What I Read: August 2016

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne – I’m happy to discuss this in more detail if anyone wants to, but I also don’t want to spoil it for anyone. All in all .. it was a play, not a novel, and it’s hard to develop characters in a play without seeing it being acted out. Also, I want to think that Harry is happy and has a nice, quiet life after book 7, so I was kind of prejudiced against this from the start. 😉


Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher – I have heard a lot about Pilcher’s Shell Sheekers, but I ran across this one at a thrift store and decided to pick it up. I am so glad I did, because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. My only regret is looking on GoodReads at the synopsis, which ruins a main event. So don’t look at it! Just dive in. A great cast of characters find themselves together at Christmastime. That’s about it – the whole plot. But it’s really an excellent read that made me almost feel cold despite being 6+ months pregnant when I was reading. Set in England and Scotland, it reminded me a little of Maeve Binchy, one of my very favorite authors.


Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery – Compared to the original six Anne books, which I read in July, this one fell pretty flat for me. It’s told about half in Anne’s letters to Gilbert and half in narrative. Anne is teaching for the three years that Gilbert is at medical school, this book falling in between Anne of the Island and Anne’s House of Dreams. I was hoping to get more of Gilbert and Anne’s relationship, but instead we mostly see Anne’s developing relationships with the characters around her in Summerside. There seem to be a lot of old, crotchety ladies – maybe Montgomery’s writing sweet spot, but none of them are Rachel Lynde. So while I liked visiting Anne, this is definitely my least favorite I’ve read in the series. I’m looking forward to reading Anne of Ingleside still, though.


Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty – I’ve yet to hear of anyone who was enamored with Moriarty’s newest release, myself included. There is no doubt it’s readable, but unlike the other books of hers I’ve read (reviews: The Last Anniversary, The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot), I didn’t find any of the characters to be sympathetic or likable. I did think the last quarter of the book helped redeem some of them, but it was too little too late.

I’m really learning that if there is not a likable character or at least one I can root for, I cannot deal with a book. I know that’s not the case for everyone. I’m wondering if it’s some aspect of my INFP personality or just me as a reader.


The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin – I almost always reread all the books in a series before the final book comes out. But y’all, I could not bring myself to reread 1300 pages, especially since I was not enthralled with the middle book of the trilogy, The Twelve. Unfortunately that meant it had been more than three and a half years since I read the other two books, and I had a hard time remembering what was going on in the story when I started.

I thought Laura did a good job summing up my feelings on The City of Mirrors in a recent episode of the Sorta Awesome podcast: It was really long; there was a lot of fighting; and it seemed disjointed at times. But it really did an excellent job wrapping up all the plot lines and themes of the series. It’s a series about science, faith, human nature, and desperation. In all honesty, I think when I recommend it I will say to just read The Passage. But I’m not upset I finished the series, either, even though it was a slow read for me.


The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood – I’ve heard a ton of buzz about this book, and it was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. I was so glad it lived up to its hype! A great tale about the relationship between a 104-year-old woman and the young Boy Scout who is helping her with her yardwork. I won’t say anything else, because I like to go into a book with no knowledge if possible. But it is an easy read, heartwarming, and delightful.


The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – I don’t know what it is about Allen’s books, but I just devour them. I don’t think it’s taken me longer than two days to read one, ever. This was no exception. It’s the story of Josey, a twentysomething who lives with her (rich and) demanding mother, is in love with the mailman, and suddenly has a woman living in her closet. Through the urgings of the closet-dweller, Josey comes to terms with her life and starts to emerge from her shell. It’s a “sweet” story all around, and I am addicted to Allen’s magical realism and Southern charm.


I was kind of astonished to see in August I read two books published in July, one from May, and one from April. I am not usually that on top of new reads. What have you been reading lately? 

Added to Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy

5 thoughts on “What I Read: August 2016

  1. I felt the same way about Anne of Windy Poplars. It was a bit awkwardly written with the format and I felt like there were just waaaay to many characters in the story to keep track of.

    I really liked The One-In-A-Million-Boy and was glad I jumped into it without very much knowledge about the plot other than the vague summary Anne Bogel gave.

  2. I agree with your thoughts on Truly Madly Guilty. I wanted to love it, but didn’t. I also need likeable characters.

    Haha. I also didn’t re-read the earlier books before City of Mirrors, even though I almost always do for new books in a series. I gave up after a couple of hours of listening though. I couldn’t remember enough of the details to care, and it was just too slow. I did love The Passage though.

  3. I’m really late commenting, but still going to add my thoughts. 🙂

    I decided not to read “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” My husband & 16 yr old both read it. I’m ambivalent about it. I think that I like where I left the characters at the end of the series and I’m going to leave it at that. Some of the things the author has said in the meantime (like Harry & Hermione should have been a couple) make me reluctant to read more from her. I don’t want to get different ideas about the characters in my head. I like them the way they are.

    I’ve had “Shell Seekers” on my list to read for awhile, and I recently got a free, used hardback copy. I’m going to get to it eventually!

    I read “One in A Million Boy” and “Truly Madly Guilty” in September and October, so I will comment on those months. I normally feel the same way as you about Sarah Addison Allen books, but for some reason I couldn’t get into “The Sugar Queen.” I may need to give it another try at some point.

    What I did read in August:
    The Power of Habit- Charles Duhigg (I found this one fascinating.)
    An Irish Country Village- Patrick Taylor (reread)
    An Irish Country Christmas (also a reread, both on audiobooks. This was my go-to when not sleeping well.)
    Crowned and Dangerous- Rhys Bowen (love this series)
    The Travelers- Chris Pavone (I enjoyed this one. His first book was great, second was good, but lost me a little. This one was back to great.)
    800 Grapes- Laura David
    Kilt Dead- Kaitlyn Dunnet
    Scone Cold Dead (2nd in series by K. Dunnet)
    The Quotidian Mysteries- Kathleen Norris
    The Last Star- Rick Yancy
    The Knock-off- Lucy Sykes & Joanne Piazza
    Four Seasons in Rome- Anthony Doerr
    Accidental Saints- Nadia Bolz Weber
    The Third Wife- Lisa Jewell
    Lord of the Files

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