Y’all I have had a TIME trying to get my brain to focus on reading this summer. My approach though, rather than forcing it, has just been to ride it out and gently encourage myself back into reading.
I think I am back to my way of reading but August especially has been rough — camping, anxiety, decisions, distractions. I had a 3 week gap from one finished book to finally when I finished another. But, alas, I’m hoping to be on the other side of THAT.
I can feel myself craving ALL THE FALL READS though (currently craving all things vampires). I just want to curl up with something super atmospheric and a little spooky but the weather is NOT cooperating with completing this vibe as it is currently reminding me it is still here with its 90 degree temps and humidity from hell.
Anyways, update out of the way, let’s just discuss some of the books that I read this summer! Despite what a slow reading summer it was for me, I read mostly all awesome books that I enjoyed. I think I pick well when I am up against a reading slump, to be honest.
Other can’t miss posts:
- Halloween Reads For Readers of Young Adult Books
- Best Book Club Books
- Is Kindle Unlimited Even Worth It?
- Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of the Year
What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Mini Reviews
Fresh by Margot Wood
Seriously such a fun book that brings all the nostalgia for a 30-something like me who still very can FEEL college in vivid detail but also am just that far away from it that I need to live vicariously to remember that special time in my life. Full of the ups and downs of freshman year in college — mistakes, exploring so many aspects of sexuality (very sex positive), the joy and weight of feeling like the world has opened up for the taking for you. The one thing I loved MOST about this book is it was the kind of voice-y YA that I LOVE but have a hard time finding. It’s either too voicey or just a very OFF voicey experience. This was the kind of voicey that was reminiscent of the Jessica Darling series for me.
Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason
Oof this book hit me on such a personal level that it almost was smothering. Being mostly in Martha’s head IS kind of smothering and it’s totally meant to be that way for better or worse, I think. Martha’s struggle with mental illness, the stigma of mental illness, and its weight on her family (who loves her with so much ferocity) really pulled me in and didn’t let me go. Really one of the most powerful and intimate portrayals of mental illness I’ve read. Very insightful about life and how we choose to live the one we’ve got in all its messiness, too. It resonated for so many reasons. Just talking about it makes me want to reread it.
It’s sad and funny and vulnerable and sharply written. All the relationships in this book were written so well in all their complexities — my fave was that with her sister. If you don’t like super character driven novels, you might struggle with this one but this one really stood out for me. Also, while bitingly funny at times, it does get pretty dark and sad so just be aware mood-wise.
Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
I loved Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence so I picked this one up! And ahhh the sweetest graphic novel about two guys who become friends, as total opposites, and then start to realize there is something else there. I cannot wait to read more about Charlie and Nick — they are the epitome of the heart eye emoji. They are both very much in different places when it comes to being “out” and have had different journeys on the way (Charlie being outed and bullied) and I loved watching them try to examine this possibility of each other.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
A most perfect rom-com beach read with great chemistry and banter! Definitely more rom-com than Beach Read was (I loved both fyi). I enjoyed the mishmash of the second chance romance and friends to lovers tropes in this one — plus a dash of the opposites attract trope. I loved seeing the flashbacks of their friendships through the years, how they got to the non-relationship they are in and the second chance trip to reconcile.
Flew through this one because it was so compelling for me because of the characters but also because the tease for WHAT happened 2 years ago was so good. It is the epitome of a great beach read but it also was thought-provoking and relatable with some of the exploration of the notion of “home” and finding contentedness in a world of “what’s next.” I really have that same restlessness as Poppy in the journey of ~figuring out my life~.
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
This one had a rough start for me — for reasons not the book’s fault (my state of mind) and one that is. I was really knee-deep in my reading slump and the beginning of this book was too info-dumpy for me. BUT THEN…this book hit its stride and I was OBSESSED. Thank god there is a second book coming out for it. It is this wonderfully unique blend of sci-fi and witchy goodness. Voya and her family were so compelling in all in all their messiness, love and loyalty. I loved the world and the concept of these young witches having to do a task/trial to be handed their powers or risk not becoming a witch. I loved watching Voya (and her family) deal with this impossible task she’s been given (kill her first love to save her family’s magic) and see how it all played out.
Come for the magic and the super compelling world, stay for the family!! Highly, highly recommend this one!
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This one might just be one of my least favorite of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s and I still really liked this one! (I mean, most of her books have been 5 star reads for me). But it definitely was not as strong for me as some of my favorites and I couldn’t figure out WHY until I was thinking about it while (unsuccessfully) trying to fall asleep the other night.
I mean, it had everything I could love — rich and famous, 80’s setting, family stuff. So what WAS it that made it fall behind for me compared to how I felt about her other books? I think the characters felt a bit stretched thin — there were SO MANY of them plus all these different vignettes of people at the party. I didn’t FEEL these characters in the visceral way that I have in so many of her books or had that emotional reaction. This was an entertaining page-turning novel for sure and I thought it had a lot of strengths but I sadly can’t help comparing it to her others.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Y’all! I am feeling like I missed something with this one. I listened to it on audiobook and thought it was a good, solid read that kept me engaged but that was about it. I THINK, for me, I thought it was going to be more thriller-y than it was. It’s more suspense but even then I felt like it was family drama meets suspense-lite. I thought it was all predictable (at least for me) but I still enjoyed the ~reveal~ and the pieces leading up to it. I also enjoyed the main character and the exploration of sisterhood — honestly the characterization was very strong. But I don’t know — I’m clearly missing something because it is 5 star central for it on Goodreads. There was nothing WRONG with it per se — it was really good, I was just more taken aback by the ratings it had. All that aside, I though the audio performance was fantastic and very engaging!
So that’s what I got to reading lately! Have you read any of these? What did you think? What have YOU been reading lately?