What I Read Lately

Hello! Welcome to the first post of the year, and the first WIRL in a hot minute [you can read the last installment here]! I read 28 books in 2023 [down from 41 in 2022!], but I am off to a great start this year and wanted to share what I’ve gotten my hands recently.

The Neighbor Favor

Synopsis: Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming a children’s books editor, but she’s been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over email turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else —until he ghosts her without a word. Months later, Lily is still crushed, but she’s determined to get a hold of her life, starting with finding a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, who she feels drawn to for reasons she can’t explain. But little does she know, Nick is an author—her fantasy author. Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet girl from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over email months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but.

Would I Recommend It: This was a very cute, very easy read. It’s both charming and predictable, but you definitely will fall in love with Lily and Nick’s story. While this wasn’t anything earth shattering, if you’re looking for a nice lil’ romcom, add this to your list.

Vanishing Girls

Synopsis: When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing. Mute and unresponsive, it’s clear this mysterious girl has been damaged beyond repair. All Josie can get from her is the name of a third girl and a flash of a neon tongue piercing that matches Isabelle’s. The race is on to find Isabelle alive, and Josie fears there may be other girls in terrible danger. When the trail leads her to a cold case labelled a hoax by authorities, Josie begins to wonder is there anyone left she can trust? Someone in this close-knit town is committing unspeakable crimes. Can Josie catch the killer before another victim loses their life?

Would I Recommend It: I actually had never heard of this author before but this book fell into my lap so I decided to give it a go. I really liked Josie’s character and this was a suspenseful read. It kind of reminded me of All Good People Here but it still kept me intrigued. I would definitely read more books in the Josie Quinn series.

The Only One Left

Synopsis: Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume 17 year old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred. It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer—I want to tell you everything. As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there’s more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor’s departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth—and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.

Would I Recommend This: I DEVOURED this. I think I read it in two sittings, and it is not a short book. This is truly one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages, if not ever. There were continuous twists and turns, my jaw dropped more than once, and the ending is absolutely bonkers and I never saw it coming. I cannot say enough good things about this one. Thriller lovers, add it to your list ASAP.

Things We Leave Unfinished

Synopsis: 28 year old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit. Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century―the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another. But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book―it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes―even if it means destroying Noah’s career.

Would I Recommend It: This was another one I absolutely could not put down, and this was another long one. This book was so interesting and so special in the way Georgia and Scarlett’s stories were told in tandem. Scarlett’s portion read like The Nightingale and Georgia’s portion read like Book Lovers, both books I ADORE [fun fact: The Nightingale is still my favorite book of all time]. It was masterfully woven and I truly could not wait to find out how it’d end. The last 50 pages absolutely rocked my world and I would’ve never seen the ending coming [despite reading a book recently that had similar undertones despite wildly different plots, which I won’t give away because #spoilers], but the twist was absolutely wild. I loved, loved, loved this. I will definitely have to try other books by this author.

So, that’s the quick roundup of the books I’ve read over the last 2 months. Let me know if you have any recs for me based on what I’ve reviewed!

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