When I read almost 20 books in July, it was a record. I can’t believe I crushed even that record this month. I’ve been on a reading frenzy. I read 20 books in August 2020. I’ve broken up these summer 2020 book reviews into two parts or mini reviews.
I read everything from rom-coms to thrillers and suspense, a creepy horror novel, some nonfiction and memoirs, and a little literary fiction. I read almost exclusively audiobooks, with a few exceptions. Between prepping spaces, meals, brains, etc. for our virtual learning year, running another site (if you’re into meal planning and prepping… you can find me here at Fourganic Sisters.)… I had my headphones on A LOT.
How Do You Listen To Audiobooks?
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BTW-my headphones are a steal at Target. They are the HeyDey wireless for less than $10! I use them ALL the time for calls and audiobooks and music and they are awesome. Hold a charge forever. Here are some similar ones on Amazon that play for 20 hours!
I listened to almost all of these books through my library’s Libby app through Overdrive (it’s free!). I did resubscribe to Audible for Mexican Gothic, and I got a free credit since it’s been awhile since I used it. (That’s in Part 2 reviews.)
Waiting for Tom Hanks 💕😍⠀
Well this was a delightful read. I stayed up way too late (well, past 11 🤣) the night I read this because I couldn’t stop! It was so good. I’ve seen it in several Bookstagram feeds recently, and Kathleen’s aka @bubblebathbookworm review convinced me to read this ASAP. Apparently, she’s like a bookstagram fairy godmother because she was ON POINT and this was EXACTLY what I needed to read. She IS a fellow WV native, so I totally trust her opinion.
I found myself smiling (and okay, swooning) so often reading this. Yes, many books make me laugh, but how often do you break out in a genuine smile when you’re reading? 😀⠀
I love that it was based out of Columbus. What a fun change of scenery! Columbus is just a couple hours away from me here in neighboring WV and a place I’ve loved to visit. Annie was that type of character that you immediately relate to. She’s quirky, instantly likeable without being over-the-top and just fun to get to know.⠀
I loved the whole premise. It instantly brightened my spirits and now I need this to be a movie. I loved reading the snippet at the end for the next book (Not Like the Movies) and am so excited to get to hang out with this cast of characters again! (Look for that review in August mini reviews part 2!)
Head Over Heels
by Hannah Orenstein
The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.
Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.
REVIEW: So… I probably would have loved this more if I weren’t coming off of Kerry Winfrey’s book with such high marks for me. It was cute. I like/loved it but didn’t love/love it.
by Austin Channing Brown
BLURB: “From a leading voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female that exposes how white America’s love affair with “diversity” so often falls short of its ideals.“
This was an absolutely fantastic read for anyone who considers themselves an ally. Brown’s stories and personal experiences are indeed eye-opening (and unfortunately, not surprising.) If you’re committed to doing the work to be antiracist, listening to voices like Brown’s are part of that work.
The Family Next Door
By Sally Hepworth
Synopsis: Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.
From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby.
When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.
Review: I read the Mother-in-Law last year and I loved it, so this was an automatic read for me. I think if I had read this at a different point in the summer, I would have enjoyed it more. After reading a couple of INCREDIBLY done thrillers shortly before (The Girl from Widow Hills and The Guest List), this one fell a little short for me.
For one, I didn’t really like any of the characters! We get little glimpses into the lives of several families in one quiet neighborhood in Melbourne. Each family has some super dramatic secrets–infidelity x a million,
While the big twist was a good one, I still felt kind of disconnected to the characters in this one. I’ll definitely continue to read Sally Hepworth.
The Guest List
By Lucy Foley
This was one of the BEST thrillers of 2020 so far (and one of the highest rated summer 2020 book reviews!) This plot was expertly woven together. Tiny nuggets (do the kids call them Easter eggs?) were all throughout this story, and it came together with absolute perfection. This story has all the Agatha Christie vibes. It’s set on a remote island only accessible by ferry. It’s got a creepy history full of death. We know right from the start that someone is likely dead. We know it HAS to be one of the wedding guests who did it. The fun part is trying to figure out who. My favorite type of thriller is one that has you guessing a million different things, and not being either surprised or disappointed when you find out whodunit. I’m not a fan of the killer who comes from left (right?) field.
Narration: this book was narrated by a full cast. It was SO good. I loved all of the narrators and would highly recommend the audiobook.
Not That Kind of Guy
By Andie Christopher
State attorney Bridget Nolan is successful in all aspects of her life—except romance. After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, she’s been slow to reenter the dating scene. To be honest, she has more important things to do like putting bad guys behind bars. But with her brother’s wedding right around the corner, she suddenly needs a date and fast. Lucky for Bridget, the legal intern is almost done with his program.
Matt Kido is dumbstruck by Bridget—total love at first sight—but there’s one problem. She’s totally off-limits while she’s his boss. But the moment he no longer reports to her, Matt decides to take a chance. An impulsive decision takes them to Las Vegas where, as the saying goes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Unless you put a ring on it.
Review: AGAIN– I think I got spoiled with Waiting for Tom Hanks. The last couple rom-coms I’ve read–while good–just didn’t live up the hype of what I’ve seen for them. This book was good, but not great.
I just felt like there was a little too much drama and thought it could have been dialed back a bit and still good.
Sex and Vanity
By Kevin Kwan
This was my first Kevin Kwan book. I did watch Crazy Rich Asians (one of the few movies I’ve seen before reading the book it was based on.) I did like hearing about the incredible opulent lifestyles. Whew. Those families are rich AF!
Cecil was such a tool. He’s one of those characters you really start wishing ill-will upon.
Narration. I mostly loved the narration. She kept it flowing and moving and exciting. I was not a fan of the accent she used for George. It was kind of Asian/Australian-ish and I don’t think it worked particularly well. That was really the only critique I’d have. I’ve been wanting to go back and read Kwan’s backlist for awhile, so definitely adding those to my TBR!