Summer Reading at Its Finest (Show us Your Books Aug 2021)

Happy August, friends!! I’ve mostly been devouring audiobooks in the last month while constantly walking my energetic puppy so you’ll find lots of those here today. Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show us Your Books!! Head to their posts to see what all of our book-loving friends are reading lately πŸ™‚

Books I’d Highly Recommend:

The Guy at The WeddingThe Guy at The Wedding by Katherine Center
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was easily the highlight of my week/month/year. πŸ™‚ For those who aren’t aware, this is a super short story about the first time Jake and Helen (from one of my favourite books, Happiness for Beginners), met. IT WAS SO GOOD AND EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WANTED πŸ˜‰

Write My Name Across the SkyWrite My Name Across the Sky by Barbara O’Neal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved When We Believed in Mermaids and the cover of this new book by Barbara O’Neal instantly caught my eye!! Her writing is so captivating and I immensely enjoy her ability to tell a story. I devoured Write My Name Across the Sky and loved reading it. It’s hard to classify the genre of this book as anything other than straight contemporary fiction although there is a smidge of romance, a smidge of a historical storyline, and some suspenseful plot points. It is utterly and completely readable and I told my book bestie that I’d recommend this as an ideal vacation type of read because it absorbed my attention entirely and left me with a smile on my face — what more can you ask of a book!?

I loved these characters, though one of them (intentionally) took a bit to warm up to – but Willow and Gloria in particular were so lovable. Music & comfort food & art are some of the themes throughout this book that really reflects on family & childhood and how that affects one’s life as an adult.

Can’t recommend this one enough! Thank you to Lake Union & Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!!



Everything is FigureoutableEverything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really believe in listening to inspirational books every once in a while just to remind me to focus on my life outside of my day job/being a mom/chasing a puppy and remember that there are other dreams to chase, if I want to. Marie’s approach in this book is excellent and I love her anecdotes about figuring out what most of us would call “impossible” situations. Definitely got me thinking about some things I still want to do with my life.

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this series came recommended by Everyday Reading & her 11 year old daughter as a readalike series for fans of Harry Potter, which is my catnip when it comes to book recommendations. I got the first one from the library for my almost 10 year old daughter and then I basically didn’t see her for the next month or so while she devoured the entire series. Is that not a perfect recommendation? LOL.

Anyway, I listened to this on audio with my younger daughter who is now 100% hooked as well and I will absolutely be continuing the series. It’s not *quite* Harry Potter for me, as the writing is just a smidge less magical/less polished, but I can still anticipate that this will be an excellent middle grade fantasy series.

Project Hail MaryProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll always remember The Martian as being one of my first audiobooks ever (aside from books on tape as a kiddo ;)) and the profound impact it had on my reading life is immeasurable, honestly. I loved that book so much. I enjoyed but didn’t LOVE Artemis, but I was still antsy to get to this new book by Andy Weir despite this not being my preferred book genre. I was grateful that my book bestie was up for a buddy read (listen, really) and it was great to be able to chat about the book while reading it. I also relied on my dad reading it to chat with him about it too. This book was really well done and I liked it a lot – almost as much as the Martian until the end. I do understand why it ended the way it did, especially with the way space time works, but I wanted a slightly more tidy resolution as the reader.

Overall, the character of Rhyland Grace was excellently well written, the sciencey aspect of this book was NOT over my head too much which is saying a lot, and the writing is SO witty and funny and endearing. There was a lot to enjoy here!! I’ll definitely read anything he writes in the future.

(Excellent audiobook narration too and I recommend that if science words aren’t 100% your thing ;))

Yellow WifeYellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a powerful story with fantastic characters, devastating situations, and so much emotion. I have yet to read The Kitchen House, but I think fans of that one would enjoy this – seems to be in a somewhat similar vein. The main character, Pheby, and her tenacity and drive to protect her loved ones no matter what, will stay with me for years to come.

Decent Books if it sounds like your Genre of Choice

InstamomInstamom by Chantel Guertin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book!! Kit was a strong female character who was able to take her time figuring out who she wanted to be, and I appreciated the way this was written. As a mom, I appreciated the discussions around being a mom/choosing not to be a mom/wanting to be a mom and not being able to be one. I think this is something we all need to respect more about other women, and I think this book had some great points in that direction. I *really* loved Will and Addie, of course. It is always fun to read about a super-savvy 8 year old girl…right?!

