Linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly QuickLit post, where we share “short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately”. I’ll share everything I’ve read over the previous month here right around the end of each month, in the order I finished reading them. I read 17 books this month! This number is slightly skewed though, because I used to share on the 15th, so this really encompasses a month and a half of reading. But it’s the month and a half since my newest baby boy was born, so… yay!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Honestly, I loved it. I won’t come back to it again and again like I do with the original series, but being back in the HP world with some of my favorite characters is nothing to shrug off. I read it in a single sitting (which hasn’t been done in quite a while around here!), and got completely involved in the story, sometimes even forgetting that I was reading a script instead of a novel. I would LOVE to see the staged version and see how they pull together some of these elements (easy to imagine on a screen but harder to imagine how they might pull it off with all physical constraints). I do think it’ll be a movie SOMEDAY and it’ll be a good one. 🙂
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
This one has been making the rounds as a to-read book of the summer, and for good reason. Cleave weaves a masterful story. His characters and setting are phenomenal and definitely transport you back to WWII. I loved this story through and through.
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
Meh. I feel like this author could have cut about 40% of this book and had the same story. Especially all of “part 2”, where she essentially foreshadows what is about to happen for the rest of these characters lives. And then she repeats the same thing in Part 4. What??
This story about Jack Shandley’s infidelity and its fallout was not super engrossing to me. Not even the effects that it had on the kids of the family. I was just kind of blah about the whole thing.
Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington
I think the author does a great job at bringing in her own personal experience and then broadening it out to make it applicable to more situations. It’s great to see how she uses her 5F’s framework to make big decisions, and has really been able to give God control over her life, even when she didn’t REALLY want to! 🙂
I did feel like this book should have been more of a series of blog posts or I should have purchased it as an eBook though. It just didn’t have the substance I was looking for and it seems like she probably had to struggle to hit that 200 page mark…
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
This one was only 300 pages, but it was a LONG 300 pages. It seems like maybe Sedoti needed a better editor? The story just really dragged for me. Lizzie Lovett and Hawthorn and Enzo and the hippies and blah blah blah. It just wasn’t that interesting of a story. Like she was trying too hard to make a plot out of nothing.
*I received a free galley copy of this book from NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Even though this hasn’t been getting the best reviews (“too formulaic, just like her other books”), I still couldn’t wait to pick it up at the library. Honestly, it does have a similar structure and flavor as her other books: you know something bad happens at the beginning; through a series of pre-event and post-event vignettes the story comes together as you also witness the fallout. But I think Moriarty has really been able to master that storytelling trope. I went into this expecting to be disappointed, but instead was pleasantly engaged the whole time. Also, I love that one of the main characters is a cellist!
The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
This book was lovely. I loved the format and the slow revelation of the secrets of the residents of Sycamore Glen. Each person has a little or big something to hide. The format is that same Moriarty-style of storytelling. Whalen has said she “doesn’t think of her book as a thriller” but it’s definitely got a bit of mystery and thrill to it. Looking forward to more from Whalen in the future.
I’ll have an upcoming interview with Marybeth Whalen as soon as her hand recovers from an injury she recently sustained. I’ll be patient as she heals!
*I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Unputdownable! So good! So many twists, so many questions. Ruth Ware keeps you guessing (wrongly), and then tips everything on its head. Laura (Lo) Blacklock is burgled the night before she leaves for a cruise on a luxury ship as part of her job as a writer for a travel magazine. As she deals with the emotional fallout of being burgled, she thinks she hears a murder occur in the cabin next door to her. We spend the rest of the book trying to figure out what happened. The reviews on this are mixed, but I definitely enjoyed it. Picked it up from Book of the Month Club.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
I spent this month discovering more and more that I love a good thriller. Maybe it’s that I’m tired enough from having a newborn that I need something heart-pounding enough to keep me awake at night if I’m going to read ANYTHING. Whatever it is, this one delivers. Before and after snippets from a kidnapper, the victim’s mother,and the lead detective on the case. Not a new book but definitely recommended! Looking forward to reading more from Mary Kubica
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
I listened to this one on audio after being told OVER and OVER again that that was the way to go with this novel. Was NOT disappointed! I loved it. Loved the stories of these women and the element of truth that runs through the author’s retelling. WWII, Ravensbruck camp, American and French and German and Polish settings. This book is haunting and beautiful and emotional and sweet. Highly recommended.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
I absolutely loved this book. I love Glennon’s writing in every form, but I think this one might be my favorite. The shattering of her (and my) naive notions about marriage, love, acceptance, beginning, pain. She does such a wonderful job of redefining the landscape, for women especially, in relation to God and the church as well. I found myself nodding, crying, and amen-ing throughout this book and I know it will become a regular recommendation for others, just like Carry On, Warrior has done! I can’t post about this book without also getting to say that baby boy and I along with one of my dearest NM friends got to MEET Glennon when she came to speak last week. She had me laughing, crying, and nodding my head as I bounced this baby boy around. Loved every moment of it!
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
So good. I devoured this in about 4 hours (split by just a few hours of sleep), because I couldn’t stop thinking about it even while I was sleeping!
Jason Dessen and his wife Daniela are a pretty typical couple: they’ve made sacrifices in their careers in order to put their family first. One night on his way home, Jason is held up at gunpoint and his life changes forever.
This is a Sci-fi thriller masterpiece about time and the universe and the nature of identity. It’s so great.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Set in the early 21st century as well as the early 20th century, we learn the stories of Molly, a troubled foster just about to age out of the system and Vivian, an old woman who needs help cleaning out her attic. As Molly learns Vivian’s story, the two women grow closer. I listened to this one on audio and it uses two different narrators to tell the ladies’ stories. I really love that setup and found it really fitting here as well. Pick it up.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This novel starts with the death of Lydia, the high-achieving middle child of her family. Circles around the before and after until we finally put the whole story together. The story is well written and the characters come together well but it just didn’t grab me enough to merit a higher rating than “meh”. A friend commented that the couple (Lydia’s mother and father) could have solved most of their issues if they EVER talked to each other, and I think that’s part of what bothered me about it!
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I enjoyed this one. Follows Katie Kontent through the late 1930s. Engaging characters and plot, but the time period is just not my favorite. Either that or following the escapades and “struggles” of the upper class (and those trying to be upper class) is not the most interesting to me. Either way, I gave it only three stars on Goodreads, which is definitely the minority opinion.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Read by the author, the audiobook on this one is the way to go. He sings his songs, plays his banjo and brings the stage to life with his voice. This memoir chronicles the early life of Steve Martin and how he made it to the universally-known comedian we love today. His early life and early career are both fascinating. Highly recommended.
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler
This one is only $0.99 on Kindle as of this post, and I think you should go snag it! An easy, short read about the ways that happy families achieve and maintain happiness: family meetings and missions, family stories, reunions, death, money, and sex. Feiler interviews experts in various fields and then applies their expertise to family life. Very much like one of my newest favorite podcasts, Smartest Person in the Room with Laura Tremaine (check that one out too if you get the chance!). A very comprehensive and entertaining read. Recommended for anyone that is part of a family as a parent or child!