July Reading Wrap Up
Books,  Wrap Ups

Books I Read in July

Another month full of lots of reading! I don’t know if it’s my competitive nature (with myself) or the increased downtime due to COVID-19, but I am still so excited about all the books I am getting through. I’ve read some that have been on my list for ages, some recommended by friends, and some brand new finds. Let’s get into what I read during the month of July.

Books I Read in July 2020

1// Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders — Audiobook
I’m upset that I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to. I listened to the audiobook since the full cast was raved about, but I never really connected with it. Lincoln in the Bardo takes place over one night in a graveyard after President Lincoln’s son dies from an ongoing illness. A whole slew of ghosts are interacting with each other and telling their stories and fighting to be heard. What’s supposed to be funny and engaging just didn’t click with me. I might try to read the physical copy sometime soon since I really thought I would love this book. 2/5 stars

2// The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton
This was a fine book. It operates on the premise that to have a good work-culture, just don’t hire assholes. Pretty simple, right? It didn’t really open my eyes to much, but I could see it being helpful to people who may work with a certified asshole or people who are managers. I read this for one of my book clubs, and while it wasn’t a total waste of time, there are probably better books out there about work-culture. 3/5 stars

3// The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — E-Book
I absolutely loved The Hate U Give. It is about a girl named Starr who seems to be leading a double-life – at her prep-school, she’s one Starr, and in her neighborhood, she’s a completely different girl. One night, her best friend, Khalil, is driving her home after a party when they get pulled over. Khalil is frustrated but ultimately, does what the officer says. He makes one move, and the cop shoots him — multiple times. He dies in Starr’s arms. As the only witness to the incident, Starr has to decide between telling her story or protecting her family from people who might want revenge. It’s obviously a very timely read with everything that has been going on in the U.S. with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and unfortunately many others. Some scenes are heartbreaking but necessary to open your eyes to the injustices in this world. Highly recommend for readers of any age. 4/5 stars

4// One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus — E-Book
Addy, Bronwyn, Cooper, and Nate are all being accused of murdering their classmate, Simon. Simon died in detention after ingesting peanut oil, which he is highly allergic to, and everyone has something to hide about that day. I loved the twists and turns of this book; it kept me entertained without going too over the top. You get to see the story from everyone’s perspective, and there are some really lovely relationship developments between love interests and family members alike along the way. 4/5 stars

5// How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs — Audiobook
This collection of short stories was exactly what I was looking for when I picked this book up. I connected with some more than others, but I loved the culture woven throughout each story. My parents are Jamaican immigrants, so I loved getting a little bit of insight into what they might have been feeling when they moved to the states. Definitely recommend for a light but impactful read. 4/5 stars

6// Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering — E-Book
(A little bit of a spoiler.) Up until the last 30 pages, I really thought I was going to give this book 2 stars, but Lovering managed to turn it around. Lucy falls head-over-heels in love with Stephen during her freshman year at college, and he has no idea what he has in front of him. The two have undeniable chemistry, but Stephen is nothing but bad news. You learn all about their tumultuous relationship from both of their alternating perspectives throughout the book jumping from the present day back through the history of their relationship. I think I mostly hated this book because I saw myself in Lucy so much. I too had a guy I ruined friendships for and let treat me like dirt for far too long, and it broke my heart seeing her make dumb decision after dumb decision. In the end, I like the lesson of this book — you aren’t alone in falling for the wrong guy, but you’ve got to learn from it and never let anyone take you for granted again. It also has a strong storyline about dealing with trauma, developing strong female relationships. Trigger warning for eating disorders. 4/5 stars

7// My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Korede’s sister is a serial killer, and Korede is always picking up the pieces. It never sits well with her, but she is particularly troubled when Ayoola starts dating the man Korede has been in love with for months. When their relationship starts to pick up, Korede has to choose between staying loyal to her sister or protecting the man who could be her future. A weirdly moving story about the bond of sisterhood. 4/5 stars

8// The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes — E-Book
Alice isn’t happy in her marriage. She isn’t happy in her new town. But she is happy when she’s delivering books to people in the mountains through the traveling library. Alice and her fellow librarians tackle a lot of important issues, the most important being that domestic abuse is never okay. When Margery is arrested on suspicion of killing a man in town, everyone must band together to prove her innocence. I thought this was a wonderful book about the power of libraries and true friendship. 3/5 stars

9// I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown — E-Book
This was the antiracist book I read this month. As a practice, I don’t rate these books since I read them for my own education, and as a white person in America, I can’t judge a Black person’s experiences. I really liked Brown’s book because she shares some remarkable, eye-opening experiences that help the reader learn about what it’s like to be Black in a white-dominant society. No star rating.

10// Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson — E-Book
I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed by this book. I have heard nothing but good things, but I felt like it was lacking a lot of development. This book takes place at a remote school, Ellingham, in Vermont for particularly gifted students. Each student has a focus whether it be acting, writing, or in Stevie’s case, solving crime. Stevie goes to Ellingham to solve the Ellingham murders — a case that happened nearly eighty years ago, but when one of her classmates is murdered, her attention shifts. I didn’t mind the storyline, but I felt like it all happened so fast! One day she shows up at school and the next she’s making out with her upstairs neighbor in her bedroom. She doesn’t do yoga standing next to her friend once and everyone hates her? It all felt a little forced to me. It also ends on a “To Be Continued” which feels like a childish, sloppy writing style to me. All in all, not the biggest fan. 3/5 stars

Happy reading,
Kimberly

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