June 2016 Reads

Life According to Steph

It is time once again to link up with Jana and Steph and share my June 2016 reads  This month my reading game was stepped up due to a Goodreads challenge that I’m participating in.  It’s a team challenge and the more books I read, the better.  According to Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies, I’m an Obliger, so I’ve been reading non-stop, not wanting to let my teammates down!  So, expect lots more books from now until October, when this challenge ends!  Here are my June reads, listed from least to most enjoyed.

2 Stars


If Fried Chickens Could Fly  by Paige Shelton – This is the first book in the Gram’s Country Cooking School mystery series.  I like a good cozy mystery every now and then, but this book was just “eh.”  While I normally like cooking and food related mysteries, the paranormal aspect of this book just seemed weird.

3 Stars


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – This book was literally about “crazy rich” Asians, with some characters being a bit “crazy” as well.  The story revolves around three super wealthy Chinese families living in Singapore and the effects that their wealth has on various relationships.  I found there to be way too many people to keep track of, even though a family tree is provided in the beginning of the book.   I also didn’t like all of the translations and footnotes at the bottoms of the pages.


The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz – The majority of this book takes place in one evening at the Gold family Passover Seder.  It turns out that each of Sylvia’s three children have their own secrets and grievances which end up coming out at the Seder.  This was an okay read about family and sibling relationships.


Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica – Out of the three books that I have read by Kubica, this is my least favorite.  While it was a suspenseful read, I found the ending to be a bit disappointing.


The Fallout by Tamar Cohen – I heard about this book from the For Crying out Loud podcast with Lynette Carolla and Stefanie Wilder-Taylor.  Guest, author Caroline Kepnes recommended this book, so I thought I should give it a try, since I’ve liked Kepnes’ books.  The book is about two couples who are best friends.  But when one of the husband’s decides to leave his wife, his choice affects all three of them.  Unfortunately, this book didn’t do it for me.  I found all of the characters really unlikable and annoying.


The Heir by Kiera Cass – This is the 4th book in the Selection series.  I enjoyed seeing how Princess Eadlyn deals with the Selection.  However, this book seemed to drag and not really get anywhere.  I need to read book 5 to see how the Selection ends.

4 Stars

Cross Justice by James Patterson – I know Patterson has gotten a little out of hand with the number of books he publishes and I admit they’re not always winners.  However, I really enjoy the Alex Cross series and the Women’s Murder Club series.   It’s hard to believe that Cross Justice is book number 23 in the Alex Cross series.  This was a page turner for me as we learn more about Alex Cross’ parents and childhood.


Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover – This is the companion story to Hopeless, but is told from Holder’s point of view.  I am a fan of Colleen Hoover and recommend reading Hopeless first.  Both books deal with the issues of love, loss and forgiveness.

5 Stars

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – This is a YA book that takes place in 1941.  It tells the story of Lina and her family who are taken from their home in Lithuania by Soviet police and sent to a work camp in Siberia.  I read this book right after reading Lilac Girls (below) which led for some very depressive reading.  Again though, this was a part of history that I didn’t know about.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – Much of this book takes place in Ravensbruck, the only all female Nazi concentration camp and three girls whose lives will intersect.  As much as I read books about this time period, I am always learning something new.  I had no idea there was an all female camp or the experiments that they did on the girls.  I also found it interesting that characters in this book are based on real people.



  1. I learned a lot reading Lilac Girls too.

    Wow, that plus the siberian camp book would surely be depressing! LOL

    I’m intrigued by The Fallout due to personal interest in that. Hmm, to read or not to read…

  2. The Fallout and The Dinner Party seem like books I’d enjoy.

    I don’t read much historical fiction and I almost never read books about the Holocaust so I’ll pass on the last couple.

  3. I can’t get enough of James Patterson books either! I love the Women’s Murder Club series and will probably try to pick them no matter what. You really did read some tougher books, but I think that speaks to how great they are if you still gave them a 5 star review. I have Lilac Girls and always love a good WWII book, so hopefully I’ll be able to read it soon. Between Shades of Grey sounds really good too!

  4. Between Shades of Gray is on my list, and lilac girls is on my kindle so i am glad they are your 5 star books! i have read the heir but still haven’t read book 5 because the heir made me cranky lol. i really liked books 1-3 and am still mad they moved to eadlyn or whatever her name is.

  5. I used to read a lot of James Patterson but haven’t picked up anything by him in a long time. Maybe it’s time to revisit. I did particularly enjoy the Women’s Murder Club. Crazy Rich Asians is already on my TBR. I also enjoy a good mystery cozy but have been struggling to find a good one lately. Bummer this one was meh for you.

  6. I have Lilac Girls and Between Shades of Gray on my list, though I could see how it would be super depressing to read them back to back. I also own The Heir but haven’t gotten to it yet since all the reviews about it have been blah.

  7. I liked The Good Girl well enough, but not enough to go for more of her books.
    I quit The Lilac Girls. Maybe someday…

    • Yeah, I think I’m going to give Kubica a rest for awhile. I get all excited for her books and then feel letdown. Not everyone is into historical fiction or WWII themed books so I can understand you not enjoying The Lilac Girls.

  8. Between Shades of Gray was one of my favorite books that I read last year. When people are looking for a historical fiction to read, I recommend it.
    As far as Patterson goes, I still read Alex Cross (pretty much as soon as I can when they come out), Michael Bennett and the Private series (although I’m behind on this series). For some reason, I gave up on the Women’s Murder Club a few years ago. Maybe because there are just so many Patterson’s that one can read.

  9. Lilac Girls is on my list, but I know I’ll have to be in the right sort of mood for it. I love a good cry now and then, but sometimes I feel like I just can’t take an overly emotional read.

    I’m adding The Fallout. I know you said it didn’t do it for me, but for some reason, I think I might enjoy it. I tend to like books revolving around unlikable characters. (Don’t ask me why. Haha.)

  10. I have been meaning to read The Selection series. Hopefully I will get around to them soon!

  11. I felt the same way about Between Shades of Gray. I had very little clue of what happened in the Soviet. I’m so happy that I finally checked it off my list.

  12. Lilac girls sounds really good! Definitely adding it to my list. I really enjoy WW2 era books, and I’m constantly amazed by how much I still learn (or realize I didn’t know about it). I read Between Shades of Gray a few years ago, but I didn’t love it.

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