I hope you all are having a wonderful week! Today I’m blogging to you from Pasadena at the Mom 2.0 conference. I realize that I’m a few days behind on sharing the April Must-Reads so I wanted to be sure to get these out to you and (hopefully!!) inspire you with a few new reads for your book stacks.
I have SO many 5-star reads for you this month and tried to add a lot of variety instead of just my typical book selections. I’m talking about memoirs, true crime, chick lit, historical fiction, and a little bit of steamy indulgence that you will definitely want to add to your book wish list.
My Usual Reminders
If you want to see more of what I am reading, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!
In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,600 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in May) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page.
Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.
The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!
This month’s special:
❃ The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy—recommended by Guest Judge Jaime King
❃ The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner—recommended by BOTM Editorial Director Siobhan Jones
❃ How to Walk Away by Katherine Center—recommended by author Taylor Jenkins Reid
(READ MY REVIEW BELOW!!!)
❃ Small Country by Gaël Faye—recommended by BOTM Judge Liberty Hardy
❃ Still Lives by Maria Hummel—recommended by BOTM Readers Committee member Sarah Bedwell
This month’s special:
New members get a free book with code: YESPLZ.
How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly. They’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then they’ll be renewed at the end of their second month (unless they cancel).
Here are 7 must-read books I tackled in April:
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Doesn’t everyone bring a book about a serial killer on their vacation… or is that just me?
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark ended up being an incredible read about McNamara’s obsessive search to uncover the identity of a serial rapist turned murderer and her tireless investigation to try to pinpoint the source of terror that haunted California for over a decade. McNamara, tragically, passed away while researching this book and those that worked on the case with her (her lead researcher and a close colleague) pieced together all of her incredible research that she did to try to solve this case.
Over the course of ten years, a violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California and then headed South, only to commit an additional ten sadistic murders. He got away with the terror that he caused by disappearing and eluded his capture despite the best detectives in the area being on the case.
Three decades later, Mcnamara (a true crime journalist) was determined to discover his identity and spent the last portion of her career searching for answers for these victims. Her research is so expansive and McNamara leaves no stone unturned, becoming a trusted confidant of many lead investigators in this case.
If you are a true crime reader or became a big fan of the true crime podcast, Serial, this book is a definite must-read. McNamara remains grounded throughout her account while offering compassion and hope for justice for these victims. She was a gifted writer that, sadly, died too soon.
Bookending this story is an intro by Gillian Flynn and a touching afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, completing this as a captivating read that will keep you up until the wee hours.
Oh, and just in case you missed the news, he finally was captured, finally securing justice for these families.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
I devoured I Let You Go when it debuted (you can read my interview with Clare over here) and was excited to hear that there was a lot of great buzz around her latest novel, Let Me Lie. Mackintosh is proving to be quite the twist-maker, in the thriller genre, and this book is almost as twisty as her first.
In this novel, Anna has lost both her parents to an unexpected and unexplainable suicide. First, her father commits suicide and then, in an act of devotion, her mother also jumps form the same spot because she cannot go on without her husband.
It is only when Anna has a child of her own that she begins to really miss and wonder what the true motivations might have been for her mother. As she starts to explore the theory that there might be more to the story, she begins receiving threatening messages that she should stop.
As in her earlier novel, Mackintosh explores the story through may different points of view, including a retired detective who becomes intrigued by Anna’s case. Since Clare’s background is in the police field, she does a great job of creating a plausible story with just enough twists to make it fun for her readers.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Educated by Tara Westover
If you are looking for a gripping memoir to add to your book stacks this year, you MUST, MUST, MUST read this book. I polished this one off in a day because I had to know how Westover’s story would end.
If you haven’t heard about this one, I will try to briefly fill you in. Educated is the story of Tara Westover who was seventeen before she had ever stepped into a classroom. Born to Mormon survivalists, her parents spent their days stockpiling for the end-of-days, salvaging metal from the junkyard, and stewing herbs for the healing and midwifery that her mother did as her job.
