Hello, bookish friends! It’s been a minute… yes, again. I still haven’t been blogging much this year, but the good news is: I’ve been reading this year. Like, a lot.

In fact, I already passed my sixty book goal for 2022 and it’s only August. Numbers aren’t everything, but after a couple of years where reading was HARD, it’s nice to crave the words on the page again!

So just to catch up… here are some books I’ve read and enjoyed recently!

 

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Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Have you ever had a book on your TBR forever, finally read it, and wonder why on earth you waited so long? This introduction to the Perez sisters is exhibit A of that category! This is a sweeping family drama, a history lesson, a love story, and a bit of a mystery. It also offers such a descriptive setting of Havana that it’s almost another character in the story. A brief overview:

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest—until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Cleeton has written an entire series of books about the Perez family. I also read When We Left Cuba, and although it was good, it was much heavier on politics, and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first entry. I also plan to read Our Last Days in Barcelona, which continues the saga.

 

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The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

If you’ve been around here a while, you may recall that I don’t read much in the Young Adult category. Not because it doesn’t offer great books, but just because reading time is limited and I tend to fill up most of mine with mysteries! I came across this title quite by accident during a team reading challenge this summer… and my mind was blown in the best possible way! First, the description:

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is.

To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a conwoman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

I loved everything about this one: the characters, the layered mystery, the riddles! It was impossible to put down, which explains my sleep schedule the week I found this. In fact, I finished book one, and immediately went to track down the second installment, The Hawthorne Legacy. I’m counting the days until book three, The Final Gambit, comes out. If you have nowhere to be for a few days, go find this series and get comfortable!

 

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The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

In addition to mysteries, I have been enjoying more historical fiction. This title manages to combine the best of both of these genres in a fictional take on a famous episode in the life of Agatha Christie.

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car―strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie’s masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie’s untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

Marie Benedict manages to take real people and real events, and carve the most wonderful tales out of them. Of course, it really helped in this case that I’m such a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I’ve been reading through the Miss Marple stories and friends, they are classics for a reason! (New to Agatha Christie? Start with the first Miss Marple story, Murder at the Vicarage.)

 

This is just a sampling of books I’ve read over the summer, and they are all five-star titles for me. Next up, I’ll share some of the books I’m hoping to read this fall.

Thanks for checking out this post… please follow here and on social media, as I have missed chatting books with you all and plan to be around more in the coming months. As always, happy reading!

 

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4 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately

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