What I’m Reading: October – December 2016

At the end of 2014, I decided that I really wanted to read more; so I set a goal to read 5 books. By the end of 2015 I was pleased to report that I exceeded my goal and read 8 books!

For 2016, Sean suggested that I set a goal to read 12 books. I told him there was simply no way. I didn’t think it was possible for me to find the time to complete a new book every single month. So I didn’t really set a goal other than to continue reading.

Well, I can’t even believe I’m typing this…

In total…in 2016…I read 24 books!!!

Here’s what I read over the past three months.

 

oneinamillionThe One-in-a-Million Boy

This one came on high recommendation from a blogger I follow. Sadly, I never understood how in the world she could love this book so much. I completely lost interest in The One-in-a-Million Boy about half way through and pretty much forced myself to finish it. The story seemed to drag on and on without much really happening and I never connected with the characters.

I also felt like the book jumped around too much and made the plot and characters extremely hard to follow. Each time I started a new chapter, I felt like I was starting the book for the very first time. It always seemed I was half way through the chapter before I could get my footing.

I did enjoy the unique theme of the world records and I thought the references to existing records was really interesting. I also enjoyed the clever way Monica Wood ended the book, but beyond that, I don’t have many positive things to say. If you’re considering reading The One-in-a-Million Boy in 2017, I would say skip it.

 

secretsofSecrets of a Charmed Life

I read this book in FOUR Days – the fastest I’ve ever read a book! I would say this was one of my favorite books of 2016.

The plot is fast paced and I really loved the characters. I’m sad to admit I was a lot like the main character at age 15 – bratty and selfish and a little too eager to take on the world.

The main characters (sisters) struggle their entire lives with decisions they make as children. That was particularly tough to read. But the good news is, the book does end on a happy note!

Susan Meissner has a lot to say about choices in Secrets of a Charmed Life and I really liked her central message. It was something I hadn’t thought a lot about, but I’m glad she brought it to life.

If you liked The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (which was also one of my favorite books of 2016 that you can read about in my What I’m Reading: April-June 2016 post), you will probably like Secrets of a Charmed Life. However, I would caution readers about reading these two books back-to-back or within a few weeks of each other. They are similar enough (both stories of sisters set in WWII) that you may feel like you are reading the same book twice.

 

tallgrassTallgrass

I read Tallgrass for Book Club. It was chosen as the October book because of the “part thriller” aspect. We were all a bit confused because this book is NOT by any stretch of the imagination a “thriller.”

Apparently all of Sandra Dallas’ books are set in Colorado and as a Colorado resident, I loved all of the references to towns, cities and attractions in our state. However, beyond that, there really isn’t anything special about the book.

The book has a To Kill a Mockingbird vibe, but with very poor writing, terrible editing and sub par characters, plot and theme.

I’m fairly confident I will forget all about this book by this time next year.

 

thewomanThe Woman in Cabin 10

Since Tallgrass created a thirst it couldn’t quench for a good thriller/mystery, I was excited to read The Woman in Cabin 10 even though I don’t typically reach for these types of books.

At first I had a lot of trouble connecting with the main character because I questioned her authenticity. Although she is British, she makes many references to things that are quintessential to American pop culture. However, I now realize that so many things in American pop culture (like the Kardashians) have become the world’s pop culture. So don’t let that be a hangup for you! The author is a legit Brit.

So moving on…most of the story is told through the voice of the main character. However, the author does throw in emails, chat room conversations and articles to help further the plot. I really enjoyed that! It definitely added some uniqueness and creativity to the book.

The plot is your typical “who done it” but on a cruise ship. Although I was never completely shocked by anything, it wasn’t one of those “I knew it the whole time” kind of situations either. I would say there is probably an equal amount of suspense and predictability, but it was enough to keep me reaching for the book.

Overall, I would say The Woman in Cabin 10 was a pretty fun way to spend an afternoon!

 

thetwofamilyThe Two-Family House

If the book Everything I Never Told You (that you can find in my What I’m Reading: July-September 2016 post) and the book Crossing to Safety (that you can find in my What I’m Reading: January-March 2016 post) had a baby, it would be The Two-Family House.

