The fact that it is now October, and I am sharing my July reads shows you 1) how much I’ve been writing this year (oops), and 2) how committed I am to the consistency. I haven’t missed a month of reading recaps in almost three years, so I can’t start now! And with the holidays coming soon, I figured it was time to wrap up all of my summer reads and move on! I read 16 books in the month of July. We had two trips during this month, and lots of walks and time outside to catch up on my reading. I really liked a lot of these, so get ready to add some new reads to your list!
BOOK LOVERS BY EMILY HENRY – 5 STARS
I have been a huge fan of both of Emily Henry’s previous books, and Book Lovers was no different. I think this may have been my favorite one yet! Two sisters travel to Sunshine Falls, the setting of their favorite book, for a month-long sister trip, but Nora runs into someone from back home that makes the trip a little different than expected. If you love witty banter, lots of book talk, and enemies to lovers tropes, this book will have you loving every second.
THE FOUR WINDS BY KRISTIN HANNAH – 3 STARS
This book is HEAVY. And sad. And depressing. I don’t know why I expected anything different from a book about the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, but wow. Set in Texas in the 1930s, you meet the Martinelli family, a farming family from Italy who decided to settle and chase the American dream. The Martinelli’s daughter-in-law Elsa is our main protagonist – a woman just trying to take care of her family. When the Dust Bowl comes through and turns their once-happy existence into a living nightmare, Elsa has to make difficult decisions for herself and her family that will change everything as they know it. I can’t really recommend this book because the content is so heavy and difficult, but Kristin Hannah is also an exceptional writer, so just look it up before jumping in!
THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE BY MELANIE BENJAMIN – 3 STARS
This historical fiction book about Truman Capote and his friendship with the swans of Fifth Avenue as they were known was a very interesting story. I’m embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until I was almost finished with the entire thing that I realized the women portrayed in the story were actually real people, and the entire book was based on true events. Learning about Babe Paley was interesting as well as a closer look at Truman Capote’s life (I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s), but overall this book was just not my favorite.
THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES BY KRISTIN HARMEL – 3 STARS
Books about World War II are one of my favorite topics in historical fiction, so when The Book of Lost Names became available, I grabbed it! It’s the story of Eva Traube, a young woman in Paris in the 1940s who is forced to flee her home when her father is arrested because he is a Polish Jew. Eva and her mother find themselves in an unfamiliar place with no money and no one to trust. But Eva is a very talented artist, which means that she is also a very talented forger. 65 years later, we meet Eva in Florida where she has settled with her family, but her past finds her there.
THE DOLLHOUSE BY FIONA DAVIS – 4 STARS
And then another historical fiction book! The Dollhouse is a split timeline novel that jumps from the 1950s to 2016, all set in New York City in the Barbizon Hotel. In the 1950s it was a glamorous hotel for young women moving to NYC, and now it is a condo building. And the second floor of the condo building is where all of the remaining residents of the Barbizon Hotel for Women still live, some with secrets they’re desperate to keep from the past. This was really interesting!
EVERY SUMMER AFTER BY CARLEY FORTUNE – 5 STARS
I started this book for a fun new book club that I joined, and really loved it! We love a summertime romance. Percy Fraser grew up on the lake in the summers on Barry’s Bay, but she hasn’t been back in years. But when she gets word that someone from her past in Barry’s Bay passed away, she returns for her funeral and is forced to confront her relationships, especially the one with Sam Florek, the man she thought she’d love forever. I really loved this book.
THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY BY JENNY HAN – 3 STARS
I don’t think I really need to give you a summary of this book because every single person watched the Amazon Prime show this summer! I am a huge believer in trying to read the book before watching the show or movie, so I did it with this one, as well. And I just didn’t really love either of them very much. The show was a fun summery watch, but I probably won’t read the next two books.
SUNRISE BY KAREN KINGSBURY – 3 STARS
Another month, another Karen Kingsbury book! This was book 1 in the next installation of the Baxters Series, and I know she is slowly introducing us to new characters as the series evolves, but I’m just not as interested in the newer storylines, so this was a little bit harder for me to get into. I’ll always love the Baxters, though. I’m not going to summarize this book either, because if you want to read it you really need to start all the way at the beginning with Karen Kingsbury’s Redemption Series!
HELL IN THE HEARTLAND BY JAX MILLER – 4 STARS
Y’all know I’m a true crime fan. This book is the story of a cold case in Oklahoma where a family’s home was burned, a few were found dead, and two teenage girls were missing. Jax Miller began looking into the mysterious disappearance of the girls in 2015, and what she found shook her to her core. If you appreciate true crime, this was a story that kept me thinking, especially because Oklahoma is so close to home for me.
THE RIDE OF A LIFETIME BY ROBERT IGER – 5 STARS
As a big fan of all things Disney for most of my life, I was excited to pick up Robert Iger’s memoir. The book began with his perspective on the day that Disney Shanghai opened, and during the huge day, he received the call about the little boy who had been killed on Walt Disney World property and had to handle both events simultaneously. I found the entire book very interesting as he talked through his rise to his current career, the different relationships and deals that he made along the way, and the peek behind the curtain at the different brands associated with Disney.
NOBODY WILL TELL YOU THIS BUT ME BY BESS KALB – 2 STARS
I had no clue what this book was about when I picked it up, and honestly it was not my favorite, but I think that’s my own fault. Kalb writes the book from the perspective of her deceased grandmother, and it’s funny and heartwarming, but it just wasn’t for me.
THE PULL OF THE STARS BY EMMA DONOGHUE – 3 STARS
Set almost exclusively in the expectant mother’s ward of a flu-ridden hospital in Ireland, this is the story of three women and what happens when their lives get tangled together. Each woman is in the ward for a different reason, but they all come together to help save the women they’ve been charged with and ushering new life into the world, while also fighting to protect their own lives from the pandemic.
WELCOME TO DUNDER MIFFLIN BY BRIAN BAUMGARTNER – 4 STARS
If you’re a fan of The Office, this book is obviously a must! I learned so many new fun facts, and the voice acting on the audiobook was just so fun.
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J. MAAS – 3 STARS
I’m one of the last ones to pick up this book, and I’m also in the minority when I say that I didn’t just love it. (I think the hype was just so big that I had huge expectations?) There’s faeries and evil creatures and magic and kings and queens and realms, and all the makings of a great fantasy series if that’s what you love!
THE BLUE BISTRO BY ELIN HILDERBRAND – 4 STARS
Elin Hilderbrand does it again! She makes it easy to fall in love with a place I’ve never visited. The Blue Bistro is the story of Adrienne, a new transplant to Nantucket, who gets hired as the new front woman for Thatcher Smith’s restaurant the Blue Bistro. Adrienne is trying to learn the restaurant business and figure out the mystery that is Thatcher and his chef Fiona’s relationship, as well as her own relationship with Thatcher. If you’re a foodie, you will love this book!
ONE ITALIAN SUMMER BY REBECCA SERLE – 4 STARS
If I needed one more reason to finally plan a trip to Italy, the descriptions in this book was the final straw. I adored the descriptions of the scenery, the food, and the vibes of the people throughout this story. Katy’s mom dies, and she decides to go ahead and travel to Italy for their mother daughter vacation alone. What comes next is a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery, of life lived and secrets uncovered. And it was all told in the most picturesque setting.