There is nothing like the kids heading back to school to get your reading habits back on track, amiright? I’ve been trying to get up an hour early each day to get in my quiet reading time, although I can fully admit that this is quite the challenge.
I know a question we frequently get asked, especially as are looking to reset and refine our habits in the new school year, is how to get in more time to read. I encourage you to read these tips on how to consume more books, if this happens to be your goal this year. If you are looking for something you can jump into quickly, this list of books is a great start.
If you want to see more of what I am reading, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Not enough variety? Print out our Reading Challenge Worksheet! I’m having a blast working my way through it!
Here are 9 must-read books that I tackled in August!
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
I received an advanced reader from NetGalley- all thoughts and opinions are my own!
See What I Have Done explores one of the most infamous murder cases of all time- the Lizzie Borden murders. I was familiar with the general story, but Schmidt fills in the gaps from one creepy detail to the next, utilizing the timeline that is known about the time leading up to the murders and the aftermath.
The author crafts a twisted and dark story, creating the insecure world of the Borden sisters and their angry and awful parents. Using four points of view (the housemaid, an observing stranger, and the two sisters), Schmidt brings the story together through very different points of view.
It is a claustrophobic type of read and no one is really likable at all, with the exception of Lizzie’s sister. It can be confusing, at times, as Schmidt jumps through the timeline, instead of ending with the trial, which seem to interrupt the flow.
That said, I learned a lot more about the Borden family and the circumstances surrounding this gory murder!
Reading Challenge Category Completed-
A book with an unlikable narrator
3 Out Of 5 Stars
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
Well, dang! This was such a charming read from start to finish.
Ginny Moon is a beautiful story from debut novelist, Benjamin Ludwig. Ludwig shares in his bio that he is the foster parent of a teen with autism and it is through his own experience (and fellow parents of autistic children) that helped him carve out his character, Ginny Moon.
Ginny Moon had been taken from her neglectful mother and has been living with her new Forever Mother and Forever Father. When her birth mother starts creeping back into her life, Ginny will stop at nothing to get back to her mom and goes to shocking lengths to make that happen. When a new baby then is added to her Forever Family, Ginny becomes increasingly more of a burden to her strained foster parents and they must decide if this is the forever family THEY want. Ginny will stop at nothing though to get back to where she believes she really belongs and there is a pretty surprising reason why. It’s a real page-turner!
Ludwig really sheds light on the difficulties of finding adoptive families for teens of special needs and your heart just breaks for Ginny over the confusion of who her real “forever family,” is.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
This thriller writer proves she is no one hit wonder with her second thriller, The Breakdown. I love an unreliable narrator and Paris crafts an unreliable one in a pretty brilliant way.
This book, as the title says, is about a woman who witnesses a breakdown of a vehicle during a storm and is scared to pull over to help, for fear that it is some type of trap. When she finds out the woman has been murdered, she feels enormous guilt, especially when she realizes she is an acquaintance.
Someone knows she did nothing and wants to make her pay. The worst part though is that she is experiencing memory loss that mimics her own mother’s early dementia. Strange things begin happening and Cass begins losing pockets of time. The reader is then left to fill in the holes to try to figure out just who is harassing her.
Call me gullible, but even as a seasoned thriller reader, I had no idea what the heck was going on through most of the book. I couldn’t put this one down and enjoyed it as much (if not more) than, Behind Closed Doors.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
If Dark Matter was your jam, you will absolutely love this fantastic debut novel that is filled with humor, heart, and adventure. It is no secret that I am time travel obsessed so I couldn’t wait to dig into All Our Wrong Todays. Mastai is a screenwriter and this book plays out like a movie (it is no surprise the movie rights were quickly sold) as Tom Barrens time travels from the 2016 we *thought* we would be living in and then must time travel into the 2016 we really live in.
Remember The Jetsons and the futuristic cars and ways of living we believed we would be experiencing? Yeah, so that is the reality that Tom is living in, where everything is automated and easy as people rely on incredible technology to live. When he loses the girl of his dreams and has a time machine at his disposal, he decides to time travel to find her again. This 2016 is the world we inhabit now and Tom is annoyed and baffled at our slow progression. It is there though that he finds his family life in a very different place, a flourishing career, and he has captured the heart of a wonderful girl.
What’s a guy to do?
