My Week in Books (8/28/19)

(#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.)

School is in session…I have one that cries (not literally) that school isn’t every day of the week, and one that cries (not literally) that there’s school any day of the week. What are you gonna do? 🤷🏼‍♀️

We only have two more weeks left of our #patsybuddyread and six more for #HWRgoldfinch. Please let me know if you’d like to join (@happiestwhenreading)!

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

Last Week’s Reads:

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

Holy smokes! I LOVED THIS BOOK! I can’t necessarily put my finger on what I loved so much about it, but it entranced me and I could not put it down. With a little bit of soap opera-like drama and six degrees of separation, I could barely keep up…but in a totally good way. This book is perfect summer reading material!

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

It pains me to say this, but I just WANTED SO MUCH MORE from this one. To bring awareness to the refugee situation is so important and this book sounded (and looked) like the perfect voice for that message, but it fell so flat for me. The story jumped around, which I’m fine with as long as it’s seamless and not confusing. At the end of the book, I was confused on what was real and what were flashbacks…or if those two things are even possibilities. Basically, there were glimmers of hope throughout which kept me reading, but by the end, I really just wasn’t invested in the story at all.

🎧 *** More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are by: Elaine Welteroth (Viking) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

This book is a gem. I could only hope to raise my own daughter with half the grit and determination that Welteroth has. She is fire and I’m inspired! Welteroth’s passionate drive make me jealous. When she was met with roadblocks, she barreled through them and tried even harder just to be able to prove others wrong. She has a backbone and stood up to racist comments, and also offered incredible insight to those experiences.

I listened to the audiobook (thank you, Libro.fm for the #freeaudiobook #partner) in which Welteroth narrates. I loved it!! I think hearing her read her own story added to the impact it made on me. At the end of the audiobook, Welteroth has a conversation with her parents and it is PURE GOLD! I just love this little family and I can fully understand how Welteroth became the amazing individual she is! Click here to use code HAPPIEST to get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1!

Also, I got some #freeearbuds from Sudio…and I LOVE THEM!! I’m not even joking. I’m going to be getting a pair for my husband and maybe my kids. Use code WHENREADING for 15% off any @sudio purchase (hey, knock a few Christmas gifts off your list early!! #hinthint).

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

I recognize the importance of books like this being published. As a young woman and queer, Juliet is strong-willed and brave. She’s an important character for other queer women out there that need to see positive representation of themselves – and Juliet is perfect in this role. She comes into her own and figures out how she wants to fit into this world by asking questions and analyzing herself.

This book is on sale on September 17 and is available to preorder now!

Currently Reading:

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

I just finished the second section of The Goldfinch for our buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch). Things are really starting to pick up and I am still loving this one! 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!

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

So far (I’m about 25% in) this book is proving difficult for me to connect with. I’m going to give it a little bit longer, but I think this one may end up in the DNF pile.

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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

I love Stassi Schroeder and Vanderpump Rules, but I made it all the way to Part II and realized, I’m good. I know Stassi and I know her personality…I don’t necessarily feel the need to keep reading this one!

Book Flights Vol. 1

Some things are just better together, amiright?

And that’s why one of my favorite things Anne Bogel (of Modern Mrs. Darcy) does is pair books together. She calls them “book flights”. Basically they’re books with similar themes that would make great companion reads. I personally love when a fictional book can be paired with a non-fiction book because I think the comparisons can really add to each reading experience, and in a perfect world I would be able to come up with such pairings all the time, but I’m just not that good.

I gave it my best shot though and came up with some books that pair well together! Look for this to become a quarterly post for me!

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 5.39.36 PM.pngCity of Girls swept me away into 1940s New York City. I loved seeing Vivian come-of-age and all the tough lessons she had to learn to do that. This book was so unexpectedly Elizabeth Gilbert – I think we’re all guilty of thinking of Eat, Pray, Love when we think of her writing, but this dive into fiction rocked my world. Her true talent became obvious to me and I wanted to personally live amongst these people and this story. I loved it so much!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo evoked many of the same feelings for me. In this book, Evelyn lives in Hollywood during the glamorous cinematic years. I personally fell victim to the thought that this was going to be a fluffy romance, but it’s full of depth and it’s a very smart book that questions what ‘love’ is and whether someone can even know what love is until they’ve found their truth. It’s an amazing book that I devoured in one day, and I still think about it often!

*** If you could only read one of these books, I’d go with The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 8.30.46 AM.pngThe Great Believers is a beautiful story centered around the AIDS crisis in Chicago in the 1980s. It was heart-wrenching and sad, but Rebecca Makkai did such a great job of creating characters that made you feel like you were part of their inner circle. This story takes the reader back to the 80s when it was still largely common for gay men to be shunned from the rest of the world. As the AIDS epidemic seemingly took over this community, they were shunned even more. They were gathered in large hospital rooms, beds lined up in rows, and many nurses/doctors too scared to touch them or offer any sort of empathy or compassion. It broke my heart.

 

The Heart’s Invisible Furies has all the feels and it’s just the most beautiful life story. Cyril Avery is born in post-WWII Ireland. His mother gives him up for adoption when he’s just three days old. He struggles most of his life to find a place to belong – and let’s just say that Ireland and all her politics do not make it easy on him. As a child who realizes early on that he is gay – in a country and a time where that declaration is completely unacceptable – Avery endures many heartbreaking, confusing, and difficult times. He searches for a love and acceptance that many (even still today) take for granted.

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 5.10.53 PMIf you read both of these and still want more, read If You Want To Make God Laugh. With well-developed characters who have powerful and transformative stories to share, I could not put this one down. Following three separate ladies with very different stories, their lives become intertwined in the most beautiful and compassionate way. Set in the 1990s in post-apartaid South Africa, this book explores themes of racism, motherhood, the AIDS epidemic, and family.

*** Only got time for one? Definitely, hands down, The Heart’s Invisible Furies!

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 8.34.57 AM.pngWhen Patsy decides to leave Jamaica to provide a better financial life for her daughter and to find her girlfriend, there are various challenges she must overcome as an undocumented person in the United States. She quickly realizes how lonely and difficult it is to find a job and friends. As she navigates this new world, she loses touch with her daughter back home and has to reconcile the feelings she has towards motherhood.

In Dear America, Vargas tells us he was brought to America as a small child. When he went to the local DMV to get his driver’s permit, he found out his papers were fake and that he was, in fact, not a US citizen like he always thought he was. Vargas went on to become an incredible journalist and this book gives detailed insight into America’s problematic immigration system. For those Americans that believe undocumented people should “just get their papers”, please read this book. For those Americans who have zero compassion for the troubled lives many of these people are trying to flee, please read this book. For those Americans who are privileged enough to voice their opinions, please read this book!

Screen Shot 2019-08-22 at 5.11.20 PMOther books that come to mind that would compliment each other well are Americanah and Behold the Dreamers.

 

 

*** If you only have time for one, read Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen!

Screen Shot 2019-08-23 at 8.45.26 AM.pngThe Editor does a phenomenal job of showing its readers what the publishing world is like. From writing the book to finding an editor to making the edits to the story, I was fascinated at this inside look. The addition of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the editor (true story!) was icing on the cake. I loved the story just as much as the behind-the-scenes information.

 

On the non-fictional side, Wild Words is the perfect companion for any writer. A slow and gentle and meditative look into a writer’s life, there’s a section for almost every stage a writer may find themselves in – The Season of Beginnings, The Season of Self-Doubt, The Season of Finishing.

*** Only want to read one? That depends if you want fiction or non-fiction! And/or if you’re more of a reader or more of a writer!

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Piecing Me Together explores themes of race, friendship, privilege, and identity from a young woman’s perspective. At times, it felt like the fictional version of what I imagine Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, to be like. Jade knows she has to excel in school and get good grades if she is going to break out of the poverty cycle she currently lives in. College is her only ticket out. As she navigates her high school years, she is also confronted by racial issues that make her realize the differences between her journey and her privileged classmates.

