Thursday, September 21, 2017

End of Summer Book Review.

Hey, friends!  Happy Thursday!!  Today I've got something fun for all my fellow bookworms!  I've been promising this End of Summer Book Review for a few weeks now and am finally getting around to it!  Yay!!  I love book reviews from bloggers and I hope you do too!


Does anyone else feel like this??  To me, this is the definition of a really good book.  When someone asks me if I liked a book, this is what I think of.  Did I want it to end but NOT want it to end??  If yes, then it definitely falls directly into the "really good book" category.


I posted a pretty big Mid-Summer Book review here if you haven't checked it out yet.  I think I loved almost all of those!

And since I know you don't have all day to read major details on each book, you can click the titles of the ones you are interested in to take you to it on Amazon.  I always add the ones I like to my cart while I'm thinking of it and then do some shuffling when it's time to check out.

I should also add, that I am an avid "reader"...but I use "reader" in quotes because I'm an audiobook girl.  So really I am an avid listener.  I LOVE sitting down and getting cozy with a good book in my hands but I have a full-time Etsy shop and work with my hands all day, every day.  So listening to my books while I work, do laundry, run errands, cook etc has been a lifesaver for me.  I would be miserable without getting to dive into a good book all the time!  

If you'd like to try out Audible, you can click here to try it out and get 2 free books!  I've posted more about Audible here too.

My mid-summer review ended somewhere around mid-July so I'm going to start there with the book I had just started at that time.

This book was about two people, Lucy and Gabe, who met, fell in love and then parted ways, somewhat abruptly when Gabe decided he just HAD to go live across the world in order to focus on his work.  (#hesjustnotthatintoyou)

Lucy is devastated.  But she moves on with her life and ends up married to an amazing man.  They have a daughter and a great life until Gabe comes back into the picture.  Uh oh.

This is where things start to make me squirm.  She clearly has never gotten over this ex.  She clearly still has feelings for him.  And yet she plays with fire while her sweet husband is oblivious.  I won't tell you much more but things get incredibly complicated and although it is a great story and very well written and engaging, her choices just bothered me the whole way through.

I don't think you'll regret it if you read it!  It has amazing reviews!  I didn't really see the ending coming either which I thought did a nice job at wrapping up Lucy and Gabe's story.

I have been on a Kristan Higgins kick all summer and have talked my friends into checking out her books as well!  (Which always makes me nervous because I hope they like my recommendations as much as I do!)  But Ms. Higgins is a steady win in the chick-lit department!

I've read 6 Kristan Higgins books now and all have been amazing!  (My all-time favorites of hers though are still the first and second books I read from her.  So if you're wanting to try out a Higgins novel, start with If You Only Knew and then move on to On Second Thought.  Trust me!!!)

This time I picked book #1 of her Blue Heron Series, The Best Man.

If you love chick-lit and a good love story, KH books are where it's at!  Her characters are always incredibly charming, endearing, sassy and funny.

This book was about Faith, a small-town girl raised on a vineyard and Levi who was her almost-husband's best friend and best man at their almost wedding.  Are you intrigued yet?  Haha.

Faith moves away out of sheer embarrassment after she was stood up at the altar, but after a few years, she moves back.  And then, of course, she finds herself being drawn to this guy who was basically responsible for getting the groom to back out on her.  Eek.

Their relationship develops, her family is involved with drama drama drama and it is just a great story.  You'll feel warm and happy when you're done and those are the kind of books I can get on board with.  ;)

You can't go wrong with Kristan Higgins y'all!  Add it to your cart along with the other two KH books I mentioned above!  And speaking of KH novels...

I also read Book #2 of the Blue Heron Series!

The Perfect Match was another great little funny and romantic love story.  KH never gets it wrong, y'all.  This story revolved around the sister (Honor) of the girl from Book 1 (Faith).  I love books like this, where they tie in characters from previous books and you can get a glimpse into their life now.  Since Honor and Faith are sisters, we get to see more of the family we fell in love with during Book 1 which makes me so happy!

In this story, Honor has just been dumped by her best friend/part-time lov-ah after she proposes to him.  (What?!  No girl.  She briefly lost her mind.  You'll see.)  

She is crushed, devastated, broken-hearted and cries on her (girl) best friends shoulder like any normal girl would.

And then best friend goes M.I.A. for a few weeks.  Only to turn up ENGAGED to Honor's ex!  Oh honey, no ma'am.

Let's just say, Honor does NOT take it well.  #blessherheart

Honor decides to take matters into her own hands and when she finds out the new guy in town, Tom, needs a green card marriage in order to stay in the country, things get interesting.

I loved this book, just like all her others.  Light, fun, romantic, sweet and an easy read.

Which leads me to my third KH book.

This Higgins novel wasn't my FAVOIRTE of hers.  I just didn't really feel the spark between the two main characters.  It sort of fell flat.  But it was still a good story.

In a nutshell, it starts with Callie, who has just turned 30.  Callie thinks she has been dating her boss, who she has been madly in love with for years, for the past couple of months.  When really, it was all in her head.  Ouch.

Boss Man turns up one day, engaged to Miss Perfect.  Callie is crushed but finds comfort with the new vet in town, Ian.

Although I liked this story, I didn't LOVE it.  Ian is a shy guy and I just didn't feel like I was fully invested in him or their love story.  So, if you're going to try out a KH novel, stick to the ones I mentioned above.  (Specifically, the two from last time's review that I mentioned in the beginning.)

Ahhhhhh!!!  I LOVE Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I've read 18 of her books.  18!!!!  And there hasn't been a bad one in the bunch.

She hasn't published a new one in awhile so when I found out she had published a new book in the Chicago Stars series this summer, I had to have it.

I read this one on my beach trip at the beginning of August and blogged about it then too so I'm just going to copy and paste a lot of what I said before.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has a Wynette, TX series and a Chicago Stars series as well as completely individual books.  The Chicago Stars series is what caught my attention all those years ago though.  I think I read my first one right after Craig retired from the NFL.

The Stars are a fictional professional football team and the entire series revolves around quarterbacks from the team finding their one true love.  Each book takes on a new quarterback and of course, over the years, QBs come and go.  (Something my family knows all too well!) 

The characters in her books are always so complex and just so endearing.  The men are all rugged and handsome and usually completely closed off.  And then they meet their total opposite and fall in love.  The women are always strong, smart and sassy!  If you want to give one a try, start with the Chicago Stars Series Book #1 (here), It Had To Be You.  I really think you'll be hooked!!

But S.E.P. hasn't had a new book published in awhile...until this summer!  I had no idea until a reader commented the other day saying I should try S.E.P. and when I replied letting her know I have all the heart eyes for S.E.P. she mentioned her new book that I didn't know existed.  So I made sure to run out to pick it up before we left.  I knew First Star I See Tonight would be my beach book.

You can go here for a list of SEP books.  I've read so many that I can't even begin to tell you which are my favorites.  They are all great picks!!  I am partial to the Chicago Stars series just because of my background though.  If you need a recommendation or have a question about one, just let me know!

This book pulled me in for a few reasons.   One-I was once a young wife.  (Married at 23.  Fairly young.)  Two-I married a Louisiana boy and went to school in Louisiana. Three-my hubby was also a high school quarterback with a scholarship to LSU and dreams of being in the NFL.

And this book has all of that.

The book is about 4 small-town Louisiana friends.  One drops out of high school to marry her boyfriend who has started his freshman year of college on a football scholarship at LSU.  He's a superstar with amazing potential.  But then he gets hurt in a game and they have to back home to recuperate.  He gets depressed, his career has pretty much ended with that one big hit and life suddenly looks a WHOLE lot different than they thought it was going to.

Another friend is married to the town pastor.  She has kids.  She works hard behind the scenes for her husband with no appreciation while he starts to "work late" the local strip joint.  Hmmmm....

