Novel Ideas July 2017: Quick Reviews and Other Bookish News

15+ July Books are reviewed in Novel Ideas

Welcome to Novel Ideas June 2017 edition. Novel Ideas is a roundup of mini-reviews for other books we read this month, as well as snippets of future posts and other bookish news. Note: This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase an item through a link, we get a small commission.

Goodbye, Vitamin. A great read in this month's Novel Ideas.

Kirsten’s Stack

My reading this month was all over the place. I had a middle grade, some chick lit, a fantasy, a mystery and a few Jane Austenish novels to boot! I didn’t make a goal for myself or a stack of to be read books and kinda chose things on the fly. I’m regretting that a bit, not because these books were bad, but because I have stacks of books that I REALLY want to read and I didn’t make the time for many of them. August will be different….

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong – If you follow us on Instagram, you know that I adored this debut novel. It was a poignant but funny take on what Alzheimer’s can do to a family. The author treats the disease with respect yet finds humor in the sadness. This is a quick one to read and is perfect for a day at the beach. I can’t wait to see what Khong writes next. This was on our upcoming book releases list! 4.5 stars.


A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly – I mentioned before, that this summer I had every intention of reading the many Austen adaptations on my shelves. I picked this one up at Cathy’s Half Price Books for only a few dollars. This was not the best Austen adaptation I have read, but it was fluffy and fun. I don’t really remember the plot line much (which I suppose is saying something) but it left me feeling warm and gooey so there ya go. 3 stars.


Jane of Austin: a Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge – Let’s just say I was glad this was a library book for me. A take on Sense and Sensibility, this book just fell flat. I couldn’t connect with the main character or her sister and I was constantly yelling that they just needed to TALK TO EACH OTHER ALREADY! So, yeah. Not my favorite either. – 2 stars. 



The Assistants

The Assistants by Camille Perri – I struggled a bit with this one at first. I started it down the shore, and it was all I had but wasn’t what I wanted to start right after Goodbye, Vitamin. Luckily, the story picked up and I found myself charmed. The rag-tag group of assistants had me laughing at their Robin-hood scheme! I thought the boyfriend character was actually unnecessary. I could almost picture the publisher forcing the author to insert a romantic angle in there. Otherwise, funny and cute! (Psst. I found this book on our Ultimate Beach Reads list!) 3.5 stars.


The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting by Bunmi  Laditan – Do you follow the Honest Toddler on Twitter? No? Well, you should. The stuff that “the toddler” writes is beyond hysterical and very, very real. Bunmi Laditan, the mom behind the feed, took the concept behind the tweets and turned them into a book. I thought I was going to love it, I could not have been more wrong. What is funny in 140 characters is overdone and redundant in 140,000 characters. I stopped reading after 20 minutes and put it in the donation bin. But I promise to still get my daily laugh from her tweets. 1 star.

Dreamscape: Kerry Reed – This fantasy novel was written by a lovely local author who gave me a free copy and asked me to read and review her novel. I have never read a tale quite like this one. A young girl going into the land of her dreams in order to rescue her dream boyfriend. The dreams connect her land to his and so she leaves her body behind and travels to find him. This book hooked me and I finished it in a few days! It was an easy young adult read that was fantastical but grounded and not totally outlandish. I did feel that I wanted some further explanation at the end! The author brings up the very questions I wanted to be answered on the last few pages and then leaves the reader to decide the rest! I NEED ANSWERS PEOPLE! 3.5 stars.

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – Oh Agatha, how I love you. This was one crazy ass novel. There is a reason it’s the best-selling mystery novel of all time. It is wonderfully plotted, completely enthralling and kept me on my toes until the very end. I kept switching between the novel itself and the audio version read by Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame.) Excellent either way you read it. I just found out that it was adapted into a movie and I have every intention of forcing my husband to watch it with me. 5 stars.

Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl– This book was ALL Over Instagram. I mean I could not scroll through my feed without seeing it. Sadly, it was too far fetched even for me. I rolled my eyes through out, though I could see a middle grader loving it. Also, I finished it in two days, so what does that say about me? 2 stars


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows – Another Instagram find, this one I adored! I listened to the audible version and I was hysterical. It is a twist on the historical tale of Lady Jane Grey the 9 days Queen. Instead of Catholics and Protestants, this book gave us people who could transform into animals and those who could not. It was ridiculous but funny and the authors cleverly wove in historical details and sayings attributing them to the characters. I hear they are planning to write 2 other books as a team and I can’t wait to read them! 4 stars.


Seven Days of Us

Jackie’s Stack

I had a great month of reading.  I actually REALLY enjoyed the books that I read.  There were so many great ones.  It is always so nice to read when you are loving what you are reading instead of thinking the books are just blah.  

