The Siberian American: Ten Books I Liked in August

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ten Books I Liked in August

August was by far the best reading month I’ve had all year. I’m super excited to share most of these reads with y’all. All of the reads were NetGalley and probably will be for some time. Let’s just say my NetGalley list is so out of hand that I’m embarrassed to share how many books are currently on my shelf. I’m not complaining, though, if the books are good, and I don’t have to spend a ton of money to support my book habit.


All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
(c/o NetGalley)

Trigger warning: Rape (with some graphic content).

Jenny Kramer is brutally raped at a party. A few hours later, she is given a controversial drug that erases her memory of the assault. However, she still has emotional memory of the assault and finds it hard to function. This novel is told from the perspective of Jenny's psychiatrist as they work together to piece back her memory. It started out a bit slow (and bit repetitive at times) but turned into a great psychological thriller. I loved the way it was told, and the last 30 percent of the book was so good I read way past my bedtime. If you like psychological thrillers (and can handle a little graphic content), this one is definitely worth a read!


Swear on This Life: A Novel by Renee Carlino
(c/o NetGalley)

Wow. It's been a long time since I've felt this emotional while reading a book. I knew Renee Carlino could write after reading Before We Were Strangers, but this book is a million times better. The story captivated me from the first page. Emiline, a creative writing professor living in San Diego and struggling with her own writing, is recommended a debut novel from J.Colby. From the first page, Emiline realizes the novel is written about her by the boy who was everything to her growing up...who she hasn't seen in 12 years. The past and present is intertwined perfectly with a book within a book format. As you read the book with Emiline, you get to see Emiline and Jase's love develop, and you truly feel all the pain Emiline experienced growing up. The book absolutely consumed me-I could think of nothing else until I finished. It's not perfect. There were several things that bothered me, and the ending felt a bit rushed, but it's five stars for me based on how emotionally invested I got and how much I want to tell everyone I know about it.


Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
(c/o NetGalley)

I struggled with how to review this thriller. On one hand, it kept me up reading late into the night. On the other hand, it didn't feel very suspenseful to me. You find out what's going on early in the book, so the rest of it is Grace's reaction and what she plans to do about it. I honestly think most people will like it more than I did. For some reason, I just felt like something was missing.


Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
(c/o NetGalley)

Even though I've read a lot of World War II historical fiction (and non-fiction), I feel like every time I pick up a WWII book, I learn something new. I had never heard of Caroline Ferriday and barely knew anything about the Ravensbrück "Rabbits." The thing that stands out to me about this book is a decent chunk of the story occurs after the war is over. It was interesting (and heartbreaking) to read a book that truly showed how difficult it was to glue a life back together after such unimaginable trauma. If you are a fan of WWII historical fiction, I think Lilac Girls is worth a read.


With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel
(c/o NetGalley)

This is a story of Grace, who is on death row after being accused of killing her infant son, and Sophie, her daughter, who believed her mother was guilty until she discovers evidence that changes everything. It's a unique premise that's both beautiful and heartbreaking.


It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
(c/o NetGalley)

I have always wanted to read a Colleen Hoover book. In fact, I have several of her books that have been hanging out on my Kindle for years waiting to be read. After reading It Ends with Us, I think I need to move them up higher on my list. I went into this book not knowing much about it. I thought it was just a love story. It's not just a love story. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, raw, and truly eye-opening. Even before I got to the Author's Note, I could tell the author had experience with the topic from the way it was written. I started this book blindly, and I don't want to give anything away because I think that's the best way to read it. You go into it not knowing anything and come out shaken by this powerful read.

Side note: This won't bother most people, but I get annoyed when authors make one of their characters a doctor and then don't do their research. In the first chapter of the book, Ryle moved to Boston two months prior for his neurosurgery residency. A few chapters later, it says he's almost done with residency. A neurosurgery residency lasts seven years. Then, when he buys Lily expensive things, he says it's OK because he's a doctor. Residents usually make somewhere between 40-60k a year (with the higher amount occurring towards the end of their residency). OK, rant over. I just really hate when books misrepresent what residency is like.


