September Book Review

It’s my September book review!
Guys…I love this :).  I love it for so many reasons.  First, I love reading, and so I really love sharing the books I’ve recently read with you.  And second, I’ve been reading books you ladies recommended because y’all give the BEST suggestions!   I’m glad that I’m in this reading thing with you :).
Okay…I read five books in September.  One was a chic lit book, one was about adoption, one was about being French chic and two were quite heavy (and yet really magnificent).  Between the five, I just know you’ll find one or two you need to read next month.  Here we go…
I started off the month reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.  Wow.  This novel is about two sisters living in France during WWII and it’s intense, in-depth, serious, heart-wrenching, and lovely all in one book.  As always, I don’t want to give anything away…but let me say, if you enjoy books that are of a more serious nature (not so much the chic lit), then this is for you.  If you like historical books, then this is for you.  Because it’s set right in the middle of WWII, this book is of course, tragic but hopeful at the same time.  This one will stick with you after you read it.  I actually cried at one point…and it takes a lot to get me to cry while reading a book ;).

I read Bringing Lucy Home by Jennifer Phillips next and honestly, had no idea what it was about.  I knew it was a true story about adoption…but I did not know that it was about this mom’s struggle to bring her newly adopted daughter back to Australia right after their adoption (they lived in Australia but were American citizens).  I loved this book.  In fact…I cried at the end of this book too.  What in the world is happening to me?!?!  I’m growing soft!  I cried because this is such a beautiful story about adoption and it so clearly explains how much we love these kids.  Goodness!  I don’t know Jennifer Phillips, but I would love to hug her neck.  She fought hard for her daughter and it blesses to me to read about how much she loved this little girl from China.  Just so sweet.
Amazon recommended this book to me based on other books that I’ve purchased.  It’s called How to be Chic & Elegant: Tips from a French Woman and it was cute!  The problem is that I read way too much of this type of book, so I have a lot to compare it to.  It was cute and had some fun tips, easy to read, and not very long.  It wasn’t my favorite French book…but I’m glad I read it.

I was reading a magazine back in August (maybe In Style or Good Housekeeping…I don’t remember???) and they suggested several chic lit books to read and one of them was All the Difference.  This was my first Leah Ferguson book to read and I loved it!  This is a sliding doors type of book…the main character has a major decision to make and each chapter goes back and forth as if she made one or the other.   This was an easy read, and I really liked it!

And I ended my month with Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See.  Gripping is the only word I can think to describe this book.  Again, this one is also set during WWII and it’s equally as tragic and heartwarming as my first book this month.  Because the main character is blind, the descriptions and imagery are really outstanding.  This book is heavy and sweet all in one.  If you like more substance in your novels, then you’ll like this.  It was very interesting to read both this book and The Nightingale in the same month.  They’re both fiction but paint pictures of what was most likely a reality during that time in history.  This is the kind of book that you’ll think about long after you finish the last page.


Don’t forget, you can find all of the books I’ve read so far in 2015 here and keep up with me on Goodreads here.


So, that’s September!  What should I read next?  I have a stack next to my bed, but I’m always up for interrupting my stack with one of your suggestions :).

Wednesday is What’s Up Wednesday!  If you’re blogging and linking up, here are your questions…

And our bonus question for September’s What’s Up Wednesday is…What’s your favorite Halloween tradition?  Add that one to the questions above and your post is good to go!

And don’t forget about dinner this week…

Meal Planning Monday is up on my foodie blog and ready to simplify your week.  Click here to see my week in meals.

Happy reading friends!

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  • Lauren Darrell September 28, 2015 at 9:45 am

    I read the Nightingale and All the Light You Cannot See in the same month too!! I liked the Nightingale more. I was disappointed in the ending of ATLYCS– so much build up for THAT ending?!

    Love your book reviews every month 🙂

    • Anna September 28, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I totally agree! I thought it was so beautifully written but I couldn't get over how it just ends like that.

