My {3} Week{s} in Books (6/10-6/24)

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Well, well, well. If a three week round-up doesn’t tell you something about the craziness of June, I don’t know what will. After a whirl wind weekend in NYC (which was amazing!), we came home to my daughter’s dance recital week. Between rehearsals and two shows – and a possible broken foot (it wasn’t; we had it x-rayed) – and family in from out-of-town…needless to say, I’m A LOT behind on my Week in Books posts.

{The} Last {3} Week’s Reads:

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*** The Flatshare by: Beth O’Leary (Flatiron) – Pub Date: May 28, 2019

The cover alone for this one almost made me pass it up. But I’m so glad I saw several reviews online that finally challenged me to pick it up because THIS BOOK is cuuuuute! The writing immediately connected me to the characters; they were quirky yet human at the same time. Tiffy and Leon alternated telling their side of the story through alternating chapters. This can be risky as some readers may prefer one storyline over the other, but I loved both of these characters (though Leon’s voice was a little annoying – but not enough to ruin the book)! Even the secondary characters were great! They were the kinds of friends we all wish to have in our lives.

Had I read this one sooner, it would have been on my Summer Reading Guide. It’s the perfect book to throw into your beach/pool bag!

*** Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by: Anna Quindlen (Random House) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019

This collection of essays basically just made me miss my mama (who passed away 5 ½ years ago). She was the ultimate grandma – sacrificing everything to be with her grandkids. Even when she was barely out of the hospital (literally a day later) after a radical surgery, she was on the sidelines of my 4-year-old’s soccer game. Are you kidding me?!? My kids had won the grandparent lottery – only to have it ripped away from them. When I’m trying to be positive about it, I realize they were lucky to know that kind of love for any amount of time; it’s more than some kids ever get. But man, the sting is fierce when I think about all they lost when she passed away.

The essays in the book were on point…even though I’m not a grandparent myself, I found myself relating to the stories in her essays. I took note of many thoughts for when I am a grandma – what to do as well as what not to do! I was reminded of a lot of memories of my childhood with my grandparents, so that was fun! Also, the title – Nanaville – as a place…I LOVE it!

While the stories are very relatable, there’s a lot that is particular to Quindlen and her family specifically. You can look past it and make it relevant to yourself though. As mentioned previously, this book made me miss my mama…and my kids’ grandma. Be mindful of this if one of your parents are gone.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by: Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday) – Pub Date: November 20, 2018

I enjoyed the quick and succinct writing style and the book’s length because otherwise, it would have been a DNF for me.

The #bookstagram hype for this one is real…everyone RAVES about this book, but overall, it didn’t do much for me. It lacked connection for me. I felt the characters were very surface level and I really didn’t connect with any of them. Overall, it felt very underdeveloped for me.

*** Stop Doing That Sh*t by: Gary John Bishop (Thorsons) – Pub Date: May 31, 2019

This book reminds us to get out of our own way. Self-sabotage is a prevalent thing in my life, so this book was a great reminder!

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by: Mitchell Zuckoff (Harper) – Pub Date: April 20, 2019

There’s no doubt that this book may be too much for some people – especially New Yorkers and/or family members who lost a dear loved one during the attacks of 9/11. But if you can find it within yourself to sit down with this book, I’d encourage you to do so. As mentioned in the foreword of the book, there’s an entire generation alive now that were not here when these attacks happened. While reading this book, I shook my head in disbelief, I cried tears and felt my heart break. But I also felt admiration for the strength, bravery, and resiliency of so many Americans that day. It’s important for the history of our country to read this story – to never forget those innocent lives lost that day and changed our world from that moment on.

This book arose from a newspaper article Zuckoff wrote just six days after the terror attacks. It’s called Six Lives and you can read it here.

Summer of ’69 by: Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown & Company) – Pub Date: June 18, 2019

It seems as if Elin Hilderbrand’s novels can be hit or miss for most people. I’ve never read any of her books, but knew I wanted to read this one when I learned it was about a summer on Nantucket Island during the Kennedy era. While a little more historical context would have made this one much more fun, I still enjoyed the complicated family drama that ensued. Also, as a midwesterner all my life, summers on Martha’s Vineyard, Montauk, and Nantucket Island have always seemed like a fairy tale to me, so this account of a summer on the East Coast was very appealing to me. It was the perfect way to kick off my summer reading and I really enjoyed it!

