Who's ready for a novel? And by novel I mean the length of this post... as well as a roundup of my summer reading (so far!) You have probably seen many of these titles floating around the Internet, so I wanted to share my thoughts on each in case you're in need of some advice on which to choose for your last summer read to close out the season! Here goes...
1. Eight Hundred Grapes
Status: Finished in June
"Eight Hundred Grapes" follows the story of Georgia Ford as she returns to her family's vineyard in Northern California following a shocking discovery about her fiance just a couple weeks before her wedding. She reconnects with her family, her roots and the vineyard, finding herself along the way.
I downloaded this book at the beginning of summer after seeing it mentioned in theSkimm-- it was lauded by many (including Glamour, Marie Claire and US Weekly) as "The Book of the Summer," so I figured it was the perfect choice to kick off my summer reading journey. However, it didn't hook me. The writing style seemed basic, and character development left me needing more. I actually started and finished "Luckiest Girl Alive" (below) in the middle of reading "Eight Hundred Grapes," and kind of had to force myself to come back and finish it. The setting is intriguing, and I appreciate the family-focus, but overall it left me wanting.
Buy "Eight Hundred Grapes" on Amazon here.
2. Luckiest Girl Alive
Status: Finished in June
I cannot say enough good things about this book-- by FAR the book of the summer for me. Written by Jessica Knoll, a former magazine industry employee and assistant at Cosmopolitan (You can read more about her journey to publishing "Luckiest Girl Alive" here), this book tells the story of Tifani FaNelli, a masochistic magazine editor on the verge of her upcoming nuptials with a seriously dark past. The story flashes back and forth between present day and Tifani's (or Ani's, as she prefers to be called in the present) high school days, leaving the reader rapidly turning pages until the penultimate event that explains everything occurs.
If you're put off by dark subject matter, you may want to skip LGA, but fans of books like "Gone Girl "and "Girl on the Train" (they all have "girl" in the title-- weird!) will easily get on board with this wildly addictive narrative.
Buy "Luckiest Girl Alive" on Amazon here.
3. Big Little Lies
Status: Finished (for the second time) in July
I had read this book previously when traveling to visit Mike in Italy last year, but I was happy to re-read it when my (official) book club was swayed by my glowing recommendations and decided on "Big Little Lies" for our July read.
I can honestly say I loved it just as much the second time around. Liane Moriarty is a fabulous writer; she writes women characters wonderfully. "Big Little Lies" revolves around the lives of three women living in a small coastal Australian town (love the setting) and details their struggles with parenthood, relationships and community. As with all Moriarty books, there is a spectacular build-up to a "twist" at the end (you know it's coming while reading so don't worry, I didn't spoil anything)! A solid read for any occasion, I can almost promise you won't be disappointed.
Buy "Big Little Lies" on Amazon here.
4. The Rumor
Status: Finished in August
Reading The Rumor marked my first venture into Hilderbrand-land, and it's safe to say I will be traveling back very soon! I first heard of this book when Anne over at Love the Here and Now recommended it a few weeks back, and was intrigued when she said it was set in Nantucket (which apparently is a staple for all of Hilderbrand's novels). I'll let the Amazon synopsis do the talking here:
"Madeline King and Grace Pancik are best friends and the envy of Nantucket for their perfect marriages, their beautiful kids, their Sunday night double dates with their devoted husbands. But this summer, something's changed..."
It's a perfect summer read-- light (-ish), with its fair share of romance and drama, and will leave you feeling fulfilled at the end.
Buy "The Rumor" on Amazon here.
5. All the Light We Cannot See
Status: In Progress
If you haven't yet heard about this book, the most important thing to know about it is that "All the Light We Cannot See" was the Pulitzer Prize winner for 2015 (not to mention a New York Times bestseller). Topping out around 532 pages, it's a "heavier" book for sure, telling the story of two youths growing up in Nazi Germany and their respective struggles.
I can't speak too much about this book, since I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but I will say that I'm already more invested than I thought I'd be in a book of this weight and historical focus. A good book to add to your repertoire if you need something with more substance to balance out the lighter reads.
Buy "All the Light We Cannot See" on Amazon here.
6. The Vacationers
Status: Finished this week (August)
"The Vacationers" by Emma Straub tells the story of a dysfunctional family, the Posts, who take a two-week trip to Mallorca, Spain where, of course, all hell breaks loose. It's narrated from varying points of view, which helped provide depth to each character in the book. I enjoyed reading this book, but was largely underwhelmed by it, especially considering its acclaim as one of the "books of the summer."
Buy "The Vacationers" on Amazon here.
Next up on my ever-growing reading list is "Gone Girl" (already ~100 pages in and hooked!), and of course, finishing "All the Light."
Have you read any of the books on this list? What does your summer reading round-up look like?
Labels: book-club, books