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Show Us Your Books–July edition

Is anyone else doing a little happy dance that it’s Show Us Your Books day with me and Steph? I know I’ve said it before but it truly is my favorite day of the month because bookworms unite!!! I love learning what you guys have read and sharing with you my thoughts on what I read this past month. Although, does anyone else feel like it’s been a really long time since the last one? It’s the same 4 weeks as always but it just seems longer for some reason. Things that make you go hmmm, I guess.

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This past month I read 10 books which is a lot, even for me. I had to return Some Luck to the library so I’ll try again with that one in a few months and I gave up on The Universe Versus Alex Woods. I wanted to like it except I just didn’t. It bored me to tears and I gave approximately zero shits about the story. So I let it go.

For the sake of brevity given how many books I read this month, I’m going to keep my reviews shortish (we all know I’m long winded when it comes to book reviews). If you don’t want to read all my reviews, skip right to the end, above the linkup, and you’ll see my must-reads.

Here we go. 

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Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid I truly enjoy her writing and I love the way she handles writing about relationships and marriage in a more accurate, realistic way than most writers. And while I liked the plot, I found myself getting painfully annoyed with Elsie throughout most of the book. Fortunately, the story and the other characters were strong enough to balance her out. 

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill I know this is one of those books that everyone loves and is critically acclaimed and all that jazz but I just found it to be fucking weird. I appreciate the way she wrote it, like some sort of weird, disjointed, stream of consciousness that’s supposed to be all artsy, and she gives wonderful insight into a marriage but honestly, I didn’t love it. If it had been any longer than it was (and it’s short, around 150 pages), I’m not sure I’d have finished it. 

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes A big THANK YOU to NetGalley for having this one available since the release date has been pushed back to February 2016. This is the follow-up to You, which is on my list of 2015 favorites. It again centers on creepy, narcissistic, sociopath Joe, but he lives in California now and has become entangled with a family that’s just as messed up as he is. And while that’s going on, Joe has to deal with his paranoia regarding a small mistake he made in You. The plot’s not quite as disturbing as You but it’s close. And Joe is one of those characters you shouldn’t like but you actually find yourself having a crush on, despite the fact that he’s, you know, CRAZY. 

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty This is the third Liane Moriarty book I’ve written and I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s basically an Australian Jodi Picoult. Her books are formulaic and typically have the same character tropes but the plots are different. I find her to be quite an enjoyable author and I’ll finish reading her back catalog. This one, however, was not my favorite; I found it a little boring and very predictable but I did like how she presented the moral dilemmas about the secret. It made me think about how I would handle that situation and I like when I book makes me think after I’m done with it.

Let It Be by Chad Gayle I would classify this as a good weekend read. As in, it’s a rainy weekend and you’re on the couch and this is a decent way to pass the time. I loved the mom main character, Michelle, and it’s a great story about family but I wasn’t in love with the whole book like I wanted to be. If you’re sensitive to the issue of domestic violence, I would not recommend this book, though, as it’s central to the plot.

The Long Home by William Gay Okay, confession: I learned about this book from James Franco’s Instagram because he’s turned it into a movie and I wanted to read the book first since I love the casting of the movie version (I swear, though, that if it turns out to be the same trainwreck that Serena was, I will be angry). I had mixed feelings about this book. It’s extremely well written and, when you can decipher it, the story is outstanding but it’s often slow and dragging and he uses a lot of what he perceives to be backwoods country talk and that got bothersome to read. 

Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakopolous Have you ever read a book and wanted to climb into it and live there? That’s how I felt about this one. I haven’t felt this strongly about a book since The Art of Racing in the Rain. I wish I could explain why I loved it so much because it’s sad and lonely and not the kind of book you’d expect to fall in love with. But yet, that’s exactly what I did. Because I think, underneath the sadness and desperation, there’s still flashes of hope and recovery from what should have destroyed you. I can relate to that.

Summerlong by Dean Bakopolous He’s my new favorite writer, by the way. I have his other book, My American Unhappiness, on my nightstand to read this month. I truly don’t even know how to review this book. I loved it. A lot. I gave it 4.5 stars rather than 5 only because I don’t like infidelity as entertainment, no matter how relevant to the story it may be, and one character’s name just plucked my nerves. Other than that, this book just hit me in a way that few other books have. All of it. There was not one part that was superfluous or boring or even unbelievable. It makes you feel all the feels. 

