May 17, 2018

BIG LIST of Great Books to Read This Spring!!

     I'm not sure what's quite gotten into me, but since becoming a Virginia resident, I've been bitten HARD by the reading bug! I was always a huge bookworm as a little girl, and I enjoyed reading for fun in high school as well. It was in college that I lost my passion for reading for fun for a few years- I just couldn't find the time between school, internships, starting my blog, Greek life, and everything else I was involved in! In Vermont I started to rediscover my love of reading, and now that love has come back full force, and I think it's actually more of an obsession. Since getting my Charlottesville library card, I've read 10 books in three and a half weeks! One of my resolutions for 2018 was to read 30 books this year... something tells me that I'll be having no trouble with hitting that goal, and doubling it or even tripling it!


     I have started using Good Reads to track my weekly reading goals and progress (you can follow me on there here!), and I also enjoy rating each book that I finish on Good Reads. Most of the books that I've read lately I've rated five stars, and they've made me want to text friends and say "YOU NEED TO READ THIS ASAP!" Each book has been so enjoyable, and I am really excited to share this book reviews post with y'all today. Typically I include book reviews in one of my outfit posts, but there are so many great books that I'm talking about today that I thought they deserved a full post of their own. 😊


Best Books to read for Spring


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     *The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle: I first heard about this book from this book reviews post from Caitlin! It sounded really interesting. This book tells the story of married couple Iris and Will- who have a seemingly perfect marriage and life in Atlanta. There is a tragic plane crash with a flight headed from Atlanta to Seattle, and Iris is informed that her husband was a passenger on the plane, and is among the deceased. She is in shock, as Will had told her that he was en route to Orlando for a work conference. Iris begins an intense search for the truth;  both the truth about her husband's past life, and if he actually was on the crashed plane to Seattle. This book definitely held my attention through the whole story, and I really felt Iris's pain and shock!
     ****4/5 stars



     *Whispers and Lies by Joy Fielding: This was my first Joy Fielding read, and the cover caught my eye amongst the library stacks! Books that I judge by the cover (literally) can be hit or miss, but I'm glad I decided to try one of Joy's books, as this was a very intriguing read. This is a psychological thriller, and the while the first 75% of the story is a bit slow (and some details of the start of the story almost seem insignificant), the final 25% of the book is shocking and mind blowing, and also a little bit disturbing to be honest. This book tells the story of Terry Painter, a single, 40-something nurse who resides in coastal Florida. She has inherited her late mother's house, and takes in tenants to help offset living costs. Terry feels immediately drawn to building a friendship her newest tenant, a young woman named Alison. But at the same time, Terry also finds herself very wary about Alison's mysterious past, and her reasons for being in Florida. I can't stress enough how shocking the end of this book was- I enjoy reading thrillers but out of all the ones I've read the ending of this one really had me for a loop!
     ***3/5 stars



     *Grand Avenue by Joy Fielding: After being so shocked by the ending of Whispers and Lies, I wanted to give another Joy Fielding book a try. Grand Avenue tells the story of four friends, Chris, Barbara, Susan and Vicki, who meet in the 1970s and discover that they're neighbors and all have young daughters around the same age. The book follows each of the four women through the years and explores their romantic relationships, their roles as mothers, their careers, and other topics like domestic violence, having affairs, and workplace issues. Similarly to Whispers and Lies, there is another big plot twist near the end of Grand Avenue (I'm starting to think this might be a theme with Joy Fielding's books?), but I felt a little more prepared for it this time. This book did have some heavy sexual content and strong language in parts, but I felt that it fit the story and helped make certain scenes more believable (if that makes sense), but I did want to note that. Overall I think I liked this one slightly more than Whispers and Lies, but both were definitely very unique books.
     ***3/5 stars



