Everything I Read in July 2019

What grace read July 2019

Oh wow. WHAT A GOOD MONTH OF READING. Seriously. The best. I don’t remember the last time I had so many books on a list that I truly just… absolutely adored and loved… and kept thinking about (and talking about!) afterward. It was a really amazing month of reading. I still can’t stop talking about Save Me The Plums to anyone who asks or doesn’t ask and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about Three Women later this month on the podcast. And everything else I read was really good, too!

I’m always looking for great recommendations… tell me what you’ve been reading in the comments!

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. I also just posted a roundup of my favorite business books…  and if you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list.

What I Read In July 2019

The Food Memoir of my Dreams…

save me plums, reading listSave Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl

Oh WOW. I could not put this book down! You should know that a) I am a big foodie and b) and I always dreamed of working for a magazine, so this book (chronicling the rise and fall of Gourmet magazine during Reichl’s ten years of running the show as editor in chief). I just loved it. Ruth is a former food critic who was brought in to bring big changes to the magazine (and she does!) Save Me The Plums takes you inside the glamorous world of Conde Nast during its heyday… from S.I. Newhouse’s birthday party (and art collections!) to the private kitchen inside the magazine, with looks at all of the most famous celebrity chefs. I don’t remember the last time I loved a book so much. I cried during the bits about 911 and then again at the end when Conde Nast decided to fold the magazine. It’s just so good and her writing is incredible. Now I have just two small goals: read all of her other books, and get her on the podcast!

  • Overall Score: A+

The buzzy non-fiction book (that feels like fiction).

Three women, What grace read July 2019Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo.

This book has gotten an incredible amount of publicity, and for good reason. It’s one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about, days later. Lisa Taddeo followed three women (and their sex lives) over the course of eight years. And the result is fascinating… something that reads like fiction but is actually 100% true. There’s Lina, whose husband won’t touch her – won’t even kiss her. They see a therapist who takes the side of her husband. Lina begins an extramarital affair with her high school boyfriend. And then there is Maggie, who had an affair with her teacher when she was a student. Years after it happened, she speaks out against him publicly. And then there is beautiful Sloane, who is happily married but whose husband enjoys watching her with other men (or women). I couldn’t put this down. I read it in just a few days. But what really struck me was how Taddeo was able to craft such a compelling narrative out of all three women’s lives.  She’s an incredible storyteller. I couldn’t recommend it enough and it’s also August’s pick for the podcast!

  • Overall Score: A+

Two fun thrillers that kept me up all night!

What grace read July 2019Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager.

Well, first of all, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Riley Sager is a man. He does such a good job writing from the female perspective. This is a fun one. It’s terrifying, with a great mystery and a touch of New York City glamour. Jules is struggling with just about everything (she loses her boyfriend – a cheater, and her job on the same day) and thinks maybe her luck is changing when she gets a dream offer: the chance to be paid ($4,000 a month) to apartment sit in one of New York City’s most beautiful (and mysterious) apartment buildings – fixing her problem of being homeless and broke all at once. Of course, things are not what they seem. Within a few days of arriving, her new friend Ingrid (a fellow apartment sitter) disappears. And Ingrid learns of the building’s tragic past. I read this one in 24 hours. It got to that point where it was 10:45 pm and I’d been reading for an hour but had to keep going as I was too scared to put it down – I had to finish it to know what happened! Highly recommend!

  • Overall Score: A-

What grace read July 2019The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware.

Okay, this one frustrated me a little bit because the ending felt like a bit of a cop-out (did you read this? Do you agree!?) but I still really enjoyed it. The novel opens up with the main character, Rowan, writing her lawyer from jail after being put on trial for murdering a little girl. But first, we must back up. We get to know Rowan as she stumbles across the job of her dreams, nannying for what seems to be the perfect family in the Scottish countryside. A beautiful home, an extremely high paying salary… it seems too good to be true. (If we learned anything from Lock Every Door), if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The parents leave her for weeks on end, ghosts seem to be haunting the place. One night, all the lights + loud music come on. And then there’s the charismatic handyman. And the elderly housekeeper. It’s fast-paced and a pretty quick read because of this, but the ending will definitely haunt you. Or frustrate the f*ck out of you. Either way, it wasn’t the best thriller I read this month but I definitely really enjoyed it!

  • Overall Score: B

The YA Novel that’s so much more than that.

