Quick Lit: July 2017

I know it hasn’t been long since my last book post, but I’ve read almost 20 books already, so I decided to go ahead and give a quick rundown of those books!

Rating: 4 Stars

I loved this entertaining book, even though it leans towards the didactic side, as most “Christian” novels tend to be. However, I loved the Southern charm, the friendships, and how realistic the story could be. This could easily be anyone’s marriage.

And it got bumped from 3 stars to 4 stars because I actually cried during the story. That means that I was really feeling something for the character. And obviously it was good, because within the last month, I read another novel from the same author!

Rating: 5 Stars

This took me awhile to read because I wanted to savor each poem. While I liked all of them, a few stuck out in particular.

I think that everyone, especially women, can find something to appreciate in DeMulder’s work.

I mean, I don’t think of myself as someone who likes poetry, but if I liked it, then maybe other people who avoided the classes about poetry in college, like me, can like it, too. I would even say that I love it.

Rating: 2 Stars

I read this novel because it was recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List and I liked another novel that I read by Susan Meissner.

To be honest, this one was weird AF. First, there was the seeing ghosts or whatever the main character saw instead. Then, the main character goes on a quest that is contrary to everything that she’s ever done.

And all of that is on top of some spoilers that I won’t go into.

Finally, the book was meant to teach us all a lesson! Meissner is a great author, but this novel was not great, plus I have no idea how MMD put this on her list.

Rating: 2

I wouldn’t recommend this. The narrator is so self involved that it hurts. And it’s not one of those novels where the author does that on purpose. It’s like, get over yourself and quit thinking about what other people are like when they have sex. Having sex won’t make your life magically better.

Maybe having a real relationship would… but the author misses the point on that one too.

Rating: 5 Stars

I can’t even write a review of this novel. It was too large. It covered so much. I read it as part as Modern Mrs. Darcy’s online book club, so I got to ask a question about one of the characters that I found distracting and the author actually provided an answer! It was cool because I had started a topic on the message board for the book about Friendships just to ask about that character and most people thought what I thought, which was the opposite of what the author intended!

Anyway, the novel touches on racism, being biracial, white privilege, interacting with law enforcement as a person of color, the disparity in medical access, mental illness, access to equal treatment under the law, peer pressure, and a few topics that are very specific to the location to where the novel takes place.

It is amazing how much research went into making this historical fiction novel accurate. The novel goes back and forth between the 1920’s, as the Klan starts to come into Tulsa, and follows the son of a white man and a Native American woman during the summer leading up to race riots that actually happened (and will make your skin crawl), and 2017, where a dead body is found under a very old servants’ home during renovations, in the yard of a teenage girl who is the daughter of prominent white business man and a black woman who is a public defender.

The book is incredibly timely, even though the author took five years to write it. Sadly, even the story of what happened in the 1920’s is timely. I would have read it even without the juxtaposition of the two stories, which eventually dovetail together. Just being educated on the story of Tulsa in the 1920’s was enough. However, the novel was brilliantly written–I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the ending to the mystery brings up an entirely new topic to discuss!

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

I’m incredibly lazy and prefer audiobooks, but this was only available in hardback and ebook. It was good enough for me to read the real book!

 

Rating: 5

I sure wish that I had read this when it came out 6 years ago! So funny. Mindy Kaling is a total treasure. I am going to read her next novel before the summer is over, for sure!

It was really great to learn that Kaling was on the original writing staff of The Office. Finding out her background as a writer and actress was truly fascinating. I absolutely recommend this to people who love Kaling’s humor, regardless of if they like The Office or not.

And there were a ton of gems, in terms of quotes, too!

Rating: 4 Stars

I am really glad that I finished this book. I wanted to put it down at first, but I like Jenny Colgan, so I decided to keep reading, even though it didn’t grab me immediately.

After a little bit of pushing through, the story was so good that I didn’t want to put it down. I had to know what would happen next! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I hope that I will love it immediately, since I already know the characters.

Colgan wrote some amazing characters. I truly loved them and cared about them. They were human. They had faults, but they were likable. The book completely took me to the beach!

Rating: 5 Stars

I love anything with magical realism. I thought that this was a sweet story that was also wonderfully written. The way that stories that didn’t seem to go together came together in the end were amazing and rewarding for me, as a reader.

I know that my review is short for a book with 5 stars, but it’s just really good. Click the link to Goodreads at the bottom for a more complete synopsis.

Rating: 4 Stars

This book is outrageously funny. There are a lot of characters, but it’s worth keeping up with in order to enjoy the book. I highly recommend this novel! Right now, I am reading the second novel, which is also hilarious.

I honestly didn’t think that I didn’t think that I would like this novel or think it was funny.

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a ton of YA novels, but since this was on MMD’s summer reading list, I picked it up.

It was a sweet love story that flips a lot of traditional YA on its head. The woman is strong, thinks outside of the box, and works really hard to be a good computer coder. It was cool to not see her be super needy and think through why she was dating–not just getting a boyfriend because that’s what girls her age did!

Rating: 5 Stars

This was on the longer side, as far as books that I read during the summer, but I read it in two days! I simply couldn’t put it down. The story follows a girl who finds herself pregnant and unmarried following the death of her brother, who returned from WWII with PTSD, but blames herself for his death.

