July 2018 Reading List & Reviews

Whew! This month was a BIG reading month for me. I ended up reading eleven books, which could be because so many of them were great reads that I easily flew through them. Not a bad thing though! The standout book of this month was The Kind Worth Killing! I couldn’t put it down. The runner up was The Hating Game, it was such a quick, cute read. As always, you can see my up-to-date book recommendations here (and check out my June reading list.) I would love to hear what you’re reading in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading & stopping by. XOALL WE EVER WANTED BY EMILY GIFFIN | The newest book by Emily Griffin centers around Nina, a wealthy Nashville mother, her son Finch, Finch’s schoolmate Lyla, and Lyla’s father Tom. The story is told in three different points of view as something horrible happens that every parent fears as their kids turn into teenagers.  A high school party turns dangerous when an inappropriate photo of Lyla is sent by Finch. Quickly rumors start to swirl in Nashville and the parents are left trying to figure out & clean up the mess. I have been an Emily Giffin fan since her first novel way back in 2014. She always had the ability to provide a witty, feel-good book. This one is a bit of a departure from that, but I LOVE it. She tackles tough subjects of elitism, racism, and how social media can be incredibly dangerous in the hands of kids. While it was still a quick, easy read, this book was much more thought-provoking and raw. This is one I definitely recommend reading this summer.

THE BOOK OF ESSIE BY MEGHAN MACLEAN WEIR | Esther Hicks, 17,  has grown up in the spotlight her entire life, thanks to her family’s hit show Six for Hicks, a reality show surrounding her family and their fire-and-brimstone faith (think the Duggars!). When Esther’s mom, Cecelia find out that Esther is pregnant, her mother begins to plot a way to spin this in a way that Six for Hicks fans will love. She wanted to create a marriage between her daughter Esther and Roarke Edwards, a local teen born into a family who could use the money. But Esther has other ideas and a load of secrets that she’s ready to spill after all those years in the spotlight. As Esther’s fabricated life takes over the spotlight, Esther decides to control the narrative and she’s got the media on her side. This book was SO good and I kept rooting for Esther the entire time! I loved getting the “behind the scenes” details of the reality show and I loved the process of Esther coming into her own after dealing with her mother, her dysfunctional (off TV) family, and a life that she didn’t sign up for. I was so proud of her at the end that I think I had a giant smile on my face as I read! I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it’s one you don’t want to miss! This book definitely makes you think about reality TV a bit differently.

LYING IN WAIT BY LIZ NUGENT | The story centers around the disappearance of Annie Doyle, a heroin addict and prostitute, Andrew Fitzsimons, a respected judge, his wife Lydia and their young son, Laurence. From the very first paragraph you know that the Fitzsimons family leads a dysfunctional life, although it seems perfect from the outside. Andrew has a successful job, Lydia lives in the perfect home, and Laurence has everything he ever wanted. But inside- things are much different and that house holds a secret that no one wants to escape. As Laurence comes to understand what happened to Annie Doyle, Lydia becomes unhinged and will do whatever it takes to keep her son within arms reach. She is trying to protect him after all, right? As the story progresses, the story becomes nastier and murkier, with many twists along the way… many of which I DIDN’T see coming! The first line of this book immediately drew me in and kept me turning until the very last page. If you’re looking for a good suspense novel this summer, make sure to grab this one. I was sure I knew where this book was going, but it kept proving me wrong time and time again! THE KIND WORTH KILLING BY PETER SWANSON | Ted Severson can’t help but notice Lily Kitner when she enters the airport bar. There’s something about her that Ted likes and he’s determined to talk to her, even if he is married. Flight delays allow them to chat more about their lives and when the London flight is called both jump up, realizing they’re both on the same flight. Ted’s had a few too many drinks, and on the flight he begins admitting that he hates his wife and wants to kill her. Lily listens and provides her own form of advice and tells him to kill her. The devise a plan and set a date to meet up again. Neither one are sure if the other was serious or if the other will show up to their next meeting. Surprisingly Lily and Ted both show up to their discreet location and a plan is put into action to get rid of his cheating wife, Miranda. The two have a fool-proof plan or so they think. As things get tangled and plans go awry, it’s uncertain if they will get away with it. Y’all this book is SO INSANE. I couldn’t put it down- and I certainly wasn’t prepared for the twists and turns this book took. I had about 50+ people suggest this book to me and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t read it sooner. GO BUY THIS BOOK NOW, you won’t regret it! Now I want to read his other books!

THE HATING GAME BY SALLY THORNE | Lucy and Joshua have made hating each other their full-time jobs. The fact that they sit across from each other as assistants to the co-CEOs of their publishing firm just fuels the fire. They spend their days playing The Staring Game, The HR Game, and The Mirroring Game, all in an attempt to annoy the other and break them down. Their hatred for one another grows even more when they realize they’re up for the same promotion. Their tension is at an all time high, when Lucy realizes that maybe she doesn’t hate Josh after all. Maybe this tension is actually…sexual tension! They quickly turn from enemies to lovers and the ending is so cute! This book reminded me a lot of The Wedding Date & The Kiss Quotient because it was so “steamy” and a quick romance read!

