Posts Tagged ‘Summer Book News’

June 2019 Must-Reads

Monday, July 1st, 2019

If you have been feeling like you are in a reading slump, I hope you are ready to get pulled out of that! I read 9 really incredible books this month and I’m excited to share them with you.

I really doubt you could see these reviews today and NOT be inspired to start loading up your reader or putting in a few requests at your local library. If that wasn’t enough,  did you see my FREE Summer Reading Guide I made for you? This guide should keep you very busy this summer with loads of beautiful reads.

While you’re here, be sure to print out the 2019 MomAdvice reading challenge worksheet and join our FREE online book club! You can check out the 2019 MomAdvice Book Club picks over here. Don’t forget to send me a friend request over on GoodReads for more great book reviews!

follow me on instagram to see what’s in my stack

Did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? Grab your FREE book over here. Lucky for you, July is TWO free books this month. Woohoo!

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Also Out!!

This month’s deal: New members can get their first book for $9.99 when they join using this month’s code: RIDE and can cancel at any time.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (READ MY REVIEW HERE)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (READ MY REVIEW BELOW)

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Here are 9 must-read books I tackled in June:

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

Red, White, & Royal Blue was such a fun YA summer romance novel as McQuiston crafts a beautiful love story between the son of the U.S. President and the the Prince of Wales. This is a sweet coming-of-age story that grapples with sexuality, the perceived image of children of well-known families, and the beauty of our first love.

Alex and Henry start out as rivals, in our story. When tabloids end up securing a photo of them, in a particular moment of rivalry, their handlers must devise a way for them to forge a truce for the media. What begins as a fake friendship evolves into deep attraction for each other.

The thing is, this relationship threatens both of their worlds.

This journey requires bravery and it also requires Alex to address his own sexuality in the process.

I went into this one as a bit of a fairy tale because McQuiston requires us to suspend our own reality about how these two can go to places without being recognized or photographed. Much of these moments don’t seem plausible, but you can’t help but wish for a world that looks just like that.

The romance and connection between these two characters though seems to outweigh some of the less grounded parts in our story. While many novels tend to fade-to-black with bedroom scenes, this one leaves the light on for you.

Fans of The Royal We and What If It’s Us will DEFINITELY love this one!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (available on August 6th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I know many of us have been excitedly anticipating the new novel from Ruth Ware so I wanted to be sure to screen this one for you. I think it is important to know that I would categorize this one as more in the horror realm than as a typical Ware thriller novel. Fans of The Haunting of Hill House will love how this home has a dark past, filled with terrible secrets.

The book opens with a prisoner writing to her lawyer, as she attempts to explain how she has been set up for her crimes. She takes her reader down the twisted path of applying for a too-good-to-be-believed nanny job and the horrors that unfold in this infamous Heatherbrae House.

The house has had a lot of revamping under the new owners and is outfitted with all the latest smart home technology. Just as soon as the complicated house has been explained, the parents decide to head off for weeks, leaving their new nanny in charge of three little girls (and a bonus teenager), two wild dogs, and a couple of weird people working for the family.

Of course, everything with the smart technology starts backfiring on Rowan and she becomes increasingly paranoid that something is going to happen to her or these children. Not only that, but she hears someone above her room walking back and forth and keeping her up throughout the night. As Rowan becomes more and more unhinged, the naughty daughters get naughtier and encourage pushing their nanny right on over the edge.

I was on the EDGE OF MY SEAT through this whole book. Ware beautifully develops misleading clues, a sense of distrust with everyone, and a plausible reason for Rowan’s sudden career shift to nanny.

I loved it all the way through…until the last few pages.

Ware’s cleverly crafted twists unfold, but the last sections feels jumbled and rushed. The big reveal is shared in letter format with an abrupt conclusion that begs to have an epilogue. It doesn’t have an epilogue though so it left me feeling dissatisfied, knowing how incredibly satisfying the rest of the novel was.

I still loved it, but wish the ending was less rushed and as supported as much as the development of the story.

4 out of 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

How to Not Die Alone by Richard Roper

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

This novel promised a quirky character that you would grow to love, especially if you are a fan of Eleanor Oliphant and it really delivered on that promise.

Andrew’s job consists of going to a home of someone who has recently been deceased and to search for clues of a friendship or next of kin who can foot the bill for their funeral.

