My Girlish Whims Book Club #40

Happy December! Before I get full on festive, I need to round up my last set of book reviews (that I'm a bit behind on!) as my next post will be my last full set of reviews before the end of the year and I will round up my favorite books I've read in 2021 (hint: I think one of the books I read in this post will make the list!)

Dress linked here, maternity one piece linked here

I got a good amount of reading done last month when we flew down to Florida for a long weekend on our babymoon! We weren't hanging out at any bars sipping wine late into the evening, that's for sure - lol.  On our first night down there we were in bed by 8PM - it up :) It was a nice and relaxing vacation where we enjoyed lots of time together by the beach and with our nose in our books at times too!

Maternity bikini linked here

It's crazy to me to think that in only two months, we will be legit parents and have TWO babies here!!! I'm mostly excited, but definitely have my fair share of worries as well. I try not to dwell on them too much though, and reading is a good distraction ;) 

Maxi dress linked here

Here are the books I've finished since my last set of reviews!

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Rock Paper Scissor

 By Alice Feeney. Synopsis from Amazon:
Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts--paper, cotton, pottery, tin--and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.
 This was a fun read for me. I read it really quickly and like the set-up and pace of the book - the story alternated being told between present tense and past tense from letters written from Adam's wife which worked really well with the story.  This book came off a bit more mystery/spooky than true thriller for me but I still really liked it.  I'm enjoying stories where there is a twist/part of the story that the reader easily gets led astray by and I for sure did not guess the twist in this book (it reminds me a bit of the twist from 56 Days which I read earlier this year - not the twist itself but type of twist/how it was revealed to us.) I didn't find any of the characters extremely likable (I think my favorite character was Bob the dog, lol) but for once that didn't really impact my reading experience, if anything it might have added to the book.  All of the characters are unhappy in their marriage for one reason or another and you learn through hints in the story that no one is really blameless....but to what extent and what secrets are they each hiding? I would reccomend picking this one up - it's the perfect book to cozy up with while the weather turns colder to get immersed in!

By Liane Moriarty. Synopsis from Amazon: 
The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.
I have mixed feelings on this book. I will say this: Liane Moriarty knows how to cultivate and write a good, thought out story.  While I was reading the book I thought the storyline was slow and drawn out - especially in the beginning.  There was so much detail about the Delaney's prior tennis career and business and being unhappy in retirement that it wasn't sparking a ton of interest for me.  Then Savannah the stranger shows up out of no where, they figure out she is an actual stranger and no one they know, and then let her live in their house anyway?? It just felt weird to me.  The book picked up in the last 1/4th for me which made it worth reading - but FYI at over 450 pages long it's a lot of book to get through before I really started appreciating it. I did really enjoy how things got wrapped up though - I liked the character growth in all of the Delaney children and really felt akin to them all by the end. There were so many little details planted throughout the novel that came to fruition at the ending that just gave me a lot of smirks and smiles as I finished. Even the title - Apples Never Fall - was a very fitting innuendo/symbolism for a potential outcome of the mystery. Neither of these two last novels by Moriarty have been my favorites but I still appreciate her work as a writer and as an avid reader, I still am glad I read this one as well.  If you are looking for something a bit more gripping to keep you entertained I would pass this by, but if you read a lot and can appreciate a good story and have read and enjoyed Moriarty in the past I would still give this one a read.

The Dinner List

By Rebecca Serle. Synopsis from Amazon:

"We’ve been waiting for an hour." That’s what Audrey says. She states it with a little bit of an edge, her words just bordering on cursive. That’s the thing I think first. Not: Audrey Hepburn is at my birthday dinner, but Audrey Hepburn is annoyed.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as One Day, and the life-changing romance of Me Before You.

When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together.

This book has been on my TBR list for awhile and I finally snagged it when it was on sale on Amazon for the digital version.  Besides the basic premise of the book being set around a dinner party of the five people, living or dead, Sabrina would want to have dinner with, I didn't know going into the book what the story was really about and I was pleasantly surprised by the love story and cast of characters.  I enjoyed following Sabrina and Tobias's love story and all the highs and lows that came with it. There's was NOT a picture perfect romance and I think some of their struggles and frustrations around careers, worth, and cohabitating woes are real and valid issues that couples face.  I liked the structure of the book - always having the present tense of the dinner party to keep things moving and flashing back into the past to tell the meat of the story.  We know that the dinner party can only last until midnight though and so the time to tell the story and the time for Sabrina to set things right with her loved ones is finite. This one definitely was a bit of a heart wrencher for me at the end - I can't normally cry from just reading a book but if I was watching this as a movie I totally would have had tears streaming, sigh.  Despite that, I still enjoyed the book and thought it was a good length and story and would recommend picking it up!


By Colleen Hoover. Synopsis from Amazon:

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

I got excited for this book from the Amazon reviews when looking for a "spooky" read for our October book club meeting. Colleen Hoover hasn't had many hits for me besides Verity but she's a very well known author and this book promised paranormal activity and some romance so I figured - sex and ghosts, why not give it a try?!? Hah! I put off writing this review for awhile because I'm still mixed on my feelings for the book - I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. There wasn't that much actual romance/steam to the book actually and the paranormal activity wasn't overly creepy. Eventually the messed up storyline takes over and a weird freaky love triangle emerges and dominates the story. I was very interested to keep reading to figure out how it would end and enjoyed some of the twists along the way but did find the main character a bit of a d*ck based on his actions which made it hard to love the story. For a $3 digital read on Amazon, it wasn't a bad story, just not topping any charts for me.

I've got one "holiday" themed book planned to read next but I know i've got time before Christmas to fit at least one other festive book in.  If you have any good reccs for any holiday reads I should add in, drop them in the comments before for me. Let the 25 days of Christmas countdown begin now!

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