Friend #3 is in love with a bad boy.  He can't commit though and she finds herself enjoying the company of a handsome and kind (and rich) coworker of her father's.  When her family finds themselves in money troubles, rich handsome man proposes...

Friend #4 has a fiance. They are truly, madly, deeply in love.  But she has yet to reveal the truth about her past.  Her mom is in jail.  She has been lying about being in college.  She is dirt poor and he is filthy rich and the son of a congressman.

I thought this book totally worth the read.  There were definite times I wanted to scream "What are you DOING?!" to some of the characters but it kept me involved in the story.

Let me start by saying I am no Fitness Junkie.  Don't let the title run you off.  ;)

This popped up as a recommendation on my Audible account and I thought it looked cute!  And it was!  It was funny and light but also had a little twist/mystery towards the end!

The book is about Janey, the CEO of a couture wedding dress company and Beau, her partner/BFF/jerk-face.  Beau drops a bomb on poor Janey out of the blue one day.  He basically tells her she's fat and that she's not a good look for the company.  He tells her to lose 30 pounds in 3 months or she's fired.  #punchhiminthethroatJaney

So Janey goes to some drastic lengths in order to lose the weight.  She makes friends with some crazy characters who bring in her into some ridiculous workouts.  (Topless yoga, anyone?)

She finds herself involved in a crazy new top secret workout called...The Workout.

They drink strange tea that gets them all amped up before the workout and keeps them coming back for more.  #redflag

And on a $15,000 retreat, a supermodel has a heart attack and ends up in a coma and everything begins to unravel.

I thought this book was slightly off-beat and also slightly ridiculous but in a good way.  If you need a good change from your basic romantic novel or your psychological thriller, give this a try!

Oh, friends!  You need this book!!!  I loved this one!!

I heard about this book from Reese Witherspoon.  She called to tell me all about it.  She knows how much I love to read!

Ok, so that's not true.

But I did hear about it from her.  Just from her Instagram.  ;)

(I laughed when I saw that Paris Hilton "liked" this pic.  Do we think Paris reads??)

Anyway, Did you know RW has a book club?  You can find it at @rwbookclub.  I had no idea she was a big reader but I'm not surprised. She seems like a pretty cool chick.

So this book is more of a drama with a little mystery thrown in.  I can't seem to narrow down my summary.  I keep wanting to add in way too much.  So I've deleted my summary and am just going to give you the publisher's summary instead.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

They did a much better job of summarizing this than I did.  :)

This was definitely one of those books I was trying to finish up quickly so I could see how it would end.

Little Fires Everywhere was much deeper than my normal, light chick-lit books but not dark like the psychological thrillers I love so much either.  The characters were complicated and so real.  I felt like I really knew each one so well.

You're going to want to read this book.  Seriously.  And did I mention that Reese Witherspoon has also said she is making it into a series?!  She was on Watch What Happens Live the other day and Andy Cohen asked her about it.  Yay!!

A few others...

And a few other honorable mentions go out to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  (Not my favorite.)  Bossypants by Tina Fey (which I've listened to at least 4 times now in the past few years.  She reads it herself and it's just so much funnier to hear her tell her story in her own voice.)  Balancing in Heels by Kristin Cavallari.  (#goals)  

For quiet time lately, I've been reading Confessions of a Good Christian Girl.  I'm just now getting into it but I'll definitely let you know what I think.  I found it in a closet a few weeks ago when I was cleaning out boxes from when we moved into our house....10 years ago.  #whoa

And last but not least, I've ordered Uninvited.  I've heard amazing things about this book for awhile but I decided to go ahead and grab it from Amazon yesterday when I started working on this review.  Here's the publisher's summary:

  The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than.
In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences of rejection--from the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over to the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father. She leans in to honestly examine the roots of rejection, as well as rejection's ability to poison relationships from the inside out, including our relationship with God.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa will help you:

  • Stop feeling left out by believing that even when you are overlooked by others you are handpicked by God.
  • Change your tendency to either fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process your hurt.
  • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady your soul and restore your confidence in the midst of rejection.
  • Overcome the two core fears that feed your insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
I can't wait to read this book.  I know I always say my sweet Matthew is super sensitive but I also know where he gets it from.  ;) 

So that's my End of Summer book wrap up!  Have you read any of these??  What did you think??  Let me know!!  I love hearing other opinions and suggestions on what to read next!