Similarly, Dear Martin packs a huge punch. In response to so many young Black (unarmed) men being gunned down by law enforcement in recent news, Stone delivers a book that addresses the subtle racism that is so present in today’s world. Eye-opening, revealing, and honest, this is a must read for everyone!

*** Only picking one to read? That’s a tough choice because they’re similar, but different. If forced to choose, I’d go with Piecing Me Together because it explores more topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Week in Books (8/21/19)

(#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.)

We made it through the first week of school, and I’m happy to say that both of my kids have come home with great big smiles on their faces…and that relieves this mama’s heart sooooo much! That old saying, “A mama is only as happy as her saddest child” is #TRUTH!

We only have two more weeks left of our #patsybuddyread and six more for #HWRgoldfinch. Please let me know if you’d like to join (@happiestwhenreading)!

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

Last Week’s Reads:

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

Honestly, I don’t really think this added anything new to the marriage/divorce conversation. There was a lack of communication between Toby and Rachel, and instead of working towards each other, they allowed anger and resentment to come between them and it eventually drove them apart. Reviews talked about a satisfying ending, and that’s mostly what kept me reading…but it fell flat and I was disappointed. I wanted something much more spicy; it just felt very bland after the commitment demanded from the reader. This isn’t a book that will stick with me; in fact, I think I’ll be lucky to pull any details of the story out a year from now. After the reviews I read, I had much higher hopes.

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

Maybe one of my most anticipated reads of the summer, I have been hesitant to read it because of the hype surrounding it. It recently topped Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List, but I’ve also read very mixed reviews, so I was nervous what side of the line I would fall on.

First, this book is harrowing and haunting. It absolutely deserves to have light shed on the atrocities these boys lived. I could not believe that a school like this existed up until 2010! The abuse these people – including the townspeople by looking the other way – inflicted on young boys is beyond upsetting. I couldn’t help but wonder if there are other “schools”, “reform schools”, “juvenile detention centers” out there that treat other kids this same way. If there are, I hope people can find the courage to come forward and out the monsters behind it.

The writing of the book felt disjointed and confusing to me. I don’t always appreciate when an author eludes to things, and that happened quite a bit in this one. After I finished reading, I googled the events and boys’ home the story was based on. I found the real account much more intriguing and immersible. Again, this story is harrowing and should have light shed on it, I just wanted to connect to the story and characters more than I did. This is very likely a case of too much hype; had I read the book sooner and less reviews, I believe it would have had more of an impact on me. 

If you’d like to do more reading on the real Dozier School for Boys, here are some links:

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

Mostly good, but the hype ruined this one for me. I wasn’t ever even a little bit terrified while reading this, and I really wanted to be after the reviews I’d read. Still, it was a great thriller and totally worth picking up!

 

Currently Reading:

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

I just finished the second section of The Goldfinch for our buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch). Things are really starting to pick up and I am still loving this one! If you want to get in on the buddy read, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading)!

🎧 *** More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are by: Elaine Welteroth (Viking) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

I’m absolutely loving this one! Welteroth talks about her experiences growing up as a biracial girl and the snide comments of racism she fought along the way. When she was named editor of Teen Vogue, she became the youngest to achieve that title in Condé Nast’s history. She’s an inspiring women and this audiobook is so good!

🎧📖 *** Confessions of Frannie Langton by: Sara Collins (Harper) – Pub Date: May 21, 2019

I keep meaning to start this one back up, but other book are calling my name! #lifeofabookworm. 

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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📱 *** On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by: Jennifer Pastiloff (Dutton) – Pub Date: June 4, 2011

I’m got about 15% into this one and was ambivalent about the story and the writing. It was choppy at times, jumping between the past and present so much that I would have to reread what I’d read in the correct context once I realized it was a different timeline. It was repetitive, and honestly, because I’m also listening to More Than Enough (see above) at the same time, I realized Welteroth’s story so much more compelling.

