Book Talk – Show us your books Link up

Another month, and another reading report. This was a great summer reading month. I knocked off a bunch of books for my two reading challenges, read a few fluffier reads which passed the time nicely while in the car or on the deck, and I branched out a bit with some books I normally wouldn’t read.

Linking up with Steph and Jana today, as always!! Thanks again for the great link-up, ladies. Head over to their blogs to check out what other people have been reading lately!!! I’m sure there are a lot of great summer reads out there being reviewed today.

 I’ve decided to put these in order by # of stars on Goodreads (which is TOTALLY subjective of course – but it’s my blog and these are my opinions ;)). 5 star reads are either books that were extremely well written from a literary standpoint, or books that were EXTREMELY enjoyable to me personally. Books are so difficult to rate sometimes because I find that one person’s 5-star read is more like a 3 for me all due to personal preference. For instance, I have rated most of Jane Austen’s books that I’ve read in the 4-5 star range, but that doesn’t mean you should run out and read them all right away if you aren’t in the mood for her writing. ANYWAY…I could talk about that all day. Here’s my new rating scale (succintly):

August’s 5 Star Reads 

 The Grand SophyThe Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It took me awhile to get into, and I’m not sure why, because it was so fun to read. Sophy’s character is quite unique compared to other women in this time period, and I thought that was great. She really seemed to help people enjoy their lives more, and you can’t help but love someone like that, right?? This book was also really funny. I will admit that I saw the ending coming, but that’s pretty typical of these types of books for me, and I don’t mind it at all.

Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was sooo interesting from a Canadian/Quebec history perspective. I also really enjoyed the dual settings & the flashbacks of other storylines. It was fun picturing winter in Quebec City. The character development of Armand Gamache was at the forefront of this book (as in other novels in the series, but this one especially) and I found myself completely wrapped up in what happened to him. I also enjoyed Three Pines’ characters’s interactions primarily with Beauvoir instead of Gamache. I think that this was one of the best in the series so far. Can’t wait to get into book 7 right away.

August’s 4 Star Reads

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was really unique and while I quite enjoyed it, I found parts of it to be a little bit confusing (this is probably just me not reading closely enough though). I think a few of the references were lost on me too, although I am so grateful I had an understanding of Jane Eyre (and I love what Thursday Next did to it in the book!). I remember hearing before I read this that people either love it or hate it, and I fall more towards loving it, but I’m not sure that I’ll pick up the rest of the series right away. Still a really interesting and unique read and generally a goodbook about people who love books πŸ™‚ I’d say it’s more like a 3.5 thinking back on it.

Summer SistersSummer Sisters by Judy Blume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having enjoyed Judy Blume books as a kid, I happily selected this for a book challenge this summer but I put it off for awhile because I wasn’t the biggest fan of In the Unlikely Event. I definitely liked this book a lot more. The characters were complex, and it was fun to watch them grow up (or not grow up!). This was a great book about friendship, loving, and finding out who you are and where you want to be.

Truly Madly GuiltyTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will say that this wasn’t my favourite Moriarty book, but by the end of it, I still really liked it and I especially enjoy the reading experience that I get from her books (i.e. torture – need to know what happens). πŸ˜‰ I spent the first part of this book DYING to know what could have possibly happened at the barbecue, and what did happen was not at all what I was expecting but made sense looking back on some of the hints from the first part of the book.
I can’t say much more about this book without sharing any spoilers, but as a mother and a wife, I found this to be an interesting look at marriage after children, marriage with possible future children, and motherhood. These aren’t themes that are new to Moriarty, but the juxtaposition of the three marriages in this book really made me think about it more – especially because the book overall seemed to be a bit more about “ordinary people” than some of her other novels.
If you’re a fan of her writing, I would definitely recommend this book. While it wasn’t QUITE as over the top as her other novels (which I loved about the other novels), this one was very relatable in some ways and worth the read. I also really enjoyed this Reading Guide (SPOILERS which I thought about after reading it).

The Piper's SonThe Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really, really enjoyed this book. After friends suggested Saving Francesca, which I liked, I was anxious to read this companion novel and I think I liked this one more. It might have been a case of the right book at the right time, but I really felt for all of these characters. I think I also found this book a bit more interesting because of all the storylines – it just felt like there was a bit more going on than in Saving Francesca (which still was VERY good). I can’t wait to read Jellicoe Road and Looking for Alibrandi by this author as well as her fantasy series. Her writing is fantastic.

