August 2017 Reading List.

Oof – this was a more challenging month, reading-wise. Whereas last month I was completely obsessed with everything I read, this month that wasn’t the case. I brought four books home to Cape Cod with me and only read one of them – everything else I put down after 50, 60 pages. And even with the books I did read, I was only absolutely crazy for one of them (Final Girls), and really liked two of them (Hello Sunshine and Goodbye, Vitamin). The other books on this list made the cut, but they were a little slow… and in most cases I liked them but didn’t looove them. Take Commonwealth for example – everyone was losing their minds over it, but to me it was just good, not great. I guess you can’t love everything you read… that’s what makes you appreciate the really good ones when you find them!

As always, for more recommendations you can check out my Book Club page, where you can filter all of my favorite books by genre… and also take a peek at last month’s reading list!

AND… (if you have a moment!) Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are always my favorite… I literally shop the comments section of these posts… you guys have such good recommendations!

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave is such a fun summer read. I absolutely loved her last book (800 Grapes, featured in this post from 2015), so I was really excited to hear that she had a new one out. This one takes place in New York City, where Sunshine Mackenzie is a beloved lifestyle expert and chef with millions of followers on Youtube and social media. The only problem is, she’s living a lie. Oops. And then… she gets hacked. Within two days, she loses her career, her husband, even her home. She’s forced to return to her childhood home in Montauk (and her estranged sister). The book is a tale of her healing process.. and getting back to her old self. I loved it and read it in a twenty four hour period… it’s a great light read… perfect for the beach!

Final Girls by Riley Sager was a discovery via Book of the Month. Oh my. It was by far, one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages. It’s sort of like a horror movie meets mystery… flashing back and forth between a horrific event from the past vs. a modern day mystery. with tons of twists and turns along the way. I kept thinking that I had it all figured out, and I kept being surprised. That’s the sign of a great thriller to me!!! The main character, Quincy, endured a horrible massacre where 5 of her friends were killed, but she survives, making her a “Final Girl.” I could not put it down and finished it off within a couple days. Weeks after having finished it, I am still thinking about it!

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett took me a really long time to get into. Like, halfway through. I thought something was wrong with me as this book received SO much praise but I was just “meh” about it. I felt like something was wrong with me as it’s received so so much press, so I put it on my Instagram story, letting you guys know how I felt. Turns out, a lot of you felt the same as me which made me feel a bit better. I certainly didn’t hate it, but it was hard to get through and the plot fell a bit flat for me. That being said, once I got into it, certain elements of the story started to unfold and I found myself enjoying it more. What I did like about it was it’s complicated, realistic portrayal of family… and how important that bond is.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong was very sweet… and is also a Book of the Month find. It did take me a while to get into but once I was into it I was bummed that it was almost over (it’s a quick read!) This book is heartwarming, sad, and also very clever. My grandmother had dementia so I could relate to the main character – I was very young at the time but really, it made me think of my mom and what she went through when my grandmother was sick. I loved the writing though.. the author is very smart and had so many amazing little zingers and narratives.. little things stuck out and stuck with me… like when she described seeing that her father had hung an avocado skin on the dish rack. It’s a very quick read but really well written.

Girl in Snow, by Danya Kukafka was really really dark. I found it a bit confusing at first as there are so many different characters and nuances and backstories for each character. The story is told by three misfit characters – all very unique and (in the beginning at least), not particularly likable. A beautiful, popular girl is murdered (and found in the snow). The story itself is very eerie and rather unsettling. I thought what made the book particularly good was her character development. Each character (Cameron – the unpopular “freak” at school who stalked the dead girl, Jade – the overweight and less popular girl who wanted her life, and Russ – the detective) had so many complicated layers. She really nailed that part. And while the story itself played out a bit slowly, I really enjoyed it – especially the last few chapters.

