It was the month of love, and yet, just about every book I read this month made me cry. But hey, there was some hidden love in those pages.
Overall, it was a solid month of reads. Any month that comes upon two Five Star books is a winner to me!
Thanks for reading with me!
The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker
I’ve said it a million times, the WWII era is a hard literary field to break into. This book was okay, but in a field where it stands next to The Nightingale or All the Light We Cannot See, it simply cannot keep up.
I never felt connected to these characters, and I was rarely pulled into the action. In a solid WWII novel, I expect to be engaged throughout the entire story, but I felt like this book drew me in for maybe 5 pages out of every 70. It was an okay read, but there are just way too many other ones to choose from that share the same story with stronger characters.
If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
Five Star Alert! This book checked all of the boxes. Flowing writing, enjoyable characters, adversity, lessons, and a clear and well researched introduction into a world that I really know nothing about.
This book was everything. It was so moving, and heartwarming, and heartbreaking, all in 432 addicting pages. The only times I could ever put this book down was when my heart couldn’t take any more for the time being. To me, that clearly distinguishes good literature from great literature. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Ah. Just ah.
Remember that I am a wimp with thrillers, particularly psychological thrillers. This book messed me up. In this book, Swanson really reveals both an impressive skill for writing, and a terribly messed up mind, as all great thrillers writer’s possess.
My forewarning is, if you, like me, have an incredibly sensitive soul, this might not be the book for you. The book goes to some dark places, and if you are not an expert of shutting that off when you shut the book, this book might impact you more than you were looking for.
However, if you are fascinated with mental illness and the negative impact parents can have on their child’s entire life and mental health, and you can handle, or even enjoy, the scaries, then I have your next read right here.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman
I always really struggle to explain Backman’s work to people who have never read Backman. His books are so witty. His characters are so endearing. His thoughts are wild and creative. He’s just a masterful writer.
With that said, if you are like me, and you’ve already devoured everything else this man has written, this book is a sweet way to return to his familiar and beloved tone.
Fun fact- he introduces a minor character in this that go on to become main characters in another book, Britt Marie Was Here.
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
We all love a story of forbidden love. The last hundred pages of this book crushed my heart into a million pieces, but admittedly, it took trudging through a lot to get there.
While this was a beautifully thought-out story, I couldn’t help but feel as though the wrong person was the one writing it.
At times the flow and dialogue both felt a tad amateur and unrealistic.
It was a beautiful story, with heart-wrenching twists and important lessons on love and humanity, but ultimately, the literary aspects missed the mark for me.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Five Star Alert! I don’t know when exactly the switch occurred where non-fiction books became equally as engaging and page-turning as fiction books, but I am here for it.
I don’t even know how to explain this book. Gottlieb offers an introspective view into her own life and therapy practice. Through the engaging tales of her patients and her own life she somehow connects all humanity through the ways we all hurt, grieve, breathe, build and break.
Through it all, she breaks the stigmas on therapy, and goes to prove that even the strongest of hearts need a space to weep.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Whether you were all in to the lessons on Greek mythology in High School, or you snoozed through the entire class, this book is worth a read.
The research that went into this to create the story of an otherwise forgotten figure in the Greek tales is admirable. The protagonist is a gripping and fiercely independent woman.
Admittedly, this book took me a while to get into. I have gotten so use to the traditional mountain of a novel- beginning, climax, end- that I have come to expect that in every story. This novel didn’t follow that flow, but instead, it read a lot like the traditional Greek Mythology, just slightly more modernized. It was a chronological tale of multiple stories, rather than a single flowing narrative. I think this book would have been much more enjoyable for me if I would have known to approach it in that way.
Summer of 79 by Elin Hilderbrand
Many of you know that I was introduced to Elin Hilderbrand last Summer when I read Summer of 69, and I became obsessed. So when I read about a novella she wrote, following up on some of my favorite characters, I couldn’t resist.
Summer of 79 was the perfect and sweetest little check-in. While some details were a bit rushed, and some story-lines were left unfinished, for a quick novella, this was a sweet tribute. At only 70 pages, I’d say it is well worth the read if you, like me, read and loved Summer of 69.