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Posts tagged “book reviews

Book Reviews: Summer ’19 Edition

I’m so happy with how much I’ve been able to read this summer – 10 books in 2 months. Check out my reviews below and let me know what you’re favorite book has been this summer!

No Exit – Taylor Adams: This was a perfect vacation read – quick and suspenseful with twists and turns until the very end. The premise is ridiculously creepy. A girl gets stuck in a snowstorm and has to wait it out at a remote highway rest stop. She makes a horrifying discovery – in the back of the van parked next to her car is a little girl locked in an animal crate. With no cell service and no exit, she has to unmask and unwit the captor inside.
Grade: A-

Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker: I’m already fascinated by sleep and dreams, and this book gave me everything I wanted and more. If you’re not already as interested as me, it might feel a little repetitive, but the author says in the beginning to jump around, read the chapters that interest you, and even (you guessed it) fall asleep reading! Ha. Read this book and you will never think about sleep the same way again … and you’ll become a sleep nazi to everyone around you!
Grade: A

Summer of ’69 – Elin Hilderbrand: I’ve only started reading Hilderbrand’s novels in the last year, and I’m ready to go to the library and check them all out for my summer reading list. Her latest follows her typical formula, and draws you in to the stories of every member in the family – their secrets, their love interests and their personal struggles while also intertwining the national climate (Vietnam War, Woodstock, Apollo 11) during the summer of ’69.
Grade: A

Lock Every Door – Riley Sager: I devoured this book in 2 days. Set in a mysterious, famous residence in the Upper West Side of NYC, I was immediately drawn in. Sager’s writing is efficient yet captivating, and has the right amount of twists and turns to haunt you throughout. Want a quick beach read that will keep you guessing? This is it.
Grade: A

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens: This was the first audio book I’ve ever listened to as an adult (Mom and I used to listen to them all the time growing up – picked them up at Cracker Barrel on road trips, ha!). I felt like I was late to the party on this Reese Witherspoon pick, but I’m so glad I joined. This book has the most fascinating main character and an intriguing plot. While there’s an underlying mystery, I found myself not as concerned with solving that and more interested in life in the marsh. A very unique book that I think will soon become a high school reading list staple.
Grade: A+

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking: Hygge n.(pronounced HOOH-GA) – a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
I am currently all in on living my best hygge life. This book is part self-help, part Danish culture and part happiness psychology. Not only did I learn a lot, but it provoked a lot of introspective thinking. This is a perfect little gift for someone, and a perfect side table book to pick up when you’re feeling down and want to learn how to be happier.
Grade: A+

The Golden Hour – Beatriz Williams: My least favorite book of the summer – it starts out a little slow, but picks up as the character’s stories across countries and decades start to weave together. I was hoping for another Along the Infinite Sea (one of my favorite books of 2016), and though it felt similar in ways, this didn’t have the same intrigue and sparkle. Historical fiction set in WWII era-Nassau, it follows a love story, the glamorous Duke and Duchess of Windsor and a mysterious crime.
Grade: B-

When Life Gives You Lululemons – Lauren Weisberger: The quote-unquote sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, this is a quintessential summer pick. Though I never read the former, I obviously know and love the movie. In the book, you’re immediately entertained by Emily’s new job post-Miranda Priestly, and you quickly get swept away in the drama of the housewives of Greenwich, CT with their neighborhood gossip and never-ending happy hours, all while wearing lululemon.
Grade: A

Final Girls – Riley Sager: I’m now officially a Riley Sager fangirl and have read all of his books (yes it’s a him, under a pseudonym), this one being his first. Three girls are part of three separate unthinkable tragedies and are the only ones left behind. This thriller is about how they cope separately, until another tragedy hits close to home. It’s full of so many twists, is seriously creepy and a terrific debut.
Grade: A

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress – Rachel Deloache Williams: I can’t say this book was written well, or didn’t get a little lengthy about mid-way through, but I can say the story is FASCINATING and I can’t wait for HBO show (it’s already in the works.) The true story of a Russian girl who conned New York City’s wealthy, you’ll be questioning how she did it the entire way through.
Grade: A-

 

xo xo
You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: The Six Artists, The Seven Husbands + The Millions of Corks

 Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid: This is one of the most uniquely written, and captivating books I’ve read in a very long time. I don’t want to give too much away, but the story of the whirlwind rise and fall of a rock’n roll group in the ’70s is hauntingly beautiful, fascinating and kept me turning the page for more.
Grade: A+

Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker: If you’re interested in wine – and not just drinking it – but the behind the scenes of the wine industry, the restaurant/wine culture in NYC and the makings of becoming a sommelier, read this. It did drag a bit in the middle, but overall very interesting and enjoyable. And obviously makes you want to drink more wine.
Grade: B

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid: So after I read Daisy Jones, I was told to read this book by the same author. I’d heard so much about this one, but for some reason never picked it up. After loving Daisy Jones, I was skeptical it could be as good, but had to try. Y’all. This author can do no wrong. Again, uniquely written, captivating and hauntingly beautiful. Do yourself a favor and pick them both up to read this summer.
Grade: A+

The Bride Test – Helen Hoang: Another repeat author, Hoang wrote one of my favorite books of 2018 – The Kiss Quotient. This one is similar in that it’s a super sweet story, easy read, but has more depth than you’d expect. A love story between an autistic man who doesn’t think he can love and a Vietnamese “mail order bride.” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be rooting for these characters.
Grade: A

 

xo xo
You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: The Dreamers, The Sisters + The Photographers

The Dreamers – Karen Thompson Walker: As someone who loves all things related to sleeping/dreaming, this book fascinated me. An ordinary town is transformed by a mysterious illness that triggers perpetual sleep. Though a little repetitive in the middle, this unique story kept me quickly reading to solve the mystery.
Grade: A

The Winter Sister – Megan Collins: Another female-led thriller (my fave) with a little less suspense than I’d like, but still enjoyable. Solid B, easy read, didn’t love the characters.
Grade: B

The Age of Light – Whitney Schrarer: I love love loved this book! Set in 1940s Paris, it’s based on the real-life love affair between photographer Man Ray and model turned photographer Lee Miller, whom I knew nothing about, but immediately took me down the Google rabbit hole. The writing was sharp, the characters complex, and it felt like a romance novel + historical fiction. I couldn’t turn away.
Grade: A+

Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis: This one makes me very sad to report because I’m such a Rachel Hollis fangirl (and still am). However, this book just didn’t do it for me. It felt like it was trying too hard to be the cool older sister to Girl, Wash Your Face. There were still some great nuggets of wisdom, advice and empowerment, but overall not quite the energy I was hoping for.
Grade: B-

 

xo xo
You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: Becoming Busy, Becoming Anonymous, Becoming More

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty: I’ve read most of Liane Moriarty’s books and typically devour them. This one was thicker than most and took me a little longer to get into, but overall I really enjoyed it. She weaves the unique cast of characters and intriguing plot together well – this one focusing on nine strangers who go to a “health retreat” that ends up being quite a bit different than what they all signed up for.
Grade: B+

An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks + Sarah Pekkanen: I loved this duo’s first book The Wife Between Us so was excited to see what they could come up with next. Unfortunately for me this one fell kind of flat. It was a similar style of differing perspectives per chapter, of which you didn’t know which character to trust, but it didn’t have quite the same excitement or intrigue.
Grade: B-

This Will Only Hurt a Little – Busy Philipps: Y’all, I liked Busy Philipps before this autobiography, I love her now. That’s a good endorsement, yeah? Her childhood and story are so radically different from mine, and she tells it in such a distinct, funny voice. I laughed, I was shocked, and I learned some behind the scenes TV secrets about Freaks + Geeks, Dawson’s Creek and Cougar Town. By the end of it, she really feels like your crazy best friend.
Grade: A-

Becoming – Michelle Obama: I cannot recommend this book enough!!! I know it’s probably the most hyped book of the year, but it 100% lived up to the hype and more. I was fascinated by Michelle’s entire story, everything from her Chicago upbringing to falling in love with Barack to the intricacies of White House living. She makes you feel like an insider. She gives you hope. And she really makes you long for the Obama presidential era.
Grade: A+

xo xo
You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: Sweet Lies, Sweet Love + Sweet Lights

Sweet Little Lies – Caz Frear: This felt like a typical English detective novel, which if you’re into those, great. If you’re not, it might take you a while to get into, like me. The writing was different, more harsh perhaps? and hard to follow some of the dialect. The characters were not instantly relatable, but at about the 50 page mark (where I determine if I’m going to keep reading or not) there was a big enough twist that kept me intrigued.
Grade: B-

