Thursday, August 1, 2019

July 2019 Reads!

Remember in June, when I didn't read much and had kind of a lame review? NOT the case for July! I read 11 books this month - boom! There's some total fluff, some pretty heavy/disturbing stuff, and some in-between, hopefully something for everyone. {grin}

Category 1: Fluff

*Not going to review these 4 individually because they kind of fall into a similar category. Yes, the plots are different, but my reviews are the same.*
I get a lot of suggestions from Mix & Match Mama. I don't like everything she likes {Elin Hilderbrand, for example - she LOVES her and I think she's 'meh'}, but she has given some great book recommendations {Where the Crawdads Sing and Cancel the Wedding come to mind}. I enjoy her monthly reviews because she reviews a lot of books I haven't heard of, and I also scan her HUNDREDS of comments and get more suggestions. In her June book review, she recommended Meet Cute by Helena Hunting and My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren. They were both standard chick-lit [although Meet Cute had a big twist I didn't expect right at the beginning] but a lot of fun. Then I checked out 2 more books and enjoyed both as well! I plan to read more from both! I will caveat that Christina Lauren's books are PG-13, and I'd say Helena Hunting were R. Just throwing that out there for anyone who would be turned off by that. PLUS Christina Lauren is actually 2 women who write together, so that also checks off a category on the 2019 book challenge! {Which I think I'm beating Allison at AGAIN ha}

Category 2: Heavy/Dark Books

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham - I am thoroughly enjoying reading John Grisham lately. I don't think I'd read any of his books in close to 10 years and have read 3 or so in the last year that I've highly enjoyed, and Rogue Lawyer was way up there. It follows a lawyer who takes the cases no one else will take. It's divided into parts and each part follows a different case/situation. I liked that it was different and not just following 1 case. And I thought the main character was highly entertaining. Enthusiastic thumbs up on this one!

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite - I don't remember how I stumbled across this book, but I had it on a list of books I wanted to read for a while and finally checked it out this month. It was an awesome surprise to realize the characters were black and the author was black, since I'm working to diversify my reading. [Emily, take note.] The story starts out with Korede receiving a call from her sister, Ayoola, who has just killed her boyfriend in self-defense. The hitch is, this is her 3rd time to make such a claim, and Korede has helped her clean up the mess - literally - every time. This book delves into the relationship between the sisters, their past with an abusive father, Korede's feelings when Ayoola sets her sights on a doctor Korede works with {whom shes loved from afar for a long time}. It was dark and a little twisted but also a little bit fun? It was really short but really good too.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara - True crime time! I had never heard of the Golden State Killer until my boss told me to read this book. He was a serial killer and serial rapist that terrorized California in the late 70s/early 80s, and this book was written by a true crime profiler who was studying the crime in the last 5 years. It was so fascinating to read this book that went over the many, many crimes of this killer and also covered the author's research and fascination with the case. At the time the book was published, the Golden State Killer had not been caught, and the author had passed away. BUT the killer was caught within the last year, so it was extra cool reading the book knowing the bad guy had been caught. It was a great add-on to listen to the Man in the Window podcast, since that was created AFTER the killer was arrested so you got the perspective of people who knew him and the details of how he was captured.

Category 3: In-Between

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple - I'm not even really sure I can give a good synopsis of this book that does it justice. My sister told me to read it easily 7 years ago, and the description sounded weird, so I never did. I finally picked it up for the book challenge [Category: Becoming a Movie in 2019] and LOVED it. It's largely told from emails and letters for the first half or so of the book and we meet Bernadette and her family - and I really don't know how to describe this book except to say that it's quirky and fun and easy-to-read, and I can't wait to go see the movie this month!!

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang  - I read, and mostly enjoyed, The Kiss Quotient last year. I wouldn't call this a sequel but it followed the same family of characters and another lead character who is on the autism spectrum. It felt like The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect a lot for me - the first one charming and able to overlook some of the extreme quirks but harder to do in the 2nd one. It just wasn't quite as good. I liked it and will read more by Helen Hoang but I didn't love it. Also rated PG-13+.

Verity by Colleen Hoover - Whoa, this book was a doozy. Quite possibly belonged in my 'heavy' category. Lowen is tapped to finish another author's book series after that author {Verity} is severely hurt in a car accident. She moves into Verity's house with her husband and son because all of Verity's series notes are in her office. As Lowen digs into the series she also finds an autobiography of Verity's that is highly disturbing. HIGHLY. H.I.G.H.L.Y. And then things get weird. At the end of the day, this book was tough to get through because of the highly disturbing parts 'written' by Verity {have I mentioned it was highly disturbing}. At the same time, I enjoyed Lowen's story and the book ended with an unexpected couple of twists that I thought were interesting. I know some people have hated this book, but I'm going to say I liked it. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you have questions about the bad stuff and whether you can handle it, ask me and I can let you know. Emily already did and we decided she shouldn't read it! Rated PG-13 for sexy time on top of all the highly disturbing stuff too, ha!

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts - Is anyone still with me at this point? I'm tired of typing!!! I read Year One about a year ago, and this is book 2 in a pretty typical Nora trilogy - although this has way less romance than typical for her. This follows the time after a plague has wiped out most of the earth's population and magic has come back. I really liked it - it started out a little slow but definitely picked up, and I'm counting down until November when the 3rd one comes out.

Whew, I'm exhausted! If you made it to the end, thank you!!! What are you reading right now? Please share because I love getting new ideas!


Erika said...

I LOVED 'My Sister, the Serial Killer' too!! I also found it really hard to describe how it was weirdly entertaining and also dark, but...not? Haha. I'm going to have to check out some of the chick lit- I'm due for some!! I just finished reading the Nyxia trilogy (a solid B overall in the dystopian YA space travel genre, hahaha) and will probably read Recursion next, since I'm guessing I won't get a library renewal on such a popular book!!

Emily said...

I love love love Where’d You Go Bernadette and am excited/nervous for the movie. Adding the sister-serial-killer book to my list (yay for black authors!). Intrigued by Helena Hunting (I like a good rated R book) - which would you suggest I start with? And thank you again for the warning on Verify!

Kathryn Bagley said...

OK! Finally came back to read all this..ha! I'm tempted to ask about the disturbing stuff in Verity?? Even though I probably won't read it! BC is reading Educated this month and I got it on audio and it's taking me a minute to get into it. I finally read what the book is actually about and it has me intrigued so maybe I'll get into it more! You know I love me some good chick books so I'll have to check out category 1!

Natasha said...

I had to put a bunch of these on hold and I discovered, after trying a couple of times before, that my library FINALLY has a copy of My Sister the Serial Killer so yay!

Also, they don't carry Verity but maybe that's okay???

I just read The Unhoneymooners on Friday night. I finished it in one sitting and really enjoyed it.

Christina Lauren is one my new favourite light authors. You should really check out Josh & Hazel's Guide To Not Dating. It was the first of hers (theirs?) I read and I loved it! And I cannot figure out if that last sentence is proper grammar but I have to get to church so I'm leaving it :)