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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

August Wrap-Up: My Favorite Reads of the Month

My very favorite Bossy August reads!

I had a great reading month! Here are the six books I most loved reading in the heat of August.

There's a little bit of romantic, funny, steamy light fiction; the next wonderful installments in two historical fiction mystery series featuring irresistible heroines; a girl-power science-fiction space exploration; and a gorgeous Peter Heller story about the push and pull of conservation and tourism, set in Yellowstone National Park.

I gave each of these reads 4.5 or 5 Bossy stars because of my reading love.

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 Better Than the Movies by Lynn Painter

This was my favorite read of the month!

I LOVED this young adult book. It's perfectly charming, funny, quirky, and sweet, yet it deals with grief and fear, hope and forgiveness, being true to oneself and growing up, and of course love.

Lynn Painter's adorable young adult rom-com Better Than the Movies is about Liz Buxbaum, a fabulously eccentric high schooler coping with the grief of having lost her mom--while navigating the sparkly idea--and messy reality--of romance, with the inspiration of her mom's favorite romantic comedies.

Liz is a hopeless romantic who has been waiting her whole high school career to be swept off her feet in quintessential romantic-comedy fashion--with the perfect soundtrack playing in the background.

But it looks like she may have to rely on her annoying next-door neighbor Wes to try to gain the attention of dreamy Michael with the perfect hair, who has just moved back to town.

Better Than the Movies is funny funny funny and so lovely and sweet, I adored the whole story, the characters, the growth, the banter, the heartbreaking, heartwarming growth, the fun--this is basically a perfect young adult romantic comedy.

For my full review of this book, please see Better Than the Movies. This book made it onto the recent Greedy Reading List Six More Great Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading.

If this book sounds intriguing, you might also be interested in the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading, Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading, and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories.


02 The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei

I loved the futuristic space-mission capabilities, smart and strong all-woman crew, the mystery and suspicion, and most of all the character-driven storyline in Kitasei's science fiction novel.

In Yume Kitasei's science fiction thriller The Deep Sky, a mission to deep space is disrupted by an explosion that shakes the confidence of the ship's crew.

With the collapse of Earth's environment imminent, eighty trained elite young people venture into space, where they hope to preserve the human race for generations to come.

But a deadly disaster on The Phoenix halfway to its destination causes suspicion to fall upon Asuka, the only living witness. Asuka must find the real culprit before accusations surrounding the mystery destroy her.

I do generally love a book set on a ship barreling through space, and I loved The Deep Sky. Yume Kitasei offers plot and mystery, but this is primarily a wonderfully character-driven story--with a satisfying amount of spaceship detail, process, and futuristic capabilities (such as alternative realities the crew can pipe into their brains) to capture a reader's imagination.

Asuka is very intelligent and capable, but she was chosen for the once-in-history journey as an alternate, and she constantly struggles with impostor syndrome.

Everyone but Asuka feels like a suspect at some point or another, and I loved the way the author built tension without making me feel manipulated or offering red herrings.

Click here for my full review of The Deep Sky.


03 The Last Ranger by Peter Heller

Heller's suspenseful wilderness story is full of danger, wonder, and emotional ties; the unforgiving nature and beauty of the natural world; and quick thinking that saves the day more than once. As with all Heller novels, the writing is exquisitely beautiful.

The Last Ranger centers around Ren, an enforcement officer in Yellowstone National Park.

Ren spends his days protecting tourists from the wild animals who live in the park, stopping drunken fights at campgrounds, and serving as mediator between wealthy vacationers temporarily in the park and the working-class full-time residents of the neighboring town.

When he investigates a local poacher, he begins to unravel a complicated web of conspiracy theories, renegade heroism, secrets, and danger.

As always, I'm in for Heller's showcasing of the unforgiving, beautiful natural world; the sometimes-renegade justice that emerges in impossible situations; and his characters' hard-won emotional vulnerability.

His writing is just gorgeous and I'm in for every word.

Heller is also the author of The Guide, The River, and The Painter, as well as The Dog Stars. Click here for my full review of The Last Ranger.


04 A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock #2) by Sherry Thomas

Book two of Thomas's Lady Sherlock series offers a robust dual mystery, clever female characters, priceless gems of insight from Charlotte, a continued rejection of Victorian society's rigid expectations, and a bubbling undercurrent of forbidden attraction.

I listened to the audiobook of the second in Thomas's Lady Sherlock series (read wonderfully by Kate Reading), in which Charlotte Holmes returns in all of her feisty, unconventional, clever glory, despite the significant constraints on women and their behavior in Victorian England.

The mystery leads Charlotte to discover various illuminating aspects to Lord Ingram's past and his marriage, and her simmering (and shared) attraction to Ingram is a powerful undercurrent throughout, although practical Charlotte keeps all outrageous emotions and possibilities in check.

Charlotte's various views on the world are absolute gems, and I love spending time in her point of view.

A Study in Scarlet Women is the first book in Sherry Thomas's gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes mystery series, and I loved it. There are seven books in all. I can't wait to read the other books in this series!

Please click here for my full review of A Conspiracy in Belgravia.


05 The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren

The True Love Experiment is a wonderful, romantic read about forbidden attraction and heartwarming vulnerability, with steamy scenes, will-they/won't-they tensions, funny dialogue, behind-the-scenes televised moments, and loooooooove.

I loved The Soulmate Equation from the writing team known as Christina Lauren. That book introduced the fantastic best-friend character of Felicity "Fizzy" Chen. The True Love Experiment is Fizzy's story.

Fizzy is a straight talker, a sex-positive woman, and a successful romance writer, but she's never been in love, only in lust. Now she's beginning to feel like she's been selling her readers a lie.

Connor Prince (his last name is Prince!) is a single dad and documentary filmmaker slated by his boss to create a reality TV program about finding love. He's completely out of his comfort zone and the pressure is on--but when he meets Fizzy, he just knows he's found the perfect star for the show.

The True Love Experiment is an irresistible exploration of a spark of feelings, impossible difficulties, terrifying vulnerability, and hard-won joy.

The issues keeping the two love interests apart felt powerful and heartbreaking and offered tantalizing tension to the story. The happy ending made me tear up and also made me want to cheer.

This was a wonderful summer read for me and I loved it.

For my full review, check out The True Love Experiment.


06 A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn

This second book in Raybourn's historical fiction mystery series, set in Victorian London, hooked me even more fully into Veronica and Stoker's pasts, partnership, and their growing fondness for and vulnerability with each other. I loved it.

Victorian lepidopterist (she studies butterflies and moths) and adventurer Veronica Speedwell teams up with her natural-history and mystery-solving partner Stoker to try to prove that local art patron and society figure Miles Ramsforth is innocent of murdering his mistress and should not be executed in just a few days.

I loved A Perilous Undertaking even more than A Curious Beginning--the wonderful character development for Veronica and Stoker; the allusions to each of their complicated pasts; their hilarious banter; and their strong-willed, stubborn, clever partnership.

The mystery was interesting, with salacious elements, and everyone was a potential suspect. I was satisfied by the layered revelations of the truth.

The danger and dogged exploration of various avenues to information felt as though they primarily served to create powerful moments of reluctant, heartbreaking vulnerability between Veronica and Stoker.

I'm obsessed with this will-they/won't-they friendship and also the deep dedication to one another that transcends any attraction, irritation, or challenge.

Deanna Raybourn is the author of A Curious Beginning and seven more Veronica Speedwell books (plus one scheduled for publication next year), as well as the wonderful stand-alone story Killers of a Certain Age.

For my full review, please see A Perilous Undertaking.


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