Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August 2020 Book Review


I read 8 books this month, and I don't have a single one I wouldn't recommend. Some were definitely meatier than others, and I feel like I have a contender for favorite of the year!

Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd - Y'all...this book was AMAZING. I loved every minute of it, didn't want it to end, and was emotionally wrung out when it was over. Whew. It is a historical fiction {obviously fiction once you hear the rest of the statement} account of Jesus' wife, Anna. Anna is the main character, and it is so well-researched and written covering the time period at the start of A.D. time and being a woman. Gosh, I loved Anna, I loved meeting Jesus in this way {seeing him as a man}, I loved everything about this book. PLEASE READ IT! 5 stars! Amazing! Wonderful!

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell - I have told you guys so many times that I keep reading thrillers and can't decide if I like them or not, ha. Well, I think I found an author I can say I like her thrillers. I read 2 books by Lisa Jewell this month and really enjoyed both. [Trigger warning in this one for child abuse but the child is a teenager if that helps.] This story jumps timelines and narrators as we follow a family whose teenage daughter went missing a decade ago. I don't want to say anything more, but I really enjoyed this book! 

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore - This story was really unique and I liked it! Every year on January 1 {Oona's birthday}, she jumps to a different year. So in 1982 she is turning 19 but wakes up in her 50s in 2015. Every year she has a letter from herself from the previous year to help her navigate the year, but it isn't always helpful. I feel like 2015 was slow, but the book picked up as she jumped around, and I really loved how, as each year started, I was confused with Oona as to what was going on and how she should handle the situation she was in. I thought the way it unfolded was really neat and I loved how it all wrapped up.

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum - Another out of the park winner! This follows 3 generations of Palestinian Muslim women as they navigate life in America in a traditional Muslim family. It was very HARD to read because it touched on so many troubling issues - abuse, rape, racism, negative family relationships. I read this so fast because I couldn't put it down and thought it was amazing.

Chokehold by Paul Butler - Paul Butler is a black man who is a former prosecutor. This book was CHOCK FULL of information about the justice system and the ways it work and especially how it designed to trap black men. It was so educational, and I'm so glad I read it. This plus American Prison and The New Jim Crow have really opened my eyes and changed the way I think about our justice system. It is SO broken, I hope not beyond repair. We need more books like this and more people reading these books if we are ever going to improve!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - This is the other thriller I read this month and it was also SO good. I couldn't put it down and read half of it in one night! It also has alternating timelines and narrators but follows a woman who inherits a house that she was found in at 10 months old with her parents dead in another room from an apparent suicide {think Jim Jones and drinking the kool-aid}. As the story unfolds we learn from her POV and 2 other POVs what happened all those years ago. It was really good and a bit creepy! So far her books have had good endings that wrapped everything up, but this one did have a little bit of a twist that was interesting. I will definitely keep reading her books.

I've Still Got It by Jenna McCarthy - A friend gave this to me for my birthday, and it was a fun read. Jenna is about 10 years older than me and writes little essays about getting older. I had several moments where I chuckled {I wouldn't say full LOL} and found her writing engaging and witty. Definitely not the best book I've read by any stretch of the imagination but it was light and fun!

Cilka's Journey
by Heather Morris - This is a sort of follow-up story after The Tattooist of Auschwitz which I read last year. To be honest, I didn't really enjoy the writing style in Tattooist and wouldn't have given this a try if not for Natasha's recommendation. I would agree that this one is much better, but I still think the author's writing style is a little dry. I don't know how to describe it exactly, it's just a more textbook style of writing than descriptive?  Cilka survived Auschwitz only to be sent to a prison in the Soviet Union and sentenced to 15 years. What she survives, endures and triumphs over is nothing short of unbelievable, especially when you know it's true. If you liked Tattooist or merely tolerated the writing to read a great story, I think you'll find this one much more enjoyable!

Now onto my reading with the kids!

Trent and I are still making our way through Stamped because we have lost our hardback copy. No clue where it is, so after weeks of not being able to find it, I checked an ebook out from the library ha. We will finish this shortly! For independent reading, Trent also read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in August and just started The Maze Runner yesterday.

I have a cousin who is an Usborne book consultant. I bought this Extraordinary Life of Rosa Parks from her, and Drew and I are both liking it. It's got pictures and isn't a complicated read, but it's really well done. She is reading Magic Bunny by herself and thinks it's a great story!

Not surprisingly, my favorite book of the month is The Book of Longings. This book was a Grade A, prime, wonderful, amazing book!!!! I will be curious to see if anything can top it.

I'm at 66 books for the year and am right on track for hitting my goal of 100. This month was tough to stay on-track. I felt like I was reading a lot but barely finished my last 2 books this month. I really like how August turned out though and think I had a really interesting month! Can't wait to see how September unfolds. I have a book I reserved in January that will probably get checked out to me this month plus I'm super excited to read a fantasy series Erika recommended!


Erika said...

Man, that WAS a great month of reading!! Book of Longings will almost certainly be my top pick for the year. I can't imagine anything beating it. I need to get Oona Out of Order- that sounds fun! So is Trent Team Peeta or Team Gale??!! Haaaaa.

Emily said...

Ohhh I am fascinated by the first book; historical fiction in Biblical times is very interesting and I haven't read a book like that in over a decade. I'm 49th on the waitlist so I should have it by the end of this month. Thanks for the trigger warning in "she was gone" - I'll skip. :) Oona Out of Order sounds really cool too. I thought "A Woman is No Man" was super depressing but I'm glad you liked it. Of course adding "Choke Hold" to my endless list of "learning books." My library doesn't have "I've Still Got it" but when I searched by author, Jenny McCarthy wrote another book called "If it was easy, they'd call the whole damn thing a honeymoon" and that looks hilarious so I'm definitely adding that one!

Natasha said...

Okay, between you and Erika I need to check out The Book of Longings even though the premise is throwing me for a loop! And Rachel now wants to check out Magic Bunny as she is loving the Unicorn School books so keep sharing what the kids are reading.

And I'm off to check if my library has Choke Hold because I clearly don't have enough books to read :)

Kate Price Mccarthy said...

I was really interested to see you mentioning both Heather Morris and Lisa Jewell as we interviewed Heather in our most recent library podcast and Lisa (talking about her new book Invisible Girl) in our August episode! You might be interested to listen to both interviews at www.loveyourlibrary.co.uk. Let me know what you think!

Kathryn Bagley said...

I'm not sure I can wrap my mind around Jesus being married?? I think you'd be proud of me because I have been 2 months ahead of bc! I mean I didn't actually read the books because of time but I did listen to them. I'm not sure you'd like In the Woods..I was disappointed with the ending. I don't like when things don't come together as they should or as I think they should..ha. I do think you would like The Bear and the Nightengale. That one was a hard one for me to grasp because I am a very literal thinker so when fairies and demons or whatever they were come into play I would get lost. Maybe I needed to do more imagination play as a kid? ha..I'm currently STILL reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky and although it's hard at times I have enjoyed it..i think you would like it too as it falls in your love for the war, plus it's based on a true story. I'm also listening to our November bc book which is The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters..just started so no verdict yet!