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

Nope, nope, just nope! This one is waaaaay too snarky for me and I had a bad taste in my mouth within minutes. #sorrynotsorry

 

 

My Week in Books (8/14/19)

(#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.)

My kids started school today and the only thing I’m happy about is the fact that we’re back onto a routine. In May, I’m most excited about throwing routine out the window, but after three months, I crave some consistency around our days. Both of my kiddos are in middle school this year, so it’s definitely bittersweet.

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

Last Week’s Reads:Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 8.31.14 PM

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

This book is important – especially considering our current political climate. The hosts of @pantsuitpolitics do a wonderful job of demonstrating what grace means and how we can all extend that same grace to others in our lives that we don’t necessarily see eye to eye with.

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

I’m hosting a #patsybuddyread for Patsy (along with Jenna Bush Hagar – hey, girl, hey! – and I had every intention of only reading the sections for each week…but I could not put this one down. At times I hated Patsy and at other times my heart completely broke for this woman who’s just trying her hardest and doing the best she can. There’s a TON of stuff to dissect in this book and I’m looking forward to our discussions throughout the week. If you’d like to join, shoot me a message and I’ll get you added on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading).

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

I can’t think of a better follow-up book to Patsy. Vargas was brought to America as a small child. When he went to the local DMV to get his driver’s permit, he found out his papers were fake and that he was, in fact, not a US citizen like he always thought he was. Vargas went on to become an incredible journalist and this book gives detailed insight into America’s problematic immigration system. This read is timely given the situation on the US/Mexico border and I think all Americans (especially those in politics) need to read this book!

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

I always love a memoir that shows grit and resilience in the face of the most horrible adverse circumstances. Straczynski rose from an extremely abusive – physically, emotionally, and mentally – home and went on to be a major player in Hollywood movies, television, and comics. Though it got a little bogged down in his writing career (I wanted more of his childhood stories which include murder, Nazi collaborators, lying, and abuse), it was incredibly sad story, but I was happy to see him rise above his childhood circumstances.

Currently Reading:Screen Shot 2019-08-12 at 8.34.15 PM*** The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt (Little Brown) – Pub Date: October 22, 2013

I’m also hosting a seven-week #buddyread for The Goldfinch (#HWRgoldfinch). Again, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading) if you’d like to join along. This is a reread for me and I’m allowing myself the time to savor it. Only three chapters in, I am entranced by Tartt’s writing, specifically her writing on grief. She captured the roller coaster of emotions so well and I think I’ll have to return to these chapters over and over again. Speaking of her writing, Tartt is seriously talented. Her attention to detail is unprecedented and I can’t wait to continue with the story!

🎧📖 *** Confessions of Frannie Langton by: Sara Collins (Harper) – Pub Date: May 21, 2019

I haven’t listened to even one second of this since last week. I have the audio and I also picked up the hardback from my local library, so hopefully I’ll be able to dive into it more this week!

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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📖 Gift From the Sea by: Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Pantheon) – Pub Date: 1955

Listen, a book doesn’t get published over sixty years ago and have staying power if it ins’t good…but it’s just not for me. Sure, there are some great lessons, but it’s just a little too over the top for me. I DNF’d it around 50%, and I’m not sorry about it! (This would make a great gift for a girlfriend though!)

 

My Week in Books (8/7/19)

(#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.)

Do you enjoy #buddyreads? Every month, I compile a list of Book Clubs happening around #bookstagram. If that’s something you’re interested in, you can find the post here and find a book that sounds interesting to you! There are twenty on the list, so hopefully you can find something that catches your eye!

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

Last Week’s Reads:

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

This just wasn’t my favorite book, and I should have DNF’d it from the very beginning. A trusted source recommended it and it was sent to me through my Shelf Subscription service from The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA, so I thought it might get better. For me, it didn’t. While I did enjoy the unforgettable characters, the story itself was all over the place and just to disjointed for me to really get into. It’s hard for me to rate middle-of-the-road books because it’s not like I hated them, but I also think they’re missing that piece that will make them memorable. I’m not sure that a year from now I’ll even remember a single thing about this story.

Currently Reading:

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

Jenna Hager Bush chose this one as her August Book Club selection and I’M HERE FOR IT! It’s been on my #tbr for a couple months, so this is just the push I needed to start reading. I’m hosting a #buddyread and I’d love to have you join us! Find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading). Also, you can follow along using the hashtag #patsybuddyread!

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

I’m also hosting a seven-week #buddyread for The Goldfinch (#HWRgoldfinch). Again, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading) if you’d like to join along. In case you don’t know already, The Goldfinch has been made into a movie and will release on September 13th, so this is the perfect excuse to read the book before the movie comes out! (We all know the book is always better than the movie! 😉)

Here is a link to the movie trailer! It looks soooo good!

🎧📖 *** Confessions of Frannie Langton by: Sara Collins (Harper) – Pub Date: May 21, 2019

I’m not too far into this one, but I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews (especially when talking about the audiobook)! 

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

Written by the hosts of the podcast, Pantsuit Politics, Holland and Silvers demonstrate that we can have differing political viewpoints and still respect the other side. In a time where we feel more divided than ever, this is the perfect example of how we can have mature conversations and give grace to people that think differently than us. I wish our politicians in charge would read this book and take the lessons to heart!

August 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!

Here is a roundup of 20 August Book Club Read Alongs:

 

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Photo cred: @reesesbookclub

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

(curated by Reece Witherspoon)

The Last House Guest by: Megan Miranda (Corvus) – Pub Date: June 18, 2019

#ReesesBookClub

 

 

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Photo cred: @readwithjenna

Read With Jenna

(curated by Jenna Bush Hager)

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

#ReadWithJenna

 

 

 

 

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Photo cred: @jimmyfallon

2019 Tonight Show Summer Read

(curated by Jimmy Fallon)

Ask Again, Yes by: Mary Beth Keane (Scribner) – Pub Date: May 28, 2019

#tonightshowsummerreads

 

 

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Photo cred: @saltwaterreads

Salt Water Reads

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

We Came Here to Forget by: Andrea Dunlop (Atria) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

#saltwaterreads

 

 

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Photo cred: @thestackspod

The Stacks Book Club

(curated by Traci of bitracial and The Lady Gang)

August 14: The Light of the World by: Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central Publishing) – Pub Date: April 21, 2015

August 28: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by: Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington (Public Affairs) – Pub Date: February 7, 2018

#thestacksbookclub

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Photo cred: @diversespines

Diverse Spines (Women of Color Authors)

(curated by SpinesVines)

The Wedding Party by: Jasmine Guillory (Berkley) – Pub Date: July 16, 2019

#diversespines

 

 

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Photo cred: @diverseclassics

 

Diverse Classics (Highlighting underrepresented voices in classic literature)

Sugar by: Bernice L. McFadden (Plume) – Pub Date: January 2, 2001

#diverseclassics

 

 

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Photo cred: @readwithtoni

Read With Toni

(curated by Toni of Read With Toni)

Educated by: Tara Westover (Random House) – Pub Date: February 20, 2018

#readwithtoni

 

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Photo cred: @booksaandbujo

#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)

 

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Photo cred: @nonfictionwomen

NonFiction Women (Nonfiction reads – all authored by women)

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

Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain by: Lori L. Tharps (Atria) – Pub Date: March 4, 2008

#nonfictionwomen

 

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Photo cred: @jordys.book.club

Throw Book Club (Backlist Books)

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

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by: John Boyne (Hogarth) – Pub Date: August 22, 2017

#throwbookthursday

 

 

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Photo cred: @thebooklyclub

The Bookly Club

(curated by Katie Cragwall and three other Katherines!)