Overall, I’d recommend this book for fans of women’s fiction but after chatting with several friends about it, I’ve realized it might hit differently if you are a mom/not a mom etc. so just something to be aware of if that’s something you are sensitive about!

Thank you so much to the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Summer Sisters (Juniper Springs, #2)The Summer Sisters by Sara Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was fun to return to Juniper Springs and the Buchanan sisters (mostly just two of them). I absolutely loved a few of the plotlines in this book and a couple of others irked me a bit, but overall, this was a fun and light-hearted book that put a smile on my face…what more can you ask of a summer read?!

Reads as a standalone but might be more enjoyable if you’ve read the first in this series first.

Thank you to Forever for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

ArrangedArranged by Catherine McKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arranged is such an interesting book! I really had no idea what it was about going into it since I was just following Kaley’s strong recommendation, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover some Anne of Green Gables love throughout (though it is not at all a retelling or anything). The plot of the book (swipe for synopsis if you’re curious) is unlike any I’ve read before: A modern arranged marriage service – will it work for someone who is just done being single? Is it worth the investment? Is marriage based on friendship as long-lasting and wonderful as those based on love? This is what Blythe & Co, an arranged marriage company, has built its premise around, and when Anne Blythe (lol) stumbles upon a business card, she is tempted by having someone find her a life partner instead of her trope of men that haven’t worked out.

This book has a romance plotline, obviously, but there are also a lot of themes of self-discovery, knowing one’s worth, comparing one’s situation to others, and what that means for one’s happiness and future. It was an enjoyable read and I loved the ending though I’d also be able to read an epilogue or sequel about these characters πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Highly recommended for fans of women’s fiction!

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, #2)A Good Day for Chardonnay by Darynda Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I made a bit of a reader faux pas and read this book before reading the first in the series OOPS but I still found myself able to follow along no problem. This was an entertaining, captivating story a la Stephanie Plum or Finlay Donovan and I enjoyed it immensely. All of the characters were great and I can’t WAIT for the next in the series. The background story of Sunshine’s past is all too intriguing and her role in her community will continue to entertain for years to come, I’m sure. Highly recommend for fans of light mystery with a past mystery to solve as well. Enjoyed the audio narration immensely πŸ™‚

Thank you to Macmillan, Edelweiss, and Netgalley for the e-ARC and advanced listening copy in exchange for an honest review.

Get LuckyGet Lucky by Katherine Center
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this book for years having read most of Katherine Center’s other books, and I was able to get the audiobook on Hoopla and listen to it all in about a day. This was a unique story about two sisters and I liked the way the story was told – we know things change for them but we don’t know exactly why it happened over the course of a surrogacy. It raised some compilcated issues about their childhoods and how that shapes who you become and who you become close to. It was a good read – not my favourite of hers but better than I had expected!!

A Killer in King's Cove (Lane Winslow #1)A Killer in King’s Cove by Iona Whishaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my friends recommended this cozy historical mystery series and I am all here for it!! Definitely antsy to read the next ones. Lane Winslow is sure to be a character I can root for for years to come – gotta love a good independent and intelligent woman charting her own path in the years following the war.

The Weight of a Thousand Oceans (The Forgotten Ones, Book One)The Weight of a Thousand Oceans by Jillian Webster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was delighted to receive an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

It took me just a little bit to get my bearings in this book, mostly because my attention span is at least 50% decreased in these busy summer months when things seem to be go go going. However, once I hit about a third of the way through this book, I found it very hard to put down. I will say that I instantly clicked with the main character Maia and wanted to know how she would live her life – only a small glimpse of which we see in this first book of the Forgotten Ones trilogy. The book starts in New Zealand and is set to end up at the “Old Arctic Circle”, which is an intriguing enough setting to want to keep reading. There is quite a bit of sadness as we come to appreciate Maia’s unique life scenario but there are quite a few redeeming tender moments later on in the book. Overall, it’s hard to say too much about this without spoiling but if you do enjoy the launch of a series with a hint of magical realism AKA what exactly is going on here but not fantasy – I’d recommend checking out this series! I believe it is available on Kindle Unlimited as well. I will certainly be reading the second and third at some point.

