Friday, August 28, 2015

Best Books of August

It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time to share all of the great books I read this month.



August was a catch-up month. After this crazy summer, I needed it! I was able to finally get caught up on my work and my reading...only to be piled down with more work and a growing to-read list. But I did manage to mark a few to-reads off my list!


The first book I read this month is from a fellow Aladdin M!x author. She's one of my favorites, too, because I was a fan BEFORE I got published with that line. Her latest book is another example of why Aladdin M!x has the best covers!




The character development in The Sister Solution is phenomenal. Trudi has captured perfectly the dynamic that exists between two sisters. Instead of going for the typical "my sister is more popular and I feel inferior" storyline, the author has made the sibling relationship complex and, therefore, realistic. Sammi is on the fringes of being popular but feels just average while her younger sister, Jorgianna, is quirky and artistic but excels at everything. I loved this story and it inspired me to write, which is always a sure sign I've read a good book!

Another of my Aladdin M!x favorites is Cindy Callaghan, whose earlier Aladdin M!x novel is now a TV series! There is an interesting story with this one. I downloaded it from Edelweiss months ago but waited to read it until release month. When I started reading, it was immediately apparent that the book, marked "Lost in Rome" at the top of every page, was not that book at all. The main character was a boy named Zeke who was called by the President of the U.S. to battle aliens. I read a little of it before I went to Amazon and downloaded the real book. What do you know? No mention of aliens at all!



Lost in Rome is the next in a series of books that both educates and entertains. I love the way Cindy works the hotspots of every location into each book. In Lost in Rome, the main character, Lucy, travels to Rome for the summer to work in her aunt's pizzeria. Warning: you will crave pizza and spaghetti while reading this book! Lucy has a talent for matchmaking based on the pizza toppings customers order...and her talent manages to attract quite a few customers to the once-dying restaurant. Add in a restaurant saboteur and you have a fun read for kids of all ages!

I finally got to read Medeia Sharif's 52 Likes, which I've been dying to read all year! Just a few pages into it, I realized I've been missing out. This is an incredibly riveting read.



After a high school student endures a rape, she isn't sure if life will ever get back to normal. Making matters worse is the fact that her fellow students regularly bully and taunt her based on a mistake she made the previous school year. But soon, mysterious messages begin showing up on her phone, begging her to solve a mystery that could be tied to her rape. You'll find yourself thinking about this book in between reads, wondering what will happen next. Medeia is not only prolific--she's jaw-droppingly talented.

You can tell the next book is going to be fun from the second you look at the cover. Doesn't this just make you want to read the story?



In I Live in a Doghouse, Beverly Stowe McClure hits you right in that soft spot. She manages to capture exactly what it feels like to be a child dealing with a combined family and an absentee dad. Nick is a sweet, lovable character you can't help but cheer on. Most importantly--it has something every middle grade book needs: a sweet dog!

And now for something completely different. My audiobook this month was this oldie but goody:



I heard about this book when I was reading about author Ann Rule's death. She and Ted Bundy worked side by side at a crisis center in the early 70s and became good friends. I admittedly knew not much at all about Ted Bundy before reading this book, but between reading this book and watching this interview, I now realize he isn't quite the Mark Harmon-ish charmer I'd always heard he was. I LOVE audiobooks that make me forget I'm doing boring household chores and this was one of the best at that. Highly recommend! It was also made into a movie you can rent on YouTube.

What books did you read in August?

61 comments:

  1. I know two of those authors! And yes, every boy needs his dog.

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    1. Yay! Yes, dogs make childhood much easier.

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  2. I made a note of that Ann Rule book after reading about her death, too. I hadn't read it before, but I did see the TV movie with Mark Harmon - never looked at the poor man the same way again. :)

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    1. The funny thing is, after the movie came out girls started writing to Ann to say they were in love with Ted Bundy. She wrote back, "You aren't in love with Ted Bundy. You're in love with Mark Harmon." A few wrote back that she was right! I realized for years when people talked about how good-looking Ted Bundy was, I pictured Mark Harmon.

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  3. That sounds like a scary book!

