This month started medium and then got better. I got REALLY sucked into the Luxe series, and while I don’t regret the time I spent reading those books when I finished, I was kind of like, “What did I just do with my time!?” But sometimes you just need a series like that. It scratched an itch, that’s for sure. A real highlight for me was We Came Here to Forget. I can’t stop thinking about it! It literally kept me up ALL NIGHT. Can’t recommend it enough! Anywho. I read 10 books this month. But 4 were trash. Good trash, but still… trash!
I’m always looking for great recommendations… tell me what you’ve been reading in the comments! We’re also trying to figure out our October, November, + December books for the podcast… if you have suggestions, let us know!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real-time to my Amazon Shop. If you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list. I also posted a roundup of the 10 best beach reads of all time (in my opinion) if you’re looking for something fun and light to read.
For all my fellow Anna Delvey Obsessees!
My Friend Anna, by Rachel Deloache Williams
If you listen to the podcast or know me at all, you know that both Becca and I are OBSESSED with all things Anna Delvey. So naturally, we both freaked out a bit when we heard about this book, written by one of Anna’s closest friends during her peak faux-socialite heyday.
It details everything – from how they met to how Anna eventually scammed Rachel… the rise and fall of their friendship. Fancy lunches and dinners at Le Coucou, her time at 11 Howard, a crazy adventure to Morocco (where Rachel was forced to pay the huge bill). I felt myself feeling incredible amounts of secondhand financial anxiety for Williams. It was juicy though. I wanted to learn more about Anna and her scams, and I did. There is exact text message conversations. It’s definitely a fun read. It is not very well-written which can detract from the book at times, but overall I REALLY enjoyed it.
- Overall Score: B+
If you feel like cancelling your weekend plans…
The Luxe, Rumors, Envy, and Splendor by Anna Godbersen
Oh my god. So I read four books in a one week period (possibly shorter than that, I wasn’t keeping track) and I am a little bit mortified? The Luxe series is just so fun. It really sucks you in – if I had to describe it, it would be Gossip Girl, set in 1899! A strange concept, for sure but picture Blair and Serena in ballgowns and arranged marriages and you kinda have the jist. It starts with the first book, which introduces you to sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland. The Holland sisters kind of rule Manhattan, alongside Penelope Hayes who is Elizabeth’s best frienemy.
The Holland family has come under hard times so Elizabeth is forced to marry the dreamy Henry Schoonmaker who everyone adores except her. Meanwhile, he’s dating Penelope and secretly in love with Diana. So just imagine. The series follows them through marriages and deaths and a lot of drama. These books are not very well written, they’re kind of predictable, but if you’re craving something fun and easy that will take you away from your life for a whole weekend, these books will scratch that itch. ENJOY. The best book is the last one – if you’re doing this, just go and order all four at once!
- Overall Score: B
Chances Are by Richard Russo
This one was a departure for me as it’s about three older men! You might have heard the news that Carly is going to be our October books guest (so excited!) for the podcast so we’re in book selecting mode. This one was on her radar and I loved the idea of reading something from a totally different perspective AND it is set on Martha’s Vineyard. This is the story of three men (all good friends since college in the sixties and all very different!) What unites them is their college friendship (they were all the poorer kids at a wealthy liberal arts school in Connecticut and met serving food at a sorority house.
What also unites them is that they were all in love with free spirited Jacy Calloway, who disappeared from the island in 1971, never to be seen again. As the friends reconnect more than 40 years later, they can’t help but wonder what happened to her and what secrets they’re keeping from each other. It’s funny, it’s surprising, and it’s definitely very different from anything else I’ve read recently. This isn’t going to be our October book, but I really enjoyed it. The first half is very slow and then it really picks up. There’s a mystery of course, but there’s also these very real vulnerable characters and their friendship.
