The first book did a great job introducing us to the truly “crazy” rich Asian culture and we, as readers, got to experience learning about how crazy that culture really was for the first time alongside the protagonist Rachel in the first novel.  By this book, we already were well versed in how over-the-top rich the characters were, so that was not as impactful of a storyline.  The conflicts/drama in the first novel were SLIGHTLY more entertaining than the drama in this book, but there was still was enough introduction of new characters and family drama to make an entire storyline with in this second book.  What kept me reading these books is that they are truly a funny, light hearted, and enjoyed read.  The character situations are humorous, Kevin has a great dry sense of humor that he lets out in the frequent footnotes explaining cultural items throughout each chapter, and I found myself smirking and laughing to myself multiple times during the book. I plan on reading the third and final book of the trilogy very soon!

The Kind Worth Killing

By Peter Swanson. Synopsis from Amazon:

In a tantalizing set-up reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train… On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché. But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . .
Back in Boston, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they begin to plot Miranda's demise. But there are a few things about Lily’s past that she hasn’t shared with Ted, namely her experience in the art and craft of murder, a journey that began in her very precocious youth.
Suddenly these co-conspirators are embroiled in a chilling game of cat-and-mouse, one they both cannot survive . . . with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail.

My book club wanted to read a book that was a little more thrilling and creepy for the Halloween season, and this is what we landed on.  I would not call this a creepy book (thriller, for sure, but not creepy), but I did really enjoy reading it regardless.  The story telling and characters in the book were so well written.  The book has more than one twist in it, and I have to say I did NOT see any of them coming.  That’s the worst for a thriller: being able to guess what happens next!!! All the way to the end of this book I was kept intrigued and guessing as to what would happen next.  There is a primary killer in this book and you KNOW as a reader that her actions are wrong (um hello, killing people = no beuno) but somehow you still feel for the character and appreciate her and even route for her to succeed.  It’s not often that you feel inclined to morally route for a murderer…but somehow this book made that possible.  The story is told in alternating points of view which kept the story fresh and interesting, and new characters are introduced later in the novel and hearing the story continue to be told from their point of view was interesting as well.  This book has already been optioned for a film version, and I will definitely make plans to see the movie when it comes out. The story was great to follow via prose but the book packed a lot of action that a film would be able to show great as well!

A Nantucket Wedding

By Nancy Thayer. Synopsis from Amazon:

A few years after losing her beloved husband, Alison is doing something she never thought she would do again: getting married. While placing the finishing touches on her summer nuptials, Alison is anxious to introduce her fiancé, David, to her grown daughters: Felicity, a worried married mother of two, and Jane, also married but focused on her career. The sisters have a somewhat distant relationship and Alison hopes that the wedding and the weeks leading up to the ceremony will give the siblings a chance to reconnect, as well as meet and get to know David’s grown children.

As the summer progresses, it is anything but smooth sailing. Felicity stumbles upon a terrible secret that could shatter her carefully cultivated world. Jane finds herself under the spell of her soon-to-be stepbrother, Ethan, who is as charming as he is mysterious. And even Alison is surprised (and slightly alarmed) by her new blended family. Revelations, intrigue, resentments—as the Big Day approaches, will the promise of bliss be a bust?
Against the gorgeous backdrop of the sunswept island of Nantucket, Nancy Thayer sets the stage for a walk down the aisle no one will ever forget.

I read my very first Nancy Thayer book during my last group of book reviews, and I really wasn’t that excited about the book so I was slightly hesitant to give another novel by Thayer a try.  This was her newest novel though that was just released in April 2018 and I kept seeing advertisements pop up for it.  I decided to give it a read to try another Nantucket based book besides one by Elin Hildebrand.  I have to say I was MUCH happier with this book than I was with the last one by Thayer! I enjoyed the storyline and watching the various family members come to visit Nantucket through different weekends in the summer.  There was some funny family drama during the wedding planning that kept things interesting and then of course the stories of the individual characters kept me interested as well. The only thing that frustrated me about this book was how crappy the two daughters, Jane and Felicity, were treated by their spouses throughout various portions of the novel.  There were parts of the story where these girls were literally walked over, treated like crap, verbally abused, and their reaction most times was to just go cry.  I get that not every book can have a fairy tale love story or even a story of breaking free from a love story and going off to find happiness, but it literally made me MAD at how poorly the relationships between these two girls and their spouses was at times and what little was done about it.  You get a bit of closure for one relationship, not much for the other…but overall for a book that focused on a new marriage and happiness for Alison and David, it made me really frustrated that the marriages between almost all of the other characters in the book were so crappy and not really resolved much by the end of the book.  Overall I still actually liked the book, but I thought some parts were slightly unrealistic.

Four more books down, now onto my next set! Let me know if you have any recommendations for what I should read next!

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