In August, I read 29 books, bringing my total for the year to 216 books read.
The three best books I read in August were:
Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Because, obviously. It’s not as good as Pride and Prejudice, but it’s still an excellent read and I enjoyed every moment.
Furia, by Yamile Saied Méndez. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of a girl determined to play soccer like the men in her culture do, despite all the people who tell her she can’t. This was inspiring and an evocative look at life in an Argentina barrio.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman. I have no words for how much I enjoyed this novel. From the very first page, I was entranced by Elsa, the protagonist, who is “seven years old and different.” The voice in this novel was extraordinary, and I had ration myself to keep from reading this straight through in one sitting.
It Came from the Sky, by Chelsea Sedoti. This tale of two brothers who create a hoax that aliens have descended on their town was funny—and I felt like I was reading about Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.
Paris Never Leaves You, by Ellen Feldman. This is set during the Nazi occupation of Paris, and I found myself somewhat traumatized from reading it, just from the emotional distress the characters went through. I did not however, really like the main character.
Cry of Metal & Bone, by L. Penelope. I really enjoy the Earthsinger Chronicles series, and this was no exception. Diverse characters and cultures and lots of actions make this fun to read.
The Wrong Mr. Darcy, by Evelyn Lozada. Have you ever seen something and wished fervently you could unsee it? This is that in book form. Calling this a Pride and Prejudice re-telling is a grave injustice. Horrible, unlikable, one-dimensional characters, over-the-top, unbelievable drama, just…NO.
Into a Canyon Deep, by James Lindholm. I wanted to like this, but it ended up feeling like the author was writing a Gary Stu character and the whole thing was filled with completely not-believable characters and action.
Fable, by Adrienne Young. I loved this! A seafaring, swashbuckling adventure about a girl abandoned by her father who strives to survive and get back to him—if only to find out why. Gorgeous cover, too.
Secret Crush Seduction, by Jaci Lee (review forthcoming). This was a decent read, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the spoiled characters.
Sing Like No One’s Listening, by Vanessa Jones (review forthcoming). This was a fun YA read, although I know nothing about singing/dancing/performing.
Road Out of Winter, by Alison Stine (review forthcoming). This was a solid dystopian read—and I felt like I was freezing while reading it!
What They Meant for Evil, by Rebecca Deng (review forthcoming). Poignant and inspiring read.
Before She Was Helen, by Caroline Cooney (review forthcoming). This was a bit odd and a little chaotic for me.
The Amish Newcomer, by Patrice Lewis (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this read about a reporter who goes into witness protection in an Amish community.
Furia, by Yamile Saied Méndez (review forthcoming). This was a fantastic, empowering read!
Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was probably the greatest Christian apologist of the last 100 years, and his thoughts on Jesus compared to different religions were fascinating.
Soul Harvest, by Tim LeHaye.
Olive the Lionheart, by Brad Ricca. I didn’t make it very far into this. I loved the family myth at the beginning, but when Olive’s part started, I was just bored.
Above the Clouds, by Kilian Jornet. This sounded fascinating—but it ended up being a bit too much of the technical details of training (and, frankly, he did some crazy/dangerous stuff to his body during training).
Blunt Force, by Lynda La Plante. I didn’t make it very far in this, as there was far too many technical details thrown in to keep my attention.
The Moon is Missing, by Jenni Ogden. I read about 25% of this, but just couldn’t get into it or care about the characters.
A Door Between Us, by Ehsaneh Sadr. This was just a case of it not being the right fit for me at the time.
Comanche, by Brett Riley. I wanted to like this. I’ve been through Comanche, Texas countless times, but I found this boring. It jumped around a lot. It was repetitive. And why no quotation marks?
In July, I read 27 books, bringing my total for the year to 187 books. I feel like most of those books ranged from “meh” to “solid,” but there were a few that were excellent reads.
Where Dreams Descend, by Janella Angeles (review forthcoming). I really enjoyed this! It had a dark, lush feel to it, and I really had no idea what was actually going on, but I loved the vibrant characters and the creepy setting.
