I have something super exciting to share before I get into August’s book reviews: my book club has gone digital. Inspired by the What Should I Read Next? podcast that my book club leader has been listening to lately, she brought up the idea of forming an Instagram account where we share what we’re reading and where we’re reading, along with other book-loving goodness, with other people in the hopes we can help them find their “next great read.” We coined our account “Our Storied Lives” and I’d love for you to give us a follow! It would mean the world to all of us! (We’re signing our posts with our initial and an emoji. My emoji is the anchor, because of course.)
So, with that bit o’ news shared, let’s jump right into what I read in August. I felt like this was a slower reading month, probably because I was busy with freelance work and packing and shopping for my new place, so reading fell a bit on the back burner. I still read 6 books, most of which were romance.
This was a free Kindle book that I bought awhile ago because I thought the premise sounded interesting: a woman is tasked by her boss to hand-deliver a message to his estranged son and to try and get the two of them on speaking terms again. It’s a completely inappropriate request, but she does it and, surprise, said son is a hunk and the woman falls for him. The book was okay, but did solidify for me why I stay away from free or cheap Kindle romances: they usually aren’t very good. This was a self-published title that could have really used a strong editor because it just lacked a bit of depth. I also laughed at the disclaimer: “This book is for adults only. It contains hot sexual scenes.” LOLZ. It’s a romance novel; that’s kinda expected.
I really loved this novel. In fact, I’m surprised at how much I loved it because I didn’t think I would. It follows a very dysfunctional and fairly unredemptive family, the Plumbs, after one of the siblings, Leo, gets into a car accident with a woman who is most assuredly not his wife and has to draw from “the nest” to pay her off after she’s badly injured. This “nest” is what all of the other siblings have been waiting for and now, because of Leo, they realize they won’t be getting a multimillion-dollar payday. They’re getting a $50,000 payday. Ouch.
While I did feel like the author had too many side plots going on (I really didn’t understand the point of the story of the man with the stolen statue…), I still loved this novel because I love dysfunctional families. Novels like this help me feel less alone. I felt a kindredness with the Plumbs. I think, in the end, they all found their own kind of redemption, even if it may not be the neatly tied up version we always expect.
Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey (★★★☆☆)
This book was okay, but I have really high standards for my romance novels and this one failed to live up to them. The dialogue didn’t seem to be true to life and the characters were a bit underdeveloped. I found the misogyny in the book to be hard to handle, too. Since this book was about firefighters, I am going to assume some of the misogyny is authentic to what happens in a firehouse, and that’s fine, but it needs to be addressed. This should have been one of the main themes of the novel and I think if it had, this book could have had a major impact. Instead, I don’t think I care to continue read this series or this author.
Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard (★★★★☆)
If the previous novel is one that doesn’t live up to my high romance standards, then this book is completely different. Cindy Gerard can write a romantic suspense novel like nobody else, and I loved rereading this story for… the fifth or sixth time. Heh. I think I first read this novel way back in 2007 when I was a struggling college freshman and feeling very sad all the time. I found this book in my college bookstore and decided I needed to read it immediately because it seemed like it would take me out of my misery. And it did! And I’ve continued to reread this novel, and all her other ones, since then. This story sucked me in and I finished it in less than 24 hours. Yessss!
Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl (★★★★★)
This might be my favorite Dahl novel ever. I could relate to the female protagonist so much and I loved how Dahl wrote the character of Veronica. She was slightly sassy and naughty, but also incredibly sweet and joyful. She had a ton of heart and I was drawn to her immediately. And the male protagonist? He was hot, hot, hot. And a librarian to boot! I loved his character and he felt so true and authentic. Dahl just knows how to write a romance novel, no bones about it. She’s one of the romance novelists I am so inspired by and aim to be like in my writing. This book ends the Girls Night Out series, and now I’m finished with all of Dahl’s contemporary novels! Time to get started on her historical ones.
This book is a beast at 871 pages. A beast, I tell you! I wanted to finish it before the move so that a) I didn’t have to lug this tome to my new place and b) Roomie and I could watch the accompanying movie for our last Roomie Date Night (wah). I would probably admit that this book is my least favorite in the series, but like, that’s not saying much because I still totally loved this novel so much! As expected, I hated Dolores Umbridge with fiery passion. And the disconnect between Harry and Dumbledore made me really sad. I love their bond so much. This novel moved a bit slowly until the last 300-400 pages, and then I just never wanted to put it down. I’m so excited to watch the movie!
AUGUST BOOK STATS
- Number of books read: 6 (2,550 pages)
- Format breakdown: e-books (4), physical books (2)
- Genre breakdown: romance (4), fantasy (1), fiction (1)
- Number of diverse reads: 3 out of 6 (50%)
- Where I got my books from: Overdrive (3), a friend (1), library (1), Amazon (1)
- Money spent on reading this month: $0
What’s the best book you read in August?
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you buy a book from my link, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Thank you for supporting me.