August Reads and Reviews

Hi everyone! This was a pretty light reading month for me- I was so busy with other stuff that I didn't find a lot of time to sit down with a book. I did finish a few though (and gave up on one dud) and enjoyed them all a lot! Here's what I read in August-

You Are Not Alone

Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better. Shay would die for them to like her. She may have to.

It feels weird to call this a fun book because the plot is pretty heavy, but it's so enjoyable. The story switches between timelines and different characters, telling the story from multiple points of view. There's a lot of suspense, mystery, death, and deceit- the recipe for a thrilling book. I loved the pacing of the book and how different pieces of the puzzle were slowly shared. Highly recommend this for a quick and easy beach read.

My rating - 4/5

One to Watch

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers--and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition--under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She's in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That's it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She's in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men--and herself--for a chance to live happily ever after.

This book was on the complete opposite spectrum of my last book- it was a great romance novel that doesn't go too over the top and has a fantastic premise. As a previous die-hard Bachelor(ette) fan, I love how this book goes behind the scenes of a fictionalized version called Main Squeeze. When a plus sized blogger is chosen, we get to go behind the scenes and get every nitty gritty detail. 

I love how this book switched between text, email, article, social media, and story line. It felt like I was living in the world and following along with the action in real-time! The characters were relatable and made me wish that this was an actual show I could follow. LOVED this book and would highly recommend if you also love rom-coms or reality TV.

My rating - 5/5

Little Fires Everywhere

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned--from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren--an enigmatic artist and single mother--who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

I watched the series on Hulu earlier this year and loved it- for some reason I thought this book was about something different (I had it in my mind it was autobiographical) and avoided it, but had to read it after flying through the series. So- I've been patiently waiting for the book to come available at the library and devoured it! I kind of wish I read the book before watching the show- I already knew what was going to happen and was picturing the actors while I was reading the conversations. I liked the simple writing style which moved the plot along quickly (Sometimes I just want a book that moves instead of describing things in a ton of detail). It was also cool that the story took place near Cleveland and Pittsburgh so a lot of the references I understood!

My rating - 4.5/5

Self Care

Maren Gelb is on a company-imposed digital detox. She tweeted something terrible about the President's daughter, and as the COO of Richual, “the most inclusive online community platform for women to cultivate the practice of self-care and change the world by changing ourselves,” it's a PR nightmare. Not only is CEO Devin Avery counting on Maren to be fully present for their next round of funding, but indispensable employee Khadijah Walker has been keeping a secret that will reveal just how feminist Richual’s values actually are, and former Bachelorette contestant and Richual board member Evan Wiley is about to be embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal that could destroy the company forever.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves—from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

I wanted to share a book that I gave up on this month as well- I usually give myself 10% of a book to either get into it or give up on it. This one didn't catch my attention at all and I didn't like the writing style- it seemed like an over-exaggeration of social media influencers and wasn't enjoyable to me at all. I heard there's some kind of twist at the end, but I couldn't get myself to keep reading.


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