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  • Writer's pictureChristie Bolster

I Read And Reviewed The Best Book Club Books Of 2024

Looking for a good book? Stumped about what to read next? I've read and ranked the most popular novels of the year. So mark my words, these are must-reads.

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FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. It Ends With Us - A Novel by Colleen Hoover


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Highlight: There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.

Helpful review: "I'm going to start this review off with this statement: I didn't cry while I was reading this book, but I did cry several days later when I was looking back on Lily's story. That shows how emotionally charged this story is, along with the true power behind Colleen's writing. I'm not going to give away any spoilers because you need to go into the book blind. If you want to know what happens, there are definitely some reviews out there that tell you the big twists and turns. But take my advice and don't spoil this book for yourself. It will lose a lot if you go in knowing exactly what to expect. So seriously, don't do it to yourself. Just let the beauty of Colleen's writing sweep over you and sink in.
“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person's character aren't the mistakes we make. It's how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”
This is honestly not only one of my best reads of the year, but also one of the most (if not the most) empowering. I want to give this book to every man, woman, and even teenager (it's definitely a NA/adult read) and tell them... READ THIS NOW! Do you want to know why? Because this book carries with it a very strong message, one that shows strength and courage that many people might not have at the time, but after reading will understand and gain. I honestly don't know if there has ever been a time when I was prouder to be reading the heroine's story due to her choices. Ultimately though, Colleen Hoover wrote a book that everyone can take something away from. Colleen always writes such unique stories, and this one is certainly no exception. But the one thing I will say is that this is truly her best book yet.
“Just because someone hurts you doesn't mean you can simply stop loving them. It's not a person's actions that hurt the most. It's the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”
Lily's story is one that I never wanted to stop reading. If I know that I'm going to need to read a book in multiple sittings (which was the case with this book), I usually try to find a good place to stop. One in which, nothing major is happening and nobody is facing some drastic/perilous moment. Well you see the problem with this book is the fact that there is literally NO. GOOD. STOPPING. POINT! None! There was never a part where I felt safe in letting this book sit overnight because I knew that the story and the what if's would play endlessly in my mind.
So I stayed up and read it all in one sitting because I simply couldn't stop. Lily was someone that I connected to right from the get go. I knew as soon as the book started that I would like her, and that never once stopped while I was reading. However, I didn't realize how much her character would affect me while I was reading. As I said before, after I was finished reading, I couldn't have been prouder of her decisions. The strength she had throughout the story to go through what she did, but also her resolve and conviction just made me constantly cheer her on. Lily is truly one of the most admirable characters that I have ever had the pleasure of reading about, and that admiration goes extraordinarily deep.
“Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn't waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.”
I mentioned it briefly above, but this book has a very powerful message, and this message is actually carefully woven into the story from page 1. You obviously don't realize it when you start reading the novel, but it's there when you look back after finishing. And this is also why I'm going to reiterate the importance of going into the story blind, because just as unexpected and emotional it is for the reader to read and witness what Lily goes through, it is even more unexpected and emotional for Lily. This is where this book truly shines, because you as a reader feel like part of the story. There's a very slow burn while reading, one in which we get to know characters and see the develop in the ways that we as humans get to know each other...but then Colleen rips that metaphorical rug out from under all of us, and shocks us with one revelation after another. But you know what? That's exactly how life is sometimes... Sometimes you never see things coming in a million years and you have to figure out how to deal with these radical changes you never thought would happen.
“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”
Where this book really got me though was the meaning of the title. Throughout the entire time I was reading, I kept wondering what the title meant. Because come on...this is Colleen Hoover and literally EVERYTHING has some significance (no matter how small). And when I got to the part of the story where the title finally made sense, guys let me tell you...this had an impact on me like no other. I just sat there with my book in my hands staring at the page for a solid 5 minutes. It is the perfect title for the perfect book.
“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen seconds that we'll never get back.”
I connected with this book in my own way, and for that I am extraordinarily thankful to Colleen Hoover for even writing this book. The author's note at the end was just as powerful and amazing as the rest of the story, but it shows just how personal this story was for her to write. I applaud Colleen for writing this book and not "making things easy" for the main character or glossing over the "bad parts." This is an incredibly realistic book that makes you realize many things and leaves an imprint on your soul. It's important to remember that everyone must make extraordinarily difficult decisions in their life, and not everyone will agree with them.
If this book even empowers one woman to take steps in making an important decision, the Colleen Hoover did her job. And I count myself lucky to have had the honor of reading this story because I am a changed person because of it! Happy reading :)" — Gail Silverman

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2. Lessons in Chemistry - A Novel by Bonnie Garmus


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Highlight: Like most stupid people, Mr. Sloane wasn’t smart enough to know just how stupid he was.

