Friday, September 1, 2017

August Books

I promised myself to read lighter fiction this month. That is just what I did! Best reading decision. I've been in a bit of a reading slump. Summer is usually when I read all the books. Yet, I have averaged one or two books a month for the past several months. I read a lot of heavy material and I think my brain and heart were overwhelmed. So, I decided to take the pressure off myself and escape to a happier (reading) place.

Earlier this summer, Janssen at Everyday Reading, excitedly shared her reading and re-reading love of Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before series. The last book in the series, Always and Forever Lara Jean, had just come out and Janssen was devouring the entire series (multiple times) over a couple week period. I completely trust this book blogger. She writes intelligent posts with beautiful pictures. She is a mother of 4. Roughly the same age as me. But young adult love story? Um, it's not really my thing. So I cataloged it in my brain as maybe someday in the distant future which means never. 

Then came August and I was feeling burnt out on all the heavy fiction I had been reading. For 7 full months, I had read books about racism, slavery, murder, immigration, on and on. While these are all worthwhile topics to explore, a person can only take so much. My brain was in need of a break. So, I tried to find something to fit my light and fluffy need and came up short. I revisited the Jenny Han series and decided to give it a try. Let me say, I was so impressed. I think the thing which most appealed to me was how my teen self related to the main character. She has this naivety about her and doesn't really fit into the mold of typical teenage girl. Then she is thrust into the dating scene and changes in her family. The reader watches her grow, mature, and solidify her values/beliefs. The author is very realistic. She does not paint a perfect picture of a teen character. Lara Jean is surrounded by bad decision makers and semi-rough characters. It might be a little shocking that an author is exposing teen readers to these ideas but boiled down It's real life.  I always appreciate an author who writes real life.

After I read book one, I went straight to my library for book #2 P.S. I Still Love You. It continues to follow Lara Jean's journey of growing and learning in her junior year of high school. 

Book #3 Always and Forever Lara Jean was a bit of a wait because my library didn't have a copy. I went with an online audiobook which had a fun narrator. Always a plus! I thought the story tied up nicely with some unexpected endings. The Lara Jean series definitely fit the bill for light reading and it wasn't nearly as angsty or annoying as I imagined. If anything, it was a throw back to earlier years :)

This month I signed up for Netgalley, a website that gives readers a chance to read advanced copies of soon to be published books. I love it! Here is why Netgalley works for me. #1- My local library is not awesome. Sad but true. Generally speaking, they buy only Book of The Month new releases and anything by mainstream authors (Danielle Steel, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, etc). That's it. I get it...the population is older, those books get a lot of press, they have a tiny budget. However, this means contemporary authors/series and diverse books (what I read) are not stocked. #2- I don't typically buy books from retail stores. Which means I have to wait until someone reads their brand new book, donates it to a thrift store/library sale, and I show up the day it is put on the shelf. You can see how often that happens :) Under these circumstances,  Netgalley is perfect for me because I get to read new books. I can't always get the next bestsellers (like Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere)  but there are plenty of great books to chose from.

Made In Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer was my first pick. This will be a debut novel catalogued under the Chick Lit or Escapist genre. If that is your thing, I think you might love it. The projected release date is currently January 2018. If the editor takes out the right stuff and adds more character development  for everyone, this book has the potential to be big. The main plot of Match In Manhattan is following Alison, the main character as she dates online matches over the course of a year. You read her (mis)adventures of 21st century dating while laughing over witty banter. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

My last book in August was Broadcast by Liam Brown. I think this is going to get a lot of press. My money is on good press. Broadcast reminds me of the innovation of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline while still maintaining originality (if that makes sense). What I'm trying to say is it doesn't feel like a copycat. The premise is taking social media and blogging/vlogging to a new level.What does that mean for privacy or security? Who is benefiting from this information? I enjoyed the book. I thought it was really well written and flowed well. The book is set to be released September 15th. 

Now the fun begins as I think about September reading. I'm not quite sure what direction I'll go. Reading not-so-serious stuff seems to be working, so I might stick with that. Or maybe throw in one or two serious books.  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng comes out September 12th which is at the top of my list. So many choices! Have you read anything great that you think I would love?

Linking up for all the book reviews your brain can process in one day with Jana, Stephanie, and Narci.

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  1. I've heard great things about that series! But I too have held back because it seemed really teeny-bobby! That's also really cool you get to read advanced copies of books! You can scout out all the good ones ahead of time!

  2. I'm totally with you about needing some lighter books sometimes, and I'm glad that you were able to take a mental break with reading. Also welcome to the Netgalley club! It sounds like you're already loving it!

  3. Hurrah for Netgalley!

    Loved the Pines series. I devoured them.

  4. I am looking forward to Little Fires Everywhere sometime this fall even though I haven't read her other book yet. That's such a bummer about your library but it sounds like Netgalley will really work for you overall!!

  5. I've read just the first books in Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before and the Summer series. I'm so bad about sticking with series! I also recently joined NetGalley too!

  6. I love NetGalley! It's the greatest (even if I'm insanely behind on reading the books I've received)

    I read a lot of heavy books, too, and sometimes you just need something light to balance it out.

  7. The Jenny Han series looks really cute, maybe I'll give it a try. Netgalley also sounds really cool!

  8. Match Made in Manhattan sounds really good!

  9. LARA JEAN HAS MY HEART. Seriously, I loved that series so much. The last one not as much, but they were all so sweet. They had such a Little Women vibe to them to me with the sisterhood. And I loved how quirky and thoughtful the characters were. I recently read Jenny Han's "Summer" series, but it did not have the same heart by a mile. I'm so glad you are enjoying these! Here super late from SUYB. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things