What I Read: July & August

A summer comes to an end and I look back over the books that lead me through this hot season, I’m giddy both because I’m reminded of the amazing people I’ve “met” over the past 2 months, but also excited for the upcoming fall, when I can curl up to read with a blanket and a cup of coffee. (Decaf of course, because I usually read at nap time or after bedtime, and mama doesn’t sleep at night if I drink caffeine after lunchtime…insert rolling eyes emoji here.) 

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I could read books, talk books, or trade books ALLLLL. DAY. LONG. and I get WAY too excited when another book reviewer, Mix and Match Mama, posts her monthly book review blog post. I told my cousin I hope that at least one person gets that giddy when seeing I’ve posted my book review blog post…but if not, at least I have something to work towards ;) 

Yes, he’s excited about a worm, but that’s basically what I hope all of your faces look like while reading this! ;)

I’ve decided that going forward from here, in order to be more consistent, I’m going to do monthly book reviews, instead of bimonthly. There obviously won’t be as many books in each post, but that way you can giddily anticipate my post every MONTH, like I do Mix and Match Mama’s (ha!).

Anyway, onto the books! I read 7 books over the past 2 months, all of which I loved except 1. Happy reading! 

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

You guys. I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I already know that this book is going to be in my top 5 books for the year. Author, Angie Thomas tackles some major cultural issues by giving an inside look at the life of, Starr Carter, a black girl who lives in a low income black community, but attends a majority white public school in an upper class community. 

My friend Amber chose this book as the first book in my newly assembled monthly book club, and I’m SO excited to discuss it with some of my friends!

One night when Starr is leaving a party after gun shots were fired, she watches as her unarmed best friend, Kahlil is shot and killed by a white police officer. From there she learns what it means to stand up for what she believes in, to not be ashamed of where she comes from, and what it means to use her voice in the right way. It’s seriously an amazing book, and one that I will probably purchase for future rereads (and loaning out to friends!). READ IT. 

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Oh my, this book. It’s both heart warming and heart breaking. In this book, Lisa offers an amazing peek inside the mind of a non-verbal, autistic boy named Anthony. Whether or not you have a friend or family member with autism, this book will amaze you and give you a new perspective on the marvelous intricacies of autism.

I don’t want to give away more, just trust me, this is a book every person should read! I absolutely loved hearing the voice of Anthony through Lisa’s writing, and also get a peek inside what it’s like to love and parent a child who cannot speak to you. This is the second Lisa Genova book I’ve read, and let me tell you, ALL her books are immediately going on my TRL!

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

Wow, this book. Just wow. Tara Westover’s memoir is one that will stay with me for a long, long time. Growing up in a survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, Tara does not step foot in a classroom until she’s 17 years old. Her parents don’t believe in doctors or public education, convinced they’re both vehicles of the government to brainwash people. 

But when one of her brothers gets himself into college, he comes back home with tales of the world beyond “their” mountain. Tara begins teaching herself math, grammar and science in order to take the ACT with hopes of attending Bringham Young University. 

I don’t want to give away too much, but this is definitely a book everyone should read. You’ll never take ibuprofen or high school for granted again! It’ll break your heart, surprise you, and have you rooting for Tara throughout the whole book. 

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Oh my goodness this book. I actually listened to it on audio book on my drive to Philadelphia, and I really, really loved listening to it. It’s written in a lyrical way that it just magical to listen to. It’s about two people, Sophie Ducel, heading to her honeymoon to the French Polynesian, and Barry Bleeker who works in Manhattan and takes a spontaneous break from his dreary financial life. Their plane crashes in the middle of the South Pacific, and Sophie and Barry are the sole survivors, with the same goal: to survive. And survive they do, eating mainly wild bananas, and living in a hut Sophie designed with her architectural eye. 

You will fall in love with these two people and even the island they make a home out of. Their relationship is a fun one to experience from the sidelines of being a reader, and if you’re a contact lens wearer like me, you will never take them for granted again! ;)

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

Island Girls is the perfect beach read. It takes place in magical Nantucket, and the characters are so fun. Sisters, Arden, Meg and Jenny all share the same father, but all have different mothers, the three wives of their ladie’s man of a dad. The sisters have a sour relationship, thanks to jealousies and misunderstandings from the past. But when their father passes away and leaves them his Nantucket house, they’re all annoyed to find out they will receive the house only after spending the summer together living in it. 

The summer begins with a cordial relationship between the sisters, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of what the summer brings, including their 3 mothers all arriving on the island at the same time. 

This is seriously such a fun, lighthearted, fluffy beach read. It’ll make you want to live on Nantucket and spend the summer with your siblings. I know summer is almost over, but if you’re wanting a book to read in order to make summer last a little bit longer, I highly recommend this one!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant lives a perfectly fine life. She eats the same thing everyday, wears the same thing to work everyday, and drinks the same vodka all weekend long, and has a phone call with her mother every week at the same time. She’s a quirky, eccentric, filter-less woman who has questionable social skills, and you’ll LOVE her. But her perfectly fine life is turned upside down when she meets a bumbling, but sweet IT guy from her office and together they save Sammy, who falls over on the sidewalk. 

From there she realizes all the things that have been missing in her life, and that her life of isolation may not be as perfectly fine as she thought.

Ok, I absolutely LOVED this book. Eleanor is so quirky, and she says exactly what’s on her mind. Then there’s Raymond (the bumbling but sweet IT guy from her office), whose big heart makes up for his lack of hygiene and horrible smoking habit. You will seriously love the characters in this book, and although it’s not a suspenseful book, there’s a big twist in the end that I definitely did not see coming. (Plus is has Reese Witherspoon’s stamp of approval and she’s starring in the upcoming movie, so you really can’t go wrong with it!)

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

The Marriage Pact is about newlyweds, Alice and Jake, who are seemingly the picture perfect couple. They have prominent careers, and are incredibly in love with each other. At their wedding they receive an interesting gift from one of Alice’s clients: a wooden box with an invitation to join a mysterious group known as “The Pact.” The Pact has one goal, to keep marriages happy and intact, and four rules, one of which is to never mention The Pact to anyone. 

They decide to join, and are initially excited by what they gain by being members of The Pact, but when one of them breaks a rule, they realize that The Pact has very unorthodox ways of reprimanding those who break their rules.  

Ok, this book that was recommended from a book reviewer I really like…and usually if she likes a book, I like a book. But this book was just weird. Obviously you’ve probably figured out The Pact is very cultish, and it’s just so out there, that I wasn’t a huge fan. I had hope towards the end that it would turn around, and then ended up really hating the ending. So, I’d say this is one you can skip. 

Coming up:

[I’m also going to add a “coming up” section to my reviews that share what I plan on reading over the next month. Obviously this is subject to change, but I’ll still eventually read what I list.]

  • Currently reading: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (I love to read the book first, so now that Netflix made this into a movie, I have to read it pronto)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult (yes, Becks, one of these days I WILL read this!!) ;)
  • The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Marie Martin (I’m on the launch team for this book, so I’m excited to share more about it with you!!)
  • Everybody Always by Bob Goff

Ok there we go! I definitely won’t get to all of them in September, but I’m excited for them! As always, please please please, share your book recs in the comments! I always love to hear what friends are reading. 

2018 book reviews: