Recent Reads #17 | December 2021

in , , by Kristen Woolsey, 6:00 AM
Coming at you today with a ton of Book recommendations! There are some just OK reads here, but also more than one 5 Star books for you to bookmark.



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We Were Liars

Basically: Cadence and her family spend every summer on a private island. She, her cousins, and friends have all these adventures together each year. But something tragic happened a few summers ago, and now everyone refuses to her what happened.

My Thoughts: There is definitely a lot to like about this book. The atmosphere was well done, and I enjoyed the writing style. The best part is the twist. It's huge and I was not expecting it at all. It's also a pretty short book so that's a plus if you need something quick!
I didn't like the main character, so that was difficult to ignore, and I have some unanswered questions!

Rating:⭐⭐⭐  3 stars from me, liked it didn't love it. 

The Switch

Basically: After a break down, Leena is forced into a 2 month sabbatical. She visits her 79 year old grandma Eileen, and realizes Eileen has been having a tough time of her own. They decide to switch lives for a few weeks to get a new perspective.

My Thoughts: The premise of this is solid, and such a cute idea. There were parts that were so sweet, and made me want to call my grandma! However, I feel like this story was so drawn out and could have been told much faster. Also, maybe there were too many characters?

Rating:⭐⭐⭐  3 stars. Cute idea, but still fell a bit flat.

My Story

Basically: In 2002 Elizabeth was kidnapped from her bed as a 14 year old. This is her memoir of what happened to her and how it affected the rest of her life.

My Thoughts: I picked this up because it was the oldest book on my TBR list on Goodreads. I added it in 2013! I love a good memoir, but I have to say this was really hard to read and I wanted to throw up for the majority of it. What Elizabeth went through is so harrowing. I knew it ended well, because I knew she had been found, but gosh I held my breath throughout her story. I will say this is kinda preachy and redundant at times, but hey, the book's title is 'My Story' so she gets to tell it however she wants.

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars! However, I'd probably avoid this if I had kids because it would make me absolutely paranoid.

On A Night Like This

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC of this book!

Basically: A Cinderella inspired story! Fran gets a job as a personal assistant to a mega celebrity, who is staying on a private yacht in the Mediterranean heading to perform at The Crystal Ball - a super exclusive party for the rich and famous.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed One in A Million by Lindsey Kelk so I was very excited to pick up this title too.

Really fun spin on Cinderella! It was over the top, and unrealistic of course...but still fun! Loved the personal assistant plot line, and I was really curious how'd it work out that she'd end up at the Ball. The first part of the book is solid, but it sort of fell flat for me in the 4th quarter. I think it's because it starts off so big, with her new job on a yacht and a grand celebrity Ball, and then the ending is sort of more 'real life'. The PA plotline ended perfectly, in my opinion, it was the rest of it that was lackluster to me. Regardless, I devoured this in basically one sitting, and I think it'd make a great movie!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫 3.5 stars!


The Party Crasher

Basically: Effie's parents split up, and it's a sore subject. Now her estranged Dad's new girlfriend is helping him sell Effie's childhood home and hosting a 'house cooling' party. Well, Effie isn't ready to say good bye and ends up uninvited. But when she remembers a childhood treasure is still inside, there is nothing left to do but crash the party.

My Thoughts: There is nothing like a Sophie Kinsella book. They are silly and ridiculous, but sometimes just what you need. This is no exception! Effie is a mess and so hilarity ensues. I did feel like this was drug out a bit, and I could have done without some chapters. But, also I know this would make a great movie!

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐  3.75 stars rounded to 4!


Emma In The Night

Basically: 3 years ago two teenage sisters, Cass and Emma, went missing. Now, Cass is back, without Emma, and she is desperate for her family and the police to hear their story.

My Thoughts: 🤯 This book was WILD. It's told from two points of view, that of Cass and that of a forensic psychiatrist Abby Winter. There are so many twists and turns in this book, and even though I was suspicious the whole time, I was totally shocked at the ending! I learned SO much about narcissism.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars!


The Girl You Left Behind

Basically: 2 Timelines! It's World War 1 and we have Sophie. Her husband is fighting at the front, and when their town falls to the Germans - she ends up having to feed them at her hotel. The commander becomes obsessed with a portrait of her that Sophie's husband painted.

