My Week in Books (9/12/19)

(#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.)

So Colorado is still confused about the kind of weather we’re supposed to be having now that it’s September. But either way, I’m ready for fall – leaves falling, football games (did you see that amazing game between CU and Nebraska!?!? #gobuffs), and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (or, humbly, #PSL). If you’re like me, you don’t really prefer the overly sweet drinks you buy from coffee shops, try this little trick I’m loving lately:

  • Put a small amount of pumpkin spice in with your coffee grounds, brew as normal, and enjoy!

A PSL at home without the sweetness or calories! Yum!

We’re over halfway through The Goldfinch buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch).  We won’t be totally finished by the movie’s premiere on Friday (September 13), but there won’t be much more to read…I cannot wait to see the movie adaptation! Please let me know if you’d like to join us (@happiestwhenreading)!

Anyway, on to books! What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 11.43.55 AM*** Inland by: Téa Obreht (Random House) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

So, so sad to say this book was not my favorite. I was totally interested in the time period and the synopsis, but I found the writing long and slow, tedious and boring. I thought about DNFing it, but I kept thinking it would be a slow burn, eventually turning a corner and coming together. Sadly, for me, it did not.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by: Casey McQuiston (St. Martin’s Griffin) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

I mean, c’mon…have you heard a negative review about this one? I got sucked into the hype and I’m glad I did…this book is so good! I loved the political angle that included the United State’s First Family as well as the British Royal Family. Through Alex and Henry’s love story, we see the world united IN LOVE and I’M HERE FOR IT! 🇺🇸 ❤️💙🇬🇧 For a genre I always shy away from (#romance), the books in this category are killing it this year! (I also really enjoyed The Flatshare and Waiting For Tom Hanks.)

*** Red at the Bone by: Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead) – Pub Date: September 17, 2019

I switched between reading this one and listening to it. As Melody’s family prepares for her coming-of-age celebration, they reminisce on the decisions and events that got them to the present day. We hear from Melody’s grandma, grandpa, mother, and father, and through their own voices, we learn a lot more about each of them, individually and collectively. I loved Woodson’s writing and and I loved the individual voices that contributed to the whole picture. It’s a short novel (just over 200 pages), but the amount of ground Woodson covers in those pages is astounding. Add this one to your fall reading list; it’s sure to be a big hit!

Currently Reading:Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 10.25.36 AM*** The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt (Little Brown) – Pub Date: October 22, 2013

I’m still plugging along on The Goldfinch for our buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch), and the story is picking back up! I just finished Chapter 10 and can’t wait for the movie to come out this week (September 13). If you want to get in on the buddy read, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading) You can also find the discussions we’ve had so far here:, Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4Chapters 5-6, and Chapters 7-9! Please jump into the conversation!

The Most Fun We Ever Had by: Claire Lombardo (Doubleday) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

Only 30 pages in, but so far I’m here for this dysfunctional family drama. I’ve seen mixed reviews, so I’m really hoping I fall on the love side!

*** The World That We Knew by: Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019

I picked this one up thinking I would read it in the school pickup line, but I am hooked. I love how Alice Hoffman always incorporates a bit of magic into her books, and this might be my favorite incorporation yet! Set in WWII, I can’t wait to continue on with this one.

Disappearing Earth by: Julia Phillips (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

This is my pick for my monthly read along (#HWRbooks). I’m not far enough along to form any sort of opinion yet because I have to read the week’s selection right before I host the discussion for it so I don’t forget things. I’ve only heard great things about this book and I’m so excited to finally read it for myself!

 

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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*** On the Corner of Love and Hate by: Nina Bocci (Gallery) – August 20, 2019

I actually haven’t picked this one back up from last week. After reading and enjoying Red, White, & Royal Blue so much (see above), I just couldn’t get into this one. (DNF @ 14%.)

I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by: Emily Nussbaum (Random House) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

Honestly, I’m not a huge TV watcher, so I think some of these essays went over my head. The writing is good (I especially loved the essay ‘Confessions of the Human Shield” about the #metoo movement), but I’m not sure I’m getting the full effect. (DNF @ 47%.)