Upset the World, by Tim Ross. I know there are a lot of different beliefs out there, and nonfiction and Christian books aren’t for everyone, but I really enjoyed this! Pastor Tim’s enthusiasm is so inspiring, and his anecdotes are hilarious. (The one about the carrot cake made me laugh so much.)
Tipping Point, by Jimmy Evans. This is another book that’s probably not for everyone, but it was a fascinating read. Pastor Jimmy has been studying the end times for 45 years, so his insights are fascinating and his voice is casual and down-to-earth.
Emma, by Jane Austen (classic). Re-read. Better than Sense and Sensibility not as good as P & P.
Upset the World, by Tim Ross (spiritual). I love Pastor Tim, and I thoroughly enjoyed this books. The bit about the carrot cake made me laugh so much. I feel that…
I Am David, by Jimmy Evans (spiritual). Really enjoyed this.
The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer (spiritual/TBR).
Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR/re-read). I forgot about Stiefvater’s penchant for breaking my heart with her characters.
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (TBR). Wow. I really enjoyed this! Ove was such a trip.
Haze, by Rebecca Crunden. Lots of normalized drug use in this one (like, it was treated as normal behavior), and the paranormal elements didn’t show up until 2/3 of the way through the novel, so it felt like a surprise shift, but solid writing.
Someone’s Listening, by Seraphine Nova Glass (review forthcoming). I did not care for the MC here—she did stupid things all the time and was almost willful in her ridiculous decisions—which means I usually stop reading. I actually finished this one, and it ended up being just an okay read, because of my character dislike.
Lobizona, by Robina Garber (review forthcoming). Thoroughly enjoyed this magic/paranormal tale, although parts of it felt a bit cliched.
The Friendship List, by Susan Mallery (review forthcoming). This book made me laugh so much! I loved the main characters and their adventures and I highly recommend this!
Lies, Lies, Lies, by Adele Park (review forthcoming). I seem to be encountering a lot of characters in the past few months that I just don’t like. Is it me…or is it people? Daisy was the most passive character ever, Simon was a horrible person, and they were just disastrous.
The Hero of Hope Springs, by Maisey Yates (review forthcoming). Again, these characters were not my favorite. Sammy was unbelievably selfish and willfully clueless. Ryder was better, but still had some issues. An okay read.
Here to Stay, by Adriana Herrera (review forthcoming). I have to admit, this book made me hungry! I enjoyed the cultural diversity in this—and the food descriptions—but the main characters were a bit erratic. Especially Rocco, who was most of the time very polite, respectful, nice…and then devolved into this x-rated character at times. It just didn’t make sense for him. The characters were either very professional and businesslike, or they were very casual and vibrant, but the separate parts of their personalities were never meshed, and that seemed off to me as well.
The Dazzling Truth, by Helen Cullen (review forthcoming). This was a very powerful, moving novel, and I’m not sure I can put it into words.
Where DreamsDescend, by Janella Angeles (review forthcoming). I found this dark fantasy captivating from the very beginning.
Child on His Doorstep, by Lee Tobin McClain (review forthcoming). This felt a little rushed and several things were outside the realm of believability for me, but it was a solid read.
The Last Story of Mina Lee, by Nancy Jooyoun Kim (review forthcoming). This had a leisurely pace and the main character (the daughter) wasn’t very likable, but this was a good read.
Some Kind of Animal, by Maria Romasco Moore (review forthcoming). This was…frankly a little too far-fetched to me, and why were all the characters just not-nice people or not smart?
Talland House, by Maggie Humm (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this book, although it was a bit slow-paced.
Slow Dance in Purgatory and Prom Night in Purgatory, by Amy Harmon. Two quick, fun reads that I enjoyed.
Tribulation Force, by Tim LaHaye. Re-read.
American Dream, by Kim Harrison. Because I love this series, and Rachel gets in more trouble merely by breathing than I can even fathom. Also, Jenks.
Nicolae, by Tim LaHaye. Re-read.
Tipping Point: The End is Here, by Jimmy Evans (spiritual). This was a fascinating read.
How to Study the Bible for Yourself, by Tim LaHaye.
