July 2019 Reading List & Reviews

Another month has come to an end, so it’s time for another reading list! While July was a busy month, I was able to read so many great books this month! In total, I was able to read eight books in July. Many of them were a delight & I thoroughly enjoyed them. Great reading months make me so darn happy because I love reading & love sharing them with y’all! My favorites this month were Mrs. Everything, Summer of ’69, and City of Girls. Each had strong female characters and each book left me thinking even after I had flipped the last page. Since we are nearing the end of summer I am going to try to squeeze in as many good “beachy” reads as possible in August. We’ll see how I fare! As always, I update all of my book recommendations on my Amazon shop page & on my Instagram dedicated to books! I would love to hear what books you have read lately in the comments!

A STRANGER ON THE BEACH BY MICHELE CAMPBELL | Caroline seems to have it all, a great husband, a wonderful daughter, an apartment in the city and a stunning beach house. When she discovers that her husband is having an affair, she decides to get her revenge by sleeping with a young, local bartender which she met on the beach in front of her house. Little does Caroline know that this one-night stand with Aiden will unravel her life and endanger her family. review: If you’re looking for a good summer suspense novel that will keep you turning the page, be sure to pick this one up! A Stranger on the Beach is told in alternating points of view of Caroline and Aiden. As the story unfolds you begin to realize that one of them is unreliable and is lying, but you’re not really sure which one it could be… yet. The book starts off a bit slow as it’s building up the details and preparing you for what’s to come. I found that I liked hearing all the details because it really had me immersed in the story and it certainly kept me turning the page to find out more! I loved the twists of this book and definitely didn’t see the ending coming. I have enjoyed the author’s other books and am now looking forward to what she comes up with next. P.S. It was just announced that someone bought the rights to make this into a movie! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

CITY OF GIRLS BY ELIZABETH GILBERT | Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to a slew of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves. Now, many years later 89 year old Vivian is sharing her story through letters and reveals secrets of her past and many life lessons she learned along the way. review: City of Girls is a fantastic coming-of-age story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing is so compelling that I instantly felt like I was transported into the 1940s. I particularly enjoyed the historical fiction aspect of this book – I learned about working as a showgirl in the ’40s, the effect the war had on nearly everyone, and got a detailed idea of how it was to live in an economy effected so much by the war. The detail put into this book truly helped to tell the story – I felt like I could envision every single thing that was described – from the Lily Playhouse to the outfits the showgirls were wearing. I did a joint listen-read with this since I was traveling and I can confidently recommend either, both were fantastic and I enjoyed the narrator on audio. If you enjoyed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I think you’ll like this one! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️

LOCK EVERY DOOR BY RILEY SAGER | No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. However, things aren’t always what they seem and The Bartholomew has a dark history that it hope to keep secret. review: I have really enjoyed Riley Sager’s other books The Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied, so I was looking forward to this one. The premise of this book had me hooked from the start – the idea of The Bartholomew and all of its secrets to the apartment sitters residing in the building with Jules. I did feel like this one was a bit slow at times and I kept wondering when the twist was coming. That said, the book kept me turning the pages & I was surprised with the twist came. I enjoyed the cast of unreliable characters and the creepy, gothic vibes that The Bartholomew provided. I’m not sure I enjoyed the ending, but overall it was a good read! rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️

EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER BY LINDA HOLMES | Eveleth “Evvie” Drake is recently widowed and finds herself living in the home she had with her husband in a small town in Maine. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with his lack of being able to perform on the field. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken – and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. review: Evvie Drake Starts Over was a highly engrossing, charming romance book with a bit of substance, which I always appreciate! I thought it was a great feel-good book that covered important topics like loss, self-care, friendships & the importance of new beginnings. Each of the characters felt very relatable and I liked that they were both flawed and imperfect. I also loved the dynamics of the characters, especially the friendship between Evvie and Andy. I found myself rooting for all of them throughout the book. I could totally see this being a mini-series or a movie! Definitely add this one to your summer reading list. rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️

THE ESCAPE ROOM BY MEGAN GOLDIN | Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top. When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare. review: This book intrigued me from the start, mainly because the thought of being locked in an elevator is terrifying. The book is told in the four perspectives of the co-workers and as the story unfolds you find out how this came to happen. This first fourth of the book was, admittedly, a bit slow for me but Sara’s chapters really helped the story progress well. I found that a lot of the dialogue and details were unnecessary, but learned a lot about the finance industry. Overall, I found myself having to suspend reality for this book. While it was fast-paced and a quick read, I didn’t love it. I suggest giving it a shot if you enjoy a quick suspense book, though! rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️