Helpful review: "Prepare to be captivated by Bonnie Garmus' enchanting novel, "Lessons in Chemistry," a heartwarming and delightful tale that beautifully combines the wonders of science and the complexities of human relationships. Through her exquisitely crafted prose, Garmus takes readers on a remarkable journey that will leave them feeling enlightened, deeply moved, and inspired.
Set in the early 1960s, "Lessons in Chemistry" introduces us to Elizabeth Zott, a driven and passionate young woman who finds herself caught between her dreams of becoming a scientist and the societal expectations that seek to confine her to the role of a housewife. Garmus masterfully portrays Elizabeth's struggle to defy the odds and pursue her ambitions by landing a position as a television cooking show assistant. This unexpected opportunity sets the stage for a captivating exploration of career aspirations, personal growth, and the power of embracing one's true self.
What truly sets this novel apart is Garmus' remarkable ability to seamlessly weave together the worlds of science and love. As Elizabeth navigates the complexities of her demanding job and an unexpected romance with a charismatic professor, readers are treated to a thought-provoking examination of the intersections between personal and professional aspirations. Garmus' attention to detail shines through as she incorporates fascinating scientific principles into the narrative, making "Lessons in Chemistry" not just a love story but also a celebration of the joys of learning and discovery.
Moreover, Garmus' skillful rendering of her characters deepens the emotional resonance of the story. Elizabeth emerges as a strong and relatable protagonist, her journey serving as a powerful reminder that dreams are worth pursuing, no matter the obstacles that stand in our way. The supporting characters are equally well-developed, providing layers of authenticity and dynamics that make them truly unforgettable.
Notably, Garmus' prose is elegant, poetic, and infused with genuine emotion. She effortlessly transports the reader to a bygone era, immersing them in the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the 1960s. From the bustling television studios to the hallowed halls of academia, every setting is brought to life in vivid detail, creating a rich and immersive reading experience.
"Lessons in Chemistry" is not simply a book; it's a celebration of women's empowerment, the pursuit of dreams, and the courage to redefine societal norms. Bonnie Garmus has created a masterpiece that will resonate with readers long after they have turned the final page.
If you are searching for a novel that will uplift, inspire, and remind you of the transformative power of love and intellect, "Lessons in Chemistry" is an absolute must-read. Prepare to be captivated by its beauty and left with a renewed belief in the endless possibilities that life has to offer." — Trish Sharpnack

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3. The Housemaid - A Novel by Freida McFadden


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Highlight: I wonder if she would feel the same way about me if she knew I spent the last ten years of my life in prison.

Helpful review: "The Housemaid by Freida McFadden is one rollercoaster of a psychological thriller. It had its claws in me right from the get-go! I gobbled up the book in just under a day, then without missing a beat, dived headfirst into the sequel, The Housemaid's Secret - an equally riveting read.
Now, I'd already caught the McFadden bug thanks to her unforgettable Do You Remember?, but boy, The Housemaid just cranked my fan-ship up to a new stratosphere!
From the moment I started reading, I was drawn into a dark and twisted world that kept me guessing at every turn. The book's relentless pace and unpredictable plot twists had me on the edge of my seat, unable to put it down. McFadden masterfully weaves a web of suspense and intrigue that leaves you craving for more. Millie, the protagonist, is a complex and relatable character whose journey from rock bottom to an intriguing housemaid job for a wealthy family is both captivating and mysterious.
As the story unfolds, Millie's experiences take a bizarre and unsettling turn, forcing her to weigh the benefits against the potential dangers of her new role. Freida McFadden's writing style is nothing short of exceptional. Her vivid descriptions paint a vivid picture of the settings, making the scenes come alive in the reader's mind. The dialogue is authentic and well-crafted, driving the narrative forward and adding depth to the characters.
And oh, the ending! Just when you think you've figured it out, McFadden delivers a mindblowing twist that left me speechless. The suspense and tension build to a crescendo, making the conclusion both satisfying and thought-provoking.
The Housemaid is a testament to McFadden's skill in crafting compelling and immersive psychological thrillers. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, filled with intrigue, mystery, and unexpected revelations. As a first-time reader of McFadden's work, I can confidently say that I'm now a devoted fan and eagerly anticipate delving into her other novels.
If you're a fan of psychological thrillers that keep you guessing until the very end, "The Housemaid" is an absolute must-read. Prepare to be captivated, thrilled, and utterly hooked by Freida McFadden's storytelling prowess." — Niki Cee

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4. Reminders of Him - A Novel by Colleen Hoover


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Highlight: Now that I’ve forgiven myself, the reminders of him only make me smile.