Prepare for the adventure! Smartly written, finely crafted, and laugh-out-loud funny- I couldn’t put this one down. It will definitely be one of my favorites this year!
5 Out Of 5 Stars
Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
This nonfiction book is about Sandberg’s sudden loss of her husband and her struggles to find joy again in her life, after this devastating loss. Sandberg shares her own personal struggles and Grant helps to fill in the research behind our ability to cope with adversity in our lives.
Option B is an incredible book for anyone who has experienced hardship from an unexpected detour in life. I think this one would be particularly helpful for anyone who is dealing with a difficult medical journey or the loss of a loved one.
The passage on what and what not to say to someone who is grieving was particularly helpful to me. As someone who finds herself unexpectedly on a Plan B in life, I found a lot of solace in her words and encouragement.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
If We Were Villains happened to be our book club selection this month and I was excited to dig into the mysterious death of a Shakespearean actor that happens to mimic the same type of themes that Shakespeare explored in his own work.
The opening to this one didn’t grab me and I blame a lot of that on my unfamiliarity with Shakespeare’s work and the dialogue being so heavily crafted around lines from his plays. When it hit the Second Act section, it moved more into the strange dynamics between these friendships and the villain that no one liked, but had to deal with. Since he was so unlikable, anyone could have killed the guy and the book shifts from the man who was accused of the crime and served time to the decade long mystery that surrounded his unlikely confession.
In the end, this was a great whodunit that I’m glad I read, even if I had to skip over a lot of the Shakespearean themes that had been so finely crafted for the reader.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave
Eight Hundred Grapes happened to be one of my very favorite chick lit reads so I could not wait to see what Dave would write next. While this one was cute, the themes of coming home after a breakup are similar to her previous book and lacked that depth and charm that I had hoped for.
Sunshine (yes, her name!) is a culinary star that becomes victim to a smear campaign that leaks all her dirty little secrets. The destructive nature of the tweets end up shedding some light on a lot of missteps and a few Hollywood secrets that cause her to lose her career and jeopardize her marriage.
Facing your demons is always a challenge and the reader gets to follow along and think upon our own inauthentic photos and the nature of living in the social media age.
This is a great one for the beach bag if you are looking for something lighter to read.
3 Out Of 5 Stars
The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick
Told from the perspective of a sixty-eight-year-old veteran, we see a very sharply opinionated view on the world and from someone who has sacrificed it all. Unlike many books though, Quick doesn’t gloss it over and his character repeatedly says inflammatory, racist, and controversial things OUT LOUD and often. It is absolutely cringe worthy and will probably remind you of every offensive racist older person you have ever met.
What it did though was show you how he has come to this viewpoint and what veterans must overcome just to exist in society after serving. It challenges you to look beyond the comments and see that David’s heart is often in the right place, even if his words aren’t always there.
Was this a tough read? Absolutely! As a bleeding heart liberal, there was so much in here that I could not always swallow. It did though make me think of the challenges that face those that serve and how this viewpoint could even exist. I’m thankful for books that challenge me and Quick does this quite effectively.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Before We Were Yours absolutely blew me away and is a book that brings ALL THE FEELINGS, if you are looking for a historical fiction escape that will absolutely crush you.
Wingate shares the story of two little girls who become a part of one of America’s most notorious real life scandals of children being kidnapped and sold to wealthy families by Georgia Tann, a director of a Memphis-based adoption organization in the late 1930’s.
I was unfamiliar with the scandal or the heartbreaking stories of children being separated from their families and the tragic things they had to endure while under Tann’s horrific care.
This fictional story is built around the stories of real-life orphans and will just rip your heart to shreds. Moving backward and forward through time, the reader gets to solve the mystery of two unlikely women with a bond that could never be broken and the granddaughter that must unravel it all, even at the expense of her family’s high society position.
This will definitely be in my top ten reads this year. Beautifully written and researched, it pulled all the right heartstrings.
Note- triggers include physical and sexual abuse.
5 Out Of 5 Stars
The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out
If you are a BOTM member, this month looks AH-MAZING!! You can use this link though, if you aren’t, to get 1, 2, or 3 months for just $9.99.
September BOTM Selections
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – Judge Kim Hubbard (loved this one- read my review HERE!)
Read With Me This Year:
What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo
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