Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mid-Summer Book Review.

Hey friends!  Today's post is all about books so if you aren't a reader, I'm so sorry!  Most of this post will probably bore you.  BUT, I am posting a few things I'm waiting to arrive from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale at the end of the post so keep scrolling if you'd rather just check that out and skip the other stuff.  ;)



So, if you've been following the blog for awhile now you probably know that I LOVE to read.  LOVE IT.  Total bookworm.  My favorite books are (in this order):  chick lit, psychological thrillers, celebrity autobiographies.

Except for my Bible, I don't really read to make myself a better person or to become more knowledgeable about a certain person, place or thing.  I'm not crazy about non-fiction unless the book is about someone whose life is crazy enough to be fiction.  (Enter celebrity autobiographies.)  I read for entertainment and to get lost in another world or someone else's story. 


I have been wanting to do a full book review/book recommendation post for awhile and now that I've found my new favorite author (keep reading!) I figured it was time for a mid-summer review.

Now please, have mercy on me, y'all.  I tend to forget what the heck the book was even about within 2 minutes of finishing it.  I seriously worry it's some sort of undiagnosed medical condition.  Yesterday at the pool, a bunch of my girlfriends and I were talking books and they were throwing out book titles left and right.  I knew the ones I had read and usually if I had liked them or not but I couldn't tell you a single character's name or even a part of the storyline for a million dollars.  Seriously.  It's absolutely ridiculous.

So for this review, I went back and jogged my memory on all my books so I'm ready to roll.  ;)

Since I tend to fly through books because I listen to 90% of them on Audible (just TRY IT!!  You may love it!!!) I'm using my Goodreads account to help jog my memory on which books I've finished.  I re-started my account in May so I'm just going to start there.  :)  Since May 8th, I've read a total of 14 new books and re-read a few others.

In May, I read/listened to 6 books.  I'll just list them in the order I read them.  Click on the titles to go straight to Amazon to read more about them and add them to your cart or wish list if you think you might like them too!

#1

The first book I read this summer (and I actually mean READ not listened to) was Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand.


Girls, if you haven't heard by now, Elin Hilderbrand can do no wrong.  This book had a much different feel than all of her others though which wasn't a bad thing.  It was just a little deeper and more emotional than usual.  The book starts out with a mysterious car wreck on high school graduation night that kills one of the town's most beloved and promising teenagers.  It also severely injures her twin brother.  You see each character in the book go through their own grieving process and see how the wreck has affected each of their lives.  From the single mom of the twins to the other two friends who were in the wreck with them, to the boyfriend who is completely torn apart with the loss of someone he loved so dearly.  They are all dealing with their own sense of guilt and what ifs and everyone has their own drama.

I loved this book.  It made me sad but I was emotionally invested in each character.  I wanted a happy ending for everyone, even though it wasn't fully possible.  Definitely recommend.

#2

My next book was Crazy Rich Asians.  I felt like I was hearing about this book left and right so I jumped on board to see what all the fuss was about.



I'll be honest (and probably go against the grain) but I didn't love this book.  I don't even know why exactly.  I think I just found it boring.  I kept waiting for something really interesting to happen and there really wasn't anything.  I didn't feel invested in any of the characters.  It was just "eh" for me.  I remember finishing it and being like "that's it?".  To be fair, I've heard the sequel is better.  I am not sure if I'll be adding it to my list or not.

#3

Book #3 was a nice little change with a psychological thriller!!  Ooooohhhh how I love a good mystery and all the twists and turns!  I loved Girl on the Train (the book...not so much the movie) so I couldn't wait to read Paula Hawkins new release, Into the Water.


I've talked to a lot of my girlfriends about this one.  We all tend to read the same books because it's just more fun to have someone to discuss them with and we also pass around books once we're done.  So some of them loved this book and some just thought it was ok.  I personally loved it and thought it was better than Girl on the Train.  

What did I love?  I loved that there were more characters which meant more storylines, more intrigue, and more potential suspects!  However, some of the negatives some people gave were the same reasons!  Too many characters and it was hard to keep up with them all.  I didn't have that problem but I get it.

If I try to tell you what the book is all about, I'll screw it ALL up so scroll back up and click the title to check it out on Amazon and read the good summary.  

I'm not the best at summarizing books.  ;)

I also loved that they wrapped (almost) everything up nicely at the end and answered a lot of questions.  I love when they do that.

Overall, I definitely recommend!

