A second installment of our series Cool Girls Read for August 2016! Check out the rest of our series here. The books we’ve recommended we’ve actually read, but this post contains Affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.

I have only reached Season 2 Episode 8 of Game of Thrones, but the rumor of a Jason Momoa return to the show already has me feeling some type of way. I haven’t read the book series yet either, but that is on my to-do list. Another long overdue essential read is the Harry Potter series (yes–I know), especially since I’ve neither read the books nor watched the films, and I worked at a bookstore when the series was still in print and releasing new installments.

But don’t we all have those never-ending “to read” lists, those stacks of books and aspirational shelves we think we’ll conquer one day? Well here we’ve got more recommendations for you to add to those lists, stacks and shelves. As part of our August Cool Girls Read we’ve got our editors’ pick Reading Roundup, installment number two. These short reviews are brought to us today by Art & Lit editor Kelli Heidelberger and Entertainment editor Taylor Mims.


The Girls: A Novel by Emma Clinegirls

The 25-year old Emma Cline snuck up on me with her stunning debut novel. I hadn’t heard anything about the battle for her manuscript or the huge deal she signed, but all the right people seemed to be talking about it. The story in The Girls closely mirrors the events of the Manson murders, but Cline’s exploration of her young antagonist goes much further than the allure of a charismatic leader. It reveals how an intelligent girl could find herself entwined in a cult of unstable believers.

The language is unique and completely enthralling. There were passages when I felt the need to pause and let the words land. Cline finds different ways of describing the most familiar of emotions and moments without ever losing the reader in verbosity or confusion. I can’t remember the last time I was this sad to see a book end.
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black rabbit hallBlack Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

I love Gothic literature, so if you give me a book set in a creepy old house in the English countryside I will read it. Black Rabbit Hall is more of a modern day Gothic fiction book. It parallels two stories, one that takes place in the 1960s and one about thirty years later. They both center around a dilapidated Gothic manor named Black Rabbit Hall. I’m not necessarily a fan of the back and forth between the two points of views–I always find myself drawn to one more than the other–and it wasn’t any different for this book, but there is some mystery as to how the two stories connect that kept me reading. Chase’s writing is straightforward, but the it is the descriptions of the house which remain integral to the story.


didionThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This has been on my list to read for a while now. Didion is such an iconic writer, and I hadn’t read anything of hers yet. It’s a story of such a tragic year in Didion’s life. Her writing is honest and draws on her grief to provide a relatable narrative for anyone who has lost someone in their lives and finds it difficult to keep on going. It isn’t just her grief that drives the writing, but her passion for her family and the retelling of a lasting marriage in a world where it seems as though there are news reports every day about couples (famously or otherwise) separating and “uncoupling.”



crime punishmentCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I decided to read this one after talking to two high school seniors I work with who had to work on an AP English assignment for this book. I realized I hadn’t read it and decided to dive in. Russian literature is always an adventure. Dostoyevsky’s writing includes long, drawn out paragraphs of dialogue mixed with long expository paragraphs. It’s not surprising why so many people are opposed to reading his works. I haven’t made it that far in yet and it is a long book, but I’m determined to make it through.



smokeSmoke by Dan Vyleta

This is one I happened to come across through the recommendation of a book blogger I follow and decided to check it out. Smoke is set in the 1800s England and yet still has a sort of science fiction vibe to it. Any human who sins appears to have smoke emanating from their body which in turn makes their bodies and their sins visible to everyone. Vyleta’s writing is full of rich descriptions creating a world that is both fascinating and horrifying, because even one little lie could lead to the smoke giving you away. It is a book I look forward to finishing and seeing where Vyleta takes the story.


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I don’t know about you, but I’ve already added these to my library holds and Amazon wishlists!

We’ve been doing so much reading, required or otherwise. Check back in with us the rest of the week to see what our other editors have stacked up as well. You can catch up with the past book recommendations from our Cool Girls Read series.

And don’t forget to stay connected with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram pages.

What are you reading? Let us know in the comments.



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