Tuesday, September 4, 2018

August Book Review {2018}

It's Book Review Day, friends!

I love book review days.  But if you don't, scroll to the bottom for some Giveaway news!!

This month I read/listened to NINE books!  I really soaked up the last of my summer!

Since I have so many books to cover, I'm going to make the reviews short and sweet and let you know flat-out which ones you should add to your list and which ones you should just skip.  As always, just click the title of each book to find it on Amazon and read the full summary or add it to your list.

I'll start with...

*free with Kindle Unlimited!

Ok, I really liked this book!  I found this one on Kindle Unlimited which means it was FREE with my membership AND it had an audio version!!  So not only a free Kindle book but also a free audiobook.  I am loving Kindle Unlimited y'all.  

Everyone is talking about Jennie Sue Baker and the mess she made of her life in New York. The former high school queen bee—and wealthy darling of Bloom, Texas—has returned home after all these years, riding on a common bus and bearing two bounced alimony checks. In a town that thrives on gossip, Jennie’s fall from grace has shamed her mother, set the town buzzing, and caused old, jealous enemies to whisper in delight. They say she’s taken a job as a housekeeper, gotten a garage apartment, and might be crushing on Rick Lawson, a simple farmer with modest dreams.
As romance starts to bud, Jennie relishes what it means to follow her heart, find real new friends, and finally be herself—regardless of all the lying town chatter. But fate has another twist in store. Rumor has it that Jennie now stands to lose what matters most…unless she can convince Rick of one true thing—and that’s love.

It's a great read with some unexpected (and kind of unnecessary) turns but I give it a solid 4 stars.

*also a Kindle Unlimited book w/ an audio version

So this book was another solid 4 stars.  It is one of those books that plays out like an episode of Dateline.

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?

As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.

Ok seriously, I kept trying to figure out exactly what in the world happened to this chick the whole way through and never figured it out.  I mean, I had an idea but when the details are revealed, it's shocking.  I loved the girls trip aspect of it and that it was set in Mexico.  And hearing all the crazy details about happened in the past to make these three girls "estranged" was interesting.  This was a great little summer read.  A thriller without anything too dark.  4 stars!

*Also available on Kindle Unlmited (no audio version available)

Here it is!!  The book I've been RAVING AND RAVING about for the past month.  Last year, the books that stuck out to me the most and were my #1 top chick-lit books of the year were Kristan Higgins If You Only Knew followed immediately by On Second Thought.  And I seriously knew they were going to be my favorites after the first couple of pages.

Fast-forward to the beginning of August when I read this book and bam.  Same thing.  Within the first couple of pages, I knew this would be my favorite book of the year.

Here's the official summary:

Olive Brewster is living a small, safe life. She's happy enough with her job at the local market, it's no big deal that she doesn't have a boyfriend, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama and no fuss means no problems! And that's just how she likes it...

Except … Olive's best friend in the world, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, her epic once in a lifetime love, her "Big Sexy Love", Chuck. And because she's stuck in the hospital she needs Olive's help to do it. But there's a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her hometown, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan!

As if the big city isn't scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she's a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who's taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he does not seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfill her best friend's dying wish? It's going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of Big Sexy Love to make it happen …

Ok. So if you want a LEGIT laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, this is your book.  It is written in a very real, straight-forward, hysterical voice...I don't know if that's the best way to describe it but it's the best I can come up with.  Every other sentence will have you laughing.  It's definitely not rated PG.  But it's hilarious.  And don't let the title "Big Sexy Love" make you think it's a romance novel.  There are no elaborate love scenes or anything like that.  

It's also very very sweet.  Olive is not one to go outside of her comfort zone but she will do ANYTHING for her dying best friend, Birdie.  When Birdie asks her to fly from London to NYC to track down her "big sexy love", things get a little nuts for sweet Olive.  Her first plane ride antics will have you laughing out loud and set the tone for the whole book.  There seriously wasn't a boring spot in the whole thing and I was almost sad every time I finished a page because I knew it was going to end...and I didn't want it to end!