The plot centers around a big secret and even though you pretty much know the big secret from the very beginning (although most of the character don’t), the surprise of the novel comes in seeing how that secret directly and indirectly impacts each character and the choices they make as a result.

Sometimes I look at other families and think “how did things end up like that?” This book shows you. It takes you through every stage of the life of two families and you get to see the consequences of each decision made by the characters. You see redemption for some characters while the lives of others characters take a very negative turn.

The Two-Family House was a good reminder that although you may not be able to change your life circumstances, you can definitely choose the way you deal with them. And ultimately, the way you choose to deal with your circumstances determines the person you become.

The Two-Family House was a quick and interesting read that would make for a fantastic Book Club book…unlike Tallgrass, which was horrible! 🙂

 

holidaysonHolidays on Ice

I’ve intended to read this book for the past few years and this Christmas season I finally decided it was time.

What a disappointment!

The first story (SantaLand Diaries) made me laugh out loud at a few points, but after that, I couldn’t wait to finish the book. I feel like David Sedaris had one good short story and then wrote a bunch of crappy ones so that he could have a whole book. I recommend you get this book from the library, read SantaLand Diaries, and then return it. None of the other stories are worth your time. They aren’t funny, feel forced and some don’t even have anything to do with Christmas.

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What I’m Reading: July-September 2016

10054335Rules of Civility

If the cover isn’t a dead giveaway, Rules of Civility is a Great Gatbsy-esk book set in the 1920’s. Every character is larger than life, so the whole book seemed a bit over the top to me. However, I really enjoyed reading it and would easily race through large sections in each sitting.

Despite all of their missteps and seemingly reckless lifestyles, I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters. There isn’t much to say about the plot itself because the whole book is pretty much an intimate look into the life of a young woman and her circle of friends as they find their place in the world.

I know it seems weird, but I really enjoyed the Epilogue. Although it seemed like an after thought, it gave closure to a book that otherwise ended fairly abruptly. I wish the final chapter circled back to the scene in chapter one, instead of slapping in a “where are they now” type Epilogue.

However, overall, this was a great book to read while cursing through the Mediterranean!

 

51xzpo1-gl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Stuff That Never Happened

I found this book on BookBub and was intrigued enough to purchase it. However, after reading it, I would not recommend it, even at a discount.

Reading The Stuff That Never Happened was like watching a marriage start on a bad path and continue further and further down. It’s pretty terrifying to see how quickly and easily a marriage can go from bad to worse, or even good to bad.

The author introduced a few characters to serve as voices of reason and guidance (friends, family members, a therapist, etc.) but sadly, there didn’t seem to be one ounce of good advice from any of them.

The ending was the most disturbing part of this book. The main characters apologize for their wrongdoing in the marriage and the author gives us an “all’s well that ends well” sort of ending. However, this new found marital foundation is based 100% on a lie. I know The Stuff That Never Happened is fiction, not a guide to marriage, but I couldn’t help but feel the author was using the characters and the story to promote a very selfish and unhealthy blueprint. In my opinion, the book ended with the couple adding one more lie to the fire, and yet the author’s tone is positive and upbeat.

If you feel like you just can’t die without reading this book, then PLEASE promise me you won’t apply any of it to your real life relationship!

 

the-coincidence-of-coconut-cake-9781501100710_hrThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake

This book got a lot of rave reviews, but honestly I’m not sure why. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake seemed more like a draft version of a story then a published book. Every aspect of it felt unfinished.

As far as the plot, it’s basically a You’ve Got Mail copycat but with a restaurant instead of a bookstore. There’s nothing unique, surprising, or interesting as far as plot goes.

