August Reading Review

You guys, I’m going to get better at blogging one of these days. And I mean that! This blog isn’t intended to be a book blog, but it’s starting out that way. With COVID there just isn’t a lot of exciting stuff going on in my life worth blogging about (*queue world’s smallest violin*) . So for now: you get book reviews.

In August I treated myself to four books, two from Barnes & Noble and two from Book of the Month Club. If you haven’t checked out BOTM yet and you read on average at least one book a month, I HIGHLY recommend checking them out. For $14.99 you get to choose one book each month, and that includes shipping. The books are hardcover, making them already a great deal! For an extra $9.99 you can add-on a second book, which means for about $24 you are getting two hard cover books, shipped directly to you. GOOD. DEAL. I highly recommend giving them a try, and if you do please use this link to help your girl out! Without further adieu, onto the review!

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

3/5 Stars

Every once in a while I like to dig into a fantasy novel, and Sarah J. Maas has written some of my favorite series! When I walked into Barnes & Noble and saw this title on the shelf I knew I had to have it. I was even happier when I realized it’s going to be a new series. The book itself is thicccc, with 803 glorious pages full of drama, action, mystery, and adventure. Follow protagonist Bryce as she is thrown immediately into a mess far out of her control, and into a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. There are a few raunchy adult bits, as is typical per SJM’s style. If you’re not into that, I promise the story is still worth reading.

SJM does not have very diverse writing. Her characters are always described as super attractive model types with some secret backstory. There’s a hot girl with a secret, a hot broody guy who starts to be nice slowly, etc. But honestly, part of the appeal to me with her stories is that I can go in and get sucked into a story knowing full well what I’m getting into. With just enough surprise and mystery to keep me on my toes, but also while giving me the idea of what might just happen next.

If you like raunchy fantasy fiction, give it a try!

Afterland by Lauren Beukes

3/5 Stars

Follow a mom (Cole) and her son (Myles) as she navigates a world practically void of men to a safe space where they can live freely. And blood isn’t always thicker than water. Plot twist: her sister is out to get them, hoping to make her own riches using Myles for re-population efforts among the financial elite. Do you think Cole and Myles make it to safety? And what must the small family overcome along the way?

I wanted so badly to love this book. The post-apocalyptic world Beukes describes is full of some very real and very compelling concerns, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. For me it may have been the writing style, the constant back and forth between Past, Present, Super Past, Past, Present…too much. I feel the book would have read better if it was written chronologically.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

4/5 Stars

Johnson shows us a world where multiple dimensions exist, and mankind has discovered how to travel between them. This travel is used to collect data from hundreds of other Earths to Earth Zero (the OG) to anticipate anything from stock market reactions to citizenship levels. The trick is: you can’t travel to a planet where your doppelganger still exists. One girl, Cara, is a specialist when it comes to travelling: with only eight doppelgangers between 372 Earths, she can go just about anywhere. But tensions rise when another doppelganger of hers is pronounced dead, unlocking a new Earth for her that comes with a big secret that Cara just can’t shake.

Trigger Warning: there is domestic emotional/physical abuse brought up throughout the book.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

5/5 Stars

There’s…I…. I don’t even know where to begin here. This book isn’t ANYTHING like I was expecting. I didn’t read the reviews, I didn’t even read the description of the book on Goodreads. I expected such a cute, simple, Elin Hildenbrand-esque predictable summer beach read novel and NO. This was so amazing (not that Elin’s writing isn’t…but just..UGH). Read it, I really think you’ll love it.

So. I think we can all agree I’m sub-par when it comes to book reviews. BUT I like sharing what I’ve read, just as much as I like hearing what others have been reading. Sharing stories…does life really get any better?

Have you read any of these books and have any opinions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

upcoming September reads:

May & June Book Picks

As many of you may (or may not) know: I’m a pretty avid reader. I’ve loved reading since I was a child, and that’s never truly changed. Reading leisurely took a backseat during college. Spending hours and hours reading textbooks and studying and scrolling through Chegg for assistance on homework problems took up most of my time and also made me want to do anything BUT shove my nose in a book again.

Fast forward six years (wait…six? really?). I’m settled into my cozy accounting job and get to spend my evenings relaxing at home. And with work-from-home in place due to COVID-19, I’m home just about 24/7. One of my favorite things about this is the convenience of just reading on the front porch or curled up on the couch on lunch. Although I definitely miss socializing with friends at the cafeteria or getting in a good workout, these more relaxing at-home lunches aren’t so bad! And if I do choose to exercise on lunch, I have so much more free time in the evening to read due to no commute. Score!