The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals, by Beckie Mandelbaum. I read about 30% of this before giving up. I had high hopes for this, but every last character was narrow-minded and actively despised/hated anyone with a different opinion than them. Look, people have different opinions. If you despise everyone who disagrees with you, you’re not a nice person. The conditions the animals lived in were horrible and Mona seemed to think that was fine (and she was hateful and condescending), and Ariel was completely selfish and mean.
No One Saw, by Beverley Long (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this thriller in the A.L. McKittridge series, about two detectives trying to solve the disappearance of a toddler that might be linked to a similar disappearance over a decade earlier.
A Sweet Mess, by Jayci Lee (review forthcoming). This was a funny romantic read that will probably make you hungry.
The Black Swan of Paris, by Karen Robards (review forthcoming). Loved this! Set during the Nazi occupation of Paris, it’s about Genevieve Dumont, famed for her singing, who is involved with the resistance and secrets of her own.
Mayhem, by Estelle Laure (review forthcoming). This had so much potential, but ended up feeling like such a copy of The Lost Boys that it was really unsettling.
The Woman Before Wallis, by Bryn Turnbull (review forthcoming). Another wonderful historical read! I’m not sure if I forgot the events around Prince Edward’s abdication of the throne—or if I just didn’t know—but this is the tale of American divorcée Thelma Morgan, who captured the prince’s heart before he met Wallis.
Guarded by the Soldier, by Laura Scott (review forthcoming). This is a solid romance about a pregnant single mother who becomes the target of a private security/black ops group and is rescued by an ex-soldier.
In the Neighborhood of True, by Susan Kaplan Carlton (review forthcoming). This explores racism in the South in the ’50s and is an excellent read.
The Kids Are Gonna Ask, by Anthony Gretchen (review forthcoming). I wasn’t a fan of the twins, who came across as selfish and self-absorbed, with a grandmother who was lenient/willfully blind.
The Bright Lands, by John Fram (review forthcoming). This was…an intriguing read. I had to stop mid-read and make sure this wasn’t written by Stephen King’s son. Very creepy and a bit horrifying, it was an excellent read.
The Lost City, by Amanda Hocking (review forthcoming). This is the first of Hocking’s books I’ve ever managed to finish (and, to be fair, I think I’ve only attempted one or two others). Interesting, but I probably won’t read more of the series.
One to Watch, by Kate Stayman-London (review forthcoming). I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and the body positivity was great!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn, by Melissa Bashardoust (review forthcoming). A princess who has never had human contact because her skin is poisonous makes a terrible mistake, endangering her family and her kingdom and putting them at the mercy of evil…but a sort of charming evil. This was a unique and interesting read.
Entangled Secrets, by Pat Esden (review forthcoming). This was just a “meh” parnormal romance for me.
What You Wish For, by Katherine Center (review forthcoming). This book made me think something I never thought possible: I want to be a teacher. Yeah. If you only knew how many times I’d been asked “So you want to be a teacher?” when people found out I was getting an English degree…but I never wanted to be a teacher. The school in this book was pretty awesome though, so I was tempted (briefly), and I loved the Galveston setting. This was just a feel-good book that made me happy.
Cut to the Bone, by Ellison Cooper (review forthcoming). I got sucked right into this book and these characters. A missing bus full of high schoolers, a clever serial killer with a penchant for Egyptology, a dastardly boss, and a terrifyingly well-connected psychopath all combine to challenge a stubborn and intuitive FBI agent who finds out things are definitely not what they seem.
The Safe Place, by Anna Downes (review forthcoming). I did not like any of these characters, and Emily was the sort of clueless/stupid person I just can’t deal with. This wasn’t a good fit for me.
A Walk Along the Beach, by Debbie Macomber (review forthcoming). This made me cry, but it was so good! I love everything Macomber writes.
The Vacation, by T.M. Logan (review forthcoming). See…if I don’t care for the characters, it’s a struggle to keep reading. This was the case here. I knew there was more going on that what seemed obvious, but I didn’t really care, because I disliked all the main characters.
