8.11.2015

What I Read In July

Just when I thought I'd have my husband back after all his MMA training, he was forced into a ton of overtime at work. I miss him, but it gives me a lot of time to relax and keep on reading. In the beginning of the month I was finishing a book every single day! It's too bad I ended the month with a bunch of duds. Check out the TWENTY-THREE books I read (and listened to) in July. That is definitely a record for me.


Primates of Park Avenue (Audiobook) Nothing in this book about privileged Upper East Side mothers surprised me. I've learned all about them through other books, TV shows, or movies, so I wasn't outraged like a lot of readers are. And on some levels, I related. Obviously, the filthy rich mommy game is not something I deal with, but I did see similar issues with the moms I encounter in my little middle-class suburb. I enjoyed the book more than I expected to. 


Happily Ali After: And Other Fairly True Tales I love Ali so much. She's witty, honest, and totally relatable. I want to be friends with her. I breezed through this short book in a hour and a half and laughed out loud numerous times, though I felt like it was lacking in content. 


The Story of Us Emma is about to marry her childhood sweetheart, but after a tragedy and an introduction to someone new, her life is thrown off course. She goes back and forth between her boring fiance and the "mysterious" Jack while dealing with new personal issues. It's predictable, and Emma is kind of an idiot, but it was a super fast read that I didn't hate. 


Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer, and Clooney's 32 On-Screen Rejections My BFF and I used to watch E! News Live every night just as Giuliana was taking over for Jules Asner and we both loved her. I've outgrown E! since then, so I was surprised by how much I liked this book. G is pretty funny when describing some really awkward and painful times from her childhood, as well as ups and downs with her career, relationships, infertility, and cancer. The last chapter, about Joan Rivers, was a tearjerker! 


Adverbs These short stories about love were all over the place, and not in a good way. None of it was in chronological order, some characters overlapped, but sometimes names were just reused. Some stories were placed in San Francisco and some were in Seattle. Some characters were connected, but in other stories, they didn't have any history together, or the history was changed. Some of it was insightful, but it was too disjointed and I ended up skimming the last half. 


Until You're Mine This story switches perspectives between three women: a pregnant mother of two, her live-in nanny, and a detective investigating violent attacks on pregnant women in the area. It took me a while to get into it and there was a side plot line that shouldn't have existed, but it was a quick page-turner with a crazy ending. I liked it. 


The Perfectionists (Audiobook) The author of Pretty Little Liars (which I've never read, but used to watch) brings us another high school murder mystery, this time set in a fictional Seattle neighborhood. Five good girls, who aren't exactly friends, bond over hating the same kid at school and decide to prank him at a party. He ends up dying that night, they are framed for his murder, and investigate the situation themselves. I felt like there were too many characters, but it was cheesy and easy and with the open ending, I can't wait to read the sequel. 


Since You've Been Gone Emily's BFF of two years disappears and leaves behind a to-do list filled with things she'd never try. She befriends an unlikely group who help her accomplish her goals and we get to see how Emily changes and grows and falls in love over the summer. It took me a while to get into it (I kept putting it down for other books) and Emily's inability to think for herself was annoying at first, but it ended up being a mild, predictable, cute summer read for me. 


Shingaling If Palacio keeps putting out these supplemental Wonder stories, I'll keep reading them because I loved the original so, so much. Charlotte's story doesn't have much to do with Auggie, but it's a cute tale about tweens and female friendships. I can't rave enough about these books for kids!


Keep Your Friends Close Natty's best friend from college comes to help out with her family and business, but quickly moves right in, stealing away her husband and becoming a mom to her kids. I was hooked from the beginning, but it turned cheesy pretty quickly, the characters are all pretty bland and unlikeable, and the ending was abrupt. It was a good mindless beach read though. 


That Night Toni and her boyfriend were convicted of the murder of her teenage sister and after completing her sentence, she goes back to her hometown to find out what really happened. I liked the first-person narrative and that it went back and forth between Toni's teen years, her time in prison, and the period after her release. I also love how it touched on how hard life is after you've been incarcerated. I didn't care for Toni, but it was well-written and it had a nice surprise ending. 


The Outsiders I've seen the movie multiple times, but had never read the book so decided to finally pick it up. First of all, I have to embarrassingly admit, I had no idea it was written by a 16-year-old girl! (S.E. stands for Susan Eloise.) That's pretty amazing. I didn't think the plot was altered much for the movie, but the characters were definitely muted. I liked getting to know Darry, Soda, Dally, and especially Johnny a little bit more. 


Shotgun Lovesongs (Audiobook) This story follows four childhood friends from Wisconsin. They each have ups and downs and their friendships are tested, but they have such a strong connection to each other and to the small town they live in. It was so beautifully written, I wanted to live in this place I'd otherwise think was small and boring. The audiobook was great because each character was narrated by someone different, which helped me with the shifting POVs. Fun fact: The author went to high school with the singer of Bon Iver, so the character of Leland was based on him. 