     *A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury: I was absolutely obsessed with Karen Kingsbury's books in high school. Karen is a Christian fiction author, and to date I've read over 30 of her books! I even had the chance to meet her at a book signing during my freshman year of college. My high school years were a really bad time for me (I suffered with anxiety and depression amongst other things), and I credit Karen's books to really being a light for me during a rough time. Anyways, her Baxter Family series was always my favorite!! She's written over 20 books about these characters. The Baxter Family books are set in Bloomington, IN, so it was really cool for me to visit Bloomington in January this past year- home of one of my favorite book series! Anyways, The Baxter Family books recently got a TV series deal, and the books are currently being developed into a show. Karen also has started writing more books about the Baxters, so I picked up with A Baxter Family Christmas from the library, which I really enjoyed! I'm not sure that this book would be as enjoyable as a stand-alone title if you haven't read the 20+ other Baxter Family books (these characters feel like old friends to me at this point), but since I am very familiar with the story line, I did really enjoy this book. Now I have three more newer Baxter Family books to catch up on!
     ***3/5 stars



     *Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #1): OH MY GOSH- this book!!! I am so glad I decided to read this trilogy before the movie comes out later this summer!! I am not usually a stickler at all for reading a book before seeing a movie... but in the case of Crazy Rich Asians- I absolutely recommend reading all three book before the movie releases in August! If you were a fan of Gossip Girl, I can 100% guarantee you'll be obsessed with Crazy Rich Asians. The first book tells the story of Rachel Chu, an American-raised economics professor, who will be spending the summer in Singapore, with her history professor boyfriend Nick Young. Despite the fact that they've been dating for a couple years, Rachel knows very little about Nick's extended family in Singapore. When she arrives for their summer vacation, she is in shock to discover that they are one of the wealthiest families in the country, and he is heir to a great fortune. Rachel is very humble and doesn't care much about Nick's family's money, however his family isn't very welcoming to Rachel since she was raised American. This book also follows the lives of several of Nick's cousins and other family members, and the drama and plot is just so juicy!! I was seriously depressed when I finished this book and immediately requested the next two books in the trilogy from my library.
     *****5/5 stars



     *China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #2): The second book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, and Kevin Kwan wrote an amazing follow-up to the first novel! This book chronicles Nick and Rachel's wedding, but also adds some new (very rich) characters into the mix, and follows another summer of crazy adventures in Asia for many of the characters from the first book. One of the main characters in China Rich Girlfriend is Colette, an insanely wealthy Chinese fashion blogger, so it was interesting for me as a blogger to read a bit about what the Chinese fashion blogging scene is like, since social media is a bit different over there. I loved this book as well, and it made me very excited to read the final book!
     *****5/5 stars



     *Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians #3): The final book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy I thought was the perfect ending to the series. This books centers around the fact that Nick Young has to return to his family's estate in Singapore unexpectedly after a family member falls ill. Something that I really liked about this trilogy was how the first book really explored the wedding customs of Asia's wealthiest families, the final book looked more closely at familial duties and funeral customs, which I found interesting to read about! This book also wraps up some loose plot ends from the second book, and I was very pleased with the ending. All in all, a great ending to the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy!
     *****5/5 stars



     *Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter by Lisa Patton (Dixie #1): This trilogy!! Oh my gosh. This is one of my favorite library finds ever. The first book in the Dixie trilogy follows Southern Belle Lele Satterfield, a doting wife and mother who happily resides in Memphis, TN. One day, her husband gets the idea to move their family to Southern Vermont (!!!) to buy and renovate a bed and breakfast in a small mountain town. Lele is initially very opposed to move to Vermont, but eventually goes along with the plan to uproot their family. After moving, she is in shock for the first few months of acclimating to life in the Green Mountain State- let's just say that I could relate so much to Lele's depictions of Vermont life, and the native Vermonters that she met! This book was set in a fictional small town in Southern Vermont (near Manchester), probably about three-ish hours from Burlington, where I lived. But despite that, I still felt like I could relate so much to the character of Lele and this story in general! It made me laugh, it made me sentimental, and I just felt like I "got it"!! For anyone who doesn't understand the culture shock I went through after moving from Charlotte to Vermont... read this book! Haha. Anyways, this was an absolutely delightful read, and I couldn't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. Spoiler alert: this book ends with Lele leaving Vermont to go back South.... doesn't this sound familiar!? 😉
     *****5/5 stars



