August 2019 Reading Wrap-up

(#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.)

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School is back in session so I’m back to reading in the school pick up line, during practices, and everywhere in between!

I definitely had some highs and lows in my reading life in August. Here’s my Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 14 books total (5 DNFs)
  • Average Rating: 3.9
  • 10 physical books, 3 e-books, 1 audiobook
  • 9 fiction, 5 non-fiction
  • Genre: 3 contemporary fiction, 1 literary fiction, 2 historical fiction, 4 memoir, 1 non-fiction, 2 thriller, 1 young adult
  • Rating: 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫, 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Author: 9 female, 5 male, 0 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 114 books and my average rating is a 4.0!!

My favorite book of the month was Very Nice by: Marcy DermanskyWith the perfect mix of soap opera drama and six-degrees-of-separation vibes, I read this book in ONE day. I couldn’t put it down! It would make the perfect book-to-screen adaptation, so I’m crossing my fingers! 🤞🏼

What was your favorite read in August?

Complicated Issues/Relationships:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Very Nice by: Marcy Dermansky (Knopf) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

I cannot sing the praises high enough for this one! Loved it!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Patsy by: Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn (Liveright Publishing) – Pub Date: June 4, 2019

Patsy challenged my thinking in so many different ways. It was an insightful and thought provoking look into immigration, LGTBQ+ and gender fluidity issues. This is one of those books that will stick with me for a long time!

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 *** Fleishman Is in Trouble by: Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Random House) – Pub Date: June 18, 2019

When I saw this one endorsed by Elizabeth Gilbert and NYCBookGirl, I put it at the top of my list. Unfortunately, it fell very flat for me. It kind of reminded me of Normal People (my review here), where there’s a whole bunch of rambling with not a lot of point. Generally speaking, I do not enjoy books like this (see also The Dreamers)

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Strangers and Cousins by: Leah Hager Cohen (Riverhead) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

Annie B. Jones sent this one out for her Bookshelf Subscription pick, so I had high hopes. Again, this one fell flat for me. 

Memoir:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧 *** More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by: Elaine Welteroth (Viking) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

Badass females conquering the world!? Yes, please! I loved this audiobook, especially the interview at the end with Welteroth’s parents. I hope I can raise my daughter with half the confidence and strength that Welteroth has!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 Dry: A Memoir by: Augusten Burroughs (Picador) – Pub Date: January 1, 2003

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting when I picked this one up, but I got so much more! A raw and honest look at getting sober from an alcohol addiction, this book gave me all the feels, especially when Burroughs lost his best friend. After reading this, I put his next book (coming out October 1) Toil and Trouble high on my list!

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood by: J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager) – Pub Date: July 23, 2019

Honestly, I found this rags-to-riches memoir inspiring, but also unbelievable at parts. I hate saying that because this is someone’s life experiences, but some things just seemed a little outlandish. Regardless, Straczynski shows grit and determination in rising to the top of his writing career and I admire his ability to keep going over all the hurdles in front of him.

Thriller: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📱 *** The Doll Factory by: Elizabeth Macneal (Atria) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

The 1850’s London setting intrigued me, so I gave this one a try. While it’s a ssssllllooooowwww build and burn, overall, I enjoyed it. It’s atmospheric in a way I greatly enjoyed and super creepy (not scary creepy, but creepy creepy 😳). Readers that have issues with graphic descriptions and content (specifically animal cruelty) should be cautious. This book will not be for everyone!

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📱 *** The Whisper Man by: Alex North (Celadon) – Pub Date: August 20, 2019

I wanted so much more from this super-hyped thriller. People were saying they couldn’t sleep without a light on and I never got those feelings. This is great for people that love police procedural who-dun-its, but I was hoping for more of the creep factor.

Historical Fiction:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 The Nickel Boys by: Colson Whitehead (Doubleday) – Pub Date: July 16, 2019

Another super-hyped book that I had higher hopes for. I appreciate the story – based on true events – but I needed more depth and connectedness. Just for the fact alone that this book raised awareness to the atrocities of this juvenile rehabilitation school, this book is worth reading and promoting. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** The Beekeeper of Aleppo by: Christy Lefteri (Ballantine) – Pub Date: August 27, 2019

I love the cover of this book and the description, but I wanted a whole lot more from the writing. I wasn’t engaged by the story at all, and I generally love stories centered around the Syrian refugee crisis. For a better book (in my opinion), read The Map of Salt and Stars by: Zyen Joukhadar (my review here).

YA/Social-Political-Social Justice Issues:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by: Jose Antonio Vargas (Dey Street Books) – Pub Date: September 18, 2018

This book should be required reading for all Americans. It masterfully sheds a light on the complications and issues surrounding the immigration process. For all the people that think it’s not that hard to just become an American citizen, please take the time to read this book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by: Sarah Stewart Holland & Beth A. Silvers (Thomas Nelson) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019

Another book that should be required reading for humanity, this book shows us how we can disagree with someone gracefully. It’s ok to have differing opinions, but it’s not ok to have those disagreements dysfunctionally. Sadly the people that need to read this the most (**ahem, politicians**) probably won’t, but at least there’s hope for the rest of humanity.

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 *** Juliet Takes A Breath by: Gabby Rivera (Penguin Teen) – Pub Date: September 17, 2019

A powerful voice for young, queer feminists, Juliet is smart and very real. I learned a lot from this book, and it was such a good reminder how great the YA genre can be!

Not For Me (AKA: DNF):

📖 Gift of the Sea by: Anne Morrow Lindberg (Pantheon) – Pub Date: 1955

While still relevant over sixty years later, I was bored. 

📱 *** That’s What Frenemies Are For by: Sophie Littlefield & Lauren Gershell (Ballantine) – Pub Date: July 30, 2019

Waaaay too snarky for me. I barely got passed the first few chapters and it made me feel so negative and yucky, I had to DNF.

📱 *** On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by: Jennifer Pastiloff (Dutton) – Pub Date: June 4, 2019

Repetitive and totally not engaging to me, this was sadly a miss for me.

📱 Next Level Basic: The Definitive Basic Bitch Handbook by: Stassi Schroeder (Gallery) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

I love Stassi and I love Vanderpump Rules, but I guess I’d rather get my doses of Stassi through the television show. While this totally sounds like Stassi’s voice, it just sounds better when she says it. I’m assuming that the audiobook would have been a better option for me.

📱 *** The Other’s Gold by: Elizabeth Ames (Viking) – Pub Date: August 27, 2019

Some of my favorites endorsed this one, but I couldn’t get into it. I read to almost 40% and finally threw in the towel.

What was your favorite read in August?

Also, in case you missed it, I rounded up My #halfwaytopten list! I hope you check it out!

I’ll be publishing the September Book Club Read Alongs soon, so keep your eye out for it!

2 thoughts on “August 2019 Reading Wrap-up

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