July Book Reviews

I didn’t read quite as many books this month as past months, but I actually physically read more than I listened, and that is a slower pace for me. I also have two books that I started in the last half of July and will likely soon finish.

So what did I read?

July book reviews

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I’m using the Goodreads rating system. 3 stars= I liked it. That can seem like a bad thing if a book doesn’t get 4 or 5 stars, but for me 3 is I liked it but there was nothing special or exciting. It does not mean it’s not worth reading.

1- The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson. Kindle Unlimited and Audible. Nina Popkins is looking for her birth mother and family after the passing of her adopted mother. She also gets involved in a new relationship that goes up and down. I read and loved Dawson’s Match Making for Beginners. I also love Amy McFadden as a narrator so I was expecting to like listening to and reading this one. This one did not disappoint. It was a fun entertaining read and yet the characters still had some depth. They are not necessarily characters I would hang out with in real life, but fun to read their story. 4 stars

2- The Conviction by Robert Dugoni I read and listened via Kindle Unlimited and Audible. This is my third Dugoni book and I’m still impressed at his effort to do his research and get the working of the legal system correct in his books. This is one of his David Sloane books. Sloane is an attorney. He takes in his stepson who has gotten in some legal trouble and takes him on a camping trip with a friend. His son gets in more trouble, along with Sloane’s friend’s son, and finds himself victim of a corrupt good ol boy backwoods legal system where the judge does whatever he wants. Sloane and his friend fight to get their kids out of a boot camp and out of danger. There is a fun surprising twist at the end. 4 stars

3- The Woman in Cabin 10- Ruth Ware- Read and listened via Scribd. At times the narrator’s accent got on my nerves, but that’s just me. I have to listen to the British accents in small doses. I’m sure they would feel the same about listening to my southern accent.

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, is given given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. ” Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…” Lo isn’t taken very seriously because she has anxiety issues, drinks a lot and takes a lot of medication. Parts of this moved a little slow, but it was written so well I though I was stuck on that cruise ship with these people. I loved the twist at the end and even better, the final twist. This is my first Ruth Ware read and I will probably read more. 4 stars

4- Beneath the Scarlet Sky- Mark Sullivan- This has been in my kindle unlimited que forever and I kept skipping over it. I have no idea why. A historical fiction based on a true story, it deals with World War II in Italy. Oh my! It was a good refresher in history and such a beautiful story about family, love, and coming of age. Pino Lella is an Italian boy forced by his family to join the Germany army. He sees and does things in a three year period that can never be unseen. Spoiler alert: He uses his position in the German army to turn spy. It also gives him an opportunity to find his true love. This is a must read. 5 stars I read via Kindle Unlimited and listened to parts on Audible.

Non-fiction

5-Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover – I lucked up on a hardcover copy at my local thrift store for $1 and the audio version became available on Scribd so I alternated between listening and reading. Tara Westover was born to an anti- government survivalist family and did not go to school until she was 17. Once she made the decision to go and seek another life, she was transformed. This book is real and raw! A great reminder of the varied backgrounds we come from. Some people say they could not put this book down. I had to put it down and walk away from the anger it stirred in me over the treatment she endured from her father and one brother and sometimes her mother. This book meets all the hype. Another must read. 5 stars

6- How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30 day plan to take back your life- I listened to the audio version on Scribd in one day, in a little over 4 hours. so I’m guessing it would be a short read too. Are you addicted to your phone? or the apps and internet inside? Constantly seeking for some feel good news in your email? You need to read this and learn about how devices and apps were designed to be addictive and how they dumb us down and cause us to lose our ability to focus. I am far from addicted to my phone and mine goes on the counter when I get home and stays there until the next morning most nights. (The best cure for phone addiction is to be on call 24/7 and have to listen to one all the time for work! ) Yet I still gleaned lots of good info from this book. I’m also pleased that the author said what she was going to say and said it promptly, with info to support it. Most self help books go on and on about what they are going to tell you and how wonderful your life will be and then finally tell you the how to. Just get to the point. But if they did, they would have less than 20 pages, lol. This book flows well without all the repeated fluff. 4 stars.

Speaking of self help books, I had one DNF this month. I have read good things about Fear is My Homeboy so I started it on Scribd. I got to about 40% and just gave up. I just couldn’t get with the style or the message. I think there is still a good message in there somewhere, but I just couldn’t endure this one to the end.

What did you read last month?

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Life According to Steph