National Book Reading Day…

Fun fact about me: I’ve always loved reading and still do! It doesn’t happen very often, but a Saturday morning where I can stay in bed and read for a while is my favorite way to start my weekend! Who remembers the Scholastic Book Orders in Elementary School? My mom had to give me a limit on the number of books I could order each month, otherwise I would’ve ordered every single book. No joke! Most months when the Book Order came in, it was just me and my teacher who ordered books. Such a nerd! No shame over here!

In honor of National Book Reading Day, I rounded up the 5 best books I’ve read so far this year with short synopses and my thoughts below! I’d love to hear in the comments if you’ve read any of them!

One Perfect Lie

Synopsis:

A handsome stranger moves to the small Pennsylvania town of Central Valley, and his name is Chris Brennan. He s applying for a job as a teacher and varsity baseball coach at the local high school, and he looks perfect, on paper. But his name is an alias, his resume is false, and everything about him is a lie. And he has a secret plan – for which he needs a pawn on the baseball team.

Susan Sematov loves her younger son Raz, the quirky and free-spirited pitcher of the team. But Raz s adored father died only a few months ago, and the family is grief-stricken. Secretly, Raz is looking to fill the Daddy-shaped hole in his heart.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who s dedicated to her only son Justin, the quiet rookie on the team. But Justin s shy and reserved nature renders him vulnerable to attention, including that of a new father-figure.

Mindy Kostis is the wife of a busy surgeon and the queen bee of the baseball boosters, where her super-popular son Evan is the star catcher. But she doesn t realize that Evan s sense of entitlement is becoming a full-blown case of affluenza, and after he gets his new BMW, it s impossible to know where he s going or whom he s spending time with.

The lives of these families revolve around the baseball team and Chris Brennan. What does he really want? How far will he go to get it? Who among them will survive the lethal jeopardy threatening them, from the shadows?

My thoughts:

Oh my goodness I couldn’t put this book down! I love love love books that just suck me in and make me stay up way past my bedtime. After the first section, it was like I had whiplash! I actually had to go back a few pages and make sure I didn’t miss something. There’s such a huge twist that you would never see coming and I love that! I read my share of ‘fluff’ but I also love books where I have no idea what’s coming next. Definitely recommend this book to everyone! 5/5 stars!

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Synopsis:

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

My thoughts:

This was the first graphic novel that I read and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I read this book in the middle seat on a flight (gross!) and once I got past feeling like a 12-year-old reading a comic book, I really enjoyed it! It took me probably an hour to read it from start to finish and I just thought it was so cute! There wasn’t much complexity to the storyline, but the illustrations were amazing! I’m definitely interested in reading more graphic novels! 5/5 stars!

Nine Women, One Dress

Synopsis:

Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…

My thoughts:

Another cute, feel-good book. I was really engaged until the sinkhole situation happened. I feel like that was just way too over the top. Otherwise, I loved the story and this book and how we got so many different perspectives! It was a bit hard to follow at times with all the jumping around. My favorite character is either Felicia or Morris. I love how it comes full circle at the end, as well! 4/5 Stars

Friction

Synopsis:

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?

My thoughts:

I love a good mystery and Sandra Brown did a decent job with this one. I was really engaged for the first 2/3 of the book and then I got kind of sick of it. The Judge wasn’t a very exciting character; seemed very flat. I feel like more could have happened with her. And the grandparents also annoyed me at times. I couldn’t predict the ending for most of the book, so I really liked that aspect of it. 4/5 Stars

It’s Always The Husband

Synopsis:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

My thoughts:

Ho.ly. Cow. Talk about a big twist at the end! I don’t want to give anything away, but ohmygoodness I did NOT see that coming in a million years! It was hard for me to get invested in the characters and I felt like they were very whiny and dramatic, but the ending just makes up for alllll of that!!!  I do wish they would have given a bit more closure on all the characters. 4/5 stars

What’s been your favorite book that you’ve read this year? I would love to be friends on Goodreads! https://www.goodreads.com/rzylstra23

XO, Rachel