What I Read Lately

Hi guys. I know the world feels super heavy right now, but sometimes when I’m feeling super overwhelmed and lost, diving into a book helps. I have been flying through books lately so I’m really excited to share the next lot with you. Without further adieu, let’s dive in.

What Happens in Paradise

Synopsis: A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too. Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life—and death—of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

Would I Recommend It: I finished the first book so fast that I quickly wanted to dive into the sequels before I forgot what had happened. This was the most gripping of the three books and I love how the story advanced. This series shaped up to be a fun change from what I normally read and I was able to get through these books super quickly, which I always appreciate.

Troubles in Paradise

Synopsis: After uprooting her life in the States, Irene Steele has just settled in at the villa on St. John where her husband Russ had been living a double life. But a visit from the FBI shakes her foundations, and Irene once again learns just how little she knew about the man she loved.  With help from their friends, Irene and her sons set up their lives while evidence mounts that the helicopter crash that killed Russ may not have been an accident. Meanwhile, the island watches this drama unfold—including the driver of a Jeep with tinted windows who seems to be shadowing the Steele family. As a storm gathers strength in the Atlantic, surprises are in store for the Steeles: help from a mysterious source, and a new beginning in the paradise that has become their home. At last all will be revealed about the secrets and lies that brought Irene and her sons to St. John—and the truth that transformed them all.

Would I Recommend It: I finished this series in under a week. These are super easy, fun, and quick reads. The story overall was interesting, yet still predictable, and enjoyable. I thought this book did a good job of tying everything up in a bow. If you’re looking for a few books to throw in your beach bag, give this series a whirl.

The Last Time I Lied

Synopsis: Two Truths and a Lie. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and Emma played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out into the darkness. The last she—or anyone—saw of the teenagers was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. Fifteen years later, Emma is a rising star in the New York art scene, turning her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches over ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to come back to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Despite her guilt and anxiety—or maybe because of them—Emma agrees to revisit her past. Nightingale looks the same as it did all those years ago, haunted by a midnight-dark lake and familiar faces. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, although the security camera pointed at her door is a disturbing new addition. As cryptic clues about the camp’s origins begin to surface, Emma attempts to find out what really happened to her friends. But her closure could come at a deadly price.

Would I Recommend It: Wow this was a wild ride. I thought I had figured it out halfway and, boy, was I wrong. The ending was super twisty and satisfying, but I do think that it dragged on a bit. It probably could’ve been 50 pages shorter to keep a better pace. That said, it definitely was a good thriller.

White Ivy

Synopsis: Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates. Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate. Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Would I Recommend It: This was not what I expected at all. I felt it was a bit long for what it was worth, but the two big twists were certainly shocking. Like TLTIL above, the end was worth it but it took forever to get there. This is one read that I truly did not see the ending coming at all. The last 100 pages were super suspenseful, but it drug on a bit before that. I’d recommend it for the did-not-see-that-coming ending, but there are others I’d recommend before it.

In Five Years

Synopsis: Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers. She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content. But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

Would I Recommend It: You could not have clawed this book out of my hands with the jaws of life. I read it in one sitting! It had elements of Something Borrowed, The Midnight Library, and Firefly Lane, all of which are absolute favorites of mine. It’s a best friend story, a love story, and a daughter story. It is so well done and so endearing. I laughed, cried, and ached when it was over. I absolutely fell in love with this and, honestly, every character was likeable in some way. It is a great palette cleanser in between thrillers, or as a stand alone to enjoy. Add this to your list immediately.

Summer of ’69

Synopsis: Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. And thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, while each of them hides a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

Would I Recommend It: This was fun! It was about 75 pages too long in my opinion, but I loved each sibling’s story, as well as the relationship between the mom, her mother, and her husband. I liked the Paradise series better, but this is still an engaging [albeit lofty] read. Especially if you like that moment in history, give this one as a go, as she did a good job of weaving historical events into each storyline.

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