Happy Tuesday, friends!! It’s my JULY BOOK REVIEW!!!!
Ladies, this month’s review is HUGE. It’s also probably going to ruffle some feathers too. I LOVED several books (like Top Three loved!), and I didn’t love some others. Let’s all brace ourselves for me potentially upsetting you 😉 .
Before we get to that though…
…it’s MY BESTIE’S BIRTHDAY!!!!
I mean, there are really no words. I am so incredibly thankful and blessed to have Erika in my life. The very best moments of my life? She was there. The very worst? She was there for me too. She was in the room with my family when I came out of the OR after having babies. She was the first person I sent pictures to of precious little girls in China I wanted to bring home. She sees the every day me. The dirty, cranky, tired, busy, moody version of me and yet, she still comes back the next day. I am so thankful for a friend who loves me for all of me (even the yucky parts).
I could sit here all day telling you funny stories about the two of us, but I’ll just share one. You all know that I have a proclivity for vomiting (disgusting but unfortunately, true). Have I told you about the time she was holding my hair back on the side of the road while I was throwing up? (Bless her, I bet she’s seen my throw up at least 100 times.) Well, I was sick on the side of the road (sigh), and she was there kneeling beside me holding my hair back (a frequent occurrence in this relationship). After I was done and she helped me get cleaned up, we drove to our destination where I chatted with someone I didn’t know very well for quite a few minutes before looking down and realizing there was a maxi pad stuck to my pants. Yeah. She couldn’t find napkins in the car, but she found a pad and had used that to help me clean myself off and then stuck it to my pants and forgot. Bahahaha! That my friends, is true friendship 😉 . I love you so much, Erika Slaughter! I thank the Lord every single day for YOU!!!!
Now, on to today’s BOOK REVIEW! Thanks to your suggestions, I have been hitting it out of the park this summer with great books. Make sure you go back and catch both my MAY BOOK REVIEW and JUNE BOOK REVIEW where I have many, many other great recommendations this season all from YOU!!
In July though, I read EIGHT BOOKS all based on your recommendations. A few of them, I LOVED…and a few, not so much.
Here we go…
An Island Summer by Jenny Hale
This novel was cute. I thought it started off a bit slow but then picked up speed. It’s very “Hallmark” which I know many of you, like me, love to read…especially during the summer. This is a story about a young woman and her bestie who move one summer from New York City to an island off of North Carolina to live in her recently deceased grandpa’s beach house. It has all the charm you expect from a beach book. It’s very PG, very easy to read…just super simple, a little predictable and adorable. The main character has a relationship with an older gentleman which is a little odd (he thinks she’s an old movie actress), but other than that, it checked all of my beach book boxes. Of course, there is a love story because…all hallmarky books must have one 😉 .
Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
This writing duo’s books are always hit or miss for me. Some of their books, I really love…and others, not so much. I think this new one here would fall somewhere in the middle. It was okay. I read it really quickly buuuuut if I’m being honest, it was a bit far-fetched for me. This is the story of two people who reconnect years after college as they set out to “hunt treasure” in Utah. I just felt that this book lacked enough backstory. They were apparently each other’s “greatest loves” but yet, we didn’t really get into the meat of that. There is one chapter at the beginning that talks about it, but moving forward, it’s just “assumed” and never really explained. I also thought the big conflict at the end was very anticlimactic as it was resolved. I don’t know….this one fell flat. I will say that this writing duo does tend to write more R-rated novels but this one here felt very PG to me, so if you’ve always wanted to read one of their books but that part has held you back, go for this one. I would love to know what you guys thought of this novel. It was just okay. Not great, not bad…just fine.
My third book this month…
The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer
So, you guys know that I absolutely LOVED Rimmer’s novel The Things We Cannot Say. It was my FAVORITE BOOK OF 2019, so, I’m always excited to read other novels she writes (and typically really like them). I thought her latest one here was just okay. Sigh. Anyone else? I thought it was suuuuuper interesting but also kind of…I don’t know…odd too, maybe?
Rimmer writes books that are HARD to read. They’re historical fiction based on true events/ideas/people and often contain really hard things to read. This one talks in depth about the Holocaust as one of the main characters lived through it as a German. I think it’s really essential to read hard things sometimes, so that’s not the part that I didn’t love. I was a bit confused about why there was a need for the second main character in this novel. This book toggles back and forth between two women (the German wife) and then another woman (Lizzie) who lived during the same time but in West Texas through the Dust Bowl. I guess I never really thought the book needed her storyline. Am I crazy here? Her story was hard and brutal and could have been a story of its own…but I wasn’t connected to her in the same story with the German wife. I thought her character was unnecessary. The plotline was just a bit weak for me overall. I believe the main theme is about forgiveness, changing and moving on…buuuuuuuut I also think that the author is also writing about a Nazi officer who gets to live a free life in the United States after the war and even though she clearly explains why he was an officer and that he didn’t want to be one…ick. That just felt ick to me.