ONE OF US IS LYING BY KAREN MCMANUS | Detention is pretty boring, I think we can all agree on that, right? Well, when five students enter detention on Monday and one of them dies, things get a little interesting. And a LOT complicated. If it sounds a little suspicious, it’s because it is. Each of the five students are from stereotypical social groups and Spencer, who dies, was an outcast and writer of a gossip app that has taken the school by storm. The gossip app is similar to Gossip Girl and it dishes all the secrets-and holds nothing back. As the investigation proceeds, each of the four students are looked into a little more and things get even messier and there are things that can’t be explained. This book was SO good- I devoured it in a day by the pool. It’s definitely twisty, but doesn’t have that “OMG” factor- but a really good, quick read!

THE HUSBAND HOUR BY JAMIE BRENNER | Lauren Adelman married her high school sweetheart Rory Kincaid right after college and life couldn’t be more perfect. On the surface everything is great, until Rory shocks everyone by deciding to enlist in the army. It shocks Lauren and the rest of his family even more when he dies during combat. Lauren is left broken hearted and devastated. She decides to leave the life she knows and retreats to her family’s beach house on the Jersey Shore. Her solitude and peace becomes disrupted when her mother and sister decide to stay the summer with her five years later. Not only that, but a reporter has found her and wants to do a documentary on Rory, famous NHL star and U.S. army hero. Lauren is finally forced to face her past, her family, and the past she’s tried to leave behind. I really adored this book. It was a wonderfully written story that deals with loss and grief, with a twist mixed in. This book makes you realize you may not know everyone like you thought you did and sometimes it’s best to let the past go. YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS BY MICHELLE STACKS | Merry, Sam, and their baby Conor have the perfect life in Sweden. Merry is a doting wife, a wonderful mother, and is thriving in her domestic life. Sam is beginning a new career and it’s looking promising. Everything feels like it’s perfect. When Merry’s best friend Frank comes to visit she can’t believe what Merry’s life has become. But childhood friends can always see behind the curtain and Frank knows something isn’t right and she’s determined to find out. This book is kind of a toss up for me. I felt uncomfortable reading it during some parts because Merry really wasn’t a wonderful mother. In fact she didn’t love her kid and would purposefully hurt him- which was hard to read. I’m not a mother- but this book definitely comes with a trigger warning for mothers. It’s not one I’m sure I’m willing to recommend because of that.

PRETTY LITTLE THINGS BY T.M.E. WALSH | Six months ago Charlotte was in a wreck that nearly made her lose everything. With a new outlook on life, she’s determined to keep her family, and her daughter Elle, safe. When teenage girls around Elle’s age start to go missing, Charlotte becomes even more fearful. What began as girls going missing turns into a murder investigation that hits all too close to home. As the investigation continues, they dig deeper into the lives of the people they call friends and neighbors, they uncover secrets more terrible than they ever imagined… This book is dark, creepy, and full of twists and turns. This book kept me awake at night because I’m terrified of being taken, but more so because it was so creepy. As I was reading I kept thinking I was putting the pieces together, but the ending was a twist I NEVER saw coming. If you’re looking for a dark thriller- I definitely recommend this book!

ONE TRUE LOVES BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID | Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse, at the age of 25. They move away from their small hometown and build a wonderful life for themselves. Jesse is traveling for work when his helicopter goes missing and just like that her life feels over. Shocked and heartbroken, Emma moves home and attempts to put her life together. She begins working for her family’s bookstore, and years later decides to date again. At first she feels hopeless, like she will never find love again. And nothing will replace Jesse. When she runs into Sam, a high school friend, they decide to go on a date. Emma finds herself happy and content. When Sam eventually proposes, Emma says “yes” to a fresh start and a new, happy life. So when she receives a phone call from Jesse saying he’s alive, she is distraught and confused. She has a husband and a fiancé. And a big decision to make. I am a huge Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, but still have a lot of her books to read! I absolutely love her writing style and the stories she tells. This book was a great read and while it was a romance, it definitely has some substance to it!

