August 2015 Reads

Life According to Steph

I’m happy to be participating again in Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books link-up.  I love finding out what everyone’s been reading and my to read list grows tremendously after this link-up!  I was on a big psychological suspense reads kick this month!  Here are my August reads sorted by rating:

2 Stars

Truth or Die by James Patterson & Howard Roughan –  I don’t know why I keep reading Patterson’s stand-alone books!  This book was a page-turner as usual, but the overall story was disappointing.  Trevor Mann’s girlfriend, a newspaper journalist is killed in a mugging.  However, he doesn’t think it was a chance shooting and attempts to find her murderer. I prefer his Women’s Murder Club and Alex Cross series and should just stop reading these stand-alone books!

3 stars

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave – Georgia returns to her family vineyard in Sonoma a few days before her wedding to discover her fiancé and family all have secrets they’ve been hiding.  There were some interesting facts about winemaking that I learned, but overall, this was just an okay read for me.

In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume – Blume was one of my favorite authors when I was growing up.  I remember really enjoying her adult novel Summer Sisters.  I thought this book was just okay.  I found it interesting that it was based on actual events.  However, there were a ton of characters to keep track of and the storyline didn’t really interest me.


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – This book has been on the New York Times best seller list for several weeks.  I put it on hold at the library and I finally received it after waiting what felt like forever.  I had seen this book dubbed as “the next Gone Girl,” which apparently is the standard to which every new psychological thriller is now compared to.  I had also read several negative reviews of this book prior to reading.  Not sure if those reviews subliminally affected my opinion of this book, but I wasn’t very impressed.  After experiencing tragic events in high school, Ani Fanelli has now reinvented herself into a woman who seems to have it all.  She revisits those painful memories and we find out what happened in the past as she is interviewed for a television special about the events that happened long ago.  Reese Witherspoon is going to be producing this the movie version of this book, which Lionsgate  has acquired.  I of course, will watch it, regardless of the fact that I didn’t like the book so much.


Missing Child by Patricia MacDonald – Patricia MacDonald is not a new author to me.  I’ve read three other of her psychological suspense type novels.  This was one of my least favorite books of hers.  Caitlin’s stepson Geordie goes missing one day after she drops him off at school.  This story is the search for the boy, with fingers even being pointed at Caitlin.  Just an okay read for me.


Sister by Rosamund Lupton – While I was at my new job training, I got into a book discussion with another woman who highly recommended this book after discovering that I liked psychological suspense books as much as she did.  The book is set in England and is written in letter form from Beatrice to Tess.  When Beatrice’s sister Tess is missing and then found dead, it is ruled as a suicide.  Beatrice knows her sister would never kill herself and she flies to London to try to figure out what happened to Tess.  Through her own investigation Beatrice discovers there’s a lot about her sister that she didn’t know.  This was an okay suspense type read for me.


Those Girls by Chevy Stevens – I loved Still Missing which was my first introduction to Chevy Stevens.  This is now my third book of hers that I’ve read and unfortunately, it disappointed.  Three sisters end up on the run after an attempt to avoid their father’s abuse turns bad.   They create new identities and lives in order to survive after additional tragedies occur.  Again, another just okay read.

4 Stars


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Blogger friend Lisa from Expandng had recommended this book to me.  This was a monthly selection from her online book club Page Turners.  After reading the synopsis, I didn’t end up reading it, because based on the summary, it just didn’t sound like my thing.  And this is why I love book recommendations and link-ups like this.  She read it for the book club and has since highly recommended the book.  I decided to give it a try and I was so pleasantly surprised!  I’m not a big sci-fi fan, but I enjoyed the game show premise of the book as well as all of the 80’s references.  This one was even passed along to my husband to read, who also gave it a big thumbs up.  We were excited to find out that Steven Spielberg will be producing this into a movie, which is supposed to premiere sometime in 2017.
5 Stars

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay – This book has been on my “want to read” list for what seems like forever.  I’m not sure what took me so long to read it, but am so happy that I finally did!  This is a young adult, coming of age story that is beautifully written with very likable characters.  Nastya Kashnikov starts a new school with a hidden, tragic past.  She ends up forming unlikely friendships with Drew and Joshua, two friends with very different personalities and lives.  Relationships form and secrets come as the story unfolds. I can see this book being made into a movie.



