What I Read Lately

Good morning and happy Saturday! Reading took a bit of a back burner towards the end of summer as we had travel, plans, and lots of birthdays to celebrate, but I’m back! I have read a slew of great ones ones lately, so let’s get into it.


Synopsis: In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father’s violence to the only place they have left: her mother’s ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan’s grandfather built this majestic house for her grandmother–only to be lynched, days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis, by his all-white police squad. This wasn’t the first time violence altered the course of Joan’s family’s trajectory, and given who lives inside this house now, she knows it won’t be the last. When her aunt opens the door, Joan sees the cousin who once brutally assaulted her. Over the next few years, she is determined not just to survive, but to find something to dream for. Longing to become an artist, she pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women in her life–including old Miss Dawn from down the street, who seems to know something about curses.

Would I Recommend It: This was my book club pick for the month and it was incredible. It had similar tones to Homegoing, Black Cake, and The Secret Women, all of which I loved. I laughed, I winced, I cried, and I loved all these women so much. There was definitely some parts that were hard to read, though. This is an incredibly story of the ties of family and the desire to make more for yourself. I highly recommend this.


Synopsis: Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why — or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch — and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Would I Recommend It: Man, was this FUN! I couldn’t put it down. It definitely reads as YA but it keeps you on your toes. Also, Avery, Jameson, and Grayson WERE Belly, Jeremiah, and Conrad from SITP in my mind! IYKYK. I couldn’t unsee it. But the relationship-building was great and the puzzle was a super exciting one to follow. I would love to have this series be adapted to the big screen!


Synopsis: The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions–including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons. Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, two of the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture–by any means necessary.

Would I Recommend It: I think this one was even more twisty and turny than the first! I definitely need to read The Final Gambit now! I highly recommend these books if you like a good head-scratcher without any brutal/triggering themes.


Synopsis: When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom–covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her–she knows she’ll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it’s not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it’s only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she’s worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future. Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she’s unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris’s secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all. Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

Would I Recommend It: This was OUTSTANDING. I couldn’t put it down. Truly one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year. I did not see the final storyline coming together the way it did. About midway through, a shocking twist is revealed that totally changes the course of the narrative. This was so, so good. If you’re a psychological thriller lover, add this to the top of your list.


Synopsis: When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone. But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life. And then Carol appears–in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how–all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Would I Recommend It: Much like In Five Years, I read this in one sitting. It was incredible. This, too, is now one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. This is a super touching mother-daughter story and it made me want to hug mine immediately [luckily she comes to town this weekend so I get to!]. While the premise is a bit far-fetched, that’s part of the magic. I won’t give anything way, but I ended this book in a puddle of tears with a new/different perspective on life and how we, as women and mothers, are so much more than just one title. Go read this now. I will be thinking about this one for a while.

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