The Last One by Alexandra Olivia
(c/o NetGalley)

I liked the idea of this book: a survival reality show during which a post-apocylptic event happens and one of the contestants has a hard time determining facts from fiction. I know you have to suspend your beliefs a bit in dystopian fiction, but I had a hard time believing it would take the main character that long to figure out that everything that happened wasn't part of the show. I also really didn't like the ending. Overall, it was still a decent read. I'm just not sure that it's memorable.


How to Party with an Infant by Kau Hart Hemmings
(c/o NetGalley)

I was pretty disappointed in How to Party with an Infant. It started out well with Mele's story, but I think there were so many characters that you couldn't really get attached to any of them. Also since I'm not a mom yet, I don't think I could relate to the story really well. It was a quick read, but I thought it would be funnier and that I would like the characters more.


Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope
(c/o NetGalley)

This is the first book in a new series, but it can be read as a stand alone novel. It's about FBI tracker Magnus "Steps" Craig, who has a special ability to see others' imprints at places they have been (he calls it shine). In this first book, he tracks down a serial killer by following his shine. This is a fast-paced thriller with great characters. I loved both Steps and his partner, Jimmy. I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series!


Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon
(c/o NetGalley)

Mystic Summer is a great summer read about a woman figuring out what's important in life after she gets laid off from her job. Mystic, Connecticut sounds like such a gorgeous summer destination (of course I had to Google it!) and was the perfect setting for the story. I really liked both Maggie and Cameron and felt for all the changes in their lives since they first dated. It's not amazing literature, but it would work well for a fun beach read!


Favorite reads in August: Swear on This Life, It Ends with Us, Lilac Girls, and All Is Not Forgotten

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

I love book suggestions. What have you read lately?

33 comments:

  1. Some of these sound really good! I always add a bunch of your reviewed books to my list and this was no different :)

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  2. I haven't read any of these, which is so exciting! Adding them to my list!

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  3. I keep hearing about It Ends With us - I may have to add that to my list.
    That gets on my nerves too when things are correct or accurate. Get with it authors and /or editors!!!

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  4. Ooooh I need to add Mystic Summer to my list, since I'm originally from CT. Definitely a great summer spot (winter - not so much lol) <3
    Green Fashionista

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  5. My to read list keeps getting longer & longer! I just added Swear On This Life, Lilac Girls, With Love From the Inside, & It Ends With Us!

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  6. Dang girl, so many books! I've seen a few other bloggers review some of these with pretty similar thoughts! I love hist.fic. so I might need to check out Lilac Girls!

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  7. I love books that you get so wrapped in that you can't think of anything besides them!! I'm definitely going to be reading Swear on this life!! xo, Biana

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  8. SO many great books! I read Colleen Hoover a while ago, enjoyed the book, wanted to read more, but just hadn't gotten to another. I finally did this month and loved it! So, I will definitely add It Ends with Us.
    With Love from the Inside sounds really interesting as well.
    I've got a couple of the others already on my tbr.

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  9. I've always wanted to visit Mystic, Connecticut, so I think I need to read Mystic Summer! That first one looks really gripping too.

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  10. I've been looking for a new book to read! I'm definitely leaning towards Lilac Girls right now :) Thanks for some great recommendations!

    Sarah // www.sarahincolor.com

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  11. Several of these books were already on my TBR so it was great to see your thoughts on them. Collecting the Dead is new to me and sounds right up my alley, so adding it to my TBR.

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  12. So many good books! I'm adding a bunch to my list. I already had Behind Closed Doors and Lilac Girls on my list, but All Is Not Forgotten and Swear on This Life also sound great.

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  13. swear on this life isn't even at my library yet!!!! as in not even "on order" so i'll have to submit a request.

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  14. I have Swear on This Life on my kindle. I'm glad it was so engrossing!

    Loved Lilac Girls even though it was so hard/horrifying, and hated Behind Closed Doors.

    I added All is Not Forgotten to my list!