- Overall Score: B
The Other’s Gold, by Elizabeth Ames
Okay, honestly… I am still processing this book, weeks later! It went really off the rails but I still enjoyed it. This book just came out on 8/27 and absolutely everyone is talking about it. It follows four girls (Lainey, Ji Sun, Margaret, and Alice) from day one of college (they’re thrown together as roommates) through adulthood. The girls become the best of friends and the book follows them each as they make the worst mistakes of their lives.
The first two mistakes were innocent enough (still bad) but the second two get a bit dark. Both Becca and I were kind of like WAIT WHAT JUST HAPPENED!? I still enjoyed the book. As I said above, I’m processing and I think about it a lot. But I love when a book makes you think like this. I loved the real look at female friendships (it was similar to How Could She? in that regard). The characters are complex. The stories are complex. Their mistakes are… intense. But overall I really enjoyed the book and I really enjoyed how well the author captured the intricacies of female friendship. Read it with your girlfriends; it will definitely give you something to talk about!!!
- Overall Score: B+
Two Incredible Thrillers! READ THEM!
We Came Here to Forget, by Andrea Dunlop
Okay before we dive in, I’ve been asked to provide trigger warnings with my book reviews. If you’re pregnant or have a small child this book may be problematic for you. I can’t say much more than that without revealing too much/providing spoilers Now that we have that out of the way, this book kept me up ALL NIGHT. Literally. I read it til past midnight and then woke up at 6am to read if and finish it. I literally read this book in a twelve hour period. It was that gripping.
It’s Katie Cleary’s dream to become a gold medalist skier. And she’s on track to do that; leaving home as a teenager to train with her boyfriend and best friend, winning race after race and eventually making the US team. And then everything unravels as a terrible, gruesome secret about her sister comes out in the media completely derailing everything – her career, her relationships, etc. She flees Park City for Buenos Aires where she starts her life over as Liz Sullivan. It is there that she befriends a group of vibrant expats and begins to rebuild her life. The book alternates between Katie’s childhood + college/growing up with her sister to modern day until the two catch up. I just needed to know what happened.
It was really intense. But I couldn’t put it down. I really loved it. Just know that it is pretty intense. It’s the first book that has kept me up like that in a while!
- Overall Score: A
The Family Upstairs, by Lisa Jewell (out 11/5!)
I’m such a big fan of Lisa Jewell. Her books always leave me thinking for days after. And they’re SUPER dark and disturbing which is something I happen to really enjoy (lol). I still think about Then She Was Gone quite a bit… it was super messed up and dark. This book centers around estranged siblings Libby, Lucy, and Henry and their friends Phin and Clemency. Back on the eighties, their parents are found dead in their beautiful English mansion. By all accounts, it looks like they had formed a cult and they’d committed suicide. Henry and Lucy were teenagers and disappeared, while Lucy was a baby – abandoned on the scene. Twenty five years later, Lucy has had her birthday and is set to inherit everything (the home is worth millions). Her birthday brings the family members out of the woodwork and a mystery unravels. It alternates between their (very creepy and disturbing) childhood and modern day. I could not put this one down and highly recommend it. It’s not out until 11/5 but I’d recommend preordering it. You will be in for a (dark!!) treat when it arrives!
- Overall Score: A
Graham Norton’s new one!
A Keeper by Graham Norton.
I will be honest – I wasn’t all that sure how I was going to feel about this book. We have Graham coming on the podcast this month and I wanted to read his new book before we met him. Obviously Graham is amazing – but I wasn’t entirely sure how he’d be as a writer. I’m here to tell you that it was SO good! I can’t decide whether to classify it as a thriller or as literary fiction, as it’s kind of a nice mix of both! Elizabeth Keane is a single mother living in New York who returns home to Ireland to sell her mother’s home after her recent passing. She never knew her father but while she’s cleaning, she discovers a bundle of letters he’d written to her mother.
The book circles back and forth between modern day (Elizabeth trying to figure out what the hell happened), and the past (as Patricia meets Elizabeth’s father and the terrifying series of events that happen). I am being vague but it’s intentional… Because I don’t want to spoil it for you! I read this one in a full day this past weekend and loved it so so much. Also, I was really impressed by a) Norton’s understanding of human nature (and our worst tendencies) and b) ability to write from the perspective of a woman!
