July Reads | The Life of K: July Reads

Friday, August 7, 2015

July Reads

I'm happy to report that I'm well on my way to my goal of reading 50 books this year. It's nice to pack the first half of the year so I can coast a bit in the second half. With all the cottage time and travel time this summer I feel like I haven't been reading as much. Plus, when I finally get to bed, where I do most of my reading, I'm so exhausted that I normally fall asleep with my book open and my light on. Anyone else have that problem? J laughs at me and shakes his head. He just doesn't understand!

So these are the books I read last month. A House in the Sky took me a LONG time, but it was worth it. It was my favourite of the month.

34. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

From Goodreads: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

What I thought: I read earlier the books by Perkins that come after this one, so I knew how it turned out. Like the other books, it's a good story, but I think I'm getting tired of the YA genre. Silly teenagers.

35. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

From Goodreads: An idyllic suburban town. A devastating discovery. Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever.

At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town's prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she wound up among the fallen leaves. But among the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town's local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried so hard to bury. But the history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation unravels a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale's white picket fences.

Told from the perspectives of three Ridgedale women, Kimberly McCreight's taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth behind the tragedy, revealing that these women have far more in common than they could have ever known. That the very worst crimes are committed against those we love. And that—sooner or later—the past catches up to all of us.

What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting, with adult characters doing adult things, and mystery that I couldn't solve ahead of time. I really got into it and read it quickly.

36. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads: "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?

What I thought: This book made me uncomfortable - the characters, the premise, the story. Not a bad book, but not one I'd really recommend.

37. The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

From Goodreads: Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one she let get away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island -- home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.

Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.

As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around -- and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

What I thought: This is my second book from Moriarty and again I found it hard to get in to. There are so many characters, but once I was a few chapters in and the story was starting to unfold, I found it hard to put down. It was a mystery with a not-so-satusfying ending.

38. A House in the Sky: A Memoir by Amanda Lindhout

From Goodreads: As a child, Amanda Lindhout escaped a violent household by paging through issues of National Geographic and imagining herself in its exotic locales. At the age of nineteen, working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, she began saving her tips so she could travel the globe. Aspiring to understand the world and live a significant life, she backpacked through Latin America, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, and emboldened by each adventure, went on to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a television reporter. And then, in August 2008, she traveled to Somalia—“the most dangerous place on earth.” On her fourth day, she was abducted by a group of masked men along a dusty road.

Held hostage for 460 days, Amanda converts to Islam as a survival tactic, receives “wife lessons” from one of her captors, and risks a daring escape. Moved between a series of abandoned houses in the desert, she survives on memory—every lush detail of the world she experienced in her life before captivity—and on strategy, fortitude, and hope. When she is most desperate, she visits a house in the sky, high above the woman kept in chains, in the dark, being tortured.

Vivid and suspenseful, as artfully written as the finest novel, A House in the Sky is the searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity.

What I thought: This real-life account of a journalist being kidnapped in Somalia was a tough read. Like Krakauer's books (Into Thin Air and Into the Wild) it really gave context to the concept, i.e. it made me really understand the day-to-day of what being kidnapped would be like. A lot of long hours waiting, a lot of scary times, a lot of unpleasant situations... It's gritty and raw so don't read it if you're a sensitive person.

I recently finished The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill and have started something new, but tell me what you're reading these days. Have you ever challenged yourself to read more?

Disclaimer: I used affiliate linking because why not? If you click a link and buy something I'll get a few cents.. or something. It hasn't happened yet, but don't let that stop you!


  1. I used to always have a book on the go but it would take a long time to get through it. I never really challenged myself until I found Goodreads through one of your posts. Their Reading Challenge tracker is a great tool to keep everything logged.

    Right now I'm reading the last book in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy. Not sure if I'd recommend this one. It kind of drags on and not much is happening.

  2. Hey! We have the same GoodReads goal for the year! This is the first year post-kids I've started reading again. It reminded me how much I missed it.

    Where They Found Her is on my list too - maybe I'll bump it up based on your review - Louise