June & July Book Review

 

Hi, remember me? I haven’t been on the blog lately mostly because this summer has been a whirlwind. The days seemed to go by before I even started them, but the months seemed to drag on for what seemed like forever. We searched for a house in Denver in one whirlwind week, found a house, put an offer on said house, and then went through the longest and most anxiety-ridden escrow closing in the history of escrow closing. (Obviously I’m being dramatic, but I’ve never bought a house before so every up and down felt verrrry dramatic to me.). This closing, which originally was to take 25 days, ended up being pushed twice! But thankfully everything wrapped itself up, we got the keys to the house August 2nd, and then made the drive from CA to CO over that weekend. This blog mostly consists of beauty and book reviews and for the summer I pretty much only wore moisturizer and eyebrow gel, my hair in a hat, and a rotation of the same 3 athleisure outfits I own — so really there just wasn’t much to blog about, nor did I have the mental or emotional strength to even put rational words to paper (… or I guess, screen?).

A month has almost gone by and my mind is becoming a little more clear by the day (maybe it’s the clearer air in Denver’s high altitude that’s helping) so I can finally publish my book reviews for June and July! There won’t be a post for August because I didn’t read one thing. My brain misses books so much but it was preoccupied (i.e. the first paragraph). Anyways I’m glad to be back, I’m excited to read again, and I’m thankful for anyone who still came to the site over the past two months to see if there was anything new. I can’t promise these stretches of silence won’t happen again, but I’m going to try my best to keep they few and far between.

 
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Rating: 4/5

I think I’m the only person who didn’t love Ng’s novel, Little Fires Everywhere (you can read that review here!), but I didn’t want to write the author off completely. Mostly because I believe a lot of highly anticipated second novels from a new author usually are a let down (Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is a perfect example of this.). I also have heard that most people who didn’t love Little Fires, like her first far better, so I gave it a go and it was SO MUCH BETTER than Little Fires. Set in the Ohio suburbs of the 70s, you follow the immediate aftermath and the months leading up to Lydia Lee’s body was found in the town lake. Ng’s does an incredible job showing the intricacy of family relationships. Mothers and fathers projecting their dreams on their children, children doing all they can to please their parents while finding out who they are outside of their parent’s approval, and sibling relationships when one child is held on a pedestal. While the Lee’s are a Chinese-American family in the 70s, their emotional baggage can be easily related to by anyone.

Is it a must read? Yes, especially if you skipped it and read Little Fires from the start.

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Bad on Paper Podcast Book of the Month

Rating: 3/5

Becca Freeman, co-host of one of my favorite podcasts could not stop talking about this book and lamenting over the “book hangover” it left her in for months, so when the made it a Book of the Month, I couldn’t skip it. Solene is a 40 year old mom who escorts her 13-year old daughter and her friends to an August Moon (aka One Direction) concert with VIP backstage tickets to meet the band. There she locks eyes with Hayes (the band’s Harry Styles), the cute and charming 20-year old lead singer. They have a flirtation that slowly and then quickly becomes a full blown relationship. Without giving away too much, the book documents their relationships ups and down and how it affects their own lives and those around them. It’s surprisingly very mature, even though Hayes is only 20, and thankfully not trashy. The reason I docked two stars is because it followed their relationship with so much detail that at some sections it seemed to drag on and repeat the same cycle of issues. This book is also not shy about the couple’s physical relationship (sorry Mom), and while I’m no prude the physical scenes seemed to just repeat themselves so much I wondered why the author added it in at all.

Is it a must read? Let me say this…While I didn’t have a book hangover from it like most people, if there ever is a sequel I’ll definitely be reading it.

