It is the first of September! Crazy how a month can fly by! And that means it’s time for some Coffee & Books! Yay! Definitely two of my favorite things! Ordinarily my Coffee & Books posts will be posted on the last day of the month and in it I will recap what I’ve read this month, give a short review (quick lit) of each, and a link to the full reviews if you want to know more! I’ll also talk about what I’m reading now and anything else that has been notable in the past month!
I call it “Coffee & Books” because this is the type of friend-to-friend book discussion we would have if we met up for coffee - sitting at a corner table in Starbucks, somewhere near the beach, sipping Skinny Iced Mochas, chatting over what books were amazing in the past month and which books you totally shouldn't waste your time on! Alas, in reality I will probably be standing at my kitchen counter typing with one hand and cleaning up the coffee my toddler just spilled with the other.
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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist (Audiobook)
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Reviews to come!!
Dogwood by Chris Fabry
The First Prophet by Kay Hooper
The Stranger by Harlan Coben
Live Wire by Harlan Coben
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life by Joshua Becker
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I haven’t reviewed all of the books I read in August because I was working on setting up my page! But from now on there will be a full review for each book to link to.
The first book I read this month was Dogwood by Chris Fabry. Dogwood is a Christian fiction novel that I rated 2 stars on GoodReads because “It was ok.” I had abandoned this book once before and came back to it this month because I HATE to leave books unfinished. In fact I never do – I will torture myself through just to say I finished it (The Firm anyone?). But in the end I didn’t hate this book, but it was definitely flawed. The main character isn’t likeable and the story seems to have lots of holes in it (like her kids are always otherwise entertained? Why are my kids never otherwise entertained??). These holes in the story are somewhat filled in or resolved in the conclusion, but the conclusion is just too unbelievable. When I got to the ending I thought – wow that would be a really good ending – to a different book.
Next, I read The First Prophet by Kay Hooper. The First Prophet is a paranormal thriller about a woman who is a psychic and has a mysterious group trying to kill or kidnap her. I had the Bishop series by Kay Hooper recommended to me by my sister and this is the first book I was able to come across. It turns out that this book - and I believe one other – are part of the “Bishop Files” and are actually prequels (and written after the fact) to the main series - the “Bishop/Special Crimes Unit” series. So I liked this book and I read through it pretty quick, but there were some things that didn’t quite make sense because I hadn’t read any of the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. So I ended up giving this book 3 stars on GoodReads because I did like it, but I was also slightly confused by it. I think I am going to begin the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series though and in the series the psychics help the FBI to solve crimes! Which sounds like a much more interesting premise to me. And I’ll let you all know how that goes! But I would recommend this book to people who have already read the original series – or at least part of it!
The Stranger is a mystery by Harlan Coben. This is the first book that I had read by him and I gave it 3 stars on GoodReads because “I liked it.” My mom recommended Harlan Coben to me and after she read this book she said it was not as good as any of the others she has read by him. “The Stranger” is a man who approaches the main character in a parking lot, drops a secret about his wife, and then runs off – “leaving [him] picking up the pieces of [his] shattered world” (@goodreads). It was a good book and it was an interesting storyline, but I don’t know, it just seemed to move a little slow for me and I wasn’t a big fan of the ending… I appreciated though how it pointed out how we focus in on our own families, our own causes and interests, to the detriment of all others. It was thought-provoking. All in all I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries, but don’t put it on the top of your list.
Since my mom said that The Stranger wasn’t Harlan Coben’s best book, I had to give him another try. Plus, my mom gave me this book after she was done with it so… yay for free books! The next one I tried was Live Wire. I am happy to say I liked this one much better! And gave it 4 stars! It moved quickly and I flew right threw it! GoodReads describes the main character, Myron Bolitar as: “walk[ing] a tight rope between sports agent, friend, problem solver and private eye, his big heart quick to defend his client's interests so fiercely that he can't help but jump in to save them, no matter the cost” (@goodreads). One thing I will say though is this is #10 in the Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben and while I didn’t feel like I was missing any information in reading it first, it may have given some spoilers for how previous books turned out. So I recommend this book, but if you are going to read the series, start at the beginning instead!
After a few thrillers in a row, I decided to move on to what I would consider more of a drama, though there is an element of mystery involved. I read Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book which earned it 3 stars on GoodReads. I would recommend it only to fans of Jodi Picoult. It was tough subject matter and I didn’t find the characters to be likeable. See my full review here.
I also finished up Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life by Joshua Becker. It took me a while to get through this one honestly. I gave it 3 stars (August was that kind of month I guess!). If you have already read some other books on the concept of minimalism there will be a lot of repeat information. However there were some elements of this book that I really liked and will delve deeper into the full review. Becker really focused on the why of minimalism and how it benefits your life and that was what I appreciated most. I would recommend this book if you are interested in minimalism – you will like it best if you haven’t already read other books on the subject.
The last book I finished in August was The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This was definitely my favorite book of August! I gave it 4 stars on GoodReads, but it was really more like 4.5. There were a couple things that bothered me, but overall the book was pretty awesome! Lo is a travel journalist who goes on a luxury cruise liner for her job where she witnesses a murder – or does she? It is an awesome psychological thriller that I recommend for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, etc. See my full review here.
Son #1 (age 10) is reading Middle School by James Patterson (Me at the Book Fair buying this book: But you’re not in middle school yet. Son #1: Mo-om – it’s just a book. It’s funny. Me: O-kay maybe... Him: Besides I’ll be in middle school next year. Me: *chokes back sobs as she buys the book*)
Son #2 (age 9) is reading Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
Son #3 ‘s (age 2 – 3 in 20 days!) favorite book right now: If I were a Dog… by JellyCat
Daughter’s (age 1) favorite book right now: Little Miss Austen’s Pride & Prejudice board book (mostly because I love that one and since “yeah” is one of the only words she can say right now, she pretty much goes along with whatever I want! I know, I know enjoy it while it lasts!)
What didn’t happen this month between all this reading – and creating this page – was a whole lot of cleaning! So I better get started on that now!
Ugh, who can relate??