Recently Reading (January 2017)

Wow, I cannot believe it is already almost Valentine’s Day! I can already tell this semester is going to fly by, but I am excited for summer and warmer weather. As you know, I traveled during January, so I had time to read a few books between plane rides and car rides. I wanted to recap the ones I liked, and the one I just couldn’t get into in this post!

“What would you do if your husband suddenly wanted to rewrite all of the rules of your relationship?  This is the question at the heart of Skipping a Beat, Pekkanen’s thought-provoking second book. 

From the outside, Julia and Michael seem to have it all.  Both products of difficult childhoods in rural West Virginia – where they were simply Julie and Mike – they become high school sweethearts and fall in love.  Shortly after graduation, they flee their small town to start afresh.  Now thirty-somethings, they are living a rarified life in their multi-million-dollar, Washington D.C. home. Julia is a highly sought-after party planner, while Michael has just sold his wildly successful flavored water company for $70 million. 

But one day, Michael collapses in his office. Four minutes and eight seconds after his cardiac arrest, a portable defibrillator jump-starts his heart. But in those lost minutes he becomes a different man. Money is meaningless to him – and he wants to give it all away. Julia, who sees bits of her life reflected in scenes from the world’s great operas, is now facing with a choice she never anticipated. Should she should walk away from the man she once adored – but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before this pronouncement – or give in to her husband’s pleas for a second chance and a promise of a poorer but happier life?” 

In my last Recently Reading post I said I really liked These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen, and this book was just as good, if not better. I definitely have all of Pekkanen’s books on my to-read list now! I highly recommend this one!

“A new day. A new place. A new life.

In the past few years, Mclean has pretended to be so many different people that she hardly remembers who she really is anymore.

The adorable guy next door might be able to help her figure it out.

But is she ready for it?”

Sarah Dessen is an author I find myself going back to if I am unsure of what to read. I really have enjoyed all the books I have read by her, but for some reason I don’t find myself gravitating to them often. This one was truly a good, yet quick read, and I found myself finishing it and wanting more after just a few days of reading. If you are a Dessen fan but haven’t read this one yet, I recommend trying it! 

“In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting—but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.”

Out of the 3 books I have read by Pekkanen recently, this one was the harder for me to get into, but in the end I really did enjoy it. I would recommend These Girls or Skipping a Beat before this one though! 

“Miles Ryan’s life seemed to end the day his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident two years ago. As deputy sheriff of New Bern, North Carolina, he not only grieves for her and worries about their young son Jonah but longs to bring the unknown driver to justice. Then Miles meets Sarah Andrews, Jonah’s second-grade teacher. A young woman recovering from a difficult divorce, Sarah moved to New Bern hoping to start over. Tentatively, Miles and Sarah reach out to each other…soon they are falling in love. But what neither realizes is that they are also bound together by a shocking secret, one that will force them to reexamine everything they believe in-including their love.”

I enjoyed this book more than I have enjoyed other Nicholas Sparks books because the mystery element of who killed his wife was part of the story the entire time. If you are looking for part romance, part mystery, this book is a good option! 

“Claire Danner Crispin, mother of four young children and nationally renowned glassblower, bites off more than she can chew when she agrees to co-chair the Nantucket’s Children Summer Gala. Claire is asked to chair the benefit, in part, because she is the former high school sweetheart of rock star Max West. Max agrees to play the gala and it looks like smooth sailing for Claire-until she promises a “museum-quality” piece of glass for the auction, offers her best friend the catering job, goes nose-to-nose with her Manhattan socialite co-chair, and begins a “good-hearted” affair with the charity’s Executive Director, Lockhart Dixon.
Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this riveting story of one woman’s attempt to deal with loves past and present, family, business, and high-powered social pressures. Elin Hilderbrand’s unique understanding of the joys and longings that animate women’s lives will make this her newest summer bestseller.”

This was the first book I have read by Elin Hilderbrand, but it was definitely one I liked! It did take me probably 100 pages to really get into it, but once I had read the first half, I flew through the second half in a day. And I’m not going to spoil anything, but I really loved the ending. 

“Three Georgia peaches are in for one juicy summer . . . 

. . . but Birdie would rather eat Thin Mints and sulk in the A/C. 

Leeda would prefer to sneak off with her boyfriend, Rex. 

And Murphy would much rather cause a little mischief. 

Together these three very different girls will discover the secret to finding the right boy, making the truest of friends, and picking the perfect Georgia peach.”

This is the one book I tried to read, but could not get into. I honestly gave it a good try and read about 1/4 of it, but I was having trouble relating, getting into the story, and keeping the characters straight. It honestly pains me to start a book and not finish it, but trying to finish this book just seemed like a waste of time. If you are looking for a new book to try, I would highly recommend picking up any other books in this post before this one. 

What have you been reading recently? Please leave any recommendations in the comments!

xo, Scarlett