Mindless Summer Reading Vol. 1

I’ve been reading. A lot. I have started to make a dent in the latest in hardback while and diving into the pile of paperbacks that have accumulated bedside as well. I’m a klutz who spills liquids on the plane (this turbulence came out of nowhere!), enjoys reading poolside (drink in hand), both of which have proven hazardous to past Amazon devices, so I’m letting my Kindle Voyage rest for a bit. There will no doubt be another post later this summer, but here’s a brief list of my most recent reads: some great; some, unfortunately, a bit overhyped. Happy reading!

‘The Death of Mrs. Westaway’ by Ruth Ware

Loved her first one, hated the second one, thought the third one was OK. Picking up a copy of ‘The Death of Mrs. Westaway’ was a gamble but when does an airport bookstore ever offer a 30% discount? I ended up really liking it. This slow-burning, very Hitchcockian family mystery with moody setting hooks you with its subtle sense of dread. It had me turning the pages on the entire flight to San Francisco.

Hal, the main character, receives a letter in the mail inviting her to an estate to claim her inheritance. There’s only one problem: the letter wasn’t intended for her. As a Tarot card reader and someone who had learned to cold read people, she ventures out to the British countryside and sets out to pull off the con of her life. She quickly realizes there is something very dark and wrong about the family and inheritance she is trying to claim… Great writing, compelling character development, and a very satisfying ending. 4.5 stars

‘All We Ever Wanted’ by Emily Griffin

I haven’t yet read ‘Something Borrowed’ (or blue), but I consider Emily Griffin to be the reigning queen of chic lit. Her latest, ‘All We Ever Wanted’ sounded like the type of domestic drama in which I indulge once in a while. If you liked William Landay’s ‘Defending Jacob’, Liane Moriarty’s ‘Big Little Lies’ or anything Jodi Picoult, you’ll find the premise of this new release very intriguing. Finished it in two sittings.

The lives of two families clash after a horrible incident. The thought-provoking dialogue in every chapter offer perspectives from each character: Nina, the mother and wife who didn’t come from money but has it all; Tom, a single blue collar dad with a daughter in the middle of an inappropriate photo gone viral; and Lyla, the girl in the picture who remembers nothing. Is Finch, Nina’s son, telling the truth? Or is he as manipulative as his father, doing anything not to jeopardize his acceptance to Princeton? 4.5 stars

‘The Perfect Mother’ by Aimee Molloy

After hearing of Kerry Washington’s involvement in the adaptation of this debut novel, I wasted no time hunting down a copy. The premise sounds great but sadly, this fell way short. The mother in question was missing for 85% of the book. Obviously not a perfect parent. Got it. Really enjoyed the writing but the ending had me shaking my head.

A group of Brooklyn mothers meet for well-deserved drinks one July 4th. Winnie, single mom to six-week-old Midas reluctantly leaves him with a sitter. When the baby goes missing, the women try to piece together the hazy night. Secrets are exposed. Friendship are tested. Some are destroyed. Sadly, it all sounds better on the jacket cover. I say pick up a copy from your local library. If you must. 1 sad star

‘The River at Night’ by Erica Ferencik

Here is your perfect in-flight page turner. Intense and fast paced, the story of four friends reuniting for a camping trip in the middle-of-nowhere-Maine turns into a game of survival after a rafting accident. Not kidding, I devoured it in 4 hours. If you read ‘The Descent’ or remember Meryl Streep in ‘River Wild’, this book is a great combination platter. Sign language included. Check your brain at the gate and enjoy the ride. As much as I hate the phrase ‘unputdownable’ (which is as much as I hate the words ‘foodie’ or ‘guru’), you won’t be able to put ‘The River at Night’ down. 4 stars

‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena

Another perfect beach read to dog-ear. When a babysitter cancels last minute, Anne and Marco leave their sleeping baby and attend a dinner party next door. With a baby monitor piece in hand and taking turns checking on Cora every thirty minutes, what could possibly go wrong? Well, you guessed it. She goes missing! But unlike ‘The Perfect Mother’, this one is full of twists and juicy secrets even if the finale is a bit over the top. It’s far from deep, but makes for ideal summer entertainment. 3.5 stars

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