August 2019 Must-Reads


Looking for your next great read? I’ve got you covered with 7 reviews on new releases to help you decide if one of the latest summer releases could be for you. As you head into your fall reading, check out my suggestions from the month of August!

I am a little overdue with sharing the last of my summer reads with you. As always, it is always a bit of a struggle to squeeze in that last bit of summer, get back on a consistent schedule, AND get my work life back in order too. 

Please forgive me! 

I hope you all had a wonderful summer of reading and that my summer reading guide was helpful to you. 

It was such a great success that I’m hoping to do that for you again next summer. 

It’s not too late to snag it though because it contains plenty of my all-time favorite reads to enjoy. This season is a great time to get back to reading while your kiddos are back in school. 

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!


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Also, did you know Prime members get a read for free every single month? This is a bonus month though because you get to pick TWO for September  Grab your FREE books over here.  

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Also Out!!

Here is what is available for September!

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (read my interview with the author– he’s amazing!)

If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman

Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

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

Here are 7 must-read books I tackled in August:

American Spy

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

I’m, admittedly, not big on books about spies, but I had heard such good things about American Spy that I just had to pick it up.

This title may also sound familiar to you if you caught Obama’s recent book list because he happened to recommend it too. #booktwins

This novel is set in 1986 and our protagonist is a young black woman working as an intelligence officer with the F.B.I.  Since she is both black and female, she often feels excluded from promotions and as part of the team. Instead of working on exciting cases like she would love to do, she has to sit at a desk and do the paperwork. 

That is why it is so exciting when she is tasked with a new case. She’s given the opportunity to investigate the president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. She’s been tasked to find a way to undermine his authority because of his Communist ideology.

The thing is, Marie has a deep appreciation for Thomas and the work he is doing. Seducing him is the easy part because her affection for him is so sincere, especially as she discovers more about him. What happens though when she has to actually use his intimate secrets against him?

I really enjoyed this one even though it was outside of my typical genres. Wilkinson creates a beautiful and believable relationship between the two. She also shows just how hard it is to move up in this world, as a black woman, and how the character is manipulated to work against Sankara’s agenda.

4 out of 5 Stars

the last romantics



The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

If you are looking for an incredibly compelling piece of contemporary literature, I can’t recommend The Last Romantics enough. I was so caught up in this beautiful book and the story of these family members that I couldn’t put it down. 

The story opens with Fiona Skinner, a well-known poet, sharing her own story on one of her most recognized pieces of work.  Fiona’s work happened to be inspired by her own family and a betrayal that had lasting consequences for them all. 

Fiona is one of four siblings (three girls and one boy) and their family has suffered the tragic loss of their father, after he had suffered an early heart attack. As a result, their mother goes into a deep depression and almost exits their life altogether by no longer caring for their most basic needs. In her grief, she takes to her bed and refuses to care for herself or for her children. The death has also come with some devastating financial consequences and force the children to be resourceful and learn to lean on one another to survive.

This difficult season shapes the rest of their lives as they enter adulthood. It is here where Conklin really pulls together the tragic repercussions of feeling abandoned by both parents.

I could not put this book down and felt fully vested in each of their stories. I did feel the first half was the strongest half because their survival story kept me on the edge of my seat. The second half though is just as important because it really shows how the things that happen to us when we are small can be so life-altering as we age.

If I was going to select the best literary fiction books I read this summer, this book and this book would top my list this year.

5 out of 5 Stars

My Lovely Wife


My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Do you love dark thrillers like me?

If you do, you will DEFINITELY want to read, My Lovely Wife.

As a seasoned thriller reader, it is hard to find a book that catches me off guard or a writer that can craft an ending I never saw coming, but Downing managed to achieve both of those things with this debut novel.

Well played, Samantha Downing.

Told from the husband’s perspective, we are quickly enveloped in how much he adores his wife. They seem like the perfect couple and she does all the things any good wife would do. She’s beautiful, she keeps track of everyone’s activities, she makes incredible dinners, and they have a great romantic life. 

It’s just that, their new favorite hobby is working as a team to seduce and murder women.

Yeah, that’s not exactly the extra curricular activity you would expect from this power duo, but do we REALLY know our friends?

What I appreciate about this story wasn’t the suspense of the killings, but the devastating consequences that begin to happen because of these murders.

This web of lies affects everyone in their house, like their poor unsuspecting children, and it becomes more and more difficult to keep anyone from finding out.

This added and believable suspense is what I REALLY loved about this story and kept me engaged (and guessing!) until those final pages.

I can’t wait to read more from this author and I hope you enjoy these twisty plot turns as much as I did. Fans of Dexter, in particular, will REALLY love this book. 

5 out of 5 Stars

I Miss You When I Blink

I Miss You When You Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

I’m not sure I have ever read a book of essays, but when 10 Things to Tell You (Laura) raved about it, I knew that I just had to read it.

Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how enjoyable this read was.

At some points, I was misty-eyed.

At others, I couldn’t stop laughing.