The relationships in the book were pretty unrealistic, which made it nearly impossible to feel connected to the characters. The book starts with Lou and Delvin engaged, but there is never a believable connection between the two of them. The author is so concerned with making sure we know Delvin is the “bad guy” she forgets to actually convince us they are a couple. In the author’s portrayal of Lou and Al’s dating relationship (which is the majority of the book), you feel like you’re reading the same scene over and over again. The truth (that Al is the writer who ruined Lou’s restaurant) doesn’t come out until the very end of the book, and then is quickly resolved in the last two chapters. So basically you already know everything that will happen in chapters 1-25 just by reading the book summary on the back cover.

There are so many good books in the world, don’t waste your time on this one.

 

celeste_ng_-_everything_i_never_told_youEverything I Never Told You

Just because you loved The Lovely Bones doesn’t mean you will love Everything I Never Told You. Don’t let the summary fool you. The only thing these books have in common is the mysterious death of a girl. Everything I Never Told You is really the story of a family and the choices they make leading up to their daughter’s death.

Everything I Never Told You is a truly heartbreaking story. To me, the saddest part is that every tragic situation (and there are several) could have been avoided if the family members just talked about their fears, hopes, dreams and desires instead of keeping everything bottled inside.

Although there is a hopeful ending, most of the book is very sad. If you’re not a fan of sad stories, you should probably steer clear of this one.

However, if you can stand a sad story here and there, I would encourage you to give it a go. I am certain there are thousands of families out there just like the Lee’s. Their story challenged me to speak my feelings (no matter the perceived consequence) and encourage others to do the same.

 

41zc8idrpdl-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook

After several months of sad and not so great books, The Real Thing was a breath of fresh air. It had been too long since a book was fun!

At times The Real Thing reads a little like a news article, but that’s to be expected of a reporter. Although it’s not a Christian book, I completely agreed with almost every bit of advice offered. It’s a real common sense approach to dating, engagement and marriage. I was happy to see that so far, Sean and I have followed a lot of the advice without even realizing it.

More importantly than the advice, it’s just a fun read! The stories and the couples are really intriguing. After day 1, Sean got tired of hearing me say, “Let me read this section to you.” There were just so many stories I really enjoyed that I couldn’t help but want to share them! No matter what stage of life you are in (single, dating, married, divorced, widowed) I would recommend this book to you.

 

aviators-wife-pb-225-shadowThe Aviator’s Wife

In September I joined a book club. The Aviator’s Wife was supposed to be the book for October. However, two days before I finished it, they decided to push it to January. So much for trying to get ahead.

The Aviator’s Wife is a pretty slow read. However, because I knew basically nothing about the Lindbergh’s (except for Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight) there were times when I found myself wanting to read a little further or stay up a little longer to find out what would happen next.

Because we will never really know the truth about certain aspects of the Lindbergh’s story, there is no way of really knowing if the author’s portrayal was biased or dangerously close to the truth; but let me say, it sure as heck felt biased! At every turn Charles is portrayed as evil and calculated and Anne is portrayed as the innocent victim, tricked and manipulated into going along with Charles’ plans. Although many of Anne’s actions are FAR from innocent, the author is always quick to void her of any responsibility for her actions. Still there are many lessons to be learned about marriage and relationships from the author’s portrayal of the Lindbergh’s.

Writing about actual people in a half fact/half fiction context is a dangerous game, and I think the author’s literary choices pushed the envelope a little too much for my taste. But if you’re a real big history nut or just LOVE the Lindbergh’s, go ahead and give this book a shot.

What I’m Reading: April-June 2016

If you missed it, you can check out what I read at the beginning of 2016 here.

I didn’t read nearly as much in April, May and June as I did in January, February and March, but in April I did something I had never done before – I abandoned a book. I got about 1/2 way through B.J. Novak’s book One More Thing and I decided I couldn’t take one more page.

My previous theory was that you have to read the bad books to make you appreciate the good ones. All of my reader friends (who were much more avid readers than me) totally disagreed. Their opinion is that there are so many great books out there, there is no reason to waste your time reading a bad one. I decided to take a chance on their methodologies. It was hard…but I survived. Does it get easier to abandon books after you do it a few times? Please say yes!

