Since Tree and I both participated in ARC August this year (and did quite well, TBH), we figured we’d split up our wrap ups into two posts, instead of one really long one. If you’re confused on what ARC August is, you can find more info on my post from 2019, when I first participated.
This year I basically set out to clear at least five ARCs (TBR post here) and not get distracted by all my shiny library loans. (Both of which I did!) Okay, so two of the five I read were snagged off NetGalley’s new audiobook format catalog. But I’m counting them.
ARC August TBR:
Burn Our Bodies Down
You Had Me at Hola
You Have a Match
Written in the Stars
This is All Your Fault
Books I Actually Read in August:
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria [4.5/5 stars]
TW: stalking (mention of), PTSD, anxiety
You Had Me At Hola follows the two stars of ‘Carmen In Charge’, a popular telenovela reboot, during the filming of the show. Things heat up between Jasmine and Ashton as the line between script and reality begins to blur and their attraction grows. Between the electric chemistry, the interesting setting, and the perfection that is the ‘Primas of Power’ group chat, this book had me all over the place. There are just so many great lines. I was laughing. I was crying. I was fricken livid. This book hooked me right from the beginning and I could not put it down. I swear, every empty moment I’d find myself inching towards my kindle to pick back up with Jasmine and Ashton. I do wish that the time spent on the set of Carmen had been less focused on the cheesy, obvious telenovela scenes, and more on backstage cast shenanigans. Like Jasmine apparently plans a bunch of hangouts for the cast, and you only get to witness the ‘one’ Asthon attends? Like, okay. Other than that, I have no complaints. And I sincerely hope that Alexis Daria decides to turn this into a “romance series,” and all the cousins get books!! Now, we observe a moment of silence in appreciation of this beyond gorgeous cover.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary [4/5 stars]
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance
TW: death of a family member, cancer, grief/mourning, infidelity
The Switch follows Leena and her grandmother as they each seek a change of pace, leading them to switch lives. Truth be told, the premise really reminded me of the The Holiday. Anyways, Leena moves into her grandmother’s idyllic country cottage for two months of ‘rest,’ while her grandmother takes up holding in Leena’s London flat to search for love in a bigger pond. It was quite cute and wholesome story, if slightly predictable at times. It was fun to see the different ways Leena and Eileen would chaotically interfere with each other’s lives. Like playing chess with mixed up pieces. Honestly, it’s a shame that Eileen and Jackson weren’t in the same place more often. All their interactions had me cracking up. I also really loved Leena and cranky Arnold’s slowly blooming friendship. Very cute! Oh, and I wouldn’t have minded Jackson’s daughter getting more page time. She was adorable.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur [3.5/5 stars]
Written in the Stars is a pretty cute #ownvoices queer rom-com with lots fun banter, fake dating, and a bunch of P&P references strewn about. There’s not a lot going on in the book besides the romance plot though, which was semi-disappointing. I enjoy a well-balanced romance and I would have enjoyed actually seeing into Elle & Darcy’s professional lives a bit. As for their personal lives, the only non-MC I liked was Margot (Elle’s best friend). She gets a gold star for being realistic and for not being an annoying cretin! Also, Elle is the most bubbly, cheerful person and I thoroughly enjoyed her banter & texting style. (Also, would like to be her friend.) I was originally planning on giving this book 4 stars, but after sitting with my thoughts (and that slightly abrupt ending), I’m left feeling not quite as satisfied. I wouldn’t mind a Margot book in the future though. *wink wink*
This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi [3/5 stars]
Genre: YA Contemporary
TW: anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, sexual assault
As a fan of Aminah’s other two books, it was unfortunate that I didn’t love This is All Your Fault. She normally writes such great girl gangs, but in this one it takes until almost 70% for them to stop fighting each other and instead rally for the store. It just took way too long for them to hit their groove and it then wrapped up too quickly with less resolution than I would have liked. On top of that, It was with the reading of this book that I realized I am not a fan of the “limited time/countdown” trope. Every moment is overly saturated with meaning or importance and it makes the plot drag. I thought I might have enjoyed this book since it was a “bookstore version” of the movie Empire Records. But I should have known If I didn’t overly love the movie, it was unlikely that I was going to like a similarly worked story. I did enjoy how Aminah’s humor bled through on every page, leaving me softly chortling. It’s still a solid read, it just wasn’t my favorite.
The Multi-Hyphen Life by Emma Gannon [4/5 stars]
I happened across this book months ago as an eARC, but I decide I didn’t have time to pick up another read. So, when it crossed my path as an audiobook on NetGalley a couple weeks ago, I could resist no longer. This nonfiction read is weirdly relative right now with everything going on. The first chapter of The Multi-Hyphen Life focuses on how the job market is constantly shifting and changing. Yet we are prepped through life to only consider following “traditional career paths,” even though those are a diminishing in the modern workplace. Enter the “multi-hyphen life” concept, where you diversify your time, take on multiple titles, and hustle to the end goal. I enjoyed the read, but I feel like the content would have been much more earth-shattering to me 4 years ago, when I wasn’t [unknowingly] already living a multi-hyphen lifestyle. For me the information in this book broke down to: 25% Things I’ve thought before but was nice to have reassurance of now, 15% Things that were incredibly obvious to me but might not be to others, 25% Really good information that is instantly applicable to my life, 35% Really good information & resources that are not currently applicable to my life. I’ve already decided to pick up a physical copy when I can, so that I can tab & highlight all the great resources for later use.
I really enjoyed participating in ARC August for a second time. I feel like that fact that other book reviewers are also working on their ARCs, helps motivate me to focus on mine. Even if it’s an exercise in futility, since I just go right back and request more. *cries*
I did also start Burn Our Bodies this month, but I haven’t gotten very far yet. I’m hoping Rory doesn’t traumatize me too much with this book, but I’m looking forward to it just the same. Also looking forward to participating in ARC August again next year!
Happy reading! Did you read any ARCs this month?
*Thank you Net Galley & Edelweiss + for providing me with eARCs in exchange for honest reviews.*