     *Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton (Dixie #2): I loved the second book in the Dixie trilogy possibly even more than the first! Lele Satterfield is back in the South, newly single, and job searching. She ends up taking a job at a radio station in the promotions department- seriously, did author Lisa Patton know about my life for the past year when she wrote these books?! Haha! Granted, Lele's adventures working in radio weren't all quite realistic, but it was super fun to read about! Lele also has a whirlwind romantic adventure in this book that added a fun plot line. A wonderful follow-up to the first book!
     *****5/5 stars



     *Southern as a Second Language by Lisa Patton (Dixie #3): The final book in the Dixie series was a great ending to Lele's adventures! This one is also set back in the South, but some of the beloved Vermont characters from the first book do make appearances in this book. Lele has left her job in the radio world and ventures into starting her own business, and realizes that just like running one in Vermont, there are also struggles with doing that in the South. I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to Lele and the other characters when this book ended! I can't wait to check out other books from Lisa Patton. If you're headed on vacation soon, I think this trilogy would be ideal vacation reading.
     *****5/5 stars




      Please let me know if you've read any of these books and what your thoughts were about them! Or if you've read another good book lately- let me know in the comments on this post. I'm probably going to be making another library trip soon and I'll be planning to grab a lot of good books to read!



    Shop all of my favorite reads below:








     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese




16 comments:

  1. I definitely need to get back into reading, these are great suggestions!

    www.thesweetestclementine.com

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  2. So excited to add some of these to my Kindle! I really need to get my reading bug back !

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  3. I love reading about what other people are reading! I've also been reading a ton this year! I've got a few of these on my "want to read" list on Goodreads. A few good ones I've read recently: Little Fires Everywhere (very character driven), The Wife Between Us (suspense) and The Wedding Date (modern romance)!

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  4. I finally have time to read as the semester is over so I will have to check these out! I loved the Crazy Rich Asians series and can't wait to see the movie! If you love that, check out The Thousandth Floor- similar Gossip Girl esque drama haha!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com 

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  5. I've had Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor Easter on my Amazon wishlist for a while, just waiting until I needed something new to read to pick it up-now that I know it's a trilogy and that you highly recommend it I really, really want to read it even more!

    xoxo, SS


    Southern and Style

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  6. thanks for sharing these! i'm looking to start reading again!

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  7. I had no idea that the Baxter Family was picked up as a TV show. I LOVE that series-- and Karen Kingbury's writing in general! I'm considering picking up a Creative Writing minor through Liberty -- Karen Kingsbury actually developed a lot of the curriculum and the entire Creative Writing program!

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  8. I can recommend The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Her book, The Nightingale, made me think for weeks and so did this new one. They aren't related but they are both great.

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  9. ahh thank you! I need some fun books! I didn't realize crazy rich asians was a book before the movie! now i have to read!

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  10. I have a long stack of books waiting for me but I'm definitely gonna add Crazy Rich Asians to my list. I've heard so many great things I don't think adding one more book to my pile will hurt! Thanks for sharing!
    -Shay
    www.shayshaytries.com

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  11. I've been reading a lot more than usual lately as well! I am going to try to finish the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy - it is too catty for me to enjoy sometimes but I want to read them all before the movie

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  12. I want to read Crazy Rich Asians too! Before I watch the movie lol

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  13. I have Crazy Rich Asians on my reading list-- I'm o nthe hold list for the ebook, can't wait to read it!

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  14. Crazy Rich Asians has been on my reading list forever! The Marriage Lie sounds amazing girl :)

    -xo, Azanique | www.lotsofsass.com

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  15. Wow, you go girl! I'm really hoping to get more reading done this summer! Crazy Rich Asians has been on my list forever!

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  16. omg I reallllly need to read Crazy Rich Asians- the trailer for the movie was so good!
    -Emily
    https://norepeatsorhesitations.com/2018/05/16/red-flagged/

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