July 28, 2023

What I Read in June 2023

I read four books in June, putting me at 37 books for the year – well behind my goal of 100 books this year. I just have not made the time for reading as much as I should, where I’m usually only getting in 15 minutes a night or so before bed, and certain books are hanging me up (like the Society of Shame, reviewed below). July has not been much better, but I am hoping August can be a month of prioritizing reading, including some light stuff and some nonfiction.

These two novels were both AMAZING and I couldn't put them down!

5 stars:

Happy Place, by Emily Henry: Harriet and Wyn were the perfect couple, until they suddenly broke up. Months later, Harriet is still devastated, and is looking forward to her annual week in Maine with her college BFFs and their partners… and she arrives to find that Wyn is there too. She never told her BFFs about the breakup, and with one of her friends getting married that week and wanting them in the wedding, Harriet and Wyn decide to keep pretending they’re dating. But pretending is hard when it turns out they both still miss each other! This sounds like a totally trite plot, but this novel is actually very rich and thoughtful – I absolutely loved it. Emily Henry does an amazing job exploring the depth of love and friendship, and made me felt seen as I saw my own anxiety reflected in Harriet’s thoughts. Highly recommended!

The Breakaway, by Jennifer Weiner: I love, love, loved this book so much – definitely Weiner’s best, and I couldn’t put it down! Abby and Mark met at weight loss camp as kids, and briefly dated – but then as adults, they reconnected and rekindled their romance. Abby is now 34 and they’re getting serious about moving in together and getting married, but even though Mark is perfect on paper, something about it feels not quite right to Abby. Luckily, a friend asks her to step in to lead a bike tour of upstate New York, so Abby eagerly takes the opportunity to step away from her real life and reflect on what really makes her happy. And, surprise – on the trip are both her mother (who drives her crazy), and a hot one night stand she’s never been able to forget. The book is told from multiple perspectives – both Abby and many of the other riders on the tour, each of whom has their own secrets and stories. The characters all worked really well together, the story moved quickly, and my only complaint was that the ending was a tad bit rushed… but overall, a definite 5 stars! I think this is going to be my favorite book of the summer. (And if you love it too, don’t forget to check out Weiner’s companion short story, Golden Hills.)

4 stars:

Golden Hills, by Jennifer Weiner: This was an interesting short story about Ida, a democratic Congresswoman now running for Senator. She’s a frontrunner, until her campaign manager asks: “Who’s Marissa Schuyler?” Marissa was Ida’s bunkmate at Camp Golden Hills, a weight loss camp they attended as teens. Now, Marissa is the wife of a major conservative donor, and Ida’s scared of the secret she may reveal to undermine her. The story flashes back and forth from past to present, and the secret is a little underwhelming once we finally get there, but it was still an enjoyable quick read.

3 stars:

The Society of Shame, by Jane Roper: Kathleen is the wife of a candidate for New York Senator – so it’s front page news when she finds out her husband is having an affair. However, the focus of the news isn’t Bill’s wrongdoing; it’s the period stain on her pants, which ignites a national women’s rights movement. Kathleen ends up joining a group called “The Society of Shame”, a group of people who have been part of their own scandals and are trying to up their lives back together. This was an interesting read about cancel culture and the mercurial nature of social media, and while it was slow to start, it picked up about a third of the way through. Kathleen wasn’t the most likable heroine (in fact, she was pretty annoying at times), but the plot was intriguing enough to keep me reading.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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