Sunday, July 31, 2022

the books I read in July


Happy weekend, friends! I promised to make a bonus post about the books I read in July, so here you go! I'll still be back on Monday for the usual Hello Monday/weekending recap. I hope to see you back for that! In the meantime, I read some INCREDIBLE books this month! After two months of a reading slump, July's books pulled me right out of the rut I'd been in. These books are going to be hard to top come August and I'm fairly certain that some of my favorites for the whole year will be from this month of reading. Without further ado, I present to you the books I read in July. 


Click on the image of the book and you'll be redirected to Amazon, should you want to buy for yourself. All of the italicized description you read is from Good Reads.


First up is If For Any Reason, by Courtney Walsh.


⭐⭐⭐


Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom's advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this...especially when her grandmother arrives to "supervise". And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boys next door-turned baseball star who's back on the island after a career ending injury. As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother's death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward. 


Personal thoughts: I loved the story line, the letters, the setting and the characters. I didn't love the length! It went on and on and even though I knew what would happen, it felt like it took half the book to get there. That being said, that was my reasoning behind how I rated the book.


Next on the list is People Like Her, by Ellery Lloyd.



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To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest "Instamum" who always tells it like it is. To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life. To one of Emmy's dangerously obsessive followers, she's the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it. As Emmy's marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family. In this deeply addictive tale of psychological suspense, Ellery Lloyd raises important questions about technology, social media celebrity, and the way we live today. Probing the dark side of influencer culture and the perils of parenting online, People Like Her explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we will go to be liked by strangers. It asks what- and who- we sacrifice when we make our private lives public, and ultimately lose control over who we let in.


Personal thoughts: Holy macaroni, this one scared the daylights out me in an underhanded way. I never do "psychological thrillers", but I don't know that there is any other way to describe this book than that. I really liked it and the suspense was enough that I read it pretty quickly. It really does make you think about what you put "out there" for all of the world to see, including here in this blogging world. It's kind of creepy and one I'll be thinking of as I see what my young mom friends post. I'm not sure I'd be on social media if I had little ones after reading this book. The ending of this book has me watching for a sequel...


My third book this month was The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han.



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When each summer begins, Belly (Isabelle) leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will her offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?

Personal thoughts: I've wanted to read this for a couple of summers, but kept forgetting—until I saw it on Prime Tv one night and binged the whole show in one sitting. I never do that, but the show was so good that I knew I still wanted to read the book and it was even better than the show! Of course it was. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a trilogy, which leads to my next two books...


My fourth book was It's Not Summer Without You, by Jenny Han. **IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS SERIES, CONSIDER THIS YOUR SPOILER ALERT.**


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Last year, all of Belly's dreams came true and the thought of missing a summer in Cousins Beach was inconceivable. But like the rise and fall of the ocean tide, things can change...just like that. Suddenly the time she's always looked forward to most is something she dreads. And when Jeremiah calls to say Conrad has disappeared, Belly must decide how she will spend this summer: chasing after the boy she loves, or finally letting him go.


Personal thoughts: The books just keep getting better! I broke my cardinal rule and bought each of these books and they were NOT on sale. It's fine. I'll probably read them again someday. 


Fifth on the list was We'll Always Have Summer, By Jenny Han. *Same drill about the spoiler alert!*



⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she's almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. While Conrad has not gotten over the mistake of letting Belly go, Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never...tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good. Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face the inevitable: she will have to break one of their hearts. 


Personal thoughts: Have I not convinced you to read these yet? These are going to be in my top five books for 2022, I am almost certain! But also? Watch the show on Prime Tv! 


I thought I was finished with reading excellent books, but then I read After I Do, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, my sixth book of the month.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


From the author of Forever, Interrupted, comes a breathtaking novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both. When Lauren and Ryan's marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren's idea of monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It's about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you've got. And above all, After I Do is the story a couple caught up in an old game...and searching for a new road to happily ever after. 


Personal thoughts: While I do not at all agree with how Lauren and Ryan treated their marriage during the year they took off from being married, I absolutely and completely loved this book. There is so much truth within these pages of what happens in marriages when the fizzle dies down and the "honeymoon phase" is no more, which is something that happens in every marriage. It's a reminder to stay committed, diligent, faithful and honest. I'll be thinking about this book for months to come and as of right now it's my favorite book that I've read this year. 


My seventh book was The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand.


⭐⭐⭐⭐


Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket's hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business...and they share an instant attraction. But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, The Blue Bistro's chef, that captures Thatcher's attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does.


Personal thoughts: The only reason I rated this with 4 stars and not 5 is because the ending was TERRIBLE. It was such a build up and then...a very boring end to an otherwise fabulous book. I loved reading about the industry, which I'm fascinated with, but I also thought several parts of the book could have been left off, like when pages and pages go by of Adrienne's past boyfriends. 


My eighth and final book of the month was Book Lovers, by Emily Henry. 


⭐⭐⭐⭐


Nora Stephen's life is books—she's read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs for a sisters' trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she's convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with handsome country doctors or bulging-forearmed bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute, if not for the fact that they've met many times and it's never been cute. If Nora knows she's not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he's nobody's hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they've written about themselves. 


Personal thoughts: I've only read one other book by Emily Henry and while I liked it fine enough, I went into this one expecting the same thing. I was very pleasantly surprised! I loved the characters, how the main female kind of makes fun of Hallmark movies and how unexpected both Nora and Charlie are. I really liked this book and felt like it was a great way to end an awesome month of reading. 


So, what are you reading right now? Anything you think I should know about? I'd love a recommendation or two, if you have one! Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all!

3 comments:

  1. Great list! Now I have some more to look up!! Love when a book is also a enjoyable series on Netflix too. :) I just finished "Summerland" by Elin Hildenbrand and now I am reading the second book in the Sweet Magnolias series, "A Slice of Heaven"... speaking of Netflix series. I have heard this is good and plan to watch the show after I finish all the books.

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  2. Thanks, Bri! Yes, I love when a book is so good that a show emerges from it. I haven't read that one...I'll have to check it out. That show is good! I didn't know it was based on a book. Hmmm...we're inspiring each other to read aren't we?!

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  3. I have read and enjoyed every one of these!

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