Carly Reads Here | July 2017

show us your books, recent reads, summer 2017, what should i read next, book bloggers,
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.

40 comments

  1. I haven't read a Sophie Kinsella book since college but this one sounds cute! I have heard of Sarah Dessen but never read any of her books - is there one you would recommend? I think so many of us get excited about new books and what our friends are reading that few of us go back in an author's past for an older book, so it was interesting to see that you did!

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  2. I felt the same as you about The Likeness! Even though it was a bit far-fetched I was still totally into it. I still haven't read any others in the series probably due to their length, haha. Glad you enjoyed that new Sarah Dessen book! Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is on my list - just waiting for it from the library!!!

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  3. I think I am the only person left who hasn't read Dessen :) Maybe one day. Perennials & the Bookstore book sound interesting!

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  4. I've had "My Not So Perfect Life" on my book radar but haven't gotten around to it. Sounds like a perfect summer read! Like Lauren ^^ I also haven't heard of Sarah Dessen and would be interested in knowing your favorites by her!

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  5. I've never read a Sarah Dessen book but always hear great things about it.

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  6. It's been a while since I read a Sarah Dessen, and I'm pretty new to her to begin with so I should get back to that.

    I enjoyed The Inn at Lake Devine and loved Lydia and friends in Bright Ideas.

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  7. I can't believe you'd never read any other Sophie Kinsella! She's one of my favorites - Twenties Girl is my favorite. The new Sarah Dessen is on hold at the library, and I'm definitely going to find Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore - sounds good!

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  8. the last book I read by Sophie Kinsells was her first Shopaholic book (which I liked) so I'll give this one a try

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  9. I have My Not So Perfect Life on my TBR and I enjoyed reading your thoughts about it. Might have to bump it up in the cue... Have a great day!

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  10. You should definitely read the rest of Kinsella's standalone books! I've never been a huge fan of the Shopaholic series but I love the rest of her books.
    The Likeness - Obviously it's crazy that Cassie would be able to convince them she was the dead girl no matter how much they look alike! But I still loved the setting and the characters. I think you should try Faithful Place and I bet you'll like Frank when you're done! She does this amazing thing that she takes an unlikable character from one book to be the hero of the next book and completely changes your opinion.
    I will probably pass on Perennials but Bright Ideas Bookstore sounds great!

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  11. I used to read a lot of Kinsella books but haven't read any of her more recent stuff. I was a big Dessen fan and still have a couple older ones on my own bookshelf to read. I've never read an Elinor Lipman book but think I have to give her a try!

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  12. I read My Not So Perfect Life last month too for my book club. I had only read Can You Keep Secret, which I adored. I like how Kinsella manages to be both hilarious and yet not too sweet. Her stories do have depth. I was mad at French at the end of the first book in Dublin Squad series (expected closure) so I have not continued on with her series. But I do agree she has a way with words.

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  13. I can't wait to read Sarah Dessen's new book!

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  14. I really liked Bright Ideas Bookstore. I got it from NetGalley on a whim and I'm so glad I did.

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  15. I really want to read My Not So Perfect Life. Seems like a great summer read.

    I loved Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. I'm also a fan of books that deal with books or libraries or what have you.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  16. I have My Not So Perfect Life and Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore on my TBR List!

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  17. Bummer that Perennials ended up not being that good of a book because it sounds so interesting! I'm so glad that you liked My Not So Perfect Life, it's definitely one of my favorite Sophie Kinsella books! And everybody seems to be talking about Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore! I need to try and pick that one up soon!

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  18. Girl you rocked it! I need to add My Not So Perfect Life to my list <3
    Green Fashionista

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  19. I definitely need to read Sarah Dessen's new book! I felt the same way about Perennials-just so scattered!

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  20. Books are amazing reading is amazing, just saying

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  21. Totally checking out My Not So Perfect Life! I used to LOVE Sarah Dessen but haven't read anything of her's in years!

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  22. adding my not so perfect life to my TBR!

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  23. I LOOOOOVE Tana Rench's books, but I think The Likeness is my least favourite. Faithful Place (the next one for you) was the first one I gave 5 stars.

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  24. I want to read both of your favorites. Thanks for the info about the giveaway. I entered! :)

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  25. That is so great that you read so much. I wish I had more time to read, love getting lost in a good book.

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  26. so good to hear about My Not So Perfect Life! it's on my netgalley queue and i'm sure i'll get to it soon. i am intrigued about sarah dessen's new book. obviously adding the bookstore book to my list!

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  27. Wow, I have really fallen off the reading wagon because I haven't read nearly as many books recently! The Sarah Dessen novel looks interesting so I may have to add that as my next book (right after I finish Life of Pi).

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  28. I haven't read any of these! I'm adding Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore to my list. I LOVE books about books and this one looks right up my alley. Right now I'm reading Into the Water which is surprising me, but there are SO many characters it's kinda hard to keep them all straight!

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  29. Haven't read a Sarah Dessen in a while. I think Ill pick this one up.

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  30. Adding My Not So Perfect Life to my list! Love reading reviews from my blogger ladies and finding books I've yet to discover. You've read some goodies. Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

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  31. I read Finding Audrey this month and loved it, adding her new one to my list along with the Dessen one and the Bookstore one!

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  32. Adding My Not So Perfect Life to my list! I loved Finding Audrey as well!!

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  33. Adding Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore! Sounds like something to fill the space left after reading A.J. Fikry.

    I've never read any Sarah Dessen, but always hear such good things. What title do you recommend starting with?

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  34. I haven't read any Sophia Kinsella books but it sounds like a good summer/beach read. I feel like I see Tana French books everywhere but since they are in a series I haven't read any of them. Sounds like I wouldn't like it because it's too far fetched and that always makes me mad :) I'm still reading The Goldfinch, it's been a really interesting read but unfortunately it's taking me a while to finish it. I'm hoping to get through it this month.

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  35. This couldn't have come at a better time, I was on the hunt for a new book to read. Sophie's new book sounds like a light read and I love how fun her stuff is so definitely downloading that one tonight! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  36. I loved my not so perfect life as well - it was just a light read with a really good message behind it!! I'll be checking the other's out on your list as well! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  37. Oh fun. I haven't ever read any of Sophie Kinsella's books, but I'd love to! Glad to hear this one was good. I want to read The Dublin Murder Squad books, and Elinor Lipman wasn't really on my radar, but I love a good beachy read. Fluff is some of my favorite to read. :) I've been enjoying the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series, and Zenn Diagram were fluffy but really nice. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  38. Some great reads.. thanks for sharing.
    I;ve lost some of my reading groove too, you'd think I'd get more reading done during the summer

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  39. I have done a couple of audiobooks, both about addiction. I'm really really far behind on my audiobooks, so I chose them at random!

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  40. I liked My Not-So Perfect Life but it wasn't her best, in my opinion.

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