My Girlish Whims Book Club #16

I'm currently sitting on my couch on a Tuesday night in my PJs: I've showered after the gym, ate my dinner, and just finished some leftover dessert from Easter on the couch while snuggled under a blanket and literally just finished my next read for book club.  It was one with a happy ending and I closed my kindle and just sighed out loud with such an immense happy sigh after finishing it because THIS is truly my happy place.  I love to read to relax, I love to read to be swept away into a new story line, but what I ultimately love MOST about reading is the cathartic feeling of satisfaction and joy after finishing a good book with a good ending.  It makes me keep coming back for more every time which is why I am never NOT in the middle of a fiction book! As soon as I finish one book, I jump right into a new one and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Without further ado are the next four books I have ready to share with you since my last post!

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Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens. Synopsis from Amazon:

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.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, 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.

This was our book club pick for March, and overall it was really well received by the group! I picked it because it has been the #1 most read book on Amazon charts for a bunch of weeks in a row, so I figured it had to be pretty good. I know I like a book when I get emotionally invested in it: and I certainly was invested in this book.  The start of the book was a little slow but I still enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching Kya try to survive on her own against a family who deserted her and a town who continues to shun her.  Kya never had a "woe is me" mentality, but I was MAD for her and for how hard she had to work and struggle to stay alive.  The book follows her life from young girl to young adult in detail, but it didn't drag on and I really enjoyed following along each new phase of her life.  There was enough drama to keep me intrigued to keep reading, and overall I left the book with a very content and feel good mentality.  It wasn't a sappy read at all, but I still left it with all the warm-and-fuzzy feelings which I always appreciate at the end of a novel. 

The ABC Murders

By Agatha Christie. Synopsis from Amazon: 

There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet - and the whole country is in a state of panic. A is for Mrs Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident – but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal mistake.

This is the third book I've read from Agatha Christie recently because I saw that this was going to become a mini series through Amazon Prime.  Since I don't have cable and watch most shows on Amazon I'm always down for a new freebie show to watch but of course, if it is novel based I have to read the book first! This book was a little different than the last two Agatha books I've read but I enjoyed it none the less.  The murders were pre-planned and had almost no similar connections besides their names following each other in the alphabet so Poirot really had to focus on the motive for these murders to solve the crime.  I got confused fairly often from the multitude of different character introduced in the story that continued to be part of the novel but I still was very intrigued by the story and interested in seeing how it ended.  The story has a bit of a twist at the end and I will admit that prior to the twist I was kind of bored with the ending, but when it did truly end I walked away feeling satisfied with another great Agatha Christie mystery solved and content with the read!

  The Restaurant Critic's Wife

By Elizabeth LaBan. Synopsis from Amazon:

Lila Soto has a master’s degree that’s gathering dust, a work-obsessed husband, two kids, and lots of questions about how exactly she ended up here.

In their new city of Philadelphia, Lila’s husband, Sam, takes his job as a restaurant critic a little too seriously. To protect his professional credibility, he’s determined to remain anonymous. Soon his preoccupation with anonymity takes over their lives as he tries to limit the family’s contact with anyone who might have ties to the foodie world. Meanwhile, Lila craves adult conversation and some relief from the constraints of her homemaker role. With her patience wearing thin, she begins to question everything: her decision to get pregnant again, her break from her career, her marriage—even if leaving her ex-boyfriend was the right thing to do. As Sam becomes more and more fixated on keeping his identity secret, Lila begins to wonder if her own identity has completely disappeared—and what it will take to get it back.

I really liked this book.  First and foremost: it takes place in Philadelphia which is the closest city to where I live. I don’t feel like many books are set here, so I appreciated my local turf getting some love.  Secondly, the overall concept of Sam being a restaurant critic always trying to stay anonymous was pretty enjoyable to read.  I found myself snorting a few times when he donned many outrageous disguises and attempting to be someone he was not (spoiler alert: his fake mustache falling off into his soup bowl during one scene was hysterical).  I also really appreciated the raw struggles that the author wrote about how hard life is as a stay at home mom is.  Obviously, I am not one (I do want to be one though!) but I still realize that it is not an easy feat to be tasked with caring for two little humans alone day in and day out, and I respected how the author brought that struggle to light in this book.  I also found myself getting really angry at certain characters and situations during the book, so I knew that’s when the storyline really got me.  It was a cute and easy read but kept me interested, entertained and engaged and I would definitely recommend giving it a read!  

Then She Was Gone

By Lisa Jewell. Synopsis from Amazon:

Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her.

And then she was gone.

Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a café, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

In the epilogue of this book, the author wrote “I read it through and thought, hmm this is either brilliantly bizarre, or just bizarre.” Well Lisa: I’m going to have to go with just "bizarre" for my opinion.  I’m torn on this book.  I actually really really liked the first third of the book.  The story picks up years after Ellie’s disappearance and follows her mom Laurel beginning a new life, relationship, and learning how to live like a normal person again and it was refreshing and heartwarming to read.  I enjoyed the mystery that was still surrounding Ellie’s disappearance as it still gave a good mystery to the book…but then things just started to get…weird.   The more twists and facts that were discovered just made me want to be able to finish the book sooner rather than later.  I’ve read some twisty narratives before: I’ll admit they are not my favorite but I’ve still been able to enjoy them (aka like in Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn).  This one for some reason just didn’t jive well with me and kind of creeped me out.  It was an interesting story and I did want to find out what happened in the end, but if I had a do over I would have skipped this and picked a happier book instead.

One thing I forgot to mention at the beginning of this post as another reason that I love reading??? The new social aspect I have obtained from it too! I love meeting monthly with my in-person book club.  This past month we went out for sushi locally and then walked across the street to finish the night off with some margaritas.  I drank a PROSECCO RITA (literally a mini bottle of procsecco tipped into a margarita) and it was just as fabulous as it sounds.  Can't wait to meet up with these girls again later this month - I'll be back again to share my thoughts on our next read!

1 comment

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