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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Reading List: Summer Books to Read and Book Reviews

I was going through the blog and I realized that "it's been 84 years" (more like two) since I've done a true book review post. Granted, I haven't been reading as voraciously as in the past, but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading at all. So here are some of the books I've read since my last review.

You can check out a few of the other books I've read in my recent reads post and my summer reading post as well. Or take a look at this book review post from 2016, too! Decide which of these summer books you want to add to your reading list based on these book reviews.

The Alienist: This is a crime novel by Caleb Carr set in 1896 New York City about a team that investigates the murders of children using new technologies like fingerprinting and psychoanalysis. You might remember that The Alienist was adapted to a limited series TV show on TNT in 2018. Although I enjoyed the show, I definitely liked the book better. It was historical fiction at its finest. Rating | ♥♥♥♥

Long Way Down: I basically read Long Way Down in a matter of a few minutes. The book is told in free verse so it's more like a long poem than prose. Jason Reynolds' story is about a boy who wants to exact revenge on the person who murdered his brother. The book is set in the time span from when the boy gets on the elevator from his 8th floor apartment to the time it takes him to ride the elevator all the way down. On each floor, he meets with someone who is dead but has a story to tell -- stories that influence the boy and his decisions. I enjoyed this because it was such an engaging, quick read. Rating | ♥♥♥

The Power: I've been quite lucky when it comes to books. I realize that I tend to like pretty much all of the novels that I choose to read (I'm a good judge of back covers). But this was the first book that I've read in a long time that I just couldn't get behind. It's a sci-fi book by Naomi Alderman in which women develop the ability to release electrical pulses from their hands, making them the dominant gender. Although I totally loved the premise, I didn't really enjoy where the plot led me. I just felt like more could have been done with what was given. Rating | ♥♥

The End We Start From: And then I spoke too soon. I read this book right after and I wasn't that into it, either. Oddly enough, I can't honestly remember even reading it, which must say something. It just wasn't memorable. It's a story about motherhood in a terrifying setting written by Megan Hunter. Rating | 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: This was one of the few times I read nonfiction as I'm just not that enlightened, lol. I gotta tell ya, Mark Manson is an amazing writer. He puts it all out there and let's you know that it's not about not giving a fuck (yes, I curse on here), but really about knowing what's worth giving fucks about and what's not. I really took his advice to heart and whenever I forget to, I always go back to certain quotes in this read as a reminder. It'll change your life. Rating | 

Every Last Lie: I love a book that's told in alternating perspectives. This one (another one of my Mary Kubica reads) is about a woman who thinks her husband might have been murdered after he's found dead in a car crash. Chapters are told from her perspective and his before he died. Again, great concept, but it takes the fate of certain thrillers -- the end doesn't live up to the beginning. Rating | 

One of Us Is Lying: No need to pat myself on the back, but I guessed who was lying from the very beginning. But the best part is that the book was still a wonderful read even with that knowledge. You get the points-of-view of five different students in detention. At one point, one of the students dies and we have to figure out who did the deed. It's a whodunit! Karen M. McManus does a beautiful job keeping the reader engaged and playing to my 1980s nostalgia with her character cliches of The Breakfast Club, which is one of my favorite movies.  Rating | 
Palo Alto: Muses, this book was so weird. I picked it up randomly at a cute little bookstore in Italy last summer. I was living in the Bay Area at the time so I liked the idea of reading a series of short stories set in 1980s-1990s Silicon Valley (before it was Silicon Valley). The first couple of stories were quite intriguing. As the book continued, the troubled teenage misfits were just too much to handle. If any of you are watching the HBO show Euphoria then imagine that times 10. And yes, this was written by that James Franco. Rating | 

Sadie: This book by Courtney Summers was such a pleasure. I won't lie. I bought it because I liked the cover image, but it happened to also resonate with my reading style. Sadie is about a missing girl on a journey of revenge. Like other books on this list, Sadie is told in two perspectives: Sadie's and that of a Serial-like podcast that's following the clues that Sadie left behind. The best part is that this book doesn't have the type of ending that you think it might have, which is why I liked it even more. Rating | 

Unfollowing You: You know when you go to the explore tab on Instagram and a ton of random photos and quotes come up? Yea, that's how I found this book. One of Komal Kapoor's quotes came up and I loved it so much that I went to her feed and found out that she had just published a book. It's a quick read (more like poetry) telling the story of a relationship in this modern dating world (online dating through stanzas). The only issue I had with it is that there's no time frame mentioned so I don't know how short or long this relationship was, but other than that, I enjoyed it. Pick it up and read it in a matter of minutes. Rating | 

Recursion: By now you must know how much I love Blake Crouch. I've reviewed both his book Run and the literary genius that is Dark Matter on here in the past. So when I heard he came out with this new novel, I had to get it (and I got it both as an audio book and hard cover). Recursion asks the question, "what happens to life when memories can't be trusted?" People in this book experience false memory syndrome where they are engulfed with memories of a life they never lived. This is the part of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is the Blake Crouch sc-fi-crazy-mind-bending-what-the-fuck-is-happening stuff that I love. What I didn't like was the latter half of the book when things kept repeating and the plot focused more on a romantic relationship and less on false memories. In case you couldn't tell, I'm not here for rom-coms. Rating | 

