July Recent Reads

I’ve been reading a lot more books lately since I decided to be ambitious and up my Goodreads challenge from 30 books to 50 for the year. I just hit the 30 mark this week so I’m hoping I can read 20 more. Though I’ve had to abandon a few books lately since I just couldn’t get into them, so I think I need to get better at choosing books!

Sharing my thoughts on books I read in July and liked enough to review.

The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker
I had been wanting to read this book for a while and finally got a Kindle copy from the library and I really enjoyed this book. I happen to like books that are set in California’s wine country, and this follows Hannah, a recent business school graduate with an incredible job lined up, throwing it all away on a whim to help market a winery that is barely staying afloat. The character of Hannah was very relatable with following her heart to make decisions, not just choosing the path that everyone else thought was best for her. And I really liked the ending, it wasn’t what I expected and I’m glad it wasn’t tied up so perfectly with a bow like many other novels do.

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo
This was very different than Santopolo’s The Light We Lost which I loved. While I did enjoy this book, I don’t think it was as powerful of a read as her first novel and I think I was expecting a little more. Nina, a hotel heiress is reluctant to step into the role her father wants her to do, running the family business. Nina is content working on the mayoral campaign for Rafael. When her father passes away, she begins to question everything in her life, is she happy with her boyfriend Tim, does she really want to run the Gregory Hotel, did she really know her father as well as she thought she did and why is her connection with Rafael so strong? Nina’s growth throughout the book I think is what kept me reading, because in a few points, the story does drag on and I did feel like abandoning the book at times.

Verity by Colleen Hoover
Verity is worth all of the hype it is getting. I’ve read a few books by Hoover and she does throw you for curveballs when you are reading, but this one is a trip that you have to take! Lowen, a writer who is struggling financially, accepts an offer from Jeremy Crawford to ghostwrite his wife Verity’s final books in her bestselling series. Verity was badly injured in an accident and is almost in a vegetative state. When Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, Jeremy gives her full access to Verity’s office to go through all of her notes and outlines. While doing her research, Lowen stumbles across Verity’s autobiography that details all of her secrets including what happened the day her daughter died. When Lowen starts to develop feelings for Jeremy and strange things start to happen in the Crawford home, Lowen wonders if it is time for Jeremy to really find out who his wife is. I couldn’t put this book down because I needed to know what happened and even once you read the final page, you will still be questioning everything and wondering what the real truth is.

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young
This was a cute read. I haven’t read anything else yet by Samantha Young and I would definitely give her other books a try. If you want to read a really good story about a girl and a guy who are frenemies, I think The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is a much better book, but Fight or Flight is a quick read and I didn’t hate it, I just found it kind of forgettable.

All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
This was another book I had on my to be read list for a while and finally was able to get around to reading. The premise reminded me a lot of Pretty Little Liars, which was a TV show I really enjoyed. When Charlie was a little girl, her mother vanished one night from her family’s lake house. No one knows if her mother is still alive or if she is dead and years later when Charlie is in her senior year at boarding school, she is still questioning what happened to her mother. Charlie gets invited to join the A’s, her school’s elite secret society and as she goes through the hazing ritual for the A’s to determine if she has what it takes to become one of them, she starts to unravel the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. This book definitely kept my interest and surprised me with the end to the mystery. I read a lot of psychological thrillers so sometimes the mystery is very easy for me to solve, but this one really threw me for a loop and I was not able to guess the mystery behind Charlie’s mom’s disappearance.

Love At First Like by Hannah Orenstein
I had read an advance copy of Orenstein’s first book, Playing With Matches, so Atria Books was kind of enough to invite me to read Love At First Like. This book is a perfect summer read, it’s light and funny and will have you groaning along with the main character Eliza, while also rooting for her as well. Eliza, a jewelry store owner accidentally uploads a photo to her Instagram of herself with an engagement ring one night. The next morning the sales at her store skyrocket and she realizes she can use this fake engagement to her advantage. She sets out to find a fake groom and meets Blake, a fellow businessman who doesn’t have an Instagram account. Keeping her “engagement” under wraps, she begins a relationship with Blake thinking he could be her perfect groom. But along the way her lies catch up to her and her fake wedding and business begin to spiral out of control. Love At First Like is the perfect book for the world today, when we compare everything we do to what we see others do on social media.

Two recent books that I read recently and I absolutely hated were Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarity and This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen. I loved Moriarity’s Big Little Lies so I was hoping to like Nine Perfect Strangers and it was one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I struggled to get through it hoping it would get better and I felt like the book was torture. Now I know why the reviews on Goodreads are so mixed. This Love Story Will Self-Destruct wasn’t as bad, but I found the characters to be completely unlikeable and was a struggle to get through.

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