Helpful review: "Some personal background first. In 2010 my cousin, who was 21, was involved in a car accident. I don't remember all the intricate details, but he got into a verbal altercation with another person in a parking lot that moved to the road. The two drivers (one being my cousin) we're racing where the other vehicle was driving in the oncoming lane and ended up clipping my cousin's vehicle. The other vehicle wrecked and three occupants died. My cousin left the scene, drove back by, didn't stop and also didn't call 911. He was sentenced to 99 years for three counts of murder and 10 years for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries to be served consecutively after his 99 year sentence. The judge assumed that he had no remorse due to his stoic appearance in court. He is still serving his first sentence in a state prison. He had a three year old daughter and a wife when he was sentenced. He is now divorced, and his ex-wife and daughter have moved to Virginia. I don't know when the last time he's seen his daughter. I have only met her once.
I started reading Colleen Hoover in 2012 when Slammed was available for review on NetGalley. I loved it. And she became an auto-buy author for me. After 20+ books, I feel like I know her writing style to the point where she surprises me less and less even with her books such as Verity and Layla. As a matter of fact, her most recently published books have been my least favorite she's written... until Reminders of Him. This book reminded me of old Colleen Hoover.
Kenna was involved in a car accident with her boyfriend. She was driving. She was under the influence. She thought he was dead. She couldn't find a cell phone, and so she left the scene of the accident. I won't get into more than that with the details because that's part of the story. But she was barely pregnant and subsequently gave birth while incarcerated. Her daughter was taken from her care and placed in the custody of her boyfriend's parents. She has now, 4 years later, been released and hopes to reestablish her connection with her daughter.
Ledger was Scottie, Kenna's boyfriend's, best friend. He wasn't around much when Kenna and Scottie started dating so he'd never met the girl who murdered his best friend. Ledger has spent the last 5 years creating a version of Kenna in his head. Only when he finally meets her in person, not knowing who she is, he slowly comes to find out that she isn't anything he imagined her to be.
The pain in this book was palpable. Every single character is deeply filled with pain. Kenna lost the love of her life and her daughter in and because of one terrible moment and decision. Scottie's parents are so filled with grief that they can't see past their own pain to anyone else's. Ledger is hurting too. He misses his friend, he loves Scottie's parents like his own, he wants to protect Diem (Scottie and Kenna's daughter), and he's falling for the one person he never could have imagined.
Favorite quotes:
- "She's quiet, but she's said just enough to make me want the rest of her words."
- "It's incredible how two people who have never met can have so many of the same mannerisms."
- "It proves that time, distance, and devastation allow people enough opportunity to craft villains out of people they don't even know."
I only had two complaints that I can remember right now. Roman is a side character who happens to have a crush on a married woman. He isn't actively pursuing her. Like he's not asking her out or anything. But he does regularly show up at her bakery to buy cupcakes from her. He's wishing for her marriage to fail. I think this sucks. Obviously these people exist. Not all people, married and unmarried, respect the commitment two people make to each other. But sheesh, I think enough marriages fail on their own without outsiders wishing, hoping, and waiting for their opportunity to swoop in and snatch one party up. I just wish this wasn't included even though it was such a small part of the overall story.
My second complaint is, yet again, Colleen Hoover uses letters as a major plot component. At first I wondered if she was doing this out of like a writing shortcut. You know how a villain will spell out all of their evil plans to the hero of a movie in one big speech. Well, in several of her books I've felt like she uses letters as big information drops. And she does that again in Reminders of Him. I can't say CoHo is reading my reviews of her books, but I honestly felt like she was almost using the letters in Reminders of Him to spite me. That's very conceited of me, I realize. So what I think is the more likely option is that she's doing it on purpose. Maybe this is becoming a calling card of hers or something. Like she's seeking out opportunities to include letters in her books rather than using them as a crutch to dump information. I would still like to see her write a book that doesn't include a letter like these, but we'll see.
Reminders of Him was my favorite Colleen Hoover release in the last several years. This blows Verity and Layla and especially Regretting You out of the water. I used to feel a little apathetic towards her books due to repetition and the big reveal being more important than the journey, but Reminders of Him renewed my Colleen Hoover enthusiasm. The similarities and differences to my own cousin's life and accident made this all the more relatable to me. Reminders of Him gets 5 Stars. Have you read Reminders of Him? What did you think? Let me know!" — Sandy Farmer

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5. The Housemaid's Secret - A Novel by Freida McFadden


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Highlight: I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that apartment that makes me uneasy.

Helpful review: "Great story but not too crazy about Millie this time around... I liked this book better than the first one (mainly because Cecilia was such a brat and it was nice to only be dealing with adults in this book). Even though I loved this book I wasn't rooting as hard for Millie as I was in the first one. The rest of this review has spoilers including the ending.
I loved that Enzo was back although he didn't really make an appearance until halfway through the book and even then his appearances were scarce. I'm glad he and Millie were together even though he diddled Nina at the end of the first book and furiously rejected Millie then. I thought it was messed up that he peaced out back to Italy even if it was because his mother was sick (although that whole thing sounded a little B.S. to me. Hopefully there will be a third book to delve more into Enzo's past and his and Millie's relationship). Why couldn't Millie go with him? Why were they living together and he never even mentioned her to his family? Then to stay away for more than a year and then only admit he wasn't coming back when Millie asked him directly. That's messed up on Enzo's part to leave Millie dangling like that. Again, if his mother was so sick that he needed to go back to Italy why did it take almost two years for him to come back to the USA?
I felt bad for Brock, Millie's boyfriend. Yes he was really clingy but people tend to get that way when they sense they are losing someone important to them.
Why did Millie even start dating him? It seemed like she never wanted to be around him and he was nothing but nice to her. She didn't want to move in with him and only brought it up again when she was scared because Xavier attacked her. Then she immediately took it back when Xavier was arrested. She constantly broke dates with Brock or flat out stood him up. She said she loved him even though she didn't mean it. The only thing that irritated me about Brock was how much of Millie's crap he took.
Millie herself seemed really awful this time around. You could almost excuse her affair with Andrew in the first book because Nina was so awful (in general and to Millie herself) and Andrew came across as so kind. Not to mention that Millie went to jail when she was a teenager so she spent her formative years in prison and was all messed up after getting out.
However, this time around she was almost exactly like Wendy. The way Wendy thought and spoke so disgustedly about Douglas (a genuinely nice person who loved her and wanted to make her happy) was exactly how Millie thought and spoke about Brock. He was useless. When he told her he loved her it made her skin crawl. How he never made her feel the way Enzo did when he kissed her. I still liked Millie but it was hard to root for someone so cold hearted.
Wendy sucked. She totally deserved what happened to her. Go Marybeth! Wendy is the worst type of person. Everyone likes money but she delighted in making people who didn't have any feel like dirt under her shoe and all because she grew up "poor" and made money the center of her universe. Speaking of Marybeth, that was another reason not to like Millie. She wanted revenge on Wendy so she used someone else's pain to manipulate them into doing her dirty work." — Tina Rivera

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6. Credence - A Novel by Penelope Douglas


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Highlight: They didn’t leave me a note. Even now, there was nothing they wanted to say to me.

Helpful review: "So, thank you to the wonderful clock app for encouraging me to take this leap. I've seen so many mixed reviews about this book that I just had to see for myself. I'll be honest, when I started the book I had an idea on where it was going. At first, I thought it a little cringe... but then it really got started and all I can say is... hold on to your Kindle because it's likely to either fly across the room or catch on fire.
So.. let's break down the characters.
Tiernan de Haas - California girl born and raised. Her parents were so in love with each other that they were the only two people that existed to each other. Does that mean what you think it means? Why yes. Yes, it does. She spent her entire life trying to get their attention, their affection. But over time, she learned it was easier to not be happy than to have to fight for it. Two months before her eighteenth birthday, her parents die, leaving her an orphan. Until she receives a phone call from an uncle that she's never met. He has taken responsibility for her until she turns eighteen. And it means she will have to move to Colorado to stay with him.
Enter Jake Van der Berg. Now, I want you to know before hand that this is a step-uncle. Jake and Tiernan's father are stepbrothers. There is no blood relation here. Does that make it less cringe? Not really. But I had to remind myself that there is not only no blood relation, but they have never met before now. He keeps his distance... for a while. He talks himself down... several times. Until he can't anymore. Do lines get crossed? Yes. Is it steamy? YES!!!!!
So, along with Jake, Teirnan now also has two step-cousins. First, we have Noah Van der Berg. Noah is tired of living up on the mountain with his father. He's tired of spending the long winters being snowed in on the mountain. What he wants more than anything in his life is to be a Motocross racer. His dad, however, isn't ready for him to risk his life on something that he won't be able to make a lasting career out of. Instead, they build dirtbikes up on that mountain - custom racers. Noah feels trapped on the mountain, living the life his father wants him to live, until Teirnan comes along. Noah is sweet, he listens, he's warm, and he cares. He's easy to love.
The most mysterious of all the Van der Berg men is Kaleb. Seventeen years, he hasn't said a word. Not a single sound has left his lips, aside from the occasional grunt or laugh. But Tiernan wants to make him talk... she wants to break him out of the car he's been trapped in since he was four and help him find his words. The problem is, he doesn't communicate well without sound and instead relies on his temper for just about everything. But he falls hard for Tiernan. Will he find his voice again?
As unconventional as the relationship is between these four, they do help her to heal from her childhood. They teach her how to survive on the mountain. They teach her how to defend herself, which comes in handy toward the end of the book. But this isn't a why-choose. I want you to be prepared for that... She does make a choice. The question is... do you agree with it? I struggled with it myself. I thought at first that she made the wrong choice. But after thinking about it... I can't argue with her decision." — J.A. Smith

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7. Haunting Adeline - A Novel by H. D. Carlton


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Highlight: UNKNOWN: Sneaking off with random men, little mouse? If I catch his hands anywhere near you, they’ll end up in your mailbox by morning.

