Can y’all believe how fast May has flown by?! This was a really busy month for me and I am shocked that I was able to get as much reading in as I was! This month I read eight books and for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed them all. If I had to choose, I think my favorite overall this month would be The Mother-In-Law – it has family drama, suspense & a cast of complex characters! I was also able to read a few of my Book of the Month books that had been sitting on my shelf. You can get a free book on my if you sign up HERE. P.S. I have really enjoyed posting my latest books on my Bookstagram page (I hope you’ll follow along!) and having a creative outlet for all things books!
As always you can check out my Amazon Book Page for the latest books that I recommend and for what I’m reading! I would love to hear what you read this month or what’s on your to-read list for June in the comments. I have some fun book-related posts planned in the next month, so stay tuned!
My May Reading List & Book Reviews
NECESSARY PEOPLE BY ANNA PITONIAK | Stella and Violet quickly became best friends when they met in college. Stella – attractive, rich, calculating and manipulative – craves the spotlight and needs those around her to build her up. Violet – ambitious and attentive – is ready to shed her past to become more like her best friend Stella. Though they couldn’t be more different, they have one major thing in common – neither will stop at anything to get what they want, even if that means destroying the other along the way. When Violet moves to New York upon graduation and lands a job that takes her from intern to assistant to producer, she feels she finally has achieved something without being under the shadow of Stella. But Stella can’t help but be envious of Violet’s newfound success and decides to use her connections to get in front of the camera, becoming the stations new face. It seems the toxic, volatile friendship may come to a front. Review: Necessary People is a tale of frenemies and the toxic relationship between two very different best friends. I couldn’t get over the constant game of cat and mouse with Stella and Violet, who both live different lives but are intertwined so delicately. This book reminded me a little bit fo Social Creature (anyone read that one?!) but I much preferred Necessary People. It was a slow build filled with tension threatening to bubble over. I thought the plot line was great and was surprised at the twist that happened about halfway through. I liked how “real” their friendship felt – if you’ve ever had a toxic friendship, you’ll relate in some way. It was well-written, the characters were developed well and overall it was a good suspenseful story! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
MEET CUTE BY HELENA HUNTING | On her first day of law school, Kaitlyn runs – quite literally – into her teenage crush. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either… Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner. Review: This was one of the books I was highly anticipating for this year! If you read her other novel, Good Luck Charm, then you’ll understand my excitement for this one. Helena Hunting does a great job of giving romance novels depth and emotion, while keeping everything light and cute! I adored this storyline and the fact that it wasn’t the typical “boy meets girl” meet cute – it had added depth and emotion. I found myself feeling sympathy for them at certain times and cheering them on other times! It gave me all the feels. It would make for a great poolside read this summer! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE MOTHER-IN-LAW BY SALLY HEPWORTH | From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Once Lucy married Ollie, she thought her mother-in-law Diana would come around, but that wasn’t the case at all. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. Ten years later and not much has changed. But now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something… Review: I could not put this book down, I thought it was a page turner through and through! The story is told in alternating perspectives of Lucy and Diana – from the past and present – and I found that it added to the story SO well. Each character had so much depth and their own secrets that it held my attention the entire book. The characters each had their own storyline, which you discover as each chapter goes on and an additional layer of the family is peeled away. I was able to predict the “whodunit” part, but that didn’t bother me since the the story was so compelling. While this book is marketed as a thriller, I think it’s important to note that I found it to be more of a suspense book based around a family’s complex dynamic. rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU BY LIV CONSTANTINE | Dr. Kate English has it all. Not only is she the heiress to a large fortune; she has a gorgeous husband and daughter, a high-flying career, and a beautiful home anyone would envy. But all that changes the night Kate’s mother, Lily, is found dead, brutally murdered in her own home. Heartbroken and distraught, Kate reaches out to her estranged best friend, Blaire Barrington, who rushes to her side for the funeral, where the years of distance between them are forgotten in a moment. Her emotions are at an all time high when she receives an anonymous text that makes the hair on her arms stand up. Someone knows something and what ensues threatens to bring Kate’s life to an end. Review: I loved The Last Mrs. Parrish, so I was really excited about their newest release. Unfortunately this book just didn’t do it for me. It felt incredibly disjointed and all over the place at times. The dialogue was severely lacking, confusing & at times incredibly cheesy. I read a lot of thrillers, so maybe I’m a little more tough on them sometimes, but you may enjoy it if you don’t read a lot of thrillers! rating: 2.5 out of 5 ⭐️
BECOMING BY MICHELLE OBAMA | In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Review: No matter your political affiliation, this is definitely a must read book! I did a combination of listening to this book via Audible and reading it and both were incredibly moving. I really enjoyed getting a “behind the curtain” look at her life before she was First Lady and in the days after she handed her duties over to the new FLOTUS. She gave a real, raw look at her role in politics – both the good and the bad – and did so very eloquently. Her book was relatable, funny, endearing, raw, and emotional. She recalled her triumphs and her disappointments all while remaining so humble and genuine with every single chapter. I already had an appreciation for Michelle Obama, but this book made me like her even more. rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE BRIDE TEST BY HELEN HOANG | As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection. Review: I really admire Helen Hoang for not only bringing diversity into contemporary romance but for also creating characters with disabilities like autism and Aspergers. In this book Khai has a form of autism and she does a great job of forming his personality and describing the things that are hard for him – like love, affection, and having empathy for others. The storyline is cute and it’s a quick read, while still addressing immigration, diversity, and love. I’m not sure if I liked this one as much as The Kiss Quotient (it’s definitely not as steamy!), but I really, really enjoyed it!This book is listed under The Kiss Quotient #2, but these can easily be read as stand alone books. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
DRAWING HOME BY JAMIE BRENNER | Summer has started in idyllic Sag Harbor, and for Emma Mapson that means greeting guests at the front desk of The American Hotel. But when one of the town’s most famous residents, artist Henry Wyatt, dies suddenly, Emma learns he has mysteriously left his waterfront home – a self-designed masterpiece filled with his work – to her teenage daughter, Penny. But Bea Winstead, one of Henry’s lifelong friends, isn’t about to let that happen and she is making it her mission to make sure she gets what should rightfully be hers! Drawn together in their battle for the house, Emma and Bea are forced to confront the past while facing a future that challenges everything they believe about love, fate, and family. Review: I discovered Jamie Brenner last summer when I read The Husband Hour. I enjoyed her writing and this book was no different! She has a great writing style that easily transported me to The American Hotel and the glorious beaches! I loved the very real, yet tense family bonds and the mystery that occurred in Sag Harbor. I think my favorite part was the way she addressed the family relationships and the difficult issues within it with such grace and wrapped it up with a great ending. rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
BEFORE SHE SAW HIM BY PETER SWANSON | Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen is an illustrator & has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace and is looking forward. But when they meet the neighbors Matthew and Mira next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. This object rattles her to no end and she is determined to find out just how he got his hands on it…and if there’s anything else he is hiding. Slowly she finds herself becoming compulsive about her neighbor and is fearful she’s slipping into another psychotic episode. Will she be able to figure it out before something happens to her? Review: When it comes to thrillers, Peter Swanson kills the game. Literally. The Kind Worth Killing is one of my favorite books to recommend (by the same author!) and while this one wasn’t as good as TKWK, it was still a great page turner that kept me trying to piece everything together. The characters in this book are all flawed and hard to like, but boy does it make for a good psychological thriller! I loved that the story is told from the perspective of Matthew and Hen because it gives you multi-layers of suspense. The ending was so dark and twisty and I didn’t see it coming! Trigger warning: this book deals a bit with mental illness, men hurting women, and violence. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️