QuickLit – June 2017

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 at the end of each month, in the order I finished reading them. I read 16 books in June, even though by the end I felt like it had been a “slow” month. That turned out to be incorrect because I had zoomed through so many books at the beginning!

If you scroll all the way through to the bottom, you can see an update for my 2017 reading challenge, since June marks the halfway point for the year.

Here’s the quick recap of what I read this month. Skim until you see something that piques your interest!


01 WithWith: Reimainging the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani
This book such a great way to self – examine the way you relate to God and changes it up to pursue true relationship instead of trying to live under, over, from, or for God. each of those other four postures lives up to our human desire for control, but is incapable of allaying our fears! But Christ came to restore relationship with God, not to give us rules, free us to indiscriminate sin, provide the desires of our hearts, or require our service. he simply came to be WITH us. I found this book to be an easy, quick read with life – changing implications. Hoping to see it “stick” in my life and actually change it!


02 The BreakdownThe Breakdown by B.A. Paris
I thought this new thriller, from the author of Behind Closed Doors, was just as gripping and twisty as her first novel. Cass is driving home on a dark and stormy night and takes a shortcut, which is twisty and spooky. She passes a car broken down on the side of the road but the driver doesn’t signal her so she moves on. The events over the weeks following this incident lead her to believe she is having a breakdown of her own. Psychological thrillers are totally my jam and this one holds up to the hype! #whocanyoutrust #thebreakdown
Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.


03 Stay With MeStay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
I thought this was beautiful and excellent. Reminded me of Americanah in the Nigerian present and past nature of it, the developing of the two stories concurrently. This story is heartbreaking and truthful and insightful. There is quite a bit of sex and talk about sex, but I wouldn’t consider this a romance, but more a truthful look at a long, complicated marriage, so just be aware. Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.


04 The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
So delightfully twisty and mysterious and creepy. I had heard somewhat mixed reviews on this one but it did not disappoint. It really came together well in the end and I found myself unable to put this one down. Jane and Emma live in the same bizarre, minimalist home a few years apart. They each arrive with their own baggage, and Jane attempts to figure out what happened to Emma, the girl before.


05 Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid
I liked this, but mostly because I felt like I should and because it feels lime the right book at the right time. which is to say, it wasn’t like I liked it because it blew me away as so wonderful or well-written or eye-opening. it is what it is. a short (231 pages) and interesting/different look at the refugee crisis and the Westernized response to said crisis. Nadia and Saeed are young people living in an unnamed middle eastern country torn apart by riots and militant revolution.


06 DumplinDumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Oh, Willowdean! Loved this book. Loved the main character and her boldness and vivacious attitude. Loved the way the author showed us her self-doubt without her becoming self-deprecating. Loved her falling into first love and first kisses and first holding hands. Loved her taking control of her life and her destiny. I just loved the whole damn thing. Read it!


07 The Last TownThe Last Town by Blake Crouch
Wowzers. Sent my boys to a birthday party and read this one in one sitting! The conclusion of the wayward pines trilogy completely lives up to and fulfills the previous two novels. It’s all the drama and thrills and gore (ick) we’ve come to expect without feeling like he’s just rehashing the same plot or drawing what should have been one book out into three. For anyone who is a Kindle Unlimited member (I’m not, but you might be), this series is free!


08 I See YouI See You by Clare Mackintosh
This gave me the heebie jeebies. Clare Mackintosh is definitely not a one-hit wonder. I thought for sure she wouldn’t be able to follow up I Let You Go with anything nearly as twisty and unexpected, but she does it here. As an author, she’s great at taking the reader down many paths of suspicion without you feeling like you can’t trust her. Really well done.


09 The Zookeeper's WifeThe Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
I thought this was an interesting look at the Zabinski family, who ran the zoo in Poland during WWII. They used the zoo to protect their Jewish friends and neighbors and smuggle them out of the Warsaw ghetto. I felt like the author had a hard time straddling the non-fiction/novel line, which is why I’m not rating this higher than 3 stars. I was happy to listen to this one for free using the Audible Channels for Prime. They have at least 30 audiobooks at any given time that members can listen to at their leisure (but not download). Just another perk of being an Audible member (side note: super good deals on membership right now because Prime Day is right around the corner!).