The Penelopiad: Honest to god, I found this book on one of my bookshelves having no idea how it got there. I probably stole it. The first time I read Margaret Atwood was The Handmaid's Tale, of course, back in high school. I've also seen season one of the show (totally need to catch up). Anyway, this is another short book so I started reading it in tandem with the book below. Atwood puts a contemporary twist on the tale of The Odyssey by telling it from Penelope's (Odysseus' wife) point of view. You probably never thought you'd care to know what Penelope was up to, but based on Atwood's re-telling, it was some funny shit. Rating | 

The Nickel Boys: I got this book for an Instagram campaign with Barnes & Noble. But I'm happy to have read it because the genre is in my wheelhouse. Colson Whitehead's book just came out last month and is the story of two boys sentenced to a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Sadistic things occur and, crazy enough, the story is based on a real-life reform school. If you liked the 1996 film Sleepers starring Brad Pitt then you'll enjoy the similarities in this read. Rating | 

Feel free to link up with me on my Goodreads account if you're an avid reader (or a reader at all). Although lately I've been sharing what I'm reading on my Instagram Stories and forgetting to update my Goodreads.

And any book here that has three or more hearts is highly recommended to add to your reading list.
What's on your reading list or what have you read lately?
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44 comments

  1. I've heard SO many good things about Recursion lately - definitely need to add this to my reading list. Loved this very honest review of what you've ready lately!

    Rachel
    www.hello-her.com

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    1. If you get Recursion then get his other book Dark Matter as well. Both are amazing.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing such a comprehensive list with HONEST reviews!

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  3. The Penelopiad sounds awesome!! I love reading stories from multiple points of view so I bet I would love to read Penelope's!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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    1. This one is actually just Penelope's POV, but it's so hilarious!

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  4. As you may know, I recently got back to reading and oo this post is so helpful! I'm really really intrigued by Sadie!

    www.rdsobsessions.com

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    1. Yes, I do remember. Definitely give Sadie a read.

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  5. I have only read one book on this list ... happy to add them to my ever growing library wishlist :D

    ❥ tanvii.com

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    1. The Subtle Art, right? I think you're good when it comes to reading lists. I'm sure you have a ton to get through.

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  6. I'm so jealous you got to read all these books, Cheryl...good and bad! I used to read a lot but alas, I'm so behind my to-read list. I love the sound of The Alienist and I've been meaning to read Mark Manson's book. I'm currently reading Murakami's Killing Commendatore and Miyazaki's Turning Point. Both are quite good but I'm just a slow reader:D

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    1. Haven't heard of any of those but they sound interesting. I'm not a slow reader, but I do get distracted.

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  7. I think like the last book. I am always interested in books based on truth events or historical events.

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    1. Yea I think you'd enjoy The Nickel Boys then. I need to read more books based on historical events.

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  8. Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is GREAT. I love his sense of humor and he offers some wonderful advice!

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    1. Couldn't agree more. He has a new one called Everything Is Fucked: A Book About Hope that I'm adding to my list.

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  9. One of us is lying was fun, I recently read two can keep a secret by the same author too. I need to read Blake's other books.

    xo
    Pinksole

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  10. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is one of my all time faves. The advice is so practical! We watched The Alienist series but I hadn't read the book. I definitely have to track it down now now that I hear you saying that the book was even better. Isn't that the case like 95% of the time anyway ;p

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  11. I really need to read more books. And The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck has been on my list for a while now. I will have to get it. I read the Alienist but never seen the tv show. I rarely watch the tv shows for books as it usually ruins them. This is a brilliant list!! x

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    1. In this case, I wouldn't say the TV show ruined it. It was pretty good, actually, just not as good as the book. But yes, go pick up The Subtle Art!

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  12. I feel like I've been reading more than ever lately, since I got my Audible account AND an audiobook account through my library - along with physical copies of books. It's been all I seem to do lately, and I love it. You're giving me so many good books to add to my list (and a few to avoid as well)!

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    1. Yes! Having audiobooks definitely helps. I totally get more reading done that way. I'd love to know some of the books you've been reading and listening to!

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  13. Well at least in your case, its been a while since you did a book review... but you've been reading which is what counts. For me its been ages since I read an entire book.

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    1. I always say an easy way to get into it (or back into it) is with an audiobook.

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  14. Oh my lots of interesting reads here! I just finished a book on the French Revolution and I am not reading a fictional history novel set in Guatemala. That Unfollow book sound spot on. There is a YouTuber I follow who is of course young, attractive, well off aaannd she met her hot husband ( a look alike for Justin Timberlake) on IG. Of course she did lol!

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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    1. Who is this YouTuber? I really just want to see if her husband really looks like JT...

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  15. I've never really heard of any of these, I think I'll have to give them a try! With traveling so much, having a book is always a must!

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    1. reading while traveling is one of my favorite things

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  16. WOW. .that's quite a few books!! I can get lost in a good book and try to read two per month. Lately I have been reading more political stories.

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  17. I have heard amazing reviews about the book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck", definitely have it on my reading list!

    Kileen
    cute & little

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  18. I need to put The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck on my list, STAT!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  19. I love books too! Total book nerd over here! I've been meaning to read The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck haha, but now I think I really should. Also, may I say how jealous I am of your cool chair? Is it like a hammock? Omg need.

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    1. What are some books on your list? And yes, it's a swing chair.

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  20. I have read some of the books you listed and I have a few more to add to my reading list. Thanks!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  21. I haven't read any of these! I need to get to reading! Thank you for sharing!

    xo Laura Leigh
    www.louellareese.com

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  22. Really good reading list! You mentioned several books that sparked my interest.

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  23. I have never read any of these books yet babe, but I think I need to after your great reviews :) xx

    www.fashionjazz.co.za

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