July Bookshelf

July Books

This was a pretty good reading month for me! I didn’t finish an audiobook but I finished four hard-covers and one Kindle book! We are getting settled in our new house so in between unpacking, decorating, deck-staining and DIY projects I managed to sit down and read a few books. I finished three Book of the Month books/add-ons that I had sitting on my shelf, a thriller that I bought months ago but never got around to and my Kindle book was one I checked out because of the author. I enjoyed all the books this month, I tend to like most books, especially in the summer when I don’t have a lot of other stuff to focus on. Some I would recommend over others though.

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight is a whodunit thriller that keeps you guessing throughout the story. Lizzie is an attorney working for a high profile law firm, she recently switched jobs in order to help pay off some debts. On a late night, Lizzie gets a call from an inmate at Rikers Prison. An old law school friend, Zach, asks Lizzie to represent him. His wife was found dead at the bottom of their staircase and Zach is the leading suspect. Zach insists he is innocent and Lizzie takes on the case against her better judgment. Zach and his wife Amanda lived in a posh neighborhood in New York called Park Slope. They appear to have it all but as Lizzie digs deeper into the case she realizes their marriage was not as picture perfect as it seems.

The story is told through Lizzie’s perspective, court documents and Amanda’s journal entries. I liked the way it bounced around, it kept me interested and guessing. Each chapter revealed a little more to add to the mystery. The story also kept me questioning, I kept thinking different people were responsible for Amanda’s death and the author put enough twists and turns in to keep you engaged. The story examines what makes a good marriage and what secrets are worth protecting. Lizzie examines her own marriage as she dives into the case. I felt like the book wasn’t very realistic and there were a few parts that seemed a little far-fetched. However, I did enjoy it. I liked the twists but it definitely is not the best thriller I’ve ever read. Rumor has it that Amazon and Nicole Kidmon’s Blossom Films has picked up the rights to create a movie so that should be interesting. I’ll definitely watch and it is worth a read if you want a good drama full of suspense.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Untamed by Glennon Doyle is a memoir about finding yourself and living your best life. Doyle has written two previous memoirs but she feels she has finally become her best self by listening to her inner voice and trusting her instincts. Her book examines what it means to be a woman today and how to live for yourself and not for other’s expectations. Doyle explores how for years she hid her discontent and tried to be grateful for what she had. She wanted to be the perfect mother, wife and friend. She stretched herself thin trying to fit into stereotypes. She was running on empty when she arrived at a book talk in Chicago. The event had set up a dinner for some of the authors, that evening, her future walked through the door. She fell in love instantly and it changed the course of her life. She talks about finding herself, falling in love, ending her unhappy marriage and creating a new blended family and coparenting with her ex-husband. It’s admirable the life she has created for herself and her ability to re-start her life in order to find true happiness.

I think the only issue I had with this book is that this is her third memoir. Her first two books were about her previous life and she went on countless book tours, shared advice and built a whole career from her first two books. She then created this new memoir that has taken off and she talks about being her true self and how she started listening to her “inner knowing” to make her decisions. It makes me feel like she isn’t insanely genuine? If she did indeed do this 360 and is now living her best life that’s amazing and she really does have some good insight, advice, and ideas of female empowerment. Some of the conversations she talked about having didn’t seem like they actually happened like that. She recalls different moments with her kids, her wife and friends that I find hard to believe that the conversations happened so conveniently… I don’t know why it rubbed me a little bit weird but it did. I think if I didn’t know a lot about her history I would be more impressed with the memoir because she does have a lot of good ideas and words of wisdom. It’s nice because each chapter is short and to the point. I do like her idea of not living for other people’s expectations and doing what genuinely makes you a whole person. The review on Amazon states, “And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.” My good friend read this memoir and absolutely loved it and everyone else who reads it seems to really enjoy it, so check it out and let me know what you think.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London was my most enjoyable book this month I think. It was lighthearted and the perfect summer read. I also was able to finish reading it when we were camping by the Mackenzie River in front of a campfire so that helped too. The book is about Bea Schumacher, a highly successful plus-size fashion blogger. She has amazing friends, a tight-knit family and tons of success on Instagram and in the blogging world. The one thing that isn’t going Bea’s way is her luck in the dating department, she’s been in love with a co-worker for years but timing never is quite right. One of Bea’s favorite guilty pleasures is watching the dating show Main Squeeze.The show is definitely modeled after the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. One Main Squeeze has 25 suitors to pick through, there are fantasy dates, romantic travel destinations and lots of kiss-offs. Bea watches each week, but she’s sick of the lack of diversity in the casting. One wine-fueled night, Bea writes a blog post complaining about the Main Squeeze franchise and their lack of body diversity. She points out that the contestants don’t represent real-life and the show needs to do better.

