1. The Paris Network: Siobhan Curham
2. The Winter Guest: Pam Jenoff
3. The Heart Principle: Helen Hoang
4. Labyrinth of Ice: Buddy Levy
5. I Owe You One: Sophie Kinsella
6. The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare: Kimberly Brock
7. Bringing Down the Duke: Evie Dunmore
8. The Love Hypothesis: Ali Hazelwood
9. The Manhattan Girls: Gill Paul
10. Sisters of Night & Fog: Erika Robuck
11. Cold Cold Bones: Kathy Reichs
12. Just Last Night: Mhairi McFarlane
13. The Last Chance Library: Freya Sampson
14. The Death of Mrs. Westaway: Ruth Ware
15. Point Last Seen: Christina Dodd
16. With Love From London: Sarah Jio
17. The Librarian Spy: Madeline Martin
18. The Colony: Sally Denton
19. Throne of Glass: Sarah J. Maas
20. The Bookseller’s Secret: Michelle Gable
21. How to Be an American Housewife: Margaret Dilloway
22. Crown of Midnight: Sarah J. Maas
23. A Good Day for Chardonnay: Darynda Jones
24. Heir of Fire: Sarah J. Maas
25. The Social Climber: Amanda Pellegrino
26. Profit First: Mike Michalowicz
27. Queen of Shadows: Sarah J. Maas
28. Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert
29. Empire of Storms: Sarah J. Maas
30. On a Night Like This: Lindsey Kelk
31. Island Affair: Priscilla Oliveras
32. The Housemaid: Freida McFadden
33. The Quarry Girls: Jess Lourey
34. Runaway Groomsman: Meghan Quinn
35. Luck of the Draw: Kate Clayborn
36. These Tangled Vines: Julianne Maclean
37. Shadows of Pecan Hollow: Caroline Frost
38. That Kind of Guy: Stephanie Archer
39. The Perfect Marriage: Jeneva Rose
40. Beyond This Broken Sky: Siobhan Curham
41. The Wrong Mr. Right: Stephanie Archer
42. The Winners: Fredrik Backman
43. The Bookshop on the Corner: Jenny Colgan
44. Spare: Prince Harry
45. In Your Dreams, Holden Rhodes: Stephanie Archer
46. The Stillwater Girls: Minka Kent
47. Abandoned in Death: JD Robb
48. The German Girl: Armando Lucas Correa
49. If the Shoe Fits: Julie Murphy
50. The Highland Fling: Meghan Quinn
51. Good Night from Paris: Jane Healey
52. Wild Beautiful and Free: Sophfronia Scott
53. Below Zero: Ali Hazelwood
54. Finn Rhodes Forever: Stephanie Archer
My favorites this quarter were Labyrinth of Ice, The Love Hypothesis, With Love From London, The Colony, Big Magic, The Winners, and a bunch of the Thrones of Glass series, with an honorary mention for Spare.
Labyrinth of Ice: This will go down as one of my favorite non-fiction books of all time – I couldn’t stop listening to it! It follows the ill-fated Greely Polar expedition. In 1881, Lt. Greely set and a crew of 24 scientists set off for the Farthest North. The crew built a base camp and survived every possible challenge that they could in the Polar North, from wolves to sub zero temperatures to months of darkness as they explored the unknown. In 1882, they broke the 300 year record for Farthest North and then came back to camp to await the resupply ship due at the end of 1882. This is truly the most incredible book of rescue and survival that I’ve EVER read and I’d never heard of it before. Their journey changed the world and the way that we look at expeditions, and I *highly* recommend that everyone read it.
The Love Hypothesis: Olive is a third year PhD candidate at Stanford who is desperately trying to convince her best friend Ahn that she is happily dating and on her way to a long relationship. When she panics and grabs the first person she sees in the lab to kiss when she sees Ahn, she doesn’t realize until it’s too late that it’s the well documented ass professor Adam Carlsen. She’s shocked when he agrees to help pretend that they are fake dating to keep Ahn off Olive’s case, but as times goes on it feels less and less like fake dating and maybe like…real? This was SUCH a fun read and I read it in one sitting!!
With Love From London: I absolutely LOVED this book and read it in one sitting. I’d never heard of Sarah Jio before but I’ll be adding her to a new favorites list! When Valentina was young, her mother unexpectedly left her in California with her father to return to her native London. Val’s father told her that she left with no interest in Val, so when she gets a letter 25 years later saying that her mother has passed and left her a bookstore in London, Val is determined to get to the bottom of why her mother left her so many years ago. Through a colorful cast of characters who surrounded her mother for the decades that she resided in London and who welcome Val in with open arms, she finds out the truth and uncovers her mother’s same passion for her bookstore. I loved the characters in this one and the descriptions of the quaint Primrose Hill neighborhood made me feel like I was really there!
