Hey, everyone! I hope that the start to everyone’s month has been productive. I’ve been really busy around my neck of the woods with some new stuff going on in my life (that I’m totally sharing about later this week – I promise!), but it’s all good things that just need some transition time to get rhythms in place. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my nose in a book, so here’s three more reads from the month of July. I would recommend giving all of them a try, honestly! Enjoy.
“One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.”
MY THOUGHTS: After abandoning a few books this month because they weren’t my jam, this was such a breath of fresh air! This gets a solid 4.5 stars from me. This was the first book I had read from Fiona Davis, but I definitely plan to read her other novel now too! This novel has wonderful historical details, well-developed characters, plenty of twists and turns (many that I didn’t see coming), and great execution of one foot in the past and the other in the “present” (1985, in this case). The ending might seem cliche to some, but I enjoyed it. It seemed to fit with the rest of the story. I also didn’t like the “present” storyline as much as the past, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker. I definitely recommend this!
READ THIS IF: You enjoy historical fiction, like alternating narrators, and love a mystery.
“The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear. But when Virgil happens upon the fleeing magician and takes her into custody, she has a very different story to tell. Even handcuffed and alone, Arden is far from powerless—and what she reveals is as unbelievable as it is spellbinding. Over the course of one eerie night, Virgil must decide whether to turn Arden in or set her free… and it will take all he has to see through the smoke and mirrors.”
MY THOUGHTS: This is actually 4.5 stars from me! What a seriously interesting, mysterious, and unique read. I love most books that have something to do with magic or circuses and the like and this was no exception. The story completely sucked me in. This was one that I sat in my driveway longer than planned just so I could listen to the CD more!
Macallister’s writing flows beautifully (for the most part). This was a “one foot in the past, one in the present”-style book, at the “past” storyline was gorgeous. Completely sucked me in. The “present” storyline not so much. These sections were much shorter, though, so that’s why it only lost half a star for me. This will be one that I recommend to a lot of my friends!
TRY THIS IF: You need a little magic in your life, need to get lost in a good story, or love a strong female lead. Great for fans of The Night Circus!
“In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether. Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel’s difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon’s home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known—her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy—reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.”
MY THOUGHTS: First of all, the fact that this is a debut novel surprises me! I wouldn’t have ever guessed. Really, this is 3 1/2 stars. I read this while on my lunch breaks at work for a couple weeks and I think reading it in small chunks was a good idea. There’s a lot that happens and within the chapters there are smaller sections that are easy breaking points.
The writing and style is unique. Sometimes it was a little weird for me (and I even contemplated abandoning it at a couple points), but it fits perfectly with the personalities of Mel and Sharon. I loved the exploration of their personal friendship and how it evolves along with their professional partnership. This would be a great book to discuss with a group! I laughed out loud at several parts of this and cried at others. That’s when you know you’ve got something special in your hands.
There you have it! My final three reads for the month of July. In total, that’s 13 books! I definitely count that as a win. I’ve been doing my best to pick up a book more often than my phone and I think this shows that it’s working. You can see part one of my July book report HERE and part two HERE. The two books indicated with an asterisk were provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are always my own!
Since I only shared about three books in this post, here’s what I’m currently reading. Stay tuned for thoughts on these books in August!
Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
The Memory Box by Eva Lesko Natiello
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling