Friday Five (Favorite Recent Reads)

I love reading and have been working hard to carve out time for it! I’m going to try to recap my recent reads more frequently over the coming year. Interested in past book review posts? Check out my favorite reads of 2016

 

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

I got hooked on this book after randomly buying it in a Chicago airport. I devoured it and the two sequels in no time. These are easy, engaging reads giving you a glimpse into the world of Asia’s uber rich and their antics. The fashion, the wild escapades, the private jets – these books were super fun. They also made me really want all varieties of Asian food – the descriptions of everything from Singapore street food to Malaysian delicacies had me drooling!

American Housewife Stories by Helen Ellis

Meet the women of American Housewife. They wear lipstick, pearls, and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy. They casserole. They pinwheel. And then they kill a party crasher, carefully stepping around the body to pull cookies from the oven. 

Taking us from a haunted pre-war Manhattan apartment building to the unique initiation ritual of a book club, these twelve delightfully demented stories are a refreshing and wicked answer to the question: “What do housewives do all day?”

I normally don’t care for short stories so I probably wouldn’t have booked up this book (or downloaded it to my kindle as it were), but it was this months book club pick and I ended up really enjoying it. These twisted stories were all linked in theme as they centered loosely around “housewives” though that term was mostly used ironically. I enjoyed the variation in length and levity of the stories and my favorite was “Dumpster Diving with the Stars.”

Retrograde by Kat Hausler

On a warm summer day in Berlin, Helena is hit by a truck while crossing the street. She awakens to the loving face of her husband Joachim. In addition to a few broken bones, she realizes she can’t remember anything about the accident, or even the last few years leading up to it. Retrograde amnesia the doctors call it, and assure her that with time, she should regain her memory.

At loose ends after another botched relationship, Joachim doesn’t intend to lie to his estranged wife, Helena. But when he realizes that she doesn’t remember their separation, he can’t bring himself to tell her. So he does what any rational man would do: he takes her home and pretends they were never apart.

As the lies accumulate, Helena senses something isn’t quite right―that her husband is hiding something. When the outside world encroaches, Helena must face an unsettling truth and decide what the past will mean for their future. Is the past binding, or can she go back and change what went wrong in their relationship? And if given the chance, would she even want to?

I’m a little biased because this book was written by one of my best friends, but it was also objectively good! 🙂 Retrograde is a haunting, realistic portrayal of a second-chance relationship. As the book unfolds, you understand the conflicting motivations of the main characters and how they handle an opportunity to fix the past and re-write their story.

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Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.

I love Liane Moriarty’s books and this one did not disappoint. Her character development is great and I always feel like I’d want to be friends with at least one if not many of the characters. I also appreciate how her books usually have interesting twists and almost always neatly wrap up everything at the end. I enjoy a good resolution! If you watched Big Little Lies on HBO last summer, I highly recommend you start there and then read the rest of Liane’s catalog.

Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner

By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?

This was a free Amazon First Book that I downloaded to my kindle (and it’s currently free with kindle unlimited if you have that). I went through a brief period of reading suspense/mystery books after we read Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris for book club. That book scared the BEJEEZUS out of me so this one seemed much more mild in comparison. It was full of suspense and intrigue as the main character struggles to find out what happened to her sister of a mysterious disappearance. I feel like this book has one major flaw that doesn’t make sense, but it doesn’t take away from the story (no spoilers so I can’t go into it here…).

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations? 

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