Book Club | What I’ve Read Lately

Today I’ve got a post for all my book-loving-friends! I go through seasons of reading, and lately I’ve been on a roll with some incredible books. And since ‘Book Reviews’ is something many of you asked for more of this year, let’s do it!

Since I was an only-child for 16 years, books were oftentimes my best friends. I love nothing more than getting lost in a story, and can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stayed up all night to finish one. Especially this time of year… is there anything cozier than climbing in to bed early with a good book?!

Today I’m excited to share what I’ve read and loved lately! Books are obviously subjective, and no two people will have the same thoughts, feelings, and opinions about a story. But never-the-less, I love reading other book reviews, and have discovered so many incredible reads through your recommendations.

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron //

I love historical fiction based on WW2, especially reading from the different perspectives of people impacted by it. Bluebird is the first time I’ve read anything as told from a German citizen’s perspective, and it was so completely eye-opening.

It’s 1946, and Eva leaves battered Berlin behind for the safety and fresh start of New York City… or so we think. Justice for a Nazi who got away is actually her mission.

There’s little else I can say without giving so many of the secrets of this book away, but I loved it! German life isn’t one I’ve considered much, especially one that’s directly tied to key Nazi figures.

This book made me think, made me feel, sparked conversations, and opened up an entire new storyline in WW2 history that has me looking for more.

The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron //

When I find a book I love, I tend to make my way through the author’s library… and so begins my dive in to Sharon Cameron! The Light in Hidden Places is based on the true story of Stefania, a Polish teenager who hid 13 Jewish people in the attic of her tiny cottage for three years! I loved it!

This story is told with such devastating, gritty detail of Stefania, who was faced with the horrors of finding work to feed and care for not only herself and her 7-year-old sister completely on her own in a starving, war-torn Poland, but also the 13 men and women living in the cramped darkness of her attic. At times Nazi soldiers lived in her spare bedroom, forcing her friends to lie in a cramped corner for days without moving a muscle or having any food.

A recent pick for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, The Light in Hidden Places is so beautifully written, I was holding my breath with every devastating moment. It was heartbreaking, and so inspiring to read about one woman’s bravery and humanity.

 

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover //

This book has been around for awhile, and I’m 90% certain I’ve read it before, but such is turning 50, I guess… ha! With the new release of a sequel, I grabbed It Ends with Us to refresh myself with the storyline, and devoured it in a single day in Mexico!

Lily leaves her small town and abusive upbringing behind for Boston, where she meets charming and successful Ryle Kincaid. Life is perfect, until maybe it’s not? Then she runs into her first love, Atlas Corrigan… and her past begins to threaten her future.

This story deals with physical abuse, both obvious and subtle, and takes you on an emotional roller coaster that’s hard to put down. There were times I felt a little sick to my stomach, and thanks to the author’s ability to show the human side of her characters, I found myself siding with perhaps the ‘wrong’ guy. I loved all the characters in this book, especially the friendships, and couldn’t put it down, but it certainly didn’t leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings.

 

It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover //

The author said she rarely writes a sequel, but had such an overwhelming response from readers wanting to know how Lily, Ryle, and Atlas’s story ends, she delivered with It Starts With Us. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to the characters either, so I read the two back-to-back.

While it was a fast, easy read, and I enjoyed watching Lily’s life come together, I felt like the author rushed this book. And whereas in the first book, she made us fall in love with each of the characters and see their humanity, in It Starts With Us, Ryle went from being a soft-hearted tortured soul to just a raging a-hole.

I’m glad I read it, but can’t say I needed this ending for them all.

 

Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen //

Okay, so my reading taste is definitely all over the place… I love a meaty historical WW2 or suspenseful thriller, followed by a lighthearted beach read. And every so often I throw little smut in, too. This is a no-judgment zone, ha!

In my defense, when I downloaded Midnight Blue I had no idea it fell in the smutty category until that first scene rolled around! Whoa, that will get your attention quick!

Indigo Bellamy has fallen on financial hardship, and is hired to babysit a famous musician, Alex Winslow, who has a propensity for drugs and trouble. All she has to do is keep him clean for the three months of his world tour… how hard could that be? I actually really enjoyed the story and characters of this fast read, so the sexy time was completely unneeded!

 

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid //

Let me just start by saying I LOVED THIS BOOK! It’s the kind of read I can’t stop telling people about! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of my favorite reads last year (I really liked Malibu Rising too!), so the library of Taylor Jenkins Reid is another body of work I’m making my way through.

Carrie Soto retired as the world’s best tennis player and held the record of most Grand Slam titles… until young phenom Nicki Chan came along. Not one to ever back down, Carrie decides to re-enter the world of professional tennis to defend her title, at the unheard-of old age of 38.

