The Holiday season is among us, and for many of us that involves relaxing and reading everything we can get our hands on that doesn’t involve school materials. Here’s a couple of books we’ve been reading that we highly recommend!

 

  1. Upstairs an the White House by J. B. West
    • B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–and coordinated its daily life–at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive presidents and first ladies, as well as their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests–including friends, relatives, and heads of state.
    • B. West, whom Jackie Kennedy called “one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met,” provides an absorbing, one-of-a-kind history of life among the first ladies. Alive with anecdotes ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s fascinating political strategies to Jackie Kennedy’s tragic loss and the personal struggles of Pat Nixon, Upstairs at the White House is a rich account of a slice of American history that usually remains behind closed doors.

For all of our history peeps out there, this one is for you!

  1. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
    • Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.
    • It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.
    • As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

For those of you looking for a book brimming with charming characters, heartwarming connections, old secrets, and a southern setting this one is for you!

  1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
    • A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the New York Times bestselling author of The Hunting Party.
    • The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner  – The bridesmaid – The body
    • On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. 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 perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
    • And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

For those of you looking for a a classic whodunnit and a very contemporary psychological thriller that will leave you guessing right to the end – this one is for you!

  1. The Last Mrs. Parish by Liv Constantine
    • Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
    • Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

For those of you looking for a fun and fast-paced psychological thriller about two determined women who play a high stakes game of deception that only one can win, this one is for you!

 

  1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
    • It’s about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement.
    • It’s about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves.
    • The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman.
    • You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
    • You will be wrong.

For readers looking for a book that has an absorbing and unique plot line, intriguing but flawed characters, and commands attention until the end of the book, this one is for you!

 

  1. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
    • The day after Nina Browning’s son, Finch, is accepted to Princeton, he makes a terrible decision, and Nina’s perfect life comes crashing down.
    • Raised in the small town of Bristol, on the border of Tennessee and Virginia, Nina married well. Her husband, Kirk, and she have raised Finch among Nashville’s privileged, well-manicured mansions, sending him to the prestigious Windsor Academy. Yet an alcohol-soaked party ends with Finch snapping compromising pictures of an unconscious young woman, Lyla Volpe, a sophomore on scholarship to Windsor. The photos spread like wildfire through the town, leaving Lyla devastated. Her father, Tom, a carpenter struggling to raise Lyla alone after her mother deserted them, is determined to exact justice from the school’s Honor Council. Nina is dismayed to find Finch and Kirk blithely unconcerned about Lyla’s feelings or Finch’s crime. They are far more interested in using the Browning family wealth to convince the school and Tom to turn a blind eye—not to mention using Finch’s sexual magnetism to manipulate Lyla’s emotions. Distraught, Nina forges friendships with Tom and Lyla, which will expose the fault lines in her own family. Giffin (First Comes Love, 2016, etc.) shifts perspectives from chapter to chapter, giving voice to Lyla’s teenage fears of social repercussions and Tom’s efforts to balance his fierce protective streak with his desire to give his daughter her freedom. Yet it is Nina’s chapters that ring most powerfully, as Giffin captures the complexity of Nina’s emotions: Her maternal instincts to protect her son war against her feminist alliance with the wronged Lyla; her wistful memories of her beloved little boy wrestle with her outrage at his racist, sexist, and increasingly devious young adult behavior; and her carefully constructed sense of family fractures against her realization that Kirk may not be the husband, father, or man she thought he was.
    • A compelling portrait of a woman facing the difficult limits of love.

For those of you looking for a book filled with valuable lessons and substance, this one is for you! 

  1. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
    • If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?
    • Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .
    • Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?
    • Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .
    • Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?
    • Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

For those of you looking for a twisty, suspenseful thriller that you can’t put down, this one is for you!