My Girlish Whims Book Club #43

Time for another book review round up!

I had a woman on instagram ask me recently how I have time to read lately with two infants, as she felt like she was always cleaning and doing laundry.  I snagged a pic of two of my recent reads here with my laundry waiting-to-be-folded (albeit in jest) to show that I too have laundry and cleaning I have to tend to, lol!! Gone are my days of lounging around and reading to relax for extended periods of time, that's for sure. I read in short spurts here and there - I still read when I eat, I read while I pump before bed, and I read when I get nap trapped by a little one now and again too :) 

I'm a big supporter of showing anyone can fit reading in if they would like to - you don't need hours of free time to devote to it.  A few minutes here and there of reading can be such an enjoyable and quick escape! It definitely takes me longer to get through books these days (my last 4 book reviews can be found here) but the company I have while reading them sure is a lot cuter!!

 Here's what I've been reading lately and my thoughts on each!

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The Paris Apartment

By Lucy Foley. Synopsis from Amazon:

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone's a neighbor. Everyone's a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

I was sooo excited for this newest release from Lucy Foley. Overall I thought it was only OK and unfortunately I didn’t love it as much as I’ve loved her other books. The main character Jess just wasn’t doing much for me - I feel like the author tried to set us up to like her and feel bad for her from her rough foster home childhood and pervy boss past she was running from, but I still didn’t find her entirely likable and overall a bit vanilla of a main character. My favorite character was Ben who was either supposedly dead or missing for most of the novel and you only got bits of his story through flashback chapters. All of the weird love triangles in the book got to be a bit weird and excessive to me as well. I did enjoy following Ben’s investigation piece he was working on and seeing that mystery come to fruition, however the twist in the story (which I did not guess) felt like it was more of a twist for the sake of having one to fit this type of novel verse anything new and novel (hah, play on words intentional there). The past two novels from this author had very eerie and descriptive settings which I think she was trying to continue in this book, but the old building in France, no matter how much history she tried to give it, still just felt like an apartment complex and not another part of the story. I’m still a huge Lucy Foley fan but am hoping to be wowed just a little more with whatever she writes next!

By Tory Henwood Hoen. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Can you curate your soulmate? Thirty-five-year-old Ursula Byrne, VP of Strategic Audacity at a branding agency in Manhattan, is successful, witty, whip-smart, and single. She’s tried all the dating apps, and let’s just say: she’s underwhelmed by her options. You’d think that by now someone would have come up with something more bespoke; a way for users to be more tailored about who and what they want in a life partner––how hard could that be?
Enter The Arc: a highly secretive, super-sophisticated matchmaking service that uses a complex series of emotional, psychological and physiological assessments to architect partnerships that will go the distance. The price tag is high, the promise ambitious––a level of lifelong compatibility that would otherwise be unattainable. In other words, The Arc will find your ideal mate.

Ursula is paired with forty-two-year-old lawyer Rafael Banks. From moment one, this feels like the electric, lasting love they’ve each been seeking their whole adult lives. But as their relationship unfolds in unanticipated ways, the two begin to realize that true love is never a sure thing. And the arc of a relationship is never predictable...even when it's fully optimized.
This was a meh book for me.  I considered not finishing it actually at one point in the middle when it was really getting drawn out, but I can't actually remember the last book I didn't finish reading so I powered through and got it done.  Surprisingly I really liked the ending and how things got wrapped up, but there was a LOT to get through to get to that point! The general concept of the book was interesting - a kind of "higher powered" match making service but with a ridiculous price tag attached to it. Ursula was both cute with her rambunctious and spunky personality but also annoying to me...I alternating enjoying her and getting a little tired of some of the overly feminist themes from her and overall in the book (an elite club named "the stake" as a play on when women were burned as witches on the stake? Seemed a bit much to me) SLIGHT SPOILER: as is always my complaint with romance themes - the reason for her and Rafael's break up just seemed so dumb to me and a forced way to make conflict and drama in the book.  Overall the book was a lot longer than I was expecting or felt like the story needed to be and I was happy to be done and moved on!

The Club

By Ellery Lloyd. Synopsis from Amazon:

Everyone's Dying to Join . . .

The Home Group is a glamorous collection of celebrity members' clubs dotted across the globe, where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media.

The most spectacular of all is Island Home—a closely-guarded, ultraluxurious resort, just off the English coast—and its three-day launch party is easily the most coveted A-list invite of the decade.

But behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point: the ambitious and expensive project has pushed the Home Group's CEO and his long-suffering team to their absolute limits. All of them have something to hide—and that's before the beautiful people with their own ugly secrets even set foot on the island.

As tempers fray and behavior worsens, as things get more sinister by the hour and the body count piles up, some of Island Home’s members will begin to wish they’d never made the guest list.

Because at this club, if your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out.

I ended up really enjoying this book, but it took until at least halfway through the book for me to really start to like it! The first half of the book just seemed pretty slow to me: it did a lot of set up and background for events that would happen later on in the story, and unfortunately it really didn't hook me in all that much.  I am glad I stuck it out though because seeing the culmination of everything was enjoyable and I enjoyed the drama at the end and watching everything play out.  It was kind of hard for me to keep some of the different celebrities and staff straight, there was a decent amount of characters in the book and  it took awhile for me to catch on to who was who for sure.  Overall if you can make it through the first half I enjoyed watching the murders and mystery play out with the swanky island home and celebrity clientele background - there were a few twists I didn't see coming and although the book was a bit dark overall and focused on revenge and black mail I was intrigued by it and enjoyed it!

Death on the Nile

By Agatha Christie. Synopsis from Amazon:

The tranquility of a luxury cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life.

Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: “I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.” Yet under the searing heat of the Egyptian sun, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

A sweeping mystery of love, jealousy, and betrayal, Death on the Nile is one of Christie’s most legendary and timeless works.

I got this classic from Agatha Christie as an add on from Book of the Month club. I am guessing they brought it out again since it was recently remade into another movie version released in March. Christie novels will always provide a large cast of characters (and I confess, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who this time around. I also was reading this one shortly after giving birth to twins though, so my brain was not the sharpest I will admit, lol) and a good mystery. I definitely enjoyed the mystery, and who would I be if I attempted to critic the great Agatha Christie ;) so I will just say this: as always I recommend reading the book before watching the movie - if for no other reason than it’s fun pointing out the differences between the two after the fact! There were a good amount of differences between the latest movie remake - nothing plot changing but still I enjoyed picking them out. I didn’t guess “who dun it” from the very start but this was definitely one that I caught onto during Hercule Poirot’s investigation and had it figured out (generally at least, not with all the specific details!) before his great reveal at the end. That helped my sleep deprived new mom brain feel a little better about myself, lol and it was a fun read overall!

 Next week we leave on our first beach trip of the season down to Chincoteague, VA which will also be our first overnight trip with the boys.  Beach trips used to mean packing lots of books to read on the beach, this year there will be lots of bottles and baby gear packed instead, lol! Hopefully I will get a few pages read while we are away - I'll share more about our first trip in my next round up! 

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