Summer reading is upon us!!!! Sharing the books I read during the month of June here. Would love to know if you’ve read anything great lately…. I always get the best suggestions from you guys!

WHAT I READ IN JUNE 2021 | Malibu Rising


THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE by Katherine Center

4/5 Stars

I really, really liked this book. If you’re looking for a sweet, can’t-put-down romantic story that’s more than fluff, this could be for you. It’s not the deepest plot, but it’s also not a Lifetime movie… if that makes sense. Cassie, a female firefighter, gets into a bit of PR pinch with the firehouse she works in in Texas. Between that and a bit of a family emergency, she ends up moving back home to Boston to help her mom. But the firehouse she joins is not happy that a woman just joined their team. It’s slightly cheesy, but in a feel good way, and I enjoyed all the imperfect, but charming, characters.


4/5 Stars

Hidden Valley Road always pops up in my library’s available audiobooks and I finally downloaded it. It’s the heartbreaking and fascinating story about one family’s struggle with schizophrenia. The Galvins had twelve children, ten boys and two girls. Of the ten boys, six eventually were diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book is told through narrative journalism, so the story of this family, and their ultimate contribution to the study of schizophrenia, comes to life on the page. Some parts were tougher to read than others, but overall, I was happy I finally gave it a listen.

THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides

2.5/5 Stars

In short… this book was not for me. I decided to read it because it sounded like something I would enjoy (a murder! Cambridge University! A secret society!), but ultimately I trudged through it. I found it to be a little too forced– the theme of the book is very much “Greek tragedy.” The story revolves around one particular woman, Mariana, who gets a call that a friend of her niece’s has been murdered. And that’s where it kind of lost me. It was one unrealistic event after the next. Sometimes when I have such strong feelings about hating a book, I wonder if it’s just me, but I had a long conversation with a friend about it and we both agreed. We kept coming back with “oh and remember that plot line; what was up with that?”

(A lot of people asked me what I thought of Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient, but I haven’t read it so I can’t offer any comparison.

BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman

4/5 Stars

I hadn’t been planning on reading any parenting books before baby, but a few of my close friends recommended Bringing Up Bebe. As with anything parenting-related, I think you need to do what works for your family and be good with that. When it comes to prescriptive parenting, I think my philosophy (at least right now as a soon-to-be-but-not-actually-parenting parent) is that you can take bits from this one and bits from that one to figure out what works for you, your family, and your child(ren). That’s how I felt about Bringing Up Bebe, a book which delves into the differences of French and American parenting through the lens of what the French “get right.”

Certain things really resonated with me and other parts of the book were less relevant/interesting. For example, a lot of the book discussed weight gain and loss during/after pregnancy, which I could have done without…. but I loved the chapters about teaching patience and introducing different foods to baby.

Can’t tell you if any of the philosophies work yet since we don’t have a baby yet 🤣, but I’m glad I read this one!

MALIBU RISING by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4.75/5 Stars

Definitely the best book I read this month, and one of the best of the year. (I have a feeling it’ll be my favorite read of the summer!) Malibu Rising follows a group of four siblings, the children of a very famous performer, during one of their famous house parties in the early eighties. The book toggles between the past and the present brilliantly, the cast of characters come to life, and the backdrop of Malibu adds the perfect touch. It’s a sexy, face paced book too. I quite literally couldn’t put it down and wanted even more when it ended! If you’ve read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six, there are also some fun tie-ins!


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I’ve read a lot of Katherine Center’s books – How to Walk Away and What You Wish For are also good.


I loved Bringing Up Bebe and still reference it in my mind constantly when parenting my now four year old!


Malibu Rising was my BoTM for June, but I didn’t get around to reading it. I am so glad it’s getting good feedback.

There are four books I read this month that I really recommend – 1) Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller (cool mixture of biography and memoir); 2) The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (great commentary on micro-aggressions in the workplace); 3) Less by Andrew Sean Greer (a funny Eat, Pray, Love); and 4) the Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (I’ve never really loved John Green’s fiction, but these essays are FANTASTIC. They are the perfect length to read one or two before bed and really helped in processing life during/post a pandemic).


I recently read Senator Tammy Duckworth’s memoir, Every Day is a Gift, and it is fantastic! She spoke at my grad school graduation a few years ago so I knew she was a badass, but her childhood and young adulthood were incredible interesting. The majority of the book is spent on this portion of her life and the shootdown (she doesn’t call it a crash) that took her legs. It’s absolutely incredible! I’m also reading The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America by Jo Napolitano and it is fascinating! Immigrants and refugees have a legal right to education K-12 regardless of immigration status but learning about the ways in which districts deny older refugee and immigrant children (older adolescents) the access to quality education (through placement in alternative high schools without the resources for refugees and immigrants to denying them access to school even when the legal access age isn’t until 21 or older) is heartbreaking.


Taylor Jenkins Reid books I’ll get to read in 2023— I have access to 3 libraries and I’m 350th or further down on the holds list for any of their books. 🙁
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is phenomenal. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is great. How to Be a Patients- Sara Goldberg is useful and a great guide to navigating American healthcare. The Good Nurse is disturbing and fascinating (it’s a true story of a serial killer nurse and how he evaded consequence for 13 years or so, however probably not a good time to read this, also set in NJ/surrounding area) by Charles Graeber. Cut it Out by Theresa Morris discusses the high American c section rate and history behind it. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny O’Dell is well done too. To Have and to Hold by Molly Millwood is fantastic, about motherhood, and marriage in today’s society.

Some of these may have been from your recommendations or Grace on the Stripe, so if they are I’m sorry not a good recommendation to recommend back books to the original recommender.


I’m currently reading Delicious! & I recommend Verity if you haven’t read already. Best thriller I’ve read all year so far.


I just finished Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and it was a perfect book to read on the beach about a multi-generation family resort in upstate New York.


I will put Malibu Rising on the list and scratch off The Maidens. I just finished Infinite Country per your recommendation and loved it.


I too didn’t read a ton of parenting books while pregnant (have a beautiful baby 6 month old girl!). A couple of books I found helpful were by Emily Oster. She’s an economist, while also a parent and has written some books that really put my mind at ease about many things!