SUMMER OF ’69 BY ELIN HILDERBRAND | It’s the summer of 1969 and for the Levin-Foley family this means summer on Nantucket at their grandmother Exalta’s home. But this year things are changing for the family. Blair, the eldest sister, is pregnant with twins and is questioning everything in her marriage. Kirby, the middle sister, is rebelling and spending summer on Martha’s Vineyard working at a hotel. Tiger, the only son, has been deployed to Vietnam and Jessie, the youngest sister, is left feeling alone and bored on Nantucket by herself. Set during the summer of the moon landing, it’s sure to be a summer to remember for the Levin-Foley family. review: For me, the official start to summer is marked by the release of Elin Hilderbrand’s latest book every year. Last year, she debuted her first suspense novel, The Perfect Couple, which I absolutely loved. This year she made a foray into historical fiction with a book set on Nantucket. As a big historical fiction fan, I adored this book. It was different than most HF novels I read (usually written about WWII). This book delivers it all – a bit of a history lesson on the Vietnam War, Nixon’s tenure, Apollo 11, and the Chappaquiddick incident, family drama, and lessons in life. As always, her writing is impeccable and really transports you onto Nantucket with the family. Whether you’re a tried-and-true Elin Hildebrand fan or not, you’re sure to enjoy this book. rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️

MRS. EVERYTHING BY JENNIFER WEINERMrs. Everything is a timely exploration of the life of two sisters, Jo and Bethie, from the 1950s to the present time as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Jo and Bethie couldn’t be more different. Jo is the tomboy with a passion to make life more fair. Bethie is the girly girl who has always dreamed of a traditional life. Their lives end up looking vastly different than either of them imagined – and as their lives unfold, they find themselves coming together in the most unconventional ways. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after? Self discovery is a continuous journey for everyone and Jo and Bethie are here to remind us of that. review: Mrs. Everything was one of the most anticipated books of the year for me and with good reason. Jennifer Weiner succeeded in writing a smart, relatable, and incredibly timely book for women. This book was so engrossing and captivating from the writing to the relationship between Jo and Bethie. This book covers a lot of topics including sexual assault, abortion, death of a family member, eating disorders, and same sex relationships, but speaks of them with such eloquence and importance. This definitely isn’t a light and easy read, but it’s an important one that every woman should take the time to read. It would be a great book club book because it provides a great discussion. This one stayed with me for quite some time after reading it. rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️

SURFSIDE SISTERS BY NANCY THAYERSurfside Sisters follows Keely and Isabelle, best friends growing up on the island of Nantucket, uniquely connected by their shared love of writing. Told from Keely’s POV, the story starts when they’re children and works its way through their adolescence and into adulthood. Their relationship is deeply complicated. They understand each other in ways that no one else ever has or will, but they’re deeply competitive with one another. Keely is envious of Isabelle’s wealth and seemingly easy life. Isabelle is in turn deeply resentful of Keely’s success with writing. They have been as close as sisters since they were kids, but a betrayal ends up forcing the two apart. Can their competitiveness and mistakes of the past bring them back together again? review: Nancy Thayer is another author I look forward to releasing a new book in the summer. Thayer’s signature writing and charm allows this story to be told beautifully. I really enjoyed this one, although I found myself frustrated at Keely and Isabelle separately numerous times! Their friendship was relatable and delicate, but I would have loved to hear a perspective from Isabelle as well.  It’s a great story of friendship, love, betrayal, and strength. This is a great book to pick up for a beach or pool day! rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️

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Leave a Reply

15 Comments

  1. Anna wrote:

    I’ve been looking for a few books to read! Thanks for your detailed reviews!!

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  2. Rachel wrote:

    I read Mrs. Everything this month as well and it was SO good! The rest of these are on my list of books to read but need to get through a few others first 😉

    Rachel

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  3. Megan wrote:

    A Stranger on the Beach sounds super good! I’m definitely going to read this.

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  4. Tanvi wrote:

    I just finished City of Girls and LOVED it … I have only read 2 books from your list. Can’t wait to check the remaining out.

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  5. Morgan wrote:

    I’m currently reading “when life gives you lululemons” which I think you recommended in 2018? It’s so good so far!

    -Morgan

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  6. Laura S wrote:

    these all sound so good! I’ve been looking for a new book lately. I”ll have to put these on my list!

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  7. Olivia Schueller wrote:

    love this post! thanks for the recommendations.

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  8. I was supposed to read a book every month this year and I am WAYYY behind. Thanks for the great suggestions! xo

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  9. Lizzie wrote:

    I haven’t heard of any of these! I’ll need to check them out 🙂 Thanks for the recs!

    Lizzie
    http://www.lizzieinlace.com

    Posted 8.2.19 Reply
  10. Stephanie wrote:

    As always, I enjoy reading through your book reviews at the end of the month. It’s so cool to learn of new books that might interest me or that I could suggest to a friend!

    Posted 8.2.19 Reply
  11. Maureen wrote:

    You are so good with keeping up with your reading. That’s awesome! I can’t wait to read Mrs. Everything and A Stranger On The Beach. Both sounds intriguing!

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

    Posted 8.3.19 Reply
  12. Mollie wrote:

    I look forward to your book reviews ever month!! Definitely reading Mrs. Everything next!

    xx Mollie

    Posted 8.4.19 Reply
  13. Melissa Frazier wrote:

    I absolutely LOVE your book reviews! I immediately go to my library app after you post and reserve the ones you suggest! Thanks!

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  14. Marissa wrote:

    I’ve been wanting to read Summer of ‘69!

    Posted 8.5.19 Reply
  15. Going to be checking out Mrs. Everything for sure! Love your book reviews gal!

    xo Laura Leigh
    http://www.louellareese.com

    Posted 8.6.19 Reply

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