Books I Read July 2021

by - Monday, August 09, 2021

After a slower month of reading in June, I can credit my beach vacation in July for helping me finish more books last month. There is nothing like sitting by the ocean relaxing with a good book. This month's books were an overall solid batch. There was one true standout, but several others that I'd highly recommend. 

July 2021 books

Five Stars

Half LifeHalf Life by Jillian Cantor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It was really interesting and different, and it made you think about how the choices you make in life impact where you end up. This book tells the story of Marie Curie two different ways. In one version of her life, Marie is the woman we all know today, whose discovery of radium and polonium led to many of the advancements we have. That version of her life is a little bit fictionalized, but largely follows her true story. In the other version of her life, Marie never goes to France to study. Instead she marries and stays in Poland. This version is obviously completely fictional, but I love how the author pulls on threads from her real life to sprinkle through the fictionalized life. It's interesting to see how the two lives share similarities and where they were different. A good, thought-provoking book. Highly recommend.

Four Stars

The Last Thing He Told MeThe Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun and fast read that sucked me in from the first moment and left me wanting to find out what happened. When Hannah receives a cryptic note from her husband that says "protect her," she knows he's referring to his daughter. But he has disappeared and she's left to find answers on her own. The only reason I gave this four stars instead of five is that I thought some of the plot points were a bit too obvious or I saw them coming too soon. So while there wasn't really a big twist, this was still a really fun read.

Too Good to Be TrueToo Good to Be True by Carola Lovering
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The twist in this book got me, but I almost feel like it happened a little too early in the book. The first half of this book was excellent. You have three narrators telling you their stories. One man and his two two wives who seemingly know nothing about each other. But after the twist, there was a lot still being explained and I felt like we already knew what happened (and what would inevitably happen). This was still a good book, but I felt like the second half could have been shortened.

What You Wish ForWhat You Wish For by Katherine Center
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book pretty much pulled me in from page one and I finished it in a day. Sam works as a school librarian at a liberal, family-run school. But when the beloved principal dies, the head of the school board hires his complete opposite, a man Sam worked with out a previous school. Sam remembers him as a fun, outgoing teacher, but that's not who he is anymore. As Sam and her colleagues grapple with the changes he's making to the school, she's also trying to rationalize the teacher she once knew with the man he is now. She sets out to try to help him remember his old self, in the hopes of saving the school she knows and loves.

Feels Like FallingFeels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun, easy breezy summer book -- perfect for reading at the beach. What I loved most about this book was the power of friendship, especially from unexpected places, to pull us up when it feels like the world just keeps knocking us down.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really powerful look at the criminal justice system in the US, and the harsh sentences handed down to Black people. The only thing that was tough for me in this book was keeping track of some of the timelines and story lines. I think that was because I listened to the audiobook version instead of reading the physical copy.

Three Stars

The Summer of Lost and Found (Beach House, #7)The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a great book to read while sitting at the beach, however, I don't think I was quite ready to read a fictional book set in covid times. It was just a little too real. I enjoyed the story between the characters, and how they coped with quarantine and other things with the pandemic. But maybe it was just a little bit too soon for something like this.

The Last Story of Mina LeeThe Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book looks at the immigrant experience from the point of view of a Korean mother and her American-born daughter. When Margot shows up at her mother's apartment and finds her dead, she doesn't accept the police's conclusion that her mother tripped and hit her head. She digs into her mother's past and learns a lot about what brought her mother to the U.S. and what she endured to hide her immigration status. Because this book was billed a bit as a mystery, I thought it would be a bit more fast-paced, but I found it a bit slow at times.

The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project, #1)The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the way this book opened with three woman bonding over a scam artist who was trying to date all of them (and get them to pay for all the dates) at the same time. But I felt like the book pivoted too fast away from that to the newer romance story line, and I felt meh about that. One thing I did like though is that the ending of this book set up potential story lines for the other women characters, and that was one thing I really liked about the Playbook series. So even though I didn't love this book, I may read some of the others since I'm curious to see how the other women's stories will end.

You May Also Like