I feel like every 4th quarter is a huge push for me to hit my reading goal, while also simultaneously being the busiest part of my year 😂. I managed to get 38 books in under the wire (the last one was finished by 11:15 on NYE) and I found some absolute gems in the last part of the year!!
93. Wicked Appetite: Janet Evanovich
94. Part of Your World: Abby Jimenez
95. Rivals: Katharine McGee
96. The Storyteller of Casablanca: Fiona Valpy
97. The Poppy Wife: Caroline Scott
98. The Paris Apartment: Lucy Foley
99. The Fire and the Ore: Olivia Hawker
100. A Feather on the Water: Lindsay Jayne Ashford
101. The Vicious Circle: Katherine St. John
102. The Lioness: Chris Bohjalian
103. Nora Goes Off Script: Annabel Monaghan
104. After the Ink Dries: Cassie Gustafson
105. The Hotel Nantucket: Elin Hilderbrand
106. The Other Mrs.: Mary Kubica
107. The Venice Sketchbook: Rhys Bowen
108. Stars of Alabama: Sean Dietrich
109. Sea of Tranquility: Emily St. John Mandel
110. The House at Mermaid’s Cove: Lindsay Jayne Ashford
111. The Maid: Anita Prose
112. Mary Jane: Jessica Anya Blau
113. Spells for Forgetting: Adrienne Young
114. Weather Girl: Rachel Lynn Solomon
115. Enjoy the View: Sarah Morgenthaler
116. Something Wilder: Christina Lauren
117. The Keeper of Happy Endings: Barbara Davis
118. The Girl You Left Behind: Jojo Moyes
119. Beyond the Moonlit Sea: Julianne Maclean
120. In a Holidaze: Christina Lauren
121. Cover Story: Susan Rigetti
122. The Lost Village: Camilla Sten
123. Lessons in Chemistry: Bonnie Garmus
124. Last Tang Standing: Lauren Ho
125. The Girl in His Shadow: Audrey Blake
126. Duke, Actually: Jenny Holiday
127. Christmas in Peachtree Bluff: Kristy Woodson Harvey
128. The House Across the Lake: Riley Sager
129. The Secret Love Letters of Olivia Moretti: Jennifer Probst
130. Mistletoe & Mr. Right: Sarah Morgenthaler
There were SO many favorites from this quarter!! Here are my top picks: The Vicious Circle, The Lioness, Nora Goes Off Script, The Maid, Enjoy the View, Something Wilder, The Girl You Left Behind, and Cover Story.
The Vicious Circle: Xanadu seems so idyllic from the outside looking in – a holistic wellness center in the jungles of Mexico run by a group of like-minded people who focus on inner spirituality. Paul and his wife Kali lead the group, and when he mysteriously dies, the entire estate is left to his estranged niece Sveta. When she travels to the jungle to settle it, she discovers that everything isn’t what it looks like at Xanadu, and its cult-like influence on its members threatens her life.
The Lioness: Tanzania, 1964: Hollywood starlet Katie Barstow and her brand new husband David Hill invite their friends to the Serengeti for their safari honeymoon, and have expectations of watching the wildlife during the day and sipping sundowners at night in their camp. What they don’t expect is a kidnapping gone wrong, Russian mercenaries, and all the intricacies of the secrets the group has. This was such a fast-paced book and I loved reading it, especially since I had just returned from Kenya!
Nora Goes Off Script: Nora is a romance channel screenwriter, but when her husband leaves her and their two children, she funnels all of her pain and loss into the best script she’s ever written, which is then picked up by Hollywood and filmed at her house. When Leo Vance, a former Sexiest Man Alive is cast as her on-screen husband, Nora knows that life as she knows it has ceased to exist. When she finds him on her porch the morning after filming wraps, he offers her a thousand dollars a night to let him stay for an extra week – just enough time for him to have a break from work and for her and her kids to get used to him. When a week turns into two and then three…it’s just enough time for Leo & Nora to discover that they may have fallen for each other.
The Maid: Molly Gray is just a little bit different than everyone else. For her, everything is black and white and right or wrong. She’s a maid at the Regency Hotel where she takes absolute delight in straightening rooms, cleaning up after people, and all in all, enacting a sense of order. When Molly enters Mr. Black’s hotel room one morning, she finds him dead in his bed. Before she knows it, she’s the main suspect in the police’s investigation because of her “quirkiness,” and she races against the clock to exonerate herself.
Enjoy the View: This was the perfect blend of adventure, romance & fun. Sarah Morgenthaler could write the dictionary and I’d read it. Set in the small town of Moose Springs, Alaska, River is an actress turned producer who is attempting to regain her footing in Hollywood by producing a documentary about Moose Springs. When she’s shut out by the local population, she decides to climb local Mount Veil with her camera crew – it’s the most ruthless mountain in the area and is famous for miles around. She enlists local Easton to guide them and what was supposed to be a straightforward climb turns dangerous and River & Easton are thrown together because of it. I *loved* this book and I was so bummed when I finished it because IMO it’s the perfect rom-com.
Something Wilder: Lily Wilder has carved out a life by taking tourists out into the wilderness to hunt for buried treasure using her late father’s famed treasure maps. When an unexpected person from her past comes into her life in the form of a client and their trip goes awry, can Lily let go of her past hurt to try to determine her future? This might be one of my favorite Christina Lauren books of all time, and I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t tear myself away!
The Girl You Left Behind: When I saw that Jojo Moyes wrote this book, I didn’t even look at the synopsis, I just immediately borrowed it from the library. Set in World War I France, and present-day London, the story follows a young French woman named Sophie whose beloved husband is off fighting the Germans while she and her sister are running their parent’s hotel in their Nazi-occupied village. Sophie’s husband Édouard is an artist and left her a beautiful portrait of her – which catches the eye of a local Kommandant and therefore puts her under extreme scrutiny by her local villagers and the Nazis. In London, over 100 years later, Liv’s husband has recently died, and she is living alone in the house he built for them with her only companion a beautiful painting of a young woman that he bought her on their honeymoon in Spain. When the painting is discovered by an art recovery team who specializes in stolen art retrieval, the story of the Sophie and the painting itself is thrust into the spotlight. What happened to the mysterious subject of the portrait after she was taken by the Nazis, and what will happen to her painting over 100 years later? I loved this book, and I think that JoJo Moyes does an incredible job of telling stories like this!
Cover Story: I couldn’t put this book down! Lora is an aspiring writer who’s moved from a small town in Pennsylvania to New York City to attend NYU. When she starts to suffer academically, she’s scrambling to find a solution for her next year’s tuition without her parents finding out. When she lands a prestigious internship at Vogue, she’s ecstatic, and when she meets the mysterious Cat Wolff, she’s even more enamored. Cat is everything that Lora aspires to be – smart, beautiful, well-traveled, and incredibly likable. When her internship ends, Lora realizes that she has nowhere to go, and nowhere to live, so Cat proposes that Lora moves into the Plaza Hotel with her to help her write a story as a ghostwriter. As things start to escalate, nothing is what it appears to be and when a story that Lora writes goes viral under Cat’s name, and Lora gets zero recognition, she starts to poke around. Told via Lora’s diary entries, instant messages, texts, and Instagram posts, this is the most millennial thriller that you can get your hands on. And!! Just wait until quite literally the very last page – it will blow your mind!