Good morning folks, and welcome to another book review! I thought this would be the perfect time for a book review, since most of us have some extra free time on our hands right now. If you need an escape from reality for a little bit, all you need to do is pick up a book. 🙂 By the way, our book club is currently reading “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephani Wrobel… if you’re interested in my review, you can tune in next Saturday on Facebook Live!
Now let’s get into the books I’ve read recently.
1. Verity, by Colleen Hoover
This book might be the wildest, most fantastic book I’ve ever read. It was our Book Club’s first book back in January, and I think most everyone agreed that it was amazing. It will definitely make you forget reality for a little bit, as it sucks you into the story right away. 🙂 If you buy ONE book from this list, buy this one! Here’s the premise: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to write the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through Verity’s notes and outlines in order to finish the series, and discovers an unfinished autobiography that Verity never intended for anyone to read. The autobiography is downright disturbing, to put it nicely, and if you are feeling very anxious right now then you might not want to read this book (as it could help stir up anxiety in some). Overall, though, this book had me guessing until the very end and was so good I couldn’t put it down. There are a lot of differing opinions on the ending, and I’d love to know yours once you’ve finished!
2. Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell has quickly become one of my favorite authors and for good reason – her writing is addictive and appeals to a wide variety of readers; it is not too light, not too dark, but just right. “Then She Was Gone” revolves around Laurel Mack, whose life fell apart after her daughter Ellie Mack went missing when she was 15 years old. Laurel never gave up hope on finding her daughter, even though it destroyed her marriage and relationships with her other two children. Ten years after her daughter’s disappearance, she goes into a bakery after getting her hair cut, and meets a man named Floyd. He compliments her hair and offers her a bite of his carrot cake. Soon Laurel and Floyd are falling in love and their relationship is moving at a fast pace. However, when she meets Floyd’s youngest daughter, she is shocked to see that she bears a strong resemblance to her missing daughter, Ellie. I won’t give any more of the plot away, but I will say that this book turned out to be quite a stunner – I literally could not put this book down (I think I read it all in one sitting). I’ve read a lot of psychological thrillers, and this one really caught me off guard and kept me guessing. If you haven’t already, you HAVE to get your hands on a copy of this one!
3. Follow Me, by Kathleen Barber
I was really interested to read this one because it’s a thriller about an Instagram influencer. I was really curious about how the author would portray a career in social media, and if it would be close to my own experience. In that regard, the book was pretty disappointing. I think the author could have done a lot more research on what it’s really like to be an influencer, because she got a lot of details horribly wrong. However, I was willing to put that aside to enjoy the novel on purely an entertainment basis. Audrey Miller, the protagonist of the novel, has a million Instagram followers, a new job at the Smithsonian and a creepy new basement apartment in Washington, D.C. And there’s something else she has: a stalker, who is able to track her every movement via her Instagram account. I really did enjoy this novel, it was creepy at all the right moments, and fun and lighthearted at other times. I’m not the biggest fan of the ending, but I do think it’s a good summer read that’s not too disturbing. And it does make you think twice before uploading your location to Instagram!
4. The Sun Down Motel, by Simone St. James
I really, really, really wanted to love this novel by Simone St. James, as I’m a huge fan of her other books! I just found too many things wrong with this novel to give it a five star review. In 1982, Vivian Delaney goes missing after working the night shift at the Sun Down Motel, located in eerie Fell, New York. Fast forward to 2017, when Vivian’s niece, Carly, arrives in Fell seeking answers about her aunt Vivian’s disappearance. Carly finds herself also taking a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel, which she learns is home to more than just living people (YEP, there are ghosts in this novel!) and as she dives deeper into investigating her aunt’s disappearance, Carly realizes her own life might be in danger as well. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good ghost story, but the ghosts in this novel felt a little pointless, and didn’t move the plot along much. The novel also switches back and forth between Vivian and Carly’s point-of-view, which made for a very confusing read (as they both are pretty similar characters). If you’re going to read a book from this author, I would recommend The Haunting of Maddy Clare, instead.
5. Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager
I enjoyed this novel, but like the one above, it wasn’t my favorite. It was entertaining but pretty unbelievable, and lacking any real depth. Jules Larsen takes a new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. The pay to stay at this fancy apartment? $1K a week. It seems too good to be true, although there are a few weird rules: no visitors, no nights away from the apartment, no talking to the wealthy residents, and no social media posts. Desperate for money, Jules agrees. Soon, she begins hearing strange noises and tales of mysterious deaths and hauntings. When another apartment sitter goes missing, Jules digs a little deeper, only to find her friend’s disappearance is one of many that have occurred at the Bartholomew. This book does have a huge twist at the end (I always love a good twist!), but that was really the only thing I enjoyed about this novel.
6. Open Book, by Jessica Simpson
I’m including this one at the end, since I wanted to end on a positive note. Plus, it is a little different than the other books featured here since it’s not a thriller, but rather a memoir by the one and only Jessica Simpson. I have been a huge Jessica Simpson fan for most of my life, having grown up in the 90s and early 2000s. I can remember blasting Jessica’s CD’s in my boom box and humming along while sitting on my Limited Too inflatable chair (probably with butterfly clips in my hair). This memoir is nothing short of miraculous – Jessica talks to you like an old friend, sharing her story of heartbreak, love and triumph. She owns up to her mistakes, dishes the tea on her past relationships (and marriage to Nick Lachey) and gives out some really incredible advice. Whether you are a fan of Jessica Simpson or not, I HIGHLY recommend her memoir! I read the Kindle version, but I heard the audiobook is really great too, since she narrates it.
If you’ve ready any good books lately, I’d LOVE to hear! I am going to order a few more on Amazon today. 🙂