Everything I Read in August 2020 {Book Recap & Ratings}

What I read in August 2020

August Reading…

August was an interesting month of reading. The first half I made it through quite a few books (both ebooks and audiobooks) and then the last half it really slowed down for me. I am struggling like many with the state of our country, and I have spent more time scrolling and listening to the news than I would care to admit. I certainly know it is important to be updated on what is going on in the world, but there is definitely is an amount that is good without going overboard…and I had a hard time finding a balance with this lately.

What you CAN do!

I easily get consumed by things and I know this will be something I need to think about during the next few months as we get closer to this very important election date. Having something tangible is helpful and I loved the Send Postcards to Swing States effort…which you can still donate to today to help cover postage for a volunteer!

The Book Juggle…

I did love most of the books I did read, and I think that is because I am trying to get better about giving up on books that just aren’t working for me. I have previously struggled with this because I am a people pleaser and never want to let someone down, especially when someone has taken the time to send me a book to review. But at the same time, it is so very important to me to always share my feedback authentically.

I strive to share detailed and honest feedback when I am reviewing something, whether I have been gifted the book or have purchased it myself. I have working on building this readership that trusts my recommendations and this is very important to me. When a book or product isn’t for me, I will share that, including aspects of what worked and did not work for me as a reader.

The Books I Did Not Finish:

2020 book

I struggled with the topics in Jodi Picoult’s fall release, The Book of Two Ways. I always appreciate Picoult’s ability to incorporate a wide variety of issues and themes into her novels, but this one just had too much?! Philosophy, hieroglyphics, symbolism, and a lot of scientific information…it felt like brain overload for me and I just don’t have the capacity right now. I appreciate her efforts, it just distracted me from the storyline too much and I had to put it down.

thriller

I have enjoyed books by Megan Collins and Ruth Ware in the past but I think I just have consumed too many thriller/suspense books and I had a hard time getting drawn into these. I think it might be a case of “it’s me not you!” but I just couldn’t get into either of these.

My Favorite Books I Read:

5-star books

The Fixed Stars, Florence Adler Swims Forever and Everything After were my 5-star reads last month! A 5-star rating means I loved the book so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about it long after I had finished. I try to be selective with 5-star ratings and you can read more about my rating process in my FAQS section HERE.

August Book Recap…

summer reading

Now, onto the books I did finish…During the month of August, I read six books and listened to four audiobooks through LibroFM and Hoopla. Below are my ratings and reviews for each book and also links to where you can purchase a copy for yourself. Enjoy!

Molly Wizenberg

The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

I went into this memoir knowing very little about the subject matter and was engrossed from the very beginning. The complexities of relationships have always fascinated me  Wizenberg’s ability to share the awakening she had in her late 30s and the path to finding herself was deeply thought-provoking.

Her writing feels like having an intimate conversation with a good friend. Wizenberg shares her unconventional path to discovering her identity and sexual orientation. No stone was left unturned and while it won’t be for every reader, I appreciated that she shared the messy journey while also having compassion for the individuals who were also a part of this narrative. It wasn’t perfect but I found the writing profoundly powerful and thoughtful and I highly recommend it, especially on audio.

{Thank you to LibroFM, NetGalley, and Abrams Press for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.}

With or Without You

With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

With or Without You is a contemporary fiction novel that dives into a long term relationship and what happens when everything changes. I found it totally compelling and while it had parts of the storyline that were not relatable to me personally, I could very much connect with the nuances of long term partnerships and continuing to find our own identities along the way.

I didn’t find it to be a totally enjoyable read, but I also felt like it was supposed to be that way. It was thought-provoking and had so much to unpack about how we understand ourselves and one another. Highly recommend!

{Thank you to Algonquin Books for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.}

One Deadly Secret

Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

Three Perfect Liars is a domestic suspense novel that takes on office politics, the secrets we hold close, and the struggles of (trying) to balance it all. The offices of Morris and Wood have been engulfed in a fire and we are left wondering, who did it…and why?

I enjoyed the mystery mixed with the social commentary and relatable struggles of motherhood and female relationships. The alternating perspectives of the main characters and the police interviews mixed throughout was a great reading balance. It was engrossing but wasn’t too far fetched which is definitely my style of a domestic thriller. This made for a perfect summer read and I look forward to reading more by author Heidi Perks in the future.

{Thank you to Gallery Books for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts are my own.}

Mother Land

Mother Land by Leah Franqui

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amazon Link|LibroFM Bookstore Link

Mother Land is a beautiful contemporary fiction family drama that focuses on cross-cultural and cross-generational issues told through the alternating narratives of Rachel and Swarti. Author Leah Franqui sets the scene in such a vivid way through her storytelling and focusing on two very different journeys, one of a native of India and one of a foreigner.

I loved the in-depth look at the multifaceted layers of being a woman. Rachel and Swarti are starting over in their own ways, but both unique paths intricately show that our differences really are what makes us connected.

While this novel is hard-hitting in many ways, it was an engrossing and quick read. This would make a fantastic book club discussion. I haven’t yet read Franqui’s debut novel, America For Beginners, but now plan to pick it up soon!

