best books of summer 2019

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Unfortunately summer is winding down. It’s time to pack away the beach chairs. Time to close up the pool and cover the patio furniture. It’s time to go back to work and school. Time to tally up the best books of summer 2019.

This list of the best books of summer 2019 is extremely subjective. It’s comprised of the best books I read this summer. Yup, it’s my opinion. These aren’t necessary “summer’s hottest reads”. In fact, some of these books could be a few years old already. It’s not based on prize winning books or books “Everyone” loved. Nor is it based on books with five stars and a billion reviews.

I mean, these books might have five stars and a million reviews, but that’s not why I consider them the best books of summer 2019. I consider them the best books of the summer because they were the most enjoyable for me, and I think you might enjoy them as well. AND you don’t even need to read them in the summer.

Oh and on this list of best books of summer 2019 I did NOT include three of my favorite books this summer, A Man Called Ove, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, because I already reviewed them on the blog. But they all definitely deserve a read.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

My Take:

4.5 stars. This Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day meets The Butterfly Effect meets “Every Day” was one wild ride. At first I didn’t realize the whole “waking up in a different body every day” twist and was confused when I got to the end of Day One. After that I have to say this definitely held my attention. It’s a unique take on a who done it mystery that Agatha Christie fans can’t miss. 
My only complaint is that I wish I hadn’t read this on Kindle and had a physical copy of this book to flip back and forth. It would have made keeping track of the characters a little easier for me.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. 

That was five years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

But the autopsy finds no cancer. The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation. Who could possibly want Diana dead? 

My Take:

5 stars. I listened to the audiobook of this novel. This book had it all…mystery, intrigue, dysfunctional family… 
The reader learns the history of the family mainly through Diana and Lucy’s reflections of the past and present. You learn about their relationships and what shapes their lives and their ideals. The characters surprise the reader throughout the whole novel…things aren’t always what they seem. And people aren’t always what they seem either.

While this book certainly doesn’t have a happily ever after, it has the ending that it deserves. And I think Diana would approve of that.

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My Take:

4.5 stars. I got this book over a month ago and I had to mentally psych myself up to read it. I am a big Colleen Hoover fan, although I am not a fan of the romance genre in general. Something about Colleen’s books are different—I don’t feel like I’m reading sappy, corny love stories when I read her novels. Her characters are deep and I come away having learned something after reading her novels. So anyway, when I read the reviews of THIS book—people writing things like “This was so disturbing I wanted to dunk my eyeballs in bleach after reading it” and “I need to take a shower to get the dirty off me” and “I couldn’t sleep at night after reading this”—I was nervous to read it. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but damn, I’m kind of disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book a lot. It was well written, heart-wrenching, and suspenseful. But OMG people…have you never read a thriller? Thrillers are my bread and butter, so I guess that’s why I wasn’t shocked. A plot like this (yes, even ones with mothers who hate their children) is par for the course with a thriller. The more shocking, the better. There was nothing in this book that I wouldn’t have expected, other than the fact that I was really thinking that the plot twist would be even more twisted and the writer would actually turn out be Jeremy (I thought that’s where she was going after he said Verity never read the book, he did).

Don’t get me wrong.

I hated Verity throughout the book with every fiber of my being and I could not even fathom thinking what she was thinking, let alone writing it down (writing exercise or not…and I’m a writer), but that’s what makes Hoover an exceptional writer. She thinks outside the box and makes the reader feel all the things—good, bad, and horrific. Excellent job…I hope there is another thriller in the works (one with an even twistier plot twist).

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Paris, World War I. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband—a dangerous obsession is born. 

Almost a century later in London, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Liv’s world is turned upside all over again.

My Take:

4.5 stars. This book by Jojo Moyes, the brilliant author of Me Before You, flips between 2006 and 1916/1917. Two women in totally different time periods, trying to hold on to pieces of their husbands, the only constant between the two a painting.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare. This is no longer a game. They’re fighting for their lives.

My Take:

4.5 stars. This is one of those books you devour in less than 24 hours. Those 24 hours interrupted only by sleeping and eating. Brilliant plot and despicable characters that you love to hate. I literally only liked ONE character in this whole book…but that was the author’s intention. My only complaint is that the ending itself felt a bit rushed and I dare say a tad bit unrealistic, but still, a great read.

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