July Reads

Hello fellow readers!

My first read of the month finished Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum. The first lines: “Most visitors to New Orleans sooner or later start asking impolite questions: Why has the rebuilding since Katrina gone so slowly?  Why do you put up with such corrupt and incompetent politicians? How can you waste so much money on Mardi Gras when you’re still living in trailers?  Doesn’t anybody in this city ever show up on time?”  I absolutely LOVED this book which follows nine New Orleans residents through the years spanning between 1965 Hurricane Betsy and 2005 Hurricane Katrina.  It moves chronologically through the years, randomly covering local events and personal situations, and how the impact on these nine folks differ according to where they fall in the social order.  The last quarter of the book focuses solely on Katrina and the weeks afterwards, with some truly harrowing accounts of what took place.  And it is absolutely devastating to read of just how slow the response to the storm actually was.  It is slightly slow in the beginning, but the details surrounding these life experiences provide the reader a backdrop of New Orleans and what the neighborhoods were like at that time.  Stay with it, as I don’t think you will be disappointed!  (5/5 Stars)

I then finished Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.  The first lines: “Alex and I are lying together on a blanket in the backyard of 37 Brooks.  The trees look larger and darker than usual.  The leaves are almost black, knitted so tightly together they blot out the sky.”   The story is a continuation of Delirium, picking up at almost the exact moment where the previous book ended.  The chapters flash back and forth between Lena’s “now” (when she’s back inside the fences) and “then” (when she’s living in the Wilds).  To be honest, I actually enjoyed following the two story lines back-to-back, and thought it was a great idea to craft the story this way.  I felt that this book was all about Lena’s growth – making a 180 shift from where we left her in the first book.  She not only learns how to survive in the Wilds, but also how to live with everything she’s left behind.  She’s tougher, edgier, stronger.  The end, although sort of expected, had me totally excited…and now I can’t wait to read the last installment!  (4/5 Stars)

I devoured Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the second in the Divergent series.  The first line: “I wake with his name in my mouth.  Will.  Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again.  Dead.”  LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!!!  Read the back cover and tell me you don’t crave more…  One choice can transform you – or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.  Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors.  War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows.  And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable – and even more powerful.  Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.  (5/5 Stars)

I also did the monthly link-up with Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers for her July Book Club selection…and it was great to see so many new people stopping by to read my review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – review posted HERE!  (4/5 Stars)


“The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen . . .”

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.  Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.


Here is a look at what else is sitting on my To Be Read (TBR) list:


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