Ashby's Top 5 Books You Must Read this Summer

Guys! We have an entertaining post today featuring my girl Ashby! I know I've so been lacking in the book recommendation category and I really miss these on the blog, so I tapped my local expert and begged her to start a book review series. Spoiler alert: she said yes!! 

You guys are going to love it I promise you. Ashby and I have the same taste in books (as you'll see below!) and she just reads so much more that she really comes hard with the recommendations. So with all that being said, give it up for AssshhhhBBBBBYYYYYY!

^Krista wanted a photo of me reading. Unflattering but authentic. 

Hi friends! Welcome to my first guest blog! I am here to tell you all about my favorite books that I have read in the past year because I would really just love to spark some conversation since Krista refuses to fit reading into her busy schedule...

Just to set the stage, I am a very avid reader – I carry books on the subway, I read my kindle walking down the street, I can read in a moving vehicle – NBD. Please note, however, that that doesn’t mean I am ripping through Hemingway on a regular basis. I once was asked what my favorite book was, and I panicked and blurted out Harry Potter. I was so embarrassed until I thought about it for a minute and then firmly stood behind that answer.

I am all about an easy, fun, well-written read. Give me the best sellers, the psychological thrillers, the juicy historical fictions, etc. While I could talk endlessly about every book I read, I decided to start you all off with my top 5 favorite books that I have read in the last year (some came out a few years ago, but I was late to the party).

I know some of them have been covered before, but that just reinforces how good they are. If you haven’t read these, I need you to stop what you are doing and get on board.

The Last Mrs. Parrish -- Psychological Thriller
Ok, so we all know that Gone Girl set the standard. The OG plot twists that we didn’t see coming and what every psychological thriller author is trying to replicate in some way. I read so many of this genre and constantly am guessing the endings or am let down by the plot. But The Last Mrs. Parrish took me for a ride.
This book was the perfect amount of suspenseful, exciting and disturbing (personally, the more disturbing a book is, the more I like it, which I am sure we can unpack but let’s save that for another time). Amber is new to town and envies the perfect Daphne Parrish. Daphne has it all – she is gorgeous, she is rich, she has a beautiful family. Amber comes along and schemes to take her down and slide into her life.
I will say that there is nothing worse than when someone says that there was SUCH a good plot twist because then obviously you spend the whole book anticipating what the twist will be. With this one, I say just be cool and buckle up because it was so so good!

The Address -- Historical Fiction
If you are a New Yorker, this is a must-read. It is about an apartment building called The Dakota (famous for where John Lennon was killed if you didn’t already know). It gives a snapshot of what NYC was like in the year 1884 when the Dakota was built. It goes back and forth in time between a member of the Dakota staff (and her illicit love affair) and a tenant in the 1970s.

It honestly made me start researching historic buildings in NYC, and now when I pass them, I go into full tour guide mode and start spouting fun facts. I also do that while showing apartments around the city (shameless plug) but while I can’t promise to get you a new home in the Dakota, I’ll find you the next best thing – email me akaestner@lgfairmont.com ;) I just love all things NYC so this was a fascinating book plus there are Downtown Abbey vibes, which I’m all about!

The Great Alone -- Fiction, Drama
Nothing has moved me quite like Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale. I can’t even talk about it on here but it just ripped me apart and obviously turned me into her biggest fan. The Great Alone is her most recent book.  It focuses on the Allbright family living off the grid in 1974 Alaska and follows the hardships that a teenage girl must endure in that type of setting. I was cold just reading it.
This poor girl Leni and her mother are moved to Alaska by her father who returns home from the Vietnam war and has a hard time adjusting back to normal life. He thinks that the quiet and seclusion of the Alaskan frontier will be the perfect place for his family to relocate. All goes well until the winter darkness starts to set in and the few residents of the community can no longer help support the Allbright family and they are all alone.
You really fall in love with these characters and are rooting for (most of) them until the very end. Of course, there is a love story that is woven in as well. It is just a hauntingly beautiful book!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo -- Fiction, Beach Read
Taylor Jenkins Reid has become one of my favorite authors. She really nails the light and easy beach read without crossing the line into trashy. This is the first one of hers that I read and it just touched my heart. As an avid fan of all things celebrity gossip, this book felt like reading a very classy, very interesting People magazine (not sure that comparison is flattering but I mean it in the best way possible).
Evelyn Hugo is an iconic socialite and former actress who was married famously 7 times, a la Elizabeth Taylor. No one knows the true story behind her scandalous life until she hires an unknown magazine reporter to finally tell her life story.
First of all, why did she choose that particular reporter (I must have tried guessing the answer a hundred times and was so surprised when it was finally revealed)?  Second, the big question that everyone wants to know is which of Evelyn’s husbands was her true love. I won’t spoil the answer but let’s just say it isn’t who you think!

One Second After -- Science Fiction
MMMMMMKK you guys. This one is a real thought provoker. Krista actually did read this one (good job girl!) and we ended up discussing it for weeks after. This book follows what would happen in present-day if the USA suddenly lost electricity due to an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack (which is a real thing).

It doesn’t initially sound like a huge deal (minus no TV or lights) but basic things like cars, keeping food cold and getting drinking water into houses immediately becomes problematic. Hospitals no longer can keep machines on or medicine on ice. Planes fall from the sky. Riots and violence break out everywhere. It is insane and the scariest part is that theoretically it all really could happen. This book follows what happens to a small isolated town in North Carolina and how they are able to deal with the aftermath of the EMP.
It really made me think about how I would survive and what my emergency plan would be if an act of war ever got that far. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to a full rundown. I may sound like an alarmist but you try reading this and not mentally coming up with a plan of action!


So in conclusion, please do yourselves a favor and read those 5 books. They really run the gamut of genres (I am just soooo diverse) but each stands out in its own way. Going forward I am going to write a monthly review of all of the books that I read each month. I am a true copycat so if anyone has any suggestions, definitely let me know!
Need more books in your life? Be sure to check out all of Krista's past book reviews HERE!

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