Books I Read July and August 2018

by - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I realized I'm two months behind now on my book updates, but not to fear, I didn't get a ton of reading done in August since I was so busy with everything else. I did read a ton in July though, and some of the books I read in the middle of summer were truly amazing.


July reads

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This is a beautifully written book and I'm so glad I finally got off the waitlist for it at the library. The story follows a Korean family over decades as they try to build a life in Japan. It starts in the 1930s and ends in 1989. The author uses the game of Pachinko as a perfect parallel for the way fate intervenes in this family's life -- sometimes for good, sometimes not. This is a story of a family struggling to pull themselves out of poverty and make a home in a foreign land where they may never be accepted or treated as equals. Bonus: I saw the author speak at the National Book Festival in DC and hearing the background and how she took 30 years to write this book made me love it even more. This is the book that will likely be my favorite read of the year.

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth
I just discovered Sally Hepworth as an author earlier this year, and I enjoyed this second book I read just as much as the first. It's the story of Zoe, a girl with crippling social anxiety, and her mother, who has always been Zoe's rock and helped her cope and feel normal. When Alice gets sick, Zoe's world gets upended. This is a touching story about the family you're born with, but also the family you create for yourself.

Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
One of the many books I read at the beach this summer, this book told the story of an ex-convict named Shay trying to get back on her feet after being released from prison. It's a heart-warming story of how she tries to build trust with those in her community as she's setting up her new home. It was a perfect summer read.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I couldn't put this book down. I loved the writing style and the story behind each of Evelyn Hugo's many marriages. Highly recommend.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
This was a good book, because the subject matter is darkly fascinating. How can one person commit so many crimes and not be found until some 40 years later? But at times I felt the telling of the story was a little bit disjointed, bouncing around from Michelle's life to crime scenes and back again. I did enjoy the fact that I read this book after the killer was caught. I think the most fun for me was reading something in Michelle's research and then hitting up Google to see if that particular hunch bore itself out in the actual killer.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
Jane Green has been one of my favorite authors since I heard her speak at a book festival many years ago. I always feel her stories are so well-told and this one was no different. This book follows the story of former actress Ronni Sunshine and her three estranged daughters as Ronni ages and battles a terminal illness.

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
This was the tragic story of a young girl who dies in a car crash on the night of high school gradation and her twin brother who winds up in a coma and what happens to their friends and family on Nantucket after the crash. Well-written and engrossing.

August reads

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
This was a cute book, that I know was loosely based on Ephron's own divorce. And man I hope she fictionalized some parts of this big time because the husband character in this book is actually the worst. This was a fun, fast read.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
A good murder mystery set in a beach town. It made for a perfect light summer read.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
From the minute I picked up this book, I couldn't put it down. The story follows two characters, one a war-time spy, the other a girl trying to find her missing cousin, as their stories weave together and overlap. I didn't realize how much of this book was based on true stories until I read the author's note at the end. She took a few liberties with certain storylines, but based on her notes, so much of this book was pulled straight from history, which I found incredibly fascinating.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
I'm grateful a friend set my expectations low with this one, telling me it was slow moving and a bit disappointing after all the rave reviews it got. I think that might have made me like it more than I would have otherwise. The one thing I didn't love was that this one incident that happened in the book did not seem like a big deal, but it ended up becoming a huge part of the plot and impacted how characters interacted with each other. I didn't really relate and felt meh about that whole plot line. The unnamed Trump administration call out at the end was interesting, but I closed the book unsure if I should feel hopeful or depressed.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
What would you do if you found out the exact date you would die? That's the premise of this book that follows four siblings after they meet with a psychic who predicts their death date. Each child handles the news differently and the knowledge has a profound impact on their lives. A good thought-provoking read that I'm looking forward to discussing with friends.

Have you read anything good lately?

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