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  1. Natali says 8.10.17

    I always love your book recommendations and I will def. pick on one or two from this list as well. 🙂

    https://lartoffashion.com/perfect-places-with-lovia/

  2. Crawford says 8.10.17

    I’m currently reading “How to Murder Your Life” by Cat Marnell — I really like it so far! It’s a bit different in that it’s a true story about Cat’s struggles with addiction….which she still hasn’t overcome. But she puts a really interesting twist on telling her story and also provides a window into what it’s like to work at Teen Vogue and Lucky.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.17

      Ahhhhh I read (and loved that) when it came out!!! Thought it was really interesting. (I loved hearing what it was like working at Lucky, etc too!)

  3. I actually want to read Hello Sunshine! It’s not my genre (too light), but a summer read is what I’m looking for right now. Love the cheery cover of it!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  4. Sharon says 8.10.17

    Just finished “The Identicals” which was a light read. I am now reading ” the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo” and can already sense that I will love it. Have you read ” All the hate U give” i know that it is more YA but I loved it!

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.17

      The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo is next on my list! Really looking forward to it!!!

    • Carrie says 8.10.17

      I enjoyed “the Hate U Give” as well. Good to read books outside of my perspective! The seven husbands is in my library queue too!

  5. Abby says 8.10.17

    I felt the exact same way about commonwealth!!!! I just read “my not so perfect life” by sophie kinsella and it was a really good light read.

  6. Emily says 8.10.17

    I’m reading Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson right now and loving it…he’s a really engaging writer and I find myself cringing when things don’t go well for the protagonist, Izzy. It follows a psychology experiment called The Infinite Family as they collectively raise their 10 children together on a complex paid for by a billionaire benefactor. Also a BOTM find…and as always a really good read!

  7. Marta says 8.10.17

    All books seem amazing! That last one really got me intrigued. And that Final Girls one seems great as well.

  8. Alexis deZayas says 8.10.17

    Have you read The Good Girl by Mary Kubica or I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark? Both good thrillers! I read 800 Grapes this month so Hello Sunshine is on my list too 🙂

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      I read (and loved) The Good Girl but I will have to check out I’ll Walk Alone!

  9. sydnee says 8.10.17

    Can’t wait to get my hands on “Final Girls”…I love that genre!

    http://www.tulipsandpersimmon.com

  10. Cathleen says 8.10.17

    I’ve been reading a book that I picked up at the giant Friends of the Library book sale earlier this year. It’s a light read, nothing sexy, but it’s been a good one. It’s called Cookie Dough or Die by Virginia Lowell.

  11. Annie says 8.10.17

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (BOTM!) for the ultimate beach read, but two memoirs that will slay you and make you laugh at the same time: The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs and The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.17

      I am so excited for that one!! I got it in my BOTM and am reading it next.

      I LOVED Rules Do Not Apply – it made me cry!!!

  12. Kendall says 8.10.17

    Have you read Lilac Girls? Everyone raves about it, but I have yet to start!
    I have no other recos for you because I always take yours!!

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.17

      Not yet but it is on my list!!! A BUNCH of people have told me to read it and I can’t wait to start!!!

  13. Joanna says 8.10.17

    I couldn’t wait to read Final Girls – everyone has been talking about it and I love thrillers. But I couldn’t get past the crappy writing. The dialogue was so stilted to me, and the descriptions felt forced. The story itself was a good one, just didn’t love the writing – it all felt kind of juvenile to me.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.10.17

      You know, that is so funny! I think one of the things I liked about it was that it ready very juvenile. I felt like I was back in high school, watching Scream! I had also just come off reading some heavier books and it was easy and refreshing.

  14. Kendal says 8.10.17

    I really want to read Commonwealth! I’ve heard so many good things about it.

    Kendal // Life With Kendal

  15. Renee O'Connor says 8.10.17

    I love book recommendations and have really enjoyed some of your suggestions. Thanks! I recently read The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett and really enjoyed it.

  16. JillGG says 8.10.17

    I had the same thing this month. I started the summer strong with some awesome books and then had a tough time getting into some books this past month. This is a round up of what I read: http://goodlifeforless.blogspot.com/2017/07/what-i-read-this-month-july-2017.html

    I have Hello Sunshine on my TBR list after also really enjoying her previous book.

