2019: Mid-Year Reading Wrap-Up

Hello & Happy Summer or Winter, depending on where you are in the world! Here we are at the midpoint of 2019, so I thought I’d check in with a wrap-up of what I’ve read (or attempted to read) so far this year.

I’ve attempted 38 books, read 35 of them, and DNF’d three. I think that’s pretty darn good considering this year has been trying at times. My goal was to read at least 5 books a month, so I’m over that by a few. Here are some reading stats:

  • 87% Women Authors
  • 74% Review Copies
  • 47% Suspense/Thrillers
  • 45% British Settings
  • 16% Library Books
  • 13% Cozy Mysteries
  • 13% Historical Fiction
  • 11% Audiobooks

Below is the list of books I’ve read this year in order, in groups of 10-ish. If you click on the title, it will take you to my review on Goodreads 🙂 📚 →

THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES by Edgar Allan Poe (5)
THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous (4.5)
THE LIAR’S ROOM by Simon Lelic (4)
ONE FATAL MISTAKE by Tom Hunt (3.75)
THE SUSPECT by Fiona Barton (3)
NO ESCAPE CLAWS by Sofie Ryan (3.75)
LITTLE DARLINGS by Melanie Golding (4.5)
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness (3)
NORTHERN ENCOUNTER by Jennifer LaBrecque (4)
HER ONE MISTAKE by Heidi Perks (4)

THE PARTING GLASS by Gina Marie Guadagnino (4)
MAGRUDER’S CURIOSITY CABINET by H.P. Wood (3)
BLOOD ORANGE by Harriet Tyce (5)
THE WEIGHT OF LIES by Emily Carpenter (DNF)
THE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths (4.5)
THE SHADOW GUEST by Hillary Waugh (5)
THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware (5)
THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS by Kris Waldherr (3.5)
THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides (5)
THE MISSING YEARS by Lexie Elliott (3)

MURDER ON CAPE COD by Maddie Day (4)
LOVE IN CATALINA COVE by Brenda Jackson (DNF)
THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley (2)
THE RAVEN’S TALE by Cat Winters (3.75)
ANY DAY NOW by Robyn Carr (4.5)
THE BOOKWOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson (5)
MURDER AND METAPHORS by Amanda Flower (4)
SNIPER’S PRIDE by Megan Crane (3.5)
ONE MORE LIE by Amy Lloyd (DNF)
THE BOOK SUPREMACY by Kate Carlisle (4)

THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish (4)
DEATH IN A BUDAPEST BUTTERFLY by Julia Buckley (4)
THE SUMMER GUESTS by Mary Alice Monroe (3.5)
YOU, ME, AND THE SEA by Meg Donohue (4)
WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey (3)
FINDING COLIN FIRTH by Mia March (4)
THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware (3.5)
HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Fleischmann (Currently Reading)

There you have it! Do you see any favorites? A not so favorite? Let me know! As always, thanks so much for visiting my blog. I’m looking forward to the next six months. Happy reading!


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THE SUMMER GUESTS by Mary Alice Monroe {Review}


Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Review copy from Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★½


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.


THE SUMMER GUESTS is the first book I’ve read by Mary Alice Monroe. I know she’s well known for her Beach House series, but I wanted to jump in with a summery standalone novel.

As a Category 5 hurricane is barreling toward the coast of Florida and South Carolina, a mix of different people from the equestrian community, as well as their horses and several rescue dogs, evacuate to the safely of Grace and Charles Phillips’ farm in North Carolina. As they ride out the storm together, each faces personal and interpersonal conflicts that must be resolved for them to move forward.

I enjoyed how the cast of characters represented a range of age groups, from the early 30s to 60s. The characters were strong, though some of their stories felt rushed given the large number of them. The details of horses, horse riding, and the equestrian community were well researched. Maybe a bit too horse-heavy for me, though someone into that scene would appreciate it more.

I adored the descriptions of Grace and Charles’ Freehold Farm, set in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina. It was the perfect, magical place to take shelter from an impending storm. The amazing location was probably my favorite character. THE SUMMER GUESTS is a lovely warm-weather read, though I wish the focus had been on a couple of main characters versus having to keep track of so many.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


About MARY ALICE MONROE:

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.

THOSE PEOPLE by Louise Candlish {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


From the author of the international bestseller Our House, a new novel of twisty domestic suspense asks, “Could you hate your neighbor enough to plot to kill him?”

Lowland Way is the suburban dream. The houses are beautiful, the neighbors get along, and the kids play together on weekends.

But when Darren and Jodie move into the house on the corner, they donʼt follow the rules. They blast music at all hours, begin an unsightly renovation, and run a used-car business from their yard. It doesn’t take long for an all-out war to start brewing.

Then, early one Saturday, a horrific death shocks the street. As police search for witnesses, accusations start flying—and everyone has something to hide.


Lowland Way is the perfect neighborhood in every way. Family-oriented, quiet, upscale, beautiful homes and gardens. Perfect, that is, until those people move in and ruin everything.