#4

Next up was Eligible.  Y'all, I thought this book was so cute.  It was straight up 100% chick lit which I loved.  It was also perfect for all you fellow Bachelor lovers.  


This book was about 3 sisters who come home to Cincinnati after their father has a health scare.  In the midst of trying to deal with their parents who are stuck in the past and trying to sell the family home, Jane meets Chip who is the former lead on a dating show called Eligible. 

I thought this book was cute, light, fun and an easy read.

This makes a great little book to throw in your beach or pool bag!

#5

Book #5 was another Elin book!  This time I read The Matchmaker.  Oh friends.  This one had my heart.


I'll do my best to explain why.  The book is about a woman named Dabney who is this ridiculously amazing matchmaker.  She has 42 "matches" under her belt and can just sense a match based on a colored aura that surrounds them.  Ummmm how cool would that be?!

Dabney is married to a great man but when a past love comes back to town she finds herself confused and love sick.  Even more so when a potentially tragic situation develops.  I found myself completely conflicted over who she should choose and which way she should go.  There just didn't seem to be a right answer or a way that wouldn't completely devastate one person.  But Elin Hilderbrand knows how to tell a story and she ended this one in a beautiful way.  I won't give anything away but this book had me sobbing and gave me chills and made me smile...

Loved it!  #approved

#6

This book was a re-read.  I think I've read it 3 times now in about 10 years?  I don't know if y'all are familiar with Jane Green but she is one of my go-to, favorite authors.  


This one is called The Other Woman and is about the dynamic between a new wife and her slightly obsessive and super crazy mother-in-law.  I really love this book.  It's so well written and just keeps you turning pages.  If you've never read a Jane Green book, start here!  

#7

The first book I read in June was Confessions of a Domestic Failure.  


This book was a breath of fresh air!  I'll be the first to admit (to anyone!) that I can be a total mess sometimes.  (Case in point:  That time I was almost an hour late to drop my kid off for his first overnight camp and he almost missed the bus because I had the time wrong...Ugh.)  I felt bad for this new mama but her messes were pretty funny.  This was a fun, easy read that will make you feel like you aren't alone.  ;)

#8

The Identicals was my next book and is Elin Hilderbrand's latest release. It was also the first in a string of "sister" type books I read this summer.  (Not intentionally.)


This book dealt with the dynamic between two identical twin sisters who were split apart when their parents divorced when they were teens.  One went to live with mom in Nantucket and one with dad in Martha's Vineyard. The first thing I loved about this book was that we got to hear about Martha's Vineyard as well as the island of Nantucket.  (Most of her books are based in Nantucket.)  

The sisters may look identical but their personalities are so different.  Long story short, certain circumstances force them into switching islands and lives for a few months.  And can you imagine switching lives with someone who looks just like you?!  It's Elin, so no, this book did no disappoint.  You'll love it.  It's a great beach read.  

Two of my best friends in high school were twins so this made me reminisce a lot too.  #nostalgia

Read it, y'all!  Thanks for the new book Ms. Hilderbrand!  ;)

#9

Next up was the new Jane Green Book, The Sunshine Sisters.  (I love new releases from my favorite authors in the summer!)


This was the second book involving a sister storyline. (There are more coming!) For the record, I have no sisters but these books make me wish I did!

Let me just say that Jane Green's books are a lot deeper than other chick-lit authors like Elin and Emily Giffin.  (ADORE her as well.)  This one was no exception.  The title may have "sunshine" in it but this book was not cheery and sunny.  

The premise of the book is 3 sisters who return home to help their ailing mother who used to be a B list celebrity in Hollywood.  Mom was not always the easiest to love and they all have their own baggage from that relationship.  But it's a story that will make you think about your choices as a mother and what is really important in the one life you are given.

Like I said, it wasn't super cheerful and light but it was a good read for those who want something with more substance.  Jane Green is always good for substance.  :)

#10

After a fairly serious book, I wanted something light-hearted.  And Jill Mansell is a great go-to for light, fun, beachy chick lit.  She has a ton of books and they are all fun and easy reads with great storylines and lovable characters.  So I chose Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay and it was also a big win!


This was another book about sisters, which I've decided is clearly a tried and true premise for a good chick lit novel.  

