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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Books of July 2015

July is over?! For a month with thirty-one days it sure went fast. I went to Ontario for a week with Alex's family and spent the rest of the month working on freelance. Besides long group runs on the weekends, I don't remember anything else from the month of July... Maybe I spent my free time reading. I finished four books on vacation, but ten total!

Finished July 7, 2015
by Kate Racculia

Review: 5 / 5 
I'm not sure if this is a true 5 (as in, "favorite book ever" status), but I didn't want to stop reading. 

There's not much to say about this one. Really enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the mystery. (Don't read the summary as it gives away one thing that happens about 50 pages in.) I'd watch a (well done) movie or mini series of this in a heartbeat. I can picture Brodie and the Hatmakers now...

Finished July 5, 2015
by Marissa Meyer

Review: 4 / 5 
I would have never picked this up based on the cover or the description, but I would have been wrong. (Thanks, Tricia!) 

I really enjoyed the story; even knowing the basic Cinderella structure going in. It's a nice change of pace to have a future society based in Asia, complete with nods to ancient culture and a great urban setting. Cinder wasn't a bumbling idiot and even when she expressed doubt near the end, it wasn't too frustrating. I enjoyed her mechanical skills and maybe found the bioelectric stuff more interesting because we watched the movie Lucy last night (which is not very good, but an interesting premise). Ultimate twist wasn't a surprise... but maybe it wasn't supposed to be. 

Anyway, fun, fast sci fi read. Wish this wasn't a series, but I'll keep reading!

Finished July 14, 2015
by Megan Abbott

Review: 4.5 / 5 
Wowee this ended up being very ... creepy. Without going into details, I see why this isn't considered a "Teen" book at my local library. It had some Gillian Flynn vibes, though not quite that messed up. 

Very interesting read. Wild how Lizzie viewed events as details unfolded...

Finished July 15, 2015
by Sarah Dessen 

Review: 3.5–4 / 5 
Not a nail-biter or page-turner, but it felt true to the characters and situations. Some frustrating bits, but Sydney was a solid main character. Another Dessen book that takes place in the rich Arbors neighborhood with mentions of past characters and places.

Finished July 16, 2015
by E.L. James

Review: 3.5 / 5 
Honestly, the author is a better writer these days. (I'm sure it helps she isn't writing via text on her commute to work and posting a chapter a night online.)

Anyway, critics who hated Christian (honestly I doubt they even read the other books) may enjoy the insight into his mind. He grows as a character and person, which I enjoyed. 

Not a masterpiece, but entertaining. Kind of wish I had book one to compare scenes but maybe that's too much work...

Finished July 18, 2015
by Lauren Oliver

Review: 4 / 5 
So happy this isn't a series. Wasn't sure I'd enjoy this at first but it grew on me. I think it's one of the better Lauren Oliver books.

Finished July 23, 2015
by Leanne Brown

Review: 5 / 5 
Reserved this from the library eons ago, but I don't remember where I read about it. I didn't end up making anything (yet), but now I follow her blog. 

Pros: Low cost tasty meals, price breakdown and serving size for each recipe, easy to follow instructions, and full color photos for EVERY recipe (this is important to me)

Cons: The only improvement I can think of: calling out the prep and cook times at the top of each recipe.

Finished July 24, 2015
by Aziz Ansari

Review: 4 / 5 
I appreciate that Aziz consulted several sociologists, anthropologists, and focus groups for the book. I didn't expect it to be much more than a written form of his latest stand up about texting, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it was very informative. It was kind of like a funny textbook. I felt like the stories and data presented were well-researched and I learned some things about modern dating/romance. 

(I listened to the audiobook so I missed out on some of the graphs, but I have a print copy coming my way, so I'll be able to give a more complete review.) 

Finished July 30, 2015
by J.K. Rowling

Review: 4 / 5 
Amazon kept recommending so I figured I'd better read. Short and sweet. I hope those Harvardites took it to heart. Especially part two about imaging the lives of others and using their privilege to help...

Finished July 30, 2015
by Jacob M. Appel 

Review: 4.5–5 / 5 
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

Definitely one of the best short story collections I've read. In most collections there are one or two stand-out stories and the rest are filler, but this was a well-curated collection. I read a story a day (to keep each separate in my mind) and appreciated the variety of subjects and odd humor within the eight stories. The Rod of Asclepius was particularly weird (in a good way)...  

- - - - - - - -

As always, these reviews were ripped from my Goodreads.

What did you read in July? 
What are you reading now? 

What I'm looking forward to: An out of town friend wants to start a book club. Her first choice is The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's not my normal fare, so we'll see how it goes. 

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