*This 5 Perfect Reads Just in Time for Back to School themed article includes Amazon Affiliate links. If clicked for purchasing, I will make a small commission off these purchases.
After having read 5 Beach Worthy Reads for Summer 2018, I moved on to my April BOTM selection. Then, I also found myself returning to a few favorite authors for their newest novels. Plus, I was lucky enough to win a FREE copy of The Lemonade Year from my blog friend, The LatchKey Mom.
Also, I am a little behind with updating my reading and books that I read. So, I thought it was more than high time to update here on my Goodreads reading. Therefore, read on now for the books I read and my reviews for these five books for some fun back to school reading options.Getting ready for back to school reading? Then check out fall 2018 recommendations and reviews here now.
5 Perfect Reads Just in Time for Back to School
1. Our Kind of Cruelty, by Araminta Hall
This book was my April 2018 BOTM. I was excited to give this labeled psychological thriller a chance for the reviews I read likened it to You by Caroline Kepnes. That one I read and stayed with me months afterward last year.
Mike Hayes (the main character) and Joe (from You) are both psychologically challenged characters. But that is where the similarities end. With Joe in the former book, I read knowing he was a psychopath. But somehow, he still managed to make the reader feel sorry for him and even have empathy for him. Mike, on the other hand, had me guessing throughout the novel as to what his real deal was. Don’t get me wrong, I know from the book’s mostly inner dialogue from Mike’s point of view that he was most certainly not entirely playing with a full deck. But I still wasn’t sure if it was all him. Or if Verity, his ex-was indeed playing with his head and pulling strings here.
Not to give away the ending, but I am still not 100% sure of this even after the book concluded. I felt this was left up to the reader’s interpretation. That being said, it felt genuinely unfinished and grievously ambiguous as to what the real story indeed was.
While many noted they enjoyed the third part of the book (yes it has three parts), because of the courtroom dialogue, I also felt something missing here. See the big revelation here was mostly lacking.
Therefore, I couldn’t rate this one higher than with three stars. I mean I was able to stick with it until the end, but just again felt something was lacking or missing for me.
My Good Reads Back to School Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
2. The Perfect Mother, Aimee Molloy
This novel happened to be my May BOTM. From the early on description about this being one of this upcoming summer’s best thrillers, I knew I had to read.
The premise of this psychological thriller is that a newborn baby goes missing. See a group of local moms in Brooklyn forms a group. Their commonality is that they all live in Brooklyn and gave birth during the same month (May) in the same year. They usually meet up during the day with their babies or stay in touch via email, as well. The group is primarily composed of the new moms, plus one stay-at-home dad. The moms nicknamed this dad as “Token” or the token male of the group.
On the night of the 4th of July, they decide to go out for a mom’s night out without babies. It is on this night that one of the babies, Midas goes missing while under the care of a babysitter. Winnie, the baby’s mother, was hesitant to go out for the evening. But she is talked into it by the other May Mothers.
The novel goes from that fateful night, then following the moms as they try to help make sense of what happened to Baby Midas. In trying to figure it all out, some scandals come to light not only for Winnie but the other moms and even “Token,” as well. Plus, the novel also seems to jump even so often to the perspective of one of someone seemingly unhinged. But we are genuinely not sure who this is.
So most definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions to say the least. Let’s say; I can see how this will indeed mostly be a hit this summer. So, from all the above and so much more, highly recommend.
My Good Reads Back to School Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
3. Then She Was Gone, By Lisa Jewell
This one was my add-on BOTM for April. I finally got to reading it as I have also read others by Jewell that I highly enjoyed.
This time out, ten years ago Ellie Mack was the golden child. She had the love and adoration of her parents and siblings, as well as the best looking boy in her class. But Ellie felt she needed help with her math. So, she begged her mom to hire her a tutor. Enter Noelle Donnelly. At first, Noelle was not only a helpful math tutor to Ellie. But she also was doting, even gifting Ellie small trinkets here and there. But soon Ellie felt Noelle was off and persuaded her mom to stop the tutoring with Noelle. But shortly after that Ellie went missing.
Flash forward, ten years. Ellie is still missing, and the case seems to have gone cold. Until they unearth something to put some closure in the disappearance. Her mom, Laurel, who put her life on hold for 10+ years, begins to find some peace finally. It is then that she meets Floyd and begins to open up to see love again. But then she meets Floyd’s 9-year-old daughter, and her life is never the same after this.
While I was able to guess the twist here, I still couldn’t put this book down. I needed to find out why and how exactly, as well as the end. So even though the twist was indeed predictable, the plot itself was very intriguing. Therefore, would recommend this one for that reason.
My Good Reads back to School Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
4. The Lemonade Year, by Amy Willoughby-Burle
As soon as I read the synopsis from a blogger friend’s review, I knew I wanted to read and was lucky enough to win a paperback copy.
Here is the story of Nina, who’s dad (Nate) recently passed away after having had a few strokes. She is also recently divorced from Jack, as well as dealing with her moody teenage daughter, Cassie. Plus, her mother is a recovering alcoholic. And on top of all of this years back her younger sister, Lola was in an accident that profoundly affected the family. So much so that her older brother, Ray withdrew and then also ended up in jail.
