The Books I Read in April 2020

April was quite the month, reading wise! Since we were stuck at home and had a LOT of rainy days, I got a lot of reading time in! I read ten books this month and overall enjoyed most of them! If you’re looking for a few good ones to add to your reading list this month I suggest The New Husband, The Guest List & If You Want to Make God Laugh!  Let’s go ahead and get started on the reviews…

As always, you can see my latest reads on my bookstgram account @enw_reads (I share ALL things books there!) and on my Amazon Shop page! If you have any book recs, send them my way! I would love to hear what you have read recently in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!life with Emily book recommendations

WHEN YOU SEE ME by Lisa Gardner | FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. And when a disturbing piece of evidence comes to light, they decide to bring in Flora Dane who has personal experience of being imprisoned by Ness. Their investigations take them to a small town deep in the hills of Georgia where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first seems like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister as they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. review: Lisa Gardner’s police procedurals are among my favorites, so I am always quick to read any book she comes out with! When You See Me features some of the characters I’ve grown to know and love including DD Warren and Flora Dane. While this book is part of a series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone book. This book delivered such an action packed, gripping tale of the evil that resides in small town Georgia and left me hanging until the last page with all the twists and surprises. As always, Gardner does a fantastic job of creating an atmospheric, well-developed novel. I’m already looking forward to her next one. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell | 2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic forty-two-year-old English teacher.  2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager may be far different from what she has always believed? review: I have to start by saying that this is a dark book that comes with tough subject matter. This debut novel is written beautifully, but it took me a bit longer to read it due to the uncomfortable subject matter. I really liked that the chapters alternated between present day and the past, I think it leant to telling the story very well. It was really interesting to reflect on Vanessa and  how she was “groomed” and sexually abused by someone for so long and the lasting effects it had on her many, many years later. Like I said, this is a tough and uncomfortable read, but it’s an important one, especially in the times we’re in and it will certainly stick with you. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley | On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one as they celebrate a wedding that’s made for a magazine. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. But as the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? review: This was one of my Book of the Month picks and I absolutely devoured it. It’s a bit of a slow burn to start, but it really picks up and is a compulsive page-turner. The author did a fantastic job at crafting an atmospheric setting – I felt like I was on the coast of Ireland with them because of how detailed it was. The different POVs of the bride, groom, and guests made for a fun “whodunit” element – I was SO unsure who was the culprit until the very end. This was the perfect storm of a book. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

LITTLE SECRETS by Jennifer Hillier | Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They’re admired in their community and are a loving family. Up until the day Sebastian is taken. A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold and the publicity has faded. The only thing keeping her going is the unlikely chance that one day Sebastian reappears. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding him, she discovers that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. Discovery of the affair sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. But as she sets a plan in motion, another revelation surfaces. Derek’s lover might know what happened to their son. And so might Derek. review: Thriller and suspense novels have been my go-to genre this quarantine and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. What starts off as a kidnapping turns out to be so much more. This book is told from both Marin and McKenzie’s perspectives and it makes for an interesting way for the story to unfold. It gives the book more dimension and I loved trying to guess where it was going to go! This book was highly addictive and a fast paced read for me. If you’re a fan of thrillers, I suggest giving this one a read. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

BEACH READ by Emily Henry | Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. While she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast. The only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses and bogged down with writer’s block. Until one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really. review: This was another one of my Book of the Month picks and while it was a cute read, it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites this month. I think I was expecting more of a light-hearted rom-com and, while there were certainly aspects of that, it was a bit more deep and different than I was expecting! I liked the premise and thought it sounded so promising. To me it read more like women’s fiction with a bit of romance mixed in. Not only does it delve into the relationship with Augustus and January, it really focuses on the grief January feels losing her dad.  With that said, I did enjoy the book. I really liked both Augustus and January – I thought they were well-developed and the banter between the two of them was fun to read! I also enjoyed learning a bit more about the writing process of authors and the pressures that come along with it. rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️

THE NEW HUSBAND by DJ Palmer | Nina Garrity learned the hard way that her missing husband, Glen, had been leading a double life with another woman. But with Glen gone―presumably drowned while fishing on his boat―she couldn’t confront him about the affair or find closure to the life he blew apart. Now, a year and a half later, Nina has found love again and hopes she can put her shattered world back together. Simon, a widower still grieving the death of his first wife, thinks he has found his dream girl in Nina, and his charm and affections help break through to a heart hardened by betrayal. She wants so badly to believe her life is finally getting back on track, but she’ll soon discover that the greatest danger to herself and her children are the lies people tell themselves. review: The saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” rings true when it comes to Nina’s new love interest, Simon. This was one of those books that I was captivated with from the start and couldn’t put down.  The author did a great job of developing the characters in this novel and creating a sense of unease for the reader. There were times that I felt empathetic for Nina and other times where I wanted to shake some sense into her! This one was unputdownable and I devoured it. If you’re a fan of twisty, edge of your seat suspense be sure to pick up this book! rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️

