Another month has gone by and I’ve got some more great reads to share!
Coincidentally, all of my April reads were by female authors, which I think is a pretty cool bonus for this month.
A brief review of each of the books I read is included below; if you’re interested, you can click on any image or title to open a link to purchase the book.
The Heirs by Susan Rieger
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
This story follows a widow and her five sons just after the patriarch of the family, Rupert, has died. Each chapter focuses on different characters and events, and it isn’t until the end that everything clearly fits together.
It’s interesting to see how different yet similar each of the five sons, or heirs, is, as well as how they react when a strange woman claims to have two additional sons fathered by their dad. The story is mainly centered by these accusations and the mystery of Rupert’s past.
While I enjoyed the characters and feel that the book moved along nicely, I didn’t find myself very invested in each person or what was going to happen to them. It was almost as if I was looking in on their lives and story from afar, and enough was happening to keep me looking, but nothing was particularly exciting enough to really get me engaged.
This would make a nice beach or vacation read, but there were definitely others from the past month that I enjoyed more.
Euphoria by Lily King
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I’ve owned this book for a while but put off reading it for so long because I wasn’t sure I’d like it. I’m so glad it was a pick out of my book jar this month, though, because it was a good one!
Euphoria takes place in the 1930’s and follows Nell and Fen, two married anthropologists, as they study different tribes in New Guinea. I didn’t realize until after finishing the book that it was based on a true story, but that makes it even more interesting.
Along their journey, Nell and Fen run into Andrew, another anthropologist who they befriend. He and Nell have a lot of unspoken sexual and romantic tension between them; paired with the growing issues that exist between Nell and Fen, this was the biggest draw of the story for me.
This is a great story that really transports you back in time and keeps you in suspense of what will happen to, and between, the characters. A favorite quote of mine was:
“For me, other people are the point. But other people can disappear. I guess I don’t have to tell you that.”
Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I’m a big fan of this TV show and decided to read the book that inspired it all while waiting for the last season to air. The main character, Alice (Liza in the show), is just as fun and lovable as she is in the screen adaptation. I found myself laughing at this book quite a bit and generally enjoyed it!
For anyone who isn’t familiar, this is the story of a 40-something woman who is having trouble getting back into the workforce and so she pretends to be a young up-and-comer in her 20’s. As you can imagine, there are a lot of chaotic and comical things that ensue.
I always try to read the book version of something before watching the show or movie, because when I do it the other way around I tend to judge the book a little differently. That is what happened with this one. It’s a great story, but I found myself missing some of the characters that were added for TV and questioning the “believability” of Alice’s situation, since the show made extra efforts to address that and cover any potential plot holes.
Overall, this is a fun read and a great escape if you’re feeling stressed or bogged down by day-to-day responsibilities. It also includes some interesting insights and commentary on ageism, sexism, and taking control of your life and the way you want it to be.
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
First off, this book was messed up, and that’s coming from someone who loves all things weird and creepy. It didn’t take too long to figure out the dark secret of what was going on in this story, but having it confirmed at the end was chilling just the same.
This book starts with Lane, our main character, having just become an orphan. Her mother has committed suicide and she never knew her father. She never really knew any of her family, actually, until she is sent to live with her grandparents and cousin following her mom’s death.
The story switches back between the past (the summer Lane spends with her family right after her mom dies) and the present (years later when she returns to her grandparents’ house after her cousin goes missing). Both pieces of this story are completely engrossing and they’re woven together expertly.
I truly enjoyed this one, and it included so many things I like: mystery, darkness, three-dimensional characters, and well-written prose. Here is a good quote:
“Like she was walking a tightrope between light and dark, joy and sorrow, and all I could do was stand beneath with arms outstretched and hope to make a catch. Or at least that’s what I’d done with my mother when I was younger. In recent years, I was more likely to yank away the net just to watch her fall.”
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
I’m a big fan of Liane Moriarty so I was really excited to purchase and then read this one! I didn’t know what it was about before starting, but it ends up telling the story of nine people who sign up for a wellness retreat. We hear the story from each of their perspectives, as well as the perspectives of a few additional characters.
This book and its characters were interesting from the get-go but the story itself took a little time to ramp up, in my opinion. It definitely toes the line between being suspenseful and taking a while for the real action to start, but once the craziness starts it is definitely worth the wait.
For fans of Big Little Lies, this one falls a bit short of that, but it packs a punch in the last third or so. I think I even had my mouth open while reading at one point, and I clearly remember relishing the madness of what was happening. This is not in my top three from Moriarty, but she’s an awesome writer and this is a solid read, nonetheless. Some favorite quotes:
“He could find hatred in his heart for her, too, if he went looking for it. The secret of a happy marriage was not to go looking for it.”
“Relax and enjoy the journey. The stream will carry you this way and that, but will carry you forward to where you need to go.”
We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Oh man, do I have a lot of love for this book and its author. This is the first book I’ve read from Heaberlin, but will certainly not be the last. She drew me in from the very first chapter and had my full attention (even when I had to take breaks from reading for annoying everyday responsibilities) from then on.
At its core, this is a murder mystery. We hear the story told by Wade–a man whose sister and father disappeared 10 years earlier, Odette–Wade’s ex-girlfriend who has since become a cop and hasn’t been able to let go of what happened to Wade’s family when they were teenagers, and later from a third character; I’ll keep that one a secret for now to avoid spoilers. The uncertainty of what actually happened, paired with the unreliability of some of our narrators, really kept me on my toes and wanting to know what would happen next.
This book was so hauntingly beautiful; I still find myself randomly thinking about the characters or getting excited to continue reading before I remember that I finished it weeks ago. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers or mysteries.
Have you read any other great books lately? I’m always looking for new ones to add to my list, so I’d love for you to drop them in the comments below! 😊