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    1. It was scary, but mostly it's an analysis of why Ted Bundy is the way he is. The book comes close to pinning it down, but in the end, it's far more complex than the fact that he wasn't held as a baby or that he thought his mom was his sister for most of his young life.

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  4. I watched the interview and was shocked at what Ted was saying and it has left me shaken up. Pornography is a real cancer in society and causing so much harm that is as powerful as someone shooting a gun indiscriminately in a crowd.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I got some context on that--apparently in the late 80s, there was a lot of attention on pornography because home video had made it so easily available. So he tapped into that and used it to give himself a sob story. He always said his childhood was fine, but he was born in a home for unwed mothers and his mom left for those early, very important, days of his life. The author said he wasn't held much...then he went to a home where his grandfather supposedly was abusive? Of course, I think people like him have something wrong with their brains from birth...but he can blame porn all he wants...also, it came out in another interview that the "porn" he was reading was actually True Detective-type magazines, which were quite violent... I got irritated watching that interview because he seemed to be pulling a, "feel sorry for me--I'm a victim" act. I see what Ann Rule wrote about him there--he's very arrogant and self-absorbed.

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  5. I like this list of yours, must be a great month for you. I will take note of some of these titles, thank you for sharing!

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    1. Any month spent reading and writing is a good month!

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  6. I started the month with Julie and Julia--which of course sparked a Julie Child frenzy--my family is getting very sick of French food. :)

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    1. I read that book and oddly, it didn't inspire me to cook at all!

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  7. I love how bright and energetic the Alladin M!x covers are. And Lost in Rome sounds right up my alley- set in a pizzeria? Yum!!

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    1. A pizzeria in Rome...so the sauce is actually homemade and takes hours to make. My spaghetti sauce takes hours to make, too, now that I think of it--but that's because I put it in a Crock-Pot!

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  8. 52 likes..omg social media in a book title. It never ends!! Lol

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    1. It is, but social media is only a small part of the story, if that makes you feel better!

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  9. loved 52 Likes, and Lost in Rome sounds SO CUTE.

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    1. It was! I can't wait to read Medeia's next book.

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  10. I want to read the aliens one!

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    1. Found it!!! I saw Simon & Schuster and started putting some keywords in. This is it:

      http://books.simonandschuster.com/Randoms/David-Liss/9781481417792

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  11. haha you sure can't go wrong with a pup indeed. Quite the array once more at your bay

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    1. Life isn't complete without a dog in the house!

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  12. Awesome books! I need to bump Medeia's book up on my TBR list. I finally got to read Chrys Fey's two short paranormals and loved them. Have a great weekend. :)

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    1. I try to keep up with Medeia's releases...but she's fast!

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  13. I am also writing a MG dog/s book. I am dying to read Medeia's book as well as all the other books you have mentioned.

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    1. The fourth book in my Piper Morgan series is set at a rescue shelter...lots of dogs. I named one of the female characters after my own dog in that one! (Shelby.)

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  14. My goodness, Stephanie, you've been awfully busy this month. I especially like the "Lost in Rome" book--not just to read, but to do. I want to get lost in Rome and stay there!

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    1. I agree! She also did Lost in London and Lost in Paris...all those places!

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  15. Wow, you really read the books this month. Good for you.

    I've ready so many. I always seem to have a pile of books to read.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

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    1. It seems if I read five books in a month, I add ten to my to-read pile!

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  16. Ooh those books look good. I'm especially intrigued by Anne Rule's and Medeia's. :-)

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  17. Quite a variety of books you read this month! I think "I Live in a Doghouse" sounds cute :) I'll have to read the Ann Rule one sometime, sounds fascinating!

    I'm currently reading "After You: by Julie Buxbaum; interesting so far.

    betty

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    1. I haven't read anything by Julie Buxbaum. I'll check it out!

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  18. I've read Medeia's book but not the others, except mine of course. :)
    Thanks for your kind words about I Live in a Doghouse. Dogs do make the story. Cats do too. Another dog is in my WIP.

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    1. I guess we have to count our own books as books we've read!

