August 2021 Novel Ideas: 32 Quick Lit Reviews

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How is it the end of August already? Time keeps flying by faster and faster every year. There were so many great books we read this month including some books that we have been anticipating for a while. We have also discovered some new series that are quickly becoming our favorites.

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Jackie’s August 2021 Novel Ideas Stack

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Ganache #17) by Louise Penny

Just when I thought Louise Penny could not get any better, along came The Madness of Crowds. This is the first book I’ve read that addresses the pandemic and Penny did it perfectly. 

People have just started to re-emerge from lock down when Gamache is asked to provide security at a statistics lecture. It seems harmless enough right?!  Wrong!

This book has all the people that you know and love from three pines🌲 with all the story telling and tension I’ve come to love in this series!

As usual, Robert Bathurst nails the narration of the novel. This is truly a book series that audiobooks bring to life!

Thank you Macmillian Audio for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Just when I thought that nothing could top the Caraval series, Stephanie Garber writes this book.  This YA fantasy will not disappoint her die-hard fans and for those that have never read Caraval, you can fall in love for the first time.  I absolutely loved this book.

Evangeline Fox was raised in her father’s curiosity shop where she grew up learning about the legends.  When Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry her step sister, she offers the prince of hearts anything in exchange for stopping the wedding.  This deal takes Evangeline to the North where the real adventure begins.

Thank you so much to Flatiron for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

I loved this romance that seems loosely based on the the tv series the Bachelor.  Dev is a producer on the long-running television show Ever After where he crafts love stories to get people to fall in love. 

When the show casts Charlie as the Prince Charming, Dev will have to put in more work than he bargained for.  Charlie is only on the show to restore his image so he can go back to work and he certainly does not believe in true love.  As Dev tires to coach Charlie in ways to connect with the contestants, Dev and Charlie realize they might have more chemistry than any of the contestants.  This is such a great romance. It will leave you smiling.

Thank you to Atria for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

This newest book by Alice Feeney is another great read.  Her books always have me turning the pages.  The book starts with Adam and Amelia Wright headed to a weekend away in a remote Scottish getaway to save their marriage. 

Told from the point of view of both Adam and Amelia, it is clear that one weekend away may not be enough.  Each year of their marriage, Adam and his wife exchange traditional wedding gifts and she writes him a letter that she will not let him read.  

Not every twist on this book is unexpected but there were a few shocks that were completely unexpected. 

Thank you Flatiron for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Cellist by Daniel Silva

I have not read all of the books in this series but I had no problem understanding what was going on.  When Viktor Orlov is poisoned inside his heavily guarded home, the search  for his killer begins.

Like every book that Silva writes, this book is a perfect mixture of true historical events mixed with fiction to keep you turning the pages. This book has character development as Gabriel Allon prepares to retire.  The story is complex and this is the perfect page-turning thriller.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

This book was my choice for a classic adaptation and I loved it.  Food and romance are at the center of this book and I thought that it was done so well. 

It has all the classic conflict of pride and prejudice with a fresh new spin that made the book so relatable and easy to read.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I went on a vampire kick this month and I loved this really creepy classic about a historians search for Dracula.  The story is told in two timelines.  One in which a young woman must decide if she is going to follow her father in his quest and the other told through her father’s stories and old journals. 

This is a complicated history and a journey in a search for Vlad the Impaler while simultaneously trying to avoid the fate that most people meet when they get too close.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith

I liked this vampire book where Abraham Lincoln’s history is changed and the deaths that surround him are at the hands of the vampires. 

In this book, US history is subtly changed to include vampires in politics and also having a major role in the Civil War.  The changes and mentions of different historical figures as vampires are just enough that it could be plausible (if vampires were actually a thing). This book is NOT a romantic vampire trilogy but rather, a dark revision of history.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

There are so many layers to this book that is a book about a fictional author and his book “Hell of a Book”.  I can see why Jenna chose this book as her July 2021 pick.