Friends, I don’t even play tennis, and I could not put this book down! I loved the heart, the grit, the father-daughter relationship, the power of vulnerability… all of it.

 

 

Definitely a mixed bag of topics, from heavy to light, but I like to mix it up! I love the feel of a real book in my hands, but have been turning to my Kindle Paperwhite more often. It’s crazy lightweight, waterproof, and so easy to read in all light, especially on the beach or by the pool.

Up next on my nightstand is The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois… it’s a beastly book of 800 pages with an intense storyline, but comes highly recommended from one of my favorite book nerds, so I’m excited to dive in!

If you’re looking for something light, the American Royals series by Katharine McGee was a fun, easy read. You can find more of my latest reads HEREHERE, and HERE. 

Okay… your turn! Comment, share, discuss… what have you read lately? What are your thoughts on any of these books? What should I add to my list!?

Leave a Comment

61 Comments

  1. Kelly Marie Sites wrote:

    Great great post. I love when you do these book posts. I’m a HUGE READER (95 books a year) and LOVE WW2 Historical Fiction. But I also love a lot of other books. Some I LOVE: (NO ONE HAD TIME for boring books)
    I LOVED the Findlay Donovan series (2 books- book 3 comes out Jan. 31) So so fun and I laughed out loud.
    Loved Lessons in Chemistry.
    Loved The German Wife-Kelly Rimmer
    And Yellow Wife.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh fun, these are new to me!! Adding them to the list!!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Susan wrote:

      Try The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer. Two stories told —one in the past and one present. Very moving!

      Posted 1.27.23 Reply
      • Cassie wrote:

        Oh my gosh, I loved that one, too!!

        Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  2. Sandy wrote:

    Need to check out your choices here, but did u have to show that warm/sunny beach and pool in two of your choices? ha,ha.
    Ok, “Glucose Revolution” by Jessie Inchauspe, I just started and seems fascinating so far. This is one of those hot books/topics at the moment. Her research and reasoning seem sound on this.
    For Mr. SP, he may like “Led Zeppelin” by Bob Spitz. A bio on these super talent virtuosos, and how they got that way-hard work! Fascinating. You feel as if you are following their lives right there with them. Crazy times they were. I found myself looking up their performances on that good old rabbit hole that is Youtube. Enough for now. Fun post! xo.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      haha, the beach just makes the book better! 😉

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  3. Pamela wrote:

    Mary Kubica’s novels. The Good Girl, a great read, so many twist and turns. Currently reading her novel, Local Girl Missing, so riveting. Can’t wait to finish!

    Another good read if you are trying to start better habits. Atomic Habits written by James Clear. So good and really informative.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  4. Karen wrote:

    The Keeper of Happy Endings Barbara Davis. Loved it!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  5. Peggy wrote:

    Since you are a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, you need to read ‘Daisy Jones and the Six.’ I really enjoyed it. I need to read ‘Carrie Soto is Back.’ I like how some of Reid’s characters make appearances, however brief, in some of her books. I read the Silent Patient and it was good but the timeline was confusing for awhile. I love these Book Club chats. Have a great day.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I can’t wait to ready Daisy Jones!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  6. Anne wrote:

    LOVED Carrie Soto! I just finished Mad Honey (Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan) and Wish You Were Here (Jodi Picoult). I’ve struggled with Jodi the last couple of reads but these were good! I appreciate what I learn from her books.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  7. Jodi wrote:

    Thank you for your recommendations!! I love Taylor Jenkins Reid books! Currently reading through books by Sheri Lapena- she has some good murder mysteries. I have yet to read any Colleen Hoover besides Verity (whoa) so those are next!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      The cool thing about Colleen Hoover books is she really doesn’t fit a genre or niche, she writes a little bit of everything!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  8. Heather wrote:

    You’d love This Time Tomorrow by Emma Staub!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  9. Arika wrote:

    If you like WW2 historical fiction you should definitely read Kate Quinn. She writes strong, complex female characters so well. I would start with The Alice Network. The Huntress and Rose Code are also good, but Alice was my favorite. I believe it is also a Reece Witherspoon pick. Unrelated to historical fiction (though it does touch on the war), City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert was amazing. Happy Reading!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      The Alice Network was one of the first WW2 books I read ages ago…I loved it!!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  10. Lisa wrote:

    Thank you for this list!! I’m all over the place with my book selections as well! I’m currently in the middle of “The Rose Code”, a WW2 novel about 3 women. Very good so far. I read “The Paper Palace” last summer and thought it was sooo good and inspired much discussion. Read it if you haven’t already!!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That one has been on my list for awhile!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  11. Dana Jackson wrote:

