9.05.2017

Books I Read in August

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
I thoroughly enjoyed this timely novel, and you can read my full review here!

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
I read This is What Happy Looks Like a few years ago and this book has a similar feel: lovable characters you can't help but root for, despite their questionable choices, while they are thrust into a very unlikely scenario. It was perfectly sweet YA, enjoyable and thought provoking: how would YOU react if you, or someone close to you, won the lottery? 

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
After reading Flora and Ulysses, I decided I HAD to pick up Dicamillo's other Newberry winning book. Like the former, it is cast with lovable misfits and told with such humor and heart. It felt like an updated version of a fable that has been passed down for generations. The themes on love, duty, individuality and belonging are timeless and this is a beautifully written classic that will stand the test of time. "There is those hearts, reader, that never mend again once they are broken. Or if they do mend, they heal themselves is a crooked and lopsided way, as if sewn together by a careless craftsman."

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachael Khong
Going into this, I thought it sounded like a maudlin and introspective novel about yet another 'quirky' main character that would not be my jam. HOWEVER, there was something about Khong's descriptive and well paced writing that kept me turning the pages and feeling invested in Ruth and her ailing father as she comes home to help her mother cope with his Alzheimer's. The details were often crazy and lent such realness to the characters, like the way she and her best friend snack on carrot sticks and sugar, or peanuts with ranch dressing!? The crystal clear memories her father shares of her childhood also ring so true: making glass with sand in the microwave or taking the seeds off of bagels to grow in the garden like something my kids might do. She has some lovely turns of phrase: when talking about her ex boyfriend she "...loosened the jar lid, so that somebody else could open him" or remembering when he was building a house of cards, an obvious metaphor for their relationship "...trying not to breathe, not to be the one to knock it down." This was overall, a delightful surprise.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
I had heard about this 'southern fiction' writer several times over the last year or so, but never picked up Sarah Addison Allen's books. I am far from Southern, and the covers didn't GRAB me. I finally gave Garden Spells a try for a light summer read and found it DELIGHTFUL. It's full of vivid and lovable characters - including a magical apple tree. Magic does play a part, but in a smart and engaging way. There are intense and provocative scenes that kept me turning the pages, as well as great humorous and romantic ones that made me laugh and smile wide. This would be a great pick for fans of Practical Magic or The Language of Flowers.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand
Earlier in the summer I crowdsourced which Hilderbrand backlist novel I should read: The Rumor or Here's to Us and it was basically a tie! I ended up going with The Rumor because I learned that her upcoming Winter Solstice will be a sequel to BOTH the Winter Street series (which I've read in it's entirety over the last few winters) AND The Rumor! I'm glad I chose it because it was perfect Hilderbrand comfort reading. I love the details she gives her characters (the best is the one who waves indiscriminately at everyone because of his nearsightedness) and, of course, the details of Nantucket that make me practically salivate to visit. This was equally juicy, thoughtful, and fun fare.

The Reminders by Val Emmich
Until my hold came in at the library, I hadn't realized that the author is a kind of 'renaissance man' singer-songwriter, actor, and musician. One of the things I loved most about this novel was that I got the smallest glimpse of what it might feel like to write music. The writing was also lyrical in parts, with good pacing and an intriguing plot. The ending gets a little hokey, but overall a lovely book. There were aspects that reminded my of The One in A Million Boy. If you enjoy a story of unlikely characters thrown together that inspire each other in unforeseen ways, I would highly recommend. 

One year ago: Books I Read in August 2016
Two years ago: Books I Read in August 2015
Three years ago: Books I Read in August 2014
Four years ago: Books I Read in August 2013
Five years ago: Books I Read in August 2012

3 comments:

  1. I read Young Jane Young lately and was a little thrown by the different formats but overall really liked it! Wasn't what I was expecting but still enjoyable. I really liked Windfall and have added This is What Happy Looks Like to my TBR!
    I've read all of Elin Hilderbrand's books (The Blue Bistro and The Island are my favorites) but have NO memory of the story line of The Rumor, which is on my reread list before the next Winter book is released!

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  2. I totally agree about Goodbye, Vitamin! I just loved her voice so much...it made the book.

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    1. Yes, very pleasant surprise for me :)

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