 

 

Remembering 9/11: 18 Years Later

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The phone pulled me from my sleep at 6:15 am. Not totally with it, I answered the phone and heard the voice of my friend:

“Get up! Turn on the tv! A plane hit the World Trade Center!”

As we watched the smoke rise to the sky, we were under the assumption that this was a tragic accident – that a plane had accidentally hit the building. But as the second plane hit the second tower, it was obvious this was something much bigger than that.

At the time, I lived in the Bay Area of California; my friend was all the way in Colorado, where the rest of my family lived (except my brother who lived in LA). Because all of the planes hijacked in the attack were headed towards the West Coast, there was an immediate fear that LA and San Francisco could be next.

Immediately, the conversation turned to getting out of California as soon as possible. And as overwhelmed as I felt (the whole world felt) at that moment, I knew it wasn’t going to be that simple. I quickly showered and headed to my home-away-from-home – the athletic complex of the college I was attending. At the time, I was interning in the Sports Communication Department, so that’s exactly where I headed. I craved physical connection with those that I considered family.

All day, we sat glued to the television as we watched the towers fall, as newscasters speculated at what was happening, and as the President addressed the nation. I felt numb and confused and scared. Nobody knew what this meant for the United States, or the world. We assumed that these attacks would become more and more common.

That evening, I got in my car and got onto the freeway. I felt the need for some freedom, so I rolled the windows down, turned up the radio, and let the tears fall down my face. As I approached the first bridge over the freeway, I saw the most incredible and inspirational sight. The road above was jammed with people, all waving the American flag. A sign was being held by someone that read, “United We Stand.”

Yes, it was an awful day in our history, but at that moment, I was filled with hope. I had a renewed sense of pride in my country and its citizens. I was scared, but I was not petrified. I knew we would get through this.

While there are people out there that were affected on a much more personal level – there were nearly 3000 people that were killed that day, that had kissed their loved ones for the last time. I can only imagine the hole in their hearts that is still present today and will be for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes it feels like the world was split into ‘Before’ and ‘After’ that day; it’s a day that will live with me forever. It’s important for us to reflect on that day, eighteen years ago, that changed the world. Not only do we owe it to the people that died that day, we owe it to our country to always remember that day – to never forget.

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If you’re looking for a few book recommendations about 9/11, the two above are excellent.

 

My Week in Books (9/4/19)

(#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.)

It was 98 degrees on Monday. Those temperatures are not unusual around here…IN JULY! But it’s September, Colorado! Get it together! I’m ready for leaves falling from the trees, chilly mornings, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year…what’s yours?

We’re about halfway through on our  Goldfinch buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch).  We won’t be totally finished by the movie’s premiere on September 13, but there won’t be much more to read…I bet a lot of us will finish it up in anticipation! Please let me know if you’d like to join us (@happiestwhenreading)!

Anyway, on to books! What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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*** After the Flood by: Kassandra Montag (William Morrow) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

This book was unlike anything I’ve read before. And honestly, at first, I was a little worried because I wondered how good a story could be when the world is basically underwater, but this book brought so much more to the table than fishing and survival. There are underlying themes of motherhood, grief, survival, and hope. I flew through this book in a day and was sad when it was over.

Dry by: Augusten Burroughs (Picador) – Pub Date: April 23, 2013

I personally don’t struggle with addiction and I don’t really have anyone super close to me that does, but I always find a raw and honest memoir irresistible. I haven’t previously read any of Burroughs books, but I after reading Dry, I think I’m a fan. His writing sucked me in from the first page and I was appreciative of his honesty. This one tugged at my heartstrings, especially towards the end when he relapses. If you’re a fan of memoir, this is a topnotch read! I am now going to be on the lookout for his latest book, Toil and Trouble, out on October 1!

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

This one is a slllooooowww burn…as in the action is literally in the last 75 pages. But there was something about the atmosphere and the writing that kept me turning the pages. This may be one of the most messed up books I’ve ever read (yes, maybe even worse than Baby Teeth and that one is seriously disturbing).

Currently Reading:

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*** Inland by: Téa Obreht (Random House) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

I have A LOT of books in my currently reading section because I’m not finding anything that’s holding my attention. On that note, this one is proving to be tough. I’m just not really sure I’m enjoying it, and while I really want to DNF it, I’m afraid to because I keep hoping it’ll get better. I’m going a little further, but I’m not hopeful.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by: Casey McQuiston (St. Martin’s Griffin) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

Red, White, & Royal Blue wasn’t on my September TBR, but my library hold came in and I decided to read it between school pick up, practices, and before bed. I’m barely into it, but I think it’s about to get good. (Crossing my fingers because RomCom’s aren’t always my thing, but this one has had so much great hype, I had to give it a try!)

*** On the Corner of Love and Hate by: Nina Bocci (Gallery) – August 20, 2019

This is waaaaay too much RomCom for me in the same week (especially two RomCom’s with political aspects), but I’m desperately trying to clear some of my galleys. This one is cute enough, but I may decide to abandon it for Red, White, & Royal Blue.

*** The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt (Little Brown) – Pub Date: October 22, 2013

I’m still plugging along on The Goldfinch for our buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch). If you want to get in on the buddy read, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading) You can also find the discussions we’ve had so far here:, Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4, and Chapters 5-6! Please jump into the conversation!

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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

As soon as this one started to feel like Normal People (read my review here), I bailed. I don’t do well with books that go absolutely nowhere and have a stream-of-consciousness style of writing. I was bummed about this one because many of my #bookishtwins highly recommended it. Here are some links to their reviews to help you have a more balanced opinion: Sarah’s Book Shelves and Novel Visits (there were others, but I can’t remember from who…)

Call Me By Your Name by: André Aciman (Atlantic Books) – Pub Date: September 21, 2018

Oh boy. I had such high hopes for this one, but it was a struggle. I’ve heard the best things about this one, but it was booooorrring. The writing wasn’t engaging to me and I wanted more of Elio + Oliver  – less Elio’s infatuation thoughts. DNF @ 46% (pg 113).

September Book Club Read Alongs

Do you enjoy read alongs as much as I do? One of the reasons I started a #bookstagram account (you can find me here) in the first place is because I wanted a place to discuss great books! Since being a part of this amazing corner of the internet, I’ve found several great book clubs! If you know of other book clubs that I missed, please drop me a comment below!

**Sorry for the lack of photos…while I like that much more ascetically, it was a lot of work and took up a lot of space on my Cloud.

Here is a roundup of some September Book Club Read Alongs:

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Happiest When Reading’s Book Club

(curated by Carla of Happiest When Reading)

Disappearing Earth by: Julia Phillips (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

#HWRbooks

 

Reece’s Book Club (Celebrating Women’s Stories)

(curated by Reece Witherspoon)

The Secrets We Kept by: Lara Prescott (Knopf) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

#ReesesBookClub

 

Read With Jenna

(curated by Jenna Bush Hager)

**Announcement coming September 4, 2019**

#ReadWithJenna

 

Barnes & Noble Book Club

(curated by Barnes & Noble)

Inland by: Téa Obreht (Random House) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

#BNBookClub

 

The Stacks Book Club

(curated by Traci of bitracial and The Lady Gang)

Sept 11 – Never Let Me Go by: Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf) – Pub Date: April 5, 2005

Sept 25 – Educated by: Tara Westover (Random House) – February 20, 2018

#thestacksbookclub

 

Diverse Spines (Women of Color Authors)

(curated by SpinesVines)

Speaking of Summer by: Kalisha Buckhanon (Counterpoint) – July 30, 2019

#diversespines

 

Diverse Classics (Highlighting underrepresented voices in classic literature)

Between the World and Me by: Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: July 14, 2015

#diverseclassics

 

Girls Night In (Reimagining how women take care — through down-time and quality friend-time. Created by women for women.)

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by: Jia Tolentino (Random House) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

#GNIreads

 

Read With Toni

(curated by Toni of Read With Toni)

I Liked My Life by: Abby Fabiaschi (St. Martin’s Press) – Pub Date: January 31, 2017

#readwithtoni

 

Books and Margs

(curated by Jessica of Books and Margs)

Beyond the Point by: Claire Gibson (William Morrow) – Pub Date: April 1, 2019

#readingwithmargs

 

Read With Katelyn

(curated by Katelyn of Katelyn Reads Books)

The Most Fun We Ever Had by: Claire Lombardo (Doubleday) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

#readwithkatelyn

 

#goldfinchbuddy

(curated by Allyson of Booksta and Bujo and Sarah of See Sarah Read)

The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt (Little, Brown) – Pub Date: October 22, 2013

#goldfinchbuddy

(*Note: I’m also hosting a buddy read. Please join us, if you’d like! My instagram handle: @happiestwhenreading #HWRgoldfinch)

 

NonFiction Women (Nonfiction reads – all authored by women)

(curated by Kate of Kate Olson Reads and RuthAnn of Definitelyra

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by: Elizabeth Rush (Milkweed Editions) – Pub Date: June 12, 2018

#nonfictionwomen

 

Throw Book Club (Backlist Books)

(curated by Jordan of Jordy’s Book Club and Jamie of Beauty and the Book)

The Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday) – Pub Date: September 13, 2011

#throwbookthursday

 

The Bookly Club

(curated by Katie Cragwall and three other Katherines!)

The Bell Jar by: Sylvia Plath (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Pub Date: January 1963

#booklymark

 

Pages Ago Book Club (Historical Fiction)

(curated by Jessi of Jessi’s Library and Megan of Megan’s Always Reading)

We Are All Good People Here by: Susan Rebecca White (Atria) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

#pagesagobookclub

 

Film and Lit Club (Books with Film Adaptations)

(curated by Taylor of Read Talk Repeat)

Call Me By Your Name by: Andre Aciman (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux) – Pub Date: January 23, 2007

#filmandlitclub

 

Queens of Mystery

(curated by Jamie of Read With Jamie & Julia of Jay Lamm Reads)

Murder on the Orient Express by: Agatha Christie – Pub Date: 1934

#queensofmystery

 

Words Between Worlds (Stories from Marginalized Voices)

(curated by Haley of My Little Booktique, Diana of Owls Little Library, Simon of Simone and Her Books, and others)

The House of Spirits by: Isabel Allende (Knopf) – April 12, 1985

#wordsbetweenworlds

 

Beyond the Binary Book Club (A bimonthly own voices bookclub spotlighting books with non-binary protagonists)

(curated by Jesse of Bowties & Books and Rhiannon Rae of Crescent Moon Reads)

The Black Tides of Heaven by: J.Y. Yang (Tor.com) – Pub Date: September 26, 2017

#enbybookclub

 

Well Read Black Girl (Supporting Black girls, women, and non-binary writers)

(curated by Glory Edim of Guide To Glory)

Note: Book choice dependent on the Well Read Black Girl Book Club pick in your area. Check #wrbgbookclub to find a meet up near you.

THIS IS FOR THE DENVER AREA ONLY (Meet up discussion on September 7, 2019 at BookBar in Denver):

Everything Inside: Stories by: Edwidge Danticat (Knopf) – Pub Date: August 27, 2019

#wrbgbookclub

#wrbgfest

 

Northern Lights Reads (A Canadian-based Book Club)

(curated by Candice of Candice Reads and Laurie of Books and Chinooks)

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

#northernlightsreads

 

Literary Pengwyns

(curated by Kaylee of Literary Pengwyns)

House of Salt and Sorrows by: Erin A. Craig (Delacorte) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

#happypengwynbookclub

 

Nerd Out With My Book Out

(curated by Lacy)

The Turn of the Key by: Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

#nerdoutbookclub

 

Bad on Paper Podcast

(curated by Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman)

American Royals by: Katherine McGee (Random House) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

#badonpaperpodcast

 

Salt Water Reads

(curated by Stacey of Prose and Palate and Kourtney of Kourtney’s Bookshelf

**Announcement to come**

#saltwaterreads

 

Carribbean Girl Reading

(curated by Cindy of BookofCinz)

The True History of Paradise by: Margaret Cezair-Thompson (Dutton) – Pub Date: July 1, 1999

#BOCbookclub

 

Criminally Good Book Club (Crime-focused Book Club)

(curated by Janel of Keeper of Pages and Ashley of B00ks in Paradise)

The Chestnut Man by: Søren Sveistrup (Harper) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

#cgbookclub

Are you reading along with any of these? Did I miss any good book clubs? 

 

Announcing: September #HWRbooks Club

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Here it is: September’s #HWRbooks Selection!

Disappearing Earth by: Julia Phillips (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019 (affiliate link)

From the publisher: One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern tip of Russia, two girls – sisters, ages eight and eleven – go missing. The police investigation that follows turns up nothing. In the girls’ tightly-woven community, everyone must grapple with the loss. But the fear and danger of their disappearance is felt most profoundly among the women of this isolated place.

Taking us one chapter per month across a year on Kamchatka, this powerful novel connects the lives of characters changed by the sisters’ abduction: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. Theirs is an ethnically diverse population in which racial tensions simmer, and so-called “natives” are often suspected of the worst. As the story radiates from the peninsula’s capital city to its rural north, we are brought to places of astonishing beauty: densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and glassy seas.

Disappearing Earth is a multifaceted story of the intimate lives of women – their vulnerabilities and perils, their desires and dreams. It speaks to the complex yet enduring bonds of community as it offers startlingly vivid portraits of people reaching out to one another and, sometimes, reaching back to save each other.

Spellbinding, moving – evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world – this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer.

On Saturdays, I will post a discussion post over on my Instagram page (@happiestwhenreading). In the comments, I will have some questions for us to discuss. Please answer them at your leisure, and remember to come back and respond to the various comments so that the discussion will be livelier!

Here are the dates for the discussion questions, as well as the part we will be discussing:

  • Sept 14 – Part 1: 1-92 (92 pages)
  • Sept 21 – Part 2: 93-171 (78 pages) 
  • Sept 28 – Part 3 (+ Final Thoughts): 172-256 (84 pages)

Will you be joining me? (Please say yes!)

September TBR (aka: Hopefuls)

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This is an ambitious stack, for sure! But one of my personal mottos is “Go big, or go home!”, so here I am. 🤷🏼‍♀️

The Night Circus In anticipation of Morgenstern’s next book (The Starless Sea, Nov. 5, 2019), I wanted to reread this one. It’s also Jordan and Jamie’s selection for their monthly read along (@throwbookclub).

Call Me By Your Name – I’ve been needing a good reason to move this one up my TBR, and a read along with @filmandlitclub is the perfect excuse!

Disappearing Earth – My selection for a read along this month! I’ve heard great things about this one (specifically, @notyourdadsbookclub, @katiejdevine, @aimeedarsreads) and I can’t wait to dive in! Please join me (@happiestwhenreading, #HWRbooks)!

*** Inland I haven’t previously read Téa Obreht’s books, but this one’s publishing blurb mentions outlaws, American West, and Arizona Territory in 1893…sign me up!

Beyond the Point I have yet to hear a negative review of this book. Literally everyone seems to love it. Jessica (@booksandmargs) is hosting a read along for this one this month! (Also, as part of Jamie‘s #10botm2019 challenge, I’m trying to get through some of my Book of the Month books!)

*** After the Flood – When Jordan tells you to read something, you do it! I got about five chapters into this one this morning, and I’m definitely intrigued.

Stars of Alabama I love the cover of this one. I got it from my Shelf Subscription from The Bookshelf and this is the second month I’ve added it to my TBR.  I’m hoping this is the month!

*** Frankly in Love Totally excited for this YA…out on September 10, 2019!

Speaking of Summer So, so happy to have gotten this one from my monthly book subscription from Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NY!

*** Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion – I think this one will live on my nightstand this month and I’ll try to read a short story a day. I keep hearing good things!

The Library Book This one’s been on my shelf forever, and it also qualifies for Jamie’s #10botm2019 challenge. #winwin

The Most Fun We Ever Had – I’m afraid if I don’t get to this one soon, it’ll get lost on my shelves. Katelyn is hosting a read along, so be sure to join!

*** The Goldfinch I’m hosting a read along to tackle this giant of a book (almost 800 pages!) before the movie comes out on September 13th. We have weekly discussions, and I’d love to have your join us (#HWRgoldfinch)!

*** Thank you to the publishers for the free books! #partner

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!