I’ve been a busy bee this month! We went to the beach for a week and I read pretty much the whole time. I’ve also been tackling lots of projects around the house, which means I’ve listened to several audiobooks as well! If you haven’t tried out Audible yet, why not?
Here’s my tally for August so far.
Books I’ve read:
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
This is the fourth in the Outlander Series, and it did not disappoint. I’ve finally decided that these books are like a soap opera–a guilty pleasure that I just can’t quit. These are so worth it in the Audible version. The narrator is fantastic and after listening I always want to start talking like a Scotsman. 4/5 stars
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
There’s been a ton of controversy over this book and I have friends who made the decision not to read it. I’m one of those people who can’t stand not knowing though, so I HAD to read it.
The verdict? It was excellent. It is different from To Kill a Mockingbird , obviously, and is probably more realistic. The portrayal of racism in the South is hard to take, but necessary. But the overriding theme of the book is the relationship between Scout and Atticus, and there are some important truths to be learned here. . . especially about the problem of having someone you love disappoint you. The writing is excellent, the book is short and an easy read, and Scout is as lovable as ever. 5/5 stars
Dietland by Sarai Walker
Wow, I loved this book! It’s an unabashed portrayal of the absolute ridiculousness (is that a word?) of the diet/beauty/fashion/adult film industries. I adored Plum, the protagonist, and although I’ve never been as overweight as she is, I found that — because I am a woman — I could relate to her completely. The book has a dark side and makes you wonder “What if?” It is absolutely, overtly feminist. Men won’t like it. Neither will women who think “feminism” is “the F word.” And people who have never struggled with weight won’t get it.
But as for me. . . well, I couldn’t put it down! Warning though, there is heavy language and violence in this book. It makes sense in the context, but if you’re sensitive to those things, you might want to pass. 5/5 stars
Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn
A fast-paced page-turner! I finished this in one day because I couldn’t stop reading. The story is a little predictable, but suspenseful enough that it kept me interested to the very end. 4/5 stars
Praying Upside Down: A Creative Prayer Experience to Transform Your Time with God by Kelly O’Dell Stanley
I’m always up for a book that makes me think about new ways to pray, and this is one of the best I’ve read. The author relates prayer to her background as an artist, and she introduces lots of ideas and creative prayer experiences worth trying out. For years, I thought I was failing at prayer because I wasn’t “doing it right.” But this book really opens your eyes to all the different methods and forms of prayer and made me sigh in relief. An excellent, easy read. 4/5 stars
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily Freeman
I wrote a short review of this book earlier in the week, but suffice it to say, this one’s a winner. Often when I read self-help or faith-related books, I end up skimming through some of the chapters. Not so with Emily Freeman. Her writing is so exquisite that I have to mentally take in every single word. This one’s about how to find the meaning even in the ordinary moments of life. It releases on August 18th, but you can pre-order it now! 4/5 stars
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
The subtitle of this book is “A guide to putting down the phone, burning the to-do-list, and letting go of perfection to grasp what really matters!” I found lots of helpful ideas in this one, but be sure to take her recommendations with a grain of salt. Don’t let this book guilt you about what you’re currently doing or not doing. Just glean from it the tips and ideas that work for you, and then move on. 4/5 stars
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Not bad, but not great either. A short and an easy read, but I would’ve liked a little more character development and maybe more romance. This one didn’t make my heart go pitter-pat, so it was just meh for me. It’s about a young woman who comes home to her family’s vineyard when her life is falling apart, only to find that every other family member’s life is falling apart, too. 3/5 stars
The Voices by F. R. Tallis
Cuh-reepy! I’m not even sure how I found this book, but wow, it is scary! You know, with ghosts and everything. The characters aren’t likable at all, though, so there’s that. Still. . . books that creep me out this much are always fun to read. You might have to sleep with the lights on. Oh, and if you have a baby monitor. . . well, you might want to wait till your kids outgrow it before you read this one! 4/5 stars
Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
A fast-paced mystery with some psychological twists. This one didn’t leave me guessing as much as The Good Girl, but it was still a good read. I like Kubica’s writing so I’ll definitely be coming back for more! 4/5 stars
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella is one of those authors whose books I used to see on the shelves and I would walk right on by. I assumed she was all fluff. But I was wrong. I LOVE Kinsella’s writing and have read several of her books. My favorite ever would have to be I’ve Got Your Number which made me tingle all over.
But Finding Audrey is probably next in line. This one tackles the issues of social anxiety, as well as teens and technology. Contains one of the best descriptions of anxiety disorder I’ve ever read. Kinsella’s books are especially fun in the audio versions, because the narrator is always a bright, chipper young English woman who sounds like Anna from Downton Abbey. I just feel more British while I listen. Like I’m Kate Middleton or something.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
I almost didn’t read this book. The reviews I read either raved about it or droned on and on about how awful it was. But it popped up on my Overdrive account, so I took a listen. And I actually thought it was pretty good. Some reviewers had problems with the protagonist, but I didn’t. She is hard to take, especially in the beginning, but it’s because of the trauma of her experiences. . . all of which are revealed as the book goes on. Similar to a Gillian Flynn book, but more redemptive in the end. Lots of language. 3/5 stars
Can you believe it? Twelve books in 15 days!?! I really need to get a life, huh?
Then again, I blame the beach.
My happy place. Stacy, this photo’s for you!
What about you? Read any good books lately? Want to share your recommendations with me in the comments below? And as always, send me a friend request on Goodreads and you can see what I’m reading right this very moment!!