Thursday, July 4, 2024

share your shelf: the books I read in June

 


Happy Independence Day, Thursday, and bonus blog post day! I'm talking more about independence day on my Thankful Thursday post that is under this one, so if you'd like to read it, keep scrolling. 


First up was this much-talked-about book, First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston



I feel like what I'm about to say will be very controversial, since everyone and their brother is talking about this book right now; and maybe that's part of my problem. Or maybe it's the season of beach reads, and this was too dark and twisty? Maybe I'd have liked it more in the fall or winter? I don't know, but in this book of crazy twists and turns, nobody is who they say they are. Is Evie Porter really even Evie Porter? But whoever she is or is not, Evie seems to have it all: southern girl background, cute and doting boyfriend Ryan, a house with a white picket fence, fancy friends...but is Ryan really who he says he is? How can she really know and trust him? Can he really trust her? 


First she's given her new identity: Evie Porter. Next she's given her assignment: Ryan Sumner. Once her boss, the mysterious Mr. Smith, has given her all the information and her new mark (Ryan), she is ready to accomplish her assignment. But this time it's different, and she starts to feel things for Ryan that she shouldn't, and it could put them both in real danger. The stakes are too high for her this time, and she can't mess up like she did on the last assignment.


As good as all this sounds (and it was, don't get me wrong), I didn't love the book. I felt like I couldn't keep up with the characters and who they were, because there were so many! The beginning and middle parts of the book were just meh to me, and the good stuff didn't happen until the end. It just surprised me that I didn't love it, as much as people have been talking about it the last few months. 


Next up was Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan.



This is way more my speed for a summer read! I've loved all of Annabel Monaghan's books, and this one was no different. 


Ali Morris is a professional organizer; even though she does that for other people, her own life is a mess. Her mom died two years ago, and she still misses her like crazy, and now her husband has left her and wants a divorce. All she can seem to do these days is survive, and she does so while wearing only soft pants (pants with no zipper). One day when she takes her dog to the dog park, imagine her surprise when the dog "claims" someone for her; not just anyone, but a handsome stranger named Ethan. Only, Ethan turns out to be someone from her past who unexpectedly showed up in their hometown. But what about her ex husband? Will they ever finalize their divorce? What about her kids; what will they think? And her best friend? Will she be able to stomach the thought of Ali and her brother Ethan together? 


Friends, I could not put this book down! I love that Monaghan's books are clean; they also grab you from page one, and the characters are always known for their chemistry. All of those things make for a great book!


My third book of June was The Little Italian Hotel by Phaedra Patrick



Radio talk show host and relationship advice extraordinaire Ginny is shocked to find out that her husband wants to leave. What Adrian didn't know was that Ginny had booked a three week trip to Italy for this big milestone anniversary coming up; but when she can't get a refund on the trip, she decides to go anyway, and she invites a few of her listeners to join her. 


I'm stopping right there, because I think you need to read this book. There are a lot of characters, but I loved all of them even more than the one before; the book is told in each of their points of view, and their stories are deep and engaging. Have you read this yet? 


Next up was this book on Audible, Sandwich by Catherine Newman



For decades, Rocky and her family have traveled to Cape Cod for family vacation. Their favorite rental might be shaggy and run down, but that's part of its charm. She's feeling extra reminiscent this summer as she's caught between adult kids and aging parents; add in bouts of raging menopause, and you can guess how things go over the course of their week. 


I follow Elin Hildebrand on Instagram, and she recommended this book a couple of weekends ago. When I saw that I had an Audible credit and that I could read it for free, I did. I didn't love the book, honestly, because it painted a terrible picture of the life of middle aged women going through menopause as all bad times and nothing good. I also didn't love some of the topics and life choices made by the characters. And ultimately, as much as this sounded like a light and funny summer read, it was more deep that I'd thought it would be. I'm at a point in life that I need light and fluffy, and if I can laugh, all the better. 