    Love book reviews and recs! I’ve read a couple of these but will be adding the ones I haven’t to my list!! I also love historical fiction based on WW2 and I’m reading The Book of Lost Names right now! About 1/3 of the way through and it’s so good! The book I read before BOLN was Last Christmas in Paris and I highly recommend it!!! So so good!! It’s not really a “Christmas” book so I wouldn’t wait until the holidays to read it! I think you’ll love it! Thanks for the great review!! 🥰📚

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I loved the Book of Lost Names!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  12. Kelli wrote:

    I love this!! We have similar book taste. Thanks for the Sharon Cameron recommendation! Carrie Soto was my favorite book in 2022. So good! My recommendations would be Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt and Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (this is my favorite so far this year. Don’t let “space book” weird you out. So fun and endearing!). This is a great post! Put it on the post rotation, please!! 💕

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I can’t believe how much I loved Carrie Soto!! Like LOVED it! Several of these books have come up a few times, I def need to read them!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  13. Stacey wrote:

    Hi! I always love a good reading list and am excited to dive into a couple of these! I read It Ends with Us per your recommendation and was in the same boat as you ~ I was rooting for the “wrong” guy! But it had a little too much sexy time in it for my personal taste. I get that they liked each other’s body, wanted to explore it, blah blah blah, alright already! Reading is my relaxation, even better with a glass/mug of sweet tea/chai and the porch swing, so here are a few of my recommendations:
    The Maid by Nita Prose ~ It was a fun, lighthearted who-done-it mystery. The main character’s naivety was refreshing and funny. Maybe the end was a bit too perfect but still a fun read.
    On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle ~ She is one of my FAVORITES! This book is a blend of humor and thoughtful insights on all kinds of topics, from fashion to marriage to aging and realizing that while it would have been nice to have George Michael/Wham sing I’m Your Man to me, why did I not see sooner that I wasn’t his type!? One of her other books, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, is probably close to tops on my all-time favorites list. It’s a sweet memoir of friendship and someone I could relate to in so many ways and was spit out your drink hilarious! Her book on marriage, The Antelope in the Living Room, literally had me falling out of my chair from laughing out loud. I cannot recommend her books enough!
    Since you like a good WWII historical fiction, my favorite book series, the Al Capone series by Gennifer Choldenko, takes a different historical turn and is set on Alcatraz Island in the 30s. It’s sort of a Wonder Years meets The Sandlot and while it’s geared towards jr. highers, I couldn’t put them down! There are real historical characters mixed in with the fictional ones and you will fall in love with this group of kids and their families!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      So many great reads, thank you!!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  14. Brenda Thompson wrote:

    I love book reviews! I have added a few of these to my list of books to read!! I also am on a huge historic fiction kick. Currently reading The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post”……it’s really good! Also some of my favorite historic fiction: The Nightingale, The Nature of Fragile Things, and Becoming Mrs. Lewis. My favorite books I read last year: This Tender Land (SO, SO good), Remarkably Bright Creatures, and The People We Keep. Happy reading!!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      So many great reads and recommendations!!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
      • Ashlea wrote:

        Cassie! I just finished Bluebird and The Light in Hidden places thanks to your recommendations. So good! I couldn’t put them down. Thanks for your reviews! A few of my favs from last year, The Rose Code, The Book of Lost Names, Fire Sparkling (all WW2) and What the Wind knows (WW1 time frame in Ireland)

        Posted 1.26.23 Reply
        • Cassie wrote:

          I’m so glad you liked them, too!! I loved the Book of Lost Names, and will def check out the others, thank you!

          Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  15. Jessica wrote:

    Carrie Soto is Back was one of my favorites that I listened to last year. It was fabulous on audible. I can’t recommend enough The Magnificent Lives of Margorie Post. Again, I listened to it in audible. I also really liked The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, the Simple Wild series, Every Summer After by Carley Fortune, and One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ll stop there for now.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      So many great recommendations…my Kindle is filling up fast!! Thank you!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  16. Maggie B wrote:

    I read Light in Hidden Places per your recommendation and it was phenomenal! It was intense and heavy at times but so glad I read it. I’m moving on to Blue Bird next.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I’m so glad you liked it! You’ll love Bluebird, too then!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  17. Lori wrote:

    Hooray! Love your book reviews! I hope you continue to post a monthly review going forward.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      My reading tends to come in spurts, so it might not be monthly, but definitely more frequently!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  18. Karen wrote:

    Thanks for your list! Have you read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah? My all time favorite book. 😉

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yes! Amazing book!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  19. Richelle wrote:

    You MUST read Daisy Jones and the Six if you have loved Carrie Soto, 7 Husbands, and Malibu Rising. It is another in that “series” where one book is connected to another with a common character. I read the book but have heard it is a great one to listen to on Audible. We Were the Lucky Ones is one of my absolute FAV WW2 books. Just a truly incredible story based on an actual family.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yes, Daisy Jones is on my short list! and I LOVED We Were the Lucky Ones!

      Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  20. Lesli wrote:

    I just finished The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. 5/5 and highly recommend! Just started The Midnight Library and I was nervous about not being able to get hooked because I’d finished such an awesome read the day before. However, it does not disappoint! I’m in and enjoying it a ton!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  21. Carey wrote:

    This Tender Land is an amazing book!!!
    And anything by Lisa See- Peony in Love was really unique and great.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  22. Wanda wrote:

    Molokai. Brenner
    1000 White Women. Ferges
    The Hiding Place Corrie Ten Boom
    Killers of the Flower Moon. Grann
    The Art of Racing in the Rain
    The Paris Wife. McClain

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
  23. Nancy wrote:

    It Ends With Us is being made into a move starring Blake Lively.

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That will be so good!!

      Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  24. Kathy wrote:

    Book recommendations are the best. Thank you. It Ends with Us was one of my favorite books. Like you, I found It Starts with Us was meh and lacked the emotion Ends had. Not my favorite, but not terrible. My recent favorites have been Mad Honey, The Paper Palace, Wrong Time, Wring Place, Grace (listened to audio), A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, Fire Keepers Daughter, Tiny Beautiful Things, and Spare (audio is the way to go).

    I could go on and on because there are so many books I’ve loved. So many books….so little time. Happy reading!

    Posted 1.26.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh yes, I’m not usually an audio girl, but want to listen to Spare in his voice!

      Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  25. Maryam Drafts wrote:

    The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot. I’ve listen to it 5 times, the Audible version. The narration and accents brings this story to life. You’ll and laugh and cry…. SOOO GOOD

    Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  26. Sandy Lewis wrote:

    If you like World War II fiction, you must read “all the light we cannot see”! I read Nightingale after this and felt like it was a bit of a letdown because all the light we cannot see is so good.
    Also, “Stones from the River” by Ursula Hege. It’s an older book, but one of my all-time favorite historical fiction.

    Posted 1.27.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I LOVED ‘All the Light We Can Not See’!! I’ll check the other one out, too!

      Posted 1.29.23 Reply
      • The Huntress is another interesting Character from WW2, about a woman who managed to escape her Nazi past hiding in pain sight in America. As they try to hunt down the higher officials, there were many who were getting away with murder while the rest of the world tried to move on. Really good, but all of Kate Quinn’s novels are.

        Posted 1.29.23 Reply
        • Cassie wrote:

          I will add that to my list, thank you Carla! xo, C

          Posted 1.30.23 Reply
  27. Jen wrote:

    I totally agree with you on It Ends with Us and It Starts with Us, it felt like the author rushed the second one. I absolutely loved the original.

    Posted 1.27.23 Reply
  28. C.B. wrote:

    If ever you’re looking for easy, fun, suspenseful reads, two of the top best selling French authors have a huge library of books (they both have similar styles and come up with books almost every year) that are just candy reads to me (I have all their books and have collected them since the 90s/2000s): Guillaume Musso and Marc Levy. They’re both so popular, most of their books have been translated in English and movie adaptations have been made for some (including one with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo called Just like Heaven). Highly recommend them as some Americans may never have been exposed to these authors.

    Posted 1.30.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Ohh!!! Thank you for these authors’ names, Caroline! I will check it out!

      Posted 1.30.23 Reply
  29. Kathy wrote:

    Any book Jenna Hager Bush recommends, I usually like. Gentleman in Moscow and Lincoln Highway were two books my book club read that we loved. I also liked The Paris Apartment, We Begin at the End, The Book of Lost Friends and The Paris Library. Thanks for your and everyone else’s recommendations!

    Posted 1.30.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oooh thank you for these recs!!! xo, C

      Posted 1.30.23 Reply
  30. Julee wrote:

    One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorites. I’ll have to read the Carrie Soto one next!

    Posted 1.30.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Oh I need to add this one, too!

      Posted 1.31.23 Reply
  31. Valerie wrote:

    On Gin Lane by Brooke Lee Foster fits all the categories you (and me too) like: mystery, setting is the 1940s, at the beach … a little love story-ish (of course, there always is). I loved this one, and I don’t see it mentioned much in the book lovers forums so I always like to suggest it 😉

    Posted 1.31.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I love those kind of books!! thanks for the tip!

      Posted 1.31.23 Reply
  32. Moira wrote:

    Did not LOVE Carrie Soto…a bit too much technical tennis for me. Just finished Mad Honey and liked it a lot. Also enjoyed Once We Were Brothers and Sold on a Monday.

    Posted 1.31.23 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I was surprised how much I loved Carrie Soto, especially since I don’t play tennis!

      Posted 1.31.23 Reply