Helpful review: "There's a reason I don't read incomplete duets or series because then I'm sad when I can't read the next book. I went against my better judgment with this book and I have no regrets (okay I have some because I hated waiting for book two) because I loved this story. The great news is the second book is out now, so you don't have to wait if you're reading this review!
I've never read anything remotely similar to this book and I don't know that I ever will. This was my first time reading something truly as dark as this. I've read other books with heavy triggers, but this book was different. I read Satan's Affair beforehand (highly recommend reading that first) and I wasn't entirely sure what this book was going to be about. I knew a past murder, stalking, and love were involved, but that was it. If you had told me one of my top reads of the year would've been a stalker romance, I would've laughed in your face. Not only is the romance good, and the spice is off the charts hot, but the overarching story is just so good.
Adeline is an author who moves into her grandmother's old home after she passes away. Adeline was close to her grandmother and felt a pull to come back to the home that always fascinated her. While living in the house, she discovers family secrets that have been buried for a long time, secrets involving her great grandmother. Her great grandmother was stalked, but here's the kicker? Her great grandmother had a spicy affair with her stalker! Adeline's great grandmother was murdered and she works with her best friend to figure out who did it. While trying to solve this mystery, Adeline finds herself in the same place as her great grandmother did with a hot stalker.
Zade is a leader of a vigilante group that's only mission is to bring down trafficking rings and the horrible people that run them. And not just any type of trafficking rings. Rings that are linked to very powerful people in the country and the world. Zade is determined to get as many women and children to safety as he can. He puts himself in the line of fire to save the lives of the innocent people taken by these rings. He sounds like an ideal guy right? Well, did I mention he's also Adeline's stalker? Zade stumbles across Adeline by accident and it's a wrap for him. He wants to make her his and there's nothing that's going to stop him.
Now I'm not saying he's still not an ideal guy (I do love him), but let's just say these are two VERY opposite qualities. On one hand, you have this man trying to save women and child, but on the other hand he's stalking a woman. Many would argue he can't be both a good and terrible guy at the same time, but I think this book begs to differ.
I personally loved Adeline and thought she was a dynamic heroine. She was sassy, fun, and radiated fierceness. She does stand up for herself throughout the book, even to Zade, although standing up to him doesn't do much. I liked that we get her inner thoughts on Zade as their relationship plays out. I like watching her slowly open up to him and trust that he'll protect her, which seems like the opposite thing a stalker would do.
One of my favorite things was when Adeline told her friend about one of her spicy encounters with Zade and that he "took her soul". I couldn't be more jealous of her, trust me. Based on the cliffhanger, book two isn't going to be an easy ride for Adeline, but I know she's going to be okay. Someone as fierce as her work her way through any situation, even if it takes some time.
I cannot explain how much I love Zade. I know, I know, he's a stalker. Here's the thing: I just don't care. He really had me contemplating if getting stalked is that bad (it is, but let's ignore that). I loved how he was written to be so multilayered. H.D. Carlton knew what she was doing when she wrote him this way. He's meant to challenge everything you know and make you wonder if he's really all that bad. His qualities are so opposite of each other that he left me spinning so much throughout this book. I would take pauses while reading and say out loud, "Am I actually into this man?" or "I'm in love with this unhinged man. Am I good?" I laughed way too many times when doing this because I just know how people would react in my life if I told them how much I love Zade.
The mouth on Zade is UNMATCHED. God, that man says the wildest stuff, but it's so unbelievably hot. And the things he does with his hands to Adeline? Where do I sign up??? I love his love for Adeline and I can't wait to see what he does in book two knowing how this book ended.
The writing in this book is beautiful and so good. H.D. Carlton is talented and it shows in this book. I enjoyed the different storylines taking place and how they all connected to one another. I thought it was interesting to see Adeline live a similar life to her great grandmother. I think getting to read her great grandmother's thoughts on her own personal stalked helped Adeline in her own way. This book is just so so so good! I cannot recommend it enough. I do STRONGLY encourage everyone consider the triggers before reading. I look forward to book two!" — Irine Hunter

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8. Regretting You - A Novel by Colleen Hoover


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Highlight: Sometimes when we’re alone, he looks at me in a way that makes me feel empty when he looks away.