    • Kristina Briggeman September 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      I'll third that! I had to flip back a lot and check the years too, I found it hard to keep track of, I think because they weren't large jumps in time.

  • Sally Hepworth September 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

    What a great stack of books! I'm currently reading After You by Jojo Moyes

  • Erika Slaughter September 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I wanna borrow All The Difference!!! But right now I have a huge stack of books to read. I'm talking HUGE!

  • Not A Mom September 28, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I've really wanted to make reading a hobby because I do love it but I find it hard to start! I have a nook but I'm wondering if just buying the books would be easier for me, what's worked for you? I have a suggestion but it's more for your girls, I started reading The Christy Miller Series when I was around 12 {so you have a few years} and it completely changed my life and grew my faith as a young girl all the way into my twenties {Christy grows with them} so just a thought whenever they hit those double digits!
    Linds @ Not A Mom

    • Stacie Young September 28, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      I read the Christy Miller books too at at about that age and loved them! My oldest daughter will be 12 next year and I can't wait for her to read them as well.

    • Lee and Anna Hogan September 28, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      I LOvED the Christy Miller series! I bet my parents still have those books in their basement somewhere. I'll have to find them and set them aside for my girls in a few years 🙂

  • AbigailCarter September 28, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Love! I picked up some good book ideas at DotMom this weekend that look incredible- Home Is Where Your People Are (I think you have recommended this one before), Brave Mom, Our Imperfect & Normal Family, and Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys! I read Elin Hilderbrand's Winter Street this month and it is a Christmas story in Nantucket! I love her. She has a new Christmas one coming out Oct 13th called Winter Stroll that I will have to grab! Happy Monday, pretty mama!

    • Sara September 29, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      I second this – you need to read Winter Street first and then pick up Winter Stroll in October! Sooooo good!

  • Jami September 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi Shay!
    Have you ever read any Jane Green books??? She writes light hearted romantic comedies, but they are so good! My first was Jemima J, but now I've read them all. She just released a new one this summer, Summer Secrets. Loved it! She's British 🙂
    Just thought I'd pass it along!
    Happy Monday 😉
    Jami

    • Laura September 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      I agree – Jane Green is my favorite Brit chick lit author!!!

  • Jenna Miller September 28, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Have you ever read Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis? So so good! I read The Nightingale this month also and could not get it out of my mind. I had several sleepless nights simply reminiscing about this well written story.

  • Rachel Embery September 28, 2015 at 10:57 am

    I am not sure if you ever read children's novels but I'm going to suggest my two absolute favorites….Wonder and Out of My Mind. Both are phenomenal books that at some point Kensington and Smith should read these too!

    • Ryan Warner September 28, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Yes—everyone should read Wonder!!!

    • Christine Bush September 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      I agree!! Wonder is a great book that everyone needs to read!!

    • Eileen October 4, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Wonder is amazing!

  • Laurie Willmann September 28, 2015 at 11:06 am

    I have read Both Nightengale and All the Light You Can Not See! Loved them both! Also not a crier and Nightengale made me cry. Another recommendation is The Light Between Oceans-great book too.

  • Jennifer Phillips September 28, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for reviewing Bringing Lucy Home Shay! If we ever meet, I'll give you a big ol' hug too. 🙂

    • Unknown September 28, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Small world, Miss Jennifer. My name is Lori and when I was in Brisbane, working as an au pair, I actually visited your home once with Jessie and Allison Marsh for a small group! I couldn't attend again, because I lived all the way in carina, but I do remember your beautiful family! As I set out to Australia, I prayed that God would provide at least one Christian friend! I met Jessie and Allison on my flight from LA to Fiji and was seated next to them AGAIN on our flight from Fiji to Brisbane! Awesome how God answered that prayer and I was able to get to know Jessie and Allison while in Brisbane! Love those two! I followed your story when Allison posted links to your blog! I can't wait to read Bringing Lucy Home! I actually live in Dallas now, but can't wait to get back to Australia! I miss it dearly!