It was just so darn relatable that it was uncanny.

Mary is a Type-A, go-getter, and perfectionist who has worked SO HARD to do everything right. She thought that by doing her best and  by “following the rules,” she would be rewarded, but instead she’s found herself feeling lost.

This reflection on her life really showcases the real struggles of the modern woman and our identities and roles as we age. We have so many demands on us that we can get stuck in our own heads on if we are good enough or have done enough each day.

Philpott embraces and shares about the power of reinvention and that you always have the power to makeover what your life looks like.

It’s one of those charming books that I would put in a friend’s hand who just needs that reassurance that she is okay and that all of this is perfectly normal.

I loved this so much that I read several of the essays out loud to my husband and he laughed right along with me or just looked plain shocked at how relatable her stories were.

I can’t recommend it enough and I’m so thankful that Laura recommended it! 

5 out of 5 Stars

The Last Book Party

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

I’ve been on a bookish book reading kick this summer (is that even a thing?).  Bookish themes seemed to be in abundance this year and I am HERE FOR IT. Be sure to send me your recommendations if you have them for more bookish books to explore. 

This book, for example, was one of my summer favorites and this one was absolutely adorable too.

I’m such a sucker for a book theme.

That is why I came in with such high hopes for this coming-of-age story.  Dukess did not disappoint either with this beautiful summer romance that explores the concept of self-discovery and finding love in unlikely places.

The story takes place in Cape Cod,  in the summer of 1987.  Eve is a 25-year-old aspiring writer who has been working as a low-level assistance and is very dissatisfied with her job.

When the opportunity arises to work as an assistant to a famous New Yorker writer, Eve jumps at the chance to work as his research assistant and live with him and his poet wife. 

With this job, she also receives a coveted invitation to attend their annual, “Book Party,” where attendees dress like their favorite literary characters hosted by the couple each year. 

Eve is enchanted by Henry and the world that he lives in. She wants so badly to participate that she finds herself intercepting, this couple’s relationship, in ways she would have never guessed. 

Dukess really does a great job at creating Eve’s story and the struggles that people face to break into the literary world.

Her difficulties and her discoveries are beautifully fleshed out in this gorgeous little page-turner.

4 out of 5 Stars


Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky

Sometimes you just need a steamy summer escape and Very Nice was, well, very nice. It leans heavily into dark satire and the a weird love triangle between a daughter, mother, and man. 

Rachel attends college and ends up kissing and then sleeping with her writing professor. Zahid knows quickly that he has made a big mistake, but this comes at a time when he is a little down on his luck and could use a warm body.

When he finds himself without a home, Rachel offers him a room at her mom’s house, in hopes the two can continue the relationship they started.

As soon as Zahid walks in though, the chemistry between Rachel’s mom (Becca) and Zahid is thick.

Becca never thought she’d jump so soon into a relationship, after her divorce, but she has so much in common with the professor that they quickly find a connection.

Zahid is caught in a pretty awful predicament and it causes tension between the mother and daughter.

Becca believes that Rachel has a crush on Zahid so she tries to keep their affair secret, to spare her feelings. It isn’t too long before Rachel catches on though and uses her tryst as blackmail against Zahid.

This one is like a soap opera that leans pretty heavy into dark satire.

With the narrative shifting between these characters, it made it a quick page-turner that you couldn’t wait to see how it resolves.

I wouldn’t say this book is for everyone. The characters are unlikeable, as are their motives. A lot of times when I read books with unlikable characters, I get feedback that you struggled to connect. That’s why it might be one of those kinds of books that you really need to be in the mood for.

That said, I couldn’t put it down, even if the ending wasn’t where I hoped the story would travel.

3 out of 5 Stars

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Although this is a departure from my usual reading, we are approaching an age where we really need to get our ducks in a row with our retirement savings. 

I have heard great things about Bach’s book and thought I would spend a day reading this to make sure we were on the right path with our savings. 

This book tells the story of a couple, that David was providing financial consulting to, and their journey to becoming millionaires. David is completely astounded that they have saved this much because the couple seemed like the typical middle-class family who didn’t seem like they had a lot to save.

Their story, he reflects, is the template we all need to achieve the same financial freedoms.

The idea of automating things is an easy one to implement, especially in this era of technology. His template to remove the “latte factor,” pay off your vehicles, pay off your house, possibly do another property ownership, pay down debts, and then save are pretty straightforward.

The idea of being aggressive with retiring and how to make your savings work for you is where the meat of these lessons worked for me.

One of my tasks this week is to do some of these ideas for automation and we upped our retirement contributions since we have worked hard to put a safety net in place.

If you are trying to pay things down and looking for a strategy to begin, I think this is a great one for learning beginner skills to grow your savings and retire comfortably.

Although I hate to plug my own book, I do think there are some additional lessons you could discover in my book. Bonus, it’s priced at just $4.99 on Kindle.

4 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

June 2019 Must-Reads

July 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

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Published September 05, 2019 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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