Helpful review: "When my favorite authors have new books that come out, I try my best to go in as blind as I can. No reading the blurb. Skipping over reviews online and teasers in book groups. It's hard, but I want to experience the book without ANY preconceived notions and be surprised on my own. Regretting You was a beautiful surprise from an author that can write absolutely anything (but what is up with her use of letters in so many books?? lol).
Regretting You is told in dual POV from a mother (Morgan) and daughter (Clara). They've experienced something that was life altering and the experience changed them and their whole life forever.
"Right after something tragic happens, you feel like you've fallen off a cliff. But after the tragedy starts to sink in, you realize you didn't fall off a cliff. You're on an eternal roller coaster that just reached the bottom. Now it's gonna be up and down and upside down for a long , long time. Maybe even forever."
And that's what this story was for me. It unfolded and we got to see how 2 characters handled the situation. Neither one was perfect. A mother trying to shield her daughter and protect her, while at the same time trying to forge and fix the relationship between them that had floundered in recent years. Morgan gave up absolutely everything for Clara and, being a teen, she never saw it. Morgan was selfless and that was her biggest flaw. She did for others at the detriment to herself.
And then there's Clara. She is a teenager and that's almost the only thing we need to say to understand her actions. She is trying to navigate a new life and holds so much hatred toward her mother that just wants a relationship with her. But she also has a boy around her that intrigues her (Miller, FTW). Her actions are all over the place. These three characters and their roller coaster of emotions had me feeling for them all throughout the book.
I hate a review that gives me a synopsis of a book. So I will leave you with this...
Regretting You gives you two female characters that are trying to figure out their places in life and their places with each other. It's not easy to read everything and you will want to smack Clara a few times. But like I said, she's a teenager that's been dealt a blow. And even Morgan is frustrating. Especially in the flashbacks where maybe she got it wrong.
Miller is utter perfection. Seriously. His actions and the way he handled all his situations was very commendable. Just remember that they are teens, and not everything is perfect.
And then there is Gramps. I love an old character that comes in funny or with some major sage advice. He was really a favorite of mine.
Then we have Jonah, Chris and Jenny. They are all major players in this story, but this is Morgan and Clara's journey and that's where the focus lies. Don't expect answers from them. ;)
Regretting You was a journey for two characters and while I wanted information from other characters, it wasn't their story. The way the characters interacted, the story flowed from past to present and from character to character and it was all done so well. The plot moved at a pace that worked for the story being told.
Of course I wanted more answers, but I was understanding of this mother/ daughter relationship that included their own personal relationships and how they navigated them. Colleen Hoover wrote a book that a mother could share with their high school daughter and hopefully bring them closer. While it's not my favorite CoHo book, it is still a book that I will love to share with others. It's beautiful and well told. The message about relationships and attraction really hit home.
"Attraction isn't something that only happens once, with one person. It's part of what drives humans. Our attraction to each other, to art, to food, to entertainment. Attraction is fun. So when you decide to commit to someone, you aren't saying, 'I promise I'll never be attracted to anyone else.' You're saying, 'I promise to commit to you, despite my potential future attraction to other people.'...Relationships are hard for that very reason."
Colleen has a way with words and is gifting us with another book that details the flaws in humans and how we can react to them and process them. Be prepared to feel and learn all at once. Loving and hating the characters in this story will be a journey in itself. 4.5 stars" — Linda Miller-Kracht

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9. The Inmate - A Novel by Freida McFadden


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Highlight: I don’t quite understand how you can love somebody so much, yet so frequently want to throttle them.

Helpful review: "I love how Freida McFadden always keeps me guessing with her books and The Inmate was no different. Brooke Sullivan is a nurse practitioner who is starting a new job at a men’s maximum-security prison. No one knows that Brooke knows one of the inmates, Shane Nelson.
Shane was convicted of three grisly murders eleven years ago and it was Brooke’s testimony that helped convict him. Brooke and Shane were high school sweethearts. Right after the trial Brooke left town and is only back now because her parents died in a car crash. Brooke has a ten-year-old son, Josh, and unbeknownst to anyone, Shane is the daddy. Shane is still maintaining his innocence and has warned Brooke to watch out for Tim Reese, Brooke’s childhood friend. Brooke is now starting to doubt her memory of the events of the night of the murders. Could she have gotten it wrong? Is Shane really innocent?
Wow! This book had me all over the place on who I believed and who I didn’t. There is not a lot I can say without giving anything away. This story was told in a dual timeline, alternating between the night of the murders eleven years ago and the present.
I loved having the story presented this way because it just kept me guessing. Things would happen in the present day chapters and then we would get a chapter in the past, and that would make me think I was sure I knew what really happened. But then something else would happen that would make me rethink everything. I love how McFadden had me all over the place.
I really liked all the characters in this book as well. Brooke did annoy me at times with her naïve thinking, but I loved how she wanted to make sure she righted any wrongs she may have done. She was also a great mother to Josh and would do anything to protect him.
I even liked Shane even though I couldn’t truly trust that he was innocent. Brooke’s childhood best friend, Tim was another character that I couldn’t truly trust. I was more suspicious of him than I was of Shane. Lol!
I know I didn’t really say much about what happens in this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. The Inmate was full of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. And oh what an end it was! If you are looking for a read that will keep you on your toes, then definitely check this one out." — Sharon Benson

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10. Remarkably Bright Creatures - A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt


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Highlight: Why can humans not use their millions of words to simply tell one another what they desire?

