What I Read Lately

Good morning! I’m back with another what I read lately and this round-up is a good one, so let’s just dive in.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Summary: Finlay Donovan is NOT killing it. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors. When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer, and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet. Soon, Finlay discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation and enlists the help of her nanny to execute the perfect crime, because she HAS to.

Would I Recommend It: Oh man, I devoured this. I think I read it in 2 days! The twists and turns were so good without being too complex or too basic. This really reminded me of the show Dead to Me. If you liked that, you’ll love this! I don’t want to say too much in an effort to not give anything away, but this was a fabulous read. Would make a great beach read!

The Wives

Summary: Thursday would share her husband, Seth, with his other two wives, Monday and Tuesday–two women she’s never met and knows nothing about. No questions asked, no hurt feelings. And for a while, the arrangement works…until Thursday finds a scrap of paper with a name–Monday’s real name–and an address. Now Thursday can’t stop herself. She wants to know more about this woman: who she is, what she’s like…what Seth sees in her that Thursday doesn’t have. She orchestrates a fraudulent friendship with Tuesday to get to the truth, what she really signed up for when she agreed to this marriage. But the more she learns about this other wife–and his mysterious first wife, Tuesday–the more she sees that Seth is not the man she thought he was. As more disturbing details come to light, it becomes clear that there’s a reason why he didn’t want the women to meet after all.

Would I Recommend It: This was WILD. Just when you think you know, you definitely don’t. I had read Marrow by Tarryn Fisher, and while this one was no where near as dark as that one, the underlying grit and crazy circumstances were still there. This is another one that the less you know, the better. Go into this one with an open mind. It has a similar vibe/twist to The Silent Patient, so if you liked that, give this a go.

Convenience Store Woman

Summary: Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction–many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual–and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action. Wille Keiko find her happy ending? Or was it there all along?

Would I Recommend It: I actually really, really loved this book. This was my Book Club pick for the month and I know some of the girls were maddened by it, but I found myself cheering Keiko on. It was a bit reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, [I loved that one too], in the sense that the character struggles with personal relationships and you get to see how that unfolds. This is a quick, quirky read that opened my eyes to how Japanese culture can shape the decisions young adults make about the trajectory of their lives.

All Adults Here

Summary: When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days, decades years earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is intentionally pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s 13-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most. This is a story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

Would I Recommend It: I’ve been trying to pepper in lighter, more fun reads in between all my psychological thrillers, and this was a super sweet yet raw and real look into the family dynamic after the patriarch is gone. I loved reading about the relationship between the siblings, their individual relationships with their mothers, and how they all approach parenting as a result of both. This was well written and easy to get through, albeit a bit long for what it was.

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