Tuesday, December 29, 2020

#gretchensbooks2020 - December


One last month of reading! December is always a busy month, so I was lucky to get in the reading that I did. I read two great new CoHo books (which put me behind on grad school work) that I highly recommend! Overall I'd say it was a good end to a great year of reading!!


117. Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover (5/5🌟)

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim's parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself. With only two short months separating her from the future she's built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah's plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan. Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface. She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they're both drawn to sad things. Which means they're drawn to each other. With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn't realize is that a rip current is coming, and it's about to drag her heart out to sea. 

I have officially passed last years total of 116!!

The first chapter had me HOOKED. Not even the first chapter, the first half of the first chapter. When a story starts off with a girl saying her mom dying was the best thing her mom ever did for her, you have to read more!! 

This is Hoover’s most recent release, but she has another coming out  December 8. I think this was tied with “Verity” as my favorite Hoover book. I had a hard time putting it down to go to work/bed, and felt so much emotion at the end. So good!!


118. The Last Train to Key West  by Chanel Cleeton (4/5⭐️)

For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape. 
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life. 
Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own. 
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

This was recommended to me by a friend a couple months ago, and I’ve been on the wait list ever since. It was so good! Sometimes I struggle with books from this time period, but I flew through this. I really love when there are multiple stories going on that weave together, and that book gave me just that. Definitely recommend!


119. The Hunting Game by Lucy Foley (3.5/5⭐️)

Everyone's invited...everyone's a suspect...

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. 

The trip begins innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead. . . and another of them did it. 
Keep your friends close, the old adage says. But how close is too close?

I picked this one up because I had read and LOVED another by her earlier this season. This wasn’t as good, but I still enjoyed the suspense. I did not predict the end at all, but I liked how it wrapped up as it did. I look forward to reading more by her!


120. Pretty Things by Janelle Brown ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet. 
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina. 
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge. 
This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.

I originally borrowed this from the library a couple months ago after seeing raving reviews in the bookstagram world, but didn’t have time to read it. After reading the description, it reminded me of The Bling Ring, and I didn’t think I would be that into it. I ended up listening to it on audio and was proven very wrong. 

I was constantly guessing how it was going to end, and was very pleased with how it turned out. I also really loved the multi-perspective and how the story flipped back-and-forth from past to present. Apparently it is being turned into an Amazon series staring Nicole Kidman, so I will definitely be on the lookout for that!


121. Layla by Colleen Hoover (4.5/5⭐️)

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

This took me a hot minute to get into, but O.M.G. I flew through the second half and my eyeballs are still bulging out of my head. This was unlike any other CoHo novel, and though I love her usual style, I think I loved this even more. It’s right up there with Verity. The only thing I didn’t love was how quickly it ended; I needed a little more. It’s going to take me a moment to recover from this one and start something new. 



*This post contains affiliate links, which means when you purchase something through that link, you're helping support this blog at no additional cost to you!*

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

Reading Challenge: 121/100 books read in 2020

You can find previous book reviews here!

No comments:

Post a Comment