Mid-Year Book Review

woman holding a book

Ever since I was little, I have absolutely loved to read. When I was four, my best friend taught me how to read, and it started a lifetime of being a voracious reader. When I’m on vacation, I can easily read three or four books! 

This year, one of my goals has been to get better at keeping track of what I’ve read and what I think about it. I’m not always good about Goodreads, but I’m pretty proud of how good I’ve been about keeping track in this journal my mom got me! 

Reading is so essential, and as we approach the season of summer beach reads, I thought I’d share my top picks and reviews. Reading is subjective, of course, but in case anyone is looking for a good book, here you go!

18. The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland

Usually, I’m a big fan of Boland’s books – they’re fast-paced, easy to read, and suspenseful. But this one completely missed the mark for me – the ending came out of nowhere and was very unlike her usual style. Not my favorite.

17. Spare by Prince Harry

If you knew me ten years ago, you know how much this breaks my heart to put this so low, but… yikes. I won’t go into my thoughts on Harry and Meghan Markle, but this book was just so not it. It felt like it was just a big whine-fest, and so many parts made me seriously question who allowed them to stay in. It never felt like a book to me; it was just a list of statements that somehow were supposed to go together but didn’t. Not a fan. I’m glad I didn’t have to hear him describe his feelings about rubbing his mother’s lotion on his frostbitten penis.

16. Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

I got this in paperback to bring on an “unplugged” vacation and was excited because it was outside my usual type. I’m definitely a mystery or historical fiction fan, but occasionally, I like to break it up. This was one I wish I hadn’t picked up. The characters were fun for the most part, but the ending was very rushed and frankly sloppy. To be honest, I felt like not much happened throughout the book. I love a good light beach read, but this one was pretty dull.

15. The Best Friend by Shalini Boland

Another Boland book that was just not my favorite. The characters were forgettable and unrelatable, but Boland is nothing if not consistent with her story-telling.

14. Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

I’m always intrigued when a mystery/suspense takes a bit of a sci-fi twist, and while this one was interesting, it just didn’t 100% do it for me. Maybe it’s because I’m not a mom of a teenage son, but I found it difficult to relate to the main character. Not the absolute worst, but not my favorite of the year.

13. Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six by Lisa Unger

woman reading book while lying on sofa
Photo by Alex Gállego on Pexels.com

This book definitely had its share of good twists, but overall, it was not my favorite. There was one character that I spent most of the genuinely wondering why they were in it at all, and quite a few moments where I thought, “How did we get here?” Not awful, but I’ve definitely read better.

12. Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger

As someone who has spent her fair share of time on dating apps, this one was very intriguing and definitely took a few turns that I was really not expecting. I liked the first half, but she did start to lose me in the second half. While I loved the message on forgiveness, it did get a bit preachy in the end, and I’m still not sure how I feel about the main character’s actions in the last few chapters before the resolution. I don’t want to spoil it, but I am passionate about not excusing abusive things as “bad boys” who are “irresistible.” 

11. The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

I hadn’t read anything by this author before and was pleasantly surprised! It did take a twist that I did not expect, which was both refreshing and weird, to be honest, but not bad per se. If I had liked the main character a tiny bit more, I would have put this in the top ten, but it just missed it.

10. The Only Survivors by Megan Miranda

I am a big fan of Megan Miranda and have rarely found a book of hers that I didn’t get fully engulfed in and love! Maybe it was the Outer Banks/North Carolina setting, but I really liked this one. My only complaint was that I definitely had a few unanswered questions at the end (but that’s just my overthinking).