BABY TEETH BY ZOJE STAGE | Hanna is a mute seven-year-old who has a deep affection for her dad, Alex. Hanna is quite the “daddy’s girl” and wants all of his attention all the time. There’s just one problem: her mom Suzette. Suzette suffers fro Chron’s disease and has a hard time dealing with her disease and an even harder time bonding with her daughter. Suzette wants to do everything she can to form a bond with her daughter and help figure out what’s wrong with her. I mean, what seven-year-old is mute and has never spoken? Hanna has other plans. She wants to get rid of her mother and she will stop at nothing until she’s gone. This book was every bit creepy as you think it might be. This book also comes with a MAJOR trigger warning if you have small kids. I don’t have kids and this book was still creepy and hard to read. Hanna is malicious and conniving. Some of the stunts she pulled were absolutely appalling. When I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it. It’s that mind-blowingly creepy. With that said, I didn’t really enjoy it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and Hanna had a way of freaking me out. It wasn’t an easy read to get through and it certainly wasn’t a feel good book. I wish that there had been a twist or a big OMG factor, but it was definitely an interesting read.

CLICK THE IMAGES BELOW TO SHOP THE BOOKS!


shop July books

ALL WE EVER WANTED BY EMILY GIFFIN | THE BOOK OF ESSIE BY MEGHAN MACLEAN WEIR | LYING IN WAIT BY LIZ NUGENTTHE KIND WORTH KILLING BY PETER SWANSON | THE HATING GAME BY SALLY THORNEONE OF US IS LYING BY KAREN MCMANUS | THE HUSBAND HOUR BY JAMIE BRENNERYOU WERE MADE FOR THIS BY MICHELLE STACKS | PRETTY LITTLE THINGS BY T.M.E. WALSH | ONE TRUE LOVES BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID | BABY TEETH BY ZOJE STAGE |

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    Comments

    sydnee

    Love anything by Emily Giffen! Can’t wait to read her latest. You can read my latest book recs in the link below. 🙂
    Design by Sydnee | 4 Books I’ve Read Lately

    Annaliese

    I just added soooo many of these to my GoodReads list!! Thanks for your reviews!! They sound great

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    Meghan

    These all sounds like really good reads! I’m going to the beach next week and can’t wait to add some of these to my beach reading list!

    Olga

    I also loved The Kind Worth Killing! I think you would really enjoy “Love and Other Words” by Christina Lauren! It’s a great beach read, but definitely pulls on the heart strings!

    Olga
    http://www.littlethingsolga.com

    blushandblooms

    All of these look amazing! Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors– can’t wait to read her book!

    Anna English

    I always get GREAT book recs from you!

    Gentry Adams

    I’m in the middle of Emily Giffin’s new book and it really is different but good! One True Loves is one of my very favorites too! I totally reccomend “Cancel the Wedding” if you haven’t read it yet- it’s amazing! Romance with a lot of substance and a mystery!

    Kimberly Smith

    Love when you share these reviews! Now if I just had more time to read!!

    torey

    11 books is very impressive! Thanks for all the recs! x

    Laura

    I am so impressed you were able to read 11 books in a month! Thanks for all your recommendations. One of these days I’ll get back some free time to read a book or two!

    xo, Laura

    Lily

    I’ve added One Of Us Is Lying to my list — I love those kinds of books!

    Kim

    I loved All We Ever wanted to much! I just added a couple of these books to my Amazon list. I love your book reviews!

    xoxo,
    Kim

    Vie Avec Jillian Marie

    I picked up Crazy Rich Asians on a whim and am surprisingly loving it! I typically read books that make me think, not just about the book but people and the world. Once I finished my last book (Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem – HIGHLY recommend this one!!) I decided it was time to try and find a book that I could slip into and this one was perfect! Love your reviews and recommendations – adding these to my GoodReads list 🙂

    Brittany S

    I need to add these to my Goodreads queue!! I love to read and am always looking for a good book- thanks so much for sharing!

    Brittany

    innapishtoy

    Thank you for sharing! Definitely adding The Hating Game & The Kind Worth Killing to my Goodreads list!

    Sarah Lagen

    I keep hearing about the new Emily Giffin book, people are loving it!! It sounds really good, I want to read it next!

    xo, Sarah

    Stephani

    All these books sound so great! I’ll have to add some to my reading list!

    Xo, Steph

    kshort3

    So many of these are currently on my TBR list! I specifically can’t wait to read One of Us is Lying. I too loved The Kind Worth Killing and One True Loves! 🙂

    Megan

    You always have the best reading lists. Adding this to my library book list now!

    Megan | http://www.pipmegan.com

    tea

    I had the same with One of Us is Lying! I’m now ready Book of Essie – can’t wait to see where it goes

    Kristina

    So many books!! I’m so bad- I never read unless I’m on a plane or vacation. Just read The Party and it was really good!

    Mollie

    Yesss The Hating Game is my favorite read of the summer so far! I also JUST bought All We Ever Wanted – can’t wait to read!

    xx Mollie

    Caroline

    Loving “The Kind Worth Killing” – not sure how I missed it before, but awesome pool read this weekend! Thanks for the recommendation!!

    Caroline

    Loved The Kind Worth Killing – not sure how I missed it before! Thanks for the recommendations!!

    @emilynwilkinson