The Simple Wild by: K.A. Tucker (Atria) – Pub Date: August 7, 2018

#booklymark

 

 

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Photo cred: @pagesagobookclub

Pages Ago Book Club (Historical Fiction)

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

Meet Me in Monaco by: Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb (William Morrow) – Pub Date: July 23, 2019

#pagesagobookclub

 

 

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Photo cred: @filmandlitclub

Film and Lit Club (Books with Film Adaptations)

(curated by Taylor of Read Talk Repeat)

The Glass Castle by: Jeannette Walls (Scribner) – Pub Date: January 17, 2006)

#filmandlitclub

 

 

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Photo cred: @words.between.worlds

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)

Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

#wordsbetweenworlds

 

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Photo cred: @badonpaperpodcast

Bad on Paper Podcast

(curated by Grace Atwood and Becca Freeman)

Three Women by: Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press) – Pub Date: July 9, 2019

#badonpaperpodcast

 

 

 

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Photo cred: @bookbardenver

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:

Dear Martin by: Nic Stone (Crown Books for Young Readers) – Pub Date: October 17, 2017

#wrbgbookclub

#wrbgfest

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Northern Lights Reads (A Canadian-based Book Club)

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

The Arrangement by: Robyn Harding (Gallery/Scout Press) – Pub Date: July 30, 2019

#northernlightsreads

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Photo cred: @criminallygoodbookclub

Criminally Good Book Club (Crime-focused Book Club)

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

Those People by: Louise Candlish (Berkley) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

#cgbookclub

 

 

 

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Photo cred: @nerdoutwithmybookout

Nerd Out With My Book Out

(curated by Lacy)

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

#nerdoutbookclub

 

 

 

 

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

 

July 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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With school just around the corner, I’m sad to say good-bye to summer.

However, I’d call my July reading month STELLAR. Here’s my Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 13 books total (2 DNFs)
  • Average Rating: 4.5
  • 8 physical books, 4 e-books, 1 audiobook
  • 8 fiction, 5 non-fiction
  • Genre: 4 contemporary fiction, 1 literary fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 memoir, 4 non-fiction, 1 thriller, 1 young adult
  • Rating: 7 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • Author: 9 female, 3 male, 1 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 100 books and my average rating is a 4.0!! I’m pretty super excited about that!

My favorite book of the month was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by: Lori Gottlieb! It’s like getting free counseling and I guarantee you can find pieces of you all over the pages. I underlined the heck out of my copy and know I will refer back to her #truthbombs over and over again.

Non-Fiction:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by: Lori Gottlieb (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

Like getting a year’s worth of free counseling, this book had me underling ALL THE THINGS! I saw myself reflected on every single page. This book is PURE GOLD!

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 Three Women by: Lisa Taddeo (Avid Reader Press) – Pub Date: July 9, 2019

The most hyped book of the summer, I was sadly disappointed in this one. The further away I get from reading it, the less I like it. I think the marketing blurb is to blame for me not liking this one. It set me up for a novel about female desire (yes, please!), but it felt more like a look into three women’s lives as they overcome the sexual trauma they experienced when they were younger. The writing is good, but don’t feel bad if you decide to skip this one.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱*** American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by: Maureen Callahan (Viking) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

I could not put this book down! So well-written, I was fully immersed in this story of a serial killer I’d never heard about. If you were a fan of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by: Michelle McNamara, you’ll like this one as well – maybe even more!

Memoir/LGTBQ+ Voices:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 *** A Year Without a Name by: Cyrus Grace Dunham (Little, Brown) – On Shelves: October 15, 2019

This book is small, but mighty. As Cyrus Grace Dunham struggles to find their identity, they reflect on the year they transitioned from a woman into a man. The writing is intense and beautiful and this isn’t a story I’ll soon forget.

Thriller: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** The Chain by: Adrian McKinty (Mulholland Books) – Pub Date: July 9, 2019

Looking for a thriller with a twist you’ve not read before? This is it! When Rachel receives a phone call that her daughter has been kidnapped, she’s instructed to kidnap another child if she doesn’t want her daughter to die. Just like the chain letters we’ve all gotten that say some horrible fate awaits us if we don’t forward it on, this book had me questioning what I would do in the same situation. The book lost a little bit of steam towards the end, but it was still an intense and action-packed ride!

