Summer is supposed to be such a great time for reading, but for me it was filled with packing, a move, travel, and lots of things that made reading not as a part of my day to day as normal. I was determined to make September my biggest reading month yet! What season do you get the most reading done?
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
Synopsis: Set in Littleport, Maine, Sadie and Avery have been best friends for seven years. They only spend the summer together though because Sadie is from a very affluent family so she goes back to her regular life after summer, and Avery has lived in Littleport her whole life. By chance they meet when Avery is working a party at Sadie’s house. They soon become inseparable, which leads to Avery getting a job managing the Loman’s summer rentals. Their lives become more entwined, but when Sadie dies, it’s unclear if she was murdered or if she killed herself. As Avery tries to find out, everything she finds leads back to her. The more she digs, the more she gets the feeling she’s being watched and that it’s not as safe as she thought in this quiet beach town.
Thoughts: I picked this up because of Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Usually her reads go over pretty well with me, but this one was a big miss. I found it to be fast paced, but I thought there was too much buildup and the climax of the story was over in a blink. As they talked more about how Avery and Sadie were becoming more alike, I was wondering if this was going to go into a single white female situation. I found all of the characters to be unlikable since everyone is lying or covering for someone. I thought some of the twist and turns were decent, and if it weren’t for being a thriller and needing to know what happened, I don’t think I would have finished this one.
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
Synopsis: Maddie goes with Alexa to her best friend Theo’s birthday party only because Alexa and her boyfriend broke up and she wants to be there for her. Maddie can’t stand Theo. By some twist of fate, Alexa runs into her ex boyfriend Drew and they reconcile. Maddie ends up taking Theo home after Alexa and Drew leave and when one thing leads to another, they promise that it’s a one time thing. After it happens again, the decide that they can be together until the wedding, especially since they’re both in the wedding party so they’re bound to be around each other all the time. All of the time spent together leads to feelings, but who likes feelings. It’s probably better to ignore them and make sure that their fling is done after the wedding, right?
Thoughts: I liked this book more than The Proposal but less than The Wedding Date. I understood how Maddie could get on the wrong foot with Theo, but found it odd that Theo thought of Maddie as rude or selfish. I don’t think he got to know her well enough to warrant that. I could totally see how they would start out saying it was a one time mistake and it won’t happen again, but I didn’t understand why it was a hard and fast rule that they wouldn’t be together after the wedding. It seemed like there was no good reason except to ampt up the tension in the book. I love this series because there’s so much food and it always makes you hungry, but the pizza didn’t do it for me this time. Maybe it’s because I don’t care that much about pizza- hard to say. Overall, I’m really into this series and will definitely be picking up The Royal Wedding.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Synopsis: Francis and Bobbi are two friends who used to date and now just do poetry readings together. They are discovered by a writer/photographer Melissa who then brings them into her world. Francis becomes close with her husband while Bobbi is convinced Melissa and her would make a great couple. They each explore those relationships and find out that by doing that, it tears at their own relationship.
Thoughts: A friend told me to start with this book instead of Normal People. I know a lot of people had issues with her writing style, specifically not using quotation marks. I didn’t really notice that, and only picked it up after hearing so much backlash about it. I was very interested in these characters from the beginning. They seemed like the typical college/finding their way people. This leads them down some strange paths, which in my opinion had large red flags that they chose to ignore. It’s clear that they aren’t getting what they need from their parents and that’s why they’re making some unwise choices. However, I made a lot of bizarre decisions when I was in college so hindsight truly is 20/20. The love interest with an older man made me uncomfortable, as it usually does, even though she is in college and the age difference wasn’t unheard of. This book made me feel lots of emotions, but overall I wanted a little more of a nicely tied bow at the end, which may be why I’ve been loving romance novels lately.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid, which means her only job is to bear a child by the Commander. She may leave to go the market, but she must be accompanied by another Handmaid. They aren’t allowed to look at each other or talk. If you are caught trying to rebel, you will be killed. Life as we know it today, where women have their own money, freedom, lovers, kids, etc is gone.
Thoughts: I’ve never read this and haven’t watched the show but figured it was probably about time since the sequel was coming out. This took me a couple months to get through, which is pretty unusual for me. The writing left me confused, and if I hadn’t seen some previews for the show, I’m not sure I could put together the outfits and the scene on my own. I overwhelmingly felt confused and unsure if we were in the present or still in a weird time jump that happened while we were talking about the present. I was really interested in this world though, which is why I gave it an extra star. I’ll probably read the sequel, but overall my expectations are pretty low. I don’t get the hype for this at all.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Synopsis: In 2025, the world has declined into chaos. The only way to stay safe is to live in a gated community, but not the kind you’re used to. Everyone in the community works together to get enough food, water, and other necessities to get by. The people who don’t live in a community work to break through the gates and steal what others have. There’s also a new popular drug that makes people want to set fire to everything. It’s an incredibly dangerous place to live in. Lauren and her family live in this community, where her father is a preacher and a leader in the community. Lauren is working to figure out her environment while also working out what religion means to her.
Thoughts: This hit a little too close to home, especially living in LA where this takes place. This is also not set in the year 3025 but 2025, which is only a handful of years away. I felt so much tension from the world building and everything that was going on. I don’t think I could survive in a world like this, which is horrifying because with climate change, this hot weather doesn’t seem too far off. People were also walking on the 5 to get to Sacramento, and I drive that often to get to San Francisco. I could never imagine walking it! I really enjoyed this, when I wasn’t horrified by what was happening. This was a book club pick, and we also picked 2 items to bring in our packs. I chose money and water- but truthfully I would rather pick a time machine to get out of it! I can’t wait to read the second one, but I think I might need a few months to process.
Twine by Monica Duncan
Synopsis: Juniper went to college for art and graduated, but then ended up moving back to her small hometown where everyone knows everyone and took a job at a local hotel. Her life isn’t really going anywhere, she’s not painting, and she feels lost. Her life takes a turn when she ends up pregnant, and she has to decide how to get her life on the right track, where she’s happy- especially if she’s going to bring a baby into the world.
Thoughts: Our book club took part of the Booksparks Hit the Book club and picked this one from their picks. Overall, everyone felt disappointed by this book. It seemed like Juniper needed praise in order to continue on the path she was going down. If she wasn’t praised then she wasn’t going to do anything hard. Her grandfather was abusive, her dad split when she was young, and the father of her baby isn’t all the great either. I’m all for a book that’s about how incredible women are, especially in hard times, but I think she took out her past with men on good people who didn’t deserve it. The writing style wasn’t for me either. It took me a while to make it through the first 10 pages of the book. The bones were good and as a first draft I see lots of promise but as a completed book it’s not for me.
September Wrap Up
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda ⭐️⭐️/5
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Twine by Monica Duncan ⭐️⭐️/5