This was a pretty good month of reading. I liked most of the books I read, but I'm not too picky with books (I made a vow to myself to be a bit pickier with books this year!) I would recommend everything except The French Girl - it's not good, just don't. My goal this year is to read 24 books, but I'm on track to read well over that. Yay! Don't forget, you can always follow me on Goodreads to get real time updates on what I'm reading.
My Oxford Year (Light Read) 4.5/5
Technically, I read this over Christmas break in 2018, but it was too good not to talk about. American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day. When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret. Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for. This book gave me serious Me Before You vibes, but I thought it described the love in a much more beautiful, realistic way. I would recommend this book to everyone as it is a fast read!
One Day in December (Light Read) 4/5
I also read this over Christmas break. It's not too heavy on the Holidays theme, but I would wait to read it next Christmas if you can! I love how cozy it made me feel while reading it at home next to the fire. Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic... and then her bus drives away. Certain they're fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn't find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they "reunite" at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It's Jack, the man from the bus. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. The ending is pretty predictable, but it is a very real story about love, friendship, and everything in between.
The Dinner List (Light Read) 4/5
First book of 2019! After hearing rave reviews from Ashley's IG, I had to check this book out. At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together. This book is a short, easy, heart-breaking read. I really enjoyed it, but didn't *love* it (mostly because it was so damn sad). It has a major twist about halfway through that will keep you hooked.
Matchmaking for Beginners (Light Read) 4.5/5
This book will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I cried a few times while reading it, but not because it was sad and mostly because I related so strongly to the emotions of the characters. Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would. When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps. And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.
The Last Mrs. Parrish (Thriller) 5/5
LOVE. LOVE. LOVE THIS BOOK. So much so that I made LV listen to it. Typically, I don't love audiobooks as much as I like hardback, but this book was superb! Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale. Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. There are twists and turns at every chapter and you'll be hooked!
And Then There Were None (Thriller) 5/5
Apparently everyone read this in high school besides me! LV gave it to me for Christmas and as a HUGE Agatha Christie fan I was stoked. The ending is insane. INSANE. I tried to figure it out but couldn't. If you love thrillers then you'll love this book! First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
The Anonymous Girl (Thriller) 3.5/5
This book was pretty good but I've heard mixed reviews. There's no likable character which is always hard when reading thrillers because you have no one to "cheer" for. I listened to this one on audiobook and thought the readers were really great. It's written by the same authors as The Wife Between Us, so if you liked that book then you'll definitely like this! When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
The French Girl (Thriller) 2/5
No. Just no. Granted, I did listen to this on audiobook and I really disliked the reader so that could've contributed to my disdain for this book. Honestly though, if I read a hardback copy of the book then I probably wouldn't have finished. Don't waste your time on this one - you can definitely find better. They were six university students from Oxford--friends and sometimes more than friends--spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway--until they met Severine, the girl next door. For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group's loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can't forgive, and there are some people you can't forget, like Severine, who was never seen again. Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine's body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she's worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.