Helpful review: "Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt starts with an animal as a main character, and if you have seen “The Shape of Water,” your first fear is a recreation of that quirky top twist. We alternate chapters between Tova, an aquarium custodian, and an octopus. Because we accept this as a work of fiction, we go along, despite our doubts, about which aquarium dwellers would have the best mind for crime-solving and why Van Pelt chose the eight-legged one.
Cameron, a third character, has a bad breakup and loses his job. Now, we have three lives that need to intersect, and it does not take long for you to care about them. Tova’s misanthropic characteristics somehow make her more intriguing. The incident when all three of these remarkably different characters come together happens early in the novel but still qualifies as an “a-ha” moment. Each is a bright creature in its way, and they will surprise you.
An octopus as an omniscient narrator sounds like a hokey idea, but Van Pelt makes it work. As the winner of BookBrowse’s Best Debut, it is unique and not surprisingly like nothing you have read. Van Pelt most likely has a few more stories in her.
I read a few reviews that stated how horrible of a human being Cameron is, but that shows you how skilled Van Pelt is. Loveable idiots are hard to produce, so I credit the author. She also creates chapter titles that mean nothing until you read, a tactic that works like the “Frasier” TV show.
Predicting endings or twists is not my skill set, but I saw this coming. It did not take away from my enjoyment since the characters meant so much to me then. How would the average person respond in the face of so much loss? Tova leads the novel as a woman who goes about her business in life because what else can she do?
Marcellus, the Giant Pacific Octopus, has the advantage of knowing everything as a literary device in which we see the tragedy behind the character’s ignorance.
It is too early to predict that this will be the best of the year, and I cannot see anything passing up this and “In Love.” The story arc travels at the right pace, and I did not want to put it down.
All three main characters had nothing in common with me, but I still related to them. When everything starts coming together and you see the finish line, you cannot help but feel relief and pity simultaneously. You took this journey with all three of them and hoped for closure. I highly recommend this novel." — Anthony Conty

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11. Happy Place - A Novel by Emily Henry


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Highlight: My best friends taught me a new kind of quiet, the peaceful stillness of knowing one another so well you don’t need to fill the space.

Helpful review: "Told in dual timelines. One, the current timeline, where a group of friends are taking their annual trip to a small town in Maine. Harriet has recently gone through a breakup (her ex, Wyn, being one of the friends on the trip) but they haven’t told the friends yet about the split. So during the trip they get sucked into faking that they are still together. And another timeline, which tells the story of how Harriet & Wyn met and fell in love.
Emily Henry can tell a story. It wasn’t the most unique bones and of course there were things that were predictable but this story immediately had me by the throat. I kind of couldn’t function all day because I couldn’t put this down. How I could immediately be nostalgic for characters I didn't know yet was beyond me.
These two are very quickly drawn to each other and so in tune with each other, yet somehow they are very bad at communicating their vulnerability with one another. Honestly. I could relate to Harriet so much with her insecurities and how she handles stress in a relationship.
Wyn was not whom I expected at first, and I enjoyed the way his character unfolded. He was very insecure about his lack of bookish smarts and his small town upbringing. His feeling of not being good enough for Harriet and not knowing what to do with his life led us to watch the "noble idiot" play out in real time and it was heartbreaking.
Harriet’s love for Wyn was just dripping off the pages. It was so clear right from the start that all she wanted was to love him her whole life. It was also so sweet and heartbreaking.
This book just felt like EH’s most romantic. Full of sweet love declarations, quiet moments, fierce attraction, and witty banter. Harriet describes Wyn’s childhood room as a museum dedicated to her favorite subject. Wyn tells Harriet he didn’t understand why he went to college but looking back maybe it was so he could find her.
Life happens after college, there’s big and little things that lead to them losing each other, growing pains in a time of life when they were just trying to figure themselves out. There is a degree of miscommunication but it comes from a real and human place. I really was rooting for these two to find a way to be honest with each other.
This is a story about love and a story about finding your happiness and I freaking loved that Harriet’s happy place was being with Wyn. Especially because we see that from her in the whole book. She loved him fiercely. It was such a departure from the women’s lit/romance novels of the day and refreshing. Maybe she doesn’t need a man, but this was the man she wanted. I finished this and then immediately wanted to start it over again (and that is not a thing I ever do!)" — Heather Webb

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12. Maybe Someday - A Novel by Colleen Hoover


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Highlight: I assumed that maybe someday, when I was ready, things could have developed between us.

