July Book Reviews

Life According to Steph

It is time once again for Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books link up.  I love seeing what everyone is reading and always end up adding way too many books to my goodreads to read list.  It was a good reading month in terms of number of books read – 13 in all!  It was also a pretty good month for quality in reading as well.  So here are my July book reviews.

2 Stars

Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – While I enjoy Gaffigan as a comedian, I’m just not a fan of his writing.  The humor just doesn’t seem to carry over as well when I’m reading versus listening to his comedy.  This book focuses on parenting and I could relate to some of the book, but the 5 kids in a 2 bedroom apartment thing got a little old.  I enjoyed his other book Food:  A Love Story a little more than this one.

3 Stars


The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson – This is the first fiction book written by the Olympic gold medal gymnast.   In this book Charlie Ryland is living a double life.  She’s “Charlie” famous gymnast at the gym and the rest of the time “Charlotte” normal high school student.  Of course her double identity is eventually discovered.  I found the secret identity aspect of the story unrealistic.  I had to remind myself while reading this book that it is YA.  It seems a little young even for YA and although she didn’t read it, I think that it’s appropriate enough for my 10 year old to read.


Meternity by Meghann Foye – Liz Buckley works at  baby/parenting magazine Paddy Cakes.  Fed up with work and missing out on a Paris trip because she has to cover for all of the moms out on maternity leave, she decides to be pregnant and take “meternity” leave.  During this time, she will get paid time off to figure out her life.  I saw controversy on Facebook regarding this book with the argument that maternity leave is a time for a woman’s body to heal from giving birth and bond with their baby.  A woman is not having “me time” during this time.  Regardless, this book was just okay for me, as I found Liz not very likable and thought the ending was disappointing.


The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder – Penelope Marx tells the story of her heartbreak through 23 pieces in her Museum of Heartbreak.  This YA book includes friendship drama, boy drama and family drama.  Overall, just an okay YA read.


Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid – Bellamy Blake takes a vacation to Pine Mountain for a weekend getaway with two girl friends.  When her car transmission dies on the way to the resort, she ends up meeting mechanic Shane Griffin.  Of  course there is instant attraction and they end up falling in love.  This book was a bit cheesy for me, with the romance being too convenient and set up for my liking.  I haven’t read a romance genre book in awhile and only read this one for a goodreads book reading challenge.  This was probably closer to a 2.5 rating on goodreads for me, but I gave it a 3 since they don’t let you give 1/2 stars.


When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti – This book tells the story of three women in three different time periods:  Anna (1890), Ivy (1950’s) and Becky/Lauren (present) who experience pregnancy out of wedlock.  I didn’t realize that this book was Christian fiction before putting it on hold and reading it, I found it a little to religious.

4 Stars


32 Yolks by Eric Ripert – This is the memoir of Chef Eric Ripert, of Le Bernardin.  After reading about his childhood in France and his culinary training, I have so much more respect for this man……and I need to eat at his restaurant!


Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy – This is a middle grade fiction book that my daughter read.  It looked fun so I gave it a read.  It’s a cute story of two step-cousins on a road trip with their grandparents.


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin – I am a fan of Giffin’s and hadn’t read one of her books in awhile.  This book deals with how a death in the family has various affects on the other members.  There is also sister drama, friendship, dating and motherhood.  I found Meredith to be a pretty unlikable character and Josie and Gabe’s friendship a little intense, but overall enjoyed the book.


The Games:  A Private Novel by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan – This is book #11 in the Private series by James Patterson.  This book is set in Rio during the Olympic games.   This was as usual, a suspenseful, quick read.  I read this book at the end of July and found it weird to be reading a book that takes place in the immediate future (Rio Olympic Games).


Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen – I have read several of Tess Gerritsen’s mystery/suspense books.  My husband and I used to enjoy watching the TNT series Rizzoli & Isles, which is based on this book series.  This is book #8 in the Rizzoli & Isles series.  The story focuses mainly on Dr. Maura Isles, which is nice since she tends to take a more minor role in the other books.  This was a suspenseful page-turner which I enjoyed.  Plus, it was a book that I finally read from my own bookshelf!


Summer House by Nancy Thayer – This is the story of a wealthy family and their drama spending the summer at the family house in Nantucket.   Thayer’s books tend to be summer reads for me, as they often take place in the summer on various island and beach locations.  This book kept my interest, however I didn’t like how some things were unresolved.
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins – I have read most of Hopkins books and am a fan of her YA books written in poetry form.  While I enjoy her writing style, I have to admit that this book’s topic was almost too much for me.  The books focuses on five teenagers with dysfunctional lives who end up turning “tricks” to survive.  It’s disturbing and heartbreaking to read but even scarier to realize that this kind of stuff is happening in real life.




  1. I have no interest in reading Jim Gaffigan even though I enjoy him as a comic.

    You turned me on to Ellen Hopkins so I’ll clearly have to keep this one on my radar. I really want to sit down and have a conversation with her about her books and how she picks her topics.

  2. Hmm I wonder if the Gaffigan book would have been better as an audiobook? I have Amy Poehler & Mindy Kaling’s audiobooks and I think that just works better for comedians.

    As someone who just returned to work from maternity leave…Meternity has piqued my interest.

  3. hmm the maternity/meternity book sounds cute, but i can totally see how people would find offense with it.. but no one is making them read it lol. i would love some meternity leave, i’m sure mothers would too! haha. i liked first comes love but yes, Meredith was so unlikable!

  4. I enjoy the Rizzoli & Isles series too, although not a huge fan of the TV series. It’s too different from the books – character-wise. It’s not how imagined them, especially Isles. Ice Cold wasn’t one of my favorites, but the boy and dog do pop-up in future books. Tricks intrigues me and I’m adding it to my TBR.

  5. I have that Emily Giffin book on my to-read list. I’m glad you told me about the Gaffigan book. I probably wouldn’t relate at all since I don’t have kids. I like to read a lot of comedian’s books but some I really just can’t relate to. For example, I never watched 30 Rock (I know I should!) so I couldn’t related or understand a lot of references in Tina Fey’s book.

  6. I haven’t read an Emily Giffen book in a long time, but every one seems to still love her, so I might try. It seems like a lot of comedians don’t translate well when they write books. Their books are always ok, but never as funny as I think they should be.

    • I have enjoyed Giffen’s early books much more than her more recent ones. I think listening to comedians read their books on audio might be more enjoyable than reading them on my own.

  7. I enjoy James Patterson’s Private series, but I’m so behind. I know it’s not necessary to read them in order, but I feel the need to do so. They are typically quick reads though, so I should work one or two into the mix soon.
    I always like reading your comments about books that both you and your daughter read. It makes my heart happy to read about encouraging the love of reading with our future generation.

    • The Private series is one that I haven’t been reading in order! But I understand since I usually try to read most series in order. I love that both my kids love to read as much as I do.

  8. Man you read a ton of great books this month! Summer House sounds really good, and definitely like a good book to read on the beach. I’ve had First Comes Love on my list for a while, and I just need to get around to reading it! I’ve loved most of Emily Giffin’s books.

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