You will laugh.  You will probably cry.  And you will love this book.  Just do it, y'all.  It's free on Kindle Unlimited but only $4.99 for your Kindle without it.  Also available in paperback too.  (here)

I only had ONE complaint about this book.  There was no audio version included with the Kindle Unlimited membership even though there IS an audiobook.  Thankfully, this was my beach book while we were in Alabama so it was no big deal.  But none of Kirsty Greenwood's other books have audio versions which is a bummer because when I'm not on vacation, it takes me months to sit down and READ a book.  I"m gonna need you to address this, Kirsty!!  ;)


*Also on Kindle Unlimited with audiobook

Ok. I gave this book 3 stars. Not because it wasn't good.  It was just very predictable. "Chunky" inner-city teacher (who is probably only 20 pounds overweight) and hunky NFL quarterback hate each other and then fall in love.  She can't believe someone like him would love her and he spends all his time professing his devotion to her.  It was sweet, for sure.  But it bothered me that there was such a focus on her weight and being tall.  Because she was kind of a badass, cool chick who should have been way more confident! She's definitely a bit of a hot mess but in a good way.  I found her very relatable!  haha


High school teacher Summer Ames is trapped in the nightmare morning from hell. Her alarm clock didn’t go off, she accidentally backed over the rosebush her grandfather gave her grandmother right before he accepted defeat against prostate cancer, she’s wearing clothes she picked up off the floor, and when she opens the door to her classroom, the lights from the TV cameras nearly blind her. She's won Teacher of the Year. But unlike the past winners, she doesn't get a new car or a Hawaiian vacation or even new school supplies, she wins an over-privileged quarterback with a bright smile and questionable intentions. 

Clint Grayson is an NFL quarterback in need of a reputation makeover. If he has any hope of landing a hundred million dollar endorsement deal, it will take some pretty impressive PR to clean up his bad boy image. In an attempt to polish his tarnished reputation, Clint agrees to be a high school class mentor.

When these two get together all hell breaks loose and they both learn that all is fair in love and football…and winning is just the beginning.

This was an easy read with some really funny parts.  But it's pretty steamy too so just be prepared!

Ok.  So I know everyone else loved this book.  And I liked it.  But here's the thing. I thought this would read as more a devotional/inspirational type book but in reality, it was more just reading the author's memoirs.  It was interesting at times and I definitely picked up a few tidbits here and there.  But it was hard for me to relate to her.  I love the idea of being present over perfect which is why I picked it.  But it was hard for me to relate to the author deciding to say no to alllllllll the huge business opportunities that were just landing in her lap.  I mean, good for her for sure.  And I totally give her kudos for choosing to be more present for her family and sacrificing those opportunities for it.


Most working-class mamas can't afford to turn down big business opportunities.  It's not a luxury that everyone can afford.  The majority of working moms are probably struggling with the same thing the author was but financially, she can't just say "Well, I need to be more present so I'm going to skip this $10,000 job opportunity."  It's not that cut and dry.  So the author definitely lives a much different life than I do.  

Also, I never really found a real solution as to how to be more "present over perfect" other than to stop working so much.  Again.  Not an option.  Plus, there were some very strange spiritual references and comments throughout the book that I just didn't agree with.  I won't get into all of that but Biblically, a lot of it didn't line up for me.

I'll admit that I quit this book 2/3 of the way through it because it was just so repetitive!  I kept thinking "surely that was the last chapter" and then another one would start.

One reviewer put it so well.  She says, "This book has an awesome title and some great one-liners, but lacks substance and biblical foundation. I love the thought behind the title, but her solution seems vague and mystic. I also felt she did a lot of self-promotion which was awkward for me as a reader."

Now y'all don't bash me if you loved this book!!  ;)

I'd suggest sticking to Girl, Wash Your Face if you need a good inspirational book!  ;)

Ughhhhhh!! This book was so incredibly frustrating!!!

The summary:

She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained―until now.

Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone―never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.

Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.
Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla―hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive―and on Finn’s trail―what does she want? And how much does she know?
A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.

This book had so much promise.  It could have been so much better.  And that's what's so frustrating about it!  Bring Me Back was written by the same author as Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown which were so good!  

Most of the book was good.  It kept me interested, I was super excited to see how this thing would end...and then it ended.  And I immediately wanted those hours back.  Because the end was awful.  It ruined it for me and was just kind of absurd.  Blah. I don't even want to spend any more time on it.  Save your money.  Save your time.  And go read The Wife Between Us and The Last Mrs. Parrish if you want an AMAZING thriller.

*Available on Kindle Unlimited with an audio version

So I had a lot of people recommend the Cabot Series books to me.  I started with Book 1, Before I Knew and I'll definitely be reading the rest of this series!  Great suggestion so thank you to all of you who mentioned it! 

Here's the summary of Book 1:

On the second anniversary of her husband’s suicide, Colby Cabot-Baxter is ready to let go of her grief and the mistakes made during her turbulent marriage. Her fresh start comes in the form of A CertainTea, the restaurant she’s set to open along Lake Sandy, Oregon, with help from her family. But when her executive chef quits just weeks before the grand opening, Colby is pressured to hire old family friend Alec Morgan. His award-winning reputation could generate buzz, but their friendship has withered since her husband’s reckless dare cost Alec’s brother his life.
Distracted by guilty secrets concerning the tragedy that changed his and Colby’s lives, Alec self-destructed and lost his famed restaurant. With his career in tatters, he’s determined to use this opportunity to redeem his reputation and to help the woman he’s loved from afar find happiness again.
But secrets have a way of coming out. When Alec’s do, they might destroy the new life he and Colby have rebuilt together.