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer As the title implies, this is a book about rape and how it’s handled in a college town. Missoula, Montana, to be exact. The meticulously researched stories will make you rage and cry and rage again. I literally have never felt so much anger and disgust while reading a book and, so we’re clear, that rage and disgust was certainly not directed towards the victims. Krakauer does his best to remain unbiased but that’s not always possible and it shows in his writing which is sometimes helpful, sometimes not. (Here’s the Jezebel article that’s often cited in the book: My Weekend in America’s So-Called Rape Capital)

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen I would classify this as a Very Good YA Novel. It had all the elements of a good story, the characters were likable (mostly. Her mother is a terrible person up until the last 20 pages or so and I genuinely hated her but I think that’s the point), you could see them grow throughout the plot, and it had a great, open for interpretation, yet seemingly happy ending. I like that in a book sometimes. Not all endings are concrete and easy. There was nothing overly special about this book but nothing overly terrible, either.

Must reads: Missoula, Summerlong, Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, and Hidden Bodies

Coming up this month: Dirty Rush, One Plus One, My American Unhappiness, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, Shotgun Lovesongs, A Little Life, The Rosie Effect, I Regret Nothing, Love May Fail, and I Know How She Does It. Also on tap is the Wayward Pines trilogy (thank you, Kristen) for when I exhaust all the library books. 

Now it’s your turn. Show me your books!!!

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57 Comments

  1. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    I added Hidden Bodies. Even though I didn’t get as engrossed with You, I still want to read this book. I added Let it Be because they moved to Texas, so there’s that. I added …the Moon book because I like sadness and desperation in books sometimes. I already have a couple of the others on my to read list. Too many books, too little time. Sigh.
    Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yoursMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Let It Be was a decent read but not knock your socks off so I hope you don’t hate it. Hidden Bodies didn’t do it for me like You did (HAHAHAHAHA the way that reads) but I do hope there’s a third book to wrap things up with Joe.

      I want you love Dean’s books like I do.

      Reply
  2. Kerry

    I am so bummed I missed out of Hidden Bodies, it’s not on NetGalley anymore. 🙁 I was not a big fan of The Husband’s Secret either, the ending and the self-righteousness in the woman bothered me. FOrever Interrupted is being added to my list. 🙂
    Kerry recently posted…Getting Back to NormalMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      The self-righteousness in which one because there was a lot of that going on throughout the whole book. Definitely not my favorite of hers.

      Sad you missed out on Hidden Bodies. I wish I could share my copy with you!

      Reply
  3. kathy at real talk

    alex woods??? NOOOOOO!!!! oh, how i loved that book.

    i got the husbands secret after a long wait and it didn’t even capture me in the first 3 chapters so i returned it. so disappointing after all the rave reviews.
    kathy at real talk recently posted…weekending & shizzMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I love how we had complete opposite feelings about the exact same books!! This is why I love books, though. Everyone finds something different.

      Reply
  4. April

    I very much share your sentiment about The Husband’s Secret. I’ve grown weary of Jodi Picoult and her predictable plot lines so I’ll look into a few of your suggestions for next month as well! 🙂
    April recently posted…Show Us Your Books: What I Read in JuneMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Her last few books have been great but still formulaic. Sometimes, for me, I like a good, predictable read.

      Reply
  5. Kay R.

    I read both a Liane Moriarty and a Jodi Picoult this month. I actually liked both even though I agree that they both stick to a particular script… The ones I read tho did differ just a tad from the normal formula. The Husbands Secret was written very similar to Big Little Lies – I agree.

    Im not a huge YA fan but Saint Anything is really surprising me with how good it is. (I havent finished yet)

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Nineteen Minutes was a great choice!

      Saint Anything surprised me, too, because it had the potential, given the plot, to be very, very bad. But it was not.

      Reply
  6. Teh Megan

    Sooo many books added to the TBR list! I’m also glad to see that the mother in Saint Anything gets redeemed. I’m only 16% into it, but I’m looking forward to finishing it.
    Teh Megan recently posted…What I read in JuneMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I don’t know that I’d say she was redeemed, but she definitely becomes less of an asshole. So that was nice. Looking forward to reading what you think of it!

      Reply
  7. Kelli

    I like The Husband’s Secret well enough although I like a few of Moriarty’s other books better too.

    I’ve added Saint Anything to my list, it looks l like open for interpretation endings.
    Kelli recently posted…It’s All About The Books – Vo. 5My Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I hope you like Saint Anything. It’s the Literary Ladies book club choice so it’ll be fun, next month, to see all the different perspectives on it.

      That’s how I felt about The Husband’s Secret. Good but her others are better.

      Reply
  8. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Missoula and You #2 were already on my list, but I added your must reads. I love finding a new favorite author.

