August Wrap-Up Post

After hitting my 2019 Goodreads Goal of 125 books at the end of July, I wasn’t sure how my reading was going to go the remainder of the year…thankfully, I was able to read 14 books in August! Scroll down to see what I read and enjoyed, and some readalikes if you enjoyed the books too!

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary: The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school teaches the girls to be the best society has to offer, and provides an array of studies and activities, though math, science, and current events aren’t among them. They are obedient young ladies free from arrogance or defiance, until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears. As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Thoughts: I had high hopes for this book just on the cover and description, but I have to say it was a disappointment. At the beginning, I couldn’t seem to turn the pages fast enough but around the middle it just became confusing…and slightly boring. I felt like the narrative was definitely trying too hard and while I began to love the characters, the heavy-handedness of the writing and pacing just was too much to overcome. I may pick up the second book just to see what happens, but overall this just wasn’t for me.

Readalikes: Wilder Girls by Rory Power, The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg, The Similars by Rebecca Hanover, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Dayton

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. She takes her first step in the fashion industry by landing a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, but she doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi… then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique, and she’s making friends with people she’d never imagine; is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story? Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?

Thoughts & Readalikes: For my thoughts and readalikes for The Summer of Jordi Perez, check out my review post here.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas.

While Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way. Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s chaotic present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface…

Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed this book. The characters and the way in which Mhairi McFarlane wrote their witticisms was enjoyable and fun; on the same token, the writing also lost me quite a bit, as it meandered (sort of like a stream of consciousness) and many of the British references flew over my head. The writing is what made me give it a 4 instead of a 5, but Georgina is one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in a long time and she was such a treasure in this book.

Readalikes: One Day in December by Josie Silver, The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves, Chasing Charlie by Linda McLaughlan

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s rights.

Mistry Law is handling the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen goes through the papers, she notices something strange: all three have signed over their inheritance to a charity. What will they live on if they forefeit what their husband left them? Perveen is suspicious. The Farid widows live in purdah: strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate and realizes her instincts about the will were correct when tensions escalate to murder. It’s her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that nobody is in further danger.

Thoughts: I read this book for my work book club and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I love historical fiction and learning more about different cultures and experiences, so this was right up my alley. I loved the way in which the story was weaved, and Perveen is the perfectly imperfect protagonist! I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book (thankfully it just came out this summer).

Readalikes: The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu, A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee, Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: Meet Cute follows Kailyn and Daxton, who meet in a rather embarrassing way; Kailyn literally runs into Daxton on their first day of law school, only just realizing she’s also ran into her teenage celebrity crush! Her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected…and a betrayal she never saw coming. Eight years later, Daxton is in her office asking for legal advice and despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Thoughts: This was a quick, comforting romantic comedy read! I loved the chemistry between Dax and Kailyn, and the relationship between Dax and Emme was so precious. I thought things were a little too pat and the ending was a bit rushed, but I definitely plan to read Helena’s other books now that I’ve discovered her writing.

Readalikes: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai, Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Hero at Large by Janet Evanovich

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1-3 by Amu Meguro

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Summary: Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?Summary:

Thoughts: At first, I was thrown off by the premise…I mean, what kind of high schooler/teenager proposes dating with marriage being the goal? However, once I got past the first volume, I really started to fall in love with the characters. I’m definitely going to continue the series to see where Nao and Taiga go in their relationship and also follow the very amusing side characters!

Readalikes: My Love Story!! by Kazune Kawahara, Love Roma by Minoru Toyoda, Shortcake Cake by Suu Morishita, Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: The Wizarding world has split down the middle, and as the casualties mount, the effects even spill over onto the Muggles. Dumbledore is away from Hogwarts for long periods, and the Order of the Phoenix has suffered grievous losses. And yet, as in all wars, life goes on.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione, having passed their O.W.L. level exams, start on their specialist N.E.W.T. courses. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, losing a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry becomes captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, while Draco Malfoy pursues his own dark ends. And classes are as fascinating and confounding as ever, as Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

Most importantly, Dumbledore and Harry work together to uncover the full and complex story of a boy once named Tom Riddle—the boy who became Lord Voldemort. Like Harry, he was the son of one Muggle-born and one Wizarding parent, raised unloved, and a speaker of Parseltongue. But the similarities end there.

Harry must use all the tools at his disposal to draw a final secret out of one of Riddle’s teachers, the sly Potions professor Horace Slughorn. Finally Harry and Dumbledore hold the key to the Dark Lord’s weaknesses… until a shocking reversal exposes Dumbledore’s own vulnerabilities, and casts Harry’s—and Hogwarts’s—future in shadow.

Thoughts: When I used to have a long commute, I began to re-listen to the Harry Potter books on audio for the first time since I was a kid- now I’ve made it an annual thing! Half-Blood Prince isn’t one of my faves, but it always proves interesting…not sure if I’m ready for The Deathly Hallows now!

Readalikes: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Magyk by Angie Heap

Meal by Blue Delliquanti & Soleil Ho

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary: Yarrow is a young chef determined to make her mark on the cutting edge of cookery with her insect-based creations. Though her enthusiasm is infectious, it rubs some of her fellow cooks the wrong way, especially Chanda, Yarrow’s personal hero and executive chef of an exciting new restaurant. Her people have been eating bugs for centuries, and she’s deeply suspicious of this newbie’s attempt to turn her traditions into the next foodie trend. While Chanda and her scrappy team of talented devotees struggle to open on time, Yarrow must win over Chanda — and Milani, the neighbor she’s been crushing on for weeks — or lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve her dreams. Co-written with chef and food writer Soleil Ho (Edible Manhattan, Bitch), Blue Delliquanti’s sweet coming-of-age story takes us deep into a world of art, mystery, and memory on the culinary frontier.

Thoughts & Readalikes: For my thoughts and readalikes, check out my Fat-a-Thon wrap-up post here.

On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary: Thanks to her bangin’ curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie’s luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie’s determined to get Logan’s attention . . . even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar. 

Logan can’t remember a time when Valerie didn’t secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It’s only when he finds Valerie’s naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.  No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

Thoughts & Readalikes: For my thoughts and readalikes for On the Plus Side, check out my Fat-a-Thon wrap-up post here.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: Darius speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Thoughts & Readalikes: For my thoughts and readalikes for Darius the Great is Not Okay, check out my Fat-a-Thon wrap-up post here.

If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.” Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

Thoughts & Readalikes: For my thoughts and readalikes about If It Makes You Happy, check out my Fat-a-Thon wrap-up post here.

Happy Marriage?! Vol. 1 by Maki Enjōji

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary: In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya—a man she doesn’t know—at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Maki Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!

Thoughts: Okay so overall, I really enjoyed this one! I’m a sucker for enemies to lovers romances, so the lead up to their marriage (and relationship afterwards) was like catnip to me. The characters are fun and relatable, and I love love LOVE the art in this one. The only downside of this volume (which knocked it down a whole star) is that there was some slight subtle body shaming and body negativity that I observed, which is frankly something I can’t tolerate. I’m going to read the following volumes to see how the story progresses, but I’m going to do it cautiously.

Readalikes: Everyone’s Getting Married by Izumi Miyazono, Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu, Last Game by Shinobu Amano

Of the 12 books I set out to read in my August TBR post, I only was able to squeeze in 4 of them…but 33% isn’t bad, right?!

I hope to have my September TBR post up soon and it will probably be equally as ambitious…

Until next time!

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