- Overall Score: A
photography by Carter Fish.
Both the thrillers sound really good! Can’t choose which one to start with first, haha. Thanks for the recommendations, Grace! ❤️✨
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Put them all on my to read list! These posts are my fave!! xo
I’m so happy to hear that!
Great list! I started Chances Are… last night (influenced by Carly’s booksgram), and am excited to read it.
On Monday night, I finished Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce. I absolutely loved it, and was actually thankful I was traveling home from a wedding and had a long train ride because I could not put it down.
It half takes part in Rhode Island, and another part in 1979 Detroit. Huge twist in the middle that I did not see coming–and I like to think I am pretty good at figuring out the “twists and turns” in novels.
Oooh that sounds great!!!!
I recently read Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner and This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel and really enjoyed both!
I just bought that! It sounds so good.
I just finished We Came Here to Forget (got influenced via your Instagram stories!) and it was sooo good. Couldn’t put it down I finished it one day. The story was incredible! Makes me want to go to Buenos Aires. I also read The Other’s Gold and while it started out good.. I think the last mistake was just too much for me to read through. But both were such good recommendations!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! One of the best books I’ve read in ages!!
Sounds like it was a good month! I just started Lock Every Door, and I’m excited to see what the hype is about! I think it’s a little bit more intense than my normal reads, so it should be a fun, end of summer read.
I hope you enjoy it!! Riley Sagar is one of my favorite authors!!!
Love these picks, and that series looks like such a guilty pleasure! I’ve always thought it’s better to read the odd trashy novel once in awhile than to not read anything at all.. and then, oftentimes those kinds of novels are such a great break and a breather inbetween more serious reads.
Dee ~ Vanilla Papers
Thank you Dee!!!
Ahhhhh…you are making me want to pick up the last two Luxe books. I read the first two about a year ago and just never got around to the last two. I am going to try to resist, but the pull for a good trash read might be too strong! I am currently reading Florida by Lauren Groff. I am not usually one for short stories, but I will read anything she writes. Next on my list is American Royals. I can’t wait!
they are such fun. sometimes you just need a little junk food!!!
I’m looking forward to reading the new Ruth Ware. I just finished reading Evvie Drake Starts Over- I read it in just a day because the characters were so engaging. It is a great little romance. Also Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series- her latest dropped in August and all three books are just delightful.
can’t wait to think of what you think of the new ruth ware!!!
This is definitely outside the genres above, but I recently finished Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s about the Troubles in the north of Ireland in the 1970s, looking at key figures in the IRA and later Sinn Fein. Keefe is a journalist and a top notch writer, so the book, while heavy in subject, is a surprisingly quick read. It is a fascinating look at that period of history and feels particularly relevant in the current climate of Brexit discussions. Highly, highly recommend to anyone looking for a compelling non-fiction book that still reverberates today.
oooh that sounds really interesting!
Always love your book review posts – just added several of these to my list at the library!
aw yay! So happy you like them! xo
The Whisper Man by Alex North is so good. I’m in a book of the month club and it was my book of the month last month! It’s a fantastic thriller!
oooh thank you so much for the rec!
Have to add these to my already full list . But, thank you for the recommendations.
If you like dark, I just finished Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. It’s about a new neighbor who comes to a book club meeting and starts digging up dirt on all the members. Lots to discuss about friendship, letting go, and the villain that you will despise!
Ooooh that sounds right up my alley, thank you!
Currently reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz and really liking it. I recently read The Light We Lost per your recommendation and LOVED it.
Ahhh that was SUCH A GOOD ONE!
I actually just finished “Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell! Sooo good! And very disturbing- you were right! I also read “The Farm” by Joanne Ramos and “Give Me Your Hand” by Megan Abbott. If you haven’t read these, add them to your list asap!
OMG IT WAS SO DISTURBING! I still think about that book!
