Welcome to this month’s #BookChat! This month I’m switching things up a little bit by coming to you solo to tell you about some of my favorite books from the first half of 2019.
In case you haven’t heard, I read a lot 😉 so I thought it would be fun to look back over the first half of the year to choose my fave books from a number of categories.
Press play to listen!
July #BookChat: Suzi’s Top Books First Half of 2019
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Suspenseful without being frightening, this is a great suspense novel for those with an aversion to lots of graphic violence. The ending SHOCKED me, I closed the book and was shook for a good hour.
“Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist”
If you enjoy this novel I would suggest skipping her second book (A Stranger in the House) and going right to her third novel “An Unwanted Guest” which I think has been my favorite of her novels to date.
Favorite YA Series
The Red Queen Series – Victoria Aveyard
There are also a number of short stories/novellas set in the world of The Red Queen, but I didn’t find those as interesting as the novels themselves so feel free to skip those unless you really want to dive into the Red Queen World.
This is the description of the Red Queen from Amazon which sets up the series pretty well:
“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. There, before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess, and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays the only certainty is betrayal.
This sweeping story of palace intrigue, class hierarchy, and deception will keep readers hurtling along, desperate to find out Mare’s fate. Her honesty and determination, quick wit, and no-holds-barred attitude will surely make readers fall in love with her.”
The novel I mentioned in the podcast that I kept getting confused with The Red Queen was Everless by Sara Holland which is another great series (a duology) if you are interested in this type of novel!
Favorite Biography or Memoir
I don’t think this one needs a whole lot of selling by me as it’s been on all of the best selling lists since it came out last fall. I bought this on audible and it was really enjoyable listening to Michelle tell her own story. I did have to bump it up to 1.25x speed in order to make it flow a bit better as Michelle annunciates everything so well I found it to drag a bit at regular speed.
Learning about her childhood and upbringing was interesting, but finding out more about her relationship with Barak and life in the White House was definitely the highlight for me. It was so interesting to learn all of those behind the scenes things that you don’t really think about or hear about. Super, super fascinating!
Favorite Chick Lit
You guys. I’m obsessed with this book. So much so that I have bought the audible version and have added it to my “audiobooks I listen to, to fall asleep” collection. Which is pretty high praise as I only listen to books I’ve read and adored and can tell you the narrator is wonderful.
“Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game”
There is nothing like a good frenemy story and this is definitely my favorite one. If you read and like this one, I highly recommend The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren which is a similar storyline but is different enough that you don’t feel like you are re-reading the same book.
Favorite book to hit you in the feels
I’m not going to sugar coat it, this isn’t an easy read. But it’s one that will stick with you long term.
“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
This book covers so many hard topics each page really packs a punch, and the ending did me in. This is a great example of not having to enjoy a book to appreciate how good it was overall. Celeste Ng is a wonderful writer and I also recommend Little Fires Everywhere which also hit me in the feels hard.
I decided to add this as a bonus pick because this story is so relevant given the situation we are currently in actively trying to save the bee population. The History of Bees follows 3 different timelines that give us a look into the past, the future and current day, and just how important those magical little bees truly are.
This is another story that I found a bit of a slog at times, and was much more interested in the future storyline versus the other two, but the further into the story I got, the more interested I was, and in the end, I finished the last 1/4 of the book in one sitting.
…this “spectacular and deeply moving” (Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author) novel follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees—and to their children and one another—against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.
This is another one of those stories that I know I will think back on for years to come, and I think it does a great job of helping us remember how important it is for us to save these little creatures who are so impactful on our lives whether we realize it or not.
What has been your favorite book so far in 2019?
I’ve already read a couple of books so far in July that I think will top my list for the second half of the year, but I’ll wait and tell you more about those in December. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading and loving this year!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @suzireadsalot to keep up with my reading escapades!