July 13, 2021

June Books 2021

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid 3 stars

I highly anticipated this one. It's gorgeous, first of all. The first part of the story pulled me in because I'm one who doesn't like all of the info laid out to begin with. You had to keep reading to figure out what was going on. However...I found myself MUCH more into the story of the mother and Mick Riva in the 1950s/60s than I was into the story of Nina Riva in 1983. Even the brief blips about Mick's childhood in New York were more interesting than Nina's story. It's not a great sign when the back story is more interesting than the primary narrative. And once I got to the second half of the book, I didn't care. It wasn't great. It was overly dramatic and directed at cinema, not just being a great book. Blah. 

Someone I know once said that TJR does it best when she just writes about regular people. It's true. Creating the Hollywood stories is just not appealing. Daisy Jones was awful, and Evelyn Hugo felt like a rip-off of Elizabeth Taylor's life. I feel like TJR could do an amazing historical fiction book about just regular people. 

Just One Look by Lindsay Cameron c/o Netgalley 4 stars 

This was a hit of crazy. Holy cow. Fascinating, though. A psychological thriller taking place in New York City. Information was given out just a little at a time so you really had to keep going if you wanted to know more. I put the pieces together before the end but that was fine. Good writing and it was an enjoyable journey to get there. I always wanted to pick it up to read more. 

Comes out July 27th. 

The Wife by Shalini Boland 2.5-3 stars

I found the writing in this one to be kind of bad. Maybe not awful, but not great by any stretch, Apparently this author has lots of similar books (i found this on kindle when i just really needed a thriller-ish book and it was $2), The main character was a bit of a dummy and her narrative was unnecessarily descriptive...i.e. I don't care what kind of shoes your coworker wears or what your boss' mood is like every hour. 

Again, it was fine for what it was. Could've been a Lifetime movie. 

After You Left by Carol Mason 3 stars

This was a triple timeline story, part in the 1960s, 1983 (TJR must've conferred with her), and then in 2017. I really liked the 2017 timeline. Like, really enjoyed the mystery of it and then the rest of it was boring. It had a very Notebook feel to it and that was ugh. Plus, there was a lot of art talk. Centering plots around art or music is boring to me. So yeah, would make a good movie. Parts of the book really sucked me in and parts were totally skimmable. It's been on my TBR for 2+ years though so I'm glad I spent the 99 cents on it.

Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams 4 stars

ANOTHER triple timeline. 1930, 1951, and 1969. And different sets of characters, so not all the same people in each timeline. It was a lot to keep track of. 

But Beatriz Williams writes the best historical fiction. It's not boring. It's not overwritten. And it's not out of place. Meaning, some authors write HF and the characters act like modern-day characters (ahem, Kristin Hannah). I always appreciate the amount of research Williams seems to do. It's just really good writing where you can go get lost in the past. 

Mama Bear Apologetics by Hillary Morgan Ferrer 3 star to 5 star, depending

I can't lie: I struggled with this. It was a lot of information. I did the audio because I'm doing my non-fiction via audio in 2021. I can't get motivated to read a physical non-fiction book these days and I've really discovered that I'm an auditory learner. However...I did not like the narration. Drove me nuts, actually, so I never wanted to press play. It took a long time to finish. And I haaaaate the phrase "mama bear". So given all of that, you'd think this book really wouldn't appeal to me...but: I really appreciate apologetics these days. Essentially, the apologetics of any topic is just the facts a topic is based on and supported by. Christian apologetics, for example, can really be summed up with Greg Koukl's Tactics (loved it!) and this Mama Bear Apologetics is how to speak to your children about the topic. All VERY valuable and all VERY necessary in 2021, but I just didn't love the format, the acronyms, the title, the switching between authors constantly (it was a project between many writers), and mostly the narration was annoying. 

The book itself and the way it was put together is a 3 star, the information is 5 stars. I am interested in trying out a Natasha Crain book next to see if I like her style better. Have you read any of hers?

When it comes to how reading is going in general: I'm at 32/60 for 2021 at the halfway point. (ish...it's the 2nd week in July). All of my fiction is an actual book or ebook. All of the nonfiction is audio, so far. 

Linking up for Show Us Your Books!


  1. Malibu Rising is on my list...one day!

  2. I 100% agree with everything you said about Malibu Rising. TJR is an amazing writer and I wish she would stick to amazing books and stop writing for it to turn into a Netflix show or a movie. I miss her old stuff so much.

  3. I loved Daisy Jones & Evelyn. Malibu Rising not so much.

    Just One Look sounds good! I'm going to check it out.

  4. Sooo I have Just One Look from Netgalley. LOL I *can* check it out, immediately

  5. oh man I HATED daisy jones, but I've been seeing everyone gush about Malibu Rising, is it weird that I find it refreshing to know someone didn't love it?

  6. Ditto for Malibu Rising. I wanted to love it, but didn't!

  7. Literally, I have the exact same review for Malibu Rising - I wanted more back story ... the party - I checked out & just skimmed through it.

  8. I also read Malibu Rising and thought it was just an okay read. Just One Look is on my to read list.

  9. Ooh Just One Look sounds fascinating!


  10. The one thing that bugged me about Malibu Rising was all the extra characters from the party that they told us what happened to. Why? Unless they will end up in another book, they just seemed like extra information that we didn't need and we could have had more story.


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