Posted in Books and Shows

July: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! Can you believe July is almost over? We are in back to school mode around here. The kids have been attending 6th grade (middle school!) orientation all week, and I’ve been helping with 9th grade orientation. Less than two weeks, and we’ll all be back in the classroom.

That being said, I’m definitely in a reading groove this summer, and today I’m sharing the books I read in July.

This month, I read 5 books…and have started one more. My mom sent this to me, and it’s so true:

Of the five books I read in July, a couple were just ok, but one book was my favorite of the summer (and wasn’t even on my Summer Reading list!)

This month I read…

For my Good Reads Reading Challenge, I’m up to 26 of 40 books read this year!

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

Open Book

Open Book

Summary:

Jessica tells of growing up in 1980s Texas where she was sexually abused by the daughter of a family friend, and of unsuccessfully auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club at age 13 with Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling before going on to sign a record deal with Columbia and marrying 98 Degrees member Nick Lachey.

Along the way, she details the struggles in her life, such as the pressure to support her family as a teenager, divorcing Lachey, enduring what she describes as an emotionally abusive relationship with musician John Mayer, being body-shamed in an overly appearance-centered industry, and going through bouts of heavy drinking. But Simpson ends on a positive note, discussing her billion-dollar apparel line and marriage with professional football star Eric Johnson, with whom she has three children.

Quick Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book at the library. I was actually in the library and saw it on the shelf. I took it with me on vacation, and it was a great beach read. I really enjoyed the book. Of course, I love reading and getting details on the lives of others, and it was interesting to read about Jessica’s childhood, her relationship with Nick Lachey, and her career.

Honestly, I’d forgotten how successful her Jessica Simpson line is, and she hadn’t started it yet when going through her divorce with Nick. I loved her mic drop moment when she told her dad she was tired of the back and forth about money during the divorce with Nick and to just pay him whatever he was asking. (When they married, he was the more successful one, but her career had picked up and was more successful at the time). She told her dad, “I will make the money back…and I did by billions.” Boom.

Anyway, I really did enjoy the book, and Jessica was so forthcoming with many details and she really has accomplished so much!

Rating:

Four…maybe five stars…depending on if she’s a person of interest to you.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars

Summary:

#A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Quick Thoughts:

I didn’t know this was a young adult book when I picked it up. The chapters were short making it an easy read for young adults. I didn’t really enjoy the first half but then I did get into the story line for the second half of the book. That being said, the overall story was pretty heavy especially once I realized what happened. I really enjoyed the “bonus” content. The author shares notes from her, notes from the characters, her writing process, her book proposal, why she called it “the liars” and more. I always love insight from an author!

Rating:

Apparently it was a Good Reads Choice 2014 Winner.

3 🌟 for the first half, 4🌟 second half and how the story wrapped up, 5🌟 for the bonus content 😂

The Cave Dwellers

The Cave Dwellers

Summary:

They are the families considered worthy of a listing in the exclusive Green Book—a discriminative diary created by the niece of Edith Roosevelt’s social secretary. Their aristocratic bloodlines are woven into the very fabric of Washington—generation after generation. Their old money and manner lurk through the cobblestone streets of Georgetown, Kalorama, and Capitol Hill. They only socialize within their inner circle, turning a blind eye to those who come and go on the political merry-go-round. These parents and their children live in gilded existences of power and privilege.

But what they have failed to understand is that the world is changing. And when the family of one of their own is held hostage and brutally murdered, everything about their legacy is called into question in this unputdownable novel that “combines social satire with moral outrage to offer a masterfully crafted, absorbing read that can simply entertain on one level and provoke reasoned discourse on another” (Booklist, starred review).

Quick Thoughts:

I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Similarly to We Were Liars, it took me some time to get into the plot, but the ending came together nicely. I did like the little excerpts of historical context sprinkled between chapters. The book shines light on politics, the upper class, and high society life. I’m glad I finished the book, but it’s not one that I feel like will stick with me.

Rating:

Three, mayb 3.5 stars

The Summer House

The Summer House

Summary:

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far.

Quick Thoughts:

The Summer House was a cute summer read. It reminded me of Virgin River with the small town setting, Lily coming to the small town for a fresh start. Lily’s love interest Rawlins, had a very Mel and Jack vibe of Virgin River. I loved the Village Vine newsletter updates sprinkled throughout the book.

Rating:

Malibu Rising

Malibu Rising

Summary:

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.

Quick Thoughts:

Malibu Rising is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s definitely the best book I’ve read this summer (and it wasn’t even on my summer reading list!) This book caught my attention from the first page and held my interest until the very last page. The plot seamlessly moved between the past and the present which provided so much insight into each character and made this book an easy page turner. I love the relationship between the siblings. You could feel Nina’s sense of responsibility and sigh of relief when she was able to provide for her siblings and that they “made it.”

One of my favorite quotes (in part) from the book: “It hurt to leave…but most good things come with a pinch or an ache.” This rang true in a variety of ways throughout the book. Malibu Rising is definitely a book I will always remember.

Rating:

Hands down, 5 stars. This is definitely the best book I’ve read all summer…maybe all year.

Summer Reading Update:

These are the books on my summer reading list:

  • Here’s to Us: read!
  • Big Summer: started but couldn’t really get into it.
  • The Summer House: read!
  • Girls of Summer: read!
  • That Summer: just picked up from the library!
  • Golden Girl: on the library wait list

I’m definitely going to miss having as much time to read once I get back to school. I still have a couple more weeks of summer, so I’m trying to get my reading time in while I can.

I just started Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins. I’d been on the library wait list, so I’m reading it now since it’s my turn!

What have you been reading lately?

{this post contains Amazon affiliate links…}

12 thoughts on “July: What I’ve Been Reading

  1. I’m still waiting on Malibu Rising! Now I’m even more excited! I’ve been in a rut, but I have a new library book that I’m hopeful about while I wait. I’m excited about our cooler temps since I’m an outdoor reader! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read it after yours! Lol! I’ve learned that I don’t always agree and that sometimes the frame of mind you’re in matters! I have fully admitted that sometimes it’s not the book; it’s just me. I could not read Daisy Jones. I just couldn’t get into it.

        Like

      2. I’ve never read the Daisy Jones book…& I remember when it was all the hype…& just never intrigued me. When I read the summary of MR before reading it, I actually didn’t think I’d like it…but was wrong, obviously 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading Malibu Rising right now. Love it so far! I agree with you on We We’re Liars. I read it years ago and your review brought back alll the things I had thought about it back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Well, the orientations are because of our summer long (3 phases) of summer school. So the last phase was a week long for k, 6th and 9th…but, yes, we are back to school on the 11th, so the time is near.

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