Tis the season for laying out in the sun, a seltzer in one hand, and a book in the other. I don’t know about you but I’ve been soaking up plenty of Vitamin D and good stories this summer. With several more weeks left of the sun, I thought I’d share some book thoughts for those looking for their next beach read.
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Fire & Blood (A Targaryen History, #1) by George R. R. Martin
GoodReads Rating: 4.5/5
Wow you guys, I am so ready for the Game of Thrones prequel tv series next month (airing August 21st, to be exact). I’ve been waiting for more GoT content since (spoiler alert!) Bran sat his undeserving ass on the iron throne. From reading Fire & Blood, I can tell you that this next tv series will not be a disappointment. That is, assuming the producers follow the storyline perfectly laid out for them.
No spoilers ahead, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed Fire & Blood. It reads as a history textbook, following the Targaryen lineage 300 years before Game of Thrones. It begins with Aegon the Conqueror, the first Targaryen to rule Westeros and then descends down the line of his equally scheming relatives. I was skeptical going into this book when I read other reviews. Many readers hated the writing style of this book, as there is little to no dialogue. However, I absolutely loved it. The characters are just as slippery as the GoT lords and ladies we know and love. If you’re a Game of Thrones addict such as myself, you have one month to pick up this hefty book and get yourself excited for the new show.
Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell
GoodReads Rating: 4.5/5
Give me all things cult. I find it so interesting how a random person is able to convince strangers into doing and believing the craziest shit. Author Amanda Montell dives deep into the methods behind how cult leaders are able to captivate their followers. To sum it up, it’s all about how they communicate. Language is one of the most powerful ways that society is influenced. From Jim Jones to SoulCycle, the author analyzes multiple groups and businesses using “cultish” behavior. Not only is she making some valid points throughout her dissection of these organizations, she is an incredible storyteller. I chose the audiobook version of this novel and I highly recommend it. I felt like I was listening to a podcast episode.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
GoodReads Rating: 5/5
The Giver of Stars sat on my “To Read” shelf for far longer than it deserved. I loved this book and can easily say it is my favorite read in 2022. After all, we love a girl power story in a time period ruled by men. The book is about Alice Wright, a young British woman who is brought over to Kentucky by her new well-to-do husband. She struggles to find her place in a stifling, conservative small town until she joins the Packhorse Librarians, a group of women determined to bring literature to the community.
The librarians battle societal norms, sexism, and climate to continue to educate the less fortunate. This book was absolutely gripping and had me on the edge of my seat, rooting for these badass women. To top off an already perfect story, I need to mention that The Giver of Stars is based on a true story. Love that for us!
The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
GoodReads Rating: 4/5
The Shoemaker’s Wife is a wonderful love story between two young immigrants from the Italian Alps. In the early 20th century when many ambitious foreigners journeyed to America, young Enza and Ciro were no different. Although immigrating for different reasons and on different trajectories, they bring each other a sense of home whenever they reunite. Through hardships and new opportunities, they are pulled apart and brought together in typical star-crossed lovers fashion. The story spans from the northern region of Italy to the Iron Range of Minnesota. The setting is what really intrigued me, as my Italian ancestors also moved to the Iron Range. Whether you have a personal tie to the story or not, I recommend The Shoemaker’s Wife to anyone who loves a sweet romance mixed with historical fiction. In other words, it’s a beach read!
A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker
GoodReads Rating: 4/5
Since romantasy is my favorite genre, I’m always on the hunt for the next series in which to immerse myself. I haven’t read other books by K.A. Tucker, but I know that fantasy isn’t her typical domain. Nonetheless she is popular in the fiction world so I figured, why not. After reading A Fate of Wrath & Flame, I’m excited about the future of this series.
The main character Romeria, a New York resident, is thrown into another world to return a favor for a mysterious stranger. She finds herself in the body of a princess who has just committed a series of unfathomable crimes. Throughout the book she continues to learn with the reader all about the elven realm she’s been dumped into and the person’s life that she has replaced. There is definitely a lot of world building, which doesn’t bother me, but makes the story a slow build. Overall, this story has a lot of potential. A great enemies to lovers book!
I hope you found some awesome recommendations from my latest Book Thoughts blog post. As always, drop your thoughts in the comments below, I love chatting books! If you’re looking for more book suggestions, you can find my previous Book Thoughts post here.