I’ve had visions of sharing biannual roundups of my favorite books on the blog so my recommendations can be found in one place but after Ryder was born, this vision fizzled out because I couldn’t keep my eyes open at the end of the day and fell asleep reading ALL of the time. Then, I somehow ended up in a book funk and read a bunch of not-so-great books back-to-back. Finally I found my reading rhythm again and while I’ve shared many of the books I’ve read and loved in random Things I’m Loving Friday posts, I’ve received requests from you guys in the past to share periodic roundups of books I’ve loved to make my book recommendations easier to find.
The ten books I’m highlighting below are all books I loved and would highly recommend. They’re all a little different and cover everything from political thrillers and breezy reads to thought-provoking memoirs compelling novels and I hope you find at least one book to add to your must-read list! As always, I’d love to hear about some of the books you’ve read recently that you loved because you guys deserve the credit for recommending some amazing books to me throughout the years.
And just FYI, you can always find a constantly-updated list of books I’ve read and loved on the Books page of my blog!
10 Books I Recently Read and Loved
THE QUEEN OF HEARTS BY KIMMERY MARTIN
Add this book to your must-read list if you are a fan of medical dramas or enjoy shows like Grey’s Anatomy, though this book has more depth to it than the usual episode of Grey’s.
The book follows the lives of Zadie and Emma, two best friends who met in their early 20s when they were in med school. Now successful doctors with families they love and adore, a blast from the past in the form of a former chief resident, Dr. Xenokostas, reappears in their lives when he accepts a job at the hospital where Emma works and brings with him pain, secrecy, regret, guilt and the ability to potentially cause a long-lasting friendship to unravel.
I absolutely loved reading The Queen of Hearts and my fellow Charlotte-area friends may also enjoy the fact that this book takes place in the Queen City.
THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo begins when Monique Grant, a talented but relatively unknown young writer, is selected by iconic actress Evelyn Hugo to write her biography. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and one Monique is determined to do well. As Evelyn begins to tell her story to Monique, we learn all about her life, including the details behind her marriages and secret loves. The book is filled with scandal in a way that doesn’t feel cheap or cheesy and I feel like it is only a matter of time before this one is scooped up and made into a movie.
EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER
When I asked for memoir recommendations on the blog earlier this year, Tara Westover’s Educated was mentioned a few times and for good reason. The book is captivating, complicated and fascinating. I enjoyed reading Tara’s story very much and would absolutely recommend it for anyone looking to dive into a compelling memoir for their next read.
Tara Westover’s memoir documents her life as a child in the mountains of Idaho where she was raised by survivalist parents opposed to traditional education and follows her journey to receiving her PhD from Cambridge, despite having never set foot in a classroom until she was 17 years old. Tara’s story is one of complicated family ties, a young girl’s thirst for knowledge, abuse, loyalty, discovery and incredible resilience.
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING BY DELIA OWENS
It’s been a long time — years, probably — since I started and finished a book in one night but it happened with Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I read this book until 2 a.m. and couldn’t stop thinking about this novel for days after I finished reading. (And yes, it was a book that made it worth sacrificing precious sleep!) Where the Crawdads Sing was recommended to me by one of my best friends and a handful of you and it was an absolutely wonderful read with beautiful writing, an intriguing plot and interesting characters.
The book follows the life of Kya Clark, an intelligent and resilient girl knows to locals as the “Marsh Girl,” a young woman as mysterious and intriguing as she is elusive. Kya grew up in the marshland of North Carolina with an abusive family and eventually survives on her own at an incredibly young age thanks to her knowledge of the marsh she calls home and her resourcefulness. Used to living on her own, Kya is surprised when she finds herself intrigued by two local men as she grows up and opens herself up to love and heartache, despite her natural inclination to remain isolated from others. After one of the men, Chase Andrews, is found dead, locals immediately begin to suspect the “Marsh Girl.”
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
Having previously read and loved A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams, I turned to Amazon to check out some of her other novels and The Secret Life of Violet Grant immediately caught my eye. I finished reading this book last night and absolutely loved the main character, Vivian, because she really is a character. She’s funny, kind of ridiculous, intelligent, unconventional and her voice is amusing and fun.