Have a happy Thursday, friends!

(Pin this for future reference!)



  1. I added a few of these to my "must read" list...
    I'm started a bible study next week on "Uninvited" can't wait.

    1. Oh good! Glad you found some! And yes, I'm ready to get started on Uninvited! I've had it in my cart for so long!

  2. Love this review!!! I'm in a book slump lately so maybe one of these will pull me out!! I could not finish the light we lost --- I couldn't get past how hung up she was and the choices she kept making -- I stopped reading it and passed it on !!

    1. Thanks!! Yes, I kept getting hung up on that too! So many stupid choices. It made me anxious all the way through!

  3. I finally tried Audible after seeing you rave about it and it's been AMAZING! I'm a full time working boy mom who has always loved to read but struggles to find the time to dive in to a good book these days, but Audible changed all that! Thanks for the recommendation!


    1. Yay!!! Isn't it awesome!?! It was a total game changer for me! So glad you love it too!

  4. Jane Porter. You will love her books. I don't read her Hqn books but The Good Woman series. fabulous.

    1. Making a note of that right now! Thanks, Kim!!

  5. Heading to check out that book set in Louisiana! I'm so impressed by how many books you get through. I shared a book review this week too! :)

  6. Ooooo so many books for me to check out!! Question for you - do you have a favorite pair of ear buds you use? I've never been a book "listener" but like you, I just don't have the time to sit and read, I'm interested in trying this out!

    1. I usually don't use ear buds unless I have to. (Like when I'm traveling in the car with my family or at the grocery store). But I don't have any fancy ones. I think mine similar to this style. I just like the ones with the rubber ear bud. So much more comfortable and doesn't fall out!

    2. Ok dumb follow up question LOL - do you listen on your phone/tablet then? And just turn the volume up?

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Oh goodness. I had so many weird typos in my response before this that I just deleted it and started over. 😂😂. But yes, I just listen on my phone! Just like I'd listen to a podcast or music or a random video on FB or Instagram! I always tend to shut it off though when my hubs walks in because it annoys him. 😂😂😂😂 And I don't have it on when I'm with my kids. So really, I'm usually only listening when I'm alone (working, doing laundry, dishes, getting ready to go somewhere or driving by myself). I only use my earbuds on road trips with the fam and in the grocery store. 😉

  7. Thank you for sharing!! Lianne Moriarty is great!! What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies were 2 highlights that I read this summer. :) I will check out Uninvited...that's where I'm at right now. I loved Lysa's The Best Yes! Great perspective. Thank you again for the reviews, Amanda!

    1. I love Liane Moriarty too! Both of those books were great! I need to watch the Big Little Lies series!

  8. I have completed the Uninvited Study with a small group and it was great! I might have to put
    Little Fires Everywhere on my radar =)

  9. You may have already mentioned this before but I feel certain you will love "The One and Only" by Emily Giffin because of the football in it 🏈🏈🏈

    1. Oh yes, I'm a huge Emily Giffin fan! I read all her books the second they come out! Loved the One and Only!

  10. I can't believe I missed this post last week! I love your book reviews! I started following you on Goodreads after the last one :) I have only read Uninvited, and because it was more "self helpy" I didn't get super sucked in. My reading style is often thriller thriller thriller, omg I need a break fluffy read! I'm currently reading Orphan Train and listening to the third Crazy Rich Asians book :) Before that I read Behind Closed Doors, talk about a page turner!!


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