August Reads and Reviews

Happy September everyone! I feel like the weather here is starting to get the hint that it's almost fall, because it's been absolutely beautiful lately. Still warm, but humidity is getting lower and our mornings and nights are starting to have a chill. I'll take it! This month I read a decent amount of books, but none of them were great. I had lots of ratings in the 3 star range, which is perfectly fine but nothing that I loved. Here's hoping I'll have better luck this month. If you have recommendations for me I would love to hear it in the comments!


Here are the books I read in August and some thoughts-


Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover


After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself. The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them. The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

* Some spoilers ahead * Quick and easy read that I picked up because my book club was reading "It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover but I couldn't get a copy in time. I liked the characters a lot but the entire premise seemed really far-fetched to me, and especially how the conflict ended up resolving itself so quickly and easily. So much build up and then it was just over? I was waiting for a twist that would make Kenna innocent and that's why she thought the in-laws would forgive her, but instead the defense was that she actually was really upset about the death so they forgave her?  Seemed very unlikely to me. Loved the relationship between Diem and Ledger though- he was a great character and probably my favorite CoHo character. 

My Rating: 3/5


Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe


Note: this won Goodread's best graphic novel of 2021.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This is only the second graphic novel I’ve read so I don’t really know what to expect with these but they’re always very confusing for me to follow! The artwork is absolutely beautiful in this and most of the storyline (the scenes with Persephone and Hades especially) were easy to understand but then with more characters or changing timelines I would get confused. Everyone kind of looked the same to me! Was able to get through this in about an hour and kind of want to try out more graphic novels...maybe starting with Volume 2 of this series?

My rating- 3/5



The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha. It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.

What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.

It took me a while to get through this book. The premise and mystery of it was pretty interesting, and I liked the dual timelines of Nan's time in Ireland vs. present day and how they connected. But- I didn't enjoy the writing style and really struggled to keep going! One thing it did make me want to do is read some Agatha Christie books- I enjoyed her character a lot and am interested in reading some of her famous detective novels.

My Rating - 2/5



The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won't hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city's hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they'll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems--until they discover a new one--their growing attraction to each other. They've built the syllabus for love's latest experiment, but neither of them expected they'd be the ones putting it to the test. 

I read this as a follow-up to The Roommate since I enjoyed that so much and was interested in one of the side characters (Naomi) in that story, but I didn’t like this one nearly as much. The premise didn’t feel as realistic and the conversations still felt forced and fake (I remember cringing at some of the dialogue in The Roomate as well). But I liked the seminar contrasting the developing relationship and some of the hijinks that ensued.

My Rating - 2.5/5


We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz



Emily is having the time of her life--she's in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But on the last night of their trip, Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she'd been flirting with attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year's trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Emily can't believe it's happened again--can lightning really strike twice?

Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, diving head-first into a new relationship and throwing herself into work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to to confront their violent past. The more Kristen tries to keep Emily close, the more Emily questions her friend's motives. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their coverups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can she outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom--even her life?

Easy thriller to read but also brought up some good questions in my own mind- if I was in Emily's position would I do the same thing as her? What would be my response? I liked the different settings and the small cast of characters made it easy to know what’s going on. Twists weren’t too “out there” and nothing was surprising but it was a good, easy read. Perfectly ok, even if the ending was way too convenient and tied up too easily for Emily!

My Rating - 3/5


The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes


When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to BeyoncĂ©. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

Cute easy read- like the devil wears Prada but set in the tech age. I absolutely loved the character of Imogen and was rooting for her the whole time! Not much substance in the book but really fun to read. The premise was really relatable about keeping up with new technology and trying to not become a "dinosaur" as younger and younger people are entering the professional world and things change every day, but it was so over-the-top and ridiculous with how everything was presented that it didn't at all seem realistic. Still a fun read though!

My Rating - 3.5/5



DNF: The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

This book was horrible..the premise sounded so fun (girl takes over her friend's summer job of being a sommelier at a fancy hotel in Scotland) but the characters were all so unlikable and the writing seemed to be trying too hard to be funny. I got through about 50 pages before abandoning.

Comments

  1. It's never a great month of reading when you don't get at least one four or five star read. How disappointing for you! Hopefully September will turn things around.

    ReplyDelete

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