Quick Lit: July 2018

I read 14 books in July, and I'm chatting about all of them in today's post! On the blog, I shared my review for the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab, though I still have a few backlog reviews to write. As always, check out the Quick Lit linkup  that's hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy for more reviews and recommendations.

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON BY KELLY BARNHILL | I don't read a ton of middle grade, but I couldn't resist buying this 2017 Newbery Medal winner when the audiobook was on sale a few months ago. I listened to most of it while we were driving to the mountains for vacation, and it was a pleasant companion. I don't know how to succinctly describe the plot, but I'm honestly torn on how I feel about the book. Barnhill's writing was lovely and the characters were interesting, but I had a hard time imagining a child loving the book. It was long, repetitive, and the subject matter seemed a little dark and heavy for many kids. I was So Okay With It, but it had so much potential.

THE ENGAGEMENTS BY J. COURTNEY SULLIVAN | Sullivan opens the novel by introducing you to Mary Frances Gerety, the advertising copywriter who coined the phrase "A Diamond in Forever." The rest of the novel depicts four couples in different years (1972, 1987, 2003 and 2012) while tracking Gerety's life and the history of diamonds in America. The complex characters and slow reveal of how they were all connected had me completely invested. I loved seeing marriages over time, the way advertising created a "need" that didn't exist before, and how some things about love never seem to change. It's got a slower pace, but I So Loved It.

TEXT ME WHEN YOU GET HOME BY KAYLEEN SCHAEFER | I had all the feels while reading this book! Seeing Estelle and Kelly love it convinced me to pick it up, and I finished it in about a day. I enjoyed this examination of female friendships in history, pop culture, and the personal life of the author. The chatty and anecdotal writing style blended research + stories in a way that I found really engaging. But what I loved most is how the book made me even more thankful for all the women in my life who've helped shape me into the person I am today! There were a few elements that didn't totally work for me, but the emotions it evoked meant I still So Enjoyed It

DEAR MRS. BIRD BY AJ PEARCE | I flew through this slim novel. It’s a gem! Set in London during WWII, it reminded me of a historical Bridget Jones. Emmaline Lake is a charming heroine — I loved her plucky spirit and courageous attitude! In her excitement at the prospect of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, she fails to ask enough questions at a job interview and ends up working for an advice columnist at a women’s magazine. But when her boss refuses to respond to any letters containing what she deems Unpleasantness, Emmy takes matters into her own hands. The result is both funny and moving, and I So Loved It! I'm so thankful this review put it on my radar.

BIOGRAPHIC AUSTEN BY SOPHIE COLLINS | I bought this while I was in Edinburgh with Kelly earlier this year – because I can never resist anything Austen-related! This book is part of a series of biographies that explores "great lives in graphic form." It summarizes the life and work of the subject and uses infographics to convey the information. You can look inside here. I really enjoyed the visual aspect, which also made it a quick read. It didn't contain anything particularly new, but it was still fun to flip through. I'd be most likely to recommend it to Austen fans for the art or to someone who just wants a high-level look at her life. I So Liked It.

THE ALMOST SISTERS BY JOSHILYN JACKSON | This book was one of my 2017 favorites, and I bought the audio edition soon after finishing my hardcover. I knew I'd eventually want to re-read, and listening seemed like the perfect format since it's read by the author. Jackson is a talented narrator, and she made me love this story even more than I already did. My original review digs more into all the reasons I adore this book, but I'm so happy to report that my love only deepened upon revisiting it. If you're a fan of Southern fiction, nerdy heroines, or thought-provoking stories, you need to pick this one up! I'm So Obsessed With It (and will just keep wishing for a sequel).

NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA BY CHANEL CLEEETON | “... it’s impossible to stand near the flame consuming everything around you and not have some of that fire catch the hem of your skirt, too.” Estelle recommended this book to me, and I’m so glad she did! It exemplified why I love historical fiction and taught me so much about Cuba’s past and present. If you like books where the setting feels like a character, this one is for you! I’m not typically a fan of dual timelines, but it worked so perfectly for this story. There were twists I didn’t see coming, quotes I couldn’t stop underlining, and characters I won’t soon forget. A fave of 2018, for sure! I'm So Obsessed With It

THE GOOD LUCK CHARM BY HELENA HUNTING* | Estelle sent me a copy of this book for review, and I was excited to dive in. I'm always drawn to second chance romances, and I think it's likely because there's usually some animosity before the couple is finally reunited. What can I say, I'm a sucker for that hate-to-love trope! I finished this pretty quickly and can see it appealing to a lot of readers, but it didn't fully work for me. I wasn't invested enough in the couple and found it frustrating that they seemed so dependent on one another. And a lot of the drama was saved until the end! They eventually worked on their issues, but I'd still say I'm just So Okay With It.

BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON BY JULIA QUINN | I read my first Julia Quinn book earlier this year, but it didn't really work for me. And since it it was the start of a series, it killed my motivation to pick up the second book. But I'd heard great things about this book and series, so I decided to give it a try instead. I'm so glad I did because this book was such a delight! I loved the couple, and the hate-to-love vibes worked so perfectly. Honestly, the tomboyish Billie Bridgerton and arrogant George Rokesby reminded me of Lizzie and Darcy in all the best ways. I laughed (the banter!) and swooned (the tension!) and So Loved It. The ending was a bit rushed, but I didn't really mind.

THE QUEEN OF HEARTS BY KIMMERY MARTIN | There are two reasons I'd been dying to read this book: 1) the gorgeous cover and 2) the comparison to Grey's Anatomy. It's the story of two best friends who are carrying secrets regarding a tragedy that occurred while they were in medical school. I was immediately sucked in my Martin's writing and enjoyed how the the timeline alternated between past and present. I loved the focus on female friendship! I enjoyed the story and thought the comparison to Grey's was apt, but I was never fully invested in the characters so the emotions didn't truly resonate. But I So Enjoyed It and will check out whatever Martin writes next.

THE GIRL WITH THE MAKE-BELIEVE HUSBAND BY JULIA QUINN | After I finished Because of Miss Bridgerton, I had to pick up the second in the series! I listened to most of this one on audiobook, and I really enjoyed the narrator, Rosalyn Landor. I wasn't crazy about the fact that this plot hinged on the heroine keeping a secret from the hero, which is the main reason I didn't love this one more. The character were enjoyable, as was setting, and there was a nice blend of drama and humor. But it felt like there wasn't much happening, so everything revolved around the heroine's big lie... which she had so many chances to confess. I'd say I So Liked It, but I wanted more from it. 

CHARLOTTE WALSH LIKES TO WIN BY JO PIAZZA* | This was such a thought-provoking, timely read! The heroine decides to leave her Silicon Valley job to run her for public office, and it is so frustrating to read about the things she has to deal with along the way. I didn't particularly like any of the characters, but that didn't really bother me. The sexism, double standards, and general shadiness made me want to rage at the world. And even though Charlotte frustrated me, I was still rooting for her! I'm so glad that I read Piazza's story, even though I'm generally not a fan of politics, and I really appreciated the ending. It was a bold move, but it made perfect sense. I So Liked It.

AND NOW WE HAVE EVERYTHING BY MEAGHAN O'CONNELL | This would never have been on my radar if it wasn't for bookstagram! I started it one evening while sitting on the front porch... and finished it an hour or two later. I couldn't put it down! This memoir on motherhood blended humor and honesty, and it made me reflect a lot on my own experiences. Everyone's journey is so different, and it's always nice to hear someone else's story. I could relate to her anxiety, laughed at her candid confessions, and teared up a little, too. It occasionally veered into TMI/oversharing for me personally, but I So Enjoyed It overall and saved a bunch of quotes from it. 

MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE BY SOPHIE KINSELLA | I read this book in 2016, and I've been craving a re-read ever since. After re-reading several from Kinsella in April, I knew it would soon be time for this one. It was the perfect choice for an audio re-read! Narrator Fiona Hardingham was a delight, and I had so much fun listening to Katie's escapades. Though the humor can sometimes be slapstick, Kinsella always makes me laugh. And I love the overall message in this book about how social media can be deceiving. It's nice to be reminded that it's not the full picture! The romance was more understated than I'd remembered, but I'm still So Obsessed With It and will read it again.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. My sorority alumnae book club is reading Text Me When You Get Home this September, so I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I read "The Almost Sisters" last month and really enjoyed it! I have to get my hands on "Queen of Hearts" - I'm a huge Grey's fan.

  3. The more I hear about Next Year in Havana the more and more I want to read it.

  4. I'm still so curious about Text Me When You Get Home! It sounds like the sort of thing I'd enjoy reading, especially because it's all about female friendships.


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