      Lori

    • Jennifer Phillips September 29, 2015 at 6:41 am

      I remember you Lori! What a small world! We'd love to have you back in Brisbane. 🙂 We miss Jessi and Allison – they are such a terrific couple. Let us know if you're ever back this way!

  • Denise Panetta September 28, 2015 at 11:24 am

    A close friend of mine wrote a book that I read over the summer. It was a great story and I'm hoping she writes a sequel. You can purchase it through Amazon. From the books you have read I think you would enjoy this one. It's called … Spinning In Slow Motion … by S. Jean Marie. It was a quick read I read it in one weekend up at our lake house … because I couldn't put it down!!

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} September 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Once again, I got nothin.

  • Lisa September 28, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I have recommended Girl Underwater by Claire Kells to several and they have loved it too. It is the author's first book and is about surviving a plane crash in the Rockies. Right now I'm reading Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. It is a light, Christian book read.

  • Ryan Warner September 28, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I have heard RAVE reviews about All the Light We Cannot See, and I love love love WWII books…but this one just felt so long and drawn out to me. I didn't hate it…it just wasn't my favorite. The Nightingale is on my list next and I'm wondering how it will compare to All the Light…I'm hoping I will like it more!

    Were you always this into reading with small kiddos? I'm having my first baby in December and some blogs I've read say they were so glad to have some books to read on maternity leave and others said it was so naive and laughable to think they'd have time to read. I'm not sure who is right, but since I love buying and reading books so much, I'm trying to make a list of a few good reads (possibly) for maternity leave! Any suggestions?!

    • Kelli September 28, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      I just read your comment and had to say I had 3 kids in less than 3 years, my oldest now being 4 and the youngest 15 months. I started reading at age 4 and never stopped until I had kids and unfortunately I haven't been into reading since having kids. My joke is that my attention span is long as that of my youngest child at the time! So really it's not a lack of time because you can find time here and there it's just I can't pay attention long enough! My brain is scrambled trying to keep up with everyone but if I could make myself sit long enough it would probably be a good stress reliever! So hopefully you can keep reading after having your child!

  • Love on the Lake September 28, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    You should write a book! Blogger turned famous through being the adorable sister on The Bachelor AND because the content was and is always good, Texas life, cooking, adoption, faith. Mix & Match Memoir! (Can you tell I want to be a book editor/publicist in another life?! 🙂
    Love on the Lake

  • Courtney September 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    The Nightingale brought me to tears too! What a beautiful story. I also loved All the Light we Cannot See, such a page turner!

  • Jenny September 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Signs of a really good book are when you catch yourself laughing out loud, or crying. I love when the author can just pull you right into the book. Nicholas Sparks is one of the best at that. 🙂

  • Tara Winberry Litt September 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I read The Nightengale and just started All the Light We Cannot See yesterday. Glad to see it on your list of recommendations.

  • Kjlb37 September 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I read both the WWII books back to back this summer and WHOA, it was a lot. A little on the heavy side for me. Both beautifully written and I'm glad I read them but really just needed something light after all that. Can you share your favorite "french" book with us? I'm reading both the Madame Chic books by Jennifer L. Scott right now and enjoying them. I'd love to read more about the french lifestyle. Thanks, Shay!

  • Mallory September 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers!!! Several of my friends and I all agree this is the best book we've ever read. I'm not even really a reader, but I picked it up on the recommendation of a YouTuber/author I love and it's hands down my favorite. I'd be reading it again if I weren't in grad school with a massive amount of totally boring reading to do.

