Happy Monday! Even though I read seven books in August, I feel like I didn’t have as much time to read this month as I have some other months—especially at the end of of August, I feel like there was a week when I barely cracked open my book, which is very unlike me! Two of the books I read this month were from Kindle Unlimited, which I mentioned last month I am testing out, and while I enjoyed them both (Trophy Life and The Undue Life of Amy Byler), neither of them blew me away, so I am still planning to unsubscribe from it when my free trial is over. While I think Kindle Unlimited is a great resource, since I typically like to plan what books I read out ahead of time, and often read new releases, it’s easier for me to just borrow books from the library and pay for Kindle books outright when they don’t have the title I want to read or the waitlist is too long.
As is custom on these posts, I wanted to call out that I’m part of a program where Random House will send me some of their new titles each month. I’m under no obligation to post about any titles I receive, so I really can tell you my own opinion (good or bad!) about them. I’ve starred the books Random House sent me for free below. I’m so lucky to be sent books and that’s not lost on me!
If you’ve read anything great lately, please let me know—I love shopping the recommendations you all give me. You can also keep up with what I’m reading in real time on my Goodreads—feel free to friend me.
THAT’S WHAT FRENEMIES ARE FOR // SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD + LAUREN GERSHELL*
After Julie’s Hampton home floods and she can’t escape the city for the summer, she wants to find a way to make her friends envious and ensure she’s back on top, despite the summer snafu. She tries out a new fitness studio in her neighborhood, where she meets Tatum, a young instructor who Julie adopts as her pet project. Only before long, fall comes along, her friends come home, and things backfire majorly—and Julie’s life spins even more out of control when her husband is arrested for white collar crime.
Would I recommend it? Yes! I thought this was a very smart piece of ‘chick lit’ and couldn’t put it down. I also loved this look at UES society and thought it was better written and less predictable than similar stories!
THE UNHONEYMOONERS // CHRISTINA LAUREN
When Olive’s identical twin sister Ami, gets married, she’s rather miffed because she has to spend all day with someone she despises—the groom’s brother, Ethan. At the wedding, chaos ensues, and there’s an outbreak of terrible food poisoning, that also takes down the bride and the groom. The only people not impacted are Olive and Ethan, so Ami and her new husband insist their siblings take their non-refundable, all-inclusive honeymoon to Hawaii. Olive and Ethan decide to put their hate for each other aside and enjoy a trip to Hawaii, making a pact to spend as least time with each other as possible. But when Olive runs into her future boss and Ethan runs into his ex, they’re forced to act closer than they really are.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely—Christina Lauren is one of my favorite authors, and despite its predictability, I really enjoyed this one.
THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER // KELLY HARMS
Amy’s husband left her three years ago, and she’s been figuring out the single parent thing ever since and taking a job as a librarian at her kids’ school to help make ends meet. Her husband unexpectedly comes back, and begs her to let him watch the kids for the summer so he can get to know them better and she can take a break. Eventually, she relents and decides to spend the summer in New York dating and doing things for herself for once.
Would I recommend it? I liked this one a lot, and think if you were a mom of teenagers, you’d really relate to this one—but, if you’re looking for an easy, enjoyable beach read, I think there are better options out there.
TROPHY LIFE // LEA GELLER
Agnes is a wealthy Santa Monica housewife, and all her needs are taken care of by her older husband. She’s got childcare and a cook on staff, and can spend her days as she pleases. Until one day, her husband disappears and leaves her with no house and no money. She’s forced to move across the country and take a job at a middle school so she can take care of her young daughter. All the while, more details about how her husband lost their money come to the forefront, and Agnes is forced to confront the fact she may never have really known him at all.
Would I recommend it? Same comment as above—this was a cute read, and I was really cheering on Agnes, but thought it was pretty predictable and din’t love the ending. There are better books out there!
LADIES WHO PUNCH // RAMIN SETOODEH
A couple of years ago, I started watching The View clips on Youtube, and fell in love with the format. For a while there, I was watching the show almost every single day. (I don’t have cable anymore, so can’t access it on demand, but I still do keep up with what’s going on with all the co-hosts.) This is a great non-fiction piece about the history of the show—much of it I didn’t know as I was in elementary school when it first came out!—and shows just how groundbreaking and ahead of its time it was. It covers a lot of ground, including some great background on Barbara Walters and all the information about the Rosie years. The author interviewed so many people for the book, and definitely has the inside scoop.
Would I recommend it? I really enjoyed this book, but I wish he had spent more time talking about the current co-hosts of The View since those are the ones I know best. If you like The View, then you’ll like this book—or if you’re interested in the media generally, I think you’d find this enjoyable.
THREE WOMEN // LISA TADDEO
This is a non-fiction look at the sex lives of three women over the course of eight years. It tells the story of Lina, a suburban mom in Indiana, who has an affair with her high school boyfriend after her relationship with her husband breaks down, and their marriage counselor takes his side. It also tells Maggie’s story, a 17-year-old high school student in North Dakota, who is groomed by her high school teacher, and eventually, enters into a relationship with him. A few years after high school graduation, Maggie has spiraled into a deep depression, while he has been named North Dakota teacher of the year. She decides to step forward with her story and turns their rural community upside down. And, it follows the story of Sloane, a successful restaurant owner who lives in Newport, Rhode Island and who is happily married to Richard, who enjoys watching his wife with other men (or women).
Would I recommend it? I think this book is overrated and personally didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped to—but, I would still recommend reading it since it is such a topic of conversation in our culture right now and I am glad I will be able to contribute.
ALL THE FLOWERS IN PARIS // SARAH JIO*
The story flips between the modern day and Nazi-occupied Germany. In present day, Caroline wakes up in a Parisian hospital, and has no idea who she is or why she, as an American, has taken up residence in Paris. She soon learns she lived a reclusive life in a sprawling, but empty, apartment on the Seine River. She strikes up a new friendship with a chef from a nearby restaurant as she works to get her memory back and remember her previous life. In the 1940s, we learn the story of Celine, a young widow, who has an eight-year-old daughter, Cosi, and runs a flower shop with her father. Eventually, the Germans discover their Jewish ancestry, and mark the Star of David on their shop, ruining their chances at a successful business. They soon learn of a Nazi round-up coming, and make plans to escape—only, they’re caught in the act. Celine is forced to live at a Nazi soldier’s house, concealing that her daughter escaped capture and followed her into captivity. More motivated than ever, Celine must fight to hide and protect the person she loves most.
Would I recommend it? Yes! This was my favorite book I read all month—add it to your list if you especially love World War II historical fiction like Lilac Girls.