How Lulu Lost her Mind, by Rachel Gibson (review forthcoming). Oh, man. I enjoyed this a lot, but as someone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, it was also difficult to read. Love the Louisiana setting and culture, though.
Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify: Essays, by Carolyn Holbrook (review forthcoming). This was an interesting read and a look through the eyes of someone with a wildly different life than mine (although I grew up poor, too). I’m a big believer in personal responsibility, and that wasn’t present in all of this, though, so that bothered me.
Life on Mission @ Work, by Tyler Edwards (review forthcoming). This excellent read spoke to something that’s been on my mind lately.
This is My America, by Kim Johnson (review forthcoming). This was an interesting and powerful read—and sad.
Her Perfect Life, by Rebecca Taylor. Excellent, descriptive writing, but I realized at 30% that I just didn’t care about any of the characters (as well as actively disliking some). Just not a good fit.
Those Who Hunger: An Amish Vampire Thriller, by Owen Banner. The premise of this held a lot of potential. I mean, how unique are Amish vampires? I read a bit of it, probably around 15-20%, but I just wasn’t buying in.
Hurry Home, by Roz Nay. There was nothing wrong with this book. Seriously. Solid writing, intriguing concept…I just didn’t like any of the characters. Just a case of “it’s me, not the book.”
I read 35 books in April, bringing my total for the year to 99. (Apparently eliminating my 2-minute commute by working from home increased my reading speed.) Some of these were just so-so, some were excellent, some were solid reads. But if I had to narrow it down to my three favorites…
Perennials, by Julie Cantrell. I love Southern fiction, and this was a drowsy, sweet, and enthralling read—perfectly Southern—from the very first page. Highly recommended!
Of Silver and Shadow, by Jennifer Gruenke. My review will be up on the 27th, but isn’t this a gorgeous cover? Ren was such a prickly character, but I enjoyed her antics, the world, and the other characters very much. Can’t wait to read more from this debut author!
Breath Like Water, by Anna Jarzab. This hasn’t hit stores yet, and I don’t know anything about elite swimming or bipolar disorder, but I loved Susannah and Harry and their struggles and unexpected triumphs.
Well, April was an excellent reading month for me. I finished reading all the books I’m reviewing in May…and their reviews.
Books Read in April: 35
Books Read for the Year: 99/200
Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:
Finding Your Way Back to God, by Dave Ferguson (spiritual). This wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but I enjoyed the real-life stories.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (classic). It’s been a long time since I read this…and I loved it all over again!
Perennials, by Julie Cantrell (TBR). Okay, I’ll just say it: I loved this book! Well-done Southern fiction is my jam. And this was well-done. I sympathized so much with Lovey. This book made me laugh, cry, and remember everything I love about the South.
A Shadow Bright and Burning, by Jessica Cluess (TBR). I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys (TBR). This was just kind of “meh” for me. Too many POVs, for one thing. And the time with each character was so short, I never really felt comfortable in their heads.
How to Have a Better Relationship with Anyone, by James Hilt (review forthcoming). This is a solid read, with a very relatable voice.
Miss Austen, by Gill Hornby. This is the story of Jane Austen’s sister, what it was like living with her famous sister, and her struggle to keep the family reputation intact. A good read, but not really a cheerful one.
Copycat Killer, by Laura Scott. I love faith-based books and romantic suspense novels, so combining the two should have been a win for me. However, I found this to be insta-love with the faith aspect barely mentioned…and the main murder mystery barely mentioned as well.
The Stolen Letter, by Paige Shelton. A woman who thinks she was a queen in a past life. A plot to close a bookstore secretly for nefarious purposes. A murder investigation. This was a fun read, even if I hadn’t read the first four books in the series!
The Engineer’s Wife, by Tracey Enerson Wood. PT Barnum was my favorite character in this historical fiction novel and I enjoyed the look at the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement, but the main characters weren’t entirely sympathetic for me.
Braised Pork, by An Yu. Okay, I’m not going to lie: the only reason I finished reading this was because it was so short. Thee was some magical realism in this, but the whole thing seemed kind of pointless. Creative name, though not really related to anything.