    I have a major crush on Joe even though he is a total psycho.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Show Us Your Books: What I Read in JuneMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      RIGHT?! He’s a complete nutbag but you can’t help like him.

      I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Missoula. I had to restrain myself for brevity in this way too long post.

      Reply
  9. lisacng @ expandng.com

    You’re helping me (and I think the rest of this linkup) fill-out my Literary Ladies reading list :). I will add Summerlong and Forever Interrupted (for now).

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Yay for adding two of my favorite authors to your list! Especially Dean Bakopolous.

      Happy to help anytime!

      Reply
  10. ellesees.blogspot.com

    i am really into YA novels lately, so i am loving any and all suggestions. however, i think summerlong will be my next one!
    ellesees.blogspot.com recently posted…How To: Orange Creamsicle NailsMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I have a whole slew of YA books I can recommend if you’d like 🙂

      Summerlong is a wonderful read!

      Reply
  11. Brittany Pines

    I actually read my first Picoult this book & really loved it (House Rules). That being said, it seems most popular authors become really formulaic once they get popular so I could see that.

    Let It Be & Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon have definitely peaked my interest!
    Brittany Pines recently posted…Show Us Your Books Link-Up: What I Read in JuneMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I cannot recommend Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon enough although I’ll admit it’s probably not for everyone. It’s very sad. You can actually feel the sadness through the pages. But I absolutely loved it. Hope you do, too!

      Reply
  12. Rose @ Ramblin' Rose

    I’m going to give Dept of Speculation a try. I’m glad to hear that Missoula was engrossing. I’ve had that on my list. I generally enjoy the way Krakauer puts a story together.
    Rose @ Ramblin’ Rose recently posted…June Book ReviewsMy Profile

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  13. Julia @ Grace Makes New

    I really liked The Husband’s Secret but it’s the only Moriarty book I’ve read so far, I can see how it would get old if she sticks to a similar formula for every book!
    Julia @ Grace Makes New recently posted…Fridayeeee!My Profile

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  14. Nadine

    I haven’t read You yet, it is on my summer reading challenge list so I didn’t read the rest of Hidden Bodies description once I figured that out. I have Husband’s Secret on my challenge list too. Glad to hear it at least made you think!!! Forever, Interrupted sounds great and I went to add it to my list only to realize it is already there.

    I completely agree with you about Sydney’s mom in Saint Anything.
    Nadine recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Right? She was a huge asshole.

      I hope you like You. It’s so fucked up but worth being creeped out.

      Reply
  15. Christina

    I’m still on the hold list for Missoula and I added Summerlong a few weeks ago, but I’m pretty far down the line. Boo! I also put You on my list and can’t wait to get into it and read the sequel…next year. 🙁
    Christina recently posted…What I Read In JuneMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I was thrilled to have gotten my hands on Hidden Bodies because like a week later I found out the release date was pushed back. I felt victorious.

      Summerlong came in pretty quick for me, as did Missoula. I sometimes question the reading choices of the residents of my state.

      Reply
  16. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    You read so MANY books this month. I just finished Dept. of Speculation, I liked it, but can see how it would not be for everyone. Don’t Come Back From The Moon sounds good!! I’m adding that one for sure! So many good recommendations!
    Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage recently posted…Show Us Your Books: JuneMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      It was just SO WEIRD. And confusing at times. Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon is phenomenal. I hope you like it!

      Reply
  17. Emma @EverEmma

    I haven’t read any of these! I finished After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid in June and LOVED it so I’ve added both of her other books to my TBR list! I really need to step up my reading game!
    Emma @EverEmma recently posted…2015 Reading Habits Part IMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      That was the first one of hers that I read, too. I’m excited to get ahold of her new one that came out last week.

      Reply
  18. Heather @ I do what I want.

    I’m behind on my Goodreads reading challenge, so love getting new books to add to my to read list from y’all’s linkup! I was just in Missoula, Montana last month, so I definitely added that one to my list!
    Heather @ I do what I want. recently posted…Pool-ingMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Depending on what you thought of the town, it’ll definitely make you think about it differently.

      Reply
  19. kristen

    i felt the same way about saint anything. it wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t bad. forever interrupted is on my list, so is dept of speculation (thinking i might get rid of that one..) and the Dean Bakopoulos books. I totally know what you mean about Liane Moriarty, I have only read one of her books lol but they all sound the same!
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’d put Dept. of Speculation at the bottom. It’d be a good book to read on a short flight. So glad you added Dean’s books to your list. I heart him.

      Reply
  20. Kimmi

    Yep Hidden Bodies and Summerlong are on my list! Both sound SO GOOD!
    Kimmi recently posted…Show Us Your Books: June ReadsMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Can’t wait to read what you think of both!

