Best Books Of The Month: May 2021

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It’s SUMMER!!!

(Summer officially starts Memorial Day weekend, feel free to argue with me in the comments for all you people that are convinced it doesn’t start until June )

After a random frost that led to the great tomato massacre of 2021 (Darn you, Colorado weather!), I purchased new tomato starts from my favorite place in the world, Eagle Crest Nursery in El Jebel, Colorado.

Imagine greenhouse after greenhouse of gorgeous flowers, veggies, and an ENTIRE section of houseplants. Be still my heart.

The subsequent dent in my paycheck has also convinced me that I need to invest in my own seed starting system next year, especially with the capricious whims of Colorado weather.

If you have any lighting systems or LED lights themselves, let me know in the comments as I am current completely overwhelmed with the options!

This month we are still bathed in the glow of our FIRST IN-PERSON MEETING in 1.5 years.

Jane, Anne, and I rented a house in the Outer Banks of NC (where we have been meeting almost every year since high school) and read, wrote, drank wine, and ate AT A (outside) RESTAURANT.  I finally visited Hatteras Lighthouse in person, which was a pretty drastic oversight for this North Carolina native!

There may have been also an epic game of jello shot Jenga for someone’s birthday!

Now for Jane, one week at the beach was not enough. She managed to fit THREE beach trips in for the month of May. AND read approximately 1 million different thriller books that she ranked below in the order of unexpected twists.

Hatteras Lighthouse

Nicholas Sparks for the Unbeliever

As North Carolina natives AND beach lovers, there is no way that we could not include one of the most famous North Carolina authors, Nicholas Sparks. 

If you remember gagging at one of his movie adaptions as a child, it is time to try reading one of his best books and experience the romance as it was meant to be read, in your beach chair sitting by the ocean.

Best Beach Reads for 2021

Jane lists her 15 favorite new and backlist beach reads running from Rom Coms to Thrillers (it can’t be a list from Jane without a Thriller!)

Emily Henry

I read Emily Henry’s books, Beach Read, last year and it was EASILY one of the best books I read in 2020.  I am happy to report that I loved her second book just as much!

This book manages to contain every element I want in a romantic comedy: witty banter, relatable characters with flaws, and a believable romance. Not to mention, the book weaves through various travel locales that makes the adventurer in me ready for some post-pandemic travel!

Not the typical book that I am drawn to, but as the QUEEN, Reese Witherspoon, stars in the HBO adaption… I had to read it. Small town gossip mixes with a touch of whodunnit that you will not be able to put down.

Paula McLain

This lyrical mystery-thriller captivated me from the first chapter.

Detective Anna Hart has always specialized in finding missing children. As she heads back to her hometown to escape some recent family troubles, she gets pulled into a local case by an old friend.

As she starts uncovering the truth (and starts finding other missing children cases that bear a striking resemblance to this case), she begins to wonder- is the past repeating itself?

I wanted to recommend this too, but Alice beat me to it!  You won’t regret picking this Rom-Com up!

I’m a sucker for Jane Austen, and Sense and Sensibility was always one of my favorites.

The elements of the story are the same here, but the location has changed to current Washington DC. Daisy and Wallis’ father (a Senator) passed away right before one of his scandals blew their lives apart.

Daisy tries her hardest to hold the family together and puts a hold on her own wants and aspirations to do so. Wallis escapes into a blissful romance with someone completely unsuitable. Even though the sisters can be at odds, their sisterhood and love for each other motivates their actions as they navigate the fallout.

Freya is unable to move on emotionally after her sister Stella’s suicide. At a wedding in the town where her sister was found, she finds a portrait of Stella hanging in the large house where the wedding party was held.

Searching for answers, she looks for the owner of the house to try and find answers to explain why her sister would do such a thing. As she becomes more and more involved with the lonely owner and his mother, she begins to suspect that things aren’t as they appear to be.

Hannah is confused and worried when her new husband Owen disappears completely leaving his beloved teenage daughter Bailey in her care.

As a scandal erupts over Owen’s business, law enforcement is looking to question him and his involvement. But Hannah knows without a doubt that Owen would never leave Bailey and is sure that there must be another explanation for his disappearance other than the one that everyone assumes.

Confused, Hannah and Bailey begin searching for answers on their own only to find out that Owen isn’t even his real name…

This has been recommended by both Anne and Alice- and Alice forced it into my hands while we were at the beach.

I absolutely loved Alex- he was everything I would want to be… self assured, confident, and a go-getter. I don’t know, it’s pretty rare that I like characters who are so unlike me (shy, anxious, misanthropic.)

Alex has so much charm, wit, and vivacity that It was easy to see why Henry fell for him. This was an incredibly enjoyable read and I very much echo the recommendations of my friends! 

Fredrik Backman

Alright, y’all.

I’ve heard of A Man Called Ove and Anxious People but didn’t really think the books would be up my ally based on the synopsis.

I’ve only just recently become more interested in contemporary fiction. Then, while we were at the beach I ran across Britt-Marie Was Here at the bookstore and the synopsis sounded a little more intriguing to me.

I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Britt-Marie reminded me so much of my own Finnish grandmother in her mannerisms (though Britt-Marie is Swedish). This is a heartwarming tale of a woman who has hidden depths and a life to figure out. I am reading Fredrik Backman’s other books ASAP.

This memoir is by a well known Swedish rapper and is FASCINATING.

Born in Sweden to two American parents Jason Diakité already had a split identity. Add in being a mixed-race kid in a very racially homogenous country and his perspective is pretty unique. Diakité tells a story of his life and his family that kept me riveted.

It was particularly difficult to hear the perspective of an outsider looking into a dysfunctional version of America that I know exists but is too close for me to see all the flaws in my day-to-day life.

Diakité’s father is an ex-pat for a reason and the America that he escaped but still yearns for is a brutal America that is all too real. His father’s very real fear of Diakité visiting the American South to explore his heritage was heartbreaking, as is Jason’s writings on race in America. It’s unflinching.

What was the best book you read in May?

Tell us below in the comments! 

-Alice, Anne & Jane

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