August 9, 2016

July Books

Well now. It's a good thing I read some books in the first half of July. I haven't picked up a book yet in August. I'm not quite sure what that means.

Only You by Denise Grover Swank A
This was hopelessly adorable. I always say that I normally steer clear of these types of books but DGS just creates the best fictional characters. Her books are the exception to every rule I ever thought I had about chick-lit. There's a depth and a narrative that I don't really see in other books. The characters are incredibly likable and relatable. It's the best kind of fiction.
While, sure, these could be turned into Lifetime movies if given the right producer, they're just really good stories. This was the first in a 3-book series called The Bachelor Brotherhood. It's a spinoff of The Wedding Pact series, which was ridiculously good.
I'm not looking forward to waiting an entire year for another one. 

After Math by Denise Grover Swank C
I downloaded this because I'm of the thought that DGS can do no wrong. After Math, I knew, was a book about college students so I was hesitant. But I jumped into the audio. The first chapter was so bad that I almost returned it. Sweet Valley books have more depth to them than this, I thought. But I'd just returned a book a few days before because it was awful (I'm in a book-choosing rut), so that wasn't an option. I figured at the very least I would have a bad review to post. Bad reviews are the interesting ones, right?

Then it got better.
And I realized she had written a book in a way that presented the important details in the middle of the book, instead of at the beginning.
So the beginning was bad, the middle was good, and the end was okay.
I wouldn't discourage you from reading it but I'd tell you to go for another one of her series first so you get hooked on her style. This narrator was bad too. (audio)

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid C-/D+
See full review here. I didn't have a problem with the book itself or the writing. Something about the premise or the idea of what was happening in the book, as well as annoying characters, didn't sit well with me. I liked the periphery/background characters much better than I liked the main ones.

Redesigned by Denise Grover Swank C+
This is kind of a sequel to After Math but it's more like a spin-off than a sequel. It was better than After Math by miles because it had more of a backstory to it and details were presented in a typical fashion. I enjoyed it. It got kind 50-Shades-of-Gray-ish at a few points and it was hopelessly predictable, but it was a good enough story.

Business as Usual by Denise Grover Swank C
And then this was the spinoff to Redesigned. It was good enough. It had even more of a backstory and I liked the characters. Predictable, sure, but not bad reading. I liked Ben's character. Lexi was okay.

A Man Between Sunset and Wisteria by Ryan Christopher B-
This is an adventure story and I think was written to really showcase the setting. It takes place in the Caribbean and Florida Keys so there's something about it that really drew me in. I've only been to the Caribbean twice but there's something I just enjoy about it.  It's a hard book to describe, so I'll break my own rule and post a synopsis.

It was like Matthew McConaughey meets alcoholism meets secrets meets treasure-hunting. It was like the best parts of Sahara (which I own), with some good characterization, taking place in the Caribbean. This book is 99 cents on iTunes, so if you want an adventure story that's a smooth read (I breezed through half of it while waiting in a parking lot), I'd go for it. (ebook)


This was a chick-lit heavy month. You can see that, when I'm in a book rut (and I have been for awhile I think), I just stick to what I know.

And I didn't finish:

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza
I had this in my Audible wish list for months because I like the idea of getting pulled into a detective story. The first hour didn't catch my attention at all, so I just returned it. Oh well.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
I started this one night and it followed the show so closely that I just lost interest. They're good books, but I just wasn't feeling it.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I really enjoyed the tv series Dexter and often wonder if I should go back and read the books. I guess your answer for me is "no".

  2. I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the TJR book. While the premise is weird and a bit strange with the emails, if you suspend reality and don't go into the book thinking you're going to get something that people actually do but rather wish they could do, it becomes a much more enjoyable read. Plus she's a great writer.

  3. Interesting how the books about Dexter fell short since the series was incredible.

  4. I probably say this in every comment on your book posts, but I love how you grade them. I have The Substitute by Swank on my iPad right now, but still haven't reached for it yet, even though I've heard so many good things.

  5. I loved Dexter the show so I was wondering about the books - perhaps I'll just skip them. I'm currently listening to After I Do (about 25% done) and I agree, the premise is so dumb - who would agree to an entire year of not talking or trying to work things out? So it's frustrating, but I like the narrator TJR uses and it keeps my attention during my commute - at least there's that.

  6. I hope I fare better with The Girl in the Ice!

  7. ugh i hate waiting for books in a series, but a year?! that's so not fair.
    nothing wrong with sticking with what you know when you're in a book rut. i totally do that too.

  8. I have on of Denise Grover Swank's book on my kindle but I can't remember which one. :) I get into book ruts too and stick with one genre or author. It can really be like comfort food.

  9. I so hate when I have to wait for the next book in a series. That's so frustrating.

  10. I too found that I didn't enjoy the Dexter books (only read half of the first one, like you) despite loving the show.

  11. Waiting for books is the WORST.

    Judging by your review and the comments, I should probably just watch Dexter soon. I tried an episode once and wasn't sucked in.

    I haven't read any of these but I'm half tempted to read After I Do just to see how bad it is, haha.

  12. I suspend my Audible account during the summer because I don't listen as much since I'm not traveling to work. (I also have more than enough podcasts to listen to while cleaning or showering or whatever), but I'm excited for my first credit to come back this month. I'm already looking forward to my next listen!! Glad you had some books you enjoyed this July!

  13. Waiting for books in a series is so hard! Only You sounds like a fun read!

  14. Haha I agree that bad reviews are the most interesting. They're also easiest for me to write. If I hated a book (or even just really hated certain things about it even if I liked it overall), I feel like I can write a much more thorough review.

    I want to read the Dexter series eventually, though it's not at the top of my list right now. One of my friends is reading it now, and he said that most things are different from the show after the first book. (And, if I remember correctly, I think he said the first book ends completely differently as well even though the rest of it is pretty much just like the show.)

  15. I used to watch Dexter and loved it, but I think I've heard before that in that case the show is actually better than the books. Not sure since I never read the books, but I felt like the show was enough for me.

  16. Thanks for reviewing Ryan's book! I wrote a blog post about it and linked to your Rodan and Fields page. :) (I really don't think that I ever fixed my issue.)

  17. I agree the book Dexter is less enjoyable than the series. It's weird that it happened that way but yep I am glad to confirm that I wasn't the only one that preferred the show to the books.


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