July 2016 Reads

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Since we vacationed in June, I had WAY more free time in July to read.  And because of that, I basically read one book a week!  Check out my reviews below to see my thoughts on all four books.

How the post is organized:  I will post a review from Amazon and then my thoughts will be in italics below the review.

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut back yard to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess, abruptly announcing that she's cancelled her engagement.  

It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her 30-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter Tate and her own sister India. Soon all four are headed for beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store - a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.

But throw sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets onto a remote island, and what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known. It's a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her page-turning, bestselling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach.

Because Shay is my favorite blogger ever and since she's always posting about reading Elin Hilderbrand, I thought I would give her a try.  I went to my local library and it only had 4 Elin books.  I read the inside cover of each and The Island seemed to be the best one.  Y'all.  This book might be my favorite Elin book ever!  Once I got about 1/3 of the way in, I couldn't put down the book.  I carried it with me everywhere, and ended up staying up way past midnight one night to finish.  I loved that this book had 4 different points of view and each chapter was told from one character's POV.  My favorite was Tate, and I would love it if Elin wrote a book picking up with Tate's life after this book!

48-year-old Nantucketer Dabney Kimball Beech has always had a gift for matchmaking. Some call her ability mystical, while others - like her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech, and her daughter, Agnes, who is clearly engaged to the wrong man - call it meddlesome, but there's no arguing with her results: With 42 happy couples to her credit and all of them still together, Dabney has never been wrong about romance. 

Never, that is, except in the case of herself and Clendenin Hughes, the green-eyed boy who took her heart with him long ago when he left the island to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist. Now, after spending 27 years on the other side of the world, Clen is back on Nantucket, and Dabney has never felt so confused, or so alive. 

But when tragedy threatens her own second chance, Dabney must face the choices she's made and share painful secrets with her family. Determined to make use of her gift before it's too late, she sets out to find perfect matches for those she loves most. The Matchmaker is a heartbreaking story about losing and finding love, even as you're running out of time.

This is the 2nd Elin book I read last month and it was okay.  The ending was unexpected (not what I would picture for a beach-read), and the plot wasn't very exciting.  I would definitely recommend The Island over The Matchmaker.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.

Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son's irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.

Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family's housekeeper--in a town where blacks weren't allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.

I picked this book up at Target one night while I was browsing their book aisles.  It was located in their book club section, so I thought it had to be good, right?  I was right!  I really loved this book!  First of all, I love any book that has a love story (which is why I love every Nicholas Sparks book ever written).  And secondly, I loved that this book took place in the early 1900s and had an interracial relationship--after all, I wholeheartedly believe that the Gospel is for everyone regardless of color!  This book took place present day and in the past and had two different storylines with one main character--Isabelle.  It was really sad to read that there were laws preventing interracial marriages in the early 1900s.  I highly recommend this book!!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

I read this book because it's my book club book for August and I wanted to get it read before school started back.  And let me tell you, if it wasn't for my book club, I would have put this book down and moved onto something else.  Amazon says that multiple agencies have named this the best book of the year, but it wasn't for me.  It switched between multiple points of view within each chapter, so that made it hard to keep up with in the beginning.  The narration also felt very emotionless and dry.  Basically, not my favorite this month.

What's a book that you've read recently that you've enjoyed?

Linking up with Jenn today!


  1. My next library trip is definitely going to include an Elin book!

  2. I wondered about Elin's The Island. think I'll ad it to my list. As soon as we get too off to college, this mama will have much more time to read!! LOVE your reviews so much and your honesty!!

  3. I am such a bad reader...I wish I was better because when I do read I love it - but just don't make the time!!

  4. I really need to start reading some Elin books... everyone loves her so much and I've never read one!

  5. I really need to read more Elin books - thanks for your reviews! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  6. Oh I'm excited now to snag one of these!!

  7. i wish i could get through one book a week! i love reading but i get so lazy about it. i've been reading me before you & after you and i'm about to read the new harry potter as well!

    danielle | avec danielle

  8. I feel like I have read a Hildenbrand book...but I can't remember which one!

  9. i don't think i have read any Elin Hilderbrand books so i will have to check that one out.
    calling me home is on my list so good to hear you liked it. so is everything i never told you lol but i will probably still give that one a go since lots of people i know loved it.

  10. Everything I Never Told You was hard for me for many reasons.

    I've read a few Elin books in previous summers!

  11. I have The Island on my TBR and it sounds like I may need to bump it up in priority. I'm ready for a good beach read or two. :) Calling Me Home also sounds really good and adding it to my TBR.

  12. Calling Me Home sounds great!

    I listened to an Elin book on audio book and I really liked it. Good summer reading.

  13. I own The Island but haven't read it yet. Sounds like I need to soon!


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