10 Throne of GlassThrone of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Girls who kick ass are always on my thumbs up list! Yes to this series. Can’t wait to read the next one. Celaena Sardothien is an assassin who serves in the hard labor camps to pay for her crimes. She is then chosen by the Crown Prince to be “his champion” in a competition to become the King’s royal assassin. I listened to this one on audio, which I felt was a good choice, especially for the first part of this series, as I would have been pronouncing the names all wrong in my head!


11 If I RunIf I Run by Terri Blackstock
Casey finds her best friend dead and knows she’ll go down for it if she doesn’t run. so we follow her and get a bird’s eye view of the case from the PI trying to follow her as well. This book wasn’t quite as twisty as I like, and I can honestly say I didn’t think the sub-genre of Christian thriller existed, but Terry Blackstock proves me wrong. Overall, compelling and well done. Happy to have received this one for free from the Audiobook Sync program, which provides two free audiobooks a week for the whole summer! We’re already on week 10 for this year, but there’s still good stuff coming up. Check it out here!


12 Gilded CageGilded Cage by Vic James
The gilded cage imagines an alternate world where the Equals (the elite of society) are not just the richest and most powerful, but are Skilled with powers like magic to create, destroy and manipulate the physical world around them as well as the emotional abs thought lives of others. the unskilled ate commoners, each required by law to serve 10 years of slavery in service to the Equals. It is this world into which we are thrust to follow the story of one common family (mainly their children Abi and Jake) and one Equal family (and their 3 sons: Gavar, Jenner, and Silyeun). As the common family starts their years of servitude, they are torn apart and sent to different locations.
I thought this book was decent at creating this alternate reality, but not so great at developing the thoughts and actions of the characters. It seemed somewhat rushed, especially toward the end. Not sure if I’ll pick up the sequel when it is released.
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


13 Red TentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
I love the retelling of an old story in a new way. It took me quite some time to get into this book (the first 30 pages took me a solid 5 days to read… yikes), but eventually, the story of Dinah and her biblical family drew me in. I love the rhythms of life from the old testament and the sweetness of mothers and daughters. I love stories of midwives and births. I love ancient Israel and Egypt.


14 SourdoughSourdough by Robin Sloan
This was a fun, quick read that made me want to eat really good sourdough for every meal for the rest of my life. based in San Francisco, this reminded me a bit of a word food network show premise: girl at a tech company receives sourdough starter. She doesn’t know how to cook or bake, but opts to learn and see where the starter takes her. The answer: adventure! I really enjoyed this next book from Robin Sloan. It was totally different from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but just as fun and interesting. Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


15 The Impossible FortressThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
This was short and sweet and so fun. Not high literature by any means, but definitely full of nostalgia and sass and laugh out loud moments. Nerds, lovers of the 80s, and computer/ video game geeks unite. I was happy to be reading this at my parents’ house over the weekend, and to get to chat with my dad about it (he worked at Intel throughout the 70’s 80’s and 90’s, so he’s all about the old-school computer jargon). I think it would be a great story for the dude in your life who doesn’t necessarily love to read.


16 Forgetting TimeThe Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
My favorite book of the month was also the last one! As my friend Lis predicted, this was especially poignant for me as I hold my baby Noah and read about little boy Noah who is terrified of the water and is maybe, possibly remembering a previous life. Noah’s mom Janie cannot explain her son’s fear of the bath and washing his hands. Psychologists tell her he might need antipsychotics. She is desperate for answers. This book was unputdownable. Totally engrossing.


Who can believe the year is already half over?? Here’s a little update on the reading challenge I committed to at the beginning of the year:

notes-on-bookmarks

At the moment, here’s where I stand on these categories:

  • 113 books completed. Well over halfway! That’s more than 35000 pages read so far this year!
  • Only 49 were books I owned, so I have been reading more than 50% borrowed books.
  • Only 11 have been by authors of color, so I definitely have some reading to do in that area.
  • Have not yet read a short story collection
  • Have read books in translation (almost all by Frederik Backman)
  • I’ve already read 30 non-fiction books and memiors!
  • Working on The Count of Monte Cristo for the author that died before I was born, but also read Louisa May Alcott and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Have read two books under 100 pages
  • Reading Monte Cristo which is well over 500 pages, but haven’t finished it yet!
  • Have not read a book in NM
  • Have read 2 books by LGBT authors
  • Have read a few award-winners.