Secret DaughterSecret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book, much her book The Golden Son, completely captivated me. I was fascinated by the Indian culture and the class disparity. I was also quite intrigued by the different story lines and how they all connected. This book provided me with a much-needed dose of culture, and I appreciated it for that. I’d recommend it for fans of The Kite Runner. I should probably also note that the ending of this book was definitely tear jerking for me, if that holds you back at all… a beautiful story about love, family, parenthood, and marriage.

EndgameEndgame by Susan Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before this book even came out, I knew I would read it because the author is my aunt. Even though I knew about the existence of this book for years, I didn’t know (very much) about what it was about until I began to read it.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book (particularly the main character), and that is usually the part of any book that I am most drawn to. The relationships weren’t as close in this book as many I’ve read, but I think that was one of the main points of it. This genre isn’t one that I typically read, but there were a few very intense points that really held my interest, and the knowledge that this book has a sequel coming out really propelled me to find out what was going to happen at the end.Some of the technology in this book was quite fascinating, as was the post-epidemic world in Butte, Montana. I can see how it would be especially interesting to read this book if you live near that area.

One True LovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first book I’ve read from Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I was REALLY far on the holds list for it, so I got it on Audible so that I could read it before Brie’s book club discusses it later this month. I don’t often listen to books like this on Audible, but I couldn’t get enough of this one! The narrator did a fantastic job.
When I started this book, I made up my mind immediately about who I thought she should end up with, until part way through the book when I was definitely a bit torn. I was definitely not disappointed at all with the ending though, and I really feel like the entire book portrayed Emma’s huge dilemma in a realistic way.
This book is about love, marriage, choices, grief, and growing up. Its take on relationships was one I had not encountered before, and I was profoundly entertained by the story.

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this for a short stories category in a book challenge, and although some of the stories had been published before, I don’t think I had read them before. I definitely enjoyed some more than others, and of course the last in the book was my absolute favourite. It was fun to be immersed in these characters and stories again after not touching a Lunar Chronicles book in nearly a year!

August’s 3 Star Reads

For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles, #2)For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book, the second in a very fun and promising series, centers on Heather Fowler, the Wedding Belle’s assistant wedding planner (but hoping to be promoted!) I really enjoyed Heather’s character and found her to be a bit easier to relate to than Brooke in the first book of the series. I really enjoyed her banter and her chemistry with Josh, her next door neighbour. This was a pleasant and fun read with some funny moments and a lot of smiles. I am really, really enjoying this series and it is making me want to go live in NYC and have lots of fun (which is the point of fiction – isn’t it?!). I’d highly recommend this for fans of Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet series, or for fans of Sex & The City.

Thanks Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book, which was published on August 30. This would be a fun read to finish off your summer reading. 

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in BetweenHello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a quick YA read. I think I enjoyed it more than her other books, but it’s been awhile since I read those. It was a bit too YA for me, but that’s more my problem than the book’s. This passed the time just fine.

An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3)An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love these Bridgerton books, and this one was no exception. This book had a very Cinderella-esque field to it (intentionally, I’m sure), and felt a bit like a fairy tale retelling (but I’m not complaining!). It was fun being the reader in this one.
These books are cute and a bit sappy and also a bit unbelievable, but they are fun to read too – especially if you like books from this time frame. They certainly might not be for everyone, but they are feel-good-happily-ever-after books with fun relationships in a unique time period.

The Girl from Summer Hill (Summer Hill, #1)The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was quite a fun read, especially for fans of Pride & Prejudice. I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out how all of the plot points fit into P&P. It was cute. I found a few parts to be a bit over the top, but I’m still really glad I read this one. A somewhat-fluffy summer read (especially since it takes place over the summer months too).

TL;DR – If you like Regency books, The Grand Sophy is definitely a fantastic choice. I also highly recommend the Louise Penny series (I know I sound like a broken record) and I found they get better from book 4 on. If you’re looking for something chick-lit-ey, One True Loves was sooo good as was Truly Madly Guilty. Definitely check out Endgame if that’s your thing because my aunt wrote it!! πŸ˜‰ 

Currently reading: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn via Audible (this one is taking me awhile to get through but it is still very good!)

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? If you’ve read any of these, please chat with me about them!!! Some of the books I mentioned today have major spoilers so I didn’t feel like I could talk about them TOO MUCH but I want to!!!!

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