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  • Jenna Miller

July 2019 Reads!

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

My first post! This blog has been pondered over for months. I have kept a very basic reading log since 2011. Around 2017/2018 I started including my thoughts about each book, and then publishing them on my Facebook. I finally decided to bite the bullet, and give this blog a shot. I'll be including my current monthly reads and pepper in some past reads along the way. I plan to slowly transfer my past Facebook reviews to my blog.

1.) Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: This is a historical fiction novel based off of the author’s own experiences when her family fled Saigon in April 1975. The main character, along with the author, struggled to thrive in Alabama as the sole Asian family in town. I loved that it is written in free verse, which made it a fast read (I finished it in a day!). The author does a great job relating her experiences from a 10 year old’s perspective. This is a great book for adults and middle grade readers.

2.) The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny: I love Louise Penny's mysteries which are set in a small town in Canada. I first heard about her through the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog. The death being investigated in this novel dealt with some supernatural aspects, and I could completely feel the tension arising among the characters. The crime and atmosphere presented here was a definite departure from Penny's other books I have read.

3.) We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter: A fabulous read. This true story is based on the author’s grandfather and his family: Jews living in Poland during WWII. Their story is unbelievable. This family saga spreads throughout Europe and into South America. I can’t imagine living as they did for years. It was full of fear, sadness, a strong will to survive, and hope.

4.) Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey: A great southern, chick-lit, beach read that focuses around three adult sisters and their widowed mother. This novel was written from the mother’s and oldest daughter’s perspectives. I will be reading the rest of the trilogy—each focuses on a different sister. **Note: as this was originally written a year ago, I have finished the other two in the series and they were all great.

5.) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik: I loved this book, and the final sentence was fantastic in light of the story as a whole. It is fantasy, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in a country similar to Russia. I plan to read the rest of Novik’s novels. So good!! One year later, I still find myself thinking about this story.

6.) Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey: Historical fiction written about the friendship between famous English pastor Charles Spurgeon and freed slave turned missionary to Africa, Thomas Johnson. It was a little slow in parts, but I learned interesting things about both people and was left with a desire to read further into these men’s lives. I wish the authors had included an epilogue about both men's wives and families.

7.) How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper: This follows a man who, due to a misunderstanding during his job interview, has trapped himself in a white lie: a made up wife and family. He’s content with this until he meets his new coworker Peggy who makes him question if there is more to life than the one he has fabricated for himself. The main character definitely annoyed me at times, but the book had more substance than I had originally thought.

8.) Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane: This story follows two cop families in NYC spanning from the 1970s to present day. Some tragic events occur driving a massive wedge between the two families, but that doesn’t stop their children from falling in love. It deals with hard topics: alcoholism, mental illness, abandonment--but presented in a hopeful light. I really liked it!

9.) The Lost Queen by Signe Pike: This book is set as a precursor to Camelot and based on the historical Queen Languoreth. I inhaled this. So, so interesting! I felt all Languoreth's emotions and couldn’t sleep the night prior to finishing it. I’m so glad I live in a time where women are seen as valuable and are able to make their own decisions about their life. The sequel just came out this year in 2020, and is already sitting on my bookshelf.

I am thankful I have kept a reading log of my books since 2011. It is always so interesting to me to return to my journal to see what I have read, when I read it, and what my thoughts were about said books. Looking back at this list one year later, I like what I see. I hope someone will be inspired to pick one of these books up and give it a shot! If you do, let me know!

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