  • Kelli September 28, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Loved The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See. Have you read Eleanor and Park or Attachments by Rainbow Rowell? They are fast, light, but good reads! Just finished The Martian, now I can't wait to see the movie! The Art of Racing in the Rain is also so good, especially for the dog owners out there. If you like WWII era books, The Boys in The Boat is a nonfiction book about the Olympic US rowing team. Really, really good! The Ken Follett Century Trilogy is also very, very good!

  • Three Gals and a Guy September 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Shay- I also just finished The Nightingale. It was a book that I could not put down until I finished it! I also have All the Light We Cannot See on my to read list and now that I see your review, I'll definitely have to read it now!

    Thanks again for sharing, love seeing what you are reading!

  • Rebecca September 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Jennifer Phillips is a friend of mine from college! She is an excellent writer and a genuinely lovely person. So glad you enjoyed her book and thanks for recommending it!

  • Jordyn Comitor September 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    First off, I wanted to take a quick moment to say how much I LOVE reading your blog! I would imagine you don't get very many college students as devoted followers (maybe though, I don't know?), but I seriously look forward to reading your posts every morning and seeing whats going on in the Shull world (in the most non-creepy way as possible). As a blogger myself, I love pulling inspiration from other bloggers to use in my own little blogging world and adopting your monthly goals lists has been one of my new favorite things to do!

    As for the books, I'm such a book worm as well and have a list about a mile long of all the titles I still need to read. I am currently about half-way through the book A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and I think you would really love it. It's about a family that portrays a pretty picture on the outside, but has a lot of secrets that begin to unravel as they grow older and experience big life changes. Happy Monday :))

  • kimm atwood September 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Can't wait to read all the light we can't see

  • Haley Southey September 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I'm currently reading Made to Crave, For the Love, and The Life Changing Magic of Cleaning Up. I'll have to add these to my list next!!

  • Charity September 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    You need to read Sandra Byrd's Trilogy, It's about a french obsessed american girl, who winds up in Paris. I've read the first two books and they are SO GOOD!!

  • Unknown September 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I always love your book suggestions. The nightingale is next on my list. I'm currently reading liane moriarty the husbands secret per your suggestion. I'm curious when you find time to read all these books. I love to read but with 2 little ones at home some days I find it hard.

  • Whitney Woolley September 28, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I just finished reading The Royal We per your suggestion and I loved it!!! I also love The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery and Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler.

  • Lee and Anna Hogan September 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I enjoy reading, but I'm not really great about just picking a book up to see if I like it–it has to come highly recommended. Your book reviews have been super helpful! Thank you!

  • Shelley September 28, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Another great WWII book is The Invisible Bridge. Very Very good…if you've enjoyed the other ones you've read you would love that one too.

    Jennifer Phillips was a sorority sister of mine. I actually missed her by a few years but I knew of her when I was in college. Very cool story.

  • kelsey @ so much life to live September 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I'm reading All The Light We Cannot See right now, but too! It's beautifully written. The words almost sound like music!

  • HungryCatCreator September 28, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I'm so glad you read "All the Difference". I own it since I saw Emily Giffin was giving it away and I read about it and knew I had to have it!

    My recommendation is and will remain to be The Rosie Project 🙂

  • Karen S. September 28, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Nothing here……..except the next Madame Chic book ~ Polish your Poise is out at the end of October. We have a puppy and pottytraining is taking up loads of time. I am sure I can fit this one in though…….. 😉 PS I agree with Love on the Lake ~ you should write a book!!!!!

  • Alicia Saysinh September 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I just finished reading Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod and loved it! If you haven't read it, you should. It's a really sweet book about Janice, who quits her job and moves to Paris 🙂

  • MrsBees September 28, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I'm currently reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. I think you'd love it. All of his books are exceptional.

  • Carrie September 28, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I just moved The Nightingale up to read next! Thanks for this post each month, I LOVE it!!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld September 28, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    All of these sound great! My last couple of reads have been pretty heavy, so I may check out All the Difference next!! Love these posts!

