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Another month has gone by, and that means it’s time for my monthly book review (no spoilers)! This month was a first since I started this blog–I read only fiction. Are you as shocked as I am??

So here’s what I (mostly) finished reading this month:

This isn’t my usual group of books that I’d call amazing. Some I absolutely loved, others I tolerated or gave up on entirely. Yikes!

Barefoot

Barefoot by Elin Hildebrand

Confession: I really disliked the first 40% of this book, or Part One. I just felt like the subtitle for it should have been “Three women have a miserable time in Nantucket!” Ugh. While I don’t think that every book has to be sunshine and rainbows, it was so depressing, and I was just looking for a nice little beach read, that I almost wanted to give up.

Part 2 and 3 got me a little more invested in the characters, so I stuck it out. The book is well-written, emotional, and very honest. The themes are identity and morality, parenting, friendship, sisterhood, family, loss, and love.

 

“We didn’t choose love; it chose us, right or wrong—and realizing this…was a kind of answered prayer. Love was all that mattered.”

I was rooting for Barefoot all along. But even the last half of the book didn’t redeem it for me. It felt rather fragmented and the three female characters never truly appreciated and accepted one another with the kind of fierce friendship I was hoping for. (I gotta stop judging a book by its cover!)

I know that Hildebrand is a great author, with lots of sweet beach reads set in Nantucket. This was my first time reading one of her books, but I haven’t given up. I’ll try another Elin Hildebrand book some other time.

 

All The Missing Girls

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

This book is why I read books in the summer.

Thriller is not my usual genre, but I’m so glad I gave this one a shot! All the Missing Girls is a mystery (or two) centering around Nicolette (Nic), our main character, who returns to her small hometown in North Carolina to sell her childhood home and see her brother and father. Her return sparks not only the memory of her troubled past and her best friend who disappeared a decade ago, but a crazy-making copy of the worst event of her life, as a second girl turns up missing while Nic is visiting.

All the Missing Girls is written in a unique way, winding the story around in time. It begins with the climax and works its way backwards, instead of chronologically. It had me guessing and suspecting EVERYONE the more I read. The reverse telling of the story made me feel how I imagined Nic felt: confused, grasping for clues, afraid of the truth and desperately wanting to discover it at the same time.

All the Missing Girls takes a good look at the darkness in us, and how deeply we love, protect, and sometimes pay for those we care about. You’ll feel every question about Nic’s past ruminating in your head until you are living and breathing the story.

“Missing girls had a way of working their way into someone’s head. You couldn’t help but see them in everyone—how temporary and fragile we might be. One moment here, and the next, nothing more than a photo staring from a storefront window.”

It’s a tale of high school friendship, of mean girls who draw others to them with a flickering flame.

When Corrine disappeared and we ran out of places to search, people to question, leads to track down, the only thing left for people was the talk.

About Corrine and Bailey and me. Reckless and drunk on life, never thinking of the consequences. How we passed around a bottle in the clearing outside the caverns and invited boys inside. How we lifted candy bars from the convenience store (on a dare, always on a dare) and didn’t respect property or authority. How we had no boundaries with each other, a tangle of limbs and hair and sun-kissed skin.

(This aspect of the story reminded me, in a great way, of Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver.)

This book is fantastic and I already know that I’m going to read it again. It has a strong suspense element that builds at an addicting pace. If you are concerned about thrillers being too disturbing or scary, you don’t have to worry about this one. All the Missing Girls can be a bit intense, but in a suspenseful way, not a way that will make you need to sleep with a light on.

So, if you like fiction at all, put this one on your reading list (if you haven’t read it yet) right away!

 

The Royal We

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

*no rating*

It seems like most people love this book, and that’s why I’m not so thrilled to share my opinion. After getting through almost half of it, I decided to move on.

Maybe that’s because I got the audio version of The Royal We, a William and Kate fan-fiction tale. I wonder if I’d feel differently had I been reading it in print. I love chick lit, I am not stuffy about my expectations from books, and I was completely ready for some girl-meets-prince silliness. Still, as I was listening to this book, I found myself rolling my eyes at all of the cheese. Maybe I was in the wrong mood for it, several days in a row?

I love the story idea, and the writing is decent as far as prose. It just didn’t hit me right for some reason. I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend this book, because you might love it like the rest of the world. It just wasn’t for me. I was especially eager to get this one because Lauren Graham is writing the screenplay for it, and I know it will be great. I’m looking forward to that!

 

My Not So Perfect Life

My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My (not so) Perfect Life just might be my favorite chick lit in the whole world. Here’s a teaser description…

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

As a former graphic designer with roots planted firmly in the country and small rural towns, this tale—of a graphic designer from a farm—was perfect for me.

But not only was it perfect for me, I think so many people would love it too. And they do. It gets rave reviews and I adore Sophie Kinsella, so that’s why I picked it up. I just didn’t expect it to fit what I was looking for so well!

My (not so) Perfect Life is, ironically, the perfect light-hearted, funny, endearing novel. It’s hilarious and romantic too. I adored Katie Brenner and the growth that she achieves. The character development in this book was fabulous. The places that the author took me to made me feel like I was on vacation. I will be rereading this one anytime I need to relax, laugh, and remember it’s important to be authentic.

“Every time you see someone’s bright-and-shiny, remember: They have their own crappy truths too.”

That’s a good thing to remember.

I can’t recommend this more. If you like chick lit, pick it up right now.

If you want to know how I get my books, I wrote a guide to borrowing e-books online. I’m nerdy that way. What have you been reading lately?

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14 comments on “July Book Review”

    • I think hearing the audiobook probably made a big difference for me. I feel like hearing someone say “Crikey!” in a faux accent and reading it are two totally different things. I’ll have to look into Behind Her Eyes. Love getting recommendations!

  1. I really enjoyed My Not So Perfect Life too! Listened to it while driving to and from work and couldn’t wait to get back to it at times ha! But, i also was not a huge fan of The Royal We. Yes, it was eye rolling and cringe inducing at times. But I think my problem with it is that I read the author’s blog and they are down right hilarious on there. But that humor seemed to be lacking in the book; maybe I was just expecting too much?

  2. So I loved loved love All The Missing Girls… I was a bit thrown off by it being told backwards but… it was such a good read and I’m glad I stuck with it.
    I am going to get My (no so) Perfect Life — you’ve sold me on it!

  3. Sophie Kinsella always gets two thumbs up from me! I just adore her silly little works! I cannot wait to check out All The Missing Girls. I have to read it if it is set in NC! Have a fabulous day!

  4. I can see where you’re coming from on the Royal We. I read the paper copy, and found myself skimming quite a bit. I loved it, but definitely didn’t read every word. I put your 2 5-star reads on the library wait list. Thanks for the recommendations!

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