August 2018 Reading List.

everything I read this month! | august 2018 reading list by grace atwood, the stripe

It was another busy month of reading!!! Honestly, it was a bit of a mixed bag this month. At the beginning of the month I felt like I was in a real rut. But two there were a few books this month that I really really loved. A Million JunesGhosted, and Therapy Mammals all really wowed me and you ABSOLUTELY MUST READ Matchmaking for Beginners – I don’t remember the last time I loved a book so much! Listen To Your Heart (which we ripped apart on the podcast – sorry but it was so bad) was terrible, and everything else was in between!

Just in case you are new here – if you’re looking for a book, don’t forget that you can always check out my Book Club Page. I have listed literally I’ve read in the past few years…. and you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for And of course, you can also take a peek at July’s reading list. In case you can’t wait til next month, I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading to my Amazon Shop as I go… I know it’s nice having everything in one place.

AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my FAVORITE… I shop the comments section of these post – you always have such good recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

August 2018 Reading List:

* Mine, by J.L. Butler, was a creepy thriller. At times it felt reminiscent of Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train. Fran is a successful divorce attorney living in London when she meets Martin Joy, her latest divorce client. The two strike up an affair, and then Martin’s wife disappears. Did she flea a la Gone Girl? Did Martin kill her? Things get more complicated when we learn that he’d still slept with his wife whilst seeing Fran. We also learn that Fran followed them home from a romantic evening the night his wife disappeared. And that she blacked out drunk after being upset at seeing them together. So what really happened!? It’s a wild ride with a good twist at the end.

  • Overall Score: B

* A Million Junes, by Emily Henry is a cute YA read and just so good. We talked about it on the podcast (episode 16!) and Becca and I both never wanted it to end. It’s kind of like a magical Romeo & Juliet. It’s the story of June (short for Jack Junior) and Saul, who come from neighboring families that hate each other. On top of that there’s also a curse- whenever they get near one another it seems that something terrible happens. June runs straight into Saul at a carnival and the attraction is immediate. They resist at first but ultimately fall in love, over the course of some magical adventures (they discover that they can watch old family memories). This book is beautifully written. It’s YA but it’s a good, good book. I can’t say enough good things. Read it!!!

  • Overall Score: A-

* The Intermission, by Elyssa Friedland, looked like a lighter read which is why I packed it for a few days on Cape Cod. It wasn’t exactly light, but it was very good! It’s the story of a couple that’s been married for five years. They’re both hiding secrets from each other, and they’ve slipped into a bit of complacency where things look good on the outside, but neither of them are actually happy. They decide to take a six month intermission; at the end of which, they will decide whether they want to be married.

Honestly this is not a typical book for me (I don’t typically love books about marriage/babies/etc as I can’t really relate?) but I LOVED this. I thought the writing was excellent, the character development was great (they are both so selfish at times but also still very likeable), and the ending was satisfying. I would highly recommend it. It’s a little heavier than your typical beach read but just as addictive.

  • Overall Score: B+

* Listen To Your Heart, by Kasie West. Oh boy – we picked this for the podcast and it really wasn’t very good. Okay it was awful. Usually if something is bad I will just stop reading it but we had to keep going for the sake of the pod! The premise is very cute, it’s about two girls taking a podcasting class (helllooo, we were planning on loving this!) and answering advice questions. There is a love triangle, etc etc. The ending IS really cute. I liked that part. But the first 70% of the book is just SO SLOW. So much insignificant high school drama. I was bored to tears. But hey, at least it made for interesting podcasting banter (check out episode 18 of Bad on Paper) for the full scoop.

  • Overall Score: C-

* Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. This book is really cute. Especially if you are in the mood for a light read and a good love story. AND, there is a big juicy twist, too. Sarah meets Eddie and they fall in love almost instantly. They spend seven days together, friend each other on Facebook, and make plans to continue their romance. But then, after parting ways, Eddie just disappears. Stops responding to her emails and texts, de-friends her… vanishes. Her friends tell her to forget about him but she can’t. And as it turns out Sarah and Eddie are both hiding pretty big secrets. It’s dramatic and the twist was (for me) pretty explosive… I really loved this one!

  • Overall Score: A-

* Therapy Mammals, by Jon Methven. I am going to be really honest, for the first 15-20% of this book I was kind of like, WTF am I reading! But as I got into it I just fell completely in love with it. It’s really well written, but it’s a departure from the books I typically read as it’s a dark satire. Tom Pistilini’s life is falling apart. He may have killed his nanny but he can’t remember because of the blackouts he’s been having. His wife is sleeping with his motivational speaker neighbor and they’ve entered a “cooperative marriage” of sorts. And he just found out that he’s an unwitting investor in a tourism company that capitalizes on mass shootings.

