Good Reads From My Best Read Books – March/April/May 2019

I’ve had some good reads in March, April and May – books that have made me think, act, disappear and relax. I’ve had a few that kept me up too late at night, and some that I couldn’t wait to dive into when I got home from teaching in the afternoons.

I’m up from 13 books in my January/February post, to 28 by the beginning of June. You can check out that good reads list here. And I’ve got a HUGE pile to be read over my summer – here are a few of the good reads I loved in the last three months!

Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing
A novel about a young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.” – Goodreads
Wow – this book just captured my heart. The story follows Kya, a young woman left alone to grow up on the North Carolina coast. She is wild and curious and loving and searching for herself and how she fits in…you definitely want to read this one NOW!

The Lost Girls of Paris

by Pam Jenoff

The Lost Girls of Paris
“1946, Manhattan. Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman.” – Goodreads
I’m a fan of Pam Jenoff and loved her story about how women played key roles in WW2 – combining historical stories about the 12 women who were Special Ops with a thrilling mystery, I know you’ll love this one!

The Kommandant’s Girl

by Pam Jenoff

The Kommandant's Girl (The Kommandant's Girl, #1)
“Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out.” – Goodreads
Another Pam Jenoff…this time the story of a woman who hides her identity to support her husband in the Resistance movement…blending romance and historical fiction for a decent read.

The Magdalen Girls

by V. S. Alexander

The Magdalen Girls
” Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are fallen women unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals.” -Goodreads
What I liked most about this story was learning about the Magdalen laundries – a part of history that didn’t surprise me, but certainly horrified me. I found it informative, yet a bit simplistic.

Watching You

by Lisa Jewell

Watching You
“Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.” -Goodreads
Shifting away from historical fiction, I rated this title four stars – mainly for its plot twists and suspense. I’m a fan of Lisa Jewell, and this is one you want to read!

The Hate You Give

by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. ” -Goodreads
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read YA fiction since you were a YA – this is a title everyone should read, immediately. Kids love it for a reason – it’s true. It’s current. It’s beautifully told from the point of view of a teen who is living the news most of us only read about. Read it.

The Leavers

by Lisa Ko

The Leavers
“One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate.” – Goodreads
I don’t give too many 5-star reviews, but this one deserved it. It’s a story of mothers and sons, growing up, unending love and the complexities of culture and immigration. It’s a must-read.

Winter Sisters

by Robin Olivera

Winter Sisters (Mary Sutter, #2)
“New York, 1879: An epic blizzard descends on Albany, devastating the city. When the snow finally settles, two newly orphaned girls are missing. Determined not to give up hope, Dr. Mary Sutter, a former Civil War surgeon, searches for the two sisters. When what happened to them is finally revealed, Dr. Sutter must fight the most powerful of Albany’s citizens, risking personal and public danger as she seeks to protect the fragile, putting at risk loves and lives in her quest to right unimaginable wrongs.” – Goodreads
I was excited to find a copy of Oliveira’s new book at the library – I enjoyed her first novel, My Name Is Mary Sutter, and was pleased with her second attempt to share Mary’s story. A blend of historical fiction, thriller, and family saga, Winter Sisters is definitely worth picking up. 

A Place for Us

by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us
“A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia’s, wedding – a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years.” – Goodreads
I found this title through Sarah Jessica Parker’s new publishing company, and at first, I wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed the narrative perspectives – but the plot line just kept pulling me in. Family history, culture, parental expectations….this book offers a contemporary glimpse of what so many young adults are facing today. Check out this quick interview with the author – I swear she could be one of my students!

The Immortalists

by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists
“If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die.” – Goodreads
I waited a long time to get a copy of this one…and it was worth it! I’m not sure I would want to know myself but do love the idea that despite how and when we might see our last days, living life in the present is a daily exercise for me. This title made me really think about being right here, right now.

The Paris Seamstress

by Natasha Lester

The Paris Seamstress
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear. ” – Goodreads
My great-grandmother was a dress designer and owned her own company – making me a target for any good reads with a similar plotline and strong independent women. I loved the parallel narrative of Estella and Fabienne and felt myself back and forth between worlds the entire time I was reading this novel.

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere
” Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.” – Goodreads
This is another title that seemed as if everyone had read it before I finally checked it out of the library…maybe the buildup was too much, but I only gave this one three stars. It was just ok for me. I finished it, I enjoyed thinking about the themes of motherhood, conformity and family, but just thought it was a bit overdone.

The Orphan’s Tale

by Pam Jenoff

The Orphan's Tale
” A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival. Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. ” – Goodreads
My third Pam Jenoff title of this batch and it comes in third place. Maybe it was the circus theme. Maybe it was just a bit too predictable – or implausible. I didn’t fall in love with the characters, but did finish it and wonder if this truly could have happened. It was only three-stars for me.

In Farleigh Field

by Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field
” World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. ” – Goodreads
Maybe I should have given this one four-stars…I enjoyed the Gatsby-esque story about WW2 saga from the ‘fancy people perspective” – but couldn’t fall in love with any of the characters. It was a quick read with a good suspenseful plot line…

Matchmaking for Beginners

by Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking for Beginners
” Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would. ” – Goodreads
I’m a fan of Maddie Dawson, and LOVED this story! Such relatable, lovable characters and an enchanting plot line…reminds us that the Universe has plans for us that we might not ever imagine for ourselves. Match Making for Beginners is all about paying attention, taking chances, and listening to our intuition. A definite five-star must read!

The Woman in the Window

by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window
” Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.” -Goodreads
I wasn’t sure about this one at first…but then I couldn’t put it down. Mystery, thriller, suspense…I can see why it made it on my list after winning a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Mystery & Thriller and for Debut Author (2018). I wasn’t disappointed; in fact, I was pretty darn surprised with the ending! Four-stars – I couldn’t put it down.

So that’s it – I hope I’ve given you some good reads for the next few months! Let me know what you’re reading now, what you think I should read next, and if you liked any of these titles!

More good reads:

You can read my best books list here from 2017. If you’d like to read the best books I read in 2016 click here. For more best books recommendations click over to 2013 and 2014 favorites posts. I’ve also written a Books I Love post and would love to connect with you on Goodreads to share more about reading. Think of it as our virtual book club!
~Jennifer

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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