August 2023

10 Books
I Loved In August

August 2023 Book Recommendations from the Charliemadison book club

My August reads were a mix of genres - from an incredible story about humanity to Greek mythology, to several mysteries to one pulse-pounding thriller that is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I was thrilled to mix it up a little and get out of my mystery rut. It’s always surprising to discover a new genre or author that leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into a new world.

I hope you find something that makes you want to rush over to your local library or book store and add to your TBR (to be read) list!

XO, Wendy



Caz and her boyfriend Pete set sail on the RMS Atlantica - a luxury cruise liner with every amenity imaginable. They enjoy their first night aboard by eating, dancing, and discovering new friends. But when Caz wakes up the next morning, she can’t find Pete and she soon discovers she is alone on the ship and all the cabin doors are open. The cruise ship is barrelling ahead with no crew and no passengers, but that is just the beginning of Caz’s terrifying experience.

I had this one on my wish list for months after I read a recommendation from a military spouse friend who had an advanced copy of the book. I was so excited to read it that I got it the day it was released. All I can say is what an amazing ride. This book keeps you turning page after page, wanting to read the next chapter to find out what craziness happens next. Gripping, suspenseful, and terrifying, this book left me with my mouth wide open. One of the best books I’ve read - well done Mr. Dean!

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Our Missing Hearts


Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner and his father live a modest life on a college campus, where his father works in the library. Bird’s mother disappeared from his life when he was just nine and his father doesn’t share much about her life with them. She was an unknown Chinese-American poet until her book became the force behind a revolution and suddenly it was banned. When Bird receives a letter with a strange drawing inside, he leaves home without telling his father and heads to New York City, where he learns the truth behind his mother’s disappearance and the terrible fate of so many in the country.

I absolutely loved this heartbreaking book that made me question where our society is headed and how we can change it. One of my favorite reads this month and a beautifully-written story that has this one sitting at the top of book lists everywhere. Everyone should read this one!

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From the tales of Greek mythology comes the story of three women bound by an ancient curse. Clytemnestra is from the House of Atreus, who marries Agamemnon who betrays her on the eve of the Trojan War. Elektra, their youngest daughter who longs for her father’s return from war and struggles with her mother. Cassandra, a Trojan princess can see the future but carries a curse with her. All three women become pawns during the war between Troy and the Greeks.

Greek mythology has always been so confusing to me, but after tackling The Song of Achilles, Circe, and the television show, Troy, I was fascinated with the story around the Trojan War. Told from the perspective of women, this story looked at the lives that continued in the families that were left behind during the 10 years of the war. A lovely book highlighting the strength of women and how they persevered during difficult times.

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National Park Service Ranger Ren Hopper spends his days keeping the peace among visiting tourists, who are clueless about the wildlife and respecting the beauty of nature. On his off day, when he runs into a strange man and his dog, chasing a black bear through the park, he becomes suspicious about the man’s intentions. As Ren investigates rumors of poaching, he is dragged into something more sinister and worries for his safety as he uncovers the truth about the red ribbons tied to traps and the involvement of the Crooke City locals.

I’ve read several of Peter Heller’s books and have loved them all. This was no exception and it was a wonderful escape from urban living imagining living in a cabin surrounded by thousands of acres of forest and beautiful wildlife. 

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Four women, of different ages and from different walks of life, converge on a Greek archaeological dig at the site of the first Olympics. When they discover an artifact that changes history, they must put aside their differences to battle the aged head archaeologist and uncover the truth behind the dig site that has long been hidden.

I was intrigued by the premise of this book and loved the learning a bit more about Greek mythology and archaeological digs. I’m always a fan of novels about science, but this one also brought together four women scientists who commit to overcoming difficult circumstances in the name of doing what’s right by history and science. A great summer read - I’m looking forward to more from this author!

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Ruthie Beamish loves her house by the sea in a quaint Long Island town, but to afford to live in it throughout the year, she must rent it out during the summer season. As Memorial Day weekend approaches, Ruthie and her daughter Jem must move out to make room for Adeline Clay - part of the rich, elegant Hamptons crowd. As the summer progresses, Ruthie wonders whether Adeline will just take what she wants - the house, Ruthie’s ex-husband, and the life Ruthie planned. Add in an eccentric billionaire, Ruthie’s old boyfriend, and a back-stabbing co-worker and the summer turns into something Ruthie never imagined. She must discover what is important and how she’ll move on with her life.

Another perfect summer read - this one was an audiobook for me and it was so much fun! With pretty houses by the sea and a cast of overindulged characters, this will keep you entertained until the last page.

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Set in Provence in an elegant, sprawling estate, four friends who studied abroad as teenagers reunite with the chateau’s owner Seraphine Demargelasse - the grandmother of one of the women.

As they tour vineyards, visit local markets, and enjoy sumptuous dinners, the women begin to question why each one of them has returned. When Seraphine is suddenly murdered and a mysterious Instagram account seems to be tracking the women, they start to question who they can trust.

Fast-paced with secrets in every chapter, I was glued to the audio version of this fabulous thriller. If you love Lucy Foley and Ruth Ware, this book will keep you turning page after page.

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When Tricia and Ethan tour a home they are hoping to buy, a winter storm turns into a blizzard that traps them inside this hidden manor owned by famous psychiatrist Dr. Adrienne Hale who disappeared mysteriously four years earlier. As Tricia discovers a hidden room containing recordings fro Dr. Hale’s patients, she secretly listens to their stories hoping to uncover the truth behind the doctor’s disappearance. 

I listened to the audio version of this book and was immediately hooked. Mystery, secrecy, and murder all rolled into one, this book had me glued to my headphones and finished in a day and a half. 

*Bonus: If you have Kindle Unlimited, this one is included.

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Natalie Webb, a former world champion magician is no longer living the glamour out life but struggles from job to job to pay her bills. Desperate for cash, she decides to write a magazine article about the art of cheating at cards. When Natalie meets a poker player with incredible skills, she is soon asked to be part of a plan to join a poker game that could win them $1.5 million is they don’t get caught. 

This one sat on my bookshelf for several months until I picked it up on a whim and flipped open the cover. Never in a million years did I think the world of poker would have me turning the pages so quickly. A fast-paced, suspenseful story that will take you by surprise right at the end. Absolutely fabulous!

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Olivia Bender is a talented and sought-after interior designer but she and her husband Park have struggled with infertility and every IVF treatment they’ve tried has failed. After suffering her latest miscarriage, the police arrive with shocking news - the prime suspect in their recent murder investigation shows a DNA match to Park. Olivia knows this must be a mistake, as they don’t have any children together. But the secrets and lies start to unravel as Olivia learns that Park donated to a sperm clinic years ago and he has no idea how many children were born from those donations. The more the police investigate, the more secrets Olivia and Park must face as they track down a killer with unknown motivations. 

Fast-paced with lots of twists and turns, the audio version of this book kept me glued to my ear buds. J.T. Ellison is a master at mysteries and just when you think you have it figured out, a plot twist blows away your theory. 

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