Down the Rabbit Hole I was all about The Girls Next Door when it aired on E! in the mid-2000s, up until Holly, Bridget, and Kendra started leaving and new girlfriends moved in. Of course I wasn't naive enough to think this was a wholesome situation and I knew then that the episodes were basically scripted, so none of that was shocking. Holly was always my favorite and doesn't shy away from the ugly truth, which is refreshing. There's not a lot here that I didn't already know, but it's still hard to read it all laid out. It's not the best written book ever, and Holly definitely plays the victim, but the content was enough to keep me reading. P.S. Hef is gross. 


Finding Audrey I've only ever read a few of Kinsella's Shopoholic books and as they went on I liked them less and less, but I was intrigued when I heard about her first ever YA novel. It's about 14-year-old Audrey who suffered bullying at school which resulted in some severe anxiety disorders. I don't have any history with anxiety, but I liked the way it was described and I enjoyed the family dynamic. But as soon as a boy appeared, Audrey's recovery progressed so quickly it became completely unrealistic, just like Kinsella's other books. 


Love May Fail (Audiobook) I feel like I'm supposed to really love Matthew Quick, but this is my second novel of his and I'm not feeling it. The beginning of the book hooked me. I loved Portia, who had just discovered her disgusting husband was cheating on her. She was hilarious and her section of the book was awesome, but as the POVs changed, I got less and less interested in these weird adults who were connected by their high school teacher. Portia really dissapointed me by the end and her backwards feminist shtick got annoying fast. Chuck was the only redeeming character for me, and even he wasn't that great. 


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Ok, so maybe I'm just supposed to read Quick's YA novels!? I was totally engrossed in this quick read. The story takes place on Leonard's 18th birthday, when he plans to kill his former best friend, then himself, after saying goodbye to four important people in his life. I can't say that I fell in love with Leonard, but his life is heartbreaking. It's dark with heavy subject matter, horrible characters, and it's very hard to read times, but I really liked it. 


The Night We Said Yes Suuuuper cheesy. I was excited about this one because I love books and movies that take place in just one day. This story alternates between the first day Ella met Matt and a day one year later when he comes back to mend their relationship he bailed on. The characters were one dimensional and pretty annoying, and the circumstances surrounding their breakup were totally unbelievable and over-dramatic, so I didn't care at all about their romance. I think the only reason I finished reading it was because it was so short and easy. 


The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker (Audiobook) This was my book club's pick and I thought it looked interesting, like a peek inside the The New Yorker or what it was like to be a woman working in NYC in the '60s. It's actually about an annoying bragger who worked as a secretary and name drops and gossips about every one she came into contact with. She also really, really loves her appearance and thought everyone was in love with her. She apparently goes to college and becomes a professor, but I didn't like her or her mundane book enough to read anything further. ★/DNF


After Oh God, no. This was like Fifty Shades of Grey for teenagers. When I first heard about this fanfic-turned-book, I thought it was hilarious because the author based the guy on Harry Styles. Then I heard it was going to be made into a movie, so I had to check it out. It's really, really terrible. Good girl college student Tessa (who's actually kind of a bitch) falls for bad boy Hardin (who is nothing like Harry except for his looks) who comes with a dark past and controlling behavior. It's poorly written with awful characters and romanticizes an unhealthy relationship. Oh, and there's some sex thrown in. ★/DNF


I also read these books, courtesy of NetGalley. You can read my reviews here.





 I can't wait to see what you read!

Life According to Steph

28 comments:

Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky said...

i LOVED the outsiders!! i read that a couple months ago and it was amazing. i have shotgun lovesongs on hold at the library :)

Mree said...

Wow you read alot of books. I totally want to read Finding Audrey. I loved her shopaholic series.

Gwen said...

23? Cripes, I was excited to have read 5 books. I also had NO idea that SE Hinton was a teenage girl. Now I want to reread The Outsiders. I have That Night and Shotgun Lovesongs on my list. Like you, I didn't read but used to watch PLL, and The Perfectionists sounds like something I'll probably read when I need something easy and cheesy.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Holy crap 23. I'm going to try the Chevy Stevens. And ah ha it was you with the Matthew Quick novels.

Shotgun Lovesongs is one of my favorite books. It just hit me in my bones. I wanted to live in it too.

I loved The Outsiders. When I first read it I had no idea S.E. was a girl.

So I want to read Holly's book for secrets - is it worth it? Or just things I'd already suspect?

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

You're the second person to recommend Shotgun Lovesongs so that is definitely going on my list. And it seems like I need to read all of Chevy Stevens' books.

Jana @ Jana Says said...

