My Girlish Whims Book Club #45

We are in the dog days of summer over here - not that I would really know because most days are pretty much the same cycle of feeding, changing, and playing with babies on a three hour cycle, hah.  Occasionally we get to do the cycle in other places: I took the boys to Sea Isle City in New Jersey in June for a few days to enjoy some time with my mom at the beach and camp out in my parent's RV! 

It was a bit of an adventure taking the boys to the beach: each baby had their own meltdown at different times but somehow I still managed to read my kindle for a few hot minutes while feeding Jack and Tyler napped on me. This is one of the main reasons why I still love reading off of a kindle at times instead of a real book because it is much easier to hold when your hands are full!!!

The best day of the trip was when we went and explored Cape May for the day.  We shopped, ate seafood outside for lunch, and even visited a winery! God bless Nana for giving a helping hand throughout it all, because that kind of day trip is definitely not something I could handle alone with two babies but we had such a fun time exploring. For night time sleep we set their travel cribs up in the main living area of the RV, put their sound machine on, and drew down the blackout curtains the RV already had installed and luckily they went to bed pretty easily every night.  After they were settled my mom and I would gather up our wine, books and cross-stitching (my mom's favorite hobby) and hang out in the screened in gazebo at our campsite and read and relax until we were ready for bed when we would sneak back into the RV to go bed without waking any babies up (surprisingly it worked!!!)

I finished up The Perfect Mother while I was on this trip, and here is my review of that and the other three books I read since my last set of reviews!

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The Hotel Nantucket

By Elin Hilderbrand . Synopsis from Amazon:

Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?

Filled with the emotional depth and multiple points of view that characterize Hilderbrand’s novels (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added dash of Roaring Twenties history, The Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this compelling summer drama. 

We all know that I am an Elin Hilderbrand lover, and man oh man did reading this book just make me want to pack my bags and the kids and pickup and move to Nantucket. I finished this one the week it was released and then immediately got sad thinking about how I would have to wait all the way until NEXT summer until I had another new Elin book to read! The best part of Elin's books are the myriad of characters and challenges they face and I loved following along all of the character's stories, even the story of Grace the ghost, hah! I think this book focused a little less on Nantucket overall actually (specifically the outdoors), and a bit more on the Hotel Nantucket itself (hence the name of the book...) and it was heavy on the room design descriptions and cuisine descriptions.  I missed some of the typical Nantucket magic, but definitely was not disappointed in any way - the book just focused more on the inner workings and service end of the hotel than what was going on outside of it's doors.  I definitely noticed Elin making a point to be socially conscience in this book bringing up themes of privilege, female empowerment, consent, and LGBQT themes, almost like she was trying to check off the boxes of including some heavier topics in a light summer read which I'm not sure if I should applaud or if overall they felt a bit out of place. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend any of her novels to pick up for summer for sure!

By Aimee Molloy. Synopsis from Amazon: 

A night out. A few hours of fun.That’s all it was meant to be.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar, they want a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.

This was just a so-so read for me.  It should have been a perfect fit since it's all about a group of new mothers and their experiences and challenges with their newborns which I have just gone through as well, but I actually thought the story was a bit over the top.  It brought up almost every single baby/postpartum issue like it was trying to connect with every single issue a new mom may face to be relatable which in turn I thought made it NOT relatable.  I did enjoy the mystery but found it hard to keep some of the characters and their stories straight since the book flip-flopped between different perspectives a lot.  The book tried to weave in a thriller plot and a scandal that becomes a media sensation with the overarching theme of moms trying to do it all and what it takes to be a "perfect mother" these days and overall just wasn't my favorite thriller OR mom book. 

The Lifestyle

By Taylor Hahn. Synopsis from Amazon:

Georgina Wagman has it all—a great marriage, a great job at a prestigious law firm, and great friends. She’s living the life she always wanted, and everything is perfect. Until, that is, she walks in on her husband Nathan in a compromising position with a junior associate. Georgina has a moment of crisis. But divorce is not a part of the five-year plan, so she comes up with an idea to save her marriage and recapture the spark. She and Nathan are going to become swingers.

Georgina isn’t going to embark on this adventure alone, though. Her friends Felix and Norah and their respective partners decide to tag along for the ride. They’ve got relationship woes of their own that swinging just might fix. Georgina, convinced Felix and Norah belong together, is thrilled. What better place to reignite romance between two people destined to be together than a swingers’ party? Her plan is foolproof, until she runs into a college ex at the first party. When they reconnect, Georgina will find herself torn between her head and her heart, with her very happiness hanging in the balance. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella, The Lifestyle is a playful homage to Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse and an outrageously fun summer read.

I wouldn't just randomly pick up a book about swingers, hah, but I had a bunch of expiring book credits from Book of the Month, so I thought I would give this one a go.  It was cute, kind of a mix of rom com/romance/with a self discovery trope thrown in that I read through very quickly.  I'd classify it more as a unique rom com than romance though: there are a few descriptive scenes in the book that definitely would get more than a PG-13 rating but for being a book about swingers, this book wasn't really all about sex at all, lol. Georgina's best friend Norah was my favorite character in the entire book - every scene with her always had me smiling.  I don't want to give too much away here so I'll say the romance story in this book seemed a bit random and out of place for me and not completely developed so while it was an ok read, it's not one I would have gone out of my way to read I think if I hadn't had a freebie credit for it!

The Christie Affair

By Nina de Gramont. Synopsis from Amazon:

In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha. 

It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated. 

What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.

I just adored this book! At its premise, this is a historical fiction book that gives a potential reason for the time that Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1925. I had no idea this had even happened and since I love Agatha Christie novels, it was a fun treat getting to read a fiction story based around her. Although the book is called “The Christie Affair” - Agatha was NOT the main character in the story but I really enjoyed Nan who was. The story/plot of this book went in a direction I really was not expecting and without giving away any spoilers - it was such a surprise that gave the book so much more depth and intrigue to me. I loved the mystery and all parts of this book and would recommend it for sure!

 Hope you are all enjoying your summertime reading and making the most of the rest of this summer season! I'll be back to recap my next reads soon :)

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