Get Cozy & Start Reading | September Book Club Picks + Giveaway
Happy September 1st, and welcome to the very first book club here on Simply Taralynn! I’m so excited to launch this series and hopefully continue to add more options like zoom discussions, video reviews, and in-person local meet-ups when everything is back to normal again. All suggestions are welcome, and I’ve also been working on putting together a newsletter for the book club that will officially launch in October!
This past summer, I’ve been a book worm. I have fun finding new books and love chatting with you all about some of the stories I’ve been reading. A book club has been a popular request, and I decided to just dive into it. There is no curriculum at all, and anyone can join in at any time. I will share 3 to 4 books that I have chosen to read throughout the month and continue to update everyone on how I’m enjoying them in recaps, on Instagram, and will also be writing a follow-up at the end of the month on this blog post. This month, I have chosen four books! Do not feel as if you need to read all of them, but I figured there might be some readers who have already gone through all of my picks, and I wanted to have a few extras available! I usually read about one book a week, and I know this book club will be helping me stay on track with reading. Reading is so important to me because it helps me escape from the television, social media, and allows me to use my imagination and learn a few things that may not pop up on my Instagram feed. When I read more, I feel more relaxed, focused, and creative.
September Book Club Picks Are:
American Dirt: Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
It’s crazy how life can change in an instant. I really felt this character’s pain with each page. When I thought things couldn’t get worse for the mother and son duo, it did. My heart was pounding as I read the pages, and I had to hurry up and get through it just to know the ending sooner. So much grief, love, and lightness through the darkest time. This was definitely not my go-to genre, and after the first few pages, I wanted to close the book and quit reading. After feeling the grief from the first few chapters, I started to attach myself to the characters and invest in their search for a safe landing.
Eliza Starts a Rumor: It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When Eliza Hunt created The Hudson Valley Ladies’ Bulletin Board fifteen years ago she was happily entrenched in her picture-perfect suburban life with her husband and twin preschoolers. Now, with an empty nest and a crippling case of agoraphobia, the once-fun hobby has become her lifeline. So when a rival parenting forum threatens the site’s existence, she doesn’t think twice before fabricating a salacious rumor to spark things up a bit.
It doesn’t take long before that spark becomes a flame.
Across town, new mom and site devotee Olivia York is thrown into a tailspin by what she reads on the Bulletin Board. Allison Le is making cyber friends with a woman who isn’t quite who she says she is. And Amanda Cole, Eliza’s childhood friend, may just hold the key to unearthing why Eliza can’t step out of her front door.
In all this chaos, one thing is for sure…Hudson Valley will never be the same.
Funny, romantic, raw, and hopeful, this is a story about being a woman and of the healing power of sisterhood.
I didn’t expect the ending of this book to put me in tears. It was funny, heartwarming, and adventurous. I loved the bond between these struggling strangers that turned into a sisterhood. There are so many struggles in this book that are easy to connect and relate to. A story of empowerment!
The One to Watch: Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?
Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.
But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, wickedly observant debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.
OMG – THIS BOOK. I loved it. What a fun and fast-paced book to read. I loved the character Bea so much! Honestly, this book made me want to write to the producers of The Bachelor and tell them to read it. I’d love to see the change in the show just like this book. It was fun reading about a plus-sized fashion blogger who gets on a dating show (like the Bachelor) and the impact she made on the industry. I loved her attitude, realness, and the way she always came out on top! This is a must-read.
The Guest List: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
The guest list had me in chills. I wasn’t sure if the killer was going to be paranormal or one of the wedding guests. I loved how each character had their own voice throughout the book, and the way it all tied together at the end was phenomenal.
I want to include a giveaway for the book club as well. I think reading is absolutely perfect paired with coffee, so I want to do a $30 ($75 for the Instagram winner) Starbuck’s giveaway for 3 lucky book club members! Now that the Fall treats are out, you can get cozy and start diving into this week’s books with everything pumpkin spice!
To enter, answer one of the following questions below in the comments! There will also be a winner selected from the Instagram Giveaway, so enter there as well 💜 Winners will be chosen on Wednesday, September 9th! ♥️
Questions for you!
- Which book are you most looking forward to this month?
- Have you read any of the books on the September list?
- What do you want to see / suggestions for my book clubs?
WINNERS: The blog winners have been announced in the comment replies!! The Instagram winner is @marissadperez