August 2018 Reading List + Reviews

This month was full of really, really good books! Some months are a bit of a mixed bag, but this month was different in the best way possible. I read nine books since my last reading list + review post and out of those nine books, I LOVED six of them! I also listened to my first audiobook this month. To be honest, I have never really had a desire to listen to a book. While I love podcasts, the listening to a book just never crossed my mind. Well, I hit a Podcast slump this month and decided to try out an audiobook. I’m glad I did because I actually enjoyed it. My physical books and e-books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s a great way to “read” some books when you’re on the go! I’ve been using Audible & right now you can get two free audiobooks HERE. Anyways, I’m excited to share this month’s books with you! As always, you can see all of my book recommendations on my Amazon Shop Page! I would love to hear what you’re reading in the comments.

THE LAST TIME I LIED BY RILEY SAGAR | It all began at Camp Nightingale 15 years ago when three girls disappeared from Dogwood cabin. Emma, the youngest of the four girls rooming in the cabin, was the only one left. The disappearance of her three friends has deeply affected her & she’s been haunted over it for the last 15 years. Emma has been unable to come to terms with the terrible tragedy because no one knows what happened to the girls on that fateful summer night. Fast forward 15 years and Camp Nightingale is opening its doors to campers once again. Emma has been invited to teach art at the camp for the summer. Emma sees this as her chance to finally solve the mystery & put the events of that summer behind her. Being back at Camp Nightingale brings flashbacks, bad memories, and a lot of questions, but Emma is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, no matter the cost. Emma is an unreliable narrator & I was constantly curious if her memories could be trusted, which I LOVE in a book. While I wouldn’t classify the book as a thriller (more of a suspense novel), I loved the twists it did take and it was so well crafted. I love when I suspect everyone & trust no one in a book… especially when I don’t see the ending coming. rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️  

ALL YOUR PERFECTS BY COLLEEN HOOVER | Quinn and Graham’s love story starts out in an unconventional way. From the moment they met, it’s apparent that fate put them together. Over seven years later, Quinn and Graham are just as in love as they were the day they got married, but now, things that are out of their control have deeply changed things for them. Life has a way of doing that. Sometimes love isn’t enough, but sometimes, it is. Told in alternating perspectives from past to present, Colleen Hoover tackles the life, love, and heartbreak of Quinn and Graham as they face the very real and raw issue of infertility. As an author, Colleen Hoover always manages to write about sensitive subjects with such grace and emotion. I related to this book SO much and thought it was beautifully written. I cannot recommend it enough- but I also recommend having some tissues next to you! The last 20% of the book had me crying my eyes out! rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️ 

MY OXFORD YEAR  BY JULIA WHELAN | Ella Durran is a 24 year old American who is venturing out of the country for the first time as a Rhodes Scholar who is studying at Oxford. She has also just been offered a job to work on a potential presidential candidate’s campaign. Her future is promising and the world is her oyster. On her first day in England, Ella meets Jamie and their meeting is memorable to say the least. The next day, as classes begin, Ella finds out that Jamie will be the fill-in professor in her literature class. Not only is she mortified from their previous encounter, she did not sign up to have a fill-in professor at Oxford. In an effort to put their first encounter behind her, she gets to work on her first paper, determined to make a good impression with Jamie Davenport. As a self-proclaimed overachiever, Ella visits Jamie in his office to discuss her paper. Except, he’s anything but impressed, although he’s certainly intrigued by her. This leads to philosophical chats and a very unconventional decision to “be together” – no strings attached. Then, as things always seem to do, the feelings between them start to change. The problem with this is that things are even more complicated than what they seem… I don’t want to give more away – but y’all this book was incredible. I absolutely LOVED it. It made me smile, laugh & cry from cover to cover. rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️

CRAZY RICH ASIANS BY KEVIN KWAN | Crazy Rich Asians is exactly what you get with this book from the get go! Ultra rich Nicholas Young, yes from *that* Young family, and Rachel Chu are both professors at NYU. Nick and Rachel fall in love in New York and Nick already knows she is the one. Nick decides to bring her to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding, which just so happens to be the event of the century in Singapore.  Rachel, is unknowingly thrown into a world that is SO far from her normal. As soon as she lands she finds herself immediately intimidated, overwhelmed, and shocked at the wealth and viciousness of the circle the family runs in. A series of hilarious events ensue over the coming days and weeks that makes for one hilarious, over the top book. Some pages I was in awe at the idea of that kind of wealth, while other pages I was really feeling for Rachel. While the book is over 500 pages, it’s a light, satirical read that you’ll fly through! P.S. I saw the movie last weekend and really enjoyed it, although I preferred the book over the movie (as always!) rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️

THE GREAT ALONE BY KRISTIN HANNAH | The Great Alone follows the Allbright family as they move to Alaska in the early 70s. Ernt, has been searching for happiness and peace since being released from being a POW in Vietnam. He thinks Alaska will be the place that finally provides happiness for him and his family. His wife, Cora, will do whatever her husband wants. Leni, their daughter, and has only ever known her father as an unhappy, volatile man who has schlepped his family around in search of happiness. Once the Allbrights arrive in Alaska, they realize how unprepared they are for life in the wild. Luckily, the people of their newfound town take them under their wing to help warn and prepare the Allbrights for the impending winter. Winter in Alaska is unlike anywhere else. It brings  12+ hours of darkness and that darkness tends to bring out the worst in people. Ernt (and his family) quickly realize the winter brings out his PTSD and spend the long, dark days walking on eggshells as to not upset him. But life in “the great alone” is everything but alone. The locals have a special bond that the Allbrights have been lucky to be welcomed into.  Leni takes refuge in her friendship with Matthew, a local who is her age, who has struggles of his own. The story follows the Allbright family through the years and we watch as Leni becomes a young woman, who shows incredible strength, that come from growing up fighting for her life. For some reason I had put off reading this book for a while, perhaps because it’s not the typical book I read, although I love Kristin Hannah. I’m glad I finally picked it up because I really enjoyed it. As always, the author does a wonderful job at giving you the lay of the land in “the great alone” and provides a very compelling story. Trigger warning with this book: There are some strong scenes of domestic abuse and violence that take place. rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️

