Friday, July 6, 2018

#gretchensbooks2018 - June

Summer is so perfect for outdoor reading, especially when you've got a pool to read by! Even so, it has been such a fun and busy month that I haven't gotten nearly as much reading in as I would have liked. That being said, the few books I did manage to squeeze in this month were pretty good!!

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(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

48. her pretty face by Robyn Harding (4/5★)

Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.
Until she meets Kate Randolph.
Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart. Because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.

I received an advanced copy of this book to read, but the official publishing date is July 10th, so it will be available soon! The author was new to me, but I enjoyed the suspense and mystery that took place throughout the whole book.  Even when I had some of the important details figured out before they were actually explicitly stated, there were still things I was questioning until the very end. 

49. The Real Michael Swann by Bryan Reardon (4/5★)

On a typical late summer day, Julia Swann is on the phone with her husband, Michael, when the call abruptly goes dead. Then the news rolls in: A bomb has gone off at Penn Station, where Michael was waiting for a train home. New York City is in a state of chaos.

A frantic Julia races to the city to look for Michael, her panic interwoven with memories of meeting and falling in love with the husband she's now desperate to find. When someone finds a flier she's posted and tells her they may have seen her husband, her dreams seem to be answered. Yet as she tries to find him, her calls go unanswered. 

Weaving between the aftermath of the explosion and Julia's memories of her life with Michael, new developments raise troubling questions. Did Michael survive the explosion? Why hasn't he contacted her? What was he doing when their last call was cut off? Was he--or is he still--the man she fell in love with?

Part family drama, part tragic love story, and part disaster narrative that hits terrifyingly close to home, The Real Michael Swann is a deftly plotted suspense novel with an unflinching portrait of a marriage at its heart, challenging us to confront the unthinkable--both in our country and in our own homes.

This was another book that I had received an early release edition of, but it will be for sale at the time of the publication of this post. My book theme this month was definitely suspense, and this story held plenty of it! At first I was confused, because there didn't seem to be much of a plot line outside of 'man-is-lost-after-explosion-and-wife-is-looking-for-him' which I thought was lame, but then that changed into crazy drama! I am definitely going to have to check out more books by this author.

50. Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green (3.5/5 ★)

When family secrets are unearthed, a woman’s past can become a dangerous place to hide…
After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.
Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.
When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what’s been buried in Ava’s nightmares isn’t just a crime. It’s a holy conspiracy.

I listened to this book via audible (hey free audiobooks via Kindle Unlimited!) during my twelve hundred drives between Alabama and Tennessee this month and really enjoyed it! There were definitely a lot of plot twists and it was full of suspense the whole way through.  The mystery was unlike any that I had read before which was great, because I feel like a lot of suspense stories are similar to each other.

51. The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown (4/5 ★)

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.
Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a cafĂ©, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…
To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.

This was another audible read thanks to Kindle Unlimited.  I had seen this book pop up on goodreads a few times, so I figured I would give it a go. I loved the narrator and how she used different voices for each character. It was a really sweet storyline, and very family drama focused with a little bit of romance mixed in. Even though it was slightly predictable, I was engrossed in this story my whole drive back to Tennessee from Minnesota!

Reading Challenge: 51/52 books read in 2018

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