After a rough week, reading became hard for me, so I started to listening to more books on Audible. First up was Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson



I love the tag line of this book: the roads that lead us to where we belong. I loved hearing Sophie narrate this book about her childhood home, her family, and tales of old as I laughed and cried my way through this book. This is on sale (the paperback version) for $5 right now, so click on the title if you're interested and you'll be redirected to a separate Amazon link. 


Lastly, and I know that I mentioned this one last month, but I started it all over again this month; it's Still Standing: How to Live in God's Light While Wrestling with the Dark. Blogger won't let me link it, but you can use the Google. 



What did you read that you loved in June? I can't wait to read your posts! Thanks for reading my blog today, friends, and thank you for your encouragement and your prayers. I covet them, so keep on praying for me, please! Love to all. 


Jenn 🖤




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21 comments:

  1. I have Summer Romance on order through our library and I'll definitely have to add The Little Italian Hotel. That reminds me of another book I once read... One Summer In Paris by Sarah Morgan. I have been thinking about you and praying for you a lot lately!

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    1. You will love it, Joanne! I love when authors help me to see where I'm reading, and I really enjoy Phaedra Patrick's writing. Thank you for that rec, I borrowed it from Libby for my Kindle. And thank you for your prayers, my friend.

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  2. Ok - I will do The Little Italian Hotel! I also have several of these on request at the library, but I am getting nervous that I won't get them this month. Heading to your other post now.

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    1. It was SO GOOD. I had to stop reading it for a while since it hit a little too close to home for me, but I did finish it at the beach last weekend. I never wrote that other post! 🤣

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  3. I wasn´t sure if the book link up was today or not- I didn´t get my post finished so I will work on it and post it later (likely not today...). It sounds like you read some good books that I will keep in mind. Still Standing sounds really helpful!

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    1. I'm looking forward to reading your post later today! I'm starting to slowly come back around here...

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  4. I haven't read First Lie Wins yet , but it's been on my list. I often find myself feeling the way you describe when.a book has been overhyped. I will probably read it still, but will keep my expectations on the low side.

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    1. You may end up loving it! I had to wait a while to read it myself, and maybe that was part of my problem. It didn't feel very summer to me; I love to read books that are in the same season I'm currently in. I know, it's weird.

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  5. Thanks for all of the great recommendations! I've added them to my library list :)

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  6. I want to go listen to this book of Sophie's! I am so glad you are re-reading Still Standing. The Lord is good in His timing to take care of us. Hugs to you!

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    1. It's SO GOOD. You need to listen to it; I was able to listen free with Audible. You are so right! He is so good to us, and He is always right on time. Love you, friend! Thank you for being a blessing to me this week.

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  7. I love the sound of The Little Italian Hotel!

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  8. What a great list! Added several to my TBR list.

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  9. Adding The Little Italian Hotel to my to-read list! Thanks :)

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  10. I really enjoyed First Lie Wins, but do understand that different books are right for a person at different times. And if a book is overhyped, I often just can't get into it. I will keep that in mind about Sandwich. I have it reserved on hold, but really don't enjoy the negative-midlife theme that seems to be in lots of books. Hope you are soaking up time with your family at this difficult time.

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  11. I like the sound of the Little Italian Hotel. THat happened to a friend of a friend of mine. They were set to leave for Portugal, and she's in the kitchen with the suitcases and he comes down and says "I can't do this". She thought he meant the holiday but he meant the marriage. After 10 years....I still think about that story.

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  12. I also really like Monaghan's books. I'm on the wait list for Summer Romance!

    I really enjoyed the first half/third or so of Firsts Lie Wins. It got a little weird and discombobulated after that.

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  13. Love your reviews Jennifer, because you tell enogh for me to know what the book is about, but don't reveal everything. I want to read The Little Italian Hotel just from the few details you provide. Happy July reading. Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

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  14. I liked First Lie Wins, but didn't love it as most people did. Yours is the first negative review I've seen for Sandwich! Makes me wonder if it would be for me.

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