book report: august

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Goal Progress: 31/50

Now that we're at the end of August and going into September, fall reading is going to be in full swing! That means a good mix of cozy stories, mysterious thrillers, and more cerebral reads as well. I can't wait to crack open my windows and light my pumpkin and cider candles while I'm reading this fall!

But before that, I'm so excited to tell you all about the books I read this August. I'm on track to reach my annual reading goal of fifty books and this month, I read some that I feel confident will make it onto my list of favorite books of the year. Let's get into it!

Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I loved this book. It was exactly the kind of thing you want to read on a summer day at the pool or beach. This is about a mom whose three adult daughters come home to live with her in a small, quirky Georgia town called Peachtree Bluff (think Stars Hollow, but southern). What I loved was that it's a relaxing, easy read but still has depth. Really, really great and I can't wait to read the sequel.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
This book is about a teenaged girl named Lina who goes to live with her dad in Italy after her mom passes away. While there, she receives her mom's old diary from her time in Italy and tries to solve the mystery surrounding how her mom and dad met with help from her cute neighbor, Ren. They travel all over Florence together eating gelato, hence the name. This was really cute and such a good summer read! Highly recommend it. 

The Secret To Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey
As soon as I finished Slightly South of Simple, I reserved the sequel at the library and read it as soon as it came in. This story picks up where the first book left off, but focuses more on the middle daughter, Sloane (the first book focuses on eldest daughter Caroline and I'm assuming the third book will follow the youngest daughter Emerson). It's hard to describe the plot without giving away something big that happens in the first book, but this was yet another laid-back, Southern story that also has depth.

Forest Bathing by Dr. Qing Li
I saw this at the bookstore and was so drawn to the cover! The whole book is about the culture of 'forest bathing' in Japan, which simply means spending uninterrupted, intentional time in nature. I read this in about an hour and loved all of the beautiful photos in the book. I've been dying to visit Japan for a long time and this made me want to go even more. It also made me want to watch a marathon of Miyazaki films, especially My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. 

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
This is the "sequel" to Love & Gelato and it follows the former main character Lina's best friend Addie when she goes to Ireland for her aunt's wedding. Just like Lina did in Italy, Addie goes on an adventure across the Irish countryside with her brother and his Irish friend Rowan who are following the footsteps of their favorite indie band. Meanwhile, Addie is following along with a 'guide for heartbreak' that takes her to all sorts of special places in Ireland. At first, I wasn't as into this story as I was into Love & Gelato, but it got better and I ended up thinking it was really cute.

South Towards Home by Julia Reed
Julia Reed is my favorite contributor to Garden & Gun magazine, so it's no surprise I loved this book so much. It's a collection of essays about her life in the South and it'll really resonate with anyone who also grew up here. Probably one of my favorite books of the year!