Reading Round-Up: August Edition

For the entire month of August, I’ve been thinking that the last Tuesday was actually next week. Imagine my shock when I learned it’s today. Luckily, over the past month I’ve been working on this post each time I finish a book, rather than waiting until the day before the last Tuesday and then writing the whole thing.

Anyway, August was a good month for reading! I’ve finished seven books since my last Reading Round-Up, and it’s an even more eclectic bunch than last month. Let’s get started!


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan. I read this for my book club, and if it hadn’t been assigned, I might not have chosen to read it. I think World War II stories are important, but I have to read them really far apart from each other or I just find them too overwhelming.

Let me start by saying this book is very closely based on a true story, which I find absolutely incredible. I highly recommend it, but only before and after you’ve read something very light-hearted. If you’re looking for a happy book, this isn’t the one for you. It takes a lot to get me to cry while I’m reading, and this reduced me to a puddle. Read my review here.


Dead Man’s Prayer: A gripping detective thriller with a killer twist (DI Frank Farrell, Book 1) by [Jackie Baldwin]

Dead Man’s Prayer by Jackie Baldwin. I first heard about this book, the first in the DI Frank Farrell series, on Twitter when I started following author Jackie Baldwin. I was intrigued at first because I love books set in Scotland, but once I started reading the intrigue factor jumped into the stratosphere and I couldn’t turn pages fast enough. Are you looking for a thriller that will leave you breathless? You’ve come to the right place. Read my review here.


Out of the Woods by Patricia Gligor. This is the third book in the Small Town Mystery Series. In this book, Kate Morgan confronts the man who left her, a pregnant teenager, eleven years ago. For the sake of their daughter, she tries to make the best of the situation, but his return causes some problems, not the least of which is the reaction of her fiance. And when questions arise about the man’s possible involvement in a number of horrifying home invasions, what will she tell her daughter?

This is a great book and although it’s classified as a mystery, it crosses genres into women’s fiction, family drama, and suspense. It’s got it all. Read my review here.


Sea Wife: A novel by [Amity Gaige]

I really looked forward to reading Sea Wife by Amity Gaige. Billed as psychological suspense, it’s the story of a family (husband, wife, two young children) who leave their lives behind for a year and sail around the Caribbean. Unfortunately, it’s all psychological and no suspense. The main character, Juliet, suffers from depression and, it would appear, anxiety, and the story ends up being a morose tale of a marriage that has gone stale and the disturbing thoughts of a woman who doesn’t think she was ever meant to be a mother. I gave the book 3 stars and you can read my review hereAs I noted last month when I shared a book I didn’t really like, don’t let my review put you off from reading the book. There are plenty of glowing reviews for this work of literary fiction.


The Orchardist: A Novel by [Amanda Coplin]

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin was a book club pick. I’m glad I read it, but I didn’t like it. It was depressing, entirely bereft of any semblance of happiness for any of the characters, and looooong. As in, almost 600 pages. The book spans many years, and I often felt like I was reading it in real time. On the other hand, in taking a look at the many reviews this book has garnered, I am clearly in the minority. There are lots of people who think this book is beautiful, moving, and melancholy in a good way. It’s just not my cup of tea. I think it’s because I like my reads to have at least a little bit of action and some character growth, and I saw almost none of that in this book. If you like a character-driven story, this might be for you. Read my full review here.


Untamed by Glennon Doyle is a work of art. I listened to this memoir on CD, and hearing the book read by the author was a great experience. This is the first time I’ve heard a book (at least, not a children’s book) read by the author and though I have my doubts about fiction writers voicing their own work, for a memoir it was a wise choise. Read my review here.


The Jane Austen Society: A Novel by [Natalie Jenner]

This book has been on my radar for a while, and I was eager to read it. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner doesn’t disappoint. Read my review here.

What have you read this month? I hope you’ll share your reads in the comments.

Until next time,




30 thoughts on “Reading Round-Up: August Edition”

  1. Darn. Now I need to add to my TOO LARGE “have to read” list. It actually stresses me out! But I love your reviews, and they help me cull some books. As much as I like to learn when I’m reading, I’m taking out any books that make me cry copiously. During this time, I need something to lift me up. For instance, I just finished reading The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. Didn’t think it would be a great one for me. I was wrong. It’s fabulous and I highly recommend. Oh and for a nice light cozy mystery, I’ve read two of the Clammed Up book series by Barbara Ross. Have you read them? Well done and fun to read about a place up in Maine, here in NE.


    1. I know about that TBR list. Mine is teetering and towering and threatening to overtake all of us. I have not read The Giver of Stars, but I will definitely check it out. It’s funny how we think certain books won’t agree with us, but then end up being pleasantly surprised. I have one of Barbara Ross’s Clammed Up books on my nightstand and will get to it one of these days. I met Barbara at Malice Domestic, where she spoke about a true event that ended up in one of her books. It was very funny—I’m looking forward to reading the book. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wondered if you two have met. I think you’ll appreciate the way she writes her cozies. Like yours, she doesn’t shy away from ‘heavier’ topics either. I’d start with the first one, because her Clammed Up series does seem to go in order (again, like yours do!)


    1. I enjoyed the book. Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are two of my favorite novels, so a book about people who are devoted to preserving the author’s legacy was an immediate attraction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The first two sound like books I’d enjoy. I don’t usually read thrillers but who can really look away from a page-turner. And though I agree with you that “real” stories about war are tough on the soul, though now and then, I like books that turn me into puddles. Great reviews, Amy.


    1. Thanks, Diana. For me, knowing that a book is based on a true story gives it a sense of urgency. I want to get to the end to see how everything works out—even moreso than with a fictional story. And the almost-narrative nonfiction of Beneath a Scarlet Sky is fascinating. And there was something really engaging about the main character in Dead Man’s Prayer. He was so full of inner conflict that it made the story easy to read. I hope you enjoy them!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read “Out of the Woods” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some of the others are definitely on my radar now. Thanks for sharing!


    1. It was great, Jim. I’m guessing September will not shape up in the same way, but the important thing is to keep reading, even if it’s a slow-go. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Our book club meets next weekend. We’ll see what everyone else thinks of The Orchardist. I keep thinking about that book and wondering if nothing EVER happened to make those characters smile. Your TBR stack probably looks a lot like mine–teetering and towering, about to bury us all.


    1. You’ve been busy! I looked up Death and a Dog to make sure it wasn’t about a dog dying. Sounds like a good mystery! I will look into The Pope’s Son. Was it based on a true story?


    1. That’s so interesting! I didn’t even know there was a Jane Austen Society of North America. I watched Sense and Sensibility over the weekend and was reminded again of how much I love Jane Austen.


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