Books I Read July 2019

by - Thursday, August 08, 2019

July is always a big month of reading because I spend a week at the beach tearing through books. But this year I also had a work trip in July where I got to curl up with a couple of books during my train ride.


That meant I got through ten books this month. Here they are by ranking:

5 stars

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This book was billed as a fun and light-hearted beach read about the First Son of the United States falling in love with the Prince of Great Britain. But I actually found it to be a lot deeper than a book about a fun romantic tryst between the sons of two major world leaders. Sure there was plenty of the scenes you'd expect in any chick lit, but this book also tackled the really challenging topic of how one comes out to one's family and the repercussions of that on the world's political stage. Did the book maybe paint too rosy of a picture of those outcomes? Sure it did, but it was a pretty beautiful and hopeful picture and I'm here for that.

4 Stars

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
I enjoyed this story about three generations of midwives from the same family and found myself turning the pages so I could find out what happened next in the lives of Flossie, Grace and Neva. I found Flossie's story to be the most predictable, but probably the best of the three. Neva's story was a bit on the thinner side, but I loved the way the actions and reactions of each character impacted and shaped the lives of the others.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos
This book tells the story of the women at Golden Oaks, a "surrogacy farm" where the 1% can farm out their pregnancies to immigrant women, who earn a huge payout for carrying and then delivering a healthy child. The book touches on white privilege and the extents at which some immigrants will go to give their families' an attempt at a better life. Rules at the farm are strict and if the "Hosts" don't abide by them, they receive all forms of punishment, whether it's physical or emotional. This book paints the picture of a strange reality, but I couldn't put it down.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
This was such a light and fun summer read. I totally loved it. It follows twin sisters who live on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. They were separated as kids when their parents divorced and have spent their lives totally separately. When their father dies, the girls are thrown together and forced to spend time on each other's islands.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
This book was a super fast read -- I tore through it in about three hours. I enjoyed the story of how many generations of one family are changed when a young intern has an affair with a congressman. I thought there were parts of the story that could have been explored in more depth, but overall, I liked the way each main character got a look at separation section of the book dedicated to them.

White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf
This book looks at what happens in the suburbs when families that have very different views on what the "ideal suburban life" should be completely clash with each other. One neighbor is a developer, hell bent on tearing down the quaint Sears homes and replacing them with McMansions. Another neighbor is irate when the charm of his town and every bit of green space is overtaken by massive homes, ruining his own view. When a new family moves in and trees in the neighborhood mysteriously start getting cut down in the night, the neighborhood reaches a boiling point. I enjoyed this satirical take on suburban life, and perhaps especially because it was based one on of the DC suburbs.

3 Stars 

Deadfall by Linda Fairstein
I enjoy coming back to the Alex Cooper stories over and over again. It's like revisiting old friends, but I didn't love this book as much as some of the older ones. It felt like the story was too much of a stretch and some of the plot lines are getting a bit formulaic.

Blood Oath by Linda Fairstein
The 20th Alexandra Cooper book was slightly better than its predecessor. Alex finally seems to be getting past her kidnapping -- that book and the one immediately following were my least favorites, so I'm glad to see one of my favorite characters starting to get back to herself. I thought the ending of this book was a bit abrupt and wrapped itself up a bit too neatly, but I'm hoping maybe the next one will get back to what I loved about some of the earlier books in this series.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
I typically feel kind of meh about Elizabeth Gilbert books, but this one was getting so much buzz that I decided to pick it up at the library. The story follows a young girl from a privileged family after she gets kicked out of Vassar and shipped off to New York City to live with her "quirky" aunt who runs a small playhouse. The story is set just before the United States is pulled in to World War II. Vivian lands in NYC extremely sheltered and is immediately exposed to everything her parents are hoping she'll avoid. The book follows Vivian's life story. It's moderately interesting but way too long.

2 Stars

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
I thought this book was painfully slow until the last 100 pages -- then I couldn't put it down. But it's a 430 page book, so I felt like I had to force myself through the first 300 pages before it got good. For a book that was so highly touted, I found it disappointing.

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