My Girlish Whims Book Club #23

I've been feeling extremely inspired in my reading lately - I just want to read ALL the books ALL the time! This has always been a fun hobby for me but I've been following more book focused accounts on instagram ("Bookstagram" if you will) recently and it's been fun connecting with other avid readers and following more reading trends.  I feel like I'm so much more well informed now about new releases and inspired to try books I never would have heard of before!

It also helps that my hubby Will has been reading more lately.  I gave him an old beat up copy of The Firm by John Grisham to read recently and he DEVOURED it!  Waking up this weekend instead of getting up and being productive we turned on a light, lit a candle, and both started reading a bunch of chapters in our own respective novels.  My idea honestly of the perfect start to a Saturday! 

The book I've been devouring most recently? Outlander! Holy wow.  My full review is below but let's just say you can expect to be seeing all of the sequels to this book showing up on these posts soon.

Here's the full list of books that I've read since my last round up!

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The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides. Synopsis from Amazon:

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....

I nominated this book to be our book club pick for January because I had seen it topping the most read charts in Amazon all throughout 2019 and I was finally intrigued enough to give it a go.  Initially the story-line didn’t sound that appealing to me: basically it’s about a Doctor trying to get his patient to talk and figure out why she killed her husband? How fast-paced and intriguing could that be since the patient doesn’t even talk???   Luckily, if a book stays at the top of the charts long enough it will intrigue me enough to give it a go and I'm very glad I read this one! While it was still a "thriller" by genre, it didn't feel like it quite from the start due to the nature of the book.  The beginning was somewhat slow, but it did pick up and I really got into how the book read.  I enjoyed the fact that the book read like a detective story a bit: Theo went around interviewing many different character’s in Alicia’s life to try and piece together what type of life she had and what could have happened in the days leading up to the murder.  I also enjoyed how the story line alternated a bit from Theo’s prospective to old diary entries from a journey Alicia kept – it was fun to be able to read her perspective of things in bits and pieces as the story moved along.   This was a thrilling book for sure complete with an ending that I didn’t see coming at ALL. I recommend this one for sure!

Outlander: Book 1

By Diana Gabaldon. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

I am officially hooked on Outlander! I wanted to read this book because I want to watch the TV show, but I'm a firm believer in always reading the literature that films/TV are based off first because it's always better (of course). I didn't realize that this is actually a pretty old series - this first book was published back in 1991! I may be a little late to the game, but now that I'm here there's no stopping me - I absolutely LOVED this book and can't wait to read more! It's a long book for sure, but worth reading.  The characters just make this book amazing and I loved the story: there is drama, romance and history and it all works so well together! Even if you are not huge on historical fiction style novels, I really don't think this one gets too deep into the historical portion - it was never boring.  There was plenty of story and conflict to keep things moving and I can't wait to dive into the next book to be transported back to Scotland in the 1700s and find out what happens next!

  Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances

By John Green, Lauren Myracle, and Maureen Johnson. Synopsis from Amazon:

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train, setting off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

This was our December book club novel and it was a fun read.  Even though Christmas has passed I figured I would share the two seasonal books I read this year so you can add them to your wish list for next year!  I liked the idea of this book because the story is actually written by 3 different authors about 3 mini stories that all get tied in together at the end.  I knew John Green who wrote The Fault in our Stars which is a youth literature book, and this one is as well.  It's been a little while since I've read any youth lit, so that was a little bit of an adjustment for me to get used to for this one, but it was still a cute read.  Each individual love story was sweet to follow along and the characters were fun and quirky.  I was laughing out loud at some of the situations they found themselves in and it was just a fun, heartwarming read perfect for Christmas.  I also enjoyed the Netflix film of this - but beware it was actually WAY different than the book! Not different in a bad way, but it just didn't follow the same story-line which surprised me at first.  I would still recommend the book and the movie to add to your list next year!

Christmas Shopaholic

By Sophie Kinsella. Synopsis from Amazon:

’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.

 I've always been a big Sophie Kinsella fan, basically any book she writes I will read.  I loved the original Shopaholic book and the next few in the series. I am still giving this book a positive review because it was another heartwarming, easy Christmas read...BUT.  As much as I love her, I think it's time for Becky Brandon and the series to be finished.  This book was still funny and enjoyable, but the whole Becky-gets-herself-into-some-marginal-amount-of-trouble-and-has-to-get-herself-out-of-it-way-more-difficultly-than-possible storyline is getting old.  Becky is a grown woman by now and some of the albeit comedic moments in the book just made me want to cringe a bit - I could see the build up to them from a mile away and they just seemed so unlikely a situation for a regular, responsible woman to get herself into.  I guess that's the premise of the series though - Becky and her shopaholic tendencies never have been very responsible to begin with.  I still enjoy the characters in the book: Luke, Becky's Mom and Dad, Suze, Janice, etc. and I liked the overall message of the book: at the end of the day it's none of the minor details that matter during the holiday's - it's only about spending time with loved ones and family.  All in all though, while this was a cute and quick read, Becky's charm and humor are beginning to fade for me and I think this is the last Shopaholic book I will read - better to quit while you are ahead!

My in person book club had great Christmas Book club party in December! I can't remember if we actually talked about Let it Snow very much or not, but regardless we all had a fun time, haha.  We had lots of yummy food, drinks, and even a gingerbread man decorating competition! I'm so happy that my reading hobby could ignite such a fun social experience each month.  Meeting with these ladies brings me such joy and I'm so happy I have a an outlet where I get to geek out and share my love of books and girl time each month with this club!


  1. I share your obsession with Outlander and completely agree that the lit should be read before watched, but wanted to correct you in that Outlander was first published back in 1990 or so. I picked up the paperback in '92 having no idea what gem I'd found. Enjoy it. The series (of books) is awesome. I've only recently started watching the show and have been pleasantly (also bordering on obsession) surprised.

    1. My mistake, i didn't realize it was even older! I just used what I saw on amazon, haha. It's so good!