Book Lists Book Reviews

2016 Second Quarter Reading

A dozen books I've read in the last few months

Well, this is just getting embarrassing.

I read 21 books in the first quarter, and thought that was pretty sad. Suddenly, compared to the 14 this quarter, it’s actually looking pretty impressive.

On the other hand, I finally made a real grocery shopping trip yesterday for the first time in three weeks, so I’ll take my successes where I can get them.

This was a great way to kick off the quarter. If only I hadn’t lost all my momentum. . . .

This was surprisingly good. My late-night grocery store run went really long so I could listen to a little more.

I’d never read anything by de los Santos before, and I quite enjoyed this one. This is reminding me to request another one.

I took my life into my hands by listening to this one during a long solo roadtrip – just about put me to sleep. I kept having to turn it off and listen to podcasts instead.

Someone said you should read this book if you are a fan of What Alice Forgot, and I am a HUGE fan of What Alice Forgot, so I requested it from the library immediately. And it was deeply mediocre. I should have re-read What Alice Forgot for the third time instead.

This was one of the books Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended for me when I was on her podcast, and I loved the first part, but it kind of spiraled down quickly for me – it was so depressing and some of the parts (like the filming in a porn studio) just made me feel gross, even if they weren’t particularly graphic.

After I read this one, I went and requested every other WWII historical fiction book topping the charts right now (okay, two. Lilac Girls and Secrets of a Charmed Life).

One of the more fun chick-lit books I’ve read in a while. Perfect summer read.

This book is WILDLY popular, and I liked it, but it took me forever to warm up to Ove (which probably is the point), and I really didn’t start enjoying it until the last quarter or so.

I heard this compared to Harry Potter, and while it’s certainly no Harry Potter, it was a fun book and Bart and I both enjoyed listening to it.

This is the third Laura Dave book I’ve read (I also read London is the Best City in America and The First Husband) and this was by far the best.

Sometimes, you just need a good YA mystery in your life.

I saw this recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s summer reading list, and it was pretty silly. Fun, but silly.

You guys, why did I even read this? I thought their other book was fairly goofy and then this one was worse!

Anyone have anything great they’ve read so far this year? I accept any and all suggestions with gratitude.

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  • Reply Marissa Johnson July 8, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I LOVE the book "Love Walked In" by Marisa de los Santos. I highly highly recommend it. I don't know why I've never thought to look up other books by her, but now I'm definitely going to 🙂

    • Reply Marissa Johnson July 8, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Okay so I am having a slight freak out because I didn't realize Belong to Me is a sequel to Love Walked In and I love Cornelia so much that I am so excited to start Belong to Me right now!!!

    • Reply Lilly July 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      It's amazing. I re-read it every year.

  • Reply Becky July 8, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I just listened to Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and loved it. The person who reads it does a fantastic job.

  • Reply karla v July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    First Women by Kate Anderson Brower. It's about the modern First Ladies of the White House- Interesting look at the relationships between these strong, graceful women.

  • Reply april July 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I am currently reading Keep Me Posted and I'm unimpressed – I may actually stop reading (which I never do) simply because I don't care about any of them. I'm feeling very blah about it.

    So far the book that is still stuck in my mind is Court of Mist and Fury. It's so seldom one feels the second book in a series is even better than the first, and I felt that way about this one.

  • Reply Liz July 8, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    I completely agree about Keep Me Posted. I read it over the holiday weekend and almost abandoned it several times. The characters were unlikable and it wrapped up too neatly for me at the end.

  • Reply K Fig July 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    This has been a lackluster reading year for me too. My favorite book of last year was The Kind Worth Killing. Ignore the book jacket where it says it is the next gone girl or girl on the train. I am not a fan of either of those and loved this. Here is the amazon link just to make things easier.

    The Kind Worth Killing: A Novel

  • Reply ellen July 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I just bought two of these books (Eight Hundred Grapes and What Alice Forgot) for my trip next week!

  • Reply Kayla July 8, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    A book that is a very quick read (it's written entirely in haiku, but don't let that turn you off… It reads just like prose) but really poignant is Death Coming Up The Hill by Chris Crowe. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is also excellent.

  • Reply Merry July 8, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I also really liked Keep Me Posted until the end, which wrapped up WAAAAY to neatly for me.

    Here are a couple interesting non-fiction books I've read recently:

    The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us, by Bee Wilson. I love that the author's name is Bee!

    Treason by the Book, by Jonathan Spence. Historical account of treason in 18th century China. Fascinating, although I think that's influenced by my previous interest in Chinese history.

  • Reply Susanne July 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I really enjoyed Amy Snow by Tracy Rees!

  • Reply JoLee July 8, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Haha. The Burning Sky is definitely not Harry Potter. (Nothing is. What could be?!?) I just think it fills the Harry Potter-shaped hole in one's heart for a little while. Glad you liked it.

    On another note, I listened to your podcast with The Modern Mrs. Darcy (it's always so crazy to hear the voice of a person whose words you've only read), and now I am completely hooked on her podcast. She has such a soothing voice.

    Oh, and one more thing. (This comment is getting long.) If you are still hankering for new WWII fiction, I really enjoyed The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (published April 2016). (As in on the best of the year list for me at this point liked it.) It is set in Amsterdam in 1943.

  • Reply Kelly July 9, 2016 at 1:15 am

    I binge read all four of Marisa de los Santos' books in a row last summer and loved them all. Belong To Me was my favorite though.
    Keep Me Posted is next up on for my book club!

  • Reply Jennifer Lee July 9, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Adding to the "you should definitely read Love Walked In" chorus. It's fantastic.

  • Reply Maria RM July 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

    The Girl in the Blue Coat was very good. I was unimpressed with Eight Hundred Grapes as well as Keep Me Posted (I almost stopped reading both.) I am currently reading The Summer Before the War and I am not loving it. I enjoy historical fiction, but this one is just plain boring. I am waiting on Lilac Girls but will pick up a a few of the other recommendations this week. I loved Ove but the tried the author's two other books and couldn't get into either.

  • Reply Jenn July 10, 2016 at 2:58 am

    I've read a lot of enjoyable books this year, but the most powerful was Escape from Camp 14. True story about a guy born in a North Korean prison camp that escapes – the only person to have eve been known to escape from one of the maximum security camps.

  • Reply kim July 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Have you read The Book Thief? It's supposed to be a young adult book about World War II but definitely reads more for adults and is one of the most powerful World War II novels I've read lately. Also, the Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is one of my favorites. Let us know how the other World War II fiction you read goes!

  • Reply Kristen July 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I just read "Beyond the Laughing Sky" to my 6 year old daughter. We both loved it. In case you like recs for kids.

  • Reply Merry July 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Just remembered another great non-fiction book I read recently. The Witches: Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff. So interesting, although a bit long.

  • Reply Sanja T July 19, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Forgive me if you already covered this, but I recommend The Rosie Project. It was a good read. The sequel I also liked but not as much as the first one. Another great, sometimes disturbing, is A House in the Sky. I am usually not a fan of true stories (I find it hard to sleep if its sad) but this one stuck in my mind.

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