Monday, August 15, 2016

Quick Lit - What I've Been Reading - August 2016

It's been a month since I did one of these so it's time for another!  Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy!

(I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which was momentous enough to warrant it's own post here.)

I am very active on Goodreads and always am current there with my "currently reading" and my main "To Read" list is there as well.  When I say current, I mean generally within minutes of starting or finishing a book I have it updated because I really like marking books as finished or taking another one off my "to read" list.  I'd highly recommend the site to anyone who reads a lot, or even not a lot but who likes lists.  It's like it was made just for me.  (I love a good list.)   Here's my profile.  Friend me and we can see what each other are reading!

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
This was a completely new author for me but was on Modern Mrs. Darcy's summer reading list, in a category with 4 other books I already had on my to-read list, so I figured I would like this one too.  It's told through the perspective of Georgia who runs out of her final dress fitting, days before her wedding,  when she discovered a secret about her fiance.  She goes back home to her family's vineyard, expecting comfort from her parents, their long marriage, and her twin brothers...but of course they all have their own problems too.  I read a lot of this while poolside with Luke and it was a perfect book for that.  Easy, enjoyable, summery.  Did you know it takes 800 grapes to make a bottle of wine?  I do now!

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin 
This is a book I was a little leary about because I've been burned by this author before.  Her last book, The One & Only, was not good.  Besides that one, there is only one other of her books I did not rate as 4 stars on Goodreads and that one got 3.  The One & Only got one.  I had really been looking forward to it and I remember cracking it open while eating strawberry shortcake late on a Sunday after getting home from the lake.  And then being really disappointed.  So I went into this one too a little cautious. 

And maybe that was the right attitude to have?  It was fine but I didn't really enjoy it like I did her earlier novels.  It was about two sisters, Josie and Meredith, who are dealing with their older brother's tragic death (car accident) 15 years earlier.  They both have been coping/moving on/not moving on differently.  It's told from each sister's perspective in alternating chapters which makes for a nice contrast in how we see ourselves versus how others do.  It was fine and a pretty quick and easy read but nothing I would be rushing to reread. 

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
I've been all about trying to figure out better time management lately, listening to many many podcasts where Laura Vanderkam was a guest (I've also read all of her books now I think??)  This one was really short, not even 200 pages, and is a compliation of 3 mini e-books she had written.  It's broken into sections: What the Most Sucessful People Do Before Breakfast, .....Do on the Weekend ....Do at work.  She's compiled a lot of time logs from a wide variety of adults, studying how they use their time or analyzing how they could use it better.  It ends with 50 tips for making better use of the 168 hours you have.  My favorite:

Look for ways to trim transition times.  If you decide to do something, do it.  You can lose thirty minutes or more puttering around the house, putting things away, getting distracted, and losing intensity before taking whatever action you decided to take.
Uhhhh...that's one of my biggest problems right there.  I excel at puttering.  With my recent focus on time, this was a very timely read (pun intended). 

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
This is one of those authors that I've read (almost) all their books and so always eagerly check out their new ones.  She wrote The Devil Wears Prada which is the only book of hers I haven't read, despite really enjoying the movie (although, enjoying the movie might be why I haven't read the book, because I've heard the movie is better, something that is not said often).   Her book Last Night at Chateau Marmont was on my list of favorite NYC contemporary books but then I also despised Chasing Harry Winston.  So maybe one of those authors I read cautiously.

This one turned out to be pretty good though.  It's about Charlotte (Charlie) who is a pro tennis player.  She suffers a huge embarrassment (and some broken bones) when playing at Wimbledon and to get back to the top she fires her coach, gets a tougher one, and they remake her image.  Her outfit descriptions very much reminded me of Katniss in The Hunger Games even though they are not at all similar besides all the black.  Anyways, I know just about nothing about tennis and I still don't understand the scoring, matches, how you win a set (??) even after reading a 300+ page book about it.  BUT...that didn't stop me from enjoying it anyways.  I know very little about the life of a pro athlete and I am most certainly not ever going to be one, and it's always fun for me to read about a life I'll never have.  I enjoyed this one.

Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua Becker
Babies literally come with stuff.  I think it's the rare hospital that doesn't send you home with something, in our case that was a diaper bag (since sold), a second infant car seat & base (donated before ever used), and a lot of diapers and formula (gone many many years ago).  Having kids = stuff.  It's inevitable from practically the moment they are born.

I've read more than one book about keeping a house neat with kids and this one is my favorite.  It focused a lot on minimalism which is something I am very interested in and plan to explore more in another post.  This wasn't so much about "you need 5 bottles and 7 sets of clothes" type of getting rid of clutter but more about how to stop the things from coming into your house and realizing you don't need to have it all.  After reading this I promptly put on hold another of his books and downloaded a whole lot of podcasts where he was a guest.  I am very very interested in this minimalism thing now.  And this book was a pretty quick and easy read.  Definitely recommend to any parents trying to fight the never ending flow of kid stuff.  Which is pretty much every parent??

Falling by Jane Green
This was one of my anticipated reads for the summer and was very excited to crack open my library copy.   It's about Emma who is British, lived in New York working in finance for a few years, before moving to Connecticut (I think?) where she tries to figure out what she wants to do next.  She rents a house from her very cute (and conveniently next door) landlord.  Guess what?  They start dating.  She decides she likes home decor/interior designing and her career in that takes off (a little surprisingly) fast.  Cute next door landlord has a 6 year old son who she also bonds with.  It was a lovely books and I was really enjoying it...until about 30 pages to go, there was a twist, and I was completely shocked! So shocked.  I was reading this when I should have been deciding what to wear to my niece's wedding the next day but couldn't put it down when that happened.  It ended so differently than I was expecting and I'm still a little shocked by it.

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen
I've read all her previous books and have obviously enjoyed them enough to keep reading her stuff but I wasn't overly wowed by this one.  It follows 4 women who are neighbors in a seemingly perfect neighborhood.  They all have secrets, some of which are not that surprising.  There are e-mails through their neighborhood list serv sprinkled throughout which was a nice touch but wouldn't have missed it if they were gone.  Actually, the fact that those short e-mails are the most memorable part of the book might be saying something...  It was fine, not spectacular but not horrible.  One of those middle of the road books.

Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon
I really enjoyed this book and I'm not entirely sure why.  I think it was recommended to my by Goodreads and I was intrigued by the Mystic, CT setting because I had visited there with my family a long time ago (going to the oft-mentioned, Mystic Seaport).  The ending was entirely obvious from about page 20 but that didn't mean I didn't enjoy the journey.  Maggie has a nice life in Boston, BFF roommate, nice boyfriend, nice job teaching at a private school.  Then she loses her job and needs to find her own apartment since her roommate is getting married.  She ends up back home for the summer where she runs into her high school boyfriend.  It's probably obvious from this short summary how this all ends up but, like I said, it's nothing you wouldn't have figured out for yourself pretty quick.  It wasn't anything super special but I just enjoyed it.

The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
I've read a decent amount of YA fiction over the years.  I'm way past the target age for these but they are usually nice reminders of that care-free time, what it was like to fall in love/"love" as a teenager and all those feelings.  This one was about Paige, a high schooler whose boyfriend died in a freak accident a year earlier.  She's having trouble getting back to her normal life but also doesn't know how much she should be grieving because they were only together a few months.  She makes a list of things she wants to do to get back to her normal teenage life and of course some things happen and some things don't.  Not the worst YA book by far but not the best either (Eleanor & Park is still is at the top for me).  It was enjoyable if you are into YA books.

What have you been reading?

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