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Carly Reads Here | July 2017

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Aside from The Likeness taking me forever to finish, I finally got back into a better reading groove this month. I finally got all the way caught up with my library books, which meant I could finally prioritize some of my Netgalley queue.

My Not So Perfect Life This book was pure bliss! Aside from Finding Audrey (which I love, but is YA), I've never read any of Kinsella's standalone books (though I have enjoyed the few Shopaholic books I've read). The story is about Katie, a girl from the countryside who has her dream job in London, though her boss is a bit of a nightmare. The beginning was hilarious and all too relatable as she goes through her hellish commute-- I think most people who have moved to a big city can relate to her experience of using public transportation. Things don't go so well, and she ends up moving back home for a little bit to help her dad and step-mom run a glamping business-- which is every bit as hilariously awesome as it sounds.

Of course there's a love story thrown in there too, though I appreciated it wasn't a central theme of the book. Rounding out the title of the book, she also touches on the danger of falling into the perfect life on instagram thing, that was pretty relatable. Overall, a really fun book, that I wouldn't mind reading again/would really like a sequel!
Thank you Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review! 

The Likeness | After finishing the first book in this series back in April I couldn't wait to dive back into the world of the Dublin Murder Squad. This book follows Cassie (one of the detectives from the first book), as a dead body is found that looks exactly like her and has the ID of one of her undercover aliases from earlier in her career.

The premise was really interesting to me, but then their game plan after finding the body seemed so farfetched and I wondered if I would be able to get past that, but I'm finding French's books to be more about the characters vs the plot. She has a beautiful way with words and writes interesting characters, but this one was a tad long for me. *though of course, now that I've finally finished it I'm anxious to read the next one-- though kind of not because I really don't care for Frank's character, so I'm not sure how much I'll dig his point of view?

Once and For All | This was a most-anticipated book of summer for me, and right away I was filled with the nostalgia that comes with reading a Sarah Dessen novel when you've been reading her books for years... until things took an unexpected turn that I was not prepared for based on what was on the blurb. This happens around the 30% point, so it isn't like the central theme of the book or anything, just not what I expected.

Basically it's about a girl Louna, who assists her mom in her wedding planning business. There was a tragic ending with her first love, Ethan, but the current love interest in the story is Ambrose. It's kind of told back and forth between how she met Ethan, and currently as she's getting to know Ambrose. I preferred one story to the other, and wished the romance with Ambrose could have been kicked up a notch a little earlier on, but it's worth a read if you're a fan of Sarah Dessen.

Perennials | This is a debut novel about a summer camp-- the synopsis makes it sound like it focuses on two girls, Fiona and Rachel, but it really highlights an entire cast of characters with a different in-depth focus on each character. I think the book was maybe too short for this to work, and  it almost felt like a book of short stories that kind of came together in the end, but not really.

I loved the summer camp setting, a few of the characters were really interesting and well developed, but as a whole the book felt scattered leaving it at 2.5 stars.
Thank you Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore | Like most book lovers, I'm a sucker for a book about books, and I could tell from the first few pages that I was really going to enjoy the writing. The story is about Lydia, who works at a bookstore where a patron committed suicide and left her a message to figure out what happened. Lydia also witnessed a horrific event when she was younger, so the book works through that backstory too, which was a tad more scary/dark than I was expecting. I think there were a few plot holes, but the writing/pace of the story was so good that it wasn't something that bothered me. This is a great choice if you're looking for a bookish book, with a great thriller element thrown in as well. I'm really interested to see what this author writes next. This was available through my library, but if yours doesn't have it there's a Goodreads giveaway going on until the 20th!

The Inn at Lake Devine | I can't get enough of Elinor Lipman, and am happily reading my way through all of her books. This one was published back in 1998 and was definitely different in tone from the other two books I've read so far. The book starts off in 1962 with the protagonist, Natalie, as a child and her family inquires about staying at an Inn in Vermont for their summer vacation-- they get a response back that basically says they aren't welcome because they're Jewish. Natalie ends up going to the Inn a few years later with a friend from summer camp, and then the book switches to part 2, where Natalie is an adult (which is the majority of the book). There's some rom-com going on, but also the tension between Natalie and her parents, and relationships that happen at the Inn over the conflict in religion. There was a bit of a lull in the second half of the book for me, and then a ton of action in the last quarter of the book. I loved Natalie's character and found the minor characters to be really well constructed, which is something I've noticed in all of Lipman's books.

So a pretty good little batch of books this time around! My Not So Perfect Life and Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore were definitely my top two. What books have you read lately? Any perfect summer beachy reads? Make sure you stop by the Show Us Your Books linkup to see what other bloggers have been reading.

Loving Lately

I guess I'm really feeling the random, more spontaneous posts again this month for the first time in a while. Sharing five random recommendations: a tv show, an accessory, a drink, a recipe, and a book.

Random Musings

If I could trade places with someone for a day I think I'd pick Kate Middleton. Or maybe Pippa so I could hang out with Kate Middleton all day? I'm not crazy into the royals or anything, but it would be so interesting to have an inside look of how they live.

Middleton Place | Charleston, South Carolina

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In case you missed it, or are just happening along this post, I shared a recap of our trip to Charleston, but wanted to do a separate post on Middleton Place because it was such an incredible experience. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark-- it originated in 1741 and was expanded in the 19th & 20th centuries.

Carly Reads Here | June 2017

Happy Show Us Your Books Day! My reading picked up a bit thanks to all of my library books expiring at the same time. I'm currently trying out the suspend feature to hopefully help space them out a little bit better. Most of these are pretty long review blurbs because I had so much to say, and I usually like to share a little bit about the plot too.

TRAVEL: Charleston, SC

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Charleston is one of those cities that seems to have it all-- charm, beautiful architecture, great food, and so much history. My husband had a work training and I was lucky enough to tag along. This was my fourth time in Charleston, but first time spending an extended period of time in the city-- in the past I'd been for a day when visiting Hilton Head or Isle of Palms, so I was excited to see more of the city (really eat more of the food). I came down with an unfortunate case of shingles before our trip, so that put a little bit of a damper on things, but what would life be without trials and tribulations?

Exciting Book Releases | Summer 2017

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Mid-May means summer is right around the corner, even though that's hard to believe because it has been unseasonably cold. While I tend to be a mood reader more than a seasonal reader, there are so many books coming out this summer that I can't wait to read. These are all books by authors I've read before and really loved.

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