I have a confession to make: I’ve been majorly slacking on my reading goals and I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’m embarrassed to report that I’ve only read five books since my last reading recap in April (ugh). I had been averaging three books per month which means I should easily have been able to get through twelve books from May through August but alas, here we are. I’m ripping off the bandaid today and going to try to get back into a regular reading routine for September… Thankfully this time of year always feels just right for a fresh start.

P.S. You can check out my past reads here and please leave any book recommendations in the comments!

growth hacker marketing book review

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Rating: 4/5

Written by the director of marketing for American Apparel, this book is full of tips for marketing your business without relying on outdated tactics or a corporate-sized budget. The author tells the stories of companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Hotmail and encourages companies and individuals to launch with a minimum viable product and use customer feedback to change that product over time. The book doesn’t offer a specific formula or steps to follow if you’re looking to growth hack your own business, but if you’re looking to think outside the box and be inspired by others who have done the same, it’s a quick and worthwhile read.

the power of full engagement book review

The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Rating: 4/5

The subtitle of this book immediately piqued my interest; as someone who works from home, I typically have ample time to structure my day exactly how I like, but I do a pretty poor job of managing my own energy (forgetting to eat lunch, relying on snacks to spike my blood sugar, sitting in one place for hours on end). This book is filled with valuable insights about how to manage this most precious resource and presents at least a dozen case studies from the authors’ experience coaching top performers in business, medicine, and professional sports. It’s a great read for anyone striving for better balance among mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual pursuits and really got me thinking about ways I can improve my own energy expenditure and renewal. I listened to the audio book but I’d advise ordering a physical copy instead as there were several times I found myself wanting to highlight a particular quote or take notes on how a given principle could apply to my life.

behind closed doors book review

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Rating: 2/5

Switching gears completely to one of the darkest books I have ever read. I know a bunch of you enjoy psychological thrillers as much as I do but seriously, proceed at your own risk with this one. I vacillated between wanting to put it down because it was so upsetting and wanting to stay up all night to figure out the ending. It tells the story of a husband and wife who strike their friends and neighbors as the perfect couple but who of course lead a completely different life behind closed doors. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you still brave enough to pick this up, but there was one scene involving the couple’s dog that made me physically nauseous and that just made it impossible for me to enjoy the rest of the book. If you’ve read this one, I’d love to hear whether you agree or disagree in the comments!

when life gives you lululemons book review

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

Rating: 5/5

I needed a light read after getting through Behind Closed Doors and this one did not disappoint. The author reintroduces Emily Charlton (Miranda Priestly’s assistant from The Devil Wears Prada), now living in Los Angeles and fumbling in her career as an image consultant to Hollywood starlets. When her longtime friend Miriam, a former attorney and now stay-at-home mom in Greenwich, Connecticut, introduces Emily to her friend Karolina, a former model who’s just had a very public fall from grace, the three women form an unlikely friendship, set out to restore Karolina’s image, and seek a little revenge along the way. I loved that it’s based in the town we now live in and offers a hilarious satire on life in the suburbs without pitting any of the women against one another. If you’re looking for a juicy beach read, this is it!

the knockoff book review

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Rating: 5/5

I so enjoyed these authors’ Fitness Junkie (reviewed in this post) and knew it was only a matter of time until I went back and read their debut novel from the previous year. Editor Imogen Tate returns from medical leave to find that her former assistant Eve Morton has turned her beloved magazine into an app and replaced many of her longtime staffers with millennial employees who sleep at the office and speak in tech terms Imogen has never heard of. Where Fitness Junkie took on the boutique fitness craze, this story is a clever commentary on the fashion industry, social media, and millennials in the workforce. One knock on the audio book version was the narrator’s crazy accents for a couple of the millennial characters (the fact that they’re young and naive doesn’t make them valley girl airheads!) but that didn’t stop me from rooting for Imogen and racing through to the end to find out her fate. A fluffy and funny read from beginning to end.

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12 thoughts on “WHAT I READ THIS SUMMER

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  1. I know you love psychological thrillers – I just read “social creature” and thought you would love it. It’s very timely and about a grifter with lots of dark twists and turns (but not too dark!) Also, I just found out that the upcoming film “A Simple Favor” is based on a book by the same name. Just ordered it on amazon tonight. I’m dying to know what happened to Emily almost as much as Ryan Renolds is! Ha. Also though “When Life Gives you Lulu’s” was cute. Made me want to read “Everyone Worth Knowing”, which is also about Emily Charlton. Have you read “The Singles Game” by Lauren Weissburg (sp?) really like that one too. Currently obsessed with the “Crazy Rich Asians” Trilogy as well and have been fantasizing about a trip to Singapore! Happy reading!! It’s like working out, once you get back into it, it’s hard to stop!

  2. I love your reading recaps – but don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t been reading! I find I go through phases with how much I read depending on lots of other factors. I’m looking forward to reading When Life Gives you Lululemons as an end of summer fun read!
    I recently read Florida by Lauren Groff (short stories), Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, Varina by Charles Frazier, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (which was just made into a netflix movie!), and Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – I’d recommend all of them. Just started Circe by Madeline Miller and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, and am excited to see how they turn out! Are you on GoodReads? I find that’s where I get all my best recommendations!

  3. I’m curious if the Power of Full Engagement mentioned the positive impacts of meditation at all?

    I do a few key things to manage my energy and only one has to do with what I eat/drink. 1.) drink a lot of water 2.) meditate daily 3.) breath work 4.) run regularly

    I do a specific type of breath work to music that’s really helped me in regards of boosting my energy levels 🙂 Anyway, just food for thought! I know firsthand working from home can certainly be more of an energy management game than a time management game.

  4. So, I really enjoyed Behind Closed Doors but it was SO disturbing. I couldn’t stop, I read it in one afternoon but then couldn’t sleep. The end left me in chills but when I recommend to someone, I warn it’s very dark and I am just sickened to think that could really happen to someone.

    On a lighter note, I did LOVE when life gives you lululemons and was surprised there was a solid story line as I wasn’t sure how light/ fluffy it would be.

    If you need more recommendations, All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin I really enjoyed (shout out to Grace and her podcast for the best recos!).

    Keep up the reading, I love book recaps!

  5. I love all of Emily Giffin’s books – I think her latest one, All We Ever Wanted, is her best yet. It’s an easy read but focuses on some really interesting and relevant topics. Definitely worth reading!

  6. Mackenzie, Behind Closed Doors was seriously disturbing. Further, there were errors in the book that definitely should have been caught by the editor. And the ending? Completely anticlimactic. You are spot-on with your rating of 2/5. The only reason I wouldn’t have given it 1/5 is, because I did read until the end to find out how it ended.