This storyline was so hard for me to see how it could possibly end happily!  But y'all...it DID!!!  I couldn't figure out how everyone could end up happy but Jill Mansell totally pulled it off.  The book is about a man and woman meeting randomly on a plane ride and hitting it off.  But the timing is off so they go their separate ways only to meet again when the woman's sister introduces her new boyfriend...who is the man from the plane.  It's a great book.  Perfect for one of those beach chairs like on the cover.  ;)

And be sure to check out all of Jill Mansell's books!  If you like chick-lit, happy romances and characters you will fall in love with, she does not disappoint.  (How many times can I say the words "does not disappoint" in one post?)

#11

It's July 18th and so far this month I've finished 4 books.  One was an actual book that has taken me 2 months to finish.  It was long and I just don't have time to sit and read a lot!  If it wasn't for Audible I might only get through 4 books a year instead of 4 a month.  So this book was A Beautiful Day by (of course) Elin Hilderbrand.  This was another one of her books that made me cry a little but also gave me all the happy feels.  :)


In this book, a beloved mother has passed away from a terminal illness but before she did, she wrote a journal for her youngest daughter to read when she got engaged.  She knew her daughter would miss not having her mother around for all the wedding planning fun (fun?) so this was the mother's way of giving her input in every decision during wedding planning.  It was a way for her daughter still feel connected to her mom even though she couldn't be there physically.  

The book goes through the week leading up to the wedding along with excerpts from "the notebook".  It is full of love in all the best ways but also deals with hurt and pain from hearts broken over a number of matters.  Another winner from Elin.  

#12

Number 12-14 were all Kristan Higgins books.  Kristan Higgins is my newest favorite author, ladies.  I said it here and here in Friday Favorites posts.  And I'm going to say it again!  Within the first few pages/listening for 5 minutes, I knew that I would love the book.  And probably everything else she ever wrote.

She has a way of writing that just keeps me engaged.  I think she writes a lot like I would if I were an author?  Or maybe she writes how I think?  I'm not sure.  I just love her writing.  Her books are witty and the characters say and do things at random that make me laugh.  They are also full of complex relationships and storylines but are not over-complicated.  She is chick-lit perfection if you ask me and right up there with my favorite authors like Elin, Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green.  

The first book I read was If You Only Knew.



The book is about sisters (again!) and when one gets divorced from her oh-so-perfect husband (who subsequently is now remarried to Miss Perfect) she finds herself moving to a small town-after accidentally delivering her ex-husband's new wife's baby at her baby shower.  (Yeah, I was hooked after that.  First of all, the exes plus the new wife are all great friends and the ex-wife is pretty much an honored guest at the new wife's baby shower!?  Whoa.)  Anyway, the small town is also home to her sister and her family.  But when we learn (a little graphically) of the sister's husband's infidelity all hell breaks loose and you won't want to put this book down.

#13

Within 2 seconds of finishing If You Only Knew, I got on Goodreads to figure out which one of Kristan Higgins books I should read next.  I decided on On Second Thought and it was the perfect next book.  It isn't a sequel but it does bring in some cameos from If You Only Knew which I LOVE!!  I really love getting snapshots into my favorite characters when I read other books from the same author.


Oh girls.  This book was SO GOOD.  One sister just found her super long-term boyfriend's engagement ring for her in a drawer and she could not be more excited as she waits for him to pop the question.  Another sister is newlywed whose husband passes away in a freak accident right in front of her and a room full of party guests.

It is devastating and painful to even think about but the story goes on to show how everyone's life changes after his death.  The other sister's boyfriend freaks the heck out and basically loses his mind.  The new widow finds comfort with an old friend which leads to more complications than she intended.

This book will absolutely keep you flippin' pages, y'all!  

#14

As of now, this is the latest one I've finished.  After loving Kristin's first two books, I jumped straight into book THREE!  No this isn't a sequel either.  Just another book she's written.


I went with My One and Only for no other reason than a good old fashioned "eenie-meenie-minie-mo".  All of her books looked like winners...all had great reviews...so I just picked one.

This one was just a sweet little love story about two exes who find love again.  It was sweet and charming and I loved the whole thing.  It wasn't as dramatic as the first two but it was still a great book.

Today I'm starting The Light We Lost which is NOT a Kristan Higgins book but was recommended by a friend who wants to talk about it with someone so I'm happy to oblige!  With Audible, I should be done by Wednesday.  I'll let you know what I think.  :)

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Talk:

And finally, for those of you who have scrolled straight through to the bottom because you are just not a book lover but ARE interested in seeing what this every day, non-fashion-y mom blogger chose to start out with in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, here they are.

I'm still waiting for these to arrive, but here is what's on the way.

