Monday, September 4, 2023

#gretchensbooks2023 - August


In the words of the wise philosopher Taylor Swift,  "August slipped away into a moment in time." Seriously did August go so fast! I know it was a busy month, but man. I only read one actual, physical book! Thank you Libby for the audiobooks, because one book for the month would have been pitiful. In May I was on track to finish 200 books this year (though my goal is only 120) but then summer came and life was busy and there is no way that is happening now. But that's okay! I'm still adding to my TBR and checking them off when I can. So many books, so little time!!


Book #106 of 2023 🎧 The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚GENRE: Thriller

🗓PUBLISHED: 4 April 2023

Picture a lovely cottage on a cliff, with sloping lawns, walking paths, and beautiful flowers. It’s Gabe and Pippa Gerard’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Over the past several months, Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge.

Until one day, he doesn’t. When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral. . . .Did the victim jump? Was she pushed? And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate . . . lie? As the perfect façade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel. Because sometimes, the most convincing lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

I haven’t read a ton of Sally Hepworth, but this is definitely by favorite so far! The mystery was constant throughout, as was the emotion. I enjoyed the dual-perspective - one from one the the main characters, and the other from the dead woman. I think that added a lot to the mystery of what happened and why it happened.


Book #107 of 2023 🎧 The Good Sister by Gillian McAllister ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

📚GENRE: Mystery

🗓PUBLISHED: 11 June 2019

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights, and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be...dangerous.

When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.

Fern's mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich, and shocking story of what families keep hidden.

This one kept me guessing! It was raw and emotional, and though I sort of predicted the ending, it was interesting to see how it came together. I thought the story idea was unique as well.

FREE on Kindle Unlimited!


Book #108 of 2023 🎧 In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚GENRE: Contemporary Romance

🗓PUBLISHED: 6 October 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: 
Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

I was hoping to save this one for Christmas time, but it was ready on Libby, and since I’m running out of audiobooks on there, I figured I’d listen to it now! This was a fun story! I hadn’t really read the synopsis prior to listening to the book, so I didn’t know what was coming. I was a little thrown off at first, but then I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t spicy, which I tend to prefer, but rather very sweet. A mild amount of drama and some personal growth, but mostly a romance!


Book #109 of 2023 🎧 The Winners (Beartown #3) by Fredrik Backman ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

📚GENRE: Literary Fiction

🗓PUBLISHED: 27 September 2022

Over the course of two weeks, everything in Beartown will change.

Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The destruction caused by a ferocious late-summer storm reignites the old rivalry between Beartown and the neighboring town of Hed, a rivalry which has always been fought through their ice hockey teams.

Maya Andersson and Benji Ovich, two young people who left in search of a better life, come home and joyfully reunite with their closest childhood friends. There is a new sense of optimism and purpose in the town, embodied in the impressive new ice rink that has been built down by the lake.

Maya’s parents, meanwhile, are caught up in an investigation of the hockey club’s murky finances, and Amat—once the star of the Beartown team—has lost his way after an injury and a failed attempt to get drafted into the NHL. Simmering tensions between the two towns turn into acts of intimidation and then violence. All the while, a fourteen-year-old boy grows increasingly alienated from this hockey-obsessed community and is determined to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for his beloved sister’s death. He has a pistol and a plan that will leave Beartown with a loss that is almost more that it can stand.

This was not my favorite of the series. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but at times it felt like it dragged on, or was including useless details. There were definitely some parts that tugged at my heart strings and I loved those parts (for better or worse), I just got bored during some parts of the story. 


Book #110 of 2023 🎧 Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📚GENRE: Contemporary Romance

🗓PUBLISHED: 2 May 2023

I was nervous for this one. I LOVED Fortune’s first book so much, and wasn’t sure if this would live up to it. I’d also seen others say that they didn’t love this one as much. I listened to it on audio (which usually has a negative impact on how I’ll enjoy the story) but still found I really enjoyed it! Not as much as Every Summer After, but I still thought it was a good story and was eager to listen to it. I enjoyed the performer, and the shifts between present and past.


Book #111 of 2023 📖 The Last Juror by John Grisham 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

📚GENRE: Legal Thriller/Crime Fiction

🗓PUBLISHED: 25 April 2006

This wasn’t exactly a legal thriller, but in some minor ways it was. I really enjoyed this story! I can’t recall if I’d read it before or now, but even if I had it would have been back in high school. I loved the friendship between Callie and Willie. I also enjoyed Willie’s journey navigating life in Clanton. Speaking of Clanton, it is my favorite setting of Grisham’s, so even though this wasn’t a Jake Brigance story, it still added to my enjoyment. There was a lot of thrill and drama in this story, each part introducing a new bit of chaos.


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(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

Reading Challenge: 111/120 books read in 2023

You can find previous book reviews here and add me on Goodreads here!

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