This month was a little slow for me on the reading front, though I can't pinpoint one specific reason why. That said, I finished four wonderful books and started two more, including several that will make it in my 2016 Top Ten list, so this month's post is rich with recommendations!
Lilac Girls: I listened to the book's audio version and I haven't stopped talking about it since I finished it. The book spans 30 years years starting at the brink of World War II and is told from three different perspectives – a French American Woman, a Polish woman who is imprisoned at Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women, and a German woman / doctor at the camp. Two of the three characters are based on actual people and as soon as I finished the book, I dived into learning more about them. If you have never listened to an audio book, I implore that you try it with this book, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction. The three narrators were such gifted actresses and I think the audio version is why I loved this book so much.
The Sea of Tranquility: I listened to this book on audio as well. After finishing Lilac Girls, I wanted a book that was very different and not historical in nature. Sea of Tranquility was recommended to me in Sorta Literary, my favorite Facebook group for discussing books, and I am very glad I downloaded it. It was selected as a YA Book of the Year in 2013, which is not my normal genre but wow it was excellent. It takes place in present day, and is about two high school students, Nastya Kashnikov and Josh Bennett, who both have lived through difficult tragedies. The book is richly told in alternating points of view and the twist in the end left me shocked.
Enchanted Islands: This book was very different from other historical fiction books I have read. I got it from Book of the Month in June and it is definitely one I wouldn't have picked up had the service not introduced it to me. It spans from the late 1800s through near present day, though the bulk of it takes place on the Galápagos Islands at the brink of World War II. I found the story of Frances Frankowski and her unlikely path to becoming a spy for United States, her friendships and secrets fascinating. It was a great book to read at the end of the day and I am still thinking about the characters despite having finished the book several weeks ago.
Present Over Perfect: Shauna Niequist's new book releases next week (August 9) and if you are guilty of doing too much, feeling overwhelmed and yearning to be more present in your life, you will love this book. While it doesn't have step by step take-aways, Shauna's personal story will leave you nodding your head yes throughout the book. I couldn't put it down, finishing it in just a few sittings. This is a book that pretty much every mom can relate to. I loved it.
I am in the middle of two books right now as well. I'm listening to the audiobook of Outlander after having the paperback for no less than 7 years. I love the show and decided it was time to finally get the book read. I'm just a few chapters in, but really enjoying the audio experience. (For more on my recent love of audio books, read this post. Get three free months of audible here.)
I also started one of the August Book of the Month selections, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. (They spoiled me with a shipment of all the selects early.) I'll share more below.
Book of the Month – $5 Trial!
In case you are unfamiliar with it, Book of the Month is a monthly book club subscription service. Each month Book of the Month judges curate the best of new hardback releases and bring their subscribers 5 books to chose from. Subscribers select their book of choice and it is delivered right to their door within a week.
Book of the Month is an incredibly affordable option for buying new releases, as they are usually 30-50% off retail + ship for free. You can also add up to two additional books to your box each month for just $10 each. Some of my favorite reads of 2016 have come from Book of the Month.
The August book selections were just announced and it's the first time I want to read ALL FIVE books. Book of the Month is offering all new subscribers the best deal I have seen since I started subscribing – get your first book for just $5.
Yup. $5 for a brand new hardback, and that includes the shipping! If you don't like the service, you can totally cancel it, but my gut says you will love it. Simply click this link and use the code READ5.
August Book of the Month Selections – Get 1 for $5
Here are your choices for your August Book of the Month subscription. If you are already a subscriber, I would love to know what you select. If you aren't, go get one of these great books for just $5!
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain: I read this award-winning book months ago, before it released. It is a bit unusual for Book of the Month to select a book that has been out as long as this one, but I think they did it because it was selected by a celebrity guest judge (Allison Williams from HBO's Girls). Written by Paula McClain who wrote the famed book. The Paris Wife, the book is set in colonial Kenya during the 1920s. It's about Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator, then man she loves and the challenges she faces as both a pilot and a horse trainer during a period where women were not seen as equals. I loved reading about the period and found the setting fascinating. A great read for historical fiction lovers!
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware: If you like a good thriller, this is a perfect choice for you. My friend Myquillyn got all the BOTM sent to her too and she said she read it in one day. That's always a good sign! I am planning to start it tonight.
Siracusa by Delia Ephron: This book looks so fun and has been all over the best summer books lists. The Amazon description says that it “follows two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from one another are exposed and relationships are unraveled.”
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: Of the five selects, this is the last on my list to read, though it sounds good too! Amazon touts that it is “a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.”
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood: This was my select for August, though I regretted it and cannot endorse the book. I started it Saturday night because it seemed so different from my normal books. It deals with hard topics around drug abuse and child neglect, but I found the writing to be very compelling. (UPDATE: I have abandoned my reading of this book. It took a turn that I don't feel comfortable with and don't think many of you would like it. Check the reviews on GoodReads about this book, as it has many 5 star reviews, but is definitely not for everyone.)
If you are looking for your next great read, go try the Book of the Month one-month, $5 trial. You are going to be SO happy you did!