Summer Books Round Up

Summer is officially over, and so also are my days spending time outside on a lounge chair reading my book du jour. And that's okay, that means that I can now spend time reading inside with a candle and a cup of tea or hot chocolate, all cozy and warm! But let's not get ahead of ourselves, first let's talk about the books I worked my way through this summer.

A couple of notes: Firstly, I know it doesn't matter, but the first and last books have reading times extending into the end of spring and beginning of fall. So, it's only mostly summer books. Secondly, just a reminder to some and a piece of news for others: I am only reading books written by women this year, so all of these books reflect that!

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory 
Caught between loyalties, the mother of the Tudors must choose between the red rose and the white. (x)

If you are a fan of Philippa Gregory, you already know to expect a great read. The White Princess chronicles the life of Elizabeth of York, a princess on the losing side following the Battle of Bosworth who must marry the new king, the man who killed the man she loved on the battlefield, in hopes of achieving a united country. Throughout their marriage there are constant uprisings and questioning of loyalty, anger and confusion. The White Princess is a great read (of course!) filled with interesting details about the very tumultuous reign of Henry VII, and its given a really fantastic, human touch with the focus being Elizabeth of York.

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era. (x)

Admittedly, I tend to prefer period books about the wealthy, the nobility. I tend to have the impression that the flip side of society spent too much time working to have anything interesting to read about (which, I also know, is completely false). This book is, I think, a step in the right direction for getting more into books about less glamorous people. It tells about the fates of the poor of Paris, looking for work in ballet and at the Opera, the realities of being in that industry. And it also gives an interesting face to a criminal trial, and the fates of criminals of the time. All in all it was a pretty interesting read.
After You by Jojo Moyes
“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.” (x)

I won't get too far into After You because I have already written about it on this blog. However, I will restate, I love this book. It is so good, it's about living and embracing life and learning to move on from tragedy while still allowing it to be a part of your life. Believe me, it's lovely.

The Boleyn Wife by Brandy Purdy
Shy, plain Lady Jane Parker feels out of place in Henry VIII's courtly world of glamour and intrigue--until she meets the handsome George Boleyn. Overjoyed when their fathers arrange a match, her dreams of a loving union are waylaid when she meets George's sister, Anne. (x)

I did not enjoy this book, unfortunately. I wanted to like it, because I hadn't read a book from the point of view of Jane Parker, but it just fell so flat. First of all, the timeline is... Not correct. But I could have looked beyond that had the rest of the book been good, but that just was not the case. Jane Parker was turned into that 'crazy wife' character that I loathe with my entire being. And I found that, in the attempt to find something to tantalise readers, the author was grasping at straws to give the reader something. I don't recommend it, unless you come across it for a very, very cheap price and you need, like, travel reading.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. (x)

I know I'm a bit late to the party, here, but Gone Girl was freaking perfect. I love how the story is set up, how it is meant to look a certain way, and then part of the perspective changes and everything you believed before gets turned on its head. Everything about Gone Girl is so smart and well done, even if you hate the characters, I think you have to love the book. Also, the movie was great. I saw the movie before I read the book and I think it enhanced the book-reading experience for me.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives. (x)

The movie is coming, so of course I had to read the book! The trailer made it look so stinkin' good! And it was. The book was a great read. The style of narration was really interesting, and it really helped establish the fact that none of the characters were reliable narrators. It also covered all of the bases which helped to confuse and and supplement pieces of information. Many people call The Girl on the Train 'the next Gone Girl' but I don't think that that is necessarily a fair title to give it. It is a very different book with very different character motives. That said, it is also a very good read.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
On 10 June 1991, eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her home in Tahoe, California. It was the last her family and friends saw of her for over eighteen years. On 26 August 2009, Dugard, her daughters, and Phillip Garrido appeared in the office of her kidnapper's parole officer in California. (x)

This is a real-life story, so it's a bit more difficult to really analyse. The way Jaycee Dugard's story is told is really light which contrasts a lot with what happened to her. But it works really well as a book, and it helps to understand how she got through her confinement. The book doesn't dwell on every horrific thing that she went through, it has a lot of stories about how she found happiness while she was being hidden away, how she tried to stay healthy and positive. I also found it interesting that she was able to adopt the point of view of her younger self for the earlier events of the book. All in all, A Stolen Life is a really great read.

And there you have it! That concludes my summer books round up. As much as I complain about work and how I didn't have a summer, I actually did make my way through a good chunk of books! Have you read anything good this summer? What about any woman-written suggestions?
Summer Books Round Up Summer Books Round Up Reviewed by Erin MacNeil on 22:33 Rating: 5


  1. Sooo many books I want to read now, haha. Gone Girl and Girl on the Train is on my reading list for sure. Also, want to read Me Before You, so I could watch the movie after and then compare them, haha :) But I'm sure that the book is way way better.

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  2. I too am very much looking forward to snuggly up with a hot chocolate and reading some wonderful books :) What a wonderful challenge to only read books by women :) I've heard After You is an amazing sequal ( some have said better than the first ) and it's definitely on my reading list tthis autumn :)

    lots of love, Marianne xxx

  3. Lots of books to add to my TBR - thank you for sharing! I absolutely loved Me Before You, but have been nervous to read After You as I am scared it'll ruin it / take it too far. I think you have convinced me to give it a go though! I also have The Girl on the Train sat on my book shelf just waiting to be read, so I will have to get round to reading that asap! xx

    Kate |

  4. I've heard so much about all these books you wrote about!: Gone Girl, After You and of course, the Girl on the Train with the movie coming out (also, I totally love that first paragraph you just wrote about reading inside with a candle lit and warm tea!) I actually haven't gotten around to reading any of these, but I really want to!

    I was gonna do a little book review soon myself. This summer, I went back and read two of my favourite childhood books (Dark Whispers and the Last Hunt). I also really enjoyed Lauren Conrad's "Celebrate." I'd read that one outside in the lawn chair with a cool drink and the radio playing while looking at the beautiful photographs and getting party tips. Dunno yet what my fall reading will have in store!


  5. So many wonderful books! I'm not a book reader myself, but for some reason I've always enjoying reading people's blog posts on books, is that weird! x After You especially sounds like a wonderful book that you could really get lost in. :) Thank you for sharing your picks, darling!


  6. Great picks


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