What I Read in August

Monday, September 3, 2018

Another month down. Damn, it's almost September! I didn't feel like I got a lot of reading done in August, but looking back on it now, well, I read 10 books & am about halfway through three others not listed here. Guess it was more productive than I'd realized!

I haven't yet read the book I received as my August Book of the Month Club Pick - Caz Frear's new thriller Sweet Little Lies - but I'm hoping to make it through that one in September. It looks so good! If you're not yet a member, you can get a free book when you sign up for Book of the Month Club using my referral code.

The One by Kiera Cass

This was the final book in The Selection series (though it's followed by two related books that take place two decades later), & like the others, I listened to it on audiobook - at 1.5 speed, which made it go extra-fast. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the three, if only because it ended too quickly & tied up too nearly. I wanted to see more of the rebellion, more of the politics, know more about America's family's secrets, etc. It all just felt too fast & too clean. ★★★☆☆

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls by Ann M. Martin

I'm working my way through the Babysitters Club series in order to be able to listen to & fully appreciate each episode of The Babysitters Club Club podcast, as recommended by Stephany. It seems very silly of me to really review these or give them star ratings, so going forward, I'll just note them with a line or two. Either way, this is a fun, easy reading project for me - with lots of nostalgia mixed in, to boot!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Ware has quickly become one of my favorite authors, so I was thrilled to get off the waiting list for her newest book, about Hal, a young tarot card reader who is mistakenly identified as the granddaughter of a presumably wealthy & recently deceased woman. Desperate for money, Hal decides she can use her cold-reading skills to fake her way to an inheritance that's not rightfully hers. Can she get away with it? This book was less of a thriller than Ware's other novels, more of a standard mystery - & while it took me longer to get into it, I really enjoyed the ride. ★★★☆☆

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pag├ín

I think this was a Kindle First read, one I didn't even know I had on my device, but it seemed appealing enough while I was out in the woods sans wifi & hadn't updated my Kindle with my current library loans. I'd expected something much more serious out of this novel, whose lead character, Libby, is diagnosed with terminal cancer the same day her husband tells her he's gay. It turned out to be an easy & fairly frivolous read that still packed an emotional punch toward the end. I literally ended it with a smile on my face, whispering, "Good story." ★★★☆☆

Sick by Porochista Khakpour

Khakpour, an Iranian-American author, writes about her struggle to be diagnosed with, to understand, and to manage her Lyme disease. I hesitate to judge anyone's memoir, & in interviews, Khakpour has explained that the book came about after a Lyme relapse and a car accident that left with her a traumatic brain injury, so, in her own words, it's "kind of messy." The look at chronic illness was fascinating & painful, but I found the author so self-obsessed, shallow, & unlikable that it was a difficult read for me for a myriad reasons. ★★☆☆☆

The Heir by Kiera Cass

This book in The Selection series takes place more than two decades after the first three books, so it's a continuation but also kind of a separate story. It tells the story of America & Maxon's daughter, Princess Eadlyn, who's going through a Selection of her own - albeit under very different circumstances than her parents did. This book was decidedly not as good as the part of the series that came before it, & I haven't yet felt compelled to read the final book that follows. ★★☆☆☆

Life After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings by Lily Rose Lee (a.k.a. Michelle Knight) 

Knight (who changed her name a few years ago) was one of three women held captive & tortured by Cleveland bus driver Ariel Castro, who committed suicide in prison. Since her rescue in 2013 alongside fellow victims Gina DeJesus & Amanda Berry, Lee has been telling her story & speaking out about abuse. Though this book was not the best-written, it was incredibly compelling. Lee is, truly, one of the most resilient people I've ever read about. ★★★★☆

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

Why did it take me so long to read this one?! This Book of the Month Club pick tells the story of Suzette (known to her brother as Little), who is Black, Jewish, & bisexual, & Lionel (a.k.a. Lion), who is white, Jewish, & recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Their parents aren't married, but the four of them have been a family since the two kids were young; they consider one another brother & sister, & they are best friends. This was a beautiful story of family & identity, & a fairly easy/compelling read. ★★★★★

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

This book was authored by my cousin's friend & former coworker, who used to be a Latin teacher at the high school where he teaches. In it, four best friends go up against For Art's Sake, a reality show filming at their arts high schools - & it feels very clear to me that it was written by someone with serious knowledge of Latin &, well, just about everything. The high schoolers in this novel are wayyyyy smarter than I am, & I loved learning random things about language & history through reading it. It was a fun & original plot. ★★★★☆

This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today by Chrissy Metz

I'm not usually one for self-helpy memoirs, but I had a feeling this one, written by one of the stars of This Is Us (which I don't watch), was gonna be good - & I was right. Chrissy Metz has such a positive, charismatic strength about her, & I loved reading her story. She was abandoned by her father, abused by her stepfather, & loved but not protected by her mother, who chose to keep the family together at the expense of Chrissy's safety/health. Today, she stars in one of the most popular TV shows on the air & was nominated for an Emmy. ★★★☆☆

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

I found this YA read on a list of books by & about women of color, & whoa, what a read it is.When Claudia's best friend Monday falls out of touch over the summer & doesn't show up to school in the fall, Claudia is the only one who seems worried - & the only one looking for her. Despite Claudia's repeated insistence & begging to adults - & her own dangerous investigation - she can't figure out what's happened to her best friend. This book is equal parts regular YA fiction & holy-shit kind of thriller, with an ending I did not see coming. I hung onto every word & stayed up late to finish it. ★★★★★

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

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