I get two books a month sent to me via Book of the Month Club. It’s a subscription service PERFECT for book lovers (like me!). The monthly subscription fee is $14.99 and includes one book, but you can do an add-on book for another $9.99. For brand new hardback books and free shipping, it’s kind of a steal. If you’re interested in joining, I would love if you would use my referral link . Each referral will score me one free book credit to help fuel my reading addiction.

I read anywhere from two to four books a month, give or take. Reading is my “me” time – it takes me to a different place for a while and lets me leave my own thoughts and stressors behind. I delve into the characters’ stories: I feel pain when they feel pain, happiness when they feel happiness, anger when they are angry. I empathize with their emotions, every time. Every time! And it turns out that this is actually a form of therapy. Ever heard of bibliotherapy? Well, now you have!

Bibliotherapy allows you to gain insight into the personal challenges you’re dealing with and helps you develop strategies to address the most concerning issues. It can also help promote problem solving, understanding, and self-awareness.

Sara Lindberg. “Bibliotherapy: How Stories Can Help Guide the Therapeutic Process”. verywellmind, 30 Jan 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-bibliotherapy-4687157. Accessed 7 July 2020

Bibliotherapy can be used by therapists as a tool to further traditional therapy sessions. This type of therapy may help you gain insight to your own personal troubles, can help you see situations through other perspectives by experiencing them through literature, and may even offer hope in bleak scenarios. Of course, therapy needs are different for everyone. Please note I am NOT a doctor and if you need any sort of help please seek a professional. But I CAN say that for me, reading as always been therapeutic. It’s cool to know that it can also be a tool to help with traditional therapy as well!

A lot of the reading I do is within the fiction realm (although I do love a good self-help/personal growth book!). Here are some of the books I’ve read recently that I would recommend, in the order that I would recommend them (from favorite to least favorite). By the way, I’m not great at book reviews. Click on the titles to travel to thriftbooks.com to read more about the books and also see some pretty great deals (not an ad, I just found out about this website and am obsessed with how many great deals there are!).

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

This book broke my heart into a million tiny pieces. I was angry. I was sad. I was pulled into so many directions. It’s a heart-wrenching story about young inter-racial love in a modern day and age. I think this is a good book to read in light of current events. It provides a good perspective of how easily situations can be spun to make the wrong person look like the bad guy, and how easy it is to assume the wrong things. 10/10 would recommend.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read is just that: a perfect beach read. A heart-warming tale about a young author who moves temporarily to settle her father’s estate. While in the charming beach town she makes a few new friends and makes a surprising bet with a neighbor and rival. Cute, addicting, and simple. I loved this book, and I’m pretty sure I finished it in two days. I would recommend this one if you’re looking for something cute, simple, and easy to read.

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

An entertaining story about a group of rich mom’s living in NYC and a young aspiring musician in need of a job. You travel through the intricate relationships of the group of friends and get to slowly watch things unravel, with a surprise twist at the end that I certainly did NOT see coming.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I both enjoyed and felt slightly ripped off by this book. I enjoyed the thrill of it, and the writing kept me sucked in till the very end. But I also feel like it had SO MANY similarities to that Netflix show that came out, The Haunting of Hill House, that I kept picturing THAT story in my mind while reading it. And much like my opinion of Hill House, I felt that this story was great the first 75% and the last bit of it was just…lackluster? Still worth reading if you like a bit of a thriller novel. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know if you got the same vibes as I did!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A fictional story of a Hollywood icon, and how she made her life from scratch. I wasn’t too entranced with this novel at first, but I kept wanting to know how the journalist was tied to Evelyn. Why did Evelyn want this girl specifically to write her story? I kept reading for that, and honestly it was worth it. I enjoyed the ride, and loved that the character came to terms with her love and her life, and made big bold decisions regardless of what others thought (but only after struggling for years with whether or not those decisions were worth the public scrutiny). It’s a good story to show that a lot of your life really does lie in your own hands, you just have to know what’s worth it to you.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I so badly wanted to love this book. I liked the characters well enough, and the story was a pretty great rock&roll adventure. What I really struggled with most was the way it was written: interview style. It still paints a beautiful picture and tells a good story, but for some reason reading it interview style stressed me out a little? That’s probably just a weird personal thing. Of all the books I read in May and June, this is the one I probably could have done without.

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were! Alternatively, if you have any other great book recommendations, let me know. I need to expand my reading list!