Goodbye July, Hello August!
Hello and Happy (mid) August – I hope your month is off to a good start. Last month was a great month of reading and I have been eager to share these titles with all of you. These monthly recap posts matter to me(shout out to the other Lazy Genius fans!), so I strive to get them on here even if lately they have been a couple of weeks late…
July was the perfect mix of fiction and non-fiction books and I had quite a few 4 & 5 star reads. I also decided I am going to start regularly sharing the books I DNFed (did not finish) and my thoughts behind this process as a reader who wants to give thoughtful but also authentic reviews.
Dare I say, I really didn’t have one?! I have to say, for the sake of time, I have been trying to be more aggressive with my DNFing so that is a big part of it. I have been stopping books as soon as I feel like dreading picking them back up…I will push through when I have been specifically asked to review them, but if they are just ones I have selected on my own, I have come to the realization that is okay to say they just didn’t work for me.
I am always so appreciative of having the opportunity to review books but just like with anything, not every book is for every person. So this month I am including the three books I DNFed. These three “thriller” books, He Started It, The Girl From Widow Hills and The Half Sister, that just didn’t hold my interest and I was unable to finish them. I also know many readers enjoy books by these authors but after a couple of tries, I think they may just not be for me.
I also am taking a break from Notes On A Silencing. It was one of my most anticipated reads so I am not giving up, I just need to give it a few weeks to start again. I just don’t think I am in the right headspace for it currently. Have any of you read this one yet? I would love to hear your thoughts!
July 2020 Reading Recap…
When I Was You by Amber Garza
I was looking for some escape reading and When I Was You ended up being a great choice. It is a messy ride and doesn’t tie up neatly at the end but it definitely kept my head spinning and was totally engrossing.
For a thriller, which I often struggle with, this one kept my attention throughout and definitely got my mind off of real-life so I would call it a win. I really enjoyed Garza’s writing style and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next! My full review will be up next week on its release day!
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
I’m Still Here is the most impactful book I have read regarding race in America, thus far. I picked it up after listening to her powerful conversation with Brene Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast HERE. Author Austin Channing Brown powerfully shares her personal experiences and insights on growing up a Black woman of faith in a predominately white world and it is not to be missed.
This book offers the reader an accessible and succinct look at microaggressions, workplace interactions, and white fragility. Not only does she fuse personal stories but she also shares profound insight for anyone who thinks we are living in a post-racial America. This small but mighty book(it clocks in at just under 200 pages) is one I will never forget and I am still reflecting on it today. You can read my full review of I’m Still Here in my blog post HERE.
Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
I love Jasmine Guillory’s novels because are fun and engaging but also smart. I can’t do books that are too fluffy and this is a perfect balance. This is a romance that also has real-life issues intertwined and that is my kind of book. Maybe it is because I am in my mid-thirties with my feet firmly planted in the realities of a long term relationship but I love that her books have adults that actually, gasp, act like adults!! I love that she always features strong, smart women and body-positive language.
The best part is that this book isn’t just the whole falling in love and happily ever plotline. It actually involves the layered path of what it takes to work through both the highs and lows of relationships. Of course, this is still a lighter read but I appreciated the realness of the characters while still being a part of Guillory’s totally enjoyable writing style that she is known for. You can read my full review of Party of Two in my blog post HERE.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Just like Acevedo’s previous novel Poet X, Clap When You Land is a powerful story told through gorgeous lyrical. While the writing is beautiful the premise is also stunningly complex. Acevedo includes some hard-hitting and important issues that add so much to this story that encompasses grief, anger, and love and the power of sisterhood.
Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
Beatriz Williams is one of those authors that I stick with because I loved her older books, but her last couple of books were pretty disappointing. When I read the premise of this book and that it was loosely based on Amelia Earhart and the mystery surrounding her disappearance I was definitely intrigued and thought I would give it a try.
You could tell that Williams did a lot of research for this one and it ended up being one of my favorites. To be honest, I have been struggling with the historical fiction genre during this pandemic because I just haven’t had the attention span. This ended up being a captivating read and I look forward to what Williams writes next.
Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch
I picked up Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing as one of my Amazon First Reads choices in July. I was intrigued by the premise and I love a book that incorporates women and politics. It ended up having a bit of the Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win vibe which is one of my favorite fiction books – and it would make a perfect book club selection!
The Beauty In Breaking by Michele Harper
While The Beauty In Breaking is a memoir that incorporates Harper’s medical career as an ER doctor, what she really highlights is the power of growth and healing. She narrates her internal journey as a black woman in a profession that even in 2020 has pervasive racism and gender inequality.
She shares about how paths through broken systems – whether it is complex family dynamics or systemic racism – can ultimately lead us forward. In personal stories and narrative, she shares that there is truly is beauty in the breaking points of life.
“Brokenness can be a remarkable gift. If we allow it, it can expand our space to transform.”
The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
I love a self-help book that is encouraging and relatable and Kendra Adachi does both so well. I have been a longtime listener of her podcast The Lazy Genius, whose’s motto is simple but life-changing:
“Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t.”
Adachi walks the fine line of giving advice while also being aware that we all have different sets of challenges and goals. She shares systems that can help us no matter what our set of circumstances but doesn’t tell you what to do or how to do it like many books in this genre.
I love how she first helps you identify and name the things that are important to YOU. She then presents smart no-nonsense mindset shifts to put in place so we can approach everyday necessities with more thought, move through hard things without giving up, accomplish the things that are important to us, and then move on! You can read my full review for The Lazy Genius Way in my blog post HERE.
The Comeback by Ella Berman
The Comeback takes on the darker side of Hollywood in the timely premise of the #metoo movement. Debut author Ella Berman addresses manipulation and the abuse of power in this novel about a fictional child star, Grace Turner, who has a rapid rise and fall from fame.
While this certainly isn’t your easy summer beach read, it’s completely compelling dark plotline shines a light on an all too common issue while also showing the power of strength and survival.
While Grace can be an unreliable narrator who has been dealt a messy hand from a young age, I found myself rooting for her as she discovered her own courage and power along the tumulous path of healing. If you are looking for an engrossing and heart-wrenching novel you will have a hard time putting down, I highly recommend this!
Eliza Starts A Rumor by Jane L. Rosen
Eliza Starts A Rumor has a Big Little Lies vibe, but dare I say I loved it even more? The multiple storylines weave together to create such a satisfying novel. I loved the themes of sisterhood, family, motherhood, friendship, and hope. You can read my full review of Eliza Starts A Rumor in my blog post HERE.
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