Helpful review: "‘There are only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet. You would think there would only be so much you could do with twenty-six letters. You would think there were only so many ways those letters could make you feel when mixed up and shoved together to make words.’
Yes, you would think, but then Colleen Hoover comes along and with just a few simple words she’ll leave you stunned and wondering how someone can say something so simply yet have you feel it down to the bottom of your soul. That’s how I felt while reading this book and I found myself in awe of what she created with this story. It was so simply written, yet so ridiculously deep and meaningful. I could not put it down!
I’m not going to spoil anything because discovering the quirks and twists as you go is half the fun here but here’s a quick (spoiler-free) summary of the groundwork for the story.
Sydney has been listening to Ridge from her balcony for a few weeks as he plays his guitar on his own balcony across the courtyard. She finds herself making up lyrics to his song and is highly embarrassed when she realizes that he’s been watching her too and has noticed her singing along to his songs that don’t yet have lyrics. This is convenient for Ridge because he’s recently been suffering writer’s block and has been unable to come up with any lyrics for his and his brother’s band. He gets her to text him and he begs her to share her lyrics with him. Sydney reluctantly agrees and it would seem that she is the answer to his prayers because her lyrics are amazing. When Sydney suddenly finds herself in need of a place to stay she ends up roommates with Ridge and they start to bond over their combined songwriting. That’s about all I’ll say because from that point on NOTHING in this book was what I expected.
I don’t know what exactly I was expecting going into this book, but it wasn’t anything like what I got, because what I got was so much more than I could have ever imagined! This story surprised me at every turn, made me feel so deeply and question myself as I went through the same struggles as the characters did. This book really makes you think and I guarantee it will leave you so conflicted with how you hope things will turn out, because truly there isn’t a villain in this story, they are all just victims of their circumstances and poor timing. (“There isn’t a doubt in my mind that we could be perfect for each other’s life, Sydney. It’s our lives that aren’t perfect for us.”) You become so invested in all of the characters that you just don’t want to see anyone hurt, even the ones they aren’t “supposed” to be with. It messes with your head a little bit because usually you know who the main couple is going to be and you root for them throughout, in this book I completely understood how a heart could be split in half and given to two people equally.
She writes it so perfectly and as I went I felt my heart was split in two for this story too. I can’t really go into details without spoiling the story, but I think if you read this you will understand what I mean.
I loved the use of music here as a means for Sydney and Ridge to connect. Because of a certain aspect of Ridge, the way they communicate through their lyrics and the feeling of the music itself is just so powerful. I was left speechless time and again at the beauty of the bond they formed by sharing this. Regardless of whatever else was going on or the status of their ‘romantic’ relationship, no one else could touch this bond. Neither one of them had ever felt that before with another person and I felt their connection very deeply. It was breathtaking how it was all woven together and through Colleen’s masterful writing it was just amazing. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking at times seeing them develop this relationship that was so intimate, but not in the way you might imagine. I’ve never read anything like it.
One thing I’ve loved about every Colleen Hoover book that I’ve read is how alive her characters are, they are so well written and well-rounded that they just jump off the page and I feel like they could be any other group of friends living down the street. Their reactions, their interactions, their thoughts and actions are all so realistic and relatable that it’s impossible not to connect with them and fall in love with them. That’s how it was with this crew, I fell in love with Ridge, Sydney, Warren, Bridgette, Maggie and Brennan. What a fun group of friends! I loved how they all interacted and their pranks were hilarious! Warren cracked me up and I think he summed it up best here: “Well, Sydney. Welcome to the weirdest place you’ll ever live.” I loved that! They weren’t perfect though and they made mistakes that I think anyone in their position would make but they were honest and real reactions. And I found that the way they dealt with their mistakes or issues was very mature and refreshing for a New Adult book.
I highly recommend getting the companion soundtrack by Griffin Peterson and having it handy when reading this book! I downloaded it from iTunes right as I started reading and when I came across the songs in the book I would play it and it just added a whole other dimension to this story. It was awesome hearing the songs come alive and I actually really liked the music. I love that through her art, Colleen Hoover is supporting other artists as well, and I love that she creates these complete experiences and takes it beyond just the words on her pages. It’s a unique experience and I really enjoyed it. Also, check out the Maybe Someday page on her website (http://www.maybesomedaysoundtrack.com/extras.php) because there’s a link to unlock a bonus epilogue which made my heart happy to read! I was happy with how the actual book ended but this just completely rounded it out for me.
This book is going up there with my top favorite reads! It was fresh, surprising, profound and heartfelt and really just a wonderful book! And if you’re not ready to leave this crew yet I would recommend checking out Maybe Not once you’re done with this because that was a quick, fun read that’s perfect to jump into right after this!" — Jason Benoit

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