As I’m starting to get back to “normal life” following my hormone-induced depression from IVF, I’m reading a bit less than the last few months… but I still read eight books in August, keeping me well on track for meeting my goal of 100 books a year. And a lot of them were awesome!
Stay Awake, by Megan Goldin: Liv wakes up in a taxi with no recollection of how she got there… and when she goes to “her apartment”, she finds other people living there. She reaches in her pocket for her phone, and finds a bloody knife – what on earth has happened?! This gripping thriller has so many twists and turns, while still being (mostly) believable, and I absolutely loved it, reading it all in one night. There were a few motives I didn’t understand, but they didn’t take away from my enjoyment; I just really want all my friends to read this book so we can discuss. Highly recommend this!!
The Man I Never Met, by Elle Cook: Do NOT read the official plot summary, as it contains a big spoiler I wish I hadn’t known! Instead, suffice to say that Texan Davey is trying to call into an interview for a job as an architect in London, but he misdials and reaches Hannah, a 20something Londoner. After the call, he texts her to tell her he got the job and will be moving to London – and the two start calling / texting frequently. I absolutely adored this novel, especially how it showed that what people are thinking / feeling may not be what they’re expressing to others. This was really engaging and hard to put down, and my only complaint is that the ending was a little bit rushed… but I still loved it 🙂
Counterfeit, by Kirstin Chen: Ava is a former lawyer, now bored stay-at-home mom, who gets together with an old college roommate and is pulled into Winnie’s scheme to sell counterfeit luxury handbags. The plot was really twisty and fun, reminding me of Susan Rigetti’s Cover Story (which I loved), right down to how part of the plot was told through Ava’s testimony to a detective, and I found it a really fast-paced novel that I couldn’t put down. Really fun, and I’ll be honest that it made me half wonder if I could get into the counterfeit business 😉
It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover: As a kid, Lily fell in love with Atlas, a homeless boy who went to her school. Now, she’s moved from small town Maine to Boston, and finds sparks flying with a hot neurosurgeon, Ryle, though he’s honest that he doesn’t want anything more than a one-night stand. As that relationship starts to develop, Atlas reappears. This probably sounds like a light love triangle, but it’s SO much more – I just don’t want to spoil the serious subject matter. This was really different than the other two Colleen Hoover novels I’ve read (each one has felt like a completely different author), but I absolutely loved it for its thoughtful coverage of difficult situations as well as its thought provoking issues of right and wrong. To be totally honest, parts of Lily’s relationship with Ryle reminded me of my ex-boyfriend, and I think it was rather cathartic for me to realize what that breakup may have saved me from. Highly recommend!
Carrie Soto Is Back, by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I read this in May, but somehow missed reviewing it till now. This novel was PHENOMENAL; I literally couldn’t put it down and read it in one sitting. Carrie is a 37 year old former tennis pro who became known as a bitch (with the nickname “The Battle Axe”) because of her unapologetic ambition and intense drive to succeed. Now, with her Grand Slam record about to be broken by a 31 year old phenom, Carrie decides to attempt an against-all-odds comeback to the sport she spent her whole life working to win. I cannot say enough how much I loved this book… and admittedly, how I saw a lot of Carrie in myself. Taylor Jenkins Reid knocks it out of the park with both the narrative and the portrayal of how the world sees successful women. GET THIS BOOK AS SOON AS IT COMES OUT!
The German Midwife, by Mandy Robotham: Anke is a midwife who, though not Jewish, becomes a prisoner in a German concentration camp. However, she’s then plucked from the camp with a special assignment: to be the live-in midwife for Eva Braun, who is carrying Adolf Hitler’s child. It’s really interesting to see her internal conflict between wanting to help women / babies and wanting to sabotage the Reich – and of course, there’s her own safety to consider if she chooses the latter. The story is told with two timelines, one of her “present day” situation as a midwife to Eva Braun, and one going back in time to why / how she was taken to Ravensbruck in the first place. Overall, it’s an interesting “what if” book, reminding me a bit of Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Rodham” in how realistic it seemed and making me question what was real and what was fiction.
A Brush with Love (A Brush with Love #1), by Mazey Eddings: Harper is a third year oral surgery student with severe anxiety; she literally crashes into a hot first year, Dan, and sparks fly. But while Harper loves teeth and will do anything to succeed, Dan is the opposite: a former investment banker who’s forced by his family to go to med school instead, and hates every bit of it. I thought the author did a great job portraying what it’s like to go through life with anxiety disorder, making the book feel didactic as well as entertaining. Solid romcom!
The Bodyguard, by Katherine Center: Hannah is a bodyguard, and while she usually protects relatively unknown wealthy people, this time, she’s been hired to protect famous movie star Jack Stapleton. And, she has to be undercover from his family, so the cover is that she’s his new girlfriend. You can guess where this goes 🙂 I found this a really cute, fun, and sweet read, though it did get a little old whenever Hannah got starstruck, which seemed out of place given how seriously she supposedly took her career. Overall, still highly recommend!
Book Lovers, by Emily Henry: Nora is an ambitious book agent with quite a cutthroat reputation – which she hadn’t quite realized until one of her authors writes a novel that seems to be about Nora, portraying her life in a very unflattering light. So she agrees to a month-long trip to a small town in North Carolina with her sister Libby, who has a bucket list of small town items they need to do by the end of the summer. This was raved about as one of the “books of the summer” (and all my friends seemed to LOOOOOVE it), but while I immediately adored the first chapter of this book, it then kind of lost its steam for me and I wasn’t super excited to keep reading. I found several of the main characters really annoying, and the tropes they fell into seemed a bit heavy handed and obvious.
Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.