To his co-workers, Andrew is living his best life with a successful wife and two children in a beautiful home. What they don’t know though is that Andrew fabricated this family during his job interview and has felt compelled to carry on this fictional family.

When Andrew meets Peggy, a new hire that will be helping him handle these cases, he could never imagine how wonderful it would be to have a friend in his life. As he grows more and more attracted to her, he realizes how his lies have created an additional hurdle for him to build on this relationship.

This book is certainly a little dark, but I would say that it is dark with a lot of hope. Roper shapes compelling reasons for Andrew’s fictional relationships and his own challenges to open up to others. Andrew must acknowledge that if he doesn’t branch out more, he could be just like these lonely people that didn’t have anyone to love them at the end of their life.

I fell in love with this sweet character as he branches out into the world and learns how beautiful life is when you find friends and someone to love.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (available on July 9th!!)

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

I am calling this wonderful novel, the perfect love letter to a bookworm. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, is all about Nina’s book-filled existence and what happens when major life events began to interfere with her carefully scheduled day.

Nina has her day arranged exactly as she likes it from working at the bookstore during the day, to leading multiple book clubs for readers of all ages, to participating in her local trivia team, and her blocks of times reserved just for reading.

Her mother has never told her about her father so it is a complete surprise when she gets a call that her father has passed away and included her in his will. Not only does she find out that she had a father, but she also finds out she has MULTIPLE siblings from his different marriages. For someone who is introverted, the overwhelm is huge.

Not only that, her trivia nemesis is turning out to be the guy of her dreams.

Unfortunately, her life is just too busy to squeeze him in.

Waxman cleverly leads chapters with Nina’s handwritten daily agendas and to-do list, which gives you a little snapshot into how much these major life events are sending her world into a spin.  Nina’s struggle to evolve and open up to others is addressed with so much heart and humor that you will find yourself smiling a lot through these pages.

I am a bit of a Nina and, truly, have never felt more understood.

This one will definitely be making my top ten list of 2019 and is worthy of a little book splurge for your summer!

5 out of 5 Stars

The Editor by Steven Rowley

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I have had such a hard time waiting to read this second novel from Steven Rowley, but I wanted to save it to prepare for our MomAdvice Book Club chat this month. Rowley’s first novel, in fact, is one that I recommend so much that I added it to my top ten favorites in my Summer Reading Guide.

To say he had a lot of hype to live up to, it would be an absolute understatement.

Guess what? He managed to do it again!

Set in the 1990’s, James Smale sells his first book to a major publishing house and is assigned his first editor. He could have never guessed that his editor would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, when he walked into that office, but who could ever prepare a writer for that?

Mrs. Onassis had fallen in love with this autobiographical novel that tells the stories of his own dysfunctional family. Many notes of his story end up falling short and his editor knows it is because Smale hasn’t truly owned his family story. She encourages him to make his way back home again and make the necessary resolutions needed to his real story to give it the conclusion his readers deserve.

As James returns home, he begins to realize that sometimes the way we interpret our own stories are, simply, the stories we tell about ourselves. His strained relationship with his mother challenges James to look at her in a new light…changing the entire scope of the book.

I really can’t believe that I never knew that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had ever really been an editor so I was surprised to read that this was absolutely true (although not as a well-documented portion of her life).

Rowley treats her legacy with the kindness and beauty it deserves without speculation, but with stunning observation. As she mothers this writer, to get conclusions for his own life, you can’t help to fall in love with her even more.

It’s a beautiful fictional friendship that I didn’t want to end.

I loved this one start to finish!

5 out of 5 Stars

 

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger (This month’s BOTM selection– available on July 2nd)

Thank you to the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

Big Little Lies fans won’t want to miss, The Gifted School which promises to be the next juicy summer drama to love! I read this in a weekend and loved the way Holsinger challenges us to exam our role as parents of gifted children as well as the difficulties of being a gifted child.

This read also couldn’t be more appropriately timed to the current admissions scandal that is making headline news.

When an exclusive new charter school is introduced to a fictional suburban Colorado town, all the parents want to give their gifted child a chance to test into this school. With very limited spots available though, parents begin putting pressure on their children to succeed and begin to go to unnecessary lengths to secure these coveted positions in the charter school.

