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!
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.