Meanwhile, his neighbors are out to get him, he stole a prosthetic leg, his son is cross-dressing as an old lady and there may be compromising photos of his daughter going around. How is all that for a crazy plotline!? It’s a lot. But somehow it works. And it’s hilarious. It’s irreverent and satirical but also pretty heartwarming in the end. I found it highly entertaining and really loved it.

  • Overall Score: A-

* Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. I really enjoyed this thriller! I had high expectations as it is one of Reese Witherspoon’s picks and I always love her picks. Mark and Erin are a successful London power couple (he’s an investment banker; she’s a filmmaker) and madly in love. They head to Bora Bora on their honeymoon and while out scuba diving they discover… something in the water. I won’t tell you what it is, but what they find causes everything to eventually unravel. You watch them make poor decision after poor decision…. (I had so much secondhand anxiety!)

  • Overall Score: B+

* Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson. Oh my god you guys – GO READ THIS BOOK. It’s one of the most heartwarming books I’ve ever read. Becca recommended it to me and it is the cutest, sweetest book I’ve read in ages. I will admit that I really related to the main character (if you’ve ever been on the receiving side of a terrible breakup, you will appreciate this book) which could be why I liked it so much but all of the characters are so deeply likable and relatable and you just fall in love with all of them.

Marnie MacGraw just wants an ordinary life. She’s engaged to Noah (who is a bit of a privileged asshole) and meets his “crazy” great aunt Blix at their engagement party. The two of them feel a connection immediately. Blix passes away and leaves Marnie her Brooklyn brownstone (despite only having met her twice, and just as Marnie’s marriage is imploding after two weeks) and all sorts of magical stuff ensues. LOVE THIS BOOK.

  • Overall Score: A

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  1. Oooh, Ghosted sounds really, really good! I’ve added it to my to-read list – just wish I saw your review sooner because I just bought a new batch of books. I’m currently reading a memoir called Elena Vanishing – it’s been okay so far, meh.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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  2. Wendy:

    just finished Do This For Me by Eliza Kennedy and it was great-hysterical and relatable in that sometimes you just want to burn it all down and start over again. The Husband Hour was also great. Tried to read The Favorite Sister and hated the writing style-it was all over the place.

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  3. Ooo I can’t wait to read something in the water! I just finished the Ministey of Utmost Happiness and it was good but quite heavy so this will be a fun change of pace for a long flight I have coming up! Thanks! xAllie

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  4. Suze:

    You HAVE to read “Marriage Vacation” by Pauline Turner Brooks. Remember on “Younger” TV when Charles’s estranged wife- Pauline- shows up with a manuscript and Empirical publishes? This “Younger” tie-in novel and explains Pauline’s international adventures away from Charles, her girls, NYC grind. Loved this novel (and you don’t have to watch Younger to read it)- there’s romance, adventure, intriguing characters! No idea why anyone would leave Charles (swoon!!!!) but this is the backstory!!!

    8.1.18 Reply
    • Thank you so much for the suggestion! I LOVE Younger on TV! Book felt a bit gimmicky but will consider it!

      (And I don’t know why anyone would ever leave Charles, either!) xo

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      • Suze:

        FYI- The ghostwriter is Jo Piazza who is also the author of “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win”- which I think Becca just mentioned that she enjoyed.

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        • AH! SO interesting, thanks! I love Jo Piazza – The Knockoff and Fitness Junkie are two of my favs.

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  5. Shared some reviews on my blog today too! My favorites were The Hating Game and Tiny Little Thing. Definitely adding a few of yours to my list!


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  6. The Intermission sound SO much like “The Break” by Marion Keyes (who I adore and devour all her books). I have had Something in the Water on my bedside table for a while and going to dive in (pun intended?) this month. I am currently reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. SOOO good.

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  7. Courtney:

    When Amazon had the day where you could get the package of international books for free, I purchased those and have been making my way through them. I also finished the Alexander Hamilton biography at the beginning of the summer. I don’t usually like historical books or typical biographies much, but I did enjoy this and felt it gave me a better appreciation for the musical when I saw it!

    -A River in the Darkness: if you have any interest in stories about North Korea, this was such an interesting take by a man who escaped. This was really impactful and intense.

    -The Great Passage: this is about a dictionary department in a publishing house in Japan, it was SO good. It made me cry towards the end, I had not anticipated liking this one as much as I did, but totally worth reading.