I would really love someone to tell me I’m not crazy about this novel. It was didn’t sit well with me. Some parts I was really into and other parts, I was not loving.
Okay, this next novel…
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
…I quit THREE TIMES.
I rarely quit books these days but this one, I quit three times, but I am SO HAPPY THAT I FINISHED IT! One of my friends texted me that I should read this one and that she loved it, so even though I kept quitting, I kept thinking “surely Erin wouldn’t have me read a book that’s bad”, so I kept going and LOVED IT! You guys, it’s twisty. I was super confused and annoyed but now that I know the ending, I really want to read it again because it’s just so clever! I do not want to give anything away, so I’m going to be a bit vague, but this quirky, British novel is about three very different women. I think you’ll be confused at the beginning but trust me, it all makes sense. This one was just clever and original. In a world of “typical chick lit books”, it’s hard to stand out, but this one totally did! Two big thumbs up.
Speaking of which…
Nora Goes Off Script by Anabel Monaghan
I absolutely LOVED this novel!!! I will be recommending this book to EVERYONE! It for sure could wind up in my TOP THREE this year! This novel is adorable!! This is about Nora, a single mom who sells her movie script based on her recent divorce to a production company…and they want to shoot a few days in her yard (where a pivotal part of the script takes place). I loved Nora. I loved her sass. I loved her parenting. I loved her daily schedule and routines. She was so likeable. Add to Nora a hot Hollywood actor playing her ex-husband…and you can only imagine the adorableness that this novel delivers. If you’re looking for my favorite book of the summer, this one here just might be it. Read it! It’s just HAPPINESS AND CHARM!
This next novel was a recommendation from so many of YOU…
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
Okay, I really liked this one! This is yet another historical fiction novel set during WWII except this one is set in Bora Bora. This one isn’t nearly as graphic or detailed as the last one though. This is the story of a nurse who, during WWII, heads to the Pacific with other nurses to take care of the US troops based there in Bora Bora. You know…she has her life back at home (a fiancé, a family with certain expectations of her) and yet finds a whole new life there on the island when her eyes are opened to a larger cause and of course, a handsome soldier. This books starts and ends with present day life, so you get a nice well-rounded picture of the character and a tidy ending (I love a tidy ending!). I always say I don’t love historical fiction and yet, I really do love books like this one! It’s the perfect amount of “meaty” and “light” which (considering the context) made it feel easy to read. I liked it a lot!
Book #7 this month was probably the MOST recommended from you guys last month…
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Okay. Whew. Here we go.
I didn’t love this book.
(Insert me hiding my eyes and cringing right now.)
I know that it’s the most talked about book of the year. I know that everyone loves it. I know that you’re all mad at me right now. BUT I JUST DIDN’T LOVE IT.
(Please don’t hate me.)
Here’s the deal, for me, this novel had a lot of potential. I thought the character was interesting. I thought the whole plot was original. (At the end of one chapter I audibly gasped as I did.not.see.that.coming.) I loved the relationships between the very different characters and thought they were each unique and yet they all worked really well together. I loved all of the rowing tidbits woven throughout the book. I loved Mad. I even tolerated the dog (even though that was a wee bit too far-fetched for me). Here’s what I didn’t love. I didn’t love that one of the author’s main themes in this book was to belittle anyone with faith. I am okay with characters who are atheist. I’m not okay with the constant putting down and diminishing people who have faith in anything. (Because let’s be clear, it takes a whollllle lot of faith to not believe in God.) That idea was not just referenced but woven throughout the entire book and completely off-putting to me because it felt less like the actual character’s opinion and more like the author making a point as often as she could via the character. I found it disrespectful to anyone of faith to continue to read about it over and over again when it wasn’t even pertinent to the plot.
So, yeah…I didn’t enjoy this one.
(And now I wait and cringe for you to tell me I’m wrong. 😉 ).
Whew! I did wrap up this month though on a HIGH with…
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
Book #8 was SO ADORABLE!!! Friends, I always really like this author’s novels, but this one here was my absolute favorite! I could not put it down and read it in less than 48 hours! This is about a bodyguard who is sent to protect a famous Hollywood actor. Yup. The bodyguard is a woman. Is it a bit predictable? Sure. Is it happy and fun? YES! There is a bit of suspense, some great supporting characters, a cute ranch, a complicated family dynamic and a flawed yet lovable main character. I could not have loved this one more. Everyone read this book this month! Two HUGE thumbs up!!!
Okay. What do you think? Eight novels…some I loved and others, I did not. I am really interested in your comments today!
What do I read next? I would love to wrap up this summer on a high! Please share your latest suggestions!!
Also, don’t forget…
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2019 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2020 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2021 (all 59 of them), click here.
That wraps up Book Day! Sending you all so much love on this Tuesday! I’ll see all of you back here tomorrow! xx