The Colony: I have a very weird fascination with the Mormon religion & culture (especially in today’s society). So when I read the jacket for this book and it talked about the true story of a polygamist fundamentalist sect AND a Mexican cartel, I was like – SOLD. In late 2019, three women and their children were murdered in Mexico as they were driving to the border – some kids survived and managed to escape and lead their families back to the wrecks. No one claimed responsibility and they quickly started trying to figure out if the cartels were part of it, if it was an unfortunate coincidence and they were caught in the crossfire, or if they were targeted. The book dove deep into the history of the Mormon religion, starting with Joseph Smith and ending with the founding of this fundamentalist sect in Mexico that has been there for generations. There is so much that I didn’t know about the Mormon history and it was all laid out in this book. This particular sect was tied in with Keith Raniere and the NXIVM cult and had SO many secrets, including a blood feud between brothers which sparked the killing spree of the “Mormon Manson.” I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in the history of the religion and some of its current offshoots – and it was written by a descendant of a polygamist Mormon. It was also very short (maybe around 200 pages?) and there were a couple of parts that were dry but overall, it was fantastic.
Big Magic: At the risk of sounding super woo-woo, I waited 5 years after I started this book for the first time for it to come back around. It sounds insane, but I started to read this book 5 years ago but stopped and I never knew why…until I picked it up again and realized that every word I was reading was something I needed to hear at that exact moment. Every single word spoke to me and I can’t even begin to tell you how many things I’ve highlighted and will reread. I truly think that all creatives need to read this to understand how creativity manifests and shows itself! It talks about how creativity can come and go and the ideas that we have must be nurtured and loved, or they’ll leave us. It’s some truly woo-woo stuff, but I LOVED reading it and I will almost guaranteed read it annually now. If you’re a creative person, or someone who loves “spiritual” things, I would highly recommend reading this.
The Winners: Fredrik Backman is my favorite author, and I was reminded of this while I was reading this. The Winners is the final piece to the Beartown trilogy, and I highly recommend that you read those first. This is a BEEFY book, coming in at almost 700 pages, and tbh, I had a hard time getting into it. I think this was due to the fact that I was reading a few chapters a night at bedtime and actually needed to sit down to dive in, which I did end up doing and finished the last half of the book in a few hours – it was that good. Backman has the ability to reach into your chest when you’re least expecting it and grabbing a hold of your heart and then twisting it (I’m not kidding when I tell you that I cried no less than 5 times). In a sentence, The Winners is about the rivalry between the towns of Beartown and Hed and the long simmering tensions between the townspeople. It only takes a spark to ignite the fuel coming from years of pent-up aggressions, and when it peaks, you’ll see who is left standing. Most of the characters will be familiar to you if you’ve read the previous two books (which honestly, I do recommend doing).
Thrones of Glass series: Obviously we all know that I was absolutely obsessed with ACOTAR and Crescent City, so I came into this series knowing what I was getting myself into and I really loved it. It’s the first of SJM’s series so there are definitely common threads woven in that I recognized from the other two series, but this one is great! The series follows Celaena Sardothein, once a dangerous assasin, turned into a salt mine slaved and then pulled out to compete for the King’s pleasure. Magic has been erased from the world, and evil is attempting to take control, and Celaena has to fight for what she believes in. I *highly* recommend this series especially if you loved ACOTAR!
Spare: We all know the story of Prince Harry – he lost his mother at 12 and then seemed to spiral down into a decade of chaos – drugs, partying and women. I remember this period of time and seeing headlines that decried him as the partying prince who couldn’t get his life together. He joined the military at 21 and served two tours of duty in the Middle East and then seemed to float around like he had no responsibilities until he met Meghan and we all know what happened after that. This is told like he’s having a frank conversation with someone – including the fact that conversations are italicized and not quoted (this threw me at first but I actually loved it). The story comes out as a stream of consciousness and includes little nuggets of his life, some of which I did think were a little excessive and didn’t add to the story. This was an absolutely fascinating first hand look at someone who’s had his entire life upended because of the media. Most of the good that he’s done with humanitarian work has been overshadowed by the chaotic headlines that the press has chosen to focus on, and I completely understand wanting to remove himself and his family from that situation. Like I said earlier, there were some random tangents that I truly had no interest in and that didn’t even add to the story, but for the most part it was a truly comprehensive study in his life since Diana died. Here’s the thing though – while the core story here is how a public life changed him, he’s putting this all out for the world to read while vilifying and potentially ostracizing a few core members of his family. There were more than a few sections that seemed very self aggrandizing and many that seemed very “woe is me,” and look, he’s had a tough emotional life but he’s still had SO much handed to him. I definitely had a lot of conflicting emotions about this one, but at the end of the day, I truly loved the way it was written (this is definitely in contrast to how a lot of people feel), and I did think that it was told well.
I’m already well into a few books for the next quarter and can’t wait to dig into my list!!