This is a great book if you are in the mood for some classic chick-lit and a little romance with a few twists as well.  It's a good read, so I recommend adding it to your list!

So this book surprised me!  The first part of it reads almost like a light chick-lit novel.  I remember thinking "Isn't this supposed to be a thriller?".  Here's the summary:

The most twisty, addictive and gripping debut thriller you'll read this year.
HE LOVES YOU: Adam adores Emily. Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

AND SHE'LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman will have you questioning her on every page, in Sandie Jones' chilling psychological suspense about a man, his new girlfriend, and the mother who will not let him go.

The summary is pretty perfect.  You will spend the whole book hating Pammie.  You'll wonder why Emily doesn't just leave this guy because I don't ever really feel the connection.  But she supposedly loves him so much and is willing to put up with a crazy mama!  So good for her I guess.  But the ending...  You may think you know or have a feeling of what's going on but after the first twist is revealed even more start coming out and trust me, you WON'T see it all coming.  Whoa.

Great book.  4.5 stars.  Give it a shot!

Ok.  Last one.

*Available on Kindle Unlimited with audiobook

So I chose this one off of my Kindle Unlimited list partly based on the cover because it looks so much like my teacher signs I make in my Etsy shop.  Yes. I choose books by their cover.  ;)


Three women, three lives, and one chance to become a family…whether they want to or not.
Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semi adrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers.
Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and…oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks.
But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured…but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA.

Y'all!  I thought this was the sweetest book.  I loved how Nina and Lindy found each other and Nina totally grew on Lindy even though she resisted her sister for the longest time.  Girlfriend was persistent! A great choice if you need a new book!  Solid 4.5 stars.

So that's it for the reviews! Whew! Hope you found a few to add to your list!

Before I go though, I wanted to mention that I have a GIVEAWAY going on over in my Facebook Group!  Head on over to see how to enter!  One winner will receive a Barefoot Dreams blanket in the color of their choice!

This blanket is the coziest, comfiest, best blanket you'll ever wrap around your body.  If you are a Barefoot Dreams cult-member already, then you get it.  ;)

To enter the giveaway head HERE!  (Starts at 7:30am CST)

And for all my other book reviews, starting with last month's, just click HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them help support this blog.  Thank you!!


  1. I’m adding a lot of these to my list! Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Well, you know my thoughts on Bring Me Back. (Insert major eye roll!!!) I didn't like Present over Perfect either. Have you read her Bread and Wine? I named it my favorite book of 2015.

    1. Girl, I should have let you finish Bring Me Back before I started it! Haha! No, I haven't read that one but I'm going to now! Thank you!!

  3. OH MY GOSH, what a way to start a Tuesday- BOOK REVIEW. Hooray. You are awesome at being so totally honest about the books. Here's the thing: there are too many books in the world to waste time on crappy books or just meh books...so THANK YOU for being super honest. You helped me pick the books I want to devote my time to, and BIG SEXY LOVE is the one for me. I just ordered it. And I loved your take on Present over Perfection....truth! Thanks. A book I enjoyed a lot this month was The Secret Life of Violent Grant (rated R at times...but not horribly so). And My Oxford Year (again...some R moments).

    1. Thank you, Kelly!! And I totally agree! You will love Big Sexy Love! I haven't read the Secret Life one so I'll check that out but loved My Oxford Year! I had that in my review last month!

  4. Present Over Perfect was in my library holds list and I just took it right out after reading your thoughts. I don't need any book reminding me that I should work less. If only most of us could....

  5. You need to put Fragile by Lisa Unger on your list. It is the first in a series, though you can read them each alone, and it is soooo good! Right up your mystery alley.

  6. I love your book reviews! I added Girls' Night Out, The Other Woman & The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness to my list. :) My two favorite books this year were recommended by you--Big Sexy Love and My Oxford Year! I just finished When Never Comes by Barbara Davis and really enjoyed it.

  7. Yay for Book Review day! I just added several of these to my list! My "to read" list is getting lonnnnnnnggggg.... I need more hours in the day! I'm still trying your audible. Tell me your secret to staying focused while listening. I find my mind starts to wander. But I REALLY want audible to work for me!
    Simply Tish

  8. Thanks for the great reviews. I'm putting The Other Woman on my TBR list! Also, thanks for the fun giveaway. Here's a link to my book reviews for this month: Tanya - The Other Side of the Road


I love hearing from you! Drop a comment below!