  • josiem September 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Since you love Paris, you'll love this one: "A Paris Apartment" http://www.amazon.com/A-Paris-Apartment-Novel/dp/1250067774

  • Paula September 28, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I am reading Lisa Scottoline's Look Again. Pretty good so far.

  • Nina Fullerton September 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Right now I'm reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I'm loving it! I think you would too! It details this brilliant (and very organized, like you) author's journey to enrich all aspects of her life with true happiness. She touches on everything from raising kids, marriage, and her professional career, to planning parties, expressing gratitude (like Trista Sutter!), and living in the moment. If you haven't read it already, it's a must!

  • Taylor and Robin September 28, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    YES!!! I emphatically second Code Name Verity – such a great book!!!!

  • Katherine Madsen September 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    I would love to hear if you or anyone else have any recommendations for books about disciplining children!

  • laura September 28, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I'd love to recommend The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver!

  • Christi Smith September 28, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    As an adoptive mom, I will add Bringing Home Lucy to my must reads list.

    Speaking of, I suggest reading American Wife by Taya Kyle. She is the widow of Chris Kyle that American Sniper the book and movie were based off of. It's a true love story and she shows how trusting your faith will guide you through the hardest times.

  • DetroitDuchess September 28, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    I just set up my next book club event and we are going to read The Widow Cliquot about the woman who built the champagne empire. It was recently recommended to me and I figured you would like it since it is tied to French history. Plus I can host a book club with bubbly!

  • Jeanie September 28, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    I just finished All The Light… a couple hours ago. I found it rather boring, truthfully. The last quarter of the book was the best, but I was still underwhelmed. I'm awaiting Orphan #8 in the mail and am looking forward to reading that one.

  • Victoria September 29, 2015 at 12:22 am

    If you like mysteries…I read Still Missing by Chevy Stevens a few months ago and loved it! One of those books you could not put down.

  • Unknown September 28, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Have you ever read the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers? Excellent books!!! They are fictional but there is obviously a lot of historical accuracy in them as well. I love reading and go in spurts of reading constantly and then getting out of the habit. My husband and I will be traveling to Texas in 2 weeks with no kids! I need to look back at all your suggestions and pick a few great books to read on our trip, thanks for all the fantastic reviews!

  • Chelsea September 29, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I just read the new Jennifer Weiner book, Who Do You Love and really enjoyed it!!

  • Katie at Better Off Benedict September 29, 2015 at 4:03 am

    We would love if you would link this post up on our linkup for Bookworm Wednesday next week 🙂

  • Kathy - The Inspired Place September 29, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Just finished The Boys in the Boat – excellent book! It's a true story about the Olympics rowing team back in the 1930's.

    • Lauren Darrell October 2, 2015 at 10:07 am

      The Boys in the Boat was wonderful! I read it this spring and could not put it down!

  • Amber Raveling September 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

    a writer.

  • Amber Raveling September 29, 2015 at 4:28 am

    The 20th Christmas by Andrea Rodgers. Stay at home aspiring novelist. Her son is friends with mine here in little old Iowa.

  • Amanda September 29, 2015 at 11:14 am

    The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Meyes was a fantastic read! I couldn't put it down.

  • Shar September 29, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    One Plus One by Jojo Moyes is wonderful. Currently reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. It's great, can't put it down. I will put Nightingale and All the Light on my list!

  • Beautifully Seaside // Formerly Chic Coastal Living September 29, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Great reads! I really need to carve more time out to read. I started reading Tim Tebow's book and so far it's pretty good.

  • Kristin Stewart October 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I stayed up past midnight last night to finish All The Light We Cannot See. It took me a while to get in to but I loved it! Well-written.

  • Chelsea October 4, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I look forward to these book posts all month. I'm in the middle of Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews right now and loving it so far.

  • She's Next October 14, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Great books! You’ll also love About Grace: A Novel by Anthony Doerr, it’s the kind of book that focuses a lot on emotions, a great read!