I’ve been trying to prioritize reading more, but summer is hard! That said, I’ve read a handful of books over the last few months that I wanted to cover off on. This was a pretty decent lot, with some better than others. Let’s dive in.
Synposis: 1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at 16 to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she met Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce showed her how much there was to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduced her to photography, a passion that would define the rest of her life. By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him. As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined
Would I Recommend It: Nicholas Sparks is one of the first authors that got me into reading decades ago, and every now and then I like to revisit his books. This one was no different. I laughed, cried, fell in love, was heartbroken, and closed it with a greater sense of appreciation for the human condition. If you like any of his novels, you will like this one.
Synposis: Everyone from Wakarusa, Indiana, remembers the infamous case of January Jacobs, who was discovered in a ditch hours after her family awoke to find her gone. Margot Davies was six at the time, the same age as January—and they were next-door neighbors. In the twenty years since, Margot has grown up, moved away, and become a big-city journalist. But she’s always been haunted by the feeling that it could’ve been her. And the worst part is, January’s killer has never been brought to justice. When Margot returns home to help care for her uncle after he is diagnosed with early-onset dementia, she feels like she’s walked into a time capsule. Wakarusa is exactly how she remembers—genial, stifled, secretive. Then news breaks about five-year-old Natalie Clark from the next town over, who’s gone missing under circumstances eerily similar to January’s. With all the old feelings rushing back, Margot vows to find Natalie and to solve January’s murder once and for all. But the police, Natalie’s family, the townspeople—they all seem to be hiding something. And the deeper Margot digs into Natalie’s disappearance, the more resistance she encounters, and the colder January’s case feels. Could January’s killer still be out there? Is it the same person who took Natalie? And what will it cost to finally discover what truly happened that night twenty years ago?
Would I Recommend It: I devoured this book. While you could tell from the writing at times that it was a debut novel, I really appreciated the twists and turns. Just when you think you had it figured it out, something changed. If you’re a thriller lover, read this.
Synposis: After a wild bet, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwich, and cuddle with a baby goat, Alexis Montgomery has had her world turned upside down. The cause: Daniel Grant, a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger than her and as casual as they come—the complete opposite of sophisticated city-girl Alexis. And yet their chemistry is undeniable. While her ultra-wealthy parents want her to carry on the family legacy of world-renowned surgeons, Alexis doesn’t need glory or fame. She’s fine with being a “mere” ER doctor. And every minute she spends with Daniel and the tight-knit town where he lives, she’s discovering just what’s really important. Yet letting their relationship become anything more than a short-term fling would mean turning her back on her family and giving up the opportunity to help thousands of people. Bringing Daniel into her world is impossible, and yet she can’t just give up the joy she’s found with him either. With so many differences between them, how can Alexis possibly choose between her world and his?
Would I Recommend It: This was my first Abby Jimenez novel and I DEVOURED this! It is reminiscent of Emily Henry or Christina Lauren, so if you like these saccharine, lovebomb-type books, this is for you. The story was adorable and I loved the MCs. I would totally watch this as a movie! I want to read more of her now.
Synopsis: A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself. Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money. With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is. Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses
in all of them?
Would I Recommend It: I enjoyed this while reading it, but the ending left me super confused. The story wasn’t anything new, and while the writing was good, there are better thrillers out there.
Synposis: First, there was THE ARRANGEMENT—a scandalous story about Peter and Ainsley Greenburg’s attempt to fix their marriage, no matter the cost. Then, came THE AMENDMENT—with their darkest secrets revealed, the couple set out in a treacherous attempt to repair what had been broken.
Now, Peter and Ainsley’s marriage will be put to one final test with THE ATONEMENT. Ainsley Greenburg has always been a fixer. But her latest attempt to repair her marriage left it more damaged than ever before. Now, trapped in a vicious game of cat and mouse with the man she thought she knew, Ainsley must do what it takes to put out the fire their arrangement ignited. But it won’t be that simple. As Peter closes in on her, Ainsley finds herself driven down a path of paranoia and fear. Her only hope relies on her ability to trust her instincts, but they’ve let her down before. This time, there’s so much more at stake and the secrets waiting to be revealed will change everything. It’s only a matter of time before someone must atone for their sins.
Would I Recommend It: I grouped these books together because I HIGHLY recommend reading these all in a row. I tore through these and couldn’t wait to get to the end. These were WILD page-turners, and it kept me in suspense the entire time. Without giving too much away, there are defining Gone Girl/YOU vibes, so if you like those, you must read these. This was my favorite thing I’ve read so far this year.
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