What I Read in July

Thursday, August 1, 2019

I feel like I hit my stride again in July, reading-wise. It had been awhile! I finished eight books in July, my highest monthly total since March, & nearly all of them were good - or at least enjoyable. This month 's books represent my reading references to the point of stereotype: Harry Potter, The Bachelor, YA thrillers, memoirs about crime & religious cults... This is really a peak Kate Kaput reading month.

Now that I'm done with my Harry Potter reread, I expect to get back to my regular reading schedule... though I'm already ready to start rereading it again!

For the Right Reasons: America's Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, & Why Nice Guys Finish First by Sean Lowe
Yes, I read another Bachelor book. Yes, it was from the very religious Bachelor, the one who was a born-again virgin & mega-Christian. And yes, I really enjoyed it. Sean Lowe is just a nice, affable, surprisingly normal guy, & it was interesting to read about the process from his perspective, rather than from that of the Bachelorettes or contestants. He was straight-forward, honest, & entirely non-controversial, but in an enjoyable, readable way. ★★★☆☆

If You Love Me: A Mother's Journey Through Her Daughter's Opioid Addiction by Maureen Cavanagh
Cavanagh's world turned upside-down when she discovered that her smart, well-liked, teenage daughter was a heroin addict. Katie, arrested on prostitution charges, spent years in & out of rehab facilitates, breaking her mother's heart (& wallet) countless times along the way. Through her own grief, Cavanagh become an advocate for addicts & their families, starting a nonprofit to help them throughout their crises and finding time to be a public activist. Her memoir is a powerful, painful, moving story of the power of a daughter's addiction & a mother's love. ★★★★☆

A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod
I liked the premise of this audiobook, the observation that kids often become fascinated by dinosaurs & lose interest by adulthood - unless they go on to become paleontologists, like the author did.  I had hoped this book would rile my enthusiasm about dinosaurs, but it was a little boring for me, even narrated in Garrod's delightful British accent. It did, however, make me want to visit the nearest museum if natural history. ★★★☆☆

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I did itttt! I finished my HP series re-read late one Friday night, & what a delight it was. I wept through the end of the seventh book, as expected, & when it ended, I felt such a sense of peace & joy... that I just wanted to start it all over again. New hot take: This book might be my favorite of the series. ★★★★★ (x1,000,000)

Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion & Finding a Life by Amber Scorah
In my grand & time-honored personal tradition of loving books about cults & oppressive fringe religions, I knew I'd love this memoir by a former Jehovah's Witness. While serving as a missionary in China, where the faith is banned by the government & its practice is punishable by law, Scorah started to examine her beliefs - the "why" behind her mission to convert those she'd always learned were hell-bound. ★★★★★

The Fact of a Body: A Murder & a Memoir by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich
This is easily one of the best-written & most compelling memoirs I've read in a long time - & one of the best-written & most compelling true crime stories, too. Throughout the book, thee author's personal story - which includes a couple of major family secrets - is interwoven with that of Ricky Langley, a convicted pedophile & murderer. Marzano-Lesnevich, a Harvard-educated lawyer who has long opposed to death penalty, struggled with an abrupt change of feelings upon learning of Langley's heinous crimes. ★★★★★

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
One of my newish favorite thriller writers does it again with the mystery of The Bartholomew, a famous, historic (& fictional) apartment complex overlooking Central Park. When Jules, broke & recently unemployed, is hired to be an "apartment sitter" in a ritzy apartment there, she jumps at the chance - but quickly starts to suspect that something is very wrong. This book was more in the vein of Sager's first novel, Final Girls, than his second, The Last Time I Lied - which is to say, I liked it more than his second but perhaps not as much as his first. I stayed up late to finish this one, though, & the twist, while improbably dramatic, was unlike any I'd ever read before. ★★★★★

You Owe Me a Murder by Eileen Cook
In this YA thriller, Kim heads to London on a scholars trip. One of the other participants? Her ex-boyfriend, who openly despises her. When he dies shortly upon arrival, Kim is devastated - & thinks it might be her fault, given that she got drunk on the flight & told a total stranger all about how badly he'd wrong her. Now that stranger wants Kim to commit a murder in return. A little cheesy but incredibly entertaining, this was one of my favorite laid-back reads in awhile. ★★★★☆

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