Summer Reading 2016 Wrap Up

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School is back in session here in Colorado, and if that doesn’t signal the end of summer, I’m not sure what does. I feel GREAT about my reading accomplishments this summer. Not only did I get through my Summer Reading Part 1 and Part 2 lists (mostly, more to come), but I also had the opportunity to read some other incredible books that came along.

Whether you are ready for fall reading, or still enjoying the last bits of summer through Labor Day, I highly recommend checking these books out, if you haven’t yet. I have links to their full blog posts. I have split the category into three sections:

  • Highly Recommend (my favorites of the summer reads)
  • Good Summer Reads (ones that I won’t dissuade you from reading)
  • Skip It (at least wait until paperback, or I just can’t recommend)

I have also indicated if they were on my summer reading list or if it was a bonus book that I enjoyed. As you will see, I liked more books than  I disliked – which is always a good sign of summer reading! I hope everyone had as fun of a summer reading as I did!

Highly Recommend

summer reading part 1: The Sound of Glass, by Karen White
Reading Sara Rating: 7.5/10
Quick Blurb: The Sound of Glass is the perfect combination of summer reading – not only is it available in paperback, but there is also a mystery, romance, healing of the soul, and threads of a family that slowly unwrap to something lovely. And it’s all wrapped up with southern charm.

summer reading part 1: The Girls, by Emma Cline
Reading Sara Rating: 9/10
Quick Blurb: There is no doubt that cults have an allure that’s hard to explain or comprehend. The close-knit group, living on the fringe of society, the leader, the danger that feels like freedom- books like this are bound to popular because of that initial enticement. But The Girls will be popular because it is good.

summer reading part 2: Lily and the Octopus, by Steven Rowley
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Quick Blurb: This is one of those debut novels that surprises everyone, for pet lovers and non-pet lovers, you’ll read through this quickly and feel all the same feels you have when you meet someone new and wonderful.

summer reading part 2: You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Quick Blurb: Klein is humorous, real, self-deprecating in a non-depressing way, and is someone that I would love to drink a glass (or six) of wine with.

bonus read: A Man Called Ove, by Fredric Backman
Reading Sara Rating: 10/10
Quick Blurb: This is the most heartwarming story, a perfect summer paperback that will restore your faith in humanity. It is simple but emotional in all of the right ways.

bonus read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by Jack Thorne 
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Quick Blurb: When I began this blog, I had no idea that I would get to write a review on a Harry Potter story, so this is a big bucket list item for me. I love the magical world that JK Rowling created – it was so fun to watch the characters grow up, to be delighted and surprised as a reader each time a new book came out, this is no exception.

bonus read: Along the Infinite Sea, by Beatriz Williams
Reading Sara Rating: 7.5/10
Quick Blurb: Beatriz Williams does not let me down with her summer beach reads. She consistently weaves two stories together and does it with such perfection that I hardly notice when it changes.

bonus read: The Weekenders, by Mary Kay Andrews
Reading Sara Rating: 7.5/10
Quick Blurb: The writing is creative; the characters have depth, and I am still thinking about it a couple of days after reading it.

bonus read: Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
Reading Sara Rating: 8/10
Quick Blurb: Lilac Girls follows three women, going through different things during World War 2 – Caroline, a New York City socialite who is caught in a complicated love triangle, Kasia, a Polish teenager trying to survive with her family, and lastly, Herta, a German Nazi doctor.

Good Summer Reads

summer reading part 1: Modern Lovers, by Emma Stroud
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Quick Blurb: Modern Lovers does what Straub does best: tells stories (that are a little depressing) about marriages and families that are relatable. Zoe and Elizabeth have been best friends since college, former bandmates and now neighbors in a hip Brooklyn neighborhood.

summer reading part 1: Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Reading Sara Rating: 5/10
Quick Blurb: Eligible is a part of the Jane Austen Project – modern retellings of the classic Jane Austen works. This one is based on Pride & Prejudice and set in modern-day Cincinnati.

summer reading part 2: Radio Girls, by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Quick Blurb: Radio Girls was a quick and delightful read. Set in 1926, Masie begins a job at the BBC, a new radio company that is equally exciting and scary to the people of England. Masie starts as a secretary, and only plans on staying until she meets a suitable husband and gets married. All of that changes as she dives headfirst into this new world of broadcasting.

bonus read: Enchanted Islands, by Allison Amend
Reading Sara Rating: 6/10
Quick Blurb: Enchanted Islands tells the story of Frances Conway, who grew up a poor Jewish immigrant in the Midwest. She forms an unlikely friendship with Rosaline Fisher. Their friendship goes through trials, tribulations, and adventures.

bonus read: Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín
Reading Sara Rating: 7/10
Quick Blurb: Brooklyn follows Eilis Lacey as she travels from her small town in Ireland to Brooklyn to start a new life. But it is about so much more than that, as a reader, I cried as she said goodbye to her family, when she receives her first letters from home and starts going to school to when she meets Tony.

Skip It

summer reading part 1: Girls on Fire, by Robin Wasserman
Reading Sara Rating: 4/10
Quick Blurb: In general, I like weird books. Unfortunately, Girls on Fire was weird in a way that did not resonate with me.

summer reading part 1: The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara
Reading Sara Rating: 4/10
Quick Blurb: There are multiple layers to the story of Perina, and I think this novel was written with incredible thoughtfulness and detail. The description of the island (the sounds, nature, the smells, the people) was fantastic. I would read more novels by Yanagihara. But, I wouldn’t read this one again.

summer reading part 2: Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty 
Reading Sara Rating: 5/10
Quick Blurb: Some pieces felt predictable, some were just confusing, and then when the mystery is finally revealed to the reader, it is fairly anti-climactic.

summer reading part 2: A Certain Age, by Beatriz Williams
Reading Sara Rating: 5/10
Quick Blurb: I am still a fan of Beatriz Williams, and will put another one of her books on a reading list next summer, I’m sure. But maybe I’ll just read one a summer for now on.

summer reading part 2: Barkskins, by Annie Proulx
Reading Sara Rating:  Did not Finish!
Quick Blurb: I got about 100 pages in and was not into the characters or the setting. Not sure if I will pick this one back up or not, for now, though, I say skip it.

 

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