BELIEVE ME BY J.P. DELANEY | Claire is a British actress living in NYC who has a slightly odd job working for a lawyer to help catch cheating husbands with the help of a hidden camera in her purse. One night, she is hired to hit on a woman’s husband, and hours later, the woman is found brutally murdered in her hotel room, and Claire becomes a prime suspect. Did she kill Stella? As an actress and student of the Stanislavski method, she turns out to be the perfect person to help the detectives catch the real killer. At first I found the book a bit hard to read and get into because of the play script- but once it got going, I couldn’t put it down! The ending totally threw me for a loop! rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐️

SHE WAS THE QUIET ONE BY MICHELLE CAMPBELL | Bel and Rose Enright are twins, but they could not be more different. Rose loves academics and following the rules. Bel is a rebel and makes her own rules. After some changes in their family, the girls end up at the prestigious Odell Academy in New England. Bel falls in with an unsavory crowd and is pitted against her sister. Bel starts to obsess over Heath, her advisor/teacher and the husband of Sarah, who Rose adores. As the story continues you begin to wonder who could have committed the crime, and better yet, can any of them really be trusted? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved that the chapters were told in different POV and even pulled the investigation into parts of its own. The plot was pretty original and unpredictable, which I always appreciate! rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐️

OUR HOUSE BY LOUISE CANDLISH | When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself. The first half of this book was a bit slow, riddled with details, but once more started happening and the plot thickened I was hooked! While a lot of the plot was a bit far-fetched I really liked the book, along with the unreliable narrators! I never was sure what may have *actually* happened! rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐️

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS BY CHRISTINA LAUREN | Love and Other words is a second chance love story told in alternating timelines about Macy and Elliot, two people who met and fell in love while growing up, and then re-connected eleven years later. Macy and Elliot bonded over their love of books and became best friends who fell in love during their teenage years. They could talk about anything and shared a very close bond. Then their relationship ended, and they had not seen or spoken to each other in eleven years. Then the two meet accidentally in a coffee shop, and the spark is still there between them. But as with any re-reconnection- there is a need to hash through the details and catch up from years missed. Through this they discover new things about each other and themselves. This was my first audiobook and I’m so glad it was this one because it was INCREDIBLE. I was intrigued from them get-go, as it reminded me a lot of my reconnection with Nick three years ago. I grew to love every single character and really enjoyed the alternating view point from then to now. rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️

CLICK THE COVER TO SHOP THE BOOKS!


SHOP THE BOOKS

THE LAST TIME I LIED BY RILEY SAGARALL YOUR PERFECTS BY COLLEEN HOOVERMY OXFORD YEAR  BY JULIA WHELANCRAZY RICH ASIANS BY KEVIN KWANTHE GREAT ALONE BY KRISTIN HANNAHBELIEVE ME BY J.P. DELANEYSHE WAS THE QUIET ONE BY MICHELLE CAMPBELL |OUR HOUSE BY LOUISE CANDLISHLOVE AND OTHER WORDS BY CHRISTINA LAUREN |

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    Comments

    Cathy

    This is a great list. I’m looking for new books to read. Thanks!

    XOXO
    Cathy

    Gentry

    I read All Your Perfects this month too and it was amazing!! Just started Crazy Rich Asians and I can’t wait to get into the heart of the story!

    caleyjaderosenberg

    Another great list my friend, I just can’t keep up x

    Sarah Lagen

    I read Crazy Rich Asians last year and was obsessed!! I can’t wait to see the movie!! These other books sound really good, I’m adding them to my kindle!

    Liz

    I need to check these out! I’ve been looking for some new reads 😉

    blushandblooms

    All of these sound so interesting!!!

    ashley hargrove

    I really wanted to read Crazy Rich Asians before I see it in theaters but I might be going in reverse on that one!! Have you seen the movie yet? I’m wondering how it is compared to the book.

    Kathryn Story

    I LOVE your book reviews and end up adding a lot of them to my Goodreads list! Thanks!!

    Torey

    The Great Alone sounds so good, I have to check it out.

    Amy F.

    I’ve had Crazy Rich Asians on my to-read list for awhile, but now I’m adding My Oxford Year thanks to you! Very excited to dive into this one – thanks for the recommendation!

    Ruthie Ridley (@RuthieRidley)

    I always love your reviews! Always honest and thorough!

    Rachel

    All of these book amazing! I already have Crazy Rich Asians on my reading list but will definitely be adding The Great Alone as well!

    Rachel

    Greta Hollar (@greta_hollar)

    I’ve only heard good things about Crazy Rich Asians! Dying to read it!

    Sara

    I want to see the CRA movie but definitely want to read the book first!

    kshort3

    Just got my oxford year and can’t wait to start reading it!

    @emilynwilkinson