It’s that time again! We’re well into September, so that means it’s time to recap the books I read in August! This month was a bit of a mixed bag. I read one of my favorite books of the year, read two highly anticipated books & threw in a few others that had been on my shelf for quite some time. If you’re looking for a fantastic new book, I highly recommend The People We Keep. It’s such a powerful, character-driven story that is sure to stick with you for quite some time.
As always, you can see my latest reads on my bookstagram account @enw_reads (I share ALL things books there!) and on my Amazon Shop page! If you have any book recs, send them my way! I would love to hear what you have read recently in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!
THE PEOPLE WE KEEP by Allison Larkin | Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo’s diner, she’s left fending for herself in a town where she’s never quite felt at home. When she “borrows” her neighbor’s car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good, setting off on a journey to find a life that’s all hers. As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be. review: Wow. I truly don’t have words for how beautiful of a book this is. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a contender for my favorite book of 2021 so far! The People We Keep is a poignant book about human connection, resilience, & finding hope when life throws you the impossible. This book is very character driven & I loved (almost) every single character. The dynamic of the characters coupled with the beautiful writing made for a fantastic read that will stay with me for quite some time. This is one of those books where there’s not a lot of action but it will pull at your heart strings, make you think & reminds you why you fall in love with fictional characters. The main character, April, has had a tough go of it and I was rooting for her until the very end. I wanted to give her a hug and let her know it will all be ok! I loved seeing how the people & situations she encountered shaped her life – and finally allowed her to see her value to the world and to be vulnerable and loved. If you’re wanting a character driven novel that will pull you in (and pull at your heart strings) grab this one! rating: 5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE ROOMMATE by Rosie Danaan | When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true. After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing an apartment with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too handsome for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet… Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara becomes inspired to take the stigma of female desire in her own hands. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too. review: After seeing a lot go hype about this book, I decided to move it up on my reading list. I loved the thought of an unlikely duo ending up as roommates and everything that could ensue! I typically love the strangers to lovers trope in contemporary romances, but this one just didn’t work well for me. I had a hard time really enjoying the characters or the storyline. It was VERY steamy and I felt like the characters should have felt like they had more of a connection. I did enjoy the witty banter the two had, but again, just wish they had more chemistry to make it feel “real.” The ending was cute & I’ve seen that there’s a sequel, so maybe give it a shot! rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
ISN’T IT BROMANTIC by Lyssa Kay Adams | Elena has lived her entire adult life in the shadows. She married her childhood friend, Vlad, and moved to the United States, where he is a professional hockey player in Nashville. Vlad, aka the Russian, thought he could be content with his marriage of convenience. But it’s become too difficult to continue in a one-sided relationship. He joined the Bromance Book Club to learn how to make his wife love him, but all he’s learned is that he deserves more. He’s ready to create his own sweeping romance—both on and off the page. The bros are unwilling to let Vlad forgo true love—and this time they’re not operating solo. They join forces with Vlad’s neighbors, a group of meddling widows who call themselves the Loners. But just when things finally look promising, Elena’s past life intrudes and their happily ever after is cast into doubt. review: If you haven’t read the Bromance Book Club series, you are missing out! This is the fourth book in the series and every single one has been such a joy to read! The premise of a book club for guys who read romance novels is just too good & each of the characters have such a great developed storyline. In the other books, Vlad was such a mystery, so I’m really glad that he got his own book. I really loved seeing how Elena and Vlad warmed up to each other over time and the friends to lovers trope was so well done in this book. I am quite sad that this series is over (or is it?!) and I’m going to miss these guys. If you’re looking for a series that has witty banter, loving characters that will make you laugh out loud & just downright good stories, grab this series ASAP! rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️
WHILE WE WERE DATING by Jasmine Guillory | Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great start. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation? But their lighthearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them. When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending? review: Jasmine Guillory’s books are always such a delight! This book felt like it had a bit more substance than some of her others. I really liked that this book talked about therapy (and how it’s normal!) and mental health a lot. While I found the main character, Anna, a little annoying at times, I really enjoyed the authentic relationship she and Ben had. Ben was a stand-out character and both characters felt very realistic to me. This is a quick read, but I think my favorite in the series is Party of Two. rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
THE LION’S DEN by Katherine St. John | Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she’s aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised. Belle’s dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Belle realizes she’s going to have to keep her wits about her — and her own big secret closely hidden — if she wants to make it off the yacht alive. review: After devouring The Siren earlier this summer, I immediately ordered her previous novel, The Lion’s Den. This one was a fast paced book about betrayal, secrets, and regrets. It’s a bit of a beach read mixed with some mystery and if you like Bravos’ Below Deck, you’re sure to enjoy this one. I loved The Siren and think I had high expectations for this one, but it missed the mark a bit for me, although rich people behaving badly is always binge worthy! I found it hard to like ANY of the characters, but that didn’t stop me from reading to figure out how all the pieces fit. I enjoyed the flashback chapters a lot and liked seeing how Summer and Belle’s relationship changed over time. At times it felt a little repetitive and that there was a lull in anything happening – just a lot of build up. Luckily, the last 1/3 of the book was really fast-paced and I flew through it. rating: 3.5 out of 5 ⭐️
FALLING by T.J. Newman | 143 people board Flight 416 from Los Angelos to NYC. It seems like any other day to Captain Bill Hoffman. Everything is going as planned until he receives an email in-flight telling him his family has been kidnapped and bombs are attached to them. He has orders to crash the plane he’s flying and kill everyone on board, including himself, or his wife and 2 children will die. This mission is to be kept secret from everyone on board, otherwise more threats will come. Bill has to make a choice no one should ever be forced to make: does he save his family or the plane? Can he find a way to do both before they run out of time? review: I listened to this debut via audiobook and I was captivated from the start. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. This one has just the right amount of action and clever, well placed twists. I’m not sure if I would have been as captivated had I read it as a physical book, but I loved the audio! I really enjoyed how the story alternates between what’s going on in the cockpit, what’s happening with the flight crew and passengers, and the Hoffman family who have been kidnapped. The information was revealed layer by layer really well- it was a bit anxiety inducing, but really helped tell the story well. Let’s just say, I’m glad I have no plans to fly in the near future because this one felt all too real. rating: 4 out of 5 ⭐️