So now on to what I actually FINISHED reading…

 

Station_Eleven_CoverStation Eleven

Last Christmas Sean wanted to buy me a new book as one of my gifts. One of my avid reader friends recommended Station Eleven but the bookstore was out so Sean went with Orphan Train instead. When Sean told me the premise of Station Eleven I was intrigued so I made a mental note to circle back to it.

I’m glad I did! I usually don’t connect with dark, post apocalyptic novels, but I liked this one. I’m sure it will be made into a movie. The author does such a great job of skipping through decades of time and through the stories of multiple characters, that I got over the setting and tone quickly. I loved watching the character’s stories come together.

The thing I didn’t love was the ending. The book just kind of stops. It’s quite possible the author was leaving the option open for a second book, but I hate when authors end the first book poorly for the sake of a sequel.

Despite the ending (or lack thereof), I would recommend Station Eleven. It’s unique and makes you really consider what the world would be like if a flu outbreak like the one in the book really did happen. I think our new reality wouldn’t be too far off from the one the author describes.

 

51sQMLOSuaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgEight Hundred Grapes

BookBub introduced me to Eight Hundred Grapes when the Kindle version went on sale for $1.99. I thought Eight Hundred Grapes was my first introduction to Chicklit, but an avid reader friend (who believes in abandoning bad books) told me it’s not Chicklit. Even though no one can seem to determine the book’s genre, I loved the book!

Other reviews seem mixed on whether the story and characters stay at surface level, or if there are deeper messages. I lean toward the second. Although the plot circles around the missteps of a young, engaged couple, the book is much more about family dynamics. Why is it no matter how old we are, when we’re with our family, we are 10 years old again? Like last fall when I completely lost my sh** and started screaming at my brother in the checkout line at Kohls. So to all the other people who reviewed this book and said the characters were too crazy to be realistic, I guess you are just a better person than me.

 

515p3OrN1KL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Nightingale

Friends, let me introduce you to The Nightingale, the first book that ever made me cry. There really should be a warning label on this one so you don’t end up like me – crying uncontrollably in the break room at work. The last chapter was so brutal I had to stop multiple times because my eyes were so teary that I couldn’t see the words on the page (or screen in my case). So that goes to show just how much the story and the characters sucked me in.

I was invested from page one. In fact, I read the first 100 pages in one sitting…which is also rare for me. I just can’t say enough about how engaging the story is.

The giant downfall of this book in my opinion is the literary style (or lack thereof). The words and phrases chosen by the author seemed like they were written for a child’s book. I realize this makes me sound like a literary snob. Trust me, I’m not, you’ve seen my reading list.

Still, even with that downfall, I would highly recommend the book because the plot is just so darn engaging. I can’t give it high enough praise. It kept me on my toes every step of the way.

 

511fHAqYd-L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Four Season in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World

It was one extreme to the next reading Four Seasons in Rome after The Nightingale. Like I said, the story of The Nightingale was AMAZING, but the writing style was dreadful. Four Seasons in Rome was the complete opposite – the writing style (like everything Anthony Doerr writes) blew me away, but the story was a complete snooze fest.

So to sum up, this book taught me that I’m incredibly shallow. I value a good story much more than a good writer. Sad day.

But back to Four Seasons in Rome. I (like pretty much everyone else) read Four Seasons in Rome because I fell in love with All the Light We Cannot See. Oh, and if you’ve been hanging out on here long, you know the Mr. and I are GOING TO ROME in a week! It seemed like this would be a slam dunk, pre-trip book to not only feed my excitement (read “obsession”) for the trip, but maybe reveal some of Rome’s hidden gems that we needed to add to our itinerary.

I think it’s important for you to know WHY I picked up the book because that may have a lot to do with why I didn’t really like it. I wanted to, but I didn’t. Basically I was just bored. Oh so bored! Maybe if I had kids and maybe if I had already been to Rome I would feel differently, but I don’t and I haven’t and I’m a shallow reader, so there you go.

What I’m Reading: January-March 2016

biglittleliesBig Little Lies

Liane Moriarty’s books kept appearing on Amazon’s recommendations along with blogs I follow. Although two of her older books: The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot seem to be her most popular, I decided to try out her most recent book instead.