The Stone of Sorrow, by Brooke Carter. I enjoyed this Icelandic (sort of) fantasy, with Norse myths and legends come to life. A little more character development would have been nice, but it was a decent beginning to a new series.
The Golden Flea, by Michael Rips. This is so far outside my wheelhouse—but I totally enjoyed it! It’s about the Chelsea Flea Market and the people and treasures found there, and ended up being absolutely fascinating.
Feels Like Falling, by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I actually liked the secondary characters more than the main characters, and their interactions made the book a fun read. Gray was pretty spoiled/oblivious to reality, so I wasn’t a big fan of hers, but this is an easy read.
The Summer Villa, by Melissa Hill. I enjoyed reading about vacationing in Italy…but two out of three of the main characters were pretty self-absorbed and unlikable. This also seemed a little too good to be true, frankly. I mean, who really falls in love with a gorgeous Italian man while on vacation…and it’s mutual? That’s possibly every woman’s fantasy, but it isn’t reality.
Sugar and Vice, by Eve Calder. This was a fun cozy mystery, and I intend to go back and read the first of the series since I enjoyed this one so much.
Finding Balance, by Kati Gardner (review forthcoming). Loved this #ownvoices YA read!
Her Hidden Hope, by Jill Lynn (review forthcoming). This was an excellent inspirational romance! Sometimes they can feel a bit preachy, but this one does not fall into that category.
The Paris Hours, by Alex George (review forthcoming). to be honest, I didn’t care much for this. Or, I should say, I’m neutral. I didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters, so it was hard to care what was happening to them. And it felt really sloooow.
This is How I Lied, by Heather Gudenkauf (review forthcoming). The idea that 1995 was 25 years ago kept tripping me up here, as half the story was set in 1995, the rest in the present-day. I didn’t really like any of the characters, so I wasn’t a huge fan of this. And the sister is crazy!
Breath Like Water, by Anna Jarzab (review forthcoming). I LOVED this! I don’t know a thing about competitive swimming, and only slightly more than nothing about bipolar disorder, but I was entranced by this novel from the first page.
Carolina Breeze, by Denise Hunter (review forthcoming). I love this series of wonderful inspirational romances!
Her Amish Suitor’s Secret, by Carrie Lighte (review forthcoming). This was a sweet, enjoyable romance, although there were a couple of things that made me question the portrayal of Amish life. However…that could be my own ignorance talking, and I liked this.
On Ocean Boulevard, by Mary Alice Monroe (review forthcoming). I loved the sea turtle and conservation aspects of this, but I didn’t have much connection with the characters, except Cara. I do love Southern fiction though!
Sister Dear, by Hannah Mary McKinnon. (review forthcoming). So…this didn’t end like I expected, which is good. But I disliked all the characters, so there’s that. These people are not right.
Of Silver and Shadow, by Jennifer Gruenke (review forthcoming). This was an excellent fantasy read!
The Summer Set, by Aimee Agresti (review forthcoming). I enjoyed all the Shakespeare, but…these characters read more like young teenagers that 40-somethings. Selfish, willful, no consideration for anyone besides themselves…and everyone was sleeping with everyone else. (Not that I’m saying teenagers do all that, but these people were completely immature and vapid.)
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey, by Abigail Wilson (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this murder mystery mixed with lots of family drama.
Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore. I read 25% of this, but…it was a little too dark and gritty and depressing for me right now, especially considering current dark events. Definitely my issue, not the novel’s.
Queen of the Owls, by Barbara Linn Probst. I think I made it about 10-15% of the way through this, but the voice was too depressing for me to slog through. Just not a good fit.
I read 22 books in March, bringing my total to 64 so far for the year. There were some less-than-stellar ones, but three books really stood out for me.
Smoke Bitten, by Patricia Briggs. The Mercy Thompson series is phenomenal, and this was an excellent addition to it. Like, I read the entire thing straight through in about four hours on a Friday night, as my reward for making it through my first week working from home.
Night of the Dragon, by Julie Kagawa. I’m sad this series is over, but I was enthralled while it lasted. Loved the mythology and characters, the melding of magic and custom. Definitely read these books!