So, her year starts off here. From there, we also see Nina possibly involved in a relationship with a somewhat younger man, Oliver. Her photography job is also in jeopardy with the company she works for having some financial issues. Her last assignment is to photograph 32 Ways to Make Lemonade.
Over the course of the year, she not only has to come up with the ways to physically make lemonade for her job but also symbolically with her own life. Honestly, this was an easy enough read. Plus, quite enjoyable with all the cast of characters in Nina’s life. And if that isn’t enough, there are a few twists and turns in this charming novel, too.
My Good Reads Back to School Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
5. Every Time You Go Away, by Beth Harbison
Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC. Not the first book I have read, but Harbison and won’t be my last as I can’t help but enjoy her writing.
That said, this time out in the ARC I received, the main character is known as Willa (not Jane as in the finalized copy) was dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s (Ben) death a few years ago. See Ben passed away while working to get their summer beach house in order. That was three years ago, and Willa has yet to return. But she finally decides to go back to at least fix the house up to sell it as there are just too many memories to hold onto it in her eyes. Also in the three years since Ben passed on, Willa and her son Jamie have had a complicated mother-son relationship. While they aren’t really at odds with each other, they still don’t seem to be able to deal with all that has happened with his passing. Nor are they able to explain their feelings to the other.
But all that is about to change with Willa returning to their family beach house. See Ben’s ghost appears to her. And as much as this appearance seems to help her in some ways, it also makes her question her sanity. So, she gets her son, her best friend and best friend’s daughter to join her at the beach house to help with the renovations.
This book is a lighter read and perfect for the summer beach reading. See it had many different levels of emotions for all the characters, especially Willa and Jamie. And yet the beach setting does make this a summer contender.
My Good Reads Back to School Books Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Well, that wraps up my books read since last time out. I hope out of these 5 Perfect Reads Just in Time for Back to School I have given some great reading suggestions.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS…
Some of these sound very good! I heard about Lisa Jewell a lot a few months back and need to add her to my list.
Definitely, recommend Lisa Jewell as having read her before her books and writing are most definitely enjoyable! 🙂
William Holland says
Here’s what I now about back to school…I don’t miss teaching at all! Now I watch the kids waiting for the school bus with detached interest rather than apprehension, and that’s a nice feeling.
Have a great Thursday, Janine!
Bill, I am with you I don’t miss teaching not one bit anymore! Happy Thursday to you now, too 🙂
Meredith Spidel says
The Perfect Mother is already on my hold list! I have been DEVOURING books lately, so I’m off to check out these other picks–thanks, Janine!
I think you are going to love The Perfect Mother! That said I am slowly getting back into reading and know that devouring feeling quite well, too 🙂
Wow this is a great list! I am worried about the first one as unfinished felling books arwn’t my thing, but I will give it a think. The others are all perfectly down my alley. Thanks for sharing!
I know exactly what you mean. But still glad I did finish this first book as I most definitely needed to see it through if nothing else!
Thanks for the shout out Janine:)!
I love Beth Harbison, so I’m going to add that to my list – although the dead husband sounds sad and not typical of her past books. And how weird is that that the main characters name was changed? I’ve never had that happen before. Interesting…I want to know why!
I would love to know why, too and if you find out please let me know now 🙂
I always see Beth Harbison on those must read lists and I admit I need to do so! I always take your advice and Dana’s advice quite seriously with books!
Aw, thank you, Tamara and yes Beth Harbison is truly an awesome author and always fun to read her books 🙂
I haven’t read any of these, so I appreciate the recommendations! Right now I am reading a Kindle First Read called Feast. It’s okay…I don’t always have luck with the free book Amazon offers Kindle readers each month!
Dana, I have downloaded a few Amazon First Reads, but honestly haven’t read any of them yet. So, glad to hear your take on them here though.
Aunt Gloria says
Enjoy your summer readings. Not much time left! xxoo
Aw, thanks Aunt Gloria and I know sadly! xoxo
Kristi Campbell says
The only one I’ve heard of is The Lemonade Year. WOW> thank you for all of these great books. I need some new ones as we’ve done this new thing where we read as a family and I just finished my last one. Thank you – great post!
Aw, you are so welcome and love to hear that you guys read as a family, too 🙂
These all sound pretty good but the Lemonade Year sounds like something I’d really love to read. Love this list and love you! With school starting back, you might have a bit of time to catch up on lots of reading. YAY! 🙂
I hope you have a great week! Sending you hugs. xo
Aw, hope you can read The Lemonade Year and do think you’d enjoy this one, too. And hoping to catch up more on reading. One week left before my girls are back to school so probably not until then though. Hugs and once again wishing you the best week, too xoxo 🙂
Now I so want to read The Perfect Mother. Sounds riveting!
Totally recommend The Perfect Mother and is indeed very riveting!
Christine Carter says
Janine, you KNOW I always love your book review lists and this does not disappoint! THANK YOU for giving me some great ideas for books to read. I’m pinning to use this reference when I go to the library.
Thanks for pinning and hope you find a few of these soon on your next library trip 🙂