What I Read Last Month: July


What I Read: July 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah?
I over-requested from NetGalley, so I spent most of July reading those novels, not that I’m complaining. I was able to read some new novels from authors I already liked, plus find some new books!

Most of these were audiobooks, which helped me read more novels. I’ve been extremely sick, so I’ve had a lot of time to listen!
Contemporary

Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know

You can read my full review here. The short synopsis is that I was very surprised to find that this was not a novel of a new writer once I finished the book. I liked it, but I would have expected a tighter plot from someone who has published many more novels.

Birds of a Feather

birds of a feather

I read a paperback copy of the first novel in this series as part of a summer reading challenge. Through my library, I was able to listen to this through Overdrive. I liked the first novel because it gave a ton of necessary background on Maisie Dobbs, but the “mystery,” in the novel wasn’t very great. This mystery was much more intricate, since space wasn’t taken up with background, of course.

I can’t wait to read more of this series!

Love May Fail

love may fail

Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favorite books ever. I’ve thought about reading some of his other novels, so when the Goodreads’ newsletter notified me that Quick had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to read it. I quickly put it on hold at the library and listened ASAP!

I read the book in two days. I absolutely could not put it down! I recommend it (AND Silver Linings Playbook, if you haven’t read it).

Pretty Baby

9780778316558_RHC_SMP.indd

This was an interesting follow up to Kubica’s first novel, The Good Girl, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my full review of Pretty Baby here.

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Among Ten Thousand Things

This is a beautiful novel about love, life that ruins love, family, and what’s leftover when life is done. You can read my FULL review here! This new release is definitely worth your time, even though there aren’t a whole lot of reviews on it yet. I got an early copy from NetGalley – but early by about two days. So, in my typical fashion, I used my accumulating Audible credits to pick it up because I was loving it, but my new medications have my sleep messed up.

I have a short window during the day that I can read physical books/ebooks before I start to lose the ability to follow along and need to lay down and at least shut my eyes. I don’t sleep at night, but I lay there for 8 or so hours before I finally get what I loosely term “sleep.” Therefore, having audiobooks to listen to while I close my eyes are the BEST. I don’t have bluelight messing up my sleep, not that I have the energy to navigate a computer, plus there isn’t much on TV/Netflix that I want to watch, especially in the middle of the night. Oddly enough, books make me feel less alone and sad.

So, since I had to put down the ebook one night, I got the newly released audible and thoroughly enjoyed every second of the book – even when I shed a tear or two.

I don’t know if other readers will appreciate this part like I did, but Simon, the 15 year old son, is a wonderful representation of a teenage boy. He reminded me so much of my moody, angry, teenage brother with a bad attitude! It made me laugh a lot.

The novel reminded me of the humanity in all of us. Parents are people. Kids see more than we know. And kids turn into adults who will perpetuate the cycle.

The Litigators

The Litigators

Average, average, average.

If you haven’t read BJ Novak’s short story about John Grisham, you need to. If you can listen the audio version where Novak reads it, even better. The Litigators embodies everything in Novak’s witty story.

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

Case Histories

I enjoyed this more than the regular police procedural mystery because it wasn’t neat and tidy. Not only was it a hell of a lot more complicated, there wasn’t a cliff hanger or an ending packaged with a bow.

I want to read more of the series to see how Jackson Brodie progresses, since I felt like some of his clients had such strong personalities/characters that they impeded my “getting to know” the main character. However, they were funny. If I read the novel correctly, and wasn’t just confused, Atkinson played with time, like she did in the only other novel that I’ve read by her, Life After Life. There were scenes that were written where I was like “ah! This scene is the scene that happened a few chapters ago…! And the characters overlapped.”

I will be reading more of the series and checking out the television series, if I can understand the accents 😉

Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3)

Pardonable Lies

I loved how this novel fully fleshed out the characters in the series more. Maisie took on more cases in this novel, which made for a much more interesting novel.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1)

Cocaine Blues

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the heroine of this series while she solved multiple mysteries. I enjoyed that she flies in the face of convention, which I know is easier to write from the future looking back, but it is fun to imagine someone like Phryne Fisher with an enormous intellect, unlimited funds, and a daring sense of social propriety solving mysteries, while genuinely caring about the neglected and poor. Oh, and a shoot out in a mystery novel with a female detective earned the author some bonus points!

Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher #2)

Flying too High

Long story, but I ended up reading the first, the third, and then the second novels in this series. While this novel still helped established who the main character is, the third was the most enjoyable because it dug into the mystery without wasting time on character development.

Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher #3)

Murder on the Ballarat Train

Phryne Fisher is an interesting character. She adopts abused children, solves crimes, and I can’t wait to see how she develops more! This is a really easy-listening series. I like to listen for 30 minutes or so before I try to go to bed.

Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher #4)

Death at Victoria Dock

I liked this follow up, but I’m still trying to adjust to that kind raunchiness in a story that takes place when women couldn’t even be doctors alongside men!

(The Grantchester Mysteries #1) Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

The Shadow of Death

This novel was pretty good. I confused by how many mysteries Sidney Chambers solved during the one novel that weren’t necessarily related. I do plan on reading more of the series because I am interested in the main character as a character. I even watched an episode from PBS of the TV show they created from the novel. It was the exact same story, not like Amazon’s Bosch, which is an entirely new storyline, loosely based on the series.

Summerlong

Summerlong

The “meat” of the novel was good. The overall impression was horrendous. Every time I thought of the novel, I went back to Goodreads and removed a star.

A Duty to the Dead

A Duty to the Dead

I love Maisie Dobbs mysteries, but they have a touch of a new-ageness that kind of freak me out. Bess Crawford is the perfect answer to Dobbs! It’s much darker, though. Bess Crawford is not trained to solve mysteries in any way, but she’s a naturally curious and smart woman who who is a nurse during WWI. I’m interested in reading more of the series, which only has a few novels. Charles Todd, the author, is actually a mother and son team. They’ve written 17 or so novels in another mystery series. I just got the first novel from Paperback Swap, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I like Inspector Ian Rutledge!

If I Stay

If I Stay

This one made my cry. Really sobbed at first. I thought that it was rather though provoking for a Young Adult novel, which made me glad. I hope that teen girls read it and think harder about their own lives and why they live–and maybe even purse more things like art, music, and family time. I am looking forward to reading the second novel!

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs #4)

messenger of truth

I enjoyed the mystery here more, plus a little more resolution on Maisie’s personal life. Had to read books 3 and 4 very quickly because I had them on loan from the library – audio version – on overdrive. There is someone who was one book ahead of me and VERY slow. I waited on hold forever for book 3, so while I was waiting, I checked books 4-6 out. Now, I’m ahead of this other person because I listen to books a lot faster than they do. That person took almost all 21 days. I was afraid they just checked it out and let it sit/didn’t know how to return it.

As soon as I finished book 4 (quickly), I returned it, so they could have it, but now I’m ahead. Boom!

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5)

An Incomplete Revenge

This was an interesting look at how Londoners picked hops on estates with for two weeks each fall; while there, Gypsies were camped on the edge of the town. It was specifically interesting because the novel gave an insight into Maisie’s Gypsy heritage and hinted that it had something to do with her “third” sight.

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1)

Her Royal Spyness

Obviously, I’ve started listening to and reading a lot more British (or Australian) mystery novels that take place around the World Wars. This was a cute story/mystery, so I think I will try out the next novel!

The Stories We Tell

The Stories We Tell

I enjoyed this novel because it takes place in places that I know and could picture. I liked this novel, but I didn’t love it.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

This whimsical novel was a great read/listen for the summer. I haven’t read anything else by Sarah Addison Allen, but I have some on hold!

In the Unlikely Event

in the unlikely event

I absolutely adored this novel! I thought it was an odd summer release, since the majority of the action takes place in the middle of winter; however, I it is a great novel no matter the time of year because the story does take span over the course of the main character’s life – if you can call her that. The novel does follow a ton of characters!

classics

Romolaromola

Really preachy and not very entertaining. Maybe if I had done more research on the time period that it was written about, I would have liked it more, but I didn’t…

The Bostonians

the bostonians

This novel took a few tries. It wasn’t bad, but the first time that I tried to read it, I had to move it to “finish later,” because I just wasn’t in the mood for a James novel. You have be in the right frame of mind, I think. The thing is, though, is that there are so many Henry James novels to chose from!

And to be honest, I enjoyed the novel a lot more once I read a summary that told me that the novel was satire about the women’s movement. It made what seemed slightly absurd actually quite funny.

Friday’s Child

Friday's ChildI loved this novel a lot more than some of Heyer’s Regency Romances. It had the humor of novels like Arabella and Fredrica, but it was slightly longer with more substance than those novels. Friday’s Child didn’t stop at the marriage of an out of place woman in high society, but rather examined the ramifications of the marriage, which were not easy on either party, like I am most likely to imagine as some of Heyer’s books come to a close, and I move on to other novels.

Friday’s Child may move into my most recommended Heyer novel because the main character, Hero, who is aptly named, challenges social conventions, is true to her word, but also displays a depth of feeling that some other Heyer heroines lack.

Overall, this novel had the greatest set of well developed characters in all of the Regency Romances that I’ve read so far, and I’ve read quite a few!

April Lady

April Lady

Another tale of marriage between two people who don’t realize that they love each other and full of misunderstandings. I am glad that we get married a little differently now. Not my favorite Heyer novel, but I did like it.

Cotillion

cotillionThis is one of my favorite Heyer novels now! Like most novels, a naive woman asks an improper favor from a “rake,” but doesn’t realize it. He says yes, and it is fun to watch him slowly change… 🙂

Black Sheep

The Black Sheep

I liked this one, too! Surprise!

The Corinthian

The Corinthian

This was a good Georgette Heyer novel, but nothing to write home about.

read these

Love May Fail

Pretty Baby

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Friday’s Child – If you are a Heyer fan, pick this one up!

In the Unlikely Event

if you have time

Somebody I Used to Know – This was a fairly interesting interesting psychological thriller/love story.

Birds of a Feather – If you haven’t tried the Maisie Dobbs series, you should try it. I thought that this was a great follow up.

A Duty to the Dead

don't bother smaller

The Litigators

Romola

Summerlong

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

June 2015
May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

And other archived roundups here!

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month | Tags: , , |

12 Comments

  • Kate Mitchell | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    I’m so glad that I’m not the only adult who sobbed at If I Stay. It was a hauntingly beautiful book – but I can’t bring myself to watch the movie haha


    • Sarah @ Back to Carolina | August 3, 2015 | Reply

      Hauntingly beautiful is a perfect description! Honestly, I think the older a person is, the harder it is to read a book like If I Stay. I felt invincible at the main character’s age, which I guess is the point. But, now, looking back, and being in the place I am at in my life/putting myself in her shoes, the emotions attached to deciding if she should stay felt stronger. There was so much she didn’t know to make her decision, but maybe the point was that she didn’t need anymore information than what she had! Oh, gosh, I definitely couldn’t watch the movie.


  • Chelsea | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    If I stay was SO GOOD. Tears on tears on tears.


    • Sarah @ Back to Carolina | August 3, 2015 | Reply

      I ran to my husband crying after I got through the first part. He’s used to me being moved by books, but I was sobbing!!!


  • Kristen @ SYIAP | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    summerlong was on my list but then the other day i saw your review and removed it lol.
    i LOVED if i stay. really, really, disliked the second one. can’t wait to see what you think!
    adding a few others to my list!


    • Sarah @ Back to Carolina | August 3, 2015 | Reply

      Summerlong had really good Goodreads reviews at first glance. And Audible recommended it to me. The meat of the story was interesting, but nothing new. A pot smoking older couple holding a double standard for their kids/both going through midlife crises. One was an author (because writers always write about writers!!!), etc. It seemed like there was potential, but then it literally floated away in a canoe at the end of the book.
      Then I went back and read some lower rated reviews that were more “spot on.”
      I didn’t expect to love If I Stay as much as I did. It was really moving. I think I am on hold for the audio to the follow up! I can’t imagine topping it. It’s kind of like one of those magical books where I’d rather just wonder what she did with the rest of her life.


      • Kristen @ SYIAP | August 3, 2015 | Reply

        whyyy do writers always write about writers?!
        i think i would have loved if i stay a lot more if i hadn’t read the second one immediately afterwards. i almost want to say don’t read it, and just wonder and make your own story up lol. but you might like it more than me. it wasn’t bad, just not what i was expecting, especially after if i stay was so good.


  • Leah Van Ert | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    I’m so excited to read Pretty Baby! I loved The Good Girl. I’m also really happy that you liked In the Unlikely Event. It was so much better than I thought it would be!


    • Sarah @ Back to Carolina | August 3, 2015 | Reply

      I liked Pretty Baby – it was different from the usual murder mysteries. It was heartbreaking, to be honest. Yet, totally fascinating. Kind of like a trainwreck that I couldn’t look away from. The writing wasn’t a trainwreck, but the characters.


  • Sarah @ Back to Carolina | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    Bahahaha. I am the exact same way!


  • Kati Rose | August 3, 2015 | Reply

    I didn’t know the author of Silver Lining Playbook had a new novel out! Looks like I know what I’m putting on hold next at the library! I love how he writes his intricate characters.


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