Bea’s blog post goes viral, turns out, a lot of people agree that Main Squeeze needs more diversity in their casting. After a low-rated season and a producer shake up, Main Squeeze asks Bea to be the next lead. Bea begins her journey wanting to help her blog and profile, however, once she gets wrapped up in the show she realizes she just might have a shot at love. The book is totally cheesy but very sweet. Bea does face bullying and criticism from some of the contestants but I love her quick-wit and her ability to overcome adversity. I personally watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise so this was a good stand in since the show hasn’t aired in awhile. I liked the contestants that Bea is with and I like that the author didn’t make it totally predictable, she threw a few things in throughout the story to keep you on your toes. It’s a great read for a beach, camping or lounging around during summertime.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

I picked up the The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel because I read her other book Station Eleven and really enjoyed it. The book had awesome reviews and was highly anticipated. The book focuses on two events that don’t initially appear to be related, the collapse of an international Ponzi scheme and a disappearance of a woman from a freight ship at sea. The book follows a woman named Vincent, a bartender at an upscale hotel. She meets a man named Jonathan Alkaitis, a mastermind behind an international Ponzi scheme, he asks Vincent to pose as his wife for public appearance. When the Ponzi scheme collapses, Vincent walks away but many lives are ruined. Jonathan ends up in federal prison and Vincent changes her appearance to try and escape.

The book follows different viewpoints and bounces around from different times. Flashbacks and present day are mixed together with many characters perspectives shown. The book is an interesting look at what people do to survive and live even when they may be hurting others. All the characters are searching for meaning in their lives and examining how their choices impact the life they live. The book was really well written, Mandel is a great writer and very creative. I often read the book right before bed so at times I would get confused over the timing or whose perspective was being told. I didn’t like Glass Hotel as much as Station Eleven but it is still a very good novel.

A Double Life by Flynn Berry

A Double Life is an exciting page-turner full of suspense. My sister’s book club read it a few months ago and I thought it seemed interesting. It’s been sitting on my bookcase for months but I finally picked it up and I’m glad I did. The book is loosely based on a real-life crime that occurred in London called the Lord Lucan case. The novel follows Claire, a doctor who lives a quiet life in London as she tries to hide and forget her past. Thirty years earlier, when her and her brother were asleep upstairs, a brutal crime was committed. The next day, her father’s car was found with blood on the seat abandoned. Claire’s mother insisted that the father was responsible for the attack, his friends claim he is innocent. Her father came from a privileged background, he was the first Lord accused of murder in more than a century.

The police are constantly on the lookout for him, and when they tell Claire there’s been a sighting she spirals. Claire is determined to find out what happened to her father, to see if his wealthy friends helped him escape and find out where he’s been hiding out all these years. The novel follows Claire as she searches for answers across London. It’s very entertaining and I like how it examined how something so traumatic can impact a person. Claire is constantly on edge and she can’t forget the crime. It’s definitely a page turner but I don’t think it’s as good as some of the other thrillers I’ve read. On the reviews, it was compared to Girl on the Train and I wasn’t as enthralled as I was with that book. However, I really liked Berry’s style and the way each chapter gives little clues and snippets to keep you intrigued. I think the ending is a little abrupt but I’m curious to see what you’ll think of it.

That’s it for July! I’ve already started a cheesy romantic book for August and I have a pile of books I’m anxious to check out. We are going to Central Oregon this month for my fiance’s 30th birthday so I’m hoping to get a lot of reading in during our little get away. Hope summer reading is treating you well! Until next time, Kelsey.

Published by kludes

I'm a teacher, dog mom and an avid reader. I live in the Pacific Northwest and I am so excited to start my virtual bookclub! Happy Reading!

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