Well unfortunately summer of 2018 is winding down. For me, that means back to school and back to work…and less time to read. From the first day of school on, my TBR pile starts to grow at an exponential rate. The days of relaxing on the beach with a good book have come to an end. No more lazy afternoons floating in the pool while reading. No more hanging out in the hammock in the evening with a book…oh, wait, I don’t have a hammock anymore…the kids broke it.
Despite the fact that summer is almost gone, it’s not too late to revisit some of what I consider to be the Best Books of Summer 2018. At least they were for me. There are other lists of “the best books of summer 2018”, and some of the books I put on my list may be on there, but mostly this list is based on personal preference and experience. I am picky with my star rating. I don’t often give out 5 stars, so a 5 star rating for me is a great book.
Here they are, in no particular order, the 5 books I gave 5 stars to in the last few months (and one 4.5 star book). (It’s so rare for me to give a book 5 stars that I had to include this one as well.)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid) *****
That certainly didn’t go the way I expected it to! After reading a few of Reid’s previous novels, I’m beginning to think that she may be one of the most underrated authors of the last few years. Seriously, this book, like her others, ropes you in with the pretense of being a fluffy, mindless novel, and it turns out to be nothing of the sort. What it ACTUALLY is, is a study in human nature and how people will go to incredible lengths for self preservation, even when in means hard sacrifices. It’s about the complexities of love and how things are not always black and white, nor are people easily definable.
Evelyn Hugo is a self made, rags to riches starlet whose work spans the decades from the 40s all the way to the end of the 20th century. She has also been married seven times. When she is in her late seventies, she contacts Vivant magazine, under the guise of giving them a cover story on her upcoming charity auction of her gowns. She requests writer Monique Grant, who is by her own accounts, no one special. Evelyn has no intention of doing a cover story…she has an ulterior motive. She wants Monique to write her life story. And thus begins the interweaving of Evelyn Hugo’s life in the past, with Evelyn Hugo’s (and Monique’s) life now.
I highly recommend this captivating, and sometimes heart wrenching read. Get it here:
Still Me (JoJo Moyes) *****
I finished this book with tears. A little bit of good tears and a little bit of sad tears mixed all together. Louisa Clark of Me Before You andAfter You fame is back. Now she’s living in New York City as a carer to the wife of a rich man, Leonard Gopnik. Agnes is a woman who does not have any physical disabilities, but can be, at times, quite emotionally unstable. Louisa came upon this job on a recommendation from Nathan who was Will Traynor’s nurse. Nathan also works for the Gopniks as Mr. Gopnik’s physical therapist.
As per the usual Louisa Clark style, things do not go as planned. She encounters an unusual cast of characters during her time in New York, and seriously, by the end of the book I didn’t think I could possibly love her anymore than I already do. What a marvelous literary character she is! In fact, I think that Still Me was my favorite of the trilogy. Check it out yourself. Seriously, you WANT to read this.
The Home For Unwanted Girls (Joanna Goodman) *****
In 1950, Maggie, a 15 year old French Canadian girl gets pregnant. Her parents, of course, are furious. The baby’s father is a French boy that her parents seriously disapprove of. The baby, Elodie, is supposed to be adopted, but because she is born a month early and is sickly, she gets sent to an orphanage run by nuns. What transpires is the twenty-something year search for them to find each other, foiled many times by the very nuns that were supposed to be taking care of the orphans.
Although this was not a “True story”, it was based on many other true stories from this time period. That fact alone had me furious. The idea that such an abomination could have happened, to CHILDREN nonetheless, is so infuriating that at times I wanted to shake some of the characters in the novel. Yes, I know this was a different time. I get that things aren’t like they are today. But to keep mothers away from their children is beyond cruel to both the mother and child.
Check out this book if you are looking for one to hit you with a gamut of emotions. Be forewarned though, it is a little slow going in the very beginning.
Final Girls (Riley Sager) *****
Yikes. This book held me hostage from beginning to end—I seriously could not put it down and ended up reading it in less than 24 hours.
Quincy Carpenter is a “Final Girl”, the term given to the last woman or girl alive in a horror film. Quincy lived her own horror film back in college when she went on vacation with five friends and was the only one left alive. She’s trying to get her life back on track with the help of another “final girl” that she never actually meets, Lisa, who survived a deadly sorority house massacre, her boyfriend Jeff, and Cooper, the cop who found her in the woods on the night of the deadly attack. And she probably would be on track had Lisa not been discovered dead in her bathtub with her wrists slit. Suicide or murder ?
Enter Sam, another “final girl”, a survivor of another massacre. Like Lisa, Quincy never met Sam, but now that Lisa is dead, Sam is the only person who truly understands the horror that Quincy has been through. And the current horror—what if someone is targeting “Final girls” in order to finish them off? Thus ensues a crazy series of event that has you questioning everyone in Quincy’s life and their motives. In the end…nothing is really what it seems.
If you like thrillers, this is THE THRILLER to read this year.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Balli Kaur Jaswal) ****
This is the book I gave 4.5 stars too. And the only reason I gave it 4.5 stars is because I ended up skimming some of the “Erotic stories” and I think to get 5 stars a book needs to captivate me completely. However, I did love this book so much that I wrote an extensive review of it on my blog which you can read here.
Of course, these aren’t the only great books I read this summer. If you’d like to see more, check out my Goodreads Profile.