The novel tells the story of Soot- a young black boy in a rural town. As we hear the story of Soot we also have the author talking to “The Kid”, a young black boy who may of may not be invisible.

The description of the book does not do it justice. It is a powerful and poignant commentary on family, children, and the lengths that parents will go to in order to protect their black children. This book is haunting

For more Read with Jenna picks, ranked, check out the post.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I chose this book as my choice for unreliable narrator and it did not disappoint.  I will not spoil and give too many details about it.

A group of four friends who spend every summer together on a private island.  Money, family, love and an accident leads to secrets and lies. 

This book was the perfect suspense which I did not expect.  Even though I knew that the narrator was unreliable, I still had no idea where this story was going.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

Aria’s Travelling Book Shop by Rebecca Raisin

Thank you HQ digital and Netgalley for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This is the second book that I read by Rebecca Raisin and I adored Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop.

This is a cute book centered around Aria who has a romance book shop. Aria began van life when her husband became sick and continued after he had passed away. This is the story of Aria’s search for her happy ending. I enjoyed this quick and easy read.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs girl was Reese’s YA pick for summer 2021. I am usually a huge fan of Reese’s YA picks so I was very excited to read this book.

For me, it did not live up to my expectations. It was a well written book but I felt that the plot development and character development was slow. I liked where the story started and where it ended but I felt that it took a little too long to get there.

For more Reese Witherspoon Book Club Picks, Ranked, Check out this post.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee

For the last two year, I have been emotionally dependent on romances to take me away from the reality of the pandemic. Every time I think that things are looking up, I am throw for a loop.

Tara does not do relationships because one heart break is enough. But, when she meets her best-friends new brother in law, sparks fly between them.

Suddenly, Tara finds herself in a dare to date the gorgeous and tempting Seth Kim without falling in love. This book was everything that I hoped it would be.

Thank you Libro.fm for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

When A young man is found dead in a boat, there are three women who have connection to him and each have their own history of resentment and pain. 

I listened to the book and I found it really confusing trying to figure out who was who because the story jumped around so much.  The beginning of the story was a bit slow and although I liked it, I didn’t love it and didn’t feel like I needed to find out what happened.

Thank you to Libro.fm for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

No Offense by Meg Cabot

I read this book for a quick getaway from reality.  It was cute and fun but I found Molly Montgomery annoying.  When she finds a baby in the bathroom at the library, she decides to involve herself in every part of the case. 

Somehow, the Sheriff in charge of the investigation falls in love with her.  There was nothing but physical attraction between these two people who argued non-stop (not in a cute way).  I found it aggravating and annoying rather than cute banter.






Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Kirsten’s August 2021 Novel Ideas Stack

The Bookseller’s Secret by Michelle Gable

I had to make a reel for this book because Nancy Mitford is such eye candy!

This dual-timeline historical fiction novel is set in both WWII London, where we see a floundering Nancy Mitford as a bookseller, getting inspired to write The Pursuit of Happiness, and the present day, where another floundering writer is looking to Mitford for inspiration.

Nancy is the character that shines in this book and I love that she’s such a dynamic force.

Thanks to Graydon House and Netgalley for my review copy. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s stories are character-driven in the most delightful ways. This story revolves around 2 budding couples, as they figure out how to navigate adult relationships and their own places in the world.

I hope this one gets a mini-series as well because it would be as engrossing as Normal People for sure.

Thanks to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, & Libro.FM for my review copy. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller

Think Real Housewives that murder their husbands. It’s juicy, it’s fun, and it looks so good poolside. It’s totally over the top, but if you are looking for an escapist read, this is a fun pick! 

Thanks to Ballantine Books and Netgalley for my review copy. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

👏 👏 👏. Okay Sandie, I see you! I loved this slow building drama/thriller about an old group of college buddies gathered again for a wedding.

The story was a slow build but the final chapters were FIRE. I couldn’t put it down.

Thanks to Minotaur Books and Netgalley for my review copy. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle

Ya’ll know I love myself a royal read. This particular read is about a teacher who ends up having Prince Eddie and his new bride (AKA Harry and Meghan) move into the house next door.