What grace read July 2019With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo.

I ordered this without even reading up on it because Akilah recommended it when she came on our podcast. When I opened up the book, I was surprised (and a little bummed) that it was YA. Was this going to be another fluffy high school romance? (It is, sort of – but it’s so much more than that). It’s about a teen mom Emoni growing up in Philly, living with her grandmother and daughter Emma. The book opened up talking about why she gave her daughter a “white” name, and how she hoped it would open up more chances for her. The book is so sweet but all I could think about for so much of it was how privileged and lucky my own highschool days were. Emoni is working multiple jobs, dealing with racial bias (and bias + stares for having had a child so young) all while trying to juggle  the usual high school stuff (friend drama! boys! school work! applying to college!) She’s always loved to cook and gets into a culinary arts class (with a trip to Spain). I could honestly go on and on about this book and how sweet + moving it is but I feel like I’m writing out the whole plot and I don’t want to do that!

  • Overall Score: A

The literary thriller that keeps you guessing ’til the end.

What grace read July 2019Tell Me Everything, by Cambria Brockman

Holy moly – this is one of those books that just haunts you after you finish reading it!!! Malin is a college student, with a dark past and a family secret. She attends Hawthorne College up in Maine. Hawthorne is a small, exclusive liberal arts school, where she’s worked hard to build a group of close friends and pushes herself to excel in academia. There’s her best friend: beautiful Ruby who is also the star soccer player, dramatic Gemma (a theatre major, naturally), rich and handsome John, his cousin Max, and Khaled – a prince, naturally. They become the closest of friends but they’re each hiding secrets… Malin probably most of all, working hard to conceal who she really is and her tragic family history. The book opens on senior day, the day before a murder. You know there’s a murder but you don’t know who dies. Throughout, it flashes back to Malin’s childhood in Texas and her freshman year. There’s a small twist, there’s the mystery of who gets murdered… it’s a good one.

  • Overall Score: A-

A fun romance novel, aka the perfect beach read!

The Wedding Partywedding party book, by Jasmine Guillory.

Jasmine Guillory’s books never disappoint. They’re light, fun, easy to read, and just the perfect vacation book. I devoured her other books (I loved The Wedding Date and was medium on The Proposal) and am just such a fan of everything she writes. I should also note that while the books are connected, you don’t need to have read the other books in the series. They all stand on their own perfectly. This one starts with a Hating Game type of plot… Maddie and Theo hate each other. She finds him to be nerdy at best, demeaning and condescending at worst. And he considers her to be the “bitchy hot girl.” But one night, they hook up. And slowly they start finding themselves more and more into each other; to the point where they’re each the first person they turn to in an emergency situation. The story follows all the typical romantic comedy plotlines (they hate each other, they fall for each other, things fall apart, things work out) but that doesn’t make it any less delicious to read.

  • Overall Score: B+

top photo by Courtney Hizey.

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Comments

  1. How do you read so much! Crazy! I like the sound of the food memoir – it sounds incredible! ✨

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

  2. Nice, I will definitely be reading quite a few titles from this list. I remember being shocked when I found out that Riley Sager was a man. I’ve loved all of Ruth Ware’s books to the extent that I’m kind of intrigued to find out what the cop out ending is.

    My best reads of the summer so far: The Secret Lives of Midwives and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

  3. Dana Mannarino says 8.6.19

    Just added ALL of these to my TBR list. SO excited to read them!

    Dana | The Champagne Edit

  4. Maire says 8.6.19

    Have you read The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary yet? It is probably the best romance novel I’ve read in a while. I also loved Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors even though it took me a little while to get into it.

  5. Michelle Beckwith says 8.6.19

    Keep an eye out for “Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano – pub date 1/14/20. Big industry buzz since Book Expo!! ❤️

  6. Whitney Gaston says 8.6.19

    I’m listening to Three Women now and cannot believe the prose. It is really well written and definitely does read like fiction. She really dove into the minds of her subjects–I can’t believe how incredibly open and honest it is. Worth reading because it is trending so much right now, but unlike anything I’ve ever read.
    Also, I’m reading That’s What Frenemies are for in my Words + Wine Bookclub. And am deciding between Lock Every Door or the Last House guest (Reese’s pick) to listen to next. I really want to read Recursion for Ashley Spivey’s pick too. Oh–and I’m in the middle of The Furies (doesn’t launch until October) but think private school girls with a history or witches/witch trials–its really haunting and good!!