    -Last Train to Istanbul: a good family drama of sorts, this is around Turkish families and the upheaval of WWII. This was so good! There was a lot going on, but it wasn’t convoluted. This one also made me cry towards the end. This was suspenseful and I think totally worth the read.

    -The Light of Fireflies: Reminded me a bit of the book Room in a weird way. It was interesting, but also really disturbing and I felt like the author dealt with certain aspects really badly. From some of the reviews people liked this book a lot but there’s also a lot of people who didn’t like it. I would not recommend this one.

    I’m currently reading The Gray House. I’m hoping it picks up soon, I’m having some trouble with it. But, we will see!

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  8. I’m currently doing this thing called ARC August where I need to read any Advanced Reader Copies of books I have that I haven’t read yet. They can be books that are out and I have had the ARC for years, or books coming out in the next few months or next year. Currently I’m starting with Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. It was out in 2016 I think and I have been meaning to read it since I got in before release date. So far so good. It is a story about adoption and families.

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  9. Tara:

    I think I am the only one who didn’t like Something In The Water :/ I found the characters unlikeable, the storyline way too far fetched and SO many questions left unanswered. *Sigh * can’t win them all!

    I also read Ghosted which I really liked, just finished The Perfect Mother (so good even if you aren’t mom) and When Life Gives You Lululemons. About to start Erotic Novels for Punjabi Wives. So excited about The Intermission… thanks, as always, for the great recommendations 🙂

    8.1.18 Reply
    • Haha FWIW I didn’t like the characters either, but still loved the book!

      LOVED When Life Gives You Lululemons, it was so cute! Must check out your other recommendations.

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  10. sydnee:

    Matchmaking for Beginners is on my to-read list! You might enjoy The Last Time I Lied if you’re into thrillers (it’s by the same author of The Final Girls).
    Design by Sydnee | 4 Books I’ve Read Lately

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  11. Nicole:

    Read ‘Matchmaking for Beginners’ recently after hearing you and Becca mention it on the podcast – LOVED it! Currently reading ‘Something in the Water’ and excited to try the rest of your thunbs ups here – thank you!

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  12. Emma LaPalermo:

    Just finished “All We Ever Wanted” and can’t wait for next month’s podcast! Also read “Ugly Love” (basically the most unrealistic love story haha, I really hated it but had to read for Book Club) and “The Death of Mrs. Westaway” which is classic Ruth Ware writing (I would give it a B-). Starting “Butterfly Garden” and “Everything I Never Told You” this month!

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  13. I keep holding out on reading Matchmaking for Beginners and now I’m finally just gonna do it!


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  14. Eleni:

    I read A Million Junes and Matchmaking for Beginners based on your recs from the podcast and LOVED them so much! A Million Junes is one of those that keeps popping up in my mind weeks after reading it. I also just read The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes and highly, highly recommend, especially if you like historical fiction. Love your podcast and your book reviews!

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  15. Stephanie:

    Yay can’t wait to read!! Just put two of these on my Goodreads lists. You ABSOLUTELY need to read Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering, it tells the story of an on-again, off-again relationship through college and post-college life from the perspective of each character. The guy is very complex and I could not put it down. Also I just finished The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand, and agree with all of the hype from everyone else who has read it—one of her best books by far!!

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    • oooooh that sounds so good! Thank you for the recommendation.
      I love everything Elin Hilderbrand writes so will have to check that out!

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    • Katie:

      I’m starting The Perfect Couple this weekend, can’t wait!

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      • Marty:

        I just finished “The Perfect Couple” over the weekend. Grace, I agree with Stephanie’s recommendation. Think you will really enjoy it and probably finish it in a day or two.

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  16. I just purchased Match Making For Beginners after seeing it on your instagram and I’m so excited to read it. Ghosted also sounds really good but I can’t find it on Amazon anywhere 🙁

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    • Oh good! It’s the best!
      You do know that I include links to every book in the post right (just click the pink words – those are all links!) It will take you to Ghosted!

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  17. Adrienne:

    I’m reading The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams. One of my favorite authors!

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  18. Lacey:

    I also loved Something in the Water and yes, I did hate the characters. Haha. I read A Million Junes last year and agree that it is such a cute and magical book. In July I read The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. It’s not quite my type of book, but it got me through two very stressful weeks of work. I also read another Neil Gaiman book, Ocean at the End of the Lane. I just love his books. I’m currently reading The Book Thief, because somehow I missed all the buzz about it years ago and I also just started The Widows of Malabar Hill. I will pick up Matchmaking for Beginners, thanks for the rec.

