Book Reviews: Everything I read in May & June
Last month, my book review post had 14 books. FOURTEEN! This time, I’ve only got nine for ya. With all of the sickness hitting our house over the last couple of months plus things reopening and schedules picking up, I just didn’t have the time I’d hoped to set aside for reading. This time, I’m bringing you nine books. And the good news is, I loved almost all of them. Oh, and there’s one book I made it a third of the way through and had to put aside. I’ll include it in my reviews, but didn’t include it in the nine since I didn’t get very far.
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Shrill by Lindy West: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 I love listening to funny memoirs on audio, so that was the method I chose for this one. It’s a shorter book, about 6 hours of listening time (as compared to the 13.5 hour book I just finished- that was long!). I love when authors, especially those of non-fiction works, read their own writing because they can convey so much more the real emotion in their words. Shrill is about learning to embrace yourself for who you are. I am always here for those kinds of stories, especially when they’re told in a self-deprecatingly humorous manner. West writes in a way that has opened my eyes and made me much more aware of the implicit bias I don’t realize I am practicing sometimes.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Over the last few years, several people have recommended this book to me. Last year, I read Untamed, which was my absolute favorite book of 2020. Love Warrior is very much about learning to love yourself as you are and it hit me at a good moment in life, when I feel ready to receive that message. This book was so raw and honest and depicts Glennon’s personal struggles with bulimia and alcoholism and addictive behavior in general. I shared a much more personal review here, but just know this book really hit me and I think it’s relatable for so many of us.
Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ OK, I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t. And I spent 13.5 hours of my life on it, listening to the audio version. I love a good memoir but this one just felt more self-indulgent than others. Yes, yes, I know all memoirs are self-indulgent to a degree! I have loved her fictional books, but this one just wasn’t for me. It has great reviews from others, so maybe you’ll like it but it wasn’t funny like I’d expected. I do like that it gave us insight to the author and how she used her life to create fictional stories and for that reason I gave it three stars.
Little Weirds by Jenny Slate: ⭐️ Yes, that’s one star. In my quest to find another humorous non-fiction book to listen to, I stumbled upon this highly rated book by Jenny Slate. Let me tell you, it turned me off from listening to books for a while. I haven’t yet listened to another. As it played through my headphones, the thought running through my mind was, “What in the actual FUDGE am I listening to? People payed her to write this?” If you read it and liked it, I’d love to hear why. Because I am at a loss with this one. It’s the book I made it a third of the way through and had to give up.
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Oh my goodness, I loved this book! I could not put it down!!! A Woman is No Man tells the long untold story of the experience of the Palestinian American woman. It’s eye opening, heartbreaking and, yet, hopeful. The ending was so perfectly executed. This book will go down as one of my favorites this year.
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 In the manner of A Man Called Ove, this book tells the story of an elderly woman who is facing the end of her life and ready to accept that. She’s actually trying to book herself at a clinic in Switzerland to end her life on her own terms when new neighbors with a precocious little girl move in and turn her life upside down, making her question everything she knows about life. This is a sweet story about unexpected friendships and the power of the human spirit.
The People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ If you’re looking for a beach read this summer, make it this one. Poppy and Alex meet in college and, as it turns out, are form the same small town, thus begin driving back for summers together and become the best of friends. After she moves to NYC, they start meeting up every year for vacation so that they can still enjoy their summers together. They’re meant to be, but are both afraid to let romance destroy their friendship. They’re too afraid to lose what they have in each other. OK, so this book was totally predictable but sweet and sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned love story.
The Castaways by Elin Hildebrand: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I found this book in my neighborhood’s free little library and it looked like a great summer read. It centers around one couple, Tess & Greg MacAvoy, who are found dead after what appears to be a boating accident. Their 6 friends (3 other couples) tell the story of their friendships, relationships, and what they think happened through their own eyes. This book started a little slow and confusing for me with the story of 8 people, which is kind of a lot of major characters in a book – especially for a tired mom who was just looking for an escape read. However, once I got about midway through, my interest piqued and I ended up enjoying the book overall. I will say there was so much infidelity in this book, physically and emotionally, and it just seemed a little too much. Or maybe I just don’t hang out with people who have tendencies to cheat? The ending was bittersweet and had me in tears, but that doesn’t take much. I know it’s been well-received, highly praised and was even a bestseller, so maybe I just hit it at the wrong time for me.
The Invited by Jennifer McMahon: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 One of my faves does it again! Over the years I’ve read several books by Jennifer McMahon. They most often tick so many boxes for me: Some sort of supernatural ghost story, quaint New England setting, interwoven female family bonds. All of those elements generally come together to create a story that grabs me. I recently shared her latest book, The Drowning Kind, and someone mentioned this one to me. I realized I hadn’t yet read it so immediately hopped to my library to check it out. It’s the story of a couple building a home on property that is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who was hung after being accused of being a witch in the early 1900s. This one mixes more realistic murder-mystery with supernatural. I won’t tell you what happens, but if you like those creepy ghost stories mixed with family tales, I highly recommend this one.
The Cutaway by Christina Kovac: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book follows Virginia Knightly, a DC news producer, as she gets herself wrapped up in the story of a missing woman. As she dives further into the investigative reporting, she begins to question – and doubt – almost everyone she knows. This book was author Christina Kovac’s debut novel a few years back and I truly hope she writes more stories involving Virginia Knightly. I thought it was well told and kept my interest. And, of course, I love a thrilling mystery.
There you have it! Have you read any of these and what did you think? What have you read lately that I should add to my list? Drop me some suggestions in the comments!