This highly addictive story, examines how this competition begins to interfere, in particular, with four couples and their decade-long friendships. We begin to see these friendships in a new light and how these behaviors contribute to the way kids feel about and present themselves to their peers.

The book is told from multiple perspectives so it took me awhile to remember how these characters were linked to one another. Pretty soon though, I started to hit my pace and could not wait to see how this was all going to play out for these families. This is one of those can’t-put-down reads of parents behaving badly that I didn’t want to end.

I highly recommend this one for a great summer book club discussion about privilege, standardized testing, and the challenges with raising a gifted child.

5 out of 5 Stars

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

I used my Book of the Month credit for, A Woman is No Man, and was excited to dig into one of this summer’s biggest buzz books!

The story floats between two timelines and two very different countries. In 1990, seventeen-year-old Isra is growing in up in Palestine and is already facing the prospector of her father selecting a suitor for her. In just the course of a week, Isra finds herself to be betrothed, married, and facing a move to Brooklyn with her husband. The husband (and family) are looking forward to a son in their family, to take over the family name. As Isra births daughter after daughter though, she finds that her family and husband’s reception to her become colder and abusive.

In 2008, eighteen-year-old Deya is supposed to meeting with potential husbands and is preparing to be married. Deya really wants to go to college though and is hoping to convince her grandmother to go along with her decision. In a shocking twist though, Deya discovers truths about her family, the past and her future. It is through an unlikely source, but she is the one person that can help Deya make sense of the death of her parents.

I have to admit that I am feeling a bit conflicted with this one because I was hoping that it would be a bit more layered.  Within these two timelines, everything felt identical which, I believe, Rum may have wanted to use to drive home how little has changed.  With the two identical stories, though it created times where I felt like I may have read the same section twice and I found a struggle connecting with these characters, except through their shared love of reading.

I had to look up the ending because I found it caught me off guard, confusing the timeline a bit again. When I read the meaning behind the ending, it did tie it up beautifully, I just needed a minute to understand where we were at in the story.

All in all, it was a good debut and was another one I wouldn’t have picked up if I wasn’t a BOTM subscriber.

4 out of 5 Stars

Lie With Me by Philippe Besson

I can admit that I picked up Lie With Me because I noticed that the book had been translated by Molly Ringwald. You may recall that I did an interview with her about her writing and I have always been drawn to her projects because of all the layers this talented woman has.

This sparse novel was an award-winning French novel that documents the love story between two teenage boys, set in 1984 France. Now that they are grown, Philippe happens to run into a man bearing a striking resemblance to Thomas, a boy he once loved. When he realizes who his father is, Phillipe is reminded of the love he once had for Thomas and their moments together.

In his senior year of high school, Phillipe and Thomas begin a secret affair at school. Thomas demands the highest level of secrecy from Phillipe that confuses the experience for Phillipe as one that is shameful. Dismissed and ignored at school, yet contacted through secret notes and meet-ups, Philippe wishes that he could love him more openly. When Thomas abruptly decides to move away, never saying goodbye to Philippe, it devastates him, leaving him with many questions.

Meeting the son of Thomas, all these years later, allows his son to unfold his story and some letters that give Philippe some closure to their time together.

I am not sure why I didn’t seem to connect with this one. It may have been, perhaps, too sparse. The book, for me, was at its best while exploring the coming-of-age and discovering sexual identity, but it left me longing for a little something more.

3 out of 5 Stars

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I love productivity books and first was intrigued by books on better habit building after reading, The Power of Habit. If you struggle with habit building (or breaking), you will appreciate Clear’s easy approach to establishing better habit routines.

The big takeaway with this one is that very small shifts, as low as 1%, can still build incredibly over time. Clear encourages you to start implementing these smaller shifts to begin breaking down those larger goals. These goals are achieved through establishing better programming of our habits and then reinforced through your own habit tracking.

If you are a fan of Essentialism (a book I try to read yearly!), then I think you will appreciate this simple guide on establishing good habits and how to get back on course if you find yourself unmotivated.

5 out of 5 Stars

Read With Me This Year

January 2019 Must-Reads

February 2019 Must-Reads

March 2019 Must-Reads

April 2019 Must-Reads

May 2019 Must-Reads

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

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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