In My Library Tote: July Book Reviews and Recommendations

Life has been busy and it only seems to get busier, so I am more thankful than ever for books. Although I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like (I mean really, that will never happen unless someone just pays me to read books all day!) the time I've had was well spent.  Let's get to it and talk about July reads, shall we?

{what I read in July}

{Us Against You by Fredrick Backman} This is Backman's follow-up to Beartown, which was one of my favorite books of last year. I didn't think there was any way I could like it as much, but it's possible I liked this one even more. Like Beartown, hockey features prominently in the story--it's as if hockey itself is a character--but don't worry if you're not a fan. It's about family, and the sacrifices you make to do what you love, and being true to who you are when who you are scares people. It's hard to say the right words to describe this story, but there was just so much heart in it. This one is going down as (so far) my favorite book read this year. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

{You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero} This month I also read Sincero's first book (more below), but this one fit right in with my July goals around money. I have never enjoyed talking about money, thinking about money, or doing anything money-related (other than spending it), but this book changed my whole perspective! It definitely helped me see money in a more positive light, and to think about it from a space of abundance rather than lack. If this sounds a bit out there to you, it is, but if you struggle with money too I really recommend you embrace a new outlook and give it a read! My rating: 4/5 stars. 

{The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer} Greer is shy and somewhat unsure of her path when she heads off to college. While there, she meets Faith Frank, an influential feminist and writer who comes to her school to speak to the students. While she's there, Greer has an encounter with Faith, and though their conversation is brief, it makes quite an impact on her. Greer's life as she finishes college and enters the workforce remains the central focus of the novel, but we also see the lives of other important people in Greer's life: her long-time boyfriend, her college best friend, and Faith Frank herself. There was a lot I liked and identified with in this story, although there were also times when I found Greer irritating. Overall though, I enjoyed The Female Persuasion and what it had to say about ambition, friendship, and feminism. My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

{You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero} In case I had doubted my badassery before, after July I felt pretty solid about it. I had this book on my 35 at 35 list, and wanted to read it before I read her money book, so it just worked out that I read both this month. While I thought this was an empowering, enjoyable read, it didn't completely shake my world up the way You are a Badass at Making Money did. Through listening to podcasts like The Lively Show (which I'm missing now...sniff) I was already familiar with many of the concepts that she talks about. However, I'd be lying if I said this book didn't make me feel better after reading it. I think this would be a great book to read at the start of the school year too; this time of year is a fresh start for many people. My rating: 3.5/5 stars. 

{Clock Dance by Anne Tyler} Uniquely structured, Clock Dance tells the story of Willa Drake's life by way of its defining moments. We see her as a young girl in the wake of her mother's disappearance, then as a college student deciding on a marriage proposal, and as a young widow 20 years after that. However, it is the somewhat random phone call Willa receives from her son's ex-girlfriend's neighbor that propels her present-day life into action. That call leads her to significantly change her life and the way she's been living it. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book; the structure and in-depth look at Willa Drake as a character intrigued me. However, it didn't make me feel the way that a book I'd put in the "love" category makes me feel. I appreciated it, but I didn't love it. You know what I mean?  My rating: 3.5/5 stars. 

{The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin} Zadie, a pediatric cardiologist, and Emma, a trauma surgeon, have been friends since they were in medical school together. Together they have navigated around-the-clock schedules, intense romantic relationships, and raising children, and through the years their friendship has only grown stronger. Yet when a former colleague resurfaces in their lives, they are forced to think about a time they would both rather forget. A secret is unearthed, and as a result, their friendship is threatened. If this sounds a bit like a TV medical drama in book form, that's what it felt like to me too. Overall I thought this was a fun summer read. My rating 3/5 stars.

Abandoned: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  I tried to listen to this on audio, but I just couldn't get into it. Plus, after listening to You Are a Badass at Making Money, I needed a break from the topic.

Have you read anything good lately? 

Linking with Show Us Your Books and Modern Mrs. Darcy

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