The book follows Vivian Schuyler, a recent college graduate and member of a wealthy New York City family, as she works at a magazine and goes against the Schuyler family grain. Vivian’s life takes a turn when a package containing her aunt’s suitcase from 50 years ago — an aunt thought to have murdered her husband before she mysteriously disappeared — shows up on her doorstep.
The book goes back and forth from following Vivian’s life in 1964 and the life of her disappearing aunt Violet Schuyler Grand, a scientist who moved to Europe, entered into a disastrous marriage with a notable scientist and went missing. Vivian is determined to figure out what happened to Violet and her curiosity takes her on a road that unveils secrets, mysteries and relationships that have a direct impact on Vivian’s life today.
THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING BY BILL CLINTON AND JAMES PATTERSON
If you enjoy political suspense books, add this one to your reading list! Recommended to me by both my mom and my dad, I had a feeling The President is Missing would be a winner from the beginning and it was fantastic! This book was so good that I kept getting mad at myself when I would be too tired to keep reading at the end of the night.
The President is Missing is captivating from the beginning as a threat on the United States looms over the head of the President. As the story unfolds, a traitor in the cabinet is revealed and the President must do his best to protect his country from the most serious form of cyberterrorism while simultaneously questioning those around him as he tries to figure out who he can trust within the White House.
ALL THESE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS BY ELIZABETH KLEFOTH
This book is what CW TV shows are made of — rich, beautiful teenagers, secret clubs, boarding school,backstabbing, disappearing people and mystery. All These Beautiful Strangers sucked me in right away and was a serious page-turner.
The book centers around the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Grace Fairchild, wife of real estate mogul Alistair Calloway, and mother of two daughters, Seraphina, now 15, and Charlie, now 17 years old. Charlie Calloway currently attends Knollwood Prep, a prestigious boarding school, where she receives an invitation to join the A’s, an extremely exclusive secret society. Membership within the A’s is contingent upon the completion of The Game, an intense and often dangerous scavenger hunt that may end up revealing more about the past and the disappearance of Charlie’s mother than Charlie ever imagined as her past and present begin to collide.
ONE DAY IN DECEMBER BY JOSIE SILVER
After a few back-to-back more serious reads, I was on the lookout for a an easy, breezy read and this one fit the bill. One Day in December is the wintery version of a beach read and I enjoyed curling up with this book at the end of a long day.
The book begins with Laurie feeling the most intense jolt of love when she sees a man from her seat on a bus window in the middle of winter. She feels frozen but also battles the intense urge to get off the bus when the man locks eyes with her… and then it’s too late and the bus rolls on. A year passes with Laurie looking for her beloved bus guy until one day her best friend Sarah introduces Laurie to her new boyfriend, Jack. Laurie cannot believe it when the new boyfriend Laurie’s heard Sarah rave about also happens to be the very man Laurie fell in love with at first sight from her bus seat one year earlier. One Day in December follows the next 10 years of Laurie and Jack’s lives through fierce friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, growth and change as they strive to find happiness.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I read Michelle Obama’s memoir over Christmas and enjoyed learning more about her life from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her time in the White House as the First Lady of the United States. I admittedly was interested in hearing some behind-the-scenes stories about the presidency, the Secret Service and the inner-workings of the White House and while Michelle touches on those things briefly in her memoir, her book is a more about her journey and her growth from a small, intelligent little girl in Chicago into a lawyer, mother, First Lady and powerful advocate.
THE FIRST PATIENT BY MICHAEL PALMER
The First Patient by Michael Palmer is an interesting and intriguing political and medical mystery. The book follows Dr. Gabe Singleton and takes off when Marine One lands on the doctor’s rural Wyoming farm. The President of the United States and Gabe’s former roommate at the Naval Academy, Drew Stoddard, asks Gabe to come with him to Washington, D.C. to be his personal physician after his previous doctor mysteriously disappears.
After Gabe agrees to help his friend, he flies to the White House and soon witnesses the president in the middle of what appears to be a mental breakdown, complete with hallucinations and other odd behaviors. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to suspect that the President’s condition may not be attributed to natural causes and Gabe soon finds himself searching for answers, a process that proves more challenging and life-threatening than he ever imagined.
Question of the Day
What books have you absolutely loved lately that you think everyone should read?