Tara’s father is mentally ill and and has a strong distrust for the medical establishment and government. She grows up never seeing a doctor, never going to school, and doesn’t even have a birth certificate. If you lived a rather normal existence, this might work, but it doesn’t work in the treacherous world that Tara must live in.
My heart was in my throat almost this entire story as Tara is physically abused by a sibling, neglected by her parents, and mentally abused through her father’s version of God and the church.
Tara decides to teach herself math, grammar, and science so she can take the ACT. It is through this act that she finds her own salvation, while trying to navigate a secular world that is foreign to her.
Move this one to the top of your book pile!
5 Out Of 5 Stars
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
We Were the Lucky Ones, has been on my reading radar for awhile and I’m so glad that I finally got to it this month. Going into this one, I had no idea that this is based on the author’s own family’s Holocaust survival story. She was determined to share their story in this haunting debut, told from multiple viewpoints.
The cast of characters is vast and it took me a bit to get into my rhythm with each character, but once you get the voices down, you grow attached to each of their stories.
The story takes place in the spring of 1939 and follows three generations of the Kurc family as the shadow of the war grows closer. When the horrors of the war overtake Europe, each of these family members are thrown into different corners of the world, as they strive for survival in the only ways that they know how.
Hunter does a great job with the contrast between each of these stories. Some family members have been dealt an easier road than others, but it doesn’t mean that the easier road doesn’t bring guilt and worry over the rest of their family. Other family members must endure the horrors of the war and find a way to survive in treacherous living conditions and without food. It’s impossible to not be moved by these stories.
Although I have read so many books about this era, it never fails to surprise me how much I am still unaware of.
Hunter tells these stories with beauty, compassion, and a lot of heart. You will find yourself attached to each of them, as though they are your own family.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Indecent by Corinne Sullivan
After so many heavy books with equally heavy topics, I was looking for a fun escape this month. If you are looking for a steamy beach read this summer, I think you will find that Indecent fits the bill perfectly.
With some Fatal Attraction elements, Sullivan crafts a story of a young teacher hired for a boarding school and her fascination with the popular boy at school. When he becomes interested in her, the affair escalates quickly and she will do anything to keep their relationship going with him, including risking her job and reputation.
Sullivan is able to capture these insecurities and the emotional instability of her character perfectly. The obsessive nature of this indecent affair escalates quickly and the reader gets to follow along from one juicy page to the next.
Appropriately named, this book was a fun escape if you are looking to add a steamy book to your beach bag this summer.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
I received an advanced reader copy from the publishing house.
If you are a Me Before You fan, you won’t want to miss this gorgeous read this summer. As I mentioned above, this one is one of the Book of the Month selections this month and would be a worthy investment with your book credit.
Imagine you were terrified of flying and, just as you always suspected, you are in a tragic accident. This is exactly what unfolds from the opening chapters of How to Walk Away, and the reader is taken along the journey as Kit’s life, as she knows it, is forever changed.
Also, imagine that the person you love walks away from the experience unscathed.
The book centers around the difficult recovery, the surprises of those who step up in tragedies, the sadness around those that walk away, and how to find love again.
I devoured this book in a single day and can’t say enough good things. Fans of Emily Giffin or Taylor Jenkins Reid are sure to fall in love with this book.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton
Set in the late 1800’s, Lilli becomes pregnant out of wedlock and is banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth to her daughter in an institution for unwed mothers and will stop at nothing to keep her.
In order to provide for her daughter, she must work as a wet nurse, nursing a child that is not her own, to pay her bills.
Told in diary format, it is an achingly beautiful read about the unbelievable challenges of motherhood and the sacrifices that must be made to keep your child safe.
I learned so much about what the role of a wet nurse really looked like and what these institutions really looked like for children during this time. Lilli is ahead of her time and this book shows just what an early feminist might look like.
You can’t help but marvel at the bravery of this character as she does all she can to save her baby. You also can’t help but marvel that this is Benton’s debut novel because the writing is so confident and eloquent.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Read With Me This Year:
What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo
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