It’s time for another edition of “What I Read!” This month, because I spent so much time on airplanes and in airports and on buses the last week and a half of April, I have five books to discuss!
Let’s just jump right in.
The first book was Always, by Sarah Jio. I consider her books guilty pleasures. They are crazy easy to read and super predictable. However, I eat them up whenever I get one. I was late to the Sarah Jio game, discovering her when most of her current books were already released. Always was one of the few I haven’t managed to get to yet. And honestly it wasn’t my favorite. In this book, an engaged woman runs into her former boyfriend who is now homeless after an accident. She finds herself confronted with conflicting feelings for her current fiancé and the feelings that are returning for her old boyfriend. In true Jio style, the book goes back and forth between the past and the present. However, I just didn’t find myself engaged in the characters or the story.
My favorite read of the month was The Flat Share, by Beth O’Leary. I found it in the Edinburgh airport when we were flying to Islay. It’s a book that’s been on my reading list for a while, but it doesn’t release in the US until May! So I was very excited when I saw it for sale at the airport and snatched it right up. It did not disappoint. The book tells the story of Tiffy and Leon, who share an apartment but have never actually met. Tiffy uses the apartment in the evenings, after work and Leon uses the apartment during the day (since he works nights). They get to know each other through notes they leave each other around the apartment. It’s insanely adorable, and I found myself rooting for the characters the whole way. I shared their frustrations and triumphs and just really loved the whole journey of this book.
Next up was another one of my favorite travel reading authors, Beth Kendrick. The book, In Dog We Trust, was part of her Black Dog Bay series. Kendrick is the definition of “chick lit.” There’s nothing complex about her books at all. They are completely predictable and completely fun to read. I once read three of Kendrick’s book in a two day span of hanging out next to a pool and on the beach. Much Like Jio’s book, this was not Kendrick’s best. The last couple of her books have all focused on the same town, with similar characters, however this particularly storyline was not my favorite. A young woman becomes the guardian of a trio of prize winning show dogs, and finds herself being sued by numerous people around town. It was a silly plot, one that I just didn’t find myself relating to (I’m not much of a dog person…).
In Harm’s Way by Viveca Sten makes the list next. Sten is another author I have read multiple times. She writes the Sandhamn Murders, stories that take place on the archipelago in Sweden. I do love a good mystery, and this one did not disappoint. When Jeannette Thiels, a local journalist, is found dead, the investigation into her murder begins. Everyone’s a suspect: her ex-husband in particular. Sten does a good job of developing the mystery for this one, focusing on one character at a time for just the right amount of time to add the new information needed into the story. She returns to her readers to the small town of Sandhamn and the same characters from her previous novels. These books are hard to read out of order, as they play off of what happens in the previous novels just a little bit.
The Rise and Fall of Jane, by Corrie Garrett was definitely my least favorite read of the month. I chose it because I finished the previous book on the airplane and was looking for something else that would be a fast read. I’ll give the book points for being fast, but there’s where my praise ends. The story was a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, and it just didn’t work. The whole premise of that novel is extremely unsettling outside of the classic (I mean, really the classic is unsettling too but you kind of forgive it someone), and had none of the charm of other retellings, like Clueless.