Books I Read in August

I read so many great books this month!  I read over a dozen of them and enjoyed each and every one of them.  I read a wide variety of genres too. 




1. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins-- I know there has been mixed reviews about this prequel to the Hunger Games series but I just LOVED it!  It's just over 500 pages and I read it in under two days.  This book focuses on Snow and his life starting his last year of high school and what changes him into the formidable president that presides over the Hunger Games.  I didn't want to like him or feel bad for him but I did... I knew where the book was heading of course but I still didn't like the ending and his choices.




2. Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain-- Written as two story lines; Anna the artist who painted a mural for the town of Edenton, North Carolina back in the winter 1939 and Morgan who was been hired to restore the mural that was never put on display in summer 2018. No one knows what happened to Anna and why the mural was not put on display.



3. The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel-- What a cute story! Val and Lilly were best friends and pen pals for years; starting up a recipe club where they mailed recipes back and forth.  In college they had a falling out and lost touch for many, many years only to reconnect after the passing of one of their mothers.  Written as a series of letters, emails, and recipes it's a quick and easy read with some really delicious sounding foods!



4. The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs-- When Natalie inherits her mother's struggling bookshop her first inclination is to sell it.  The building that houses the bookshop is where she grew up, where her mother lived and took care of Natalie's grandfather "grandy," and is badly in need of repairs that Natalie cannot afford.  Her grandfather is slowly declining and needs more than help than Natalie can give.  She discovers that she can not sell the building since her grandfather is the rightful owner of both the store and the building and refuses to sell.  Determined to make it work, Natalie throws herself into promoting the bookstore and trying to make it all work.  Meanwhile, before her passing, her mother had hired a handyman "Peach" Gallagher to fix a few things and to Natalie surprise her and Peach become friends and with the help of his precocious daughter they might have found a way to save the bookshop.  A super cute story with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting! 



5. The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe-- I began reading On Ocean Boulevard only to realize it was part of a series.  I knew I would enjoy it as a stand alone book even after reading just 10 or so pages but figured I'd like it so much more if I read the series in order so I returned it and picked up The Beach House.  Cara is heading back to the family beach house at the request of her mother, little does she know she'll end up spending the whole summer at the Beach House.  After having left home at 18 Cara hasn't been back to visit much and isn't looking forward to spending a few weeks with her mother sure that they will argue once again.  But Cara finds a much needed peace at the beach and makes many new friends but the most important relationship is the one she builds with her mother.  A powerful story about love and loss and forgiveness.  


6. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Den Gemeinhart-- I had gotten this book at the suggestion of another blogger and had no idea it was a middle grade fiction book.  But I am so glad I read it!! It was such a heartwarming & poignant story.  13 year old Coyote and her dad have been travelling the U.S in an old converted school bus for 5 years; ever since her mom and sisters died in a car accident.  Now Coyote is trying to get back home to unearth a memory box she planted with her mother and sisters but doesn't want her father to know their final destination (something rather tricky to work out when he's the one driving).  Along the way they meet some interesting characters and make some new friends.  I really enjoyed this and have been suggesting it to all my nieces.  It definitely is a tear jerker though so make sure you have tissues handy. 


7.  A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber-- Another tear jerker!  I love Debbie Macomber books because they are always filled with such sweet characters.  This book was set in the Oceanside community that is also mentioned in her other book Cottage by the Sea but it is a stand alone book with it's own separate story.  Willa took over as "mom" of the family when her mother died and her father fell apart with his grief.  Her older brother Lucas entered the military and Willa was left to raise her sister Harper.  Willa opened her own bakery and runs a successful business but has always put the needs of her family and business ahead of her own until Harper convinces Willa to take a chance on Sean O'Malley.  Party love story, part family ties and drama it was a great read. 



8.  Always the last To know by Kristan Higgins-- The Frost family has been holding on by a thread.  Mom Barb, a first selectman of a small Ct town and husband John have grown apart over their 50 years of marriage.  Barb's favorite daughter Julia has a near perfect life but has started having panic attacks.  John's favorite Sadie is a struggling artist in New York and all of their lives are torn apart when John has a stroke and secrets, rifts, and old grievances are aired.  Told from alternating perspectives of the whole family it was a great read. 


9.  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate-- While I often read children's books with/to my boys I never add them to my monthly reading.  However, I read this book for myself.  It was mentioned in the Coyote book several times and then throughout the week it kept popping up in other blog posts, conversations with people, etc and I just felt like the universe was telling me to read this book.  So I did & I loved this heart warming story that is based on a true story.  I read it in one morning because it is a quick and easy read but such a heart warming story about a gorilla that has a passion for art and a big heart.


10.  What You Wish For by Katherine Center- I have been seeing a few of her books pop up on almost everyone's book round ups and I had never read anything by her. This one was readily available at my library when I went a bit crazy picking out books a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed this adorable story.  Samantha is a school librarian and finds herself working for her old crush when her favorite boss/ mentor/ surrogate dad dies.  Only her old crush, Duncan is nothing like she remembers him.  This fun loving guy has turned into a real rule follower and a buzz kill.  Samantha is determined to make him remember what he used to be like and find out what happened. 



11.  One Perfect Summer by Brenda Novak-- When Serenity sent her DNA in to one of those DNA matching companies she never expected to find that she had two half- sisters she knew nothing about.  Serenity, Lorelei, and Reagan agree to meet up for a week in Lake Tahoe to try and unravel how they could be related and end up spending the whole summer together.  They bond like sisters and help each other through some pretty tough times.  Serenity who is still reeling after he husband's trial, Lorelei who is questioning her marriage, and Reagan who is at a crossroads with her job and some choices she's made professionally.  I loved this heart warming story of friendship.  



