what i read: august

Three months in  row linking up for Show Us Your Books with Stephanie and Jana!  It's becoming fun to keep track of what I'm reading this way, and get some new ideas!  Here's what I read this month...

First up, Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell
I swore I wouldn't read any more books about kidnapping, but this was a book club read.  There was a little twist to the standard kidnapping novels, but it was still very predictable.  But maybe that's because this is the forty seven thousandth kidnapping novel I've read.  The basic plot is that two girls were kidnapped when they were young, and now they are in their thirties and one is a writer and one is an actress.  The writer authors a book turned screenplay about their kidnapping, and the actress is chosen for a starring role, so they meet again! What are the chances?  It wasn't awful, but not my favorite.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I LOVED this book.  Five stars.  The story was unusual, and the characters were so quirky and likable.  The story centers around a widower who owns a little bookstore in a vacation town.  He leads a solitary life, until one day a little girl is abandoned in his shop.  He adopts her and his new little sidekick makes him take a closer look at some of the relationships in his life, including those with an agent from a publishing house, and his brother and sister-in-law, and why some things turned out the way they did.  I didn't want this book to end.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I don't usually read books like this, but I've seen so many rave reviews that I thought I'd give it a try.  And here I am with my unpopular opinion- I did not care for it one bit.  I had to force myself to finish it.  It was 300 pages of navel gazing.

Irish Eyes by Marykay Andrews
This was my first Marykay Andrews novel and I loved it!  It was the perfect weekend read.  I went ahead and judged this book by the cover, and assumed it would be a light read.  But it centered on a retired detective who now runs a cleaning company with eccentric employees.  She witnesses a shooting and even though she's retired from her detective days, she can't help but solve the crime.  In doing so, she uncovers some underground police organizations and learns people aren't always who they seem to be.  There's a whole shelf of Marykay Andrews books at the library, and I can't wait to get another.

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
This was another winner.  It was about a woman who owns a bookshop with her best friend.  She goes to sleep one night and dreams she is living another life, the life she would have if just a few things in her life had been different.  As the days go on, the dreams get more realistic and it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between her real life and her dream life.  It reminded me of It's a Wonderful Life, and I loved it.

Never Change by Elizabeth Berg
I'd read some novels from this author in the past and enjoyed them.  I enjoyed this one too, but it was so sad.  I haven't read Me Before You, but I saw the movie and it's a similar story.  A man is dying, and the main character becomes his caretaker and falls in love with him.  She wants him to fight, and he wants to die.  It was a good book, but a downer, and the day I finished it, I was in a bad/sad mood the rest of the night.

Next month's goal is some cheerful stories!


I just read AJ Fikry, too, and absolutely adored it!! Such wonderful characters :) didn't want it to end!
You're not alone with you Big Magic opinion! I couldn't get past the first 1/4 of it!
BLovedBoston said…
I haven't read anything of these!! Thanks for all the great recommendations and the ones to steer clear of! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston
the bookseller sounds interesting! i feel like i've heard of it before, or at least that kind of plot.. added it to my list. i've never read a mary kay andrews book, added that one too. oh i LOVED A.J. Fikry!!! one of my favourites. i haven't read big magic, i read eat pray love yeeeeeeeears ago and remember liking it well enough, but big magic doesn't sound like my jam.
I loved AJ Fikry too. I definitely keep intending to re-read it sometime. I also have no desire to read Big Magic, at least not anytime soon.

I don't think I've read any books by Mary Kay Andrews although she sounds super familiar...going to check that one out! Thanks!
Julie said…
I'm jealous of the reading people are getting done because I haven't had a chance to read anything since school has started...but I guess that's what breaks are for!!
Emily said…
oooh, I haven't heard of The Storied Life A.J. Fikry! I'll have to read it!
Marie said…
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry sounds like a great book. Adding it to my reading list. Thanks for sharing these.
Kayla MKOY said…
I love reading bloggers book reviews - helps me narrow down my next choices!! :)
Rebecca Jo said…
I've GOTTA get the Storied Life of AJ Fikry - I havent heard anything bad about that one.
I have Big Magic on my wishlist because everyone has been raving about it but this makes me think twice! Instead of buying it, I'll have to see if I can get it at the library.
NBD, just added all of these (minus Big Magic) to my TBR list even though I've been trying to not add more. Live on the edge!
I get happy when I see people have read AJ Fikry. I should buy a paperback of that for the shore house!

I had totally forgotten about Elizabeth Berg. I used to read her years ago and then just stopped following her stuff.
Added 3 of these to my list - I love Mary Kay Andrews, but I don't think I have read Irish Eyes. Exciting to find a new to me book by her!
AJ Fikry ... my heart swells when I think about that book.
Kelly said…
I loved AJ Fikry too! And glad to see another dissenter on Big Magic. :-)
I'm going to have to check out The Storied Life of AJ Firky! I've been looking for some new recommendations so I'm putting this on my to-read list!
Evelina @ Fortunate House
Michelle said…
I've heard so many good reviews about The Storied Life, so now I have to read it. I'm 100% sure I would share your feelings on Big Magic. Just the description I've read of it before made me roll my eyes. The Bookseller sounds so good!
Jenny said…
The Storied Life sounds good. Those are the best books... the ones we don't want to end.
jenn said…
i don't know that they're necessarily cheerful, and pardon me if i've mentioned these before, but they're SO good...

rainbow rowell: landline; eleanor and park; attachments; fangirl
vanessa diffenbaugh: the language of flowers
ellen shanman: right before your eyes
kathleen baldwin: a school for unusual girls (i just finished this one yesterday, and i liked it so much more than i'd thought i would; i ran to the computer to order the sequel immediately after i'd finished it)
audrey niffenegger: the time traveler's wife (NOT cheerful; NOT a quick or easy read; DO NOT watch the movie if you've not already done so; YES, there are parts that SUCK, but there are so many more parts that are BEAUTIFUL.)

if you can stomach romance novels (not everyone can), i LOVE nora roberts' lovers and dreamers; seaswept, rising tides and inner harbor; born in fire and born in ice; tears of the moon and heart of the sea; honest illusions.

AND, i realized the other day, you'd left a comment on picky a LONG time ago, not just a few weeks ago. i'm sorry i'd neglected to remember that.
I could not stand "Big Magic." So irritating. Navel gazing is exactly it.

One of the more surprisingly good and unusual books I read somewhat recently was "Haunting Bombay," by Shilpa Agarwal. It's a ghost story, but not really. Very well-written and unique. I wouldn't call it cheerful exactly, though.
Erin Rowley said…
Oh I'm so glad to find another blog that shares reading lists! :) I am just about to post mine on my blog tonight! haha!

I haven't read any of these, so I'm adding them to my "to read" list on GoodReads!

Thanks for the suggestions! I really love your blog!