It’s BOOK DAY!!!
Insert me doing a happy dance RIGHT HERE!
I get so excited when we chat about books!!!
Okay, just like last month, typically, I don’t publish comments with spoilers, but for today’s books, in the comment section, you can talk spoilers if you want for the TWO books that were in our book club (not the other books). My review here WILL NOT contain any spoilers for those of you who haven’t read the books yet (just make sure you don’t read the comment section!), but there will be spoilers/discussion in the comment section for everyone who has already read the book(s). I will not be publishing any comments that are hateful/ugly. There are a lot of book clubs if you want to express your thoughts in that way, but mine will not be one of them. You can absolutely say you don’t like a book and list reasons, but we’re going to even keep that in a positive, upbeat way or else it won’t be published for the discussion.
Also, at the bottom of this post, I’ve also included our summer book club picks for AUGUST too!
Here we go!
I’m going to start with our two book club books, and then after that, I’ll review the three other books I read independently this month (one fictional and two biographical…all three AMAZING!).
Our book club books for July were…
…okay, I loved one and not the other.
Our first book was The Hate U Give and this one…I loved.
I had no idea what this book was about until I opened it up and started reading. So many of you suggested it to me, and now, I can see why. This is a fictional story that very much mimics the heart and sentiment of today’s America after several incidents involving the black community and some police officers. This book is a work of fiction, but it gave me chills reading it in July 2020 as it appeared to be foreshadowing of real events.
Now, no matter what your opinions are about real life people and real life actions, these are fictional characters, so I’m going to address them and am in no way referring to real events (make sense). I’m focusing on the book, but yes, it very much mimics what we’re seeing on the news right now.
The main character was VERY endearing. She’s a young black teen living in two different worlds. She’s living in a black neighborhood with friends who go to the local schools…some in gangs, some in the wrong crowd and many, just in the wrong place and time. She also attends a private school 45 minutes away where she is the minority. So, one girl…two worlds. I thought the author did a brilliant job of describing both settings and cast of characters in a way that made you think you were there too. I thought it was part poignant, part heartbreaking, part funny, part thought-provoking, part endearing…and all together really well written and very unforgettable. I also loved Starr’s (the main character) parents and older brother. The conversations they had in the book prompted me to have similar ones at home too. I loved their little family unit. Now, many of you recommended this book for my older kids, but I would read it first if I were you. I do think this book is rated R for both language and violence, so I’m not suggesting you just hand it to your kid without previewing it. I cannot wait to have our discussion in the comment section today about this one! Loved it!
And then that leads me to…
…our second book to read for our July Book Club was Big Summer.
I think it might be time for Jennifer Weiner and I to break up.
I think this was the third book in a row I read of hers that I just didn’t love…which stinks because I really loved her first ones so much.
Okay…I cannot wait to discuss this one in the comment section either! Here is my quick run down: This novel is light/set in summer/easy to read/not a deep one/perfect for this season. (Sounds like a Shay book so far, right?!) My problem was that I thought she had too many great book ideas crammed into this one book. It’s like her publisher told her this was her last book to ever write but she had 46 book ideas…so she put them all in one. This book covered everything from a TV series just like The Bachelor to being a plus-size woman in today’s world to being an influencer to having issues with your parents to family lies and betrayals to not being accepted to murder to best friend issues to not wanting to marry the person you’re engaged with (I could keep going). I found the whole thing super disjointed and not organically connected at all. I typically apologize when I don’t love a book, but I’m not this time. Ha! I didn’t like it. I wish she would have picked one or two of these topics and built the whole book on that instead. This book was a little cheesy compared to her other books too. I would also probably give this one an R rating.
Okay, I’m done.
One thing to note, Weiner has always been a big Bachelor fan on her social media and even Tweeted about Smith once before when he was little on said something funny about Sean during an episode. So, I LOL and texted my brother when I opened this book and she named the Bachelor character…Stuart Lowe. Sean Lowe thought that was funny 😉 .
Okay, those two books are from our JULY SUMMER BOOK CLUB, these next THREE BOOKS are ones I just read on my own and therefore, no spoilers will be discussed about any of them in the comment section…
I loved The Simple Wild.
I had multiple friends tell me to read this series (this is the first book in the three-book series), and I can see why! This novel was so ME!!! This is a story about a influencer in her late 20s who heads to a tiny town in western Alaska to reconnect with her dad after many, many years. I loved her, I loved her dad, I loved all of the other sub-characters, I loved the setting, I loved the cold, I loved the food references and when they described their cozy homes. I loved it! I would have read all of the books at one time, but since I’m reviewing them for you, I decided to spread them out (for those of you who don’t love chick-lit), but all of your rom-com gals out there, read it! I’m going to give it an R rating for a little language and content, but it’s cuteness factor is what won me over. I just really thought this book was both tender and and emotional while also being sweet and cheery. It was meatier than most of the chick lit I read (very similar to a Elin Hilderbrand novel) and left me with all the happy thoughts.
Whew! Okay, moving right along, the next book I read this month was Nothing to Envy.
And it was INTENSE.
Andrew read this one a few years ago and has been suggesting it ever since then, so I finally cracked it open and jumped in with two feet. Now, you know how I loved The Girl with Seven Names a few years ago? This book was very much like that one…but enough different that it really kept me interested all the way through. Both are books written by/about people who have recently escaped North Korea. Where The Girl with Seven Names is an autobiography, this book was written by an LA Times journalist living in South Korea as she spent years getting to know/love and learn about different people who had escaped North Korea. It’s a compilation of all of their stories and how eerily similar they all were no matter how old the person was/whether they were male or female/their economic status/etc. This book is very eye-opening and even downright shocking at times as they describe life in North Korea. If you are interested in that country or that part of the world, I thought this author did a great job intertwining their stories and delivering a bigger picture about life in that country. This book will stick with you forever.
Okay, the last book I read this month was…
…Open by Andre Agassi.
Every single time I ask you guys for autobiography recs, I always, always, always hear this one, so I FINALLY decided to read it. I know nothing about tennis. I know nothing about Andre Agassi. I know nothing about any of this…BUT I LOVED IT!! In fact, this was one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read.
He should have quit tennis and been a writer because he’s a great story teller! So many times, I laughed out loud (literally!). I wanted to cry for him. I was wincing. I was cheering. I was a huge fan. I loved how he described his relationships with everyone from his dad to his trainer, Brooke Shields (his ex-wife) to Pete Sampras…loved it! If you are a tennis person, you FOR SURE should read this book. If you’re not? You still should. It made me a huge Andre Agassi fan! Thank you so much for recommending it to me!
Okay, that’s my JULY BOOK REVIEW!
Next month, I picked two more books to finish up our Summer Book Club…
…if you want to read along with us, pick these up and we’ll chat at the end of August!
From here, if you do not want to see any spoilers about the first two books, click off and come back Monday. If you want to read spoilers/participate in our book club discussion, that’s happening below in the comment section. If you want to comment on the last three books, that’s happening too (with no spoilers!).
One last thing, WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? I’d love new ideas please!!!
Happy Book Day!!
I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! xo