Well, it turns out I needed one more multiple-month reading recap to catch up. At least I’m pretty on-time with my June and July reading recap, since it’s only August 5! I haven’t quite finished my summer reading list, so I’m about to really dive into the last few books that are left there. Pretty soon it’s going to be time to put together my fall reading list and all the thrillers & spooky books I’m reading this fall. But I’ve still got a few more summery books and beach reads to make my way through.
Over the last two months, I read 17 books and there were definitely some highs and lows. I got my hands on a copy of The Maidens pretty soon after it was released, and also finally got around to reading The Silent Patient. The Siren was a good surprise, and I fell head over heels in love with Greek mythology (again) when I read Circe.
Everything I Read: June and July Reading Recap
by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I have read most of Kristy Woodson Harvey’s novels. Her Peachtree Bluff series is a great series to read on the beach. I grabbed Under the Southern Sky expecting it to be just as light and easy to read as the rest of her books. This one is a little bit heavier, something I wasn’t quite expecting when I picked this one up. While it wasn’t my favorite, it was still a quick read and I might have enjoyed it more if I was expecting the heavier storyline, as well.
by Paula McClain
This is a 2021 release that I was thoroughly excited to get my hands on. I absolutely loved Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, so when I heard that she had another novel coming out, I added it my my list as soon as possible. Now, this one is very different from The Paris Wife. Paula McClain really develops her characters, and created a powerful, emotional mystery centered around a dark topic.
by Holly Jackson
Good Girl, Bad Blood is the sequel to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which I read back in March at the recommendation of a friend. Holly Jackson wrote another good thriller (and I’ll definitely be reading the next one, too.) While this series is based around a high school-age detective with a podcast, I still find them really fun to read.
by Mia Manansala
It took me a good while to actually get get into Arsenic and Adobo (I’m not completely sure I’ve ever read a cozy mystery before.) I guess this was a fun read, if you can describe a murder mystery as “fun.”In the end, I enjoyed the small-town mystery well enough. But, I’m not sure I’ll be reading the additional books that are coming as a part of this series.
by Laura Dave
It’s been years since I read Laura Dave’s Eight Hundred Grapes, But I do remember that I really enjoyed that novel. Of course, her previous book wasn’t a suspense novel. (This one is classified as suspense, but I’d say it’s more of a drama with some added suspense.) I’m not sure what, exactly, I was expecting from this novel, but it wasn’t what I got. I did really enjoy it though! It’s fast enough paced novel with a bit of suspense to the story. But, I definitely wouldn’t classify it as a thriller.
by Laura Hankin
This book was just ok for me. The story sounded interesting when I read the synopsis, but the further that I got into the book, the more I had to force myself to keep reading. Really, I feel as though the story would have been so much better if it was written as a thriller…and I think that maybe that might be more of what I expected from it. There was a little surprise twist for me, so it redeemed itself a bit in the end.
by Rachel Hawkins
I honestly really enjoyed this book. It’s a fast-paced domestic thriller, with lots of twist and turns to keep the reader engaged. I also really enjoyed that it’s set in Birmingham, AL, and I felt a little bit more immersed in the story, having lived there. Oh, and The Wife Upstairs is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre!
by Lisa Jewell
You might remember that I read another book by this author earlier this year and really did not like it. I decided to go ahead and give another of her books a try, because typically people really enjoy her novels. This one, I will say, is better than The Family Upstairs. However, I’m just not sure that I’ll come back to her novels again. I don’t think her stories are my cup of tea.
by Madeline Miller
If you ever really enjoyed Greek mythology, you should absolutely read this book. I’ve always found it fascinating, but have gotten away from it over the years. I picked up this novel and held onto it for a while. I flew through this beautiful novel and honestly can’t wait to ready her other novel, The Song of Achilles.
by Katherine St. John
This book was absolutely unexpected—in a good way! I couldn’t put this one down (and already got a copy of her other novel). This would make a perfect beach read. Yes, it’s on the longer side, but I even read it in just a couple of days. There were a couple of cringey moments, but the overall book was thoroughly enjoyable.
by Emily Henry
I’m not typically one to grab contemporary romance novels, but this was actually a really fun read. It was a good mindless break from my go-to thrillers and mystery novels. Are there some cliche romance novel moments that made me fully roll my eyes? Oh, absolutely. But it’s a great summer vacation read or even just a good break from heavier books.
by Alex Michaelides
To be honest, I borrowed Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient from my mother-in-law a long time ago, and just couldn’t get excited about reading it. For some reason, I was more drawn to The Maidens and read it shortly after it was released this summer. Something about the synopsis really drew me in (it also might have something to do with having recently rekindled my love of Greek mythology, as there are some references to it in The Maidens.) I flew through this novel, with an audible “WHAT?!” as I got near the end.
by Jessican Anya Blau
Somewhere I read that Mary Jane was a mix of Almost Famous and Daisy Jones and the Six, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, I was really disappointed and that description is not fitting, in my opinion. It’s swimming in 4 & 5 star reviews, so it seems I am an outlier on this one. Maybe I just didn’t connect with it, but in my opinion, it was a bit of a snooze-fest.
by Kristen Miller
I received an advance copy of The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives and I don’t know what, exactly, I was expecting out of this book…but it wasn’t what I got. While the first bit of this novel is a little slow, the story really picks up in the second half of the book. I decided to read it while I was at the beach, and it was a perfect laid-back vacation read, with an unexpected ending. It’s sort of a Real Housewives story with a twist!
by Erin Morganstern
I’ve waited so long to read The Starless Sea, the second novel by Erin Morganstern, who also wrote The Night Circus. Full disclosure, I love The Night Circus and have read it multiple times. That being said, I had high expectations for her second novel. The writing in this novel is beautiful to read, and I really got hooked in and read it quickly. However, it felt a little like a fever dream in the end, and I was left wanting more (and a little confused about a couple of things).
“There is a story here for each bubble in each bottle, in every glass in every sip. And when the wine is gone the stories will remain.”
by Alex Michaelides
Well, once I read and enjoyed The Maidens, I decided it was time to tackle The Silent Patient. I knew very little about this novel, aside from everyone loving it a couple of years ago., and knowing that I wanted to read it. Once again, I couldn’t put this one down and again, there was an “I’m sorry, WHAT?” and flipping back a page to make sure I was reading things correctly. The Silent Patient definitely lived up to the hype for me.
by Lizzy Dent
The last book I read in July was from my Summer Reading List, and I’ll be honest…I almost gave up on this one. I don’t think I’ve ever rolled my eyes so many times in the first half of a book.In the end, there was a little more to the story that almost made up for the silly first half. (2.5 stars, rounded up to 3)