My Girlish Wims Book Club #38

As of this week it is officially fall, and while the changing of the season has brought on a new swell of seasonal allergies for me (boo) it has also brought some cooler, crisp mornings and cozy days perfect for snuggling up with a good stack of books (yay!)

We were gone most of last week taking one last trip down to Chincoteague to ride out the last few days of summer at the beach and to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday! 

The babies and I were grateful to enjoy a few last sunny days at the beach and it was a relaxing and peaceful trip as always, but I'm happy to be back home doing some nesting, decorating for fall, and getting cozy reading some good books! Here's a round of the last four books I've read since my last set of reviews.

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Behind Her Eyes

By Sarah Pinborough. Synopsis from Amazon:

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong—and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.
I really enjoyed this book!!! This was another book I got sucked into reading because I saw a Netflix preview for the new series they made based on this book that I thought looked good so I wanted to watch.  When I saw it was based on this book I had to double check to make sure I hadn't already purchased it on Amazon and read it already because it definitely sounded like something I would have picked out and read before.  Turns out I missed it originally but I'm glad I picked it up now before watching the show and thought it was a great read.  It was easy to connect with Louise and get sucked into this weird relationship she was having with both her boss and friendship with his wife without his knowledge.  This book kept me guessing about some details and had some twists I did not see coming.  The book delves a bit into some...interesting concepts regarding dreams and sleepwalking that I can't discuss much without spoilers, but suffice it to say even if certain parts of the novel/concept were a bit more "out there" I thought it was tastefully done for the story and would recommend picking this one up! 

Not a Happy Family

 By Shari Lapena. Synopsis from Amazon:
Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there, and Fred and Sheila Merton certainly are rich. But even all their money can't protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered after a fraught Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.
Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of the siblings is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you'd know.
 This was my third book from Shari Lapena and unfortunately my least favorite I've read so far. The bulk of the book centers around the murder of Fred and Sheila Merton and the mystery of who killed them.  The story is told from alternating points of view of all of the suspects: each of their three children, their spouses, a nanny/house cleaner, an estranged aunt, and two friends.  I think my main issue with the book was everyone was a suspect and no one was a real protagonist or very likeable.  The book states it very plainly in the book that Fred especially was not a very likeable character and his wife never stood up to him, so you couldn't even get hung up on their death too much since Fred was such a bad father.  Nonetheless, their kids each had their own faults: Catherine was cold, Dan was agitated, nervous, and had a constant "woe is me attitude," while Jenna seemed young, flighty and irresponsible. They all had secrets to hide and lies that were told during the story making it feasible that any of them could have killed their parents.  I finished the book because I obviously wanted to find out who done it but it was really just a mediocre read for me unfortunately.

By Matt Haig. Synopsis from Amazon: 
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
I saw this book on the Amazon charts for multiple months in a row, and finally bit the bullet and bought it at a local book shop down in Chincoteague to give it a read. I really enjoyed this book! It's a unique concept - getting to try out a multitude of different lives by pulling a book out at a "library" between heaven and hell during a major impasse in your life to see if any of your other potential paths in life would have been more fulfilling/a better life to live. Nora was a down-on-her luck character who was very easy to empathize with and I enjoyed watching her try out different versions of what she thought she "should" have done with her life, and if it lived up to her expectations or not.  Overall this book gave me a huge take away to appreciate what matters most in life, and to never take for granted the impact you can make on someones life.  It was a cute coming of age/It's a Wonderful Life style modern fiction book with a cathartic ending that left me grateful and appreciative for the simple joys of mundane life.

The Last Time I Lied

By Riley Sager. Synopsis from Amazon:

Two Truths and a Lie. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and Emma played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out into the darkness. The last she—or anyone—saw of the teenagers was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips....

Fifteen years later, Emma is a rising star in the New York art scene, turning her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches over ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to come back to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor.

Despite her guilt and anxiety—or maybe because of them—Emma agrees to revisit her past. Nightingale looks the same as it did all those years ago, haunted by a midnight-dark lake and familiar faces. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, although the security camera pointed at her door is a disturbing new addition.

As cryptic clues about the camp's origins begin to surface, Emma attempts to find out what really happened to her friends. But her closure could come at a deadly price.
This book was just ok for me.  I was interested in reading it through to find out what happened, but just wasn't all that enthralled with it.  I know a lot of readers are big fans of Riley Sager, but for some reason the books I've read from her have only been mediocre for me - just may not be my prime genre.  The first half of the book was pretty slow to get through, and part of the biggest secret kept from the reader was why Emma had so much guilt about what happened during her stay at camp as a kid. When we finally found out why she was "guilty" and about "the last time she lied" (per the book title) it was extremely anti-climactic.  I was kept a bit interested by the different conspiracy theories and cast of characters that could have been responsible for the wrong doings in this book, but still felt overall a bit letdown after all the chase and almost 400 pages of the book about the final result.  If you've enjoyed other books by Sager you will probably enjoy this one as well, but I wouldn't go out of your way to pick it up if you haven't tried any of her others before.  

My next in-person book club is meeting in two weeks and I've already read and LOVED the book we are reading for that meet up (Spoiler - it was The Paper Palace which I will review on my next post!) but since then I haven't loved anything I've read.  If you've read anything good recently, drop me a comment to share! I'm thinking it may be finally time for me to pick up the fourth Outlander book...(tried and true - never disappoints, just quite a time commitment!!!).  Happy reading all!


  1. I was in a reading slump recently but have had better luck lately. Here are some of the recent books I enjoyed: We Were Never Here; Never Saw Me Coming; 56 Days; A Slow Burning Fire; The cul-de-sac; Our Woman in Moscow; Bringing Down the Duke.

    Good luck finding your next great read! 🤓

  2. I just finished The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood and I loved it! I got sucked in super fast. Very cutesy and total chick lit but a nice and refreshing break from reading some heavier stuff! I recommend it!