  17. Catherine says 8.10.17

    I so look forward to these posts and always add a few to my ever-growing Books to Read list! I’m currently reading Fool me Once and enjoying it so far! It’s not the most well written book but the story line is solid.

  18. Jenn says 8.10.17

    Have you read The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane?
    Such a beautiful story and will make you want to drink and learn about the history of tea. I loved it so much I immediately started reading another book by the author, Lisa See, called China Dolls. It takes place in SF (where I live) so its fun to envision 1940’s San Francisco

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      Yes! I reviewed it last month and absolutely LOVED it. Such a good read, I could not put it down!!! Lisa See is so talented.

  19. Clare says 8.10.17

    I’m reading Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker. It’s about the 2008 financial crisis through the eyes of several women in Greenwich CT – daughter, wife, friend, nanny – related to a CEO of fictionalized investment bank that has to file bankruptcy. After i finish this (it’s pretty long) I’m going to read Goodbye, Vitamin.

    Claire Messud has a new novel coming out this month that I’m really looking forward to called The Burning Girl. Also, this is older but my book club is reading The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls in preparation for the upcoming movie.

  20. Iris says 8.10.17

    Excellent list. Adding a few onto my goodreads. Hello Sunshine sounds fascinating.

  21. Alison says 8.10.17

    I got Final Girls from BOM too! It was great. I also just read The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad and it was just a quick and I literally let out a huge gasp of surprise at the very last sentence. It’s hard to fool me but that one was GOOD.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      Oh my gosh that sounds like something I have to read. Thank you for the suggestion, Alison!

  22. Steph says 8.10.17

    Yay, my favorite post of the month! Just added Final Girls to my Goodreads list 🙂

    I just finished I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi, about a woman who commits suicide and it’s told from the POV of her (after she’s dead), her daughter and her husband, all trying to piece together why she killed herself. It was really good. Also finished If Only You Knew, which is the prequel to On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins – both great reads!

  23. Meghan says 8.10.17

    I just finished The Final Girls and thought it was fantastic. I am with you re: Commonwealth. I recently read Beartown and wholeheartedly recommend it.

  24. Haley says 8.10.17

    If you like psychological thrillers, I just read Behind Her Eyes by Sara Pinborough. It was one where I thought I had it all figured out and kept realizing I didn’t at all. Definitely had me hooked!

  25. Carrie says 8.10.17

    I recently read “Miss Jane”, about a girl in the south with a genetic abnormality and just loved its quiet beauty. A bit sad, but still lovely.

    I don’t usually read non-fiction but I just finished two in the true crime genre. “Fact of a Body” was COMPLETELY ENGROSSING – a former lawyer parallels the murder of a young boy with her own abuse as a child. I hesitate to recommend a book that deals with child molestation (so, trigger warning), but it was amazingly well-written and engrossing and empowering for the author to share her story. I also read “American Fire”, about a string of arsons in rural Virginia and it paled in comparison to the former, but had an interesting story.

  26. Haley says 8.11.17

    Favorite book I read this month was Homegoing!

  27. Mollye says 8.11.17

    Grace, I love your book recommendations! I think you should check out “The Alice Network” – I’m about 60% of the way through it and I am loving it. Enjoy!

  28. Lisa says 8.11.17

    I’m not typically a big thriller/mystery gal, but after reading your account of Final Girls, I’m interested in checking it out! Although I probably shouldn’t read it close to bedtime, ha! I’ve been reading a few books these past couple of weeks. One I won’t mention (even if it is a New York times bestseller!), and the other two, I think you’d really like. One is The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman (which to be honest, the beautiful cover caught my eye), but it’s such a lovely and uplifting book. The second is something I’m still working through – it’s an anthology written by women of color and their stories are so powerful and relevant, especially in today’s challenging climate. It’s called All The Women In My Family Sing (it actually won’t be released until Feb 2018), but if you’re interested, I can probably get you a galley, since I’m helping the publisher to get the word out 🙂 I’m taking my time with this book and really savoring each writer’s story!