The Rome of Fall, by Chad Alan Gibbs. High school football in small-town Alabama—and the power wielded by those involved in it. I don’t even like football, and I enjoyed this. The whole times I was reading this, I kept thinking of Joshilyn Jackson’s gods in Alabama. “There are gods in Alabama…” (One of my favorite books ever.)
Queen of the Unwanted, by Jenna Glass (review forthcoming). Okay, so I probably should have read the first book in The Women’s War series before reading this…but at the same time, I had no problems figuring out what was going on. I enjoyed this, although the culture was quite depressing.
Sparrow, by Mary Cecilia Jackson. Parts of this were very hard to read, but in the end it was inspiring as well as entertaining. I’m all for women learning how to be strong. And ballet.
Tigers, Not Daughters, by Samantha Mabry. This…was not an easy read. There are several POV characters, which can be confusing, although the sisters area all so distinct it was easy to keep them straight in my mind. One of them is pretty unlikable. And one of them is dead, so there’s that. I also didn’t get a good sense of the culture the book is touted for, either. It seemed like a secondary detail at best, and pretty generic in truth to me. (One of my closest friends is Latin-American, and this family and cultural surroundings just seem bland in comparison.)
The Last Human, by Zack Jordan. This was an okay read, but I didn’t love it. The author made me feel sympathy for a gigantic spider-alien, which really says something, considering my fear of spiders, but some of this just didn’t quite add up to me.
The Darkness We Hide, by Debra Webb. I enjoyed this, which seems to wrap up The Undertaker’s Daughter story. Lots of dark family secrets are unearthed here, and as always, I enjoyed every page.
Night of the Dragon, by Julie Kagawa (review forthcoming). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series and I hate to see it end, but this was an excellent conclusion…even if it didn’t quite end how I hoped.
Ruthless Gods, by Emily A. Duncan (review forthcoming). The second dark and mesmerizing book in the Something Dark and Holy series. This may be dark and bloody and cold…but the writing is phenomenal and I am totally invested in these characters.
The Lucky Ones, by Liz Lawson (review forthcoming). May’s twin brother was killed in a school shooting a year ago. She’s trying to get her life back together—and then she meets the boy whose mother is representing the killer in court. This is about survivors of a school shooting and what they go through. It doesn’t deal with the shooting itself much, just focuses on the devastating aftermath.
We Didn’t Ask for This, by Aldi Alsaid (review forthcoming). I guess my main issue with this book—the one that niggled at the back of my mind the entire time I was reading—was how unbelievable it was to me that an entire high school of kids was basically being held hostage and the cops weren’t trying to get them out. That one thing was enough to make the book itself farfetched and unbelievable.
Smoke Bitten, by Patricia Briggs. Because the Mercy Thompson series is, hands-down, one of my favorite series ever. I read this straight through in one sitting, as my reward for Working From Home Week One.
The Earl Not Taken, by A.S. Fenichel. I wanted to enjoy this, but Poppy and Rhys seemed like caricatures to me, and some of the details and action felt completely unbelievable to me, aespecially in that setting/society.
The Red Lotus, by Chris Bohjalian. I think I read about 30% of this…but, honestly, if you don’t care about the characters, what’s the point of reading?
Privateers, by Charlie Newton. I barely started this one. The first scene felt like a bad action movie, and I just wasn’t in the right mindset for that.
The Rogue, by Lee W. Brainard (Planets Shaken). Lots of scientific jargon in this one and it felt like the characters were lecturing—“As you know, Bob…”—making it impossible for me to like them.
The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas. I first read this so long ago that I remembered nothing about it, but it’s the story of Marcellus, a Roman soldier who wins Christ’s robe at Golgotha, and then sets out to find out the truth about the Nazarene carpenter. I enjoyed so much seeing Biblical figures come to life!
Isaiah’s Legacy, by Mesu Andrews. The story of Manasseh, a biblical king who did great evil, and how he comes to know Yahweh. I love Mesu Andrews’ way of bringing biblical tales to life, and this was a wonderful read.