The beginning of the book was a struggle. I couldn’t identify with the characters at all (a group of high class, high maintenance, overly obsessive, kindergarten mom’s). They pretty much embody every woman I try to avoid. However, once the plot really got rolling, I was sucked in.

The beginning of the story seemed to be pretty superficial, but I was surprised to find a thought provoking domestic violence theme that began to take shape about half way through. It brought a surprising depth to the novel that I really enjoyed and appreciated.

Overall, I was really impressed with Liane. I’ll definitely be reading more of her books.

 

51lWn+4eHCL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

I first heard about this book on the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and was instantly intrigued by the topic.

When I started my new job in October, I left my office on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (which was surrounded by plenty of natural beauty but not much else) for a downtown high-rise. I immediately noticed a lifestyle shift. Now when I arrive at work and park my car in the parking garage, there is really no reason to move it until I am ready to go home. I can easily walk to the post office, the library, the gym and a plethora of restaurants all during my lunch hour. I LOVE it! All that to say, because of my new found love for downtown, the subject matter of this book intrigued me.

Then my brother surprised me with a Kindle Paper White for Christmas.

Then the Kindle version of Walkable City went on sale.

So it seemed like destiny. Sadly, I misread the stars because this book was a total bomb. It was like reading a 250 page term paper. There just aren’t enough things to say about the topic to turn it into a full fledged book. The idea is intriguing, and if it had been a 50 page book I would have given it rave reviews. Unless traffic reports REALLY interest you, just read a few book summaries and you’ll pretty much get all the info you need.

 

stev_9780812994520_cvr_all_r2.inddJust Mercy

This book falls into the genre I call “secretly Christian.” It’s not overtly Christian, but if you’re well versed in Christianeese, you’re Christian-adar will be going off less than five pages in. I’m currently on an unofficial break from Christian books because…well, I’ve discovered there are SO MANY great books out there and most Christian books aren’t that great. So I was a little disheartened when I realized the book’s true genre, but I decided to stick with it anyway.

For the first 1/3 of the book I was happy with my decision to stick it out. Then Sean and I started watching Making a Murder. So for the second 1/3 of the book I was paranoid and deathly afraid of law enforcement.

For the final 1/3 of the book I was so frustrated with the ever changing plot that I flat out regretted my decision to read it.

The book circles around the true story of a high profile murder case in the state of Alabama. The lawyer (the author) is fighting against a racist and corrupt system to free his innocent client.

If the book was only about this one case (which would have cut the book in half) then I would have given it a higher rating. However, the author gets greedy and suddenly you are bombarded with poverty issues, juvenile criminal issues and the death penalty debate. It’s all just too much. You can’t take a book in 10 different directions…well, you can, but it won’t be good.

This is the kind of book with such a good message that you feel bad giving it a bad review, but because of how scattered this book was, I just can’t recommend it.

 

91zaAIAO7tLCrossing to Safety

I was first introduced to Crossing to Safety through the book The End of your Life Book Club. The characters reference it constantly. Then I ran across the title again in a few blog posts, so I decided to read it.

Crossing to Safety is about two ordinary couples and the ordinary circumstances that life brings – sometimes good, other times bad.

I, like most people, can’t put my finger on why this book is so intriguing. As far as plot, not a ton happens. The book is mostly character development, and like I said, the characters are just ordinary, everyday people like you and me. But the book is intimate in a way that not many books are. You truly see inside the character’s lives, friendships and marriages. I would recommend the book because it’s so unique, insightful and just about everyone can relate to these characters. However, it’s definitely more of a literary classic, so I wouldn’t recommend packing it to read on your next vacation.

 

22318578The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I just loved this book! It’s probably one of my new favorites because it’s not only inspiring, but practical. In fact, I ordered Marie Kondo’s second book, Spark Joy before I was finished with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I also didn’t wait to finish the book before I started tidying. You can read about our life-changing journey here.