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  15. wow, lots of books this month! with love from the inside sounds good!

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  16. yay for a good reading month! and yay for netgalley! i mean, why not, right? netgalley is the bomb.
    all is not forgotten sounds terrifying.
    i am so happy you liked swear on this life (and that we are both now besties with the author). i agree, it had flaws but i adored it.
    it ends with us and the last one are on my list from other SUYB posts today, but i agree about getting annoyed when authors don't do their research. that wouldn't stand out to me because i have no experience with residency, but i read a book a few months ago something to do with expats and marriage and it just annoyed the bajeezus out of me. but it wouldn't stand out to anyone else, because how would they know the author was completely wrong?
    mystic summer sounds perfect for when i'm in that kind of mood. added it!

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  17. Behind Closed Doors is on my TBR.

    I had issues with a book this month where the author clearly did not do any research. Made me insane reading the book.

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  18. TEN! That's awesome! A lot of them sound good. I already have Swear on this Life, Behind Closed Doors, and Lilac Girls on my list and I just added All is not Forgotten.

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  19. Suspense and thriller novels are my favorite thing to read. All Is Not Forgotten sounds like a unique read from an interesting perspective. I also love Historical Fiction so Lilac Girls sounds like something I would enjoy.

    P.S. I hate when authors don't do their research either.

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  20. Oh wow, sounds like you read some great books! All is Not Forgotten, Behind Closed Doors and Lilac Girls are already on my list. With Love From the Inside sounds super interesting, and you really have me wanting to read Swear on This Life and It Ends With Us! (Those little things annoy the crap out of me too haha, but I can forgive it if the rest of the book is good ;))

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  21. Wow, you did have a great reading month! Loved It Ends with Us and Lilac Girls. I really liked Swear on this Life. All Is Not Forgotten and How to Party like an Infant are already on my to read list! I finished Behind Closed Doors a couple of days ago so that will be in my September review but I thought it was okay.

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  22. I am adding ALL of these books to my reading list... They all sound right up my alley! Thanks for this!

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  23. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a Netgalley shelf that is far too long! All is Not Forgotten isn't something that I would normally read, but it sounds very interesting. I read The Last One and really enjoyed it actually, but the ending kind of made me, not mad, but sort of annoyed.

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  24. I have added Swear on This Life, It Ends with Us, and Lilac Girls to my Amazon wish list! They all sound wonderful! August was a good reading month for me, too. I hope I can continue the trend this fall.

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  25. Lol to your point on authors not doing their research! "It's ok, I'm a doctor." Pah! My sister just started her residency and is making maybe $50K, in California, which is not a cheap place to live. Not to mention how long it's going to take to undo the crippling debt from the last 4 years. Maybe in 10 or 20 she'll be starting to live more luxuriously but for now she is fruuugal.

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  26. Oh way to go with the Netgalley reads!! My queue is huge... and I'm not making progress. I need to finally get around to Lilac Girls. Glad to hear that you liked it. :) The Mystic one sounds fun! Have you seen Mystic Pizza?! Classic Julia Roberts '90's film. I hadn't seen it until a few years ago, but it was fun and made me want to go to Mystic too! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  27. Yay for your best month for reading- that's always the best feeling when you read so many books that you love. I could not agree more with your review on Swear on This Life-- even though there were things that I didn't love, it was still completely consuming! I have The Last One waiting to be read.

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  28. Mystic Summer sounds like a nice light read. I've been in a slump. Maybe that's what I need.

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  29. Lilac Girls has been on my TBR list for a few months and maybe it's time to bump it up..

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  30. I just went to add Swear on This Life to my goodreads list and turns out it's already there, so I should really get on with that already! I'm also adding Mystic Summer for when I need a dose of summer feelings (probably sometime in January when things are just miserable). Oh, and I hate when people don't research their book topics properly - just like you commented on my post, it's not hard to fact check or get an editor when you're talking about something you haven't got a clue about. It really puts me off stories when that happens, which I know it shouldn't, but it bothers me!

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