Books I Read August 2020

by - Wednesday, September 02, 2020

August seemed like a really slow month of reading for me, but when I looked back at my Goodreads account, I'd finished the same amount of books as normal. I'm wondering if it was just because some of the plots were heavier and not some of the lighter, quicker reads I typically pick up in the summer. 

I've also been continuing to listen to audio books on my long runs, and I listened to some great ones this month.

Here's what I read and listened to in August.

Five Stars

The Wife Between UsThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh this book was so twisty and good. An excellent suspenseful thriller that kept me company as an audio book on my long runs. Basically everything you assume in the first part of the book turns out to be totally wrong and you get pulled along on one crazy journey. I am loving the books by these two authors. I hope they write more soon!

One to WatchOne to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a delightful, fast and fun read. It's about Bea, a plus-sized fashion blogger who gets asked to be the star of The Main Squeeze (this book's version of the Bachelor/Bachelorette). I love those shows, and this book hit all the right points for me. Bea had guys who were villains and completely awful to her. She had suitors that "weren't there for the right reasons." All the while, Bea had to deal with her own insecurities while on national TV, unsure if she even deserved love. This was one of my favorite books of the summer.

The Vanishing HalfThe Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! It was beautifully written, and so many times while I was reading, I would stop and go, "No....that did not just happen." The book tells the story of two sisters both light-skinned Black women. One chooses to live life as a Black woman, and the other decides to "pass" as a white woman. This book makes you think quite a bit about why anyone should need to pretend to be white.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book on my long runs, and it totally made the miles fly by. This book is a complete fantasy that asks you to believe that children can be "peculiar" or have special abilities -- like brute strength, invisibility and even elements of time travel. But because these children aren't "normal," they are outcasts from society and hunted down by others. I got half way through it one one of my long runs and I couldn't wait for the next run to finish the story.

Four Stars

The Starless SeaThe Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book a lot, but didn't love it quite as much as the Night Circus. This book is beautifully written and has so many intricacies, but I struggled to keep some of the storylines straight in my brain over the course of the book.

The Island of Sea WomenThe Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa See's books are just so good, and her newest didn't disappoint. This book is set on the Korean island of Jeju and follows the story of two young girls, who are best friends and members of the all-female diving group in their village. The book follows the girls over decades of their lives -- through War War II and the Korean War, and flashes back and forth between historical bits and present day when you meet the granddaughter of one of the girls. This was a beautifully sweeping epic story, and I was a little sad when it ended.

My Sister, the Serial KillerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is funny and also kind of crazy. The main character is a nurse and as such, she knows just how to clean up after her sister continues to murder her boyfriends. Things get a bit more complicated when her sister starts to date the doctor she has always had a crush on.

The Guest ListThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great suspense book for a fun escape. A power couple is getting married on a small island off the coast of Ireland. Everything is going according to plan until someone ends up dead. The book is told from the perspective of several different characters, and by the time you find out who dies almost everyone has a motive.

Three Stars

Friends and StrangersFriends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

J. Courtney Sullivan explores the nature of a relationship between a young mother and her new baby-sitter. The mother is a new transplant to the suburbs after living in New York for 2o years and working a fast paced job as a reporter at the Times. She's not coping well and missing her friends and though I don't think it's explicitly stated, you get the sense she's got a bit of postpartum depression. She forms a strange friendship with her college-aged babysitter. Parts of this book were so great, but other parts I thought were so strange and a little unbelievable. Also, the main character was super mean to her father-in-law all the time and that made her really unlikable.

They Wish They Were UsThey Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A snotty prep school, a secret society, a supposedly open and shut murder-- that was anything but. This book had all the elements to suck me in and be a super fast read, but I struggled a bit to get through it. I can't really put my finger on why because I enjoyed it, I just thought it lagged a bit at parts.

Unicorn PrincessUnicorn Princess by Shannon Gilligan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago my friends and I were talking about those Choose Your Own Adventure Books from our childhoods. And then my friend sent me one to read. This one however wasn't one of the old chapter books I remember from childhood. Apparently there are now illustrated Choose Your Own Adventure children's books. The fun part about this being so short is that I was easily able to read all the possible endings -- and of course, the first one I picked was definitely the "you got busted by the camp counselor" story over one. I used to do that in the chapter books all the time too! Anyway this was a really fun blast from the past kind of read, and gave me some good ideas for gifts for the kiddos in my life.

Two Stars

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was intrigued by this book because it was about a book club, obviously. Plot-wise, I thought it started a little bit slow, but then certainly picked up as the book club got into the actual vampire slaying. But here's the part I couldn't take and why I'm only giving this book two stars. I could not stand the way this male author wrote his female characters. There is a LOT of sexism in this book. It was set in the 80s, and it stuck to pretty traditional gender roles of housewives and working male husbands. But it went far beyond that with how little agency any of the women had, and how they crumpled under their husbands' questioning. Those parts of the book (and there were many of them) made me so incredibly mad.

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Have you read anything good lately? I'm always up for recommendations.

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