Um, completely agree about The Other’s Gokd, was not expecting THOSE incidents. As the kids say, SMDH. I read a ton in August, too, and am now thinking of embarking on Louise Penny for the first time. There are like 15 books (woof) but every time a new one comes out and people get so pumped, I FOMO hard.
I’m so glad you agree! It was CRAZY!
I cannot freaking wait to listen to your episode with Graham. He is hilarious.
He is amazing! It’s going to be one of my fav episodes ever!!!
I adore Graham Norton. Embarassed I never knew he was an author. Loved his talk show. Should be an amazing podcast.
We are so excited. Recorded it yesterday and it’s a GREAT episode. Can’t wait!!!
His book is amazing!!
Love this list! I read a few good ones this August as well ; The boys in the boat, The spy and the traitor, Killers of the flower moon, Hiroshima and I’ll be gone in the dark.
Oooh thanks for the suggestions!!!
I recently discovered the Thursday Next series and love it! It’s out there in the best way, and such a fun read for anyone who loves literature and quirky plot lines.
Oooh thanks, I will check it out!
We just read The Silent Patient in my book club, it was such an amazing read! I highly recommend adding it to your list!
I read it back in May! So good!! You can read my review here: https://thestripe.com/everything-i-read-in-may-2019/
I saw your “stories” about the Luxe series and well, yeah, down the rabbit hole I went. Just started the second book. Every free minute I have, I’m reading!! Yes, the books aren’t well written but I cannot stop reading them. Love me some Gossip Girl circa 1899! Thanks!!
Ah yay! I am so glad you’re enjoying them!!!!
A Place For Us and Maybe You Should Talk To someone were my recent faves!
Thank you for the recs!!
I’m so excited to read Graham Norton’s book — and to listen to the BOP episode with him!
Also – where is the dress you’re wearing from?
Thanks Nora, we are so excited too!!! And here’s the link to the dress. It’s a fun affordable one! xo https://shopstyle.it/l/7HpT
Awesome thank you!!
So excited to read some of these! And where is your adorable dress from?!
Here’s a link to the dress! It’s a fun $40 find! https://shopstyle.it/l/7HpT
I love that you read 10 books! It makes me feel better about my reading “habit”! Just pre-ordered “The Family Upstairs” thanks for the recommendation! Keep on being you Grace … you are FANTASTIC!
Have you read, The Most Fun We Ever Had, by Claire Lombardo? I would love to know what you thought about it, if so. I thought it was one of the best books of the year..
I just finished, Ms. Everything, by Weirner too- I really enjoyed it. In my opinion it started off a little slow but it really picked up. As a women and as a mother of two toddler girls it really resonated with me about how far women have come and still how far it seems some days we have to go.
Thanks for all your recommendations, one of my absolute favorite parts of your blog and I always read a lot of your recommendations.
I haven’t read that one yet but ‘ve heard good things!
I just finished Save Me the Plums at your recommendation and LOVED it. I’m crossing my fingers for a future BOP episode with her as your guest!
Oh my gosh YES I just adore her!!!
I look forward to this post every month! I’m adding several of these to my list. I’ve recently read Tell Me Lies and The Governesses (thanks for the recs), Unwifeable by Mandy Stadtmiller, and The Lost Queen by Signe Pike.
Oh I am so glad to hear that!!! Have heard great things about Unwifeable – how was it!?
Gawd stop! I need my life back! I read 3 of your summer reading books list this past week and I’m on a 4th. Now i need to read half of these too!
Haha I love it!
I just read a new psychological thriller “Little Voices” that I read over 2 days. I thought it was good! And it was on amazons First Reads so free! Check it out!
Oooh thanks for the rec!!!
I just finished The Farm by Joanne Ramos and highly recommend! I’m also enjoying The Rosie Result, the third book in The Rosie Project trilogy. Thank you for your book reviews, I really enjoy them!
Thank you so much for the suggestion!
We read a ton of the same books. Love your rec’s. Dying to read the new Lisa Jewell.
I track all my books on insta account @brookebookclub