12.  Beach House Memories by Mary Alice Monroe-- The second book in the beach house series is a flashback that Lovie is having just before dying about the one summer she fell in love at the Beach House.  I loved that the whole book was basically one giant flashback and a compelling love story. 


13. Meant to Be by Melody Grace-- A cute if predictable story.  Poppy has just flown to Cape Cod on the day she was supposed to get married. As a romance novelist, Poppy has yet to find her one true love and retreats to her aunt's beach house. She never expected to run into Cooper; a boy that used to tease her when she hung out at the beach in the summer.  Cooper is now a carpenter working on the house next door and they keep running into one another.  It's only the first book in a 15 book series... it was cute and I think I'll probably read a few others here and there when time allows but I don't feel like it was so fantastic that I HAVE to get that next book. 


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Comments

  1. Wow! I am so impressed with how many books you read this month Joanne. That is just awesome and I will add these to my reading list.
    Thanks for the blog visit and enjoy the weekend.
    Julie xo

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    1. Thanks! I don't usually read quite this many but so many of the ones I picked up I just could not put down until I finished them.

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  2. I was watching the Hunger Games on tv this weekend and it just brought the prequel to life in my head!

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    1. Oh I bet! I found myself hoping they'd make it into a movie too.

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  3. I honestly want to read all of these. I love small town stories that are also well-written.

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  4. nice collection of books and they all sound marvelous - I really want to know more about the mural and why it didn't go on display. #MMBC

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    1. It was an amazing story and by the end they did unravel what happened with both the artist and the mural.

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  5. Some really great sounding books here. I may be in my 50s but I still enjoy reading the occasional YA book, you can learn a lot, especially when you are a (older) mother like me with teens. I'm putting up a new monthly book link up on my blog tomorrow, I hope you will join me. #mmbc
    (athomealot.com)

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    1. I like reading YA novels occasionally too. I do think it helps keep me in that younger mindset at times.

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  6. Man, with your busy life, I am always astonished at how much reading you accomplish!

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  7. Wow, seriously impressed with how many books you can read in a month! My goal is to read a dozen a year, lol. xo

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    1. LOL. I am a master at squeaking out time to read here and there.

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  8. I have Coyote Sunrise on my list. I also would like to read The One and Only Ivan!

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    1. They were both such great books! I really enjoyed them. I'm picking up The One and Only Bob today.

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  9. I had NO CLUE that there was a prequel to Hunger Games! I need to get that!

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  10. Well done with your reading and writing your summary! I read a lot in August, too.

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    1. Thanks! I love when I hit a good book stride.

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  11. So many great books/great authors , many I've read and enjoyed. Two for sure will have to now - Center's and Collins new books for sure

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  12. I'm definitely checking some of these out! Thanks for some great suggestions. I've also heard The One & Only Ivan is a great movie so we're hoping to watch it this weekend.

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  13. I totally agree about the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The ending surprised me totally and left me wondering about Lucy. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  14. Great reading month. I'm really curious about Coyote Sunrise. My sister just read Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes. I think it took her a bit to get into but then she ended up enjoying it.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I just loved Coyote Sunrise; it made me cry, it made me laugh, it was fabulous.

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  15. You have me rethinking my decision to avoid Songbirds and Snakes.

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    1. I wasn't going to read it but I am so glad I did.

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  16. It's good to hear that you loved Ballad of Songbirds... I feel like I've only heard negative things, but part of me still wants to read it. I've heard such good things about The One and Only Ivan, I need to read that one.

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    1. I just read The One and Only Bob this weekend (the second book in Ivan series) because it was just THAT cute.

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  17. I read the Beach House this month too. I'm eager to read the rest of the series. I loved Monroe's Summer Girls series.

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    1. I am really enjoying the Beach House series a lot; I like most of her books though. She's such a good writer.

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  18. Big Lies in a Small Town is on my to read list. The Recipe Club sounds like a book I'd enjoy. But according to Goodreads I read it in 2015 and didn't like it. What You Wish For, The One and Only Ivan and Always the Last to Know were great reads.

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    1. I literally laughed out loud and had to read this comment aloud to explain to my family why I was laughing. That sounds so much like something I would do/say and my middle son (my avid reader) agreed! I often think I'd enjoy a book and then read more about it only to realize I had read it-- sometimes I did like it and other time I didn't but it can be hard to keep all these fabulous books straight.

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  19. Popping by from the link up! All the books you read have colorful covers and I like that. I skipped on the hunger games prequel, because I'm not sure I really care about Snow's life before he was President lol. Glad you liked it though!

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    1. Oops, my link! http://bookreviewsbycloudsgirl27.home.blog/2020/09/08/show-us-your-books-june-2020/

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    2. I wasn't sure if I cared enough about Snow either but I figured I couldn't call myself a true fan without at least giving it a shot.

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  20. I did not like Songbirds and Snakes at all. I didn't dislike it enough to quit on it, but it was just so tedious and left me with more questions than it answered.

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    1. I just couldn't believe how much changed from that "Game" to the current ones! He sure had a lot of pent up anger.

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  21. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise has such a cute cover! I need to read it now!

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    1. It was such a sweet story and I was drawn to that cover too. SO cute!

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  22. The kids and I recently watched The One and Only Ivan on Disney+. Now I want to read the book, and the coyote one :) Thanks for sharing and enjoy your month.

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    1. I just finished reading The One and Only Bob too and since I had watched the movie between the two books I heard the narration in Danny De Vito' s voice.

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  23. Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 16, open until September 26!

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  24. I heard there’s a film adaptation of The One and Only Ivan coming out soon! I enjoyed the book so I’m interested in watching it! I enjoyed What You Wish For as well!

    Here are my recent reads, if interested! https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2020/08/august-book-reviews.html

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    1. I watched The One and Only Ivan, Disney did a great job with it!

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