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  19. LOST IN ROME sounds delightful.
    I finished translating RED QUEEN this month and started Green's WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON which I'm translating together with my publisher the way Green and Levithan did it, one chapter me, one chapter her :)

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    1. How exciting! That sounds like a fun but challenging job.

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  20. Lots of temptation. And none I have read.
    Megathanks.

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    1. So many books, so little time. :-)

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  21. These books look fun. I read a lot in August but I forget what. It's all on my Goodreads account, ha.

    I know I'm currently reading The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand.

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    1. Sometimes I realize if it weren't for Goodreads, I'd have NO idea what I've read and what I haven't!

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  22. I've had that Ann Rule book on my shelf to read for years. I've read just about every other book she's ever done, but for some reason that one Has remained unread. I am currently reading 52 Likes. Wow! What a riveting, gripping book!

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    1. Now I want to read more of Ann Rule's work. I can't imagine what it would be like to work with someone who turned out to have killed more than 100 women. We all like to assume we'd be able to spot someone like that, but he worked on a suicide hotline saving lives and seemed like a nice, slightly insecure guy.

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  23. Alladin M!x does have amazing covers! Such fabulous illustrations that are really appealing for kids and adults. It looks like you read a ton of great books in August. Lucky you! I haven't read any of them- but they are all on my list- I just had to add the Ann Rule one because it wasn't on there yet. it sounds fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Thank you so much for reviewing my book. :) I've read Beverly's book and would like to read the rest.

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  25. You definitely had a wide variety of reads. I just finished The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean and I highly recommend it.

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  26. That's a great list! I read the author's preferred edition of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (my fave book by my fave author) and am now almost done with Zeroes by Chuck Wendig, which is also excellent.

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  27. My girlfriend gave me a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I've been in a purging mode and that book is like purge fuel! I loved it. You have to check it out.

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  28. A catch-up month? Lucky you! I had to work hard all month (sob sob), but I did get to read a couple of books. I re-read Silence of the Lambs (yikes!) and I read John Grisham's Grey Mountain. Bundy isn't a Mark Harmon-ish charmer? Well, what do you know...

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  29. We all need balance, even when reading. Love your selections!

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  30. I really enjoyed 52 Likes. I love Beverly's cover but haven't gotten a chance to read her book yet. Hopefully soon.

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  31. These look like some great reads! They have some cool covers as well. I'm still way behind on my reading list but I'll have to check some of these out when I get the chance.

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  32. Thanks for the list of books. I've read several books this month. One of the books I just won and am looking forward to reading is Dead Ice by Laurell K Hamilton.

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  33. They all sound good! Thanks for the heads up on them. I've got to get a Medeia book read!

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  34. Lots of cute covers and I really enjoyed 52 Likes.

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  35. WOW! You got a lot of books read this month and they all sound interesting! I do love the fun covers.

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  36. You are right about the covers - they remind me a lot of the book covers of the books I read as a kid and teenager in the 1960's and 70's. I envy you for being able to read so much...I always want to read, but have little time for it. Recently, I took a break from reading altogether (gasp!)...stressful job and utter exhaustion by the time I got to bed. Now, with a new, less stressful job, I'm back to reading again. Currently, it's Orphan Train. I want to read all the books you've mentioned!

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  37. The only book that I have read in this list is The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. Most of the books I like to read are non-fiction, hence my having read this personal account by Ann. It is hard to believe that she actually sat beside him in a crisis center and how Ted helped people, so she said. It was a shock to many to find out that he was the serial killer that had raped and murdered so many women and young girls. I am glad he was caught and stopped.

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  38. The only book that I have read in this list is The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule. Most of the books I like to read are non-fiction, hence my having read this personal account by Ann. It is hard to believe that she actually sat beside him in a crisis center and how Ted helped people, so she said. It was a shock to many to find out that he was the serial killer that had raped and murdered so many women and young girls. I am glad he was caught and stopped.

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  39. My goodness you did really well! I’ve only managed three books during August – Walking home by Clare Balding, A rural affair by Catherine Alliott and The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins. I can thoroughly recommend all three.

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