  1. I loved loved loved Sea of Tranquility and hated Luckiest Girl Alive. I usually don’t hate books that I actually finish (I typically stop and don’t continue to read them) so that one will stand out in my mind forever.

    I’ve been waiting for Eight Hundred Grapes from the library for an eternity. Blah.

  2. Eight Hundred Grapes really disappointed me, it had potential to be so good.

    I’m still waiting on Luckiest Girl Alive, I’m always hesitant after reading so many meh reviews of a book.

  3. I’ve had The Sea of Tranquility on my Kindle from Netgalley for ages but it sounds like I need to finally get around to reading it!

    Totally agree with you on the Judy Blume book.

  4. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay I’m so glad you liked Ready Player One and that your husband gave it a thumbs up too! I can’t wait for the movie! I bet it’ll be great on screen! I also love this linkup because sometimes I have to see a book review a few times before being convinced to read it. And Sea of Tranquility is on my list! Glad it was top-notch for you.

  5. yay for enjoying the sea of tranquility! loved it. ready player one is on my list – it didn’t sound like my kind of book but a few people have recommended it so i’m definitely going to read it! totally agree, that’s why i love these link ups!

  6. I loved the Sea of Tranquility! It was just so brilliantly beautiful! Great Read!

    I have Ready Player One on my Audible but I just haven’t made the time to listen to it! I know I need to because Wil Wheaton is the voice actor for it!

  7. I have Ready Player One on hold at the library and I am looking forward to reading it. I read That Night earlier this year and liked it, though not as much as Still Missing. And I just borrowed Steph’s copy of In the Unlikely Event. I’m trying to go into it with an open mind.

  8. I’ve had Sea of Tranquility on my list forever too. I need to read it already! I’m in the middle of Ready Player One right now and kinda love it. I have Those Girls on hold, but I might skip it. There’s just too much to read!

  9. Sea of Tranquility and Ready Player One have been on my list for a while. I might just have to take the plunge on Tranquility. I love a good book that gives me all the feels.

  10. I agree with you that every psycho suspense thriller seems to be compared to Gone Girl. You know what? I was one of the few that wasn’t wow-ed by Gone Girl, so I don’t need it as the benchmark. I’ve never read Patricia MacDonald and you said others of hers were better. Can you recommend one?

    Disappointing about Truth or Die. But, I’ll read it anyway. I’m a James Patterson sucker, even if some of the books are duds.

    • From my Goodreads rankings my favorites of Patricia MacDonald were Married to a Stranger and Stolen in the Night, both of which I gave 4 stars to. I feel like the suspense thriller genre has really exploded recently with tons of new and possibly better books than hers. Not sure I’d give these books 4 stars again if I reread them, but regardless, liked them better than Missing Child.

  11. The Sea of Tranquility was so good. I heard so many bad reviews of The Luckiest Girl Alive I pulled it from my list. I really liked Those Girls but mostly because of how much they overcame and how strong they came out of everything.

  12. I hatted The Luckiest Girl Alive so, so much. No idea why it gets so much praise! Sea of Tranquility has been on my list for forever… I need to see where I’m at on the library list for it. I read That Night by Chevy Stevens and really liked it so I want to read this one, too.

  13. I think I’m the only person that truly loved In The Unlikely Even LOL! I’m definitely added Ready Player One and Sea Of Tranquility to my to read list. They both sound really interesting!

  14. Sea of Tranquility is on my TBR list. After seeing so many negative reviews of Luckiest Girl Alive and the fact that I’m still reeling from reading Gone Girl (probably forever), I’ll prob end up skipping over it.

    (PS, you are a no reply commenter when you leave comments on my blog and I can’t find your email address to send you responses when you leave comments on my blog.) 🙁

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