Darren and Jodie simply aren’t Lowland Way material. Their used car lot in the front yard, loud music at all hours, and endless remodeling have enraged the residents on the street. They make sure Darren and Jodie know they’re not welcome, but what will it take to reclaim their perfect neighborhood?

THOSE PEOPLE was an entertaining, slow-burn mystery that really had me hooked from the beginning. Dealing with bad neighbors is something most people can relate to. Darren and Jodie were a nightmare, but even the seemingly perfect Lowland Way residents weren’t so flawless when you got beneath the surface. Lots of drama and tension there, which only gets exacerbated by the distressing situation.

I enjoyed this twisty, character-driven novel, and though none of the characters were particularly likable, I couldn’t look away. Satisfying follow-up to last year’s OUR HOUSE.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher thorough NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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SNIPER’S PRIDE by Megan Crane {Review}


Series: Alaska Force, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★½


Return to Alaska’s Grizzly Harbor where danger strikes with arctic precision and love thaws the coldest hearts in the newest romantic suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of SEAL’s Honor.

After Mariah McKenna lands in the hospital with a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction she knows she didn’t cause, she realizes her cheating, vindictive husband would rather have a dead wife than a divorce. Afraid that he will succeed in killing her next time, Mariah goes to Grizzly Harbor to hire one of the Alaska Force special operatives to help her survive long enough to finally live a little.

Griffin Cisneros traded in a comfortable future for boot camp, where he learned the virtue of patience and focus—skills that served him well as a Marine sniper. Few things get to him these days, but something about Mariah’s mix of toughness and vulnerability gets right under his skin. Until it’s clear she’s the one thing in the world that might melt the ice in stoic, reserved Griffin, whether he likes it or not.

If he can just keep her alive…


SNIPER’S PRIDE is the second installment in the Alaska Force series, based around a group of former military men who are now special operatives helping people in need. I love books (especially romances) that are set in Alaska, so I knew I had to grab this one.

Mariah is going through a very bitter divorce, and after a couple of attempts on her life, she heads to Grizzly Harbor, Alaska, and hires Alaska Force for protection and to figure out who’s out to get her. Mariah was a tough, courageous woman doing what it took to survive. She’s specifically assigned to Griffin, a former Marine sniper who sees himself more of a machine than man, hurt in the past and hardened by his military career.

I particularly enjoyed the mystery/suspense side of this book. Mariah’s predicament was so scary, and there were plenty of exciting and nail-biting moments. On the other hand, the romance between Mariah and Griffin was so-so. It took a long time to feel any chemistry between them, and Griffin’s stubborn dislike of her and thinking he’s not capable of a relationship with anyone was trying.

Overall, I liked my introduction to Alaska Force, and I was rooting for Mariah the whole way. I would love to take a peek at the rugged, chilly island that Grizzly Harbor sits on, somewhere on Alaska’s southern coast. Next up is SERGEANT’S CHRISTMAS SIEGE set to release in the fall, and I will definitely be picking that one up!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

THE BOOK SUPREMACY by Kate Carlisle {Review}


Series: Bibliophile Mystery, #13
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the latest in this New York Times bestselling series, San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright investigates a mysterious spy novel linked to a string of murders…

Newlyweds Brooklyn and Derek are enjoying the final days of their honeymoon in Paris. As they’re browsing the book stalls along the Seine, Brooklyn finds the perfect gift for Derek, a first edition James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me. When they bump into Ned, an old friend from Derek’s spy days, Brooklyn shows him her latest treasure.

Once they’re back home in San Francisco, they visit a spy shop Ned mentioned. The owner begs them to let him display the book Brooklyn found in Paris as part of the shop’s first anniversary celebration. Before they agree, Derek makes sure the security is up to snuff—turns out, the unassuming book is worth a great deal more than sentimental value.

Soon after, Derek is dismayed when he receives a mysterious letter from Paris announcing Ned’s death. Then late one night, someone is killed inside the spy shop. Are the murders connected to Brooklyn’s rare, pricey book? Is there something even more sinister afoot? Brooklyn and the spy who loves her will have to delve into the darkest parts of Derek’s past to unmask an enemy who’s been waiting for the chance to destroy everything they hold dear.


THE BOOK SUPREMACY is book number thirteen in the Bibliophile Mystery series. This is a series I’ve wanted to read for a long time (I love book-themed cozies), so I decided to jump in with this latest installment.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a San Francisco-based book restorer, and she and new husband Derek are just starting married life after a romantic Paris honeymoon. Little did she know that a rare copy of The Spy Who Loved Me from a Paris street vendor would pull her into the world of international espionage.

I enjoyed the mystery in this book very much. It was interesting and multi-layered with a cast of intriguing characters. What began as a murder in a San Francisco spy shop turned out to be so much more. It did take some time for the action to get going, but once it did it was an exciting ride. Looking forward to catching up with Brooklyn & Derek’s backstory in the previous books!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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