What I Read in May and Share Your Shelf Link Up #2

 Marilyn, Jennifer, Tanya, and I have decided to host this monthly link up that will go live on the first Thursday of every month and be dedicated solely to books and book reviews. I hope we'll continue to grow each month.


I had a FABULOUS month of reading! I think I read and listened to the most books I have ever read in a month-- 17!




1. The Housemaid by Freida McFadden-- Oh this was such a fun little thriller/suspense book that I just could not put down.  It didn't even take me a full day to read because I literally could not put it down. When Millie goes to work for Nina and her husband Andrew she is thrown off by Nina's erratic behavior. Andrew seems like the perfect man, husband, and father so why is Nina always acting so crazy? Now I think I saw the plot twist coming but only because so many people told me there was a plot twist-- I still enjoyed it thoroughly though!  


2. A Hidden Secret by Linda Castillo-- I was looking for a book with secret in the title for my 52 book Challenge and thought I'd see if any of the Kate Burkholder stories fit the bill (since I haven't read any of them this year and had been slowly making my way through them last year). I was thrilled to find that the very next book where I left off in the series was called A Hidden Secret! I wasn't sure I'd like it as much as the others in the series that I had read since it was a short story and I don't usually like those. But when a baby is left on the Bishop's front step Kate tries to hunt down the missing mother. It was a sweet story and it was kind of relief not to have a grizzly murder to deal with for once. 

3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman-- I listened to this on audiobook and while I did enjoy it a lot I had a bit of a struggle to keep the large cast of characters straight. I know I don't listen to books nearly as intently so I can often miss some of the details. But I still thought it was cute.  An unlikely bunch of amateur sleuths meet in the retirement village where they live each Thursday to go over old murder/crime cases and try to solve them for their own piece of mind. Then the property develop really does get murdered and these four septuagenarians try to help their favorite female cop solve the case. 


4. Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano (Book4 in the series)-- Finlay and Vero are headed to Atlantic City in the guise of a girl's weekend away. But when Finlay's whole family joins in and her boyfriend shows up she's got to work double time to keep them all in the dark about what her and Vero are really doing. Finlay and Vero are trying to find Vero's friend Javi and hunt down a stolen car but they keep stumbling upon dead bodies and dead ends. It was just as wild and crazy and funny as the other 3 in the series. 


5. Darling Girls by Sally Hepworth-- Another windy, twisty, psychological thriller! Alicia, Jessica, and Norah were all raised by the same foster mother on a large farming estate with a pool and horses. Their social workers always told them they were so lucky, but Miss Fairchild was a less than ideal mother figure with lots of rules, unpredictable mood swings, and lots of secrets of her own. Now as full grown adults the 3 "girls" are still inseparable sisters who have come together once again to support each other as they are called back to the town where they grew up. A body has been discovered under the house where they grew up and the police have lots of questions. I read this whole book over one weekend; it was a compelling story. 


6. Lucky Leap Day by Ann Marie Walker-- I needed a book with an instrument on the cover for my 52 book challenge and thought this looked like a cute and fun little read and it was. A very improbable but likeable little rom-com. When Cara heads off to Ireland for a long weekend she's not expecting much other than to see the sights. She certainly never expected to wake up married just hours before her flight home. After far too many whiskey drinks her recollection of the night before is a bit sketchy but Cara knows that an annulment will be easier to get if the two of them are in the same country so she convinces her new husband to come with her to L. A. to try untangle the mess they've made.


7. Falling by T.J. Newman-- This was a riveting audiobook! When an airplane pilot's family is held hostage he is given two choices-- let his family die or crash the plane. I can't say much more about the book without giving major plot points away but wow.. I could not stop listening because I just had to know what happened next. I am going to have the most difficult time picking favorite books this year! But this one for sure is going to be a contender. 

8. Will by Will Smith-- Oh I just love a good celebrity memoir; even better when they are available on audiobook and read by the author. I was so relieved when I read that memoirs "count" as a self- insert by an author for my 52 Books Challenge since I had already tried a few others books for that category that I wasn't able to finish.  Having grown up listening to Will's music, watching his acting debut on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and seeing that transition to the big screen I've only known a tiny bit about this actor/musician/director. It was fun to learn more about him, his childhood, and his rise (and fall and rise again) to fame. 


