This summer was a good one for me. I spent a full, glorious, book and family-filled week at the beach as well as many days in my backyard reading on the hammock. I learned about sour and gose beers, finally got to see one of my favorite books turned into a movie (I’m looking at you, Lara Jean!), and moved my career in an upward trajectory. I also thumbed my way through 14 books between June 20 and September 21 and below is a look at the cream of the crop.
Five Star Reads
Title: The Heart’s Invisible Furies
Author: John Boyne
This is a beautiful, epic, and heart-wrenching novel about the life of Cyril Avery from the beginning of his life to the end of his life, following him as he navigated a world that wasn’t ready to accept him as he was. Although it took me two months to read, it was an exceptional read. I needed to take breaks to read something lighter throughout Cyril’s harrowing life, but I made it through and am the better for it.
Author: Pierce Brown
I read all three of the Red Rising trilogy books this summer, 2 of the three getting 5 stars and the third getting 4. It is a dystopian series that centers around Darrow, a Red in a society based on colored casts, of which Red is at the very bottom. He learns that he and his people have been lied to and he finds himself in a position to shake things up with an uprising. Action-packed and filled with thoroughly developed characters and political intrigue, this book and the rest of the trilogy had me utterly gripped this summer.
Four Star Reads
Title: The Kommandant’s Girl
Author: Pam Jenoff
This was a surprising read for me, one I did not expect to like as much as I did. My sister picked it for book club and it is about a young, newly married woman living in Poland during Germany’s occupation and the ways in which she navigates surviving. It’s full of tough choices and made for great conversation at our book club. I try to steer clear of WWII novels because there was a time I hit that genre a little too hard, but this was a welcome return to that era.
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ugh I loved this book so much. As I reflect upon this delicious and emotional story, I wonder why I didn’t give it 5 stars… This story unfolds while former Hollywood starlet, Evelyn Hugo, tells her life story for the first time to a young, unknown journalist. The story takes you back to glamorous Hollywood and shows you how it may have been for a woman like Evelyn to live her true authentic life while chasing her dreams. Evelyn felt so real that I had to wonder if there are any actors that lived a similar story.
Title: Love and Other Words
Author: Christina Lauren
One of my favorite book tropes done well. First love lost, then rekindled at a later time. This book was Christina Lauren at their best, writing great contemporary characters with a heartwarming plot and a touch of sizzle. This was a fun read, one that might make it to a re-read one of these days. Might be a good audiobook candidate for the next go-around.
Title: How to Walk Away
Author: Katherine Center
Not exactly an unpredictable story, but the book is filled with feeling and it is a very compelling story, giving me insight into something I know nothing about. Center drew me into the emotion of the book, both the highs and the lows, and wrote every character in this story to have purpose–no superfluous space-filling people. Center is a sharp writer who is such a breeze to read.