Somehow we're already to the middle of September, so here's what I read in August! I'm so happy to report I am back into a good reading rhythm for the first time in this pregnancy!
This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! // Harriet is a new widow who decides to take the cruise her late husband had booked even though she'll be going alone. Along the way she discovers secrets about her husband, and the book jumps between her finding out about these secrets and stories of the years she shared with her husband. The book was predictable, and I didn't enjoy the writing. A much better version of the spouse-finds-out-secrets-about-dead-spouse plot is The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which I absolutely loved. I give Harriet 2 stars.
When I'm Gone // This was my book club book for August, and a review we had read said something about a story of a scavenger hunt that a dead wife sends her husband on. The book was not as much of a scavenger hunt as I had hoped, but there are secrets that the husband discovers after his wife's passing that kept me interested. The writing got better as the book went on, and though it wasn't my favorite book ever, I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. 3 stars
How to Start a Fire // This story is about three unexpected friends from college and the different directions their lives take over the next decade or so. It jumps back and forth between past and present, so for the first half of the book I was pretty interested to find out what situations the book kept alluding to. I have to admit that I didn't particularly like any of the characters, and the book was just overall a little depressing. 3 stars
The Royal We // I unashamedly love all things to do with the Royal family, so you'd better believe I was going to read this fictional story of the Prince of Wales falling in love with an American girl! This was such a fun book to read, and I loved it. If you (like me) watched the Royal Wedding and can't get enough of the inside scoop of the Royal family, you'll really enjoy this book. 4 stars
The House at Tyneford // The cover of this book says that fans of Downton Abbey and Kate Morton's books will love this book - um those are some of my favorites! This book was very reminiscent of life at Downton Abbey with the staff and the family and their interactions, and it's the story of a young Jewish girl who comes to England to escape World War II in Austria. This was a well-written book, and I really enjoyed it. 4 stars
Bel Canto // I've recently heard several good things about Ann Patchett, so I decided to give her a try. This was her first book that I've read, and I get the hype! The writing was impeccable, and the story was so unique. In some ways it reminded me of Station Eleven, just because the plot itself was not something that I thought I would enjoy. But once I got a few pages into it, it completely drew me in and I didn't want to put it down. 4 stars
The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful // I've had this book for a little while and finally got around to sitting down and reading through it! This is probably one of the better home decor books that I've read, and I enjoyed it so much! Myquillyn gives practical tips, shares beautiful photos, and mostly shares her philosophy of "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful". I love that! She's all about decorating your home in a way that you like, without worrying about the decorating "rules" or whether or not other people will like how you've decorated. For someone like me who likes (and needs) a ton of rules and structure before I feel comfortable doing something, this was so freeing to read! It inspired me to decorate my mantle in a different way than I normally do, and I didn't even text my sisters to see if they thought it looked good :) 4 stars
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls // I've heard about this book for years and had high hopes. Unfortunately I didn't really enjoy it. Similar to Anton DiSlafani's other book The After Party: A Novel, it seemed like this whole book kept alluding and referring to this huge secret that actually ends up being kind of predictable. I thought the story was depressing, and I never really connected with any of the characters. 2 stars
What have you been reading? Have you read any of these books that I've mentioned?