Something Lighter:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 *** Waiting for Tom Hanks by: Kerry Winfrey (Berkley) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

Just when I think I can confidently say I’m not a #romcom fan, a book like this comes along. Cute, sweet, and with just enough quirk to make me enjoy it, Waiting for Tom Hanks captured my heart. I loved everything about it – the plot, the characters, the writing. It was the perfect summer/beach/pool read!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 **** The Lager Queen of Minnesota by: J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books) – Pub Date: July 23, 2019

Another sweet and quirky read, Lager Queen made me wish I loved the taste of beer! But beyond that, the story was so unique and well-done that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I have yet to read Stradal’s first novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, but many have commented that it’s still better than this one. If that’s the case, I’m in for a treat!

Cultural/Historical Fiction:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Americanah by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books) – Pub Date: May 14, 2013

Initially I wasn’t loving this book but I know it was because I chose the wrong time in my life to read it. We were on vacation and there wasn’t a lot of time to sit and get immersed in the book. But this isn’t a book to be taken lightly. Tackling themes of race, immigration, emigration, finding one’s “home” and love, it’s obvious to me now that I wouldn’t have struggled as much had I waited for a less chaotic time to read it. None of that is the book’s fault; the blame fall solely on me. Once I gave it the attention it deserved, its importance became clear very quickly. I believe this is a book that will one day be a classic, inspiring generations to come! I truly think this should be required reading for all humans.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Editor by: Steven Rowley (Putnam) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

I wasn’t expecting to love this one as much as I did. Maybe it’s because I have a secret wish to be a writer, but this book touched my soul. I LOVED the addition of Jackie O and found the addition of her character a true delight. 

Complicated Issues/Relationships:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 *** The Gifted School by: Bruce Holsinger (Riverhead) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

When I initially finished this book my first thought was, “What’s the big deal?” Everyone seemed to be raving about it on #bookstagram and I wasn’t quite as smitten as they all seemed to be. But as I got further away from it, I found that I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I kept going over and over what happened, so I bumped it up a star. The writing is excellent and I found it quite relatable as a parent of middle school kids. I think all parents really just have their children’s best interests at heart, but it doesn’t take much to cross the line into crazy territory!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧 *** Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019

I read and loved this book earlier this year, but had a strong case of #fomo for not listening to the audiobook. Both formats are equally good and I’m glad I listened to both! (This book make my #halfwaytopten list!)

YA/Social Justice:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Internment by: Samira Ahmed (Little, Brown) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019

Given what is currently happening at the United States/Mexico border, I think everyone would benefit from reading this one. Set “15 minutes in the future”, Layla and her family are relocated to an interment camp after the president declares “all Muslims enemies of the state.” It’s a sad reality of what our politics look like right now. Internment is another book that should be required reading for all humans – especially those in a leadership political position.

“What’s that thing people always say about history? Unless we know our history, we’re doomed to repeat it? Never forget? Isn’t that the lesson? But we always forget. Forgetting is in the American grain.”

For the Writer at Heart:

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

If you’re a writer (or a creator in any sort of way), this book is for you! Methodical and inspirational, Gulotta tackles all the hurdles creative people fight. This book touched my soul and reminded me that writing is part of who I am.

Not For Me (AKA: DNF):

*** 🎧 Whisper Network by: Chandler Baker (Flatiron) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

I listened to 23% and realized I just didn’t really care. After seeing many mixed reviews, I didn’t feel bad about throwing in the towel. 🤷🏼‍♀️

📱 Bunny: A Novel by: Mona Awad (Viking) – Pub Date: June 11, 2019

From the beginning I felt like this one was going to be too weird for me, but the reviews had me curious so I pushed on. Eventually the thorough confusion I was feeling was too much for me and I DNF’d it at 42%. If you read it and finished it, feel free to spoil the ending for me!

Also, in case you missed it:

My #halfwaytopten list!

And I’ll be publishing the August Book Club Read Alongs soon (here’s the July Book Club List)!