Updated: Dec 5, 2021
These are all amazing reads that I didn't expect to love so much. I highly recommend all of them. All of these reviews are spoiler free! Let me know in the comments if you have read any of these! I would love to know your thoughts! Or, if you plan to read any them!
Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi
This book is incredible, period. If you are looking for a historical fiction book that isn't WW2 this is a perfect pick. I loved how this book was such a perfect blend of story and history.
This book is about Sitara Zamani who lives a life of privilege in the capital of Afghanistan because of her close connections with the president. However, her world is shattered when the Communist coup destroys the capital, her home, and murders her family. As the only survivor of the tragedy, she is forced to flee. Thus begins a story of love, loss, adventure, and finding what it truly means to be home.
I would NOT recommend reading the synopsis of this book because it literally spoils the ENTIRE story. So, just start the book knowing only what I have stated above.
When I was reading this book, I was so engrossed in the story. I loved how this book was the perfect blend of beautiful writing and interesting story. There were no boring parts and I was fully engaged through the entire book. As a reader who only dabbles in historical fiction, I was surprised to find myself flying through this book because I was so wrapped up in the story. The writing in this book makes the story come alive. I have so many pages tabbed because of the beautiful prose the author uses to tell Sitara's story.
A main theme of this book is home and finding one's home. It raises the questions of where home exactly is and if home is a place or actually a feeling. I read it for a book club discussion and I found the story even more meaningful by talking to others about it. I would highly recommend reading this as part of a buddy read or book club. It is perfect for discussion.
I would highly, highly recommend this book to literally anyone because I think avid readers of historical fiction will love the fresh story and interesting look at a less written about event and readers who don't typically like historical fiction will find a very captivating story with characters they can care about.
Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson
This is a thriller filled with lies, secrets, and survival. I know this sounds like every other mystery/thriller, but hear me out. The way Swanson weaves each of these elements together makes a unique and engaging story.
Abigail Baskin is on her honeymoon with Bruce on a island resort. The honeymoon takes an immediate turn when she finds that also on the island is a man with whom she had a one night stand during her bachelorette weekend. Frazzled to find him there, she becomes unsure what to do and if she should tell Bruce. Things continue south when Abigail finds some suspicious things going on at the resort...
The last 70 pages are super high action with a survival element that just gets you flipping the pages so fast.
I really enjoyed this book as a thriller. This is a great afternoon or beach read because it is super bingeable and interesting throughout. I would recommend it to fans of The Guest List because of the similar setting and atmosphere even though the story is very different. If you like thrillers with marriage issues as a main theme, the isolated island trope, and/or a survival story, I think you will devour this story.
Don't Look For Me by Wendy Walker
Wow! Was this book a surprise! I was not expecting this thriller to be so fast-paced, high action, suspenseful, and such a roller coaster ride of a story but that is what this book is. This story is about Molly who is driving home when she runs out of gas. Luckily a car with a man and child give her a ride to town. But not actually.... because he actually takes her to his place to stay the night and wait out the incoming storm. However, when she tries to leave she can't....
It is really hard to describe what this book is about because I don't want to spoil any more of the plot. I will say that I would consider the reading experience so fun. I feel like the ride itself was way more fun than sleuthing for clues or figuring out the twists. The more you read the more suspense and events unfold. What starts out as a seemingly simple situation turns much darker. While in the house, Molly becomes closer with the child and from the child learns many dark secrets about her male abductor and the child's past. The story is consistently paced and I wouldn't say there are any bland parts.
Overall, I was really surprised at how little hype I saw for this book because I thoroughly enjoyed my entire time reading it. I would highly recommend for people in a reading slump, who liked No Exit (because it is almost equally fast paced), or like books with mother/child relationships in their thrillers.