Books for your Summer Beach Bag (VOL. II)


Summer is quickly (and sadly) winding down, but I'm back with a few more books to share! A couple of months ago I posted about the first few books I read for the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge. Today I'm back to share a couple of the other books I read courtesy of Book Sparks and NetGalley!


Ghosting by Edith Pattau
"On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive." -via goodreads

My thoughts: This was easily one of the best books I've read so far in 2014. It's told from multiple view points of a group of teenagers in verse form. At first I didn't think I would be able to get into, but it took all of three pages and I was hooked. As soon as you're introduced to each of the characters you have a clear picture in your head of who they are. Pattau so beautifully linked together old friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and new friends in a story with so much truth. Without giving too much away it touches on mental illness, gun violence, teenager drug and alcohol use. Peer pressure. Pressure from parents. And so many other realistic issues that today's youth face on a regular basis. She highlights how a seemingly harmless action or prank can cause a chain reaction of events with horrible consequences.  I think this would be perfect for a middle school or early high school required reading list. (5 stars)

Ghosting will be released on the 19th but you can pre-order it on Amazon here



After I do by Taylor Jenkins
"When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I had mixed feelings about this book-- I liked it at times, but really I found myself wanting it to be over. It read a little bit like a conversation with your BFF, which is great, but if I want that I'll call up a friend and talk about real life. There were a few lines that made me laugh and a few places where I think anyone in a relationship could relate, but overall I was bored and didn't really care what happened in the end. 

I couldn't connect with the book and I guess I should have known from the synopsis. If I was having marital issues, our first solution would not be to split up for a year- so it wasn't realistic to me (I know it's fiction, but still), and I didn't find it witty or charming enough to be likable otherwise. The ending was cute and predictable, but it reminded me of a Hallmark movie. While I didn't like it, it has over 4 stars on Goodreads, so I was definitely in the minority. (2 stars)




Gravel on the Side of the Road by Kris Radish
"A woman who worries about carrying a .38 special in her purse, nearly drowns in a desert canyon, flies into the war in Bosnia, dances with the FBI, tells Geraldo he shouldn’t put guests in hotel rooms with rats and spends time with murderers, has more than a few stories to tell. Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From a Broad Who Has Been There is a daring and revealing adventure itself. Beloved novelist Kris Radish returns to her non-fiction beginnings with her first, but not last, book of autobiographical essays. Her writing career has spanned four decades and has included award winning newspaper work, magazine features, a national syndicated column, eleven books and enough stories and adventures to fill up many more. Radish’s talent for telling it like it is, sharing the wit and wisdom of a life lived mostly on her own terms and her keen sense of humor are highlighted in these stories- some of them old- some of them new, but all of them a glimpse into worlds many never dare to enter. This author always lives in a world where nothing is sacred but the sweet emotions of the heart. Kris is definitely a broad who has been there." -via goodreads

My thoughts: I love non-fiction so I was really excited what I saw this on the list for the summer reading challenge. I had no familiarity with Kris Radish and didn't really know what to expect. The book wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I enjoyed Gravel quite a bit. Some of the stories are hilarious, while others tug at your heartstrings. One of my favorite stories was the chapter, The Mothers in Bosnia, you could picture everything she was describing, and I found her thoughts and wishes to be so relevant to so much of the heartbreak that is going on in so many parts of the world right now.


"I do not want to astonish. What I want is to be home. I want everyone to be home. I want those women to fly back into Sarajevo with a plane full of food and medical supplies and a secret potion for peace." 

If you're a fan of short stories I would definitely recommend this book. Radish gives you an insight to so many people, places, and ideas. (3 stars)

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I want to end this post with another huge thank you to BookSparks for putting together such a fun challenge. I enjoyed all of the books and was introduced to so many new, amazing, and inspiring authors.

23 comments

  1. I haven't read any of these! I need to get on it!

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  2. I don't know why, but I didn't get Ghosting - now I really want to read it! I loved After I Do, and Gravel is my next read. Love this challenge!

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  3. Definitely checking out that first book, thanks for the feedback on the other two. The second one sounded good, but I imagine it would get old fast!

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  4. The title of "After I Do" brings me in and then like you said the synopsis is just not for me!! Ghosting sounds like a really good read!! thanks for sharing! xo

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  5. I really wish I had more time to read books..! I used to lock myself in my room growing up with books and just read.. I read still, but books for school. Loved reading a little bit of these books..! My goal is to read again, for fun, for me.

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  6. hmm after i do sounds a bit weird. i think reading it would bother me. i dont know why.
    the first one sounds good! adding it to my 'to read' list. by the time I get to it, it'll be well released haha

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  7. Ugh, I did not read one single book this summer. So embarrassing! "After I Do" sounds strange. I would NOT say goodbye to my husband for one year if we were having problems, that is just crazy!

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  8. I'm going to have to read Ghosting! I just finished If I Stay and wasn't impressed. I need a good book to follow it up!

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

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  9. Thanks for the great book reviews! I will have to pick some of these up because my reading list is pretty short right now :) Though "After I Do" sounds different from what I thought it would be, because the title seemed kind of misleading. I guess that's the downfall of some books.

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  10. Love an honest book review! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these.

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  11. I love finding good reads! Thanks for sharing!

    www.madeintheshadeblog.com

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  12. I love finding new authors & end up loving them.

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  13. Thanks for the info Carly! I'd be interested in reading all of them!

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  14. Great review Carly! I haven't heard of any of these books and I always love adding to my reading list!

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  15. I always get such good book recommendations from these! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Now I need to read these!! Thanks for the recommendations.

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  17. These are great recommendations! I haven't read any of them, but they look good!

    Sarah
    aroseinthecity0.blogspot.com

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  18. Ive got to check these out! Thanks for the rec!

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  19. Ghosting sounds right up my alley, definitely adding it to the list. I love your book reviews, they are always so helpful!

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  20. This is awesome - I love to read and will definitely have to check these out. Your reviews are so helpful - they're detailed without going overboard. Sounds awesome - thanks, girl!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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