      Reply
  21. Nicole

    I enjoyed the husband’s secret when I read it last year. I haven’t read any other of Moriarty’s books yet but that one did make me want to.

    I LOVED “You” and I’m kinda jealous you got to read the sequel to it! haha
    Nicole recently posted…What I Read in the Past MonthMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’m so glad I found the NetGalley copy when I did. I think I saw the author mention something on Twitter so I made sure to get mine 🙂 It’s a great sequel. And February will be here soon!

      Reply
  22. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I will be linking up my June books post tomorrow but I read and posted about You by Caroline Kepnes. Wasn’t one of my favorites but was definitely a suspenseful read. I didn’t realize that there’s going to be a sequel! I enjoyed and read Saint Anything last month as well!
    Nancy @ NY Foodie Family recently posted…Family Foodie Fun: Cupcake WarsMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I’ll make sure to check out what you thought of both 🙂

      Reply
  23. alyssa

    I’ve read two books by Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air and Into the Wild) and I know he’s a fantastic writer and investigative journalist…and I’m terrified to read Missoula because I know how enraged and then how sad it’ll make me, but I do really want to check it out. Do you think it would benefit from taking a long time to read, and maybe reading it alongside something else, more light-hearted?
    alyssa recently posted…Putting it Into WordsMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I think that would be a good idea. I actually did something similar. I didn’t want to read a book that heavy and serious right before bed so I kept Missoula to my afternoon/evening reading and then something else right before I went to sleep. I’m not sure it’ll even take a long time to read. It doesn’t read as easy as Into the Wild but it’s not textbook dense, either.

      Reply
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  25. Gwen

    You’re not imagining things – it’s been 5 weeks since the last linkup, which makes it even sadder as to how far behind I am in reading!

    I’m cracking up at your James Franco confession. I feel like I want to read Missoula, but also maybe not because of how angry I might get. I definitely added Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon because I absolutely loved your description of it.
    Gwen recently posted…Book TalkMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Thank you! That extra week makes a huge difference!!!

      I don’t know what’s funnier–that I follow James Franco or that I got a book recommendation from his account. Missoula is a hard book to get through. Absolutely. But I’m glad I read it, if that helps you make a decision.

      Reply
  26. Kate

    I am definitely going to check out Summerlong and his other books!
    Kate recently posted…Coast to coast, chapter by chapterMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Another Dean Bakopolous reader in the making! YAY!

      Reply
  27. Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife

    Quick Question: Do you think the Sarah Dessen books are appropriate for “my” 13 year old daughter? She is running out of books to read. I’m desperate for YA books or other books that are okay-ish for her to read. She read Where did you go Bernadette, after I did and enjoyed it. However I think Eleanor and Park and Fan Girl (I read both) are bit much for her even though they are considered YA.
    Thanks.
    Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife recently posted…ABCs of MeMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      I think she’d be okay with E&P. Probably not Fangirl. But the one book by Sarah Dessen that I read, yes, I think it’d be appropriate for her. You could always read it first if you’re concerned. Also, if she has not read it yet, have her read Wonder by RJ Palacio. You should read it, too. It’s fantastic!

      Reply
      1. Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife

        THANK YOU! We requested Wonder from the library and are waiting for our turn…
        Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife recently posted…Six months from today…My Profile

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  28. Kristen

    It felt longer between link-ups for me this time as well. Last week I was wondering why the Show Us Your Books! posts weren’t popping up in my Bloglovin’ feed.

    You is on my “To Read” list, and I’ve already added Hidden Bodies based on the wonderful reviews everyone seems to give You. I’m glad that the second book in the series didn’t disappoint!
    The Husband’s Secret is already on my list as well. I just finished Big Little Lies recently, and it was my favorite recently read book. It sucks that this one was predictable! I loved Liane Moriarty’s writing style in Big Little Lies, though, so I’ll still give this one a try.

    I’ll have to check out Dean Bakopolous. The books you mentioned here both sound great!
    Kristen recently posted…From the Bookshelf: Recently Read – July 2015 EditionMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      His books are amazing. AMAZING. I think Big Little Lies is my favorite of hers thus far. I’m going to read a couple more of her old one but she’s an author who, even if she’s predictable, I’ll still read what she writes because she tells good stories.

      Reply
  29. Alison @ Puppies & Pretties

    Oh no, the Serena movie is bad? I still haven’t seen it, even though I want to. Heck, once I realized it was getting made into a a movie and J.Law was in it I requested the book ASAP from the library.
    Alison @ Puppies & Pretties recently posted…Zebra PantsMy Profile

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