My Lovely Wife by: Samantha Downing (Berkley) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019

Another example of #bookstagrammademedoit, that, unfortunately, fell flat for me as well. The storyline was predictable to me and not all that interesting. It sort of felt like books I’ve already read or movies I’ve already watch – there’s really nothing new brought to the table. Honestly, I think my expectations were just really high for this one, so it was probably inevitable that it would fall flat. Many others have really enjoyed this one, so please search out other reviews before making a final decision!

If You Want To Make God Laugh by: Bianca Marais (Putnam) – On Shelves: July 16, 2019

This book was fantastic! I was immediately thrown into 1990s post-apartheid South Africa. Three ladies with completely different backgrounds and stories eventually find their lives intertwined in the most beautiful and compassionate way. This book had all the makings of a memorable read for me – complicated relationships, broken communication that leads to all kinds of misunderstandings, motherhood, the AIDS pandemic that swept the country, especially among women and children, racism, reconciliation, forgiveness, and love. It was so beautifully written and Marais knocked this one out of the park!

While I enjoyed her first novel, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, this one is so much better, in my opinion!

We Came Here To Forget by: Andrea Dunlop (Atria) – On Shelves: July 2, 2019

This one wasn’t even on my radar until Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) mentioned it. As a former college athlete, I was immediately intrigued with the main character, Kate/Liz, as a former Olympic downhill skier. While the story talks about her skiing career a little bit, it definitely wasn’t the focus of the story. After something horrific happens, Kate/Liz is forced off the mountain. On a whim, she buys a plane ticket to Buenos Aires and escapes her current life to recuperate mentally. The story slowly unfolds in small pieces of the overall puzzle, and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and emotion presented. The mystery element of the story had me hooked! There are two timelines to the story, and I definitely preferred one (the past) over the other (the present). Because of this, it wasn’t quite a 5-star read for me, but it was still well done and worth reading.

Currently Reading/Listening:

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*** Ayesha At Last by: Uzma Jalaluddin (Berkley) – Pub Date: June 4, 2019

This one first came on my radar after reading Anne Bogel’s Summer Reading Guide list. I’ve seen great reviews since then and I’m excited to dive in!

*** Wild Words: Rituals, Routines, and Rhythms for Braving the Writer’s Path by: Nicole Gulotta (Roost Books) – On Shelves: October 15, 2019

I’ve been getting weekly emails from Nicole Gulotta of Wild Words for a couple of years. I love her writing and the the way she puts things just speaks to my heart. I was lucky enough to get an ARC from the publisher and I can’t wait to read her words of wisdom!

DNF:

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🎧 God in the ICU: The Inspirational Biography of a Praying Doctor by: Dave A. Walker – Pub Date: November 19, 2011

I couldn’t get past the poor audiobook quality or the tone of the narrator. I found myself lost most of the time, though that made me sad because from what I could pick up, this seemed like it could be a great book.

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions by: Emily P. Freeman (Fleming H. Revell Company) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

My library hold expired before I finished, but I feel confident I got the gist of the book with what I did get read. It was a great reminder to just focus on the next step – not the long-term view, just the next right thing.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by: Erika L. Sánchez (Knopf Books for Young Readers) – Pub Date: October 17, 2017

I have had this on my TBR list for a long time. I finally picked up a copy at Barnes & Noble, but within about fifty pages, I just couldn’t keep my interest in the story. I tried to read it with my daughter and the language was just too hard to maneuver for her, and I have so many other books on my list to read, I simply gave up.

In At the Deep End by: Kate Davies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: June 4, 2019

Honestly, I think I should stop checking books out from the library. Something about knowing I can recheck it out makes it easier to DNF if I don’t immediately connect with the story. I may try this one again in the future if I happen to run across it.

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

5 thoughts on “My {3} Week{s} in Books (6/10-6/24)

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