The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
Simon receives a mysterious book that is the key to unlocking a curse his family has suffered for generations. I have seen a lot of people compare this book to The Night Circus, but I don't think that's fair. The only thing alike about the two books is they're both well written and about a circus. That being said, I loved The Book of Speculation. The past/present format worked really well to explain the curse on Simon's family, and the beautiful writing kept me interested the whole time. I highly recommend it.
Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
I have mentioned my love for The Secret Life of Violet Grant in the past, so I was really excited to find out Beatriz Williams was writing more books about the Schuyler sisters. I didn’t love Tiny Little Things quite as much as The Secret Life of Violet Grant because Tiny didn’t have Vivian’s spunk, but I was intrigued by Tiny's story, especially about the incriminating photograph. It was interesting to learn more about high society in the 1960s and the pressure Tiny felt to be perfect. The Secret Life of Violet Grant and Tiny Little Thing are loosely linked and work as stand alone novels. Now I can’t wait to read Along the Infinite Sea.
The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but it turned into one of my favorite reads of the year. I liked that it was focused on the 1920s and really liked Henry, Gil, and Cora, three strangers with secrets from their past that join together to host a flying circus. The book was very well written and kept me entertained. I liked Henry as the main character and enjoyed learning more about barnstorming and planes in the 1920s. I honestly didn't want this book to end.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
What a unique, sweet, and touching story. I loved the concept of a “missed connection” post on Craigslist and how the author wrote about Grace and Matt's time in college falling in love and what made it all fell apart. It was both heartbreaking and uplifting. A great summer read!
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
What this book isn't: a comedy. I really don't think it's fair to compare it to Where'd You Go, Bernadette.
What this book is: A beautiful, well-written story of a mom who has too much on her plate: trying to fit into a new job after working part-time, dealing with new financial problems after her husband leaves his job, and worrying about her sick father. Not to mention raising her three kids and helping her husband deal with his new career change. It was interesting to read about how Alice deals with the pressure and the decisions she ultimately has to make. I would definitely recommend this book-just don't expect it to be funny!
Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexander
I didn’t think I would like this book because I didn't know anything about the Spanish Civil War. I loved it, and I learned so much. I was constantly googling to find out more about the Spanish Civil War throughout the book. The past/present format is my favorite, and I loved both Evelina (past) and Paloma (present, though in this case present is 1975). The story was intriguing from the very beginning, and I loved that the book was centered around dancing (ballet and flamenco). The plot twists surprised me, and it didn't feel like I had read over 500 pages when I finished. In fact, I loved Paloma so much I could have kept reading! This book is definitely worth a read if you love historical fiction.
Saving Sophie by Ronald H. Balson
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don't usually read books about the Middle East, but this one was suspenseful and interesting. The book starts out with a missing $88 million dollars in an embezzlement case and Jack Sommers as the main suspect. But why would someone who has never broken the law suddenly steal $88 million dollars? His daughter, Sophie, has been kidnapped by her grandparents and taken to Palestine. The story was intriguing from the very beginning, and I couldn't stop reading. I loved the characters, from Jack and Marcy to Catherine and Liam (I have been wanting to read Once We Were Brothers, and now it's moved higher on my to-read list!) I never expected to finish this book in one night, but that's exactly what happened.