Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Book Club: August 2021

Happy September!!!  We're excited about all that this month will games, pumpkins, a week off of school for Fall Break and hopefully cooler fall temperatures.  The beginning of a new month also means it's one of our favorite days on the blog.  Book Club Day!!!  We've got a wide range of books to share today and can't wait to hear all about what y'all are reading, too. 



Last month I discovered a new spinoff of Twilight. I know a lot of people probably think it has been overdone, but I'm here for it!  I didn't think there was another way for this story to be spun, but I was wrong.  Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer is basically the same Twilight story, but with different characters.  The gender roles are reversed and their personalities are different, but other than that the majority of the story is the same until the end.  The story wraps up with an alternate ending and one that  readers have probably wondered about since Twilight was first released. If you are a Twilight fan, this might be a fun one for you to add to your list. 

Next up for me was The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren.  A statistician and single mother, Jess, who has sworn off dating gets introduced to a new dating app that uses DNA to match potential couples based on their genetic compatibility. She was really skeptical and didn't think it was possible until she got a 98% "Diamond" match and is convinced to at least give the possibility of a relationship a chance.  It was a sweet story and something totally believable in today's world.  Like all of Lauren's novels, this one didn't disappoint! 

I know I'm a little late to the game here, but I wrapped up the month with Virgin River by Robyn Carr.  I know most people have either read the book or watched the Netflix series, but neither had been on my radar until now.  This is the first in a series that follows Mel, a nurse practitioner and midwife, from Los Angeles who relocates to a very tiny town to help with their town's medical care.  When she first arrives she is shocked at the condition of her living quarters and the tiny population. However, it doesn't take long for the people of Virgin River to start to making their way into her heart.  It was a sweet story and I'm curious to read the other and maybe even watch the series now. 


There have been a plethora of WWII novels published lately, but Kristin Harmel's The Forest of Vanishing Stars now tops my favorites list. The story starts in 1922 where an old woman kidnaps a baby from a prominent family's home to raise her in the woods. Over the course of 19 years, she teaches the girl everything she knows (languages, survival skills, how to fight, etc.). 

Fast forward to 1941, and Yona is alone in the woods with little contact to the outside world. But she knows something is going on. She can sense it. After coming across a Jewish family she learns of WWII and of the Nazi's quest for power. 

Yona's story is amazing and such a different take on WWII. I learned that her story of survival in the woods isn't completely made up. Harmel did incredible research to tell a unique side of the war. From start to finish I was intrigued. If you enjoy historical fiction, or stories about overcoming great circumstances to prevail, I would put The Forest of Vanishing Stars at the top of your list!

Tropical trips to Belize. Enemies-to-lovers romance. Witty characters. This book had "read me poolside" written all over it. And I did! 

The Layover follows Ava who is a flight attendant for an international airline. Recently engaged she decides its time to put away her wings and settle down with her very stable (read: boring) fiancé. And she's excited about it. But not before she does one last trip. The ultimate trip. One with a layover in Belize. She thinks it's the perfect ending to her career. 

Until in comes Jack Stone. Her partnered flight attendant for the flight. And the person she hates most in the world. Ava is determined there is nothing he can do to ruin her last trip. 

While Ava is willing to give up it all for her fiancé. But in the end is it really what she wants? 

I loved the banter between Ava and Jack. And I loved the slow build up to their tropical island romance. It was an easy and quick story with enough sizzle to make you want to stay on the beach well past dinner to enjoy it more.

Stayed up waaaay too late one night finishing finishing this one. 56 Days has so many surprising twists, and hidden secrets - I was hooked from start to finish. 

A couple meets in the grocery store and has an instant connection. After a few dates, lockdown is enforced and they decide they don't want to spend time apart. So they move in together. Sounds dreamy romantic right? 

Until a dead body is discovered in their apartment. 

Oh my. I could not put this one down. And the ending…DID NOT see it coming.  I was nervous to read this originally because it mentions that dreaded “C” word we all hate by now, but kudos to Catherine Ryan Howard for making a fresh (and frightening) twist to the situation by creating the perfect thrilling read. 

This is my first novel by Barbara O'Neal, but it won't be my last. Carrie Beth and I always say we love books that make us "feel", and Write My Name Across the Sky is one of those books that just does it from the start. 

Set in NYC, Write My Name Across The Sky covers a story from three different POVs. Gloria, is a retired TWA flight attendant, bold, charismatic, and an Instagram influencer in her 70s. Willow is her pixie niece, that is a musical genius (much like her famous rockstar mother). After her life in LA didn't pan out, she's moving back to her childhood home with nothing but a bag of possessions and big decisions about what to do with her life. Sam is her older half-sister, who after finding early success in gaming, has a company that's on the verge of collapse and the fear of forever losing her best friend. 

The family is largely broken, and each character deals with their problems in their own way - a way that is often off putting to fixing the relationship. Throw in a steamy romance (or two), the threat of jail, and a life threatening illness - and what you get is an unputdownable family drama. 

There were so many parts to love from start to finish in this one!

Last up for the month, I dived back into some suspense. The Guilt Trip follows three couples who are on a weekend getaway to Portugal for one of their weddings. The tough one likes the bride.

There are so many twists and turns throughout the novel, you don't know who to like and who to hate. Who's telling the truth, and who is lying to cover their tracks. In the end, my mind was completely changed about a few characters. 

The Guilt Trip is one of those suspense books that you just couldn't put down because the drama was so intense you knew the major event was going to be good. And it was! I just wish it wasn't over in just a few pages. That would be my only complaint about this one - the last few chapters packed in a ton of secret reveals, affairs, fights, and a catastrophe of epic proportions, but were over before I knew what hit me. I had to go back a time or two and say, "Whaaaaat?! What did I just read?" just to be sure I was getting all the final details of the story correct.


I love a book that gives me all the feels and one that takes me on an emotional rollercoaster. When Jen told me about Write My Name Across The Sky by Barbara O'Neal I knew I wanted this to be the next on my list!

I have a few good books pre-ordered for September that I'm excited about, but I'm going to start with one that's in my "to-read" pile first. I enjoyed reading The Siren so much in July that I purchased Katherine St. John's earlier novel The Lion's Den. It sounds just as juicy! 

What did you read this month? Anything that we need to add to our lists?


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1 comment:

  1. I loved the Soulmate Equation! Life and Death sounds like something I'd like too as I really enjoyed the Twilight saga.


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