Y'all!!!!  My favorite item of fall/winter clothing EVER is on MAJOR sale!  



I know you've probably heard a lot of bloggers rave about this cardigan (aka, blardigan to those of you who follow some of my friends!).  It is by Barefoot Dreams and they make the very best, softest clothing items ever!  I pretty much lived in my black cardigan like this all last winter.  I kept it on the back of my workroom chair so it was always available when it would get a little chilly.  It has pockets, it's made so well and the material is heavy enough to where it hangs pretty but is also not bulky and has stretch.  Did I mention it is the softest thing that will ever touch your skin?

RUN or TYPE FAST to grab one of these before they go back up to their regular price!!

I also grabbed this top.


I LOVE the tie sleeves!!

I also thought this button up plaid shirt was so cute.


Several colors to choose from!

This leather jacket also stood out to me.  In college, I had a black leather jacket with a hood from Gap that I loved...  And then it got stolen.  :(

This one gives off the same vibe...just a little better.  I hope it's as soft as it looks.  




I love little studs so I really hope these Kate Spade's are just as pretty in person as they are online!

Aren't they pretty?!  I ordered the "jet" color but I can see myself going back for more!

I've got a few other things ordered that I'll wait to talk about on another post but these are some of the ones that should be coming in today or tomorrow!  I can't wait!  Now if I only had a legit selfie mirror...  I feel like Nordstrom should have those on sale too.  ;)

I hope the book review gave you some good ideas for new books!  If you have any recs for me, please let me know!  You can also find me on Goodreads here!

And if you have anything I should check out in the Anniversary Sale, be sure to mention that too!!

Linking up with Ashley and Erika for Tuesday Talk!


And these Tuesday Talk girls as well!


  

Happy Tuesday, girls!!

(PS.  This post contains affiliate links.  By clicking on a link and/or making a purchase, I may receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting my blog!)
















16 comments:

  1. One day I'm gonna get all caught up on my book stack and then I'll add these to my list! I'm so behind!!

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    1. I think you get a pass on your reading list these days! Your hands are always full! (Literally!) ;)

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  2. Thanks for the book recommendations! It seems like I've been in a reading slump this summer, so maybe this will give me some new ideas. I'm the exact same way about forgetting the characters etc. after I finish a book. I depend on my Goodreads account to keep track of what I've read!

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    1. If you want to give Kristan Higgins a try, be sure to start with If You Only Knew! That one and On Second Thought were my favorite!

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  3. I love to read as much as you do!! I've read some of Elin Hilderbrands books and they are good but Kristan Higgins is amazing. I have the same problem with remembering what I read and what the story is about. Thank goodness for Goodreads!

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    1. I'm halfway through my 4th Higgins book now! Can't believe it took me so long to discover her books!

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  4. Loved your book reviews! They are all my favorite authors too!

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  5. SO many good books!! Love any book by Elin Hilderbrand but Matchmaker... Oh my.. tear jerker!! I need to add so many of these to my list!

    happilyevergriedlscom.wordpress.com

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    1. Yes...total tearjerker!! Loved it too!!

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  6. Here's another great author who writes some great chick lit! Jane Porter. She is also a personal friend of mine and she does write for Harlequin but I don't read those books of hers. She has a couple different series. One of my faves is about a group of women from Bellevue, Wa .....where I did live for awhile but that isn't where I met Jane. Her books have an order to them .......so start with Odd Mom Out, Mrs Perfect, Easy on the eyes, She's gone Country........then my favorite series in about the Brennan Sisters....again read in order! LOL The Good Woman, The Good Daughter, The Good Wife. These are so good and I hope you get a chance to read them! Plus Jane is pretty cool so I love that we are from the same home town and graduated the same year. Just different high schools. I actually didn't meet her until about 8 years ago. She also has a book called Flirting with Forty (that is kind of about her life) and Heather Locklear played her in the Lifetime movie! Anyway, sorry for the long post but I think you will love her books!

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    1. I will be sure to check her out! Thanks for the rec!!

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  7. I'm stopping by from Tuesday Talk! XOXO I'm going to add some of these books to my reading list. I'm currently reading Into The Water. I'm at the very end and can't wait to see how they wrap it up. I don't love it as much as The Girl on the Train, but it's still good!

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    1. I thought they wrapped up the ending pretty nicely!

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  8. Wow girl! That's an impressive reading list. Thank's for all the recs. I added a few to my list!

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I love reading comments!! Remember to keep it classy! ;)

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