100 years later, that same painting now belongs to Liv. It was a wedding present from her now deceased husband. A fight over the painting ensues.

My Thoughts: The WW1 timeline is so engrossing and well done! The present timeline however is not. It was drug out and almost boring! The characters were bland compared to the WW1 characters. There, of course, is a nice wrap up at the end so I did enjoy the book overall, it just could have been done in half the time. 🖼

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars from me!


Cloud Cuckoo Land

Basically: There is no way for me to describe this book 'basically'! It takes place in 3 timelines. In the past, Anna lives within the walls of Constantinople. The city is under siege and she takes comfort in the story of Cloud Cuckoo Land.

500 years later, in the present, Zeno is a librarian who is helping children practice for their upcoming performance of Cloud Cuckoo Land. But, the library soon comes under its own siege with a bomb threat.

Then, in the future, Constance is alone on a space ship copying an ancient story told to her by her father about a place called Cloud Cuckoo Land.

My Thoughts: This book is what I'd call ambitious!! 3 timelines with dozens of characters, oh, and an entire story called Cloud Cuckoo Land - it makes your head spin...but it really does all come together in this epic story. I really enjoyed it! The writing is excellent and engrossing. Obviously some storylines and characters I liked more than others, but watching it all come together was a journey!

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  5 stars from me!


Room

Basically: All Jack has ever known is Room. That's because his mom was taken captive and locked up in this room before he was born. She's done an amazing job of making a life for him within these 4 walls, but she knows they can't keep living like this.

My Thoughts: This was totally captivating and engrossing! It could have been annoying to hear from a 5 year old's point of view, but it's so well done I think it's actually what makes this book so great.
Loved it, couldn't put it down.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars!


The Little Book of Hygge

Basically: This book outlines the Danish tradition of Hygge. Hygge is sort of a feeling of coziness if I was going to put it simply. Think cuddled up on the sofa with a yummy warm drink, with a candle flickering. 

My Thoughts: Super sweet read, and it's perfect if you have a hard time with winter. This outlines a way to cherish that cozy feeling and how to harness it. Just the act of reading this made me feel cozy.

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐  4 Stars from me! 

The Comfort Book

Basically: Matt Haig made a collection of little encouragements for himself, and turned it into a book. This book has pep talks, short experiences, quotes...and more. 

My Thoughts: Absolutely a comforting book. Perfect when you need a pep talk. I don't agree with all of his ideas, but there is no doubt this book can be helpful when you are in a funk. I picked this up because I have loved 3 Matt Haig novels this year! He himself struggles with mental health issues.

By the way, what a great idea! Write down little encouraging thoughts as you run across them and keep a collection for when you are down. 

Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐  4 Stars! 

The Bodyguard

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC of this book!
Basically: Hannah is an executive protection agent, aka, a bodyguard. She doesn't look like a stereotypical bodyguard, but could totally take you down. She's assigned to protect Jack Stapleton, a megastar actor against his middle aged stalker.
Jack's mom is sick, and he doesn't want his family to find out he has a stalker. He asks Hannah to pretend to be his girlfriend as a cover.

This has lots of romantic tropes people love like fake dating, just one bed, and forced proximity.

My Thoughts: This was such a fun read. I appreciated the uniqueness of Hannah's job and thought it was really cool and different! I liked the characters development, especially in how Hannah saw herself throughout the story. Loved the setting, and I loved the family relationship and dynamic. This was really well paced, and felt like a natural romance! At one point, I was really hoping to see more of Hannah's skills come out and was happy they eventually did. Other than a couple of F words thrown in, this is a romance you can recommend to your mom. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars!


The Girls in the Stilt House

Basically: Ada and Matilda are two young women who have grown up in the 1920s in the swap of Mississippi. Ada promised she'd never come back, but finds herself with nowhere else to go. Matilda has her own plan to leave, but the two girls end up bonded by a murder and might just be stuck. 

My Thoughts: Eh. This was the pick for the book club I belong to, otherwise I probably wouldn't have read it. It was just OK. The beginning has a great set up and really paints a picture of the time period and setting. But, for me, all that set up just didn't pay off and it was actually pretty boring in the 2nd half. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 3 Stars.

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Let's Chat!

Leave a comment below and let me know what you've been reading recently. Have you read any of these titles? What did you think?

-Kristen

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