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What I Read Lately

The last few months have absolutely flown by for me. Truly, it’s hard to comprehend that Thanksgiving is next week! Reading has been a bit difficult to fit into my crazy schedule lately, so it’s been a while since I did one of these. But, there are a few gems here so let’s dig in to what I read lately.

Local Woman Missing

Synopsis: Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, vanish just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold. Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

Would I recommend it: I have a history with Mary Kubica books falling flat for me, and this, once again, proved to be true. I had heard SO MUCH buzz about this one, so I figured I’d give it a go. I will say that this definitely did have a big twist, but it felt SO outlandish to me that I was just mad by the end. If you like her books, you’ll likely love this, but I just could not believe the ending.

800 Grapes

Synopsis: Georgia Ford, bride-to-be, hops in her car and drives through the night, from Los Angeles to Sonoma, to her safe haven: her family and their winery. Georgia craves the company of those who know her best, and whom she truly knows. Better yet, it’s the eve of the last harvest—the best time of the growing season, and Georgia knows she’ll find solace—and distraction—in the familiar rituals. But when Georgia arrives home, nothing is at all familiar. Her parents, her brothers, the family business, are all unrecognizable. It seems her fiancé isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets and it’s up to her to reclaim her life, both for herself and her family.

Would I Recommend it: A girlfriend recommended this to me because I work in the wine industry and I am so glad she did! I LOVED this book. It had wine, family drama, a juicy relationship, and page-turning mystery that wasn’t dark or disturbing. If you need a break between thrillers, definitely give this a go. I tore through this one.

The Other Black Girl

Synopsis: Editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust. Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW. It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

Would I recommend it: This was my book club pick and I couldn’t put it down. There were so many twists and turns and characters that it was almost hard to keep straight. I’m glad I had people to discuss it with after the fact because there is so much to unpack. Don’t skimp on the last few pages; they are truly crazy and facilitated some great conversation. I would definitely give this a read, but be prepared to be confused, angry, and confused again.

November 9

Synopsis: Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in Los Angeles together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. They then to agree to meet for just that one day over the next 5 years to see if what they had can withstand the tests of time and space. Amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue the tradition, until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Would I Recommend it: I LOVE Colleen Hoover books and this was no exception. This had elements of One Day and I loved watching the story develop. While the ending was predictable, the twist was definitely not what I expected. If you like her books, add this to your list. It’s not my favorite of hers, but still a good read.

Dare to Lead

Synopsis: Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions have come to expect and love. Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No. Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.” Whether you’ve read Daring Greatly and Rising Strong or you’re new to Brené Brown’s work, this is for anyone who wants to step up and into brave leadership.

Would I Recommend it: While this isn’t my normal cup of tea, I started my new job in October and wanted to read something to help enrich my mind and thought-leadership process as I embark on this next chapter. This was a super insightful book and it took me forever to finish because I kept re-reading and ear-marking pages. I recommend this for any woman in the workplace.

The Most Beautiful Girl In Cuba

Synopsis: A feud rages between newspaper tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. When Grace Harrington lands a job at Hearst’s newspaper in 1896, she’s caught in a cutthroat world where one scoop can make or break your career, but it’s a story emerging from Cuba that changes her life. Unjustly imprisoned in a notorious Havana women’s jail, eighteen-year-old Evangelina Cisneros dreams of a Cuba free from Spanish oppression. When Hearst learns of her plight and splashes her image on the front page of his paper, proclaiming her, “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba,” she becomes a rallying cry for American intervention in the battle for Cuban independence.   With the help of Marina Perez, a courier secretly working for the Cuban revolutionaries in Havana, Grace and Hearst’s staff attempt to free Evangelina. But when Cuban civilians are forced into reconcentration camps and the explosion of the USS Maine propels the United States and Spain toward war, the three women must risk everything in their fight for freedom.

Would I Recommend It: I loved this book so much. I loved her other Cuba book, too, and this one was a bit different than that one but still so good. This one definitely had more history in it [which was super interesting] and the three characters’ stories took a bit to weave together, but one they did, it was incredibly captivating. I definitely recommend this one.

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