Real Readers Weigh In on August Releases

Real Readers Weigh In on August Releases

Your TBR pile is towering, and you don’t know what to read next. Who do you turn to? Your fellow readers, of course! When the Bookish team is looking for new books to pick up, we browse BookishFirst—a platform where readers can earn points by leaving reviews of upcoming books and use those points to win free books. Here, the Bookish editors selected their top reviews from BookishFirst members for August releases. Check out what real readers had to say about these buzzy new titles (including their star ratings), and then visit BookishFirst for an excerpt from each book!

Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

Love Love Love This Book! — 5/5 Stars, katevocke

“Tiffany Blues is captivating, mysterious, romantic, and magical! I am so glad I gave this book a chance. I know we aren’t supposed to, but I always judge books by their covers, not that this books cover isn’t beautiful (in fact the inside covers look like Tiffany stained glass—so pretty!), it’s just that it’s designed like the covers of books that I do not typically read. I don’t read romance that often, I don’t read much historical fiction, and this book might have changed that.

The book follows Jenny Bell and a really interesting group of artists in the 1920s through 50s who retreat to the esteemed and gorgeous New York estate, Laurelton Hall, of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Tiffany as in Tiffany lamps and pretty little blue boxes of expensive jewelry) to draw, paint, sculpt, and broaden their artistic abilities. This really happened! I was enthralled by the history of this artistic foundation he created, and had not heard of it in the past. The creatives are not real characters (although, yes, Mr. Tiffany is, most are not) but are a fun cast to follow through romance, secrets, mystery, theft, drugs, murder, arson, and more! The setting of Laurelton Hall is almost a character in itself, as Rose paints vivid pictures of the beautiful estate where most of the story takes place. Oh, to have seen this place in its glory days, before sadly it burned to the ground. This is a fictional story where M.J. Rose imagines how that devastating fire came to be.

I enjoyed every minute of this book and I didn’t want it to end. I’m not big on romance, but this was not that book. There were just enough romantic scenes. And again, also not big on history, but this had just the right amount to set the tone and background of the story. There were plenty of twists and turns, and from start to finish the story captured my heart. This is a must-read. You won’t be disappointed!”

Read an excerpt of Tiffany Blues or leave your own review on BookishFirst.

The Byline Bible by Susan Shapiro

A Worthwhile Addition to a Writer’s Nonfiction Shelf —4/5 Stars, cinemabelle

“In this wholly entertaining guide for freelance writers looking to climb the publication ladder, professor and scribe Susan Shapiro transfers her highly successful, results-oriented course to print in a lively new release.

Serving up various writing assignments that can help you find out where your strengths lie, from mining your life for irresistible personal essay fodder to locating someone to pitch it to (as well as how to respond to a critique and the most common reactions to expect), Shapiro guides old and new freelancers through the entire process from submit to print.

Reminding writers that the fastest way to burn a bridge is to respond to an email in anger, she offers another practical reason to bite one’s tongue, as charming someone on the staff of a publication with your sincerity, reliability, and professionalism might make an editor far more willing to work with you to get your piece publication-ready than a total stranger would be.

With decades of proven experience to back her up both personally as a writer and professionally as a teacher, Shapiro includes countless columns and articles penned by her students over the years as examples throughout.

Giving it to you straight while maintaining a healthy sense of relatable optimism and dry wit that keeps you flipping pages, Susan Shapiro’s compellingly readable Byline Bible makes a worthwhile addition to your nonfiction shelf.”

Read an excerpt of The Byline Bible or leave your own review on BookishFirst.

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Emily Has Found What She Believes to Be the Perfect Guy. Only Problem… His Mother, Pammie — 5/5 Stars, meagsbooknook

“Emily has found what she believes to be the perfect guy. The only problem is his mother, Pammie. After numerous struggles with Pammie, Emily tries to tell Adam what she has been experiencing, but he always defends his mother. Reading this, I felt lucky to have an amazing mother in law that I am actually very close with. Phew! Dodged that bullet. I may have been lucky, but not everyone is so fortunate and the strain of a bad relationship with your mother in law can be difficult in many ways.

Emily’s character was relatable, which allows the reader to feel each emotion she is experiencing alongside her. I found myself picturing what I would do it her shoes. Would I tell Adam? Would I retaliate? Would I run for the hills and say, ‘No guy is worth this’? While I may have chosen a different path than Emily because there were definitely times when I wanted to slap her upside the head and tell her she deserved better, I still felt for her and hoped for the best.

Sandie Jones had me flying through this book. I couldn’t seem to put it down. Every time I did, I found myself wondering what would happen next between Emily and Pammie. And to think, this is her debut!

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, everything would flip and go a completely different direction. If this is any indication of what is to come from Sandie Jones then the world had better watch out!”

Read an excerpt of The Other Woman or leave your own review on BookishFirst.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Bridges Cultures with Humor and Heart — 5/5 Stars, bookfreakout

“Wow, this book was a phenomenal one-day read for me. It does a brilliant job of exploring issues of culture, heritage, family, discrimination, and clinical depression, with an excellent balance of heart and humor. The alternation between the character’s ‘American’ name, Darius, and the original Persian version, Darioush, is an incredibly powerful choice on the author’s part, as it represents the core of the character’s struggle of feeling caught between two worlds, and people’s inconsistent expectations of what he should be. He was born in America, but his mother’s entire family is in Iran. He loves Star Trek, but is also a tea aficionado. He doesn’t speak Farsi, but his little sister does, and they both share an intense love for Persian desserts. His white father shares his diagnosis of clinical depression, but has very specific ideas about how a ‘normal’ boy should handle it and present himself.

When he visits Iran and befriends Sohrab, I appreciated how that introduced another opportunity to discuss discrimination. Darius is struck by how in Portland, Persians of all kinds come together in harmony because there aren’t many of them around, but in Iran, despite being a full Persian, Sohrab’s family faces discrimination and brutality because of their Bahá’í faith.

This book is a bridge between cultures, because Darius himself is a bridge. His often-humorous internal musings address social cues, food, games, as well as language nuances (like how his mom never would confirm if Farsi borrowed a bunch of words from French). His humor is based largely in science fiction and fantasy culture (tons of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings references) that will resonate with fans of those genres while introducing them to new concepts that are firmly based in reality.

The way this book presents depression has been hailed as accurate and powerful by readers who also have depression. Though I can’t speak to that myself, I found it to be poignant: Depression is a daily part of his life, it can strike without warning, but Darius has come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t define him. In fact, though he wishes people understood him better, Darius never demonstrates an inclination to change himself for people, which I thought was excellent. He doesn’t fit squarely into one box, and is okay with that internally; he just wishes everyone else would be too.

I highly recommend this book!”

Read an excerpt of Darius the Great Is Not Okay or leave your own review on BookishFirst.

Reborn by Meredith Wild

Really enjoyed it! —4/5 Stars, kacihearts19

“Told through Meredith Wild’s exceptional writing, the Red Ledger series is the perfect romantic suspense read. It keeps you on your toes, it makes you question everything, and it has you right in the thick of it with these characters.

Tristan and Isabel have a fiery connection that starts the moment you open this book. It is electric and practically tangible, and it is what sets this book and this story on fire. With so many twists and turns, you never know what that next page will bring. From start to finish, these first three installments were spectacularly crafted and brought to life, and all I can think about is when I will be able to get more of them. That’s how owned I am right now by this series, these characters, and by everything they share together.

If you are looking for a read that is equal parts romance, suspense, intensity, and passion, with some serious twists and turns thrown in, check out this series this very second!”

Read an excerpt of Reborn or leave your own review on BookishFirst.

Please note that some reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

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