Jumpin’ into June reads today! Let’s do this…
Hairpin Bridge by Taylor Adams is an absolutely bananapants suspense novel, but I’ll say this… it kept me tearing through the pages! Lena’s estranged twin, Cambry, committed suicide off a deserted bridge in Montana during a road trip – but Lena isn’t buying that neat explanation. She travels to Montana to liaise with the officer who was first on the scene, but all is not what is seems and this quickly evolves into a non-stop-cliffhanger-WTF?!-novel where we just don’t know who to trust or what’s going to happen next. Did it strain plausibility? Yep. Was I reading well into the night past my bedtime? Also yep. Whew!
The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter is another “I want the family dynamics I can’t have, so I’m going to insert myself into the family no matter what” novels, featuring a glamorous family and the family photographer that endears herself to them… and then moves further and further into the picture, making the reader more and more uncomfortable as the inevitable “this can’t end well” creeps ever closer. Solid suspense in the moment, but kinda forgettable after time passes…
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave got a lot of pre-press buzz and Reese love, and is a great summer suspense novel, especially for readers who don’t typically delve into mystery/suspense. Hannah’s husband Owen has disappeared, leaving only a cursory note for Hannah to protect her stepdaughter, Bailey. Hannah and Bailey form an uneasy partnership to try and find the truth behind Owen’s disappearance and what they mean to each other. This novel perfectly blends a whodunit with family drama, and is a quick, satisfying read. Perfect for summer!
Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan mixes a then-and-now plot between a daydreamy summer in 1979 when Jackie spent a magical summer at her musician uncle’s California coastal estate, observing the band of misfits and free spirits and forming lifelong friendships, with 1999, when Jackie has inherited the state and must put the ghost of that summer to bed – and the secrets that came with it. I loved the setting of The Sandcastle and the late 70s vibe, though I found this read slower than I anticipated – but still satisfying. Lots of solid women’s fiction authors are blurbing this one!
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee was a non-fiction re-read for me, and this food + travel memoir is just as good the second time around. I love this book!
Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie features Skye – an acerbic, relationship-eschewing, pansexual West Philly woman of a certain age – who is shocked when 12-year-old Vicky meets her and announces that she’s the “egg” Skye donated years earlier and completely forgot about. What follows is Skye redefining family, what she wants out of life, mending fences… and developing a crush on Vicky’s guardian Faye. Not what I was expecting, but charming… in a prickly way (just like Skye)!
The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton by Eleanor Ray is a quiet, contemplative novel, which I needed after a few suspense-y novels in a row. Amy Ashton has been living in the same London home for the past decade, slowly hoarding herself out of every available space as she mourns a tragedy from years before… but when two friendly boys (and their father) move in next door, Amy has to face whether it’s time to let the past go and lay some things to rest. This was just a tender, quiet read and was just what I needed.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides is the follow up to his smash debut, The Silent Patient, this time mixing murder on the Cambridge (UK) campus, an enigmatic professor, a secret society of girls, several creepy guys, and a few red herrings swirling around our lead character Mariana – a therapist drawn into the case who can’t let go of trying to solve the mystery of the murder. I loved the Cambridge setting (having spent summers there with my grandparents!), the atmosphere, the red herrings, and the sort of brood-y vibe this novel evokes… if feels shadowy and misty in a way. Slow but steady, the ending of this one surprised me for sure.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is already one of my best books of the year, hands down. Reid is just so compelling and readable and evocative of time and place, and I just LOVE her novels! This one features a quartet of siblings in Malibu, throwing an end-of-summer party… but there is SO much more. We jump back and forth in time to follow the origins of their family, we unpack familial secrets and relationships, we see the dangers of excess, we learn about the zen of surfing, we root for relationships to both end and begin… it all just WORKS. I don’t know how to summarize this one, except to give it ALL the heart eye emojis. I love TJR books!
Thanks for Waiting by Doree Shafrir is the memoir of Doree, one half of one of my favorite podcasts, Forever35. In her memoir, Doree talks about how she didn’t hit the ‘milestones’ seemingly always laid out for women in terms of marriage, career and motherhood, instead dating, changing jobs, getting married and battling infertility at ages deemed ‘late’ by our society. Doree is forthright, funny, and honest about how it feels to be ‘out of synch’, but knowing things work out when they’re supposed to. So fun to hear Doree’s voice in my mind as I read this one!