A few things to note about this book…

Just because the book is in English doesn’t mean it was written for Americans by an American. The book is written by a Japanese tidying guru, so there are plenty of parts that are a little hokey and over spiritual, at least compared to the American, self help books we are used to reading. If you don’t go in with an open mind and a willingness to embrace the crazy, this book probably won’t work for you.

The best advice I have if you’re thinking about reading this book is to just read it! First of all, it’s a short read so if you hate it then you didn’t invest that much anyway. Second, don’t think you have to agree with everything in this book in order to benefit from it. When you’re done reading it, apply the things you liked and let go of the rest.

 

41ER04S8koL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ Why Not Me?

Truth be told, I listed to this book, I didn’t actually read it. Is that cheating? I think it is. Even if it is cheating, I would recommend listening to the audio over reading this one anyway. There are parts that are much funnier in the audio than I think they would be in the book.

I loved this book, but I pretty much love anything that involves Mindy Kaling. Similarly to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (which I also loved) this book is a collection of hilarious and honest stories from the mystical celebrity circle.

Listening to Mindy’s book is like listening to the hilarious ramblings of a good friend you haven’t seen in a while. It just makes you laugh and feel good! There are also some glimpses into what it’s like behind the scenes on The Office and The Mindy Project. If you’re looking for an easy summer read for a long flight or for sitting by the pool, this book is for you!

 

51hla7bypSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

Amazon recommended this book while I was looking at The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Thanks Amazon! I DID like it!

My first reaction when I picked up this book was, holy crap this is long! But, it ended up being an incredibly fast read.

How to Get Dressed paired really nicely with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up because it told me how to take great care of the few items I LOVED and decided to keep. Some of the tips I found most useful were the strategies for dealing with swampy, stinky shoes; stain removal on the go; and keeping cheap jewelry from causing infection or turning your skin green.

Also, both How to Get Dressed and Why Not Me? stress the importance of tailoring clothes. Because I read these books back to back, it was the 1-2 punch I needed to get me back to my tailor’s shop. Mindy and Alison are both right – for $9 you too can have jeans/pants that look like they were made for you! I picked up my tailored jeans two weekends ago.

I was also introduced to a few new products that are cheap and easy to find and will make my life 1 million times easier. These include: Topstick Tape, Moleskin, a belt hole punch, a steamer (to replace my iron), D-Fuzz-It, slim line velvet hangers, muslin hangers and heel caps.

A word of caution, if you’re looking for a book that will help you piece together a wardrobe or steps to creating a wardrobe, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for ways to take the items you have and make them look their best, this book is the ticket.

 

15818107Orphan Train

Oh my gosh! This book made me want to start the adoption process ASAP! We aren’t, but it made me want to.

Sean gave me this book for Christmas. It wasn’t something I would ordinarily pick out for myself but I’m really glad I read it.

The plot of this story is very sad, but it’s even more devastating to know that similar stories are part of America’s not so distant history. I was completely unaware of this part of our country’s past.

Usually I pull away emotionally when the plot of a book is super sad. This is mainly because it doesn’t feel possible – how could THAT many bad things happen to one person? This book was different though. With every turn of events it made me only more invested in the characters. Although I wouldn’t characterize the ending as “happy,” you do put the book down feeling settled, like things ended in a good place.

I would recommend this book because it’s enjoyable and enlightening. In my mind, there isn’t a better combination when it comes to books! The story is gripping which I think is largely attributed to the author’s effort to create a story and characters that are authentic and real.

Fab Five Turned Elite Eight

At points in my life I have been a reader. Actually, I consider myself to be fairly well read because I took a lot of college classes that required a lot of page turning from a variety of authors.

However, over the last four years or so my reading has steadily slowed to a complete halt. By December 22, 2014 I exclusively read non fiction books because after all, if a fiction book was any good it would eventually be made into a movie and then I could see the entire book in approximately two hours as opposed to the dedication required to barrel through a 550 page novel.

For those of you who read my original 30 by 30 List you know I wanted to change the status quo, at least a little bit. So instead of setting the very vague, “read more” goal, I was more specific. I wanted to read five book between December 22, 2015 and December 22, 2015.