As her mother takes her to Europe for an abortion, since she doesn’t even know who the father is, the main character takes a detour to search for her French cousin, who she had not seen since before WWII. With the help of a drunk woman, who slowly reveals her story, plus her ex convict chauffeur, the three unlikely friends travel across the continent in search of people from the past in order to free themselves from the past.

I loved it. It was absolutely thrilling. It made me incredibly sad. It made me incredibly happy. I recommend this to everyone!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

This story was about love and communication. Like McHale’s other novel, it can be a bit preachy. However, the premise is original and heartwarming.

From the publisher:

Jacey met the man of her dreams a year ago—and hasn’t seen him since. Finally relocating him as the pastor at her best friend’s wedding was the very last thing she expected.

A year ago, Jacey was trapped on a rooftop during a flood with perfect strangers, including a family and a man named Colin. After two days there together, she had no doubt that Colin was the man of her dreams. When they were finally rescued he tucked his phone number into her pocket. But an accident with the rescue boat left her hospitalized with amnesia and PTSD . . . and his number nowhere to be found.

Now, Jacey has still only recovered bits and pieces of her memory from that time. She clearly remembers Colin—but not his last name or any other details that would help her locate him. She’s trying to immerse herself in the joy of her best friend’s wedding . . . when she looks up at the end of the aisle only to discover Colin there in the minister’s role. Shock is an understatement.

The novel bounces back and forth between Jacey’s life and Colin’s life, even when they are not in communication. Jacey’s meddling friend and Colin’s pride keep them apart, but everyone learns a lot for an ending that made me cry. When you learn about what “The Sweet Smell of Magnolias” means, you might tear up, too. Honestly, it was a lovely, heartwarming story of redemption and love. I would recommend this book before reading McHale’s other novel, but I still recommend both.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

I read the first two novels of the series during 2015. I really shouldn’t have put down the series for 2 years because between time and the television, I was really confused. Sidney’s personal life is quite different from the television show, plus I think the year that the story takes place is later in time, but I could be wrong.

However, I enjoyed the mysteries. I didn’t like his wife, though. She is shrill, needy, and demanding. The character almost distracted from the story. I had to keep myself from adding to what was on the page with what I’ve seen in the TV series.

I did keep them apart, the best that I could, and I liked the book for what it was. I intend to read the next novels in the series far more quickly! No more 2 year waits between the books.

Rating: 4

Disclosure: I accidentally picked up the abridged version of this audiobook. It was slightly confusing because I didn’t know that it was abridged and I had seen the movie. I did like it and intend to read it again.

However, Netgalley just asked me to read the prequel to Practical Magic (yay!), so as soon as I read it, I will listen to the unabridged version of Practical Magic and put it all together. So, look forward to my review of The Rules of Magic, which is coming out in October!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wow. I love Elizabeth Strout. Any review that I write will not do it justice.

After picking up I Am Lucy Barton last summer, on a whim, and being blown away, I have been reading her other books. So, I was very eager for her summer release. I was even more excited when I found out that Anything Is Possible is a set of short stories that are related to the character of Lucy Barton. An interesting tidbit that I read is that Strout wrote Anything Is Possible in tandem with I Am Lucy Barton. I wish that I had known that when I was reading the novel. It makes it even more impressive that she could imagine this rich, full world.

I can’t imagine writing a fictional memoir, but Strout did a great job with that. Then, she wove together a set of short stories about the people who would have known Lucy Barton or her family in a beautiful way. The stories were brilliantly connected, beautifully written, and a powerful illustration about the human condition.

Five stars is not a strong enough rating. It’s amazing. It’s not very long. Read it! And if you are interested in finding your favorite new author, read I Am Lucy Barton first, but you don’t have to. However, I wouldn’t read them in reverse order.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

3.5 stars

This was a really cute mystery that I hope is the beginning of a great series. I love prohibition era novels. This one is a rags to riches to rags again story of a woman and her former cook who slip in and out of speakeasies, house parties, and glamorous department stores in New York City as they try to recover a film for a chorus girl, while the body count piles up!

This novel was definitely good enough for me to pick up the second novel in the series and plan on reading it as soon as I finish my pre-planned Summer Reading List!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Too funny. It was easier to follow this time because I knew the characters a little bit better. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, since the last book ended on a bit of a sad note, in my opinion.

However, unlike the first novel, which centered around Singapore, this novel was a lot more about Hong Kong. I listened to both the first and second novels. So, it may be that just the first novel’s printed version was the same as this second audiobook, but if not, I did like the change in the second audiobook. The audiobook kept reading footnotes, which were informative and hilarious!

I adore the writer’s style of moving back and forth between people in different people and writing in the first person. Sometimes the changes are abrupt, but it’s like a commercial break that makes me want to keep reading!

Anything Is Possible

The Alice Network

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)

The Keeper of Lost Things

Dreamland Burning

Today Means Amen

Come Hell or Highball(Discreet Retrieval Agency, #1)

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Losing It

A Bridge Across the Ocean

Don’t forget to check out what I read this past spring and add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Don’t forget to check out some of my other recent book reviews!

The Austen Escape

What I’ve Been Reading: Spring

What I’ve Been Reading: Series Edition

What I Read: January

Leave me a comment with what book I should read in August or a new release that you are excited about! 🙂

 

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