Party Girl – Rachel Hollis: We know I’m a Rachel Hollis fan girl so obviously I had to read her first novel. It was a little rough at first with fairly elementary writing, but you grow to love the main character so much and enjoy the fun, lush details surrounding party planning in LA. The book is also semi-autobiographical, so again, if you’re a Rachel Hollis fan girl, it’s pretty interesting. Very The Devil Wears Prada-esque, this is an easy, beach read.
Grade: B+

Winter in Paradise – Elin Hilderbrand: I fell in love with Elin after my first read of hers The Identicals, which I wrote about in my last book review. This book starts with the main character’s husband dying a suspicious death in a helicopter over St. John. When the entire family travels to the island to find answers, they find so much more than they bargained for – love triangles, tropical adventures and definitely more questions than answers. The first in a series of 3 books, I can’t wait to read the next one!
Grade: A

The Light of Paris – Eleanor Brown: As a $5 bargain-bin book, I didn’t have high expectations going in, but I DEVOURED this book in a matter of days. The sweetest parallel stories about a woman and her young, late grandmother, both trying to find themselves through art – one story is set in Paris and one in Magnolia, Arkansas (what?!). It will make you long for Parisian nights and to re-discover your own passions.
Grade: A+

xo xo

You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: A Thriller, A Beach Read + An Unexpected Love Story

The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena: I wasn’t expecting much out of this book, and I didn’t get much out of it. It’s a typical thriller about a couple whose child is kidnapped, with the parents as the prime suspects. The best part about this book was a (very) shocking ending, but otherwise one you could skip.
Grade: B-

The Dinner List – Rebecca Serle: This book though … I wasn’t expecting much out of it, and I got SO MUCH out of it. I loved it. It’s a quirky plot – who are the 5 people (living or dead) you’d invite to dinner, then what if that actually happened on your birthday? It’s a cute love story with a deeper subtext and a dash of Audrey Hepburn. Winning combo to me.
Grade: A+

Kind is the New Classy – Candace Cameron Bure: A sweet friend sent this book to me in the mail. It’s an easy read with great reminders about how and why to be kind. Kind is the new classy and will never go out of style. It’s interesting to hear Candace’s Hollywood perspective, with a Christian worldview and specific ways to lead by example.
Grade: B+

The Identicals – Elin Hilderbrand: This book is set in Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket. Mom gave it to me after her trip to Nantucket, and boy, am I dying to go now!! This is such a cute, beach read about two identical sisters, their separate lives on the two islands and how they get intertwined when they least expected it. If you’re looking for a great end-of-summer read that will make you laugh and cry, this is it.
 Grade: A 

xo xo

You can read all my book reviews here.


Book Reviews: To Kiss, To Lie, To Revolutionize

Calypso – David Sedaris: I might be the only person who thought so, but I was let down by this book. Of course some of the stories were classic Sedaris, some made me laugh and some made me contemplative, but overall it just wasn’t as great as I was expecting, and found myself rushing through more chapters than I should have.
Grade: B-

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang: This book was so stinkin’ adorable! I would characterize it as Eleanor Oliphant (another favorite) meets 50 Shades of Gray – yes, it’s steamier than you’re expecting, but has such a great story about a 30-year-old woman with Asperger’s who just wants to learn how to date. I don’t want to say much else, just read and fall in love with this fun, original, sexy book.
Grade: A+

The Revolution Was Televised – Alan Sepinwall: This book was made for me because it contains two of my favorite things – TV shows and talking incessantly about TV shows. It’s a fascinating read with each chapter focusing on a specific show that was revolutionary for it’s time – The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, to name a few. It’s full of interviews, behind the scenes tidbits and commentary on how the show changed the TV landscape. My only complaint would be too many spoilers.
Grade: A

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager: It’s been a while since a thriller has kept me in suspense the ENTIRE BOOK. And a while since I’ve stayed up late (1am!) finishing a book because I had to know what happened. It’s basically Pretty Little Liars goes to summer camp, so I was obviously interested from the get go, but the storytelling is just fantastic without a single dull moment.
Grade: A+

xo xo

You can read all my book reviews here.