Welcome Back!

Hi, friends! Thanks for joining me back on my blog journey! I haven’t posted since Spring, but I am hoping to get back in the swing of things with a new decade!

I read (at least) 17 books this year!

At least since college, this is the most books I have willingly read in one year in as long as I can remember. I LOVE reading & always have, but I wax and wain between other hobbies and interests.

This year, a few friends & I started a book club, so I have that group to thank for 6 of these books. If you aren’t in a book club & want to start reading more, I highly recommend it! Our group is always accepting members. It gives us all a chance to catch up once a month & eat delicious foods & drink copious amounts of wine, too, so that helps if you aren’t much of a reader!

I thought I would rank my top books & leave the rest up for discussion, if anyone is interested in knowing about any of the books’ specifics that are not aforementioned. PLEASE let me know in the comments if you have any must reads- I am always on the hunt for the perfect psychological thriller or romance!

Here are my top 5 favorite books this year, in no particular order! I will post each books synopsis, GoodReads rating, and then my notes; please let me know if you have questions.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood 4.1/5 Stars

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer. 

I was absolutely blown away by how much I enjoyed this book & the interesting relationship between Wavy & Kellen. Often, the details made me cringe , but the story was unlike any I’ve read before & I stayed up an entire night finishing this book. It is a quick, simple read, but the relationship was different from so many typical “love stories” & I was able to easily envision the characters & scenery of novel, which is VERY important for me when reading.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – 4.5/5 Stars

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

I know you’ve heard of this book! It has nearly 5 stars all over the internet and it’s on every book list from 2019, but I had to add it anyways. With crime, love, & mystery, this book has it all & it is perfectly packaged in the most imagery I’ve ever read. The characters are simple, but well thought out & you’ll be able to place yourself right into the landscape of this story. Please read!

Cemetery Girl by David Bell – 3.3/5 Stars

Four years after Tom and Abby’s 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

This book was a totally random find for me. I bought it on a Barnes and Noble clearance table and it’s many years old, but it had me hooked immediately! Super spooky vibes & I loved how well the author dug into such a controversial topic. I can totally imagine this as a “real life” news story & know I would have been super invested in it. As soon as I finished this read, I was googling other titles by David Bell. I enjoyed his writing style & appreciated that focused on the actual events and plots, rather than the characters’ emotions of said events.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – 3.8/5 Stars

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

This book had me ALL KINDS of confused. If you read this, pay super close attention to all of the details, because you will need them later on in the book. I LOVED the point of views of the story and the insane amount of details the authors included. I was left with a few questions regarding the brother/sister relationship, but all of the major ones were answered. You are in for a big surprise with this one & twists you won’t see coming.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – 4.3/5 Stars

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Eleanor is such an unpredictable character and her banter with her mother had me uncomfortable squirming in my seat. While this story is not outrageous or full of twists & surprises, this is a funny, quirky book that I won’t soon forget. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the murder-mysteries I typically find myself reading, but again, the reviews are so great I couldn’t resist!

Those are my top 5 books from 2019, y’all! Here are the rest of my reads. Some I preferred way more than others and a few were pretty forgettable beach reads, but such is life.

Cheers to a New Year and many more wonderful books! I have linked all of the books mentioned for paperback & Kindle/Audible!