If you read my 30 by 30 review, you know that I didn’t just read five books, I read EIGHT! I realize that for many “readers” out there this is nothing. But for me, this was HUGE and required a major life change.

Here’s what I was reading from Dec. 22, 2014 until Dec. 22, 2015.

kissesfromkatie

Kisses From Katie

I think that I would recommend this book, especially to a younger girl. I was impressed with Katie’s writing and wanted to start following her blog, but it doesn’t seem like she really maintains it anymore. It’s also important to note that not everyone can be Katie Davis. This is a book about Katie’s mission and calling, it’s not a model for missions. In fact, in most cases, I think her methods would fail horribly if attempted by other college age girls across the U.S.

 

 

Boundaries in Marriageboundaries

This book came highly recommended by a friend. It’s one of the very few marriage books that I read. It’s really practical, but it did seem to drag a bit. I really like the author’s take on the dreaded submission topic. Also, I bought a used copy and the seller had written all kinds of complaints about her husband in the margins. It was like reading a train wreck. I really hope they managed to work it out!

 

duplicityDuplicity

Full disclosure, I would never pick up a book like this, but my friend Natalie is the author. Natalie and I used to work together until she got a book deal and happily left me to follow her dream (and work from home in yoga pants). This book completely blew me away! Not only did I really enjoy the plot and characters, but I can’t believe I have a friend this talented and amazing. Do yourself a favor and read this book.

 

 

 

Bossypants

bossypantsI came across this book because it was recommended by Sheryl Sandberg, and I LOVE Sheryl Sandberg! If Sheryl Sandberg told me to jump off a cliff, I would probably do it. I asked my friend Amy if she had read Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and although it was on her list of books to read, she hadn’t started it yet. Amy suggested we do a two person book club, which was awesome. However, the book….was not awesome. I just couldn’t relate to Tina at all. Her parenting was nowhere close to where I would want to be and I wasn’t super impressed with her work/life “balance” either. Additionally, there was just too much SNL name dropping. If you’re looking for a good “this is my fight song” book, read or re-read Sheryl’s book instead.

 

memorykeepersThe Memory Keeper’s Daughter

I read this book because it was on my bookshelf and because I was number 198 in line at the library for the book I really wanted to read (All the Light we Cannot See). I bought The Memory Keeper’s Daughter at Goodwill a few years ago but I always chose watching reality TV over reading it. According to the cover it was a New York Times Bestseller, so I figured it would be totally worth the $1 investment. WRONG! This book was awful! I would never recommend it. It actually reminded me why I never read fiction. The detail just went on and on and on. The whole story could have been done in 100 pages. Plus, the plot just got more and more devastatingly sad for pretty much every character. You finish the book wanting to jump off a cliff….even if Sheryl didn’t tell you to. I gave this book away to a friend who wanted to read it and told her that when she was done she could keep it or throw it away…I just never wanted to see it again.

MMThis Momentary Marriage

This is the only marriage book that I would highly recommend to anyone getting married. It really gives a vision for what your marriage should be. Although it does address some of the big marriage topics, it doesn’t get into the weeds. This is a short book with a huge impact!

 

 

 

 

allthelightAll the Light We Cannot See

Mark my words…this book will be a movie. It gave me a new passion for fiction and single handedly gave me a love for books that wasn’t there before. Why did I waste so much time reading horrible books when things like this are out there?

 

 

 

 

2-book-schwalbe-art-gv1jft6g-1end-of-life-book

The End of Your Life Book Club

Yes, that is the real cover. This book is super fantastic though. I think that Amazon recommended it to me based off some other books I was looking at. Good job Amazon! I DID like it! It’s a true story about a guy and his relationship with his mom through her two year battle with cancer. You know from the very beginning that the mom dies at the end, so I was committed to not getting attached to her. But within two chapters I was attached…darn it! She is just so darn likable. I started this book just a few weeks after my friend’s mom died of cancer so it was a perfectly timed book for me that was actually pretty practical. I would recommend it to anyone.