Monday, October 12, 2020

Book Club: September

 Today is Book Club Day! Some of you are super excited, and some are all "Meh. Just give me the home decor or the yoga pants I never knew I needed in my life."

To those of you we wish we had a few new Netflix shows to offer up to you. But sadly, watching Selling Sunset or Schitt's Creek in car pool line is generally frowned upon - so book reviews it is. 

And we aren't mad about that one bit. 

Especially because in September we read some good ones. Like go ahead and get your Kindle fully charged good. 



I'm the reason this blog post is happening in the middle of October instead of at the beginning like it normally would. I was really trying to finish my second book so I would have something that I loved to share because my first book this month was just so-so. 

The first book I listen to this month was Kevin Kwan's Sex and Vanity

I had really high hopes for this book because I loved the Crazy Rich Asians series, but for some reason I just couldn't get into this one.  I don't know if it was because I was listening instead of reading it, but the  first half felt very long, drawn out, and never ending.  I did enjoy the crazy lavish settings and the outlandish characters made me laugh. The second part of the story had me rooting for certain characters and kept me very interested to see how things would turn out, but unfortunately I could have passed on this book all together.  

My next book this past month was a recommendation from my mother-in-law and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.  

The Last Flight by Julie Clark is a suspense thriller about two different women who want to escape their present lives and for very different reasons. They end up switching boarding passes at an airport and what happens next changes everything. 

This book had a lot of unexpected twists and chance meetings that kept me guessing how things would turn out.  I really enjoyed it! 


This month's book club is brought to you by Fall Break at the beach and 9,938 hours playing mom taxi. Seriously though. I calculated it and I spend at least 2 hours and 45 minutes of each day in the car between car pool, school drops offs, and sports drop offs. That logs me a lot of Audible hours each day if I don't listen to music. I still thank Carrie Beth every day for introducing me to the app, otherwise I'd be listening to the Frozen 2 soundtrack and Taylor Swift on one continuous loop the entire school year. 

My grand total for the month - six books! Five of them I loved. One I am on the fence about. 

First up for the month was 28 Summers by the queen of beach reads - Elin Hilderbrand. I finished this book and immediately sent it to a few girlfriends telling them to read it on their Fall Break trips. It was a bit controversial in material, but I think it is now one of my favorite Elin Hilderbrand books to date. It follows the two main characters over the course of 28 Labor Day weekends. The two make a pact that no matter what happens in life or whom they are with, they must spend Labor Day weekend together. No questions asked. For the rest of the year? No communication. No social media. No text. Nothing. It is interesting how this plays out over the years. The end was perfection and if it doesn't make you at least a little teary eyed, you aren't human.  

Next up is a book I had been waiting for for awhile. I loved reading The Royal We a few years ago, so when Carrie Beth told me there was going to be a sequel I was so excited. The Heir Affair is the only book out of the month I'm kind of wishy washy on. Part of that is on me. I hadn't read The Royal We in years, so some of the details were a little hard to follow at first because I couldn't remember how the last book ended. Also, for me, the first part of this book was slooooow. Like I couldn't figure out why I loved The Royal We so much and this one was falling flat. But I hung in there and the second half and the end more than made up for it. If you read the first one in the series, give it a whirl. If anything just to get some closure on the characters and a "where they are now". Otherwise, just fall in love with The Royal We

In keeping with the royal YA trend that I was on, I also read the sequel to one of my other favorite royal series in recent years. Last year I read American Royals and loved it. Now Majesty was a sequel to me that lived up to the hype. The is set in modern America, but America as a monarchy and the Washington Family became the first royal family of America after the war. What I loved most about this sequel is it started right where it left off, and then took whatever you remembered from the first story and completely obliterated every relationship and what you loved most about it. But in the best way possible. It ends up making you like it even more. All the love interests swap. All the gossip changes around. All the characters grow, change and surprise you more. It was a great sequel, and one that wrapped up everything nicely, but also left somethings up in the air that I could almost see a third book being added to it. At the end of the day the story is just plain fun, and even though it is considered YA, I really enjoyed it. 

The One to Watch was an Audible suggestion that popped up for me, and I'm so glad I went ahead and clicked "listen". I think this is one of my favorite listens/reads for the year. The story follows a plus size fashion blogger who gets asked to participate on a Bachelor style show after she rants about it online for not being diverse in its casting. It's a super fun read that covers a lot of topics (i.e. body diversity, eating disorders,  sexual preference, race, social media influence...), so I would deem it along the lines of a beach read with a little more meat. You fall in love with the main character in so many ways, and the humor throughout the book balances some of the tougher messages the author tries to convey. I'm also going to give this one the PG-13 disclaimer in case you're planning to listen to it while mom-taxiing too. 
(read: bring headphones)

Same with Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover. It gets the double headphones warning. All of her books are that way, but don't let that be a deterrent because she usually makes you feel all the feels by the end of the story. Okay I texted Carrie Beth after I read this one to put it on her radar since I know she is a huge Hoover fan. I loved it at the time, but as I'm reading my notes, I'm torn as to what drew me in. The story follows Beyah after she becomes homeless when her mom overdoses. Beyah has lived a rough life in every way possible, and is so close to rising above her circumstances until her mom's death. She has no choice but to track down her estranged father and ask to live with him for two months before going to college in the Fall. 

Are you still with me? 

Okay, as if all that wasn't dramatic enough throw in a rich handsome neighbor love interest with secrets of his own, a mysterious dead body, a fun step family, and a big twisty secret. I couldn't stop reading, but looking at my's a lot to unpack. :) 

If you haven't read a Colleen Hoover novel, start with It Ends With Us

Okay this might be the most random selection I have to offer you for this month, however it was SO FREAKING GOOD. This was an Audible suggestion as well. (Amazon just gets me, you know?). I'm guessing this fell into my queue because I read the two royal YA series novels and some of the things my son is reading in the middle grades category. I was intrigued by the synopsis of The Inheritance Games and pushed "listen".  

The story follows Avery Grambs who is a half homeless high school student sleeping in her car. All that changes when a boy not too much older than her shows up a her school informing her she is named in the will of a billionaire. Not just any billionaire. THE billionaire of all billionaires. And the entire fortune? Hers. But why? 

The story unfolds as a mystery, toned down thriller, and romance all wrapped up into one. I couldn't stop listening. There were so many twists and turns and new discoveries I wanted to learn more. It was extremely well written, and gives your brain a workout in some places. The love triangle is perfection. The characters are all very well written and each one is special to the story. The book finishes with a lot of answers and closure, but a clear opening to a sequel. Count. Me. In. 



I just downloaded One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London and can't wait to get started on it.  I always take Jen's suggestions and am excited about this one! 


I am actually on the fence about what I want to start up next. I have Nicholas Sparks' newest book, The Return, ready to go. But...I don't know if I'm ready to sink into it just yet.

Bring on any suggestions because the carpool/mom-taxi life only increases this month with added activities and our area opening up even more from all things COVID. Pass along all the entertaining goodness you have in your arsenal - we'll need it! 


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