{Thank you to William Morrow for the gifted copy. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.}

9780593086964Hill Sa

Everything After by Jill Santopolo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

This was the perfect book for an end of summer vacation week. I absolutely loved the ease of the writing style and found it a hard read to put down. The story follows the life of a married woman who gave up on her love of music after an accident many years before. Along with her love of music, she left behind her first love.

As both music and her previous relationship make their way back into her life, everything about her present-day self and marriage is questioned. I highly recommend this one and I plan on sharing more closer to its spring 2021 publication date!

{Thank you to GP Putnam and Edelweiss for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.}

medical drama

The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha

⭐️⭐️

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

The White Coat Diaries gives us a peek behind the curtains into the world of hospital residency. The unglamorous life both at the hospital and also the struggle to balance life outside the ER doors are major themes of Sinha’s smart and witty debut novel.

We follow along with Norah, as she tries to balance with personal and professional struggles including family expectations and dynamics, and the relatable journey of navigating life in your 20s. I loved that it featured a highly motivated woman protagonist who is balancing medicine and her South Asian culture.

I read this at the beginning of August and was super excited to see what my fellow readers thought of this one because I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, author Madi Sinha took a big misstep mid-month and attacked a reviewer on Twitter for their honest review and perfectly respectful DNF review (they had been gifted an advanced copy through a giveaway on Goodreads).

While I understand that it takes a lot of work and time to write a book, everyone is entitled to their opinions and reviews are part of most any content you put out into the world. People make mistakes but unfortunately, Sinha did not take accountability for her actions which really was the most harmful part. I can’t support authors who behave in this way and no longer will be recommending this book.

{I do appreciate the advanced copy from Berkley in exchange for an honest review and as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.}

Brittney Cooper

Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

Eloquent Rage was recommended to me by Gina at the Badass Women’s Book Club. Author and professor Dr. Brittney Cooper narrates the audiobook herself and I highly recommend it. She discusses inequality and oppression as a Black feminist totally unapologetically and backs up with facts.

You can tell that Dr. Cooper has a deep understanding of herself through the personal experiences she shares. And while it is hard-hitting, it’s also accessible in the conversational way she presents these essays. She passionately and effectively highlights the obstacles Black women face every day through her own stories and her work as a scholar and educator. This book opened my eyes and challenged my thinking and I highly recommend it. I loved the powerful idea that when you don’t know where to start, first look at what makes you mad…

“This is a book by a grown-ass woman written for other grown-ass women. This is a book for women who expect to be taken seriously and for men who take grown women seriously. This is a book for women who know shit is fucked up. These women want to change things but don’t know where to begin.”

{I purchased a copy of this book through LibroFM}

Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Amazon Link

I have been a fan of Sally Hepworth for years now and I couldn’t wait for any longer to dive into her upcoming 2021 release. The Good Sister pulled me in right away with its quirky and unique characters and interesting relationships.

The book is narrated by Fern, a woman with intense sensory processing issues, whose beloved routine and “safe” relationship with her twin sister is rocked by the meeting of a man who she’s surprised is interested in her. As their relationship develops and the unexpected occurs, Fern is forced to uncover the truth about her relationship with her twin sister.

I loved the multifaceted characters and suspenseful storyline and had a hard time putting this one down.

{Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy.}

Rachel Beanland

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Amazon Link |LibroFM Bookstore Link

Florence Adler Swims Forever is the debut novel by Rachel Beanland. We meet three generations of the Adler family and follow them over a summer none of them will ever forget. When tragedy hits, the family members alternate narrating this family’s journey as they move through loss, grief, and rebuilding their lives. While Florence is an ever-present force, the characters we meet are the ones that were behind after her untimely death.

I loved the multifaceted look at family dynamics and Beanland’s gorgeous writing style made the characters really come alive. I alternated reading and listening to this book in audio format. The audio narrative was performed by a talented cast of narrators and was the perfect way to share this family saga.

The insights into a Jewish family living in Atlantic City in the mid-1930s added so much depth to the storyline. The suspense of this family secrets was just enthralling and reading the author’s note at the end was especially satisfying when we find out that some of this novel is based on real-life events.

I have struggled with the historical fiction genre during this pandemic and I am happy to report that this was a 5-star read for me. I cannot wait for what Beanland writes next and I have my fingers crossed for a much-anticipated sequel to this stunning debut.

{Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the gifted copy. As always, all thoughts are my own.}

The View From Here

The View From Here by Hannah McKinnon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣

Amazon Link | LibroFM Bookstore Link

This book was the perfect combination of family drama and beach read! I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but this book took me by surprise. It covered many more sensitive topics than I expected. Teens and social media, parenting, complicated family relationships, mental health- it was all there. The writing was light and easy to follow and it was a hard one to put down.

When a summer family gathering ends up as a tragic accident, all the relationships, perceived images, and unspoken truths in the family come out. As details about what really happened at the family gathering come to light, the truth about what matters most becomes clear. I loved this family drama and highly recommend it!

{Thank you to Atria Books for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.}

And that is what I read in August! Are any of these on your reading list? I would love to hear!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!

 

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