9. Gladwynn Grant Gets her Footing (Gladwynn Grant Mysteries book 1) by Lisa R. Howeler-- Gladwynn takes a job working as a newspaper reporter after getting laid off from her job as a librarian. She's not sure what to expect from her job or the cozy little town of Brookstone. Gladwynn mostly took the job since it's in the same town where her grandmother lives but Gladwynn is surprised to learn that all is not as quaint and quiet as it seems in this town. It was a cute story with a few fun mysteries to solve.   


10. P. S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern-- I watched the movie last month and when I saw it was based on a book I knew I wanted to read the book too. There were enough differences between the two that the book kept me interested. Holly is mourning the loss of her husband Gerry and just before her 30th birthday she finds that he has left her a series of letters to be opened one each month until the end of the year. 



11. The 4th Wing (Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros-- I've seen this book hyped on so many blogs and I wasn't at all sure I'd enjoy it since I don't normally like fantasy novels but when I saw it was immediately available on audiobook through my library app I decided to give it a try (despite the 21 hour run time!). I found myself really enjoying it a lot.  Violet Sorrengail was supposed to be a scribe and was preparing to follow in her father's footsteps until her mother forces her to join the elite school of dragon riders. Dragon riders are the toughest of the tough and live each day to fullest because survival is never guaranteed; only problem is that Violet has always been brittle, and small, and weak. She will need every advantage she can get to make it to graduation day. I can see why this has been compared to Harry Potter meets Hunger Games (only it's definitely rated R). I can not wait to listen to the next book in the series!! 


12. Expiration Dates by Rebecca Serle-- I was hesitant to read this story since Serle's books can be a bit hit or miss with me (again it's those fantasy/magic type elements that get me) but I really enjoyed this one. Daphne Bell has been receiving notes from the universe nearly her whole life; notes with just a few words and little explanations like "Martin- 3 days." These notes appear shortly before or after meeting a new man and tell her exactly how long her relationship will last. Until finally one night Daphne receives a not with just a name on it. But Daphne isn't sure the universe has it right this time, as her relationship grows Daphne starts to question relationships, commitment, secrets/honesty, and more. 


13. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse-- I have had this book on my must read list for a long time and when I realized it would satisfy the "set in a landlocked country" prompt I decided now was the perfect time to read it. It was much darker than I had anticipated but I still enjoyed it. Elin wasn't nothing to do with this "vacation" in the Swiss Alps at a newly renovated hotel in the gutted out shell of an old sanatorium but it's her brother's engagement celebration. From the get go the reader knows that Elin and her brother have lots of unresolved issues and Elin isn't sure whether to believe him or not when he claims that his fiancĂ©e has gone missing just 24 hours after Elin arrives. Using her long buried detective skills, Elin can't help but question, search, and seek answers. 




14. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood--  I didn't really love The Handmaid's Tale and had no interest in reading the second book in the series... but when I saw it had been nominated for the Booker Prize (and won!) and knew I could cross yet another item off my list I decided to go ahead and listen to it on audiobook. Taking place 15 years after the first book and told in multiple viewpoints I actually found I liked this book better. One storyline is told by Aunt Lydia on how Gilead got started and her roll in it, one is told by a young girl on the cusp of getting married living in Gilead and the final storyline is told by another young girl (I think roughly the same age) who lives outside Gilead. It's unclear (at first) how these three storylines will intersect but discontent is heard in all their voices.  


15. Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors by Amber Share-- I thought this was such a fun book and easily read it in just a few hours. When Amber realized that the National parks all had one star reviews she turned those reviews into a wildly successful Instagram account and that account into a book with lots of new content. It was funny and informative and really makes me want to visit more of these parks-- even if not everyone was all that impressed by mother nature & her creations. 



16. & 17.  Dear Bob and Sue Volume 2 & 3 by Matt and Karen Smith-- I read the first book in this series years ago and decided I too wanted to visit all (or nearly all) the national parks in America. These books are such fun and easy reads! As Matt and Karen travel they keep track of their stories through emails home to their best friends Bob and Sue. Some stories are funny, some are poignant, some are quite sarcastic. In these sequels they've branched out beyond national parks to include all sorts of nature preserves and state parks and things plus they take a few other couple friends along with them from time to time. 





I have nearly finished my 52 books challenge already!  I just have 3 left (and I've already started a book with a sticker on the cover). 


I need a book that is set during a holiday I don't celebrate and an author with a debut in the second 1/2 of the year-- do you have any suggestions for me?