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Rating: 5/5

I remember seeing the cover of this book EVERYWHERE. Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon ads, Facebook ads, Instagram, literally everywhere! But for some reason I wrote it off as some very childish high school book not even giving the back cover synopsis a glance (Which is surprising given high school romance is usually one of my favorite genres — i.e. To All the Boys Trilogy). Once I saw the trailer during commercial breaks of The Bachelorette (#BachelorNation) though, my idea of the book was immediately changed and I ordered the book and then proceeded to devour the whole thing in one day. I’m so mad at my past self for not looking past the cover because this story is so amazing. Endearing, honest, mature, funny, sad, and happy. Natasha is on a mission to get herself and her family out of being deported from the country before their flight later that night. Daniel is on his way to a college interview that he really doesn’t want to go to. They stumble upon each other when Daniel saves Natasha from being run over by a car speeding through NYC traffic. Daniel, the romantic, immediately feels sparks. Natasha the overt realist only sees annoyance (and cuteness). Daniel, trying to waste time before his meeting bets Natasha that he can make her fall in love with him in one day. Obviously many ups and down happen along the way but every part of it is beautiful and not at all cutesy. My favorite part about this book though, is the way it’s written. It switches back and forth between Natasha, Daniel, and The Universe. And strangely The Universe sections were some of my favorites. These sections were first person narratives of strangers that Natasha and Daniel pass by or encounter and the vulnerability the author brings to these practically invisible characters is beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking. I still haven’t seen the movie, but if it’s anything like the book I’ll be happy.

Is it a must read? Yes! A refreshing take on a teen romance.

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Rating: 3/5

I’m not sure why, but I really wanted this book to be good. Maybe it’s the cover I was drawn to or that it was about two families over 40 years which always means juicy drama, but whatever it was, I went in with high expectations. Ask Again, Yes follows the two lives of neighboring families in a suburb of NYC. Both fathers were cops in the city and when rookies, were actually partners. Never quite moving past a workplace relationship, the two families didn’t interact much, except for two of their children. Kate, the baby of the Gleesen family and Peter, the only child to the Stanhopes across the street. Their friendship as children naturally turned into a love over the years, until one night when everything changed. The beginning of the book was slow but engaging and the drama was juicy, but sadly the last half which dealt with the aftermath of that fateful night was a bit disappointing. The incident in question was HUGE and warranted a much more dramatic telling of the events that played out for the next 30 years. What could have been a great book that dealt with so many intricacies of family dynamics, fell short to writing that felt tired after the climax of the book.

Is it a must read? I so badly wanted this review to say “yes,” but sadly it is not.

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Rating: 5/5

Uninvited was the first book of Lysa TerKeurst’s that I have read and honestly I went in a bit skeptical. Based on other’s opinions, Lysa’s books either are loved or left with indifference. I thought I was going to fall in the latter group, but I loved every bit of it. The entire premise of the book revolves around the feeling of rejection, in all forms. There are so many times that our actions are merely reactions to rejection, even when we don't know it! I loved the practical and biblical truth she detailed when dealing with this topic. Was each principle life changing or even new? No. But sometimes even when you’ve heard a hard truth a hundred times before, it doesn’t really become real until you're in the middle of something and you hear it again for the hundred and first time. Everything clicks and God shows His hand so prevalently. After reading this book (which was pretty much entirely underlined) I started to also listen to her ministry’s podcast, The Proverbs 31 Podcast. I listened to the podcast the entire two day drive to Denver and loved every minute of it. Lysa’s writing and the podcast is definitely Southern, so a lot of their mannerisms can be a bit cliché and saccharine, but the truth is there and I highly recommend it, especially the Theology & Therapy six week series!

Is it a must read? Yes! Go in with an open mind. You might not be in a place that this topic is very prevalent, but the truth that is there is fantastic and I’m sure you will learn something.

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Rating: 3/5

The third installment in Jasmine Guillory’s fun and steamy The Wedding Date series centers around Alexa’s (main character of the first book) two best friends Maddie and Theo. They might be Alexa’s best friends, but they themselves are not. Maddie finds Theo pretentious and Theo can’t ever seem to take Maddie seriously, but of course one night they share a kiss that was a complete mistake. At least so they thought. I think you can see where things go from here. Like the other books in the series, it’s fun, steamy, but well written. The reason I gave it only three stars out of five is because it does seem to follow the same pattern as the first two which takes the fun out of any sort of predicting mid-read. A fourth book is debuting in October called Royal Holiday, so of course I’m ecstatic about it.

Is it a must read? Alone, no, but the series is really great as a whole so yes all three are a must read!

In the words of Taylor Swift, it’s been a cruel summer that hasn’t allowed much reading time but turning that around this fall! What books did you all read this summer and what’s on your nightstand or TBR for the upcoming months? Leave me a comment below and don’t forget for sneak peaks of my book reviews follow me on Good Reads!

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