The Last Dance of the Debutante by Julia Kelly -- Lily Nicholls is one of the last groups of ladies presented to the Queen. Rumor is that this might be the last Season for such outdated practices, and Lily's mom and grandmother want her to drop out of school in order to be presented. Think of the possibilities of finding a good match:a rich husband and then the babies! Only is this the life Lily wants? As she makes friends with other debs, attends parties and balls, Lily discovers more about her past. Pretty good story.
Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir -- Third in the Six Tudor Queens series; this book has just over 550 pages so another long read, but pretty good. I know a lot of this is made up because the author wasn't there to hear the dialogue and see what truly happened, but it was good to learn more about this wife of Henry VIII. I have two more books left in this series since I started with book 6 (Katharine Parr) and have now read books one through three. Oh, the reason I think she said Jane was "the haunted queen" was due to how Anne Boleyn met her demise. Andrew kept seeing the title and asked me about this haunted lady.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- Monique is shocked when her boss tells her that the famous Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo wants only her to interview her for an upcoming piece for their magazine. When Monique meets with Evelyn, Evelyn wants to share her whole story in a biography and agrees that Monique can write this tell-all, but only after Evelyn dies. Pretty good story.
The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane -- A thriller-type book; pretty easy read. Elisa is convinced that her brother in law, Josh, is a killer. Why else would he have a wife who died "accidentally" and now his fiancée is missing and he doesn't seem all that upset about it? Enter Rachel...the new girlfriend. Can Elisa protect Rachel from her brother in law? Meanwhile, why is Josh gaslighting her, making her feel off-balance? Pretty good, fast read.
Last Girl Ghosted by Lisa Unger -- At the urging of her friend Jax, Wren makes a profile on Torch, a dating app. She has a type, and it's not the men posing shirtless in front of sports cars. She meets Adam in a bar, and they quickly become inseparable until the evening they were supposed to meet and he doesn't show. Instead she gets a text about his having to leave and he's sorry. Wren thought they were a good match, and wants answers. Later when she looks for his Torch profile and social media pages, they are gone. What happened to Adam? Pretty good book except she makes some really stupid decisions. And this book makes me so happy that I never had to rely on apps for finding a love match.
Things Past Telling by Sheila Williams -- A nice break from the thriller-type books, this tale of Maryam starts with her as a young girl some place in Africa where she is taken by slave traders and journeys across the ocean. It follows her few years working for a pirate in the Caribbean and later as an enslaved young woman in the South. Interesting story.
The Collective by Alison Gaylin -- Camille's daughter died after a frat boy left her outside in the cold after he raped her. Five years have passed and Camille is still so, so angry. After she becomes a bit of a local sensation, she's invited to join a group of angry mothers bent on revenge. They meet on the dark web and fantasize about how to bring their children's killers to their ends. A pretty good - if rather dark - story!
The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb -- I got this book for my birthday and decided to read a few of the books I have already at home. Francesca and her sister Maria are recent immigrants from Sicily who meet Alma, a German-heritage American, who works at Ellis Island. Alma befriends the sisters and looks out for them. Other stuff happens. Pretty good book.
A Short History of Humanity by Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe -- I saw this book while we were at Barnes & Noble earlier this year, and I got it for my birthday. This was an interesting look at how people moved from one place to another and brought their ways of life (farming, for instance) and how eventually DNA changed so we could process grains and other carbohydrates rather than the meat from the hunters and gatherers who just as easily ate grubs and snails. I liked the part about dogs (pg. 67), different grains (p. 70), the meaning of "blue eyes" (pg. 76), "very, very old relatives" re: Europeans and those in what is now the Americas (pg. 101), immune systems as pertaining to vaccines (pg. 181). I stopped jotting down page numbers after that as the rest of the book dealt with interesting things like diseases and pandemics somewhat. I like the authors' conclusion: "One thing that seems clear is that - pandemic and social distancing aside - dogmatically insisting on social, cultural, and physical isolation within our nations is a dead end. The world has never been that way. The journey of humankind will carry on. We will find our limits - and we will not accept them. Through the journey of our genes, we know that humans are born travelers; we are made to wander." (pg. 237)
The Runaway Jury by John Grisham -- I found this paperback at Southport when we were there in late April, and I finished my library books recently and figured I'd read some books I have here at the house. This book is about a Big Tobacco lawsuit where the industry is sued for the early death of a long-time smoker. There is wheeling and dealing and following and downright wrong stuff happening behind the scenes with the jury. Whew! Pretty interesting story if you like legal cases and jury drama.
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi -- I got this book from a little free library at Southport, I believe, and it was OK. Anthony is 7 years old when his Aunt Floria and her twin daughters move into their house because Floria's husband has to spend time in prison and she can't afford to live in her old place. One of the twins, Bianca, wears her Superman cape, and thinks she can fly. Belinda, the other twin, has issues with her sinuses. The book deals with Anthony, his mom Leonora, Aunt Floria and devotes a chapter or two to each, in various decades. Not a favorite.
Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait by Alison Weir -- I'm continuing this series about King Henry, VIII's wives. This was an interesting look at his German wife and their brief marriage. I only have one book left since I started with book 6. Except for Author's Notes, these books end with these ladies' deaths so it was interesting learning a bit more of the story since Anna was the last of Henry's wives to die. Even still, she was in her early forties.
Fully You: Unlocking the Power of All You Really Are by Joël Malm -- Andrew mentioned this book a good while back, and I decided to get it for his birthday. He read it recently, and I put it in my stack of books to eventually read and did so this week. It's kind of a spiritual self-help book, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There are lots of challenging things especially the community parts: meeting in person with folks, confessing your weaknesses, being open and honest. I found the solitude part more in line with my temperament (meditating on God's goodness and what he says about me and my situation.) I may reread this book in the near future because I think I can learn a lot from it. There was an interesting chapter on anger as well.