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  19. Caroline:

    I just read Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – it was excellent! If you liked The Nightingale you will like this – it was a really well written story.

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    • I love her! I’ve read quite a few of her books but haven’t read that yet – thank you for the rec!

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  20. Lindsay:

    I read Matchmaking for Beginners a little bit ago and was curious to see how you liked it after I saw it on your Instagram stories. Glad to see that you enjoyed it! I recently read A Simple Favor after seeing that Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively were making a movie out of it…I love both of them! Unfortunately, the book was TERRIBLE. I would not recommend it to anyone. I’m currently in the middle of We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby and love it, but I’m also a big fan of her blog. I’m adding A Million Junes and Therapy Mammals to my list now!

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    • I loved it so much!!!

      Samantha Irby’s book sounds good, thank you! And thanks for the candor re: A Simple Favor -that’s a bummer to hear!

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  21. Allison:

    Currently reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. It’s quirky, a little dark, and literally makes me laugh out loud. Would definitely recommend!

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  22. I love your reading list posts! I wanted to like Something in the Water the whole time I was reading it, and I almost did. But then the ending was exactly the same as every other domestic thriller and I was so irritated. I thought for once there might be a creative twist. But nope.

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  23. Yayyy so excited to add some of these to my reading list! I just finished Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering and The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. Loved both of them

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  24. Julie:

    I read the girl who smiled beads in one go – couldn’t put it down! And two strong female leads, instant win! It’s nonfiction and will make you feel all the feels.

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  25. I just finished The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah who also wrote the nightingale (while I also loved) This one is super different and it was INTENSE, a vietnam vet with PTSD takes his family to Alaska to live ‘off the grid’ and they are obviously completely unprepared and shit gets real! I cried while reading it, my husband cried when he read it. HIGHLY recommend!

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  26. Claire:

    Okay, I downloaded Matchmaking for Beginners yesterday afternoon and am as already 59% through. Too good!!

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  27. Anne Fahlgren:

    I finally picked up Crazy Rich Asians, and I am loving it! As a white woman, I think I miss out on a lot of the cultural references, but it is a great summer read. I can’t wait for the movie.

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  28. Callie:

    Gah! So many more books to read but I just started the podcast & so I’m deep in a marathon of The Selection books…Can’t. Read. Fast. Enough.

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  29. So many books to choose from! Can’t wait to read a few.

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  30. Staci:

    Happy to have found your blog and your great (refreshing!) reviews. Thank you, Mary Orrin!

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  31. I really think you would like “The Subway Girls” by Susie Orman Schnall – it was on my summer reading list.

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  32. Lindsey:

    I stayed up until almost 2 a.m. last night to finish “In Other Lands.” It’s a super cute YA book about a kid who gets invited to attend school in magical land (but not Harry Potter magic – they joke about not being able to do spells), and how he comes to find his place in that world. It is wonderful – hilarious, feminist, charming, slightly angsty bc YA, and not at all the book I was expecting. Loved it!

    I just got a notification from the library that it’s my turn for Something in the Water, so I’m going to pick that up after work today!

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  33. Cannot wait to read Matchmaking for Beginners and Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win and A Million Junes after hearing about them all on the podcast (annoyingly the first two only just came out here last week, but they’ve gone straight into my Amazon cart). I’ve also just started reading Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s new book ‘The President is Missing’ (which honestly I don’t have huge expectations for but I was having political withdrawals so needed some garbage to read) – will report back!

    Briony xx

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  34. Sarah:

    Thank you so much for your reading suggestions! I’ve been reading so many different titles from your lists — it’s been awesome to get back into reading 🙂

    I just finished The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon and loved it. I started yesterday and stayed up until 2am last night to finish — I just had to know how it ended, ha! I highly recommend it.

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    • There is nothing better than a good book that keeps you up til 2am! Thank you for the suggestion!!!

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  35. Kelly:

    True crime – I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. Incredible!

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  36. Callie:

    Matchmaking for Beginners was soooooo good!
    Have you read any books by Fredrik Backman? I love them all.

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  37. Cynthia:

    I’m currently reading Pachinko. I’m about 3/4 the way done. 100% would recommend- my heart has broken so many times reading this family saga.

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  38. Katherine:

    It sounds like Elise Juska’s novel IF WE HAD KNOWN might be up your alley! (It came out this Spring from Grand Central.)

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  39. Dawn:

    I follow your book list every month. You are spot on with your recommendations. Love your style and enjoy your blog!
    By the way I’m 58 years old and you make me feel young! (Although I’m always about 25 in my head)
    Best of everything to you! Dawn

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