I read Shotgun Lovesongs this month as well and loved it. I wanted some of the storylines to be...more, but it was fine the way it was. I really enjoyed That Night and The Outsiders is one of my all-time favorites. Love May Fail is on my nightstand right now.

I also love that we each had a weird fact about Shotgun Lovesongs in our reviews.

Karen Peterson said...

Wow! You read so many books!

I kind of want to read Giuliana's book. I do like her.

And I pretty much feel the same way about Sophie Kinsella.

lisacng @ expandng.com said...

Wow, 23, you're a rockstar! Happily Ali After sounds interesting. I'm trying to "get into" memoirs since it's a category I avoided previously. Ooo, I love Rancic! I'd love to read those Wonder Singles as well!

Nicole Marica said...

wow you read so many! go you! I wasn't sure if I should read Rancic's book, but i might have to check it out. I love reading celebrity memoirs

Candace Shiflet said...

These all sound pretty good for the most part! I think going off script sounds the most interesting to me, and I love the cover, too!
xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

Tiffany said...

Girl you are a MACHINE. I think I say that every month, don't I? Well, I at least think it. I added a few of these to my "to-read/listen" list (don't worry, Down the Rabbit Hole was already on there!).

Gracey Williams said...

Wow, finishing a book a day! That's crazy, I'd never be able to do it! I don't think I've read any of these. I just started Gone Girl (I know I'm a little late jumping on that train) and I had to pull myself away from it today.

Breakfast at Gracey's

Michael said...

SO many reads!!! Since You've Been Gone sounds like it has all the feels. I'll have to look into that one.

Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand said...

You are a reading superstar!!!!! I added both the Matthew Quick books because I haven't read him before, and both summaries on goodreads sound intriguing. I've had a few Chevy Stevens books on my to read list too, just haven't gotten to them. So many books, so little time. Sigh.

Cole said...

Wow, I'm impressed! I need to add a bunch of these to my reading list. Some of these books sound really intriguing!

Carly Blogs Here said...

So many books! I haven't heard of Until You're Mine, but it sounds like it would be so interesting. I've also never read The Outsiders, but have seen the movie so many times. And Shotgun Lovesongs has been on my list forever- I keep waiting for it to pop up as an option at the library.

Food, Booze, & Baggage said...

Wow 23 books!! I'm adding That Night, sounds like a nice page-turner. Though I never really watched the show, I do bet Down the Rabbit Hole was entertaining :)

lil desiqua said...

I can't believe you read so many books in one month- that's awesome!! I was going to pick up Shotgun Lovesongs, but didn't love the back cover description, so I love your honest review and will be adding it to my to-read list! I saw The Outsiders so long ago that I don't even remember it, so I definite ant to read that one as well. I believe Chevy Stevns wrote another thriller that I was interested in, so I'll probably add that one too. So many great picks here-thanks!

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

That's the second recommendation for Shotgun Lovesongs I've read from the linkup and it's now at the top of my list! I'm definitely not about the annoying lead characters. I'm overly picky in that if I don't get on with the lead, I find it really hard to get on with the book at all.

Karen Koblan said...

Wow you have some great books here that I want to add to my list now! Your post reminded me that I read Finding Audrey also and totally forgot to add to my post. Oh well, next time. I'm glad that Ali Wentworth's book was good. I really like her so I would love to read it. I was obsessed with The Outsiders in high school. Such a great book but the movie just meh for me.

Jenn @ Optimization Actually said...

The Outsiders was so good! Sad, but good. And I remember being completely wowed and inspired by the fact that the author was so young. Did you know there's a sequel (ish)? It's different characters, but the same neighborhood and Ponyboy is briefly mentioned. (It's called That Was Then, This is Now) Fair warning: I cried a lot reading that one.

Rebecca Jo said...

You have like 5 books on your list I've been wondering about!! SCORE - I have a good heads up now.

I didn't want to read Guiliana's book before but now I do!

Laura Darling said...

Oh this is so helpful. I am going on vacation in a few weeks and I think I need to pick some of these up before I go. That Sophie Kinsella one looks tempting and I am dying to read Ali Wentworth's book!

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

I wish I could read this many in a month, or even a couple of months.

I've read several Chevy Stevens books. So good!

Rose @ Ramblin' Rose said...

I didn't even know there was another book related to Wonder. I haven't read Wonder but it's on my list, along with Shotgun Lovesongs because everyone seems to love them so they must be decent.

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

This is a lot of books. I have a few of these on my lists to read soon. Shotgun love Songs is at the top.

Rachel said...

I read The Receptionist a while back and was not impressed at all. Not even a little bit. Glad it wasn't just me!

Kimberlee VDW said...

DAMN that's a lot of books lol OMG I was totally pro Holly and sadly watched Girls Next Door too lol I've been curious about the book but slightly ashamed to read it :x I'll have to check out that Ali Wentworth book as it sounds right up my alley