TWEET CUTE by Emma Lord | Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built. review: A debut novel with a unique plot line? Sign me up! I really loved the premise of the book and wish I had enjoyed it more. It was a cute, cheesy read but I wasn’t expecting it to be about high schoolers and that threw me a bit! Although I couldn’t relate to the characters, I really enjoyed them. Jack and Pepper’s palpable chemistry totally made the story. Their stubbornness and banter were highly entertaining and I loved seeing what was up their sleeves! The book did feel a bit long at certain parts between the twitter war and some of the dialogue. But, if you’re looking for a fluffy, cute read – go for it! rating: 3.5 out of 5⭐️

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH by Biana Marais | In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life. Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to lick their wounds, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past. As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves? review: If You Want to Make God Laugh rendered me absolutely speechless. This book is beautifully written and the alternating chapters of the three women are so well crafted and really showed how the same situation can be viewed so differently depending on the person’s life experiences. Each character was so well developed and felt so real to me. It packs a punch and tackles the emotional issues of grief, motherhood, and forgiveness so gracefully. If you’re a fan of A Woman is No Man (review here) then be sure to grab this book ASAP! rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️

YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley | Mia Graydon’s life seems perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too. Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if? review: You Were There Too touches on the many complicated aspects of life, love and fate. Truthfully, I wanted to like this book more than I did. I didn’t feel a real emotional pull to any of the characters and with the story being mainly about love and relationships the lack of romantic emotion between the characters really bothered me. I kept hoping to feel something, anything but never really did until towards the end. The first half the book was very lackluster, which surprised me because the premise was so unique! I do need to mention that this book does have triggers including multiple miscarriages and death. rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️

WATCHING FROM THE DARK by Gytha Lodge | Aidan Poole logs on to his laptop late at night to Skype his girlfriend, Zoe. To his horror, he realizes that there is someone else in her flat. Aidan can only listen to the sounds of a violent struggle taking place in the bathroom—and then the sound of silence. He is desperate to find out if Zoe is okay. But then why is he so hesitant to call the police? When Aidan’s cryptic messages finally reach them, Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens and his team take the case—and discover the body. They soon find that no one has a bad word to say about Zoe, each relying on her for support, each hiding dark secrets and buried resentments. Has one of her so-called “friends” been driven to murder? Or does Aidan have the biggest secret of them all? review: This is another police procedural that I really enjoyed this month! This book has multiple points of view and a dual timeline that go from present day to twenty months before the murder. It opens up with a bang and you’re left with all kinds of questions surrounding the murder and what actually happened. This was a classic “whodunit” and the multiple points of view kept me guessing until the end! I was constantly convinced it was one person until the next chapter made me think otherwise! I really enjoyed her first book, Lying in Wait (review here), and will definitely be reading her next one that publishes. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

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14 Comments

  1. I just finished a book so I need a new one! I need to check out the Lisa Gardner books! Thanks for sharing.

    xx rebecca // thecrystalpress.com/blog

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  2. legalleeblondeblog wrote:

    I’ve read when you see me and loved it as well! Thanks for all these recommendations, Im adding If you want to make God laugh to my reading list!

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  3. Stephanie wrote:

    I read Tweet Cute a few months back and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will say it’s definitely a “fluff” read, and the YA aspect makes it somewhat challenging to relate with, but it’s still adorable, if you ask me. Sounds like you had a pretty good reading month, though!

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  4. Kileen wrote:

    I love book reviews like this! It gets me so excited to read! A lot of these sound really intriguing!

    Kileen
    cute & little

    Posted 4.30.20 Reply
  5. Lizzie wrote:

    A bookstagram! What a fun idea! You do always have the best book recommendations 😉

    Lizzie

    Posted 5.1.20 Reply
  6. Sarah Lindner wrote:

    Some solid picks here… Thanks for sharing! xoxo, Sarah

    Posted 5.1.20 Reply
  7. Azanique Rawl wrote:

    I just added The Guest List and Beach Read to my TBR pile! I love the mix of genres, Emily 🙂

    Posted 5.3.20 Reply
  8. Nat wrote:

    I haven’t picked up a book in so long. I always say I will but don’t. The excerpt and your review of If you want to make God laugh makes me want to pick up a copy. You seem to have enjoyed it a lot.

    Xx, Nat

    Posted 5.4.20 Reply
  9. Rach wrote:

    I read Tweet Cute in April too. Did not expect it to be about high schoolers but it was adorable. For sure adding The Guest List to my reading list!

    Posted 5.6.20 Reply
  10. Hillary wrote:

    I bet you’ve been getting a whole lot of good reading done these past couple of weeks! Will have to check some of these out!

    Posted 5.6.20 Reply
  11. Gabie wrote:

    This is a really helpful reading list! I haven’t found a good book in a while! Thank you.

    Posted 5.6.20 Reply
  12. Tana wrote:

    Adding them to my list … have not read any of them yet and some of these sound right up my alley!!

    Posted 5.7.20 Reply
  13. Greta wrote:

    I need to add these to my reading list!

    Posted 5.8.20 Reply
  14. Ophelia wrote:

    I haven’t read any of these books yet! Will definitely be adding the guest list to my list of books to read!

    Posted 5.8.20 Reply

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