Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Reads

This was an awesome month in the book department!  I was able to read a bit more than usual this month because I listened to one of them on audio book and the awful stomach virus that hit our household last week allowed for lots of time in bed reading. Without further we go! PS) At the end of this post, I'll put all the books I've read so far in 2019.....with stars by my faves!

As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney:
Ya'll know I love a good domestic thriller, but this one fell flat for me. It's basically like the script of a Lifetime movie, so if you want something sort of eyeroll-ishly (made up that word) predictable, this might be your jam. It's about a woman who ends up dead and how the case unravels and provides insights into the main couple's relationship. Honestly, a week or so after I finished this book, I was telling a friend about it and I had a hard time remembering what it was even about. This one has pretty good reviews, so maybe I just wasn't in the mood? If you want domestic suspense, pick up a Liane Moriarty book. She's the master of the genre.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth: This is the audiobook that I got behind on all my podcasts for! And it was well worth it! This is a great novel about a well to do neighborhood in Australia and the secrets each woman is keeping to protect her household. I honestly didn't see the end coming at all. This one dives into: friendship, Keeping up with the Joneses, eating disorders, husband and wife relationships, adoption, loss, affairs family, fitting in, and most of all, motherhood. This is reminiscent of Desperate Housewives and I really enjoyed it.

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey: I picked this one up because lots of contemporary Christian non-fiction authors I enjoy (Sophie Hudson, Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, Melanie Shankle) recommended it. This is the true story of the author's journey to becoming "her best self." This was a fast, entertaining read, but let me say this, it felt so very anti-feminist, that I really struggled in parts. Jamie is SO SO SO hard on herself and much of the book had me wanting to hug her and tell her she's not a horrible person. I sincerely hope young Christian women today do not absolutely beat themselves up (or in Jamie's case, write themselves in a tizzy) over their "sinful worldliness." It made me sad that not only did she feel so rotten about herself, but that she finds it necessary to "confess" in this manner.  This might be the book for you if you are a Duggar daughter perhaps??

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman: This sweeping novel was really great. It takes place in 1950's Canada where there are tensions between the French and English (I honestly never knew this was a thing until this book). It follows the story of a young girl who gets pregnant unexpectedly, is forced to give her daughter up, and their decades long journey to find each other again. This was a wonderful novel that would be perfect for a book club. Sidenote: This book also features a whole segment about how Canadian orphanages were shut down and all the children sent to mental hospitals. This is a real thing in their history and I had no idea....hard to read at some parts, but very moving and eye-opening.

Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden: This book randomly showed up as an ad on my Facebook page (must be all the teacher pages I follow!) and a novel about modern day education? Right up my alley! Ok, the good: The author taught for 11 years (I have a hard time listening to people wax poetic about education who have spent less than 10 years in front of a classroom) and so she knows her stuff. This book was so accurate! I really liked all the characters and enjoyed how the story followed individual characters and also how the stories were woven together too. There is something so special and unique about teacher friendships so I enjoyed that component. It has a really sweet ending that concludes on a positive note (despite being brutally honest about the realities of being a teacher today). The not so good: It hit too close to home! All of the abbreviations, new initiatives, teacher tropes, student Roxanna Elden spying on me?! Really, though, I enjoy reading as an escape of sorts and at times this one felt like work simply due to the content.

Regrets Only by Erin Duffy: This was one of those books that I just happened on at the library and I am so glad I found it. This novel is deliciously sweet chick lit at its finest. It follows the story of a new mom in the midst of a divorce. She's stuck in her ex-husband's hometown and makes over her life with the help of girlfriends, rediscovering forgotten passions, opening a stationary store, and experiencing a few meltdowns as well (think cutting her ex's hair in a restaurant!). This one is funny and heartfelt and one of the best chick lit novels I've read in a while. Perfect for a spring break getaway!

2019 Books! (I put * by my most fave ones!)
1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
2. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
3. The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank
4. *Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
5. Happy Teachers Change The World by Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
6. The Day I Went Missing by Jennifer Miller
7. *Glow Kids by Kardaras Nicholas
8. Final Girls by Riley Sager
9. *Becoming by Michelle Obama
10. As Long As We Both Shall Live by Joann Chaney
11. *The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
12. If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
13. *The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
14. Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanne Elden
15. *Regrets Only by Erin Duffy

Happy reading, friends!
Savor Your Sparkle,

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