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Linking up with: Spread the Kindness/On the Edge, 






Comments

  1. Great list- thanks for sharing!

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  2. Holy cow. Seventeen books?!?! That's amazing, my friend. I have a couple of these on my TBR list this summer! I'm going to read the Serle one next, but there are so many great ones that I have to choose from right now. I linked to three of my posts for today's link- the books I read in May, some summer reads that I loved a few years ago, and one for books (and shows) coming out this summer. I love this little link party!

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    1. Yeah, I was surprised by that # too! I can't wait to read your posts; sounds like I'll have lots of suggestions!

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  3. The Parks book sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love visiting the National Parks and we've been to quite a few but have a long way to go to hit them all. The Darling Girls and The Housemaid both sound like books I might like. Thanks for sharing and hosting!

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    1. Oh yes, we've only made it to 3 National Parks so far so we have a very long way to go too (and truthfully there are a few I have zero desire to see!) but it's fun reading about them and what there is to see and do at each one.

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  4. You are such a reader! I think the only one I am planning to read is Darling Girls and I read Lucky Leap Day. It was kinda cute.

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  5. I am not sure I could remember anything about so many books! I can't remember things for too long :). Those letter written to friends abuout their travels sounds so interesting. Enjoy the day!

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    1. I write each summary as I finish each book otherwise some of the details tend to run together (and I NEVER remember the main characters names!!).

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  6. The national parks book sounds good! I will try to link up next month and do two month´s worth. Two months time frame works better for me for some reason :).

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  7. Wow that's a great month of reading! I have quite a few of those on hold at the library.

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  8. Fun link-up! I don’t have much to share, but added a couple of books. Going to love reading everyone’s recommendations. (Although, I think you’ve seen this post already.)

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  9. So many of the same titles I keep hearing about from other bloggers. I'm going to have to add some to my list for sure.

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    1. Yeah I do feel like I am seeing lots of the same titles being shared all around the blogsphere.

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  10. Joanne, you've read some good books and I'll be adding some of them to my reading list.

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    1. I'm glad you found some that sound good to you!

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  11. You have some good ones here. I love the Thursday Murder Club series but print is the way to go. (Well, for me, I get distracted by too much with audio, but especially rugged with mysteries where every plot point counts!_)

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    1. Yes, I like to flip back and help jog my memory about each person when the cast is so large and the plot so intricate.

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  12. That's incredible how many books you finished last month. I always love learning more about a person too so will have to add "Will" to my list
    XOOX
    Jodie

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  13. Wow, 17 books in one month? How do you do that? I'm an avid reader and I manage to read a book (sometimes 2) a week.

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    1. I have no idea! LOL. I typically manage about 10 so I have no idea how I squeezed in 17.

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  14. I love to see the check-in with your challenge.

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    1. Thanks! I don't think I've ever crossed this many off so early in the year before.

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  15. Oh this is too fun, Joanne!! I do love a good book party.

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  16. 17!!! Wow! That's amazing. I have read a few of these, and put the national parks books on my TBR list. I tried to read the Thursday murder Club, but didn't finish. I'm happy to see its coming to television though!

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  17. Have you read the Matzah Ball? I enjoyed it, and maybe it would satisfy your reading challenge.

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    1. I did try to request that one through our library but they don't have it and none of the libraries we can do a loan through have it either but I was thinking I might just buy it.

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  18. I haven't read The Handmaid's Tale. I started the series but just couldn't finish it. I read P.S. I Love You many years ago and have yet to make it through the movie! I love the Thursday Murder Club series. They are all such fun! I haven't read anything by Sally Hepworth. I really need to give her a try.

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. Funny that I really enjoyed the movie and had a harder time making it through the book; I thought I was never going to finish P.S. I Love You!

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  19. Joanne, you've shared some great books, and I'll be adding a few to my reading list.
    Thank you!

    Have a great weekend!

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  20. I am DYING for a good book to read. I zoom through them quick then twiddle my thumbs until I get another one, ha!

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    1. I often have anywhere from 3-5 of them going at once and a huge stack waiting for me as soon as they are finished... that said I love those really good books I just can't put down and fly right through and those seem to be a bit few and far between.

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  21. I know I am cheating again but I shared a favorite bookstore of mine, here in the Bay Area.

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  22. I'm just about to start Darling Girls and I can't WAIT!

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  23. not heard of the dear Bob & sue...intersting. I like the look of the House Maid. I think there's a second book too... #MonthlyBookworms

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