Sparks fly with the royal bodyguard, friendships bloom with the Duke and Duchess, and I am basically the person on the cover. Such an enjoyable read!

Thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for my review copy. All opinions are my own.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

Anne Fortier did it again with this feminist retelling of the Amazon legend. This dual timeline story has a modern day Amazon expert on a hunt to find the treasure left behind by the Amazons she’s sure existed.

It flashes back to the time of the Trojan war as we learn about the origins of the Amazons and what caused the female warriors to become involved with the Trojans.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Riley Sager is back with a heart-pounding read about a girl who took a ride from a stranger to get home. She’s leaving college after finding out her best friend was murdered by a an unknown serial killer.

But as the night progresses, she begins to think that the stranger giving her a ride is actually the serial killer. Can she survive the night?






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Sherwood is a retelling of Robin Hood with Maid Marian at the center. In this version, Robin died in the crusades and it’s actually Marian that is robbing the rich and giving to the poor.

I adored how this story puts a female at the center of one of the most known fairytales.






Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Betrayed by Keira Cass

The second story in the Betrothed duology picks up exactly after the traumatic events of The Betrothed.

I had a hard time connecting with the heroine of this but I did want to finish the series.






Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murphy

This fictionalized version of Belle de Costa Greene was wonderful, I’m so glad it was a GMA pick!

Greene was J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian and later the librarian for his heir. She was also a black woman passing as white. She had to keep her roots hidden in order to hold her job, but I’m glad her real truth is being told now.

For more books set in libraries, check out this list.

For more GMA book club picks, ranked, check out this list.






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Suite Life by Melanie Summers

Bree and Leo’s love story is adorable. It’s once again set at the fabulous Paradise Bay and as usual Melanie’s humor had me giggling throughout.

The antics at Paradise Bay remind me of the shenanigans of The White Lotus, so if you loved that tv series, you will love this book series (although isn’t not dark, just romantic, funny, and full of drama!)






Rating: 3 out of 5.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Move over Harry Potter, there is a new Middle Grade Fantasy series poised to take your throne! After hearing all the kids in our area talking about this book series, I knew I had to listen to it with my kids.

We literally couldn’t stop reading this. I’m telling you, we were all stuck sitting around the speaker anxiously awaiting the next chapter. I’m so excited there are 8 books after this one!






Rating: 5 out of 5.

Exile by Shannon Messenger

The second story in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series has Sophie finding a rare Alicorn and learning that she alone can communicate with it.

My kids and I are addicted to this series and can’t wait to start the next one.






Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

I absolutely loved this take on the traditional greek stories surrounding the Trojan War. They are all told by the women in the mythology which is certainly a perspective that doesn’t get much play.

Penelope’s chapters in particular had me laughing out loud. I can’t recommend this one more to greek mythology lovers.






Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Odyssey by Homer

There is a reason this book is one of my favorites of all time. I just find this classic tale to be so entertaining.

I’m constantly pickup up something new and reading it along with A Thousand Ships and The Lost Sisterhood gave me so much to think about.






Rating: 5 out of 5.

Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery

Oh! I love Anne of Green Gables and this particular story was so fun. I loved seeing Anne interact with the Pringle Family and I also loved her correspondence with Gilbert.

I’m ready for the next book because I want to get to their wedding already!!!






Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Starlet and the Spy by Ji-min Lee

I read this book as part of our summer reading challenge and it just fell flat for me. It was a short novel about a translator, Alice, working in Seoul when Marilyn Monroe comes to visit the troops.

It was a jarring juxtaposition of Marilyn Monroe’s flightiness and Alice’s story about her life now and during her time in the Korean war. But there was also a thread about Alice’s ties to nefarious people that just distracted from what should have been a meaningful story.






Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Did you find any reads from August 2021 Novel Ideas to add to your list?

The post August 2021 Novel Ideas: 32 Quick Lit Reviews appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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