May 2016 Reads

Life According to Steph

It’s time once again to link up with Jana and Steph for their monthly Show Us Your Reads link up.  May was a good reading month for me. I got a decent number of books read and I was able to read several newer releases that had come in from my holds at the library.  June is looking to be a busy reading month.  I am participating in a Goodreads group team challenge which will run from June until October.  So, I may not end up reading books that are on my to read list, but rather those that will fit the different challenges.  Note to self, I should probably not put a bunch of books on hold at the library, since they all seem to come in at the same time!

3 Stars:


The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee – This book tells the story of three American women living abroad in Hong Kong.  Their lives end up intertwining after a tragic incident occurs.  I found it interesting to learn more about the expat community but overall found the story to be just okay.

Opening Belle

Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry – Isabelle, “Belle,” is a managing director at a financial firm on Wall Street.  She is trying to juggle being a mom, a wife and a high pressure job and at  times appears to be failing at all.  I enjoyed getting an inside view of working at a financial firm on Wall Street, although I didn’t understand much of the market talk.  I found her husband, Bruce, to be really annoying and unlikable.  And unfortunately, I’m sure that the sexual harassment stuff that occurred in the book happens more often than we hear about, in such a male dominated field.  Overall, this was an okay, chic-lit type read.

4 Stars:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld  – This is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice……but I’m pretty sure that I’ve never read the original!  Regardless, I found this book to be humorous and engaging.  It seems this is the fourth book in the Austen Project and although, they all appear to be stand-alones, I’m now curious to try reading the other three.


Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – Along with James Patterson, Coben is one of my go to authors for quick, suspenseful reads.  This book didn’t disappoint, as I found it to be fast-paced and had me guessing until the end.


The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – Three of four siblings are counting on the family trust fund, dubbed “the Nest” and have lived well beyond their means, in expectation of their inheritance.  When they discover the money has been used to cover their fourth sibling’s poor decisions and actions, they end up examining their own lives and making changes to adapt.   I was surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I do.  Literary fiction is not one of my go-to genres.  However, I found that the author captured family dysfunction in a realistic way and spun a story that kept me interested.


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson – Let me first note, that my kids loved the cover of this book and asked me, “Is this book about a dog walker?!”  Second, although this book is over 500 pages, it flies by.  After reading this, I first thought about giving it three stars.  I’m a big fan of YA books, but this book just felt  SO YA, if that makes sense.  However, if I fell into the YA age bracket (which I don’t by many years!) I think this book has everything a good YA book should.  Family drama, friendship drama, boyfriend drama.   It’s all in here.  Plus, it takes place over the summer, making it fitting for a light, summer read.


Untangled:  Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour – I have a 10 year old daughter and I will willingly admit that I am terrified of her becoming a teenager.  Not only for what she will be going through, but for what I will also be dealing with.  So, I’m trying to prepare myself for this upcoming transition, since times have changed since I was a teenager.  I thought Damour did a great job of describing the seven developmental transitions and providing example scenarios and advice on how to help both daughter and parent get through them.  This is a book that I will probably revisit in a couple of years.   I realized that this is the only non-fiction book that I read this month.

5 Stars:


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets  by J.K. Rowling – My son and I got through book two in the Harry Potter series and watched the movie.  It’s fun doing this reread with him.   Since I read these books so long ago, I don’t remember a lot of what happened, so this is a nice refresher!

What have you been reading?



  1. I love Coben’s Myron Bolitar novels.

    I was just eh on The Nest.

    Like your kids, I love the cover of that book!

  2. We have Eligible slated as our book club book for this coming month, and I can’t wait to dig into it! I have a feeling that I’ll probably be wanting to read the rest of the Austen Project too! I’ve read a few Harlan Coben books, but I find myself not liking them as much as James Patterson’s books. I think that it’s because I like the sicker people in James Patterson, which definitely sounds messed up.

    • Patterson definitely has sicker people in his books yes! The chapters are much shorter and more suspenseful as well. I really enjoy the Alex Cross series but his stand-alones have been hit or miss for me.

  3. i really, really enjoyed eligible! i thought it was funny as well. i love p&p, but i think it stands on its own really well. i haven’t read any of the other austen project books, but i haven’t heard good things.. but they all might be austen purists, so who knows lol. the nest is on my list!

  4. Awww … I love the you are rereading the Harry Pottery books with your son. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and try to reread the series every year. And I cannot wait until the new book comes out next month. I like Harlan Coben too. I’m adding Eligible to my TBR. P&P is my favorite Jane Austen book.

    • Wow, I can’t believe you can read the series every year! You really are a huge fan! We are enjoying reading the books together and watching the movies! And I still haven’t finished the series. I only got up to book 5!

  5. I loved Eligible too although it was totally different from the Austen version in many ways 🙂 I too enjoyed The Nest!! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it because I really didn’t like very many of the characters or their situations, haha. It was a captivating read for me though. You should check out this blogger’s Harry Potter re-read this summer & post with her!! I’m re-reading the series before The Cursed Child comes out. So excited to experience them with my kids in a few years 🙂 (how old is your son? I am not sure which age to start HP with my daughter…she’ll be 5 in Sept and is just beginning to love chapter books)

    • Unfortunately, we will be nowhere near finished with the series before The Cursed Child comes out! My son will be 8 in July and we just started the series a few months ago.

  6. Ugh, the library struggle is real! That always happens to me! Thankfully my library lets you pause your holds, so I’ve been utilizing that feature more often. I’m sick of getting too many books at once that I can’t renew, returning at least one or two without reading them, and then hopping back on the waiting list for them. It just seems silly when I can press pause.

    The Expatriates is on my list already. I mostly added it because I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the expat community, so at least that part of your review was positive! 🙂

    I’m also glad you enjoyed The Nest more than Steph and Jana. I always try not to have really high hopes for books that have become popular, but I usually do anyway. Hopefully I’m not disappointed when I finally get to this one!

    I think I need to give Harlan Coben another shot. I read and hated The Stranger last year, but he seems to be a really well loved author … So maybe I just picked a dud? I also recently found out that one of his novels was adapted into this French movie I loved (Tell No One), so he can’t be all bad!

    If/when I have a child in the future, I will have to check out Untangled. (Well, assuming the child is a girl.) Parenting in general terrifies me, so I’ll need all the help I can get!

    • I checked my goodreads and gave The Stranger 3 stars, so yeah, not one of my favorites of Coben’s. I gave 5 stars to Tell No One, Just One Look, No Second Chance and The Innocent. I’d recommend giving one of those a try before you write off Coben! I did enjoy the Nest which surprised me. I try not to go into new to me authors/books without expectations.

  7. I have always intended to read Harlan Coben. I like suspenseful reads. I like James Patterson books for the same reason you mention. I looked at my goodreads, and I have 4 books by Coben on my tbr. I don’t know why I haven’t picked one up yet.

    • Looking at my goodreads I’ve read most of Coben’s books! Not sure if they’re on your list, but I gave 5 stars to Tell No One, Just One Look, No Second Chance and The Innocent.

  8. You cook, you read, how do you find the time? There’s a couple of books here that are on my to-read list such as Opening Belle and Tell No One. I’m looking forward to reading the Harry Potter books with my son. What age did you read book one to your son?

    • I may cook and read Megan, but I’m not exercising, which I really should be doing! You totally have me there! It also helps that I am working from home helping my husband with his business, so I have a lot more time/flexibility.

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