August Wrap-Up: My Favorite Reads of the Month
My very favorite books from August!
What a fantastic Bossy reading month! Here are my six favorite reads of the past month, all of which I rated 4.5 stars.
If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear what you think!
And I'd also love to hear: what are some of your recent favorite reads?
01 How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) by Cristina Fernandez
How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) is a charming, irresistible young adult story about superheroes, villains, a crushing premed course load--and the everyday bravery involved in being vulnerable with friends and in falling in love. I adored this and am in for all future books by Fernandez.
Columbia premed undergrad Astrid is dating Max Martin, a sweet, nerdy boy she knew back in high school.
Astrid is always on time. And her sense of what it's possible to achieve within windows of time is practically her superpower.
On the other hand, Max is always crashing in late for their dates and dashing off abruptly in the middle of their time together. And it seems like trouble gravitates to him--he's always in the middle of some kind of Life-and-Death Problem.
When a supervillain breaks into Astrid's apartment to kidnap her--she has organic chemistry to study for and she really does not have time for this!--she has to face facts: It really seems undeniable that Max...is a superhero.
How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying) is a wonderfully romantic story about finding your own true self, listening to your gut, finding the strength to put yourself on the line for other people, the bravery of falling in love, and the importance of treasuring every day. Cristina Fernandez has crafted an irresistibly charming story that I absolutely adored.
For my full review, check out How to Date a Superhero (And Not Die Trying).
02 The Humans by Matt Haig
The Humans is about mathematics, aliens, and shape shifters, but at its heart it's about a hurting family and an unimaginable, shocking, heartwarming chance at a new beginning. This was fascinating, sometimes funny, thoughtful, and lovely.
In Matt Haig's The Humans, an extraterrestrial arrives on Earth with a mission: to kill the man who has achieved a mathematical discovery considered beyond what is appropriate for humans and for the planet.
Horrified by the appearances of the humans, confused by their disgusting obsessions with wearing clothing and drinking coffee, and pitying of their limited brain capacities and lack of special powers, the visitor nevertheless assumes the appearance of Professor Andrew Martin and clumsily takes on the man's life for a time.
Through New Andrew's alien eyes we see the contradictory, beautifully messy, infuriating, wondrous aspects of the human condition.
Haig handles the complexities and challenges of the bizarre situation with heart, some wry humor, and with thoughtfulness.
The Humans is funny, strange, deep, and lovely. I loved it. Click here for my full review of The Humans.
03 The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
This World War II-set novel is a love letter to books, to looking out for others, to forming friends-like-family connections, and to continuing to put one foot in front of another with hope for the future.
The Last Bookshop in London was inspired by the true story of one of the last bookstores to survive the Blitz.
Along with her best friend Viv, whose parents want her to marry and settle down (something she has no interest in), main protagonist Grace heads to her deceased mother's old friend in London to take refuge as World War II begins to rock Europe.
The young women's wartime experiences take Viv to glamorous Harrod's, settle Grace in a dusty old bookshop, shakes their makeshift household and family, and results in unexpected joys and love among the many tragedies and dark days.
The Last Bookshop in London is never sentimental but very powerful, and I was brought to tears while listening to it. I love a World War II-set book, and I adored The Last Bookshop in London.
If you like World War II stories, you might also like the books on the Greedy Reading List Six Great Stories about Brave Women During World War II.
Click here for my full review of The Last Bookshop in London.
04 Flying Solo by Linda Holmes
In this satisfying story by the author of Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes offers sweet, funny dialogue; a complicated reunion between old flames; and a hometown return that's both heartwarming and fraught.
Flying Solo is Linda Holmes's Maine-set title about returning to a childhood safe haven and reconnecting with old friends and an old flame.
Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown, stinging from her recently canceled wedding, facing being on the cusp of forty, and ready to dive into the massive job of dismantling her beloved, recently deceased, never married great aunt Dot's collectible- and memento-filled house.
Then an unusual antique she finds in Dot's attic and an old love letter send her on a wild caper through her own past, back to her first love and her oldest friend, as well as into the hands of con artists and antique dealers eager for what she's got.
Holmes inserts the reader directly into the joy and heartache of two people who adore each other and who feel perfect for each other in most ways, but who continue to want different things from their lives.
I adore Holmes's excellent ability to set up and develop a rom-com with depth and set up the bedrock of a true, longtime friendship. Her wonderful dialogue, appropriate and satisfying sentimentality, and exploration the thrill of connection--I love all of it.
Click here for my full review of Flying Solo.
05 Alias Emma by Ava Glass
Alias Emma is a fast-paced cat-and-mouse chase across hidden London, led by Emma Makepeace, a resourceful, tough, new spy determined to thwart the Russians' deadly plans.
Emma Makepeace, a brand-new British spy, is jumping into duty--and danger--with both feet.
Barely out of basic training, she has just twelve hours to deliver her asset across London to safety--without being spotted by the Russians who have hacked the city's thousands of cameras, and their assassins, who are out to eliminate the person she has sworn to protect. And Emma would very much like to make it out of this alive as well.
This fast-paced thriller tracks Emma and Michael, the distractingly handsome son of Russian dissidents who she has pledged to protect, on the longest night of their lives as they work to evade the thousands of cameras documenting London citizens' every move.
I read this start to finish during a flight (and delay), and I loved Glass's cat-and-mouse chase through side streets and underground rivers in a peek at hidden London that's detailed and gritty and gripping. I was so happy to realize this is the first in a planned series. Sign me up for every bit of this!
For my full review, check out Alias Emma.
06 Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Garmus's debut is witty and smart, heartbreaking, infuriating, and lovely. Lessons in Chemistry explores deep issues, conflict, and dark times, yet offers hope and joy.
Elizabeth Zott has worked hard in her scientific pursuits, often as the only female in the room, either dismissed or harassed because of her gender.
Now Zott is a chemist in 1960s California on an otherwise all-male staff at Hastings Research Institute.
After twists and turns, momentous changes, and several years, Elizabeth is a single mother who becomes...the star of a hit televised cooking show. But she's not only demonstrating recipes. She's using science to inspire the upending of the status quo for her largely female audience.
Females are overshadowed, abused, and generally wronged throughout the book, a reflection of realistic, historic treatment. But there is some eventual revenge that I found deeply satisfying.
This cover style says "light fiction" to me, but this book addresses deeper issues--of what it means to be a family, of secrets and vulnerability, of constricting gender roles, of loss and love, and of the powerful shattering of expectations.
Garmus's characters test themselves and others, shy away from connection, dive into love, question the meaning of life, embrace or eschew religion, and cleave together in heartbreakingly beautiful, unexpected ways. I loved this.
For my full review, check out Lessons in Chemistry.