Only for You (Sapphire Springs, #2)Only for You by Barb Curtis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you enjoy shows set in small towns with quirky characters who enjoy town committees, this book is fun. If you like long-time crushes that turn into relationships, this is a good one for that. There is a friends to lovers component and a fake relationship. There are a lot of made-me-chuckle moments. Tim and Emily are so adorable and they have great chemistry and feel like real people (except for the whole reality TV thing, though that was prime entertainment in itself). I can’t wait to read other books by this author and would highly recommend this cute summer read (which actually takes place in the winter/spring, lol.

The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project, #2)The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 but will round up πŸ™‚

I liked this second book in The Boyfriend Project series about as much as the first. I think maybe I enjoyed the characters a little tiny bit more in this one and I do enjoy a good fake relationship so that was fun. I also felt a bit indirectly motivated to pursue more fitness and eat more vegetables thanks to Taylor and all of her health talk in the book πŸ˜‰

There were a few intricate layers to this couple rather than them just being superficial, and I enjoyed that. Character development in my romance novels always increases my enjoyment πŸ™‚

Not Necessarily Worth Your Time

Paws and Prejudice (Hearts of Alaska #2)Paws and Prejudice by Alanna Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am not sure if I liked this or the first book in this series better. Both were fun fluffy contemporary romances with doggies and a funny Capulet vs Montague style small town rivalry/feud. Ultimately, this is not the first series I’d recommend in this genre, but I still liked the characters and the setting and the doggies. πŸ™‚

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Devil in Disguise (The Ravenels, #7)Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book overall, and the nods to characters in past books and series was fun. It just didn’t QUITE grab me and entice me the way some of her other Ravenels books have in the past. I will say that I absolutely adored the Scottish accent for Keir on the audiobook though – SO well done and fun to listen to.

Currently reading The Silent Patient, Crown of Feathers and the second Keeper of the Lost Cities book!! Also working through a 21 day Gratitude book with Kristen πŸ™‚

TL;DR: Many of these were really good but I definitely recommend Yellow Wife for fans of historical fiction, Project Hail Mary if you enjoy the occasional science fiction, and Keeper of the Lost Cities if you like middle grade. I also think Write My Name Across the Sky would make a perfect summer read if you still have room on your TBR and it’s out today!!!

What are you reading these days?!

15 responses to “Summer Reading at Its Finest (Show us Your Books Aug 2021)”

  1. shootingstarsmag Avatar
    shootingstarsmag

    I’ve heard the Keeper of the Lost Cities books are good! I want to read Instamom; glad you enjoyed it.

    Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. My kiddos are totally obsessed with them!!!

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  2. How did I not know about The Guy at the Wedding?! Need to read that ASAP. Also will be picking up Write My Name Across the Sky – I LOVED Mermaids by her!

    Karly
    https://www.whatkarlysaid.com

    Like

    1. You definitely need to read The Guy at the Wedding! I didn’t know about it either and was so delighted. lol

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  3. the guy at the wedding and instamom sound right up my alley!

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  4. I enjoy reading historical cozy mysteries so I will definitely check out A Killer in King’s Cove!

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    1. I love starting a good long series πŸ™‚

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  5. I have been meaning to read Project Hail Mary for MONTHS. Next month, for sure. And I am so excited for the new Barbara O’Neal and the Katherine Center if I can find it on Amazon.

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    1. The Katherine Center is on audio for free on libro.fm but in print I think it’s only available in the paperback edition of What You Wish For, which is strange. Project Hail Mary was really good!

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  6. I somehow managed to nab Project Hail Mary from NetGalley as well and needed the reminder to check it out. I loved Martian too and enjoyed Artemis. Truthfully I liked Artemis more now than I did when I read it. πŸ™‚ Write My Name Across the Sky sounds absolutely perfect for my current state of mind, so definitely going on the TBR. Keeper of the Lost Cities also sounds really good too!

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    1. Hope you enjoy Project Hail Mary and Write my Name Across the Sky!!!

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  7. I really enjoyed Yellow Wife and liked Get Lucky. I’ve listened to several episodes of Marie Forleo’s podcast and have “Everything is Figureoutable” on my letterboard! Didn’t realize that she had a book out.

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  8. My son really enjoyed the Keeper of Lost Cities series too!

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