    Glad Fall is approaching so we can cozy up with a good book and a cozy blanket 😉

    Lisa
    http://www.theeverydayelevated.com

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      Oh I hope you check it out!! It’s a really fun read.
      Thank you so much for the suggestions – and I totally agree, there is nothing better than a good book and a cozy blanket! xx

  29. Vanessa says 8.11.17

    I just started reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr yesterday and so far it sounds really promising! My favourite genres to read are fantasy and historical fiction and I think The Alienist is a pretty good mix of both, plus some Mystery/Suspense added in.

    Funny you should mention Commonwealth — I don’t get on with literary fiction at all. Those books have always ended up disappointing me in the past. It’s usually the genre that gets the most hype, too, and for me, it’s totally undeserved.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      Thank you for the suggestions!!! And glad you agree with Commonwealth. I’m with you – it was a solid read but I don’t think it deserved that much hype!!

  30. Shelley says 8.11.17

    I’m almost done reading the Perfume Collector (from your recommendation). I’m really enjoying it so far!

  31. Emily says 8.11.17

    It’s a older book but I just picked it up and have really enjoyed: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Bee-Novel-Chris-Cleave/dp/1416589643

  32. Jade Verrecchia says 8.11.17

    I just finished The Rules Do Not Apply, which was SO SAD and also read Fitness Junkie which was such a fun summer read. The ladies who wrote Fitness Junkie also wrote The Knock Off if you’ve read that!

  33. Kristen says 8.11.17

    I just bought Commonwealth since everyone was raving! Guess we will have to see which camp I’m in. I just read Ariel Levy’s Memoir – The Rules Do Not Apply. I think you’d like it!

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      I loved The Rules Do Not Apply! Reviewed it a few lists back… it made me cry.

  34. Kyra says 8.11.17

    Highly highly recommend This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel! It’s thought-provoking, heartwarming, and the main characters are great. I learned a lot from the book and it really made me think about the different things that families face.

  35. Jen says 8.11.17

    This is very helpful! I finished “Hello, Sunshine” about ten minutes ago (also a very quick read here, though I’m not sure how much I ended up loving it), and have “Goodbye, Vitamin” up next. I’ve really enjoyed Rachel Khong’s writing elsewhere, so I am looking forward to this and am glad to hear it’s worth the time. “Girl in Snow” is on my list, and I will add “Final Girls”!

    I just had to put down “The Essex Serpent”–I’d heard so many good things about it, but after 60 pages, I figured it was better to cut my losses! I did enjoy “The Seven Lives of Evelyn Hugo,” though–another quick read, but very enjoyable. Ones next up for me: “The Lying Game” by Ruth Ware, “Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson, and “Persons Unknown” by Susie Steiner.

    • grace at the stripe says 8.15.17

      I’m reading The Lying Game too this month! Have heard such good things from family members.

  36. Alisande says 8.11.17

    I love Anne Patchett and am excited to hear from Clare below that Claire Messud has a new book coming out. I just finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and it was soooo good, and The Idiot by Elif Butuman might be my favorite book so far this year.

  37. Robin says 8.11.17

    I just finished “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan
    So good!!! It reminds me of The Nightengale.

  38. Nnenna says 8.12.17

    I just bought Girl in Snow and I also really want to read Final Girls and Goodbye, Vitamin! A book I finished recently and loved is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s a YA novel about the police brutality/the Black Lives Matter movement and it’s so so good.

  39. Joanna says 8.12.17

    I absolutely love Commonwealth. I just finished it. So glad you’re enjoying it!

  40. Tara says 8.14.17

    I started “Final Girls” yesterday morning at the nail salon and finished it last night! I couldn’t put it down and honestly felt so anxious during certain parts. It was a fantastic thriller so I love that you’ve included it here. I always look forward to seeing your lists!

  41. Taylor says 8.16.17

    Wow I literally JUST finished Final Girls on audible and I loooooved it just as much as you did! I found myself wanting to listen to it all the time! I am currently reading We Will Never Meet In Real Life –very funny– and listening to Stillhouse Lake (one of my usual thrillers which I love) on audible. I am loving it so far!!!