    • Right!? She’s such an incredible writer!!!
      That’s What Frienemies are for is so good!

  7. Kelli says 8.6.19

    I have been a long time blog reader and often times would skip your “What I read” posts as I’m not a huge book reader. Enter this summer where I decided it was important I engage my mind more and read. Read for fun, read to learn, just read. So I started going through your “What I read”posts and love your write ups. It’s impressive how much you read and I’m just trying to do 1 maybe 2 books a month but that is so much better than before.

    Thank you for not only inspiring my fashion but inspiring me to branch out and read!!!

  8. briana says 8.6.19

    Looks like you had a great reading month! Someone on IG recently informed me that Riley Sager is a man and I too was shocked since he writes female characters so convincingly.

    briana | youngsophisticate.com

  9. Kendall says 8.6.19

    You have to read Mrs. Everything – I think this was the best book I’ve read this summer, it is truly amazing.

  10. raq says 8.6.19

    Grace! thank you so much, this comes right before 10 days of vacation for me, ordering all of these! (except three women which I already devoured)

  11. Laura says 8.6.19

    I read Save Me the Plums after hearing Ruth Reichl on the NYT Book Review podcast. I enjoyed it immensely.

    I enjoy these post as there are always a few books I have read as well, and it is interesting to hear your opinion on them. There are always a few that I haven’t read that sound interesting. I am considering buying Tell Me Everything, however I’m not always a fan of dual timelines. Did you find that annoying in this book at all?

    I recently read The Chain by Adrian McKinty and I can’t stop thinking about it. Truly one of the most intense books I’ve read in a long time!

    • I don’t find dual timelines annoying but can see that! I really enjoyed Tell Me Everything!
      Need to check out The Chain!

    • Catherine says 8.8.19

      Adrian McKinty “The Chain” is really great, but his Sean Duffy books are EVEN BETTER!! Crime novels set in Belfast during the Troubles in the 1980s. So smart, and fantastic writing.

  12. Shelby says 8.6.19

    Just placed so many holds at the library! Thank you for these wonderful posts!

  13. Jessica says 8.6.19

    I just finished the very best book I have read all year (ever??) – Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11. This book is absolutely a must-read. It is hands-down the most emotionally challenging book that I have ever read, but it is so very important and shows such a HUMAN side of that incredibly horrific day. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. But it is tough…haunting. (I just started 3 Women today and I’m suffering from a book hangover from Fall & Rise.)

  14. Rachel says 8.6.19

    Just read Jennifer Weiner’s new book, Mrs Everything, and loved it! It’s a little long and took me a minute to invest in the characters but I still highly recommend.

  15. Karen Kelly says 8.6.19

    Have you read Rabbit by Patricia Williams? I really loved this memoir. I would love to know your thoughts. It was a glimpse into poverty in America

  16. Katie says 8.7.19

    Read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo too! Another YA, but it’s written so well and the whole book is in verse, which was very different and powerful. I’m so excited that she’s gaining so much traction as we need more books by and about kids of color (teacher here, lol).

  17. Maggie says 8.7.19

    I love Ruth Reichl’s newest book and also loved her other memoirs as well, highly recommend! If you can’t get enough, here’s an interview with her this week that’s also really interesting and some tidbits not in “Save me the Plums”:

    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/ruth-reichl-food-criticism.php

    I also agree with those who suggested “Mrs. Everything”, really good read. It is sort of a complimentary read to “Three Women” because the theme of women exploring their desire, societal expectations of women etc, is all in there too but as fiction.

  18. Kalie says 8.7.19

    I’m in the middle of Summer of ’69 and really enjoying it. First Elin Hilderbrand book I’ve read.

    • Thank you for the rec! I love Elin Hilderbrand – her books remind me of a warm hug. 🙂

  19. Abby says 8.7.19

    Currently reading Lock Every Door based on your recommendation and LOVE IT

  20. Kati J. says 8.9.19

    I’m adding these books to my reading list!! I’ve been getting back to reading this year and I love good recommendations. I forgot how much I love to read!

    Have you read The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson? I found it on a whim and it takes a little different perspective on a crime book (i.e. it starts with the FBI interviewing the victim and she tells the story vs. the story happening in real time). It’s kind of disturbing but didn’t make it any less interesting to read!