The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak- I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book and was very excited to read it.  This book is great and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be putting it on my list of beach reads for next summer!  Olivia is coming home from a trip to Liberia where she is helping treat victims of the Haag virus.  She needs to stay in quarantine for a week upon her return.  Her mother, so happy that she is home for Christmas, decides that the family will stay in quarantine together in the family vacation home.  After all, what is better than being stuck in a house with your family for a week? This story is full of twists and turns and fast paced.  While the story is slightly predictable, there were a few unexpected surprises and the characters are funny and believable.  4 stars

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro– I love this book.  I have to thank a friend for recommending it to me (Thanks, Kate).  It is the story of a woman who receives a letter in the mail informing her that she has received an inheritance from a woman that she does not know.  The book follows the lives of the two woman in a wonderful way that moves seamlessly back and forth between two time periods before the stories come together.  Both women in this story find the inner strength to persevere.  I definitely recommend this book.  4 stars


Seven Days in May by Kim Izzo– When I started this book, I had no idea that it was based on true events,  Like the movie Titanic, the characters are made up; however, the events surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania are true.  The story is centered around two sisters who go aboard the ship and a third who works with the government receiving messages intercepted from Germany.  I think of this book in my head as a movie that is somewhere between The Hunt For Red October and the Titanic. This book would be a fantastic movie!!!!  It moved quickly, kept me on my toes and had a love story as well.  I couldn’t ask for more.  4 stars

As you Wish by Chelsea Sedoti– I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.  It is coming out in January and I had an advanced reader copy.  I was very excited to receive this book and loved the idea of it.  It was such an interesting premise and I’d never read a book like it.  I read a short story by Alex McGuigan about a girl whose birthday wishes come true every year but are never what she expected.  That story had me thinking for months.  I hoped this book would be along those lines.  

The story takes place in a little town where everybody gets to make a wish on their 18th birthday and the wish comes true. Eldon is about to have his 18th birthday and is contemplating his wish.  He knows that so many people are unhappy with how their wishes turned out and he wonders if he can help people actually be happy.  There were a few details in the story that were difficult for me to wrap my head around and I’m a huge lover of magic/ fantasy.  Also, the middle of the book felt like it moved too slowly.  I liked the ending.  Overall, it was an enjoyable read.  3 stars

The Child by Fiona Barton-I was so excited to read this book.  I have been on a big mystery/ thriller kick lately and I heard great things about this book.  I have to say that for all the hype or perhaps because of it, I was disappointed.  It took me a good 75-100 pages to really get into the story.  The book begins with the skeletal remains of a baby found.  Who is the baby and how did she get there? The book is told from the perspective of four different women as the details begin to develop.  Initially, I found it difficult to remember whose perspective I was reading.  Perhaps that is part of the reason it took me so long to get into this book.  It did get much better towards the middle and the ending did not disappoint.  3.5 stars

Lily and Octopus

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley-This is a book that had been on my TBR list for a while.  I needed a break from the mystery/ thrillers that I was reading and this was a definite departure. This book will make you cry but it will also make you laugh.  Ted is a lonely, middle-aged, gay man whose love for his weiner dog Lily knows no bounds.  At times, I wondered if Ted was a little nuts the way he had game night with his dog. I mean, who spends hours playing Monopoly with their dog while imagining the dog’s side of a conversation?  However, I think every dog owner can relate just enough to find it hilarious.  3.5 stars

Listened to:

American Fire by Monica Hesse– This was a new release and I was really excited to see it was available to listen on Hoopla.  I love this app- if you don’t have it, it will change the way you listen to books.  But, I digress.  I was disappointed with this book.  The book is clearly very well researched and it is well written.  But, I had a very hard time listening to so much information about fire and arson.  Half way through the book, I could summarize what happened with a single sentence. “Someone is starting fires and they don’t know who it is.” I waited for something to happen.  The characters were ok. I found them to be stereotypical and unsurprising.  I had a hard time listening to the entire book and I nearly bailed numerous times.  2 stars

Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage-I love books that are about magic and I cannot help comparing it to Harry Potter. Harry Potter is also a kids book and arguably the best book about magic ever written. Therefore for, it is hard not to compare the two. I really like the story and it definitely keeps moving. My problem is that the book was very predictable. The seven book Series is about Septimus Heap so, despite the fact that baby Septimus is declared dead, clearly, he is not. This was not a surprise. It’s the other details that were obvious to me. I felt it was a long book to get the inevitable ending. I am interested to read the next book in the series to see where the story will go.  3.5 stars

Beyond the Bookends

This Open Letter to the Female Hat Wearing Dog in Go, Dog, Go is my favorite! It cracks me up every time I read it!

Book Riot just published a Quiz that gives me all the feels!! Find you Austenian Boo. Please take it and let me know who you got! I got Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. 

August will be a great month for book adaptations! Both Glass Castle and Tulip Fever are coming to theaters! See the trailers below: