October 2018 Book Review

Ready, set, HERE WE GO.

This month, I took 8 flights and spent countless hours sitting inside airports, so I READ ALL THE BOOKS.

Like literally.

I read them all. 😉

Okay, I read seven books, but am only sharing six of them with you today.  In November, I am reading nothing but Christmas books again this year (I did it last year too!), so that I can review it at the end of the month and you can read holiday books all December long.  The last book I read in October was a Christmas book…because at that point on my flight, I thought “heck, I should just start one now while I have the chance!”.

So, SIX BOOKS FOR YOU TODAY!!

And they’re good.

Like REALLY GOOD.

Grab your coffee and settle in…IT’S BOOK REVIEW DAY!!!

October Book Review

Here we go!  Starting with…

All Your Perfects.

Okay, friends, this book was realllllllllly good.  Please hear me when I say though THIS BOOK IS VERY MUCH RATED R.

Did you get that?

VERY RATED R.

I just don’t want someone mad at me that they bought it and didn’t know.

You all know that I love Colleen Hoover.  Her book It Ends With Us was my second favorite book in 2016.  IT’S SUCH A GOOD READ!!!  Hoover tackles very tough topics in her fictional stories.  Topics that are are painful yet so relevant today.  In All Your Perfects, she tackles infertility and its affect on marriage.  I couldn’t put this one down.  Even though the story isn’t real, I thought it was a very genuine and honest look at how fertility issues can profoundly hurt a marriage.  When this book was over, I kept thinking to myself, “am I going to recommend it to women currently struggling with infertility” and the answer is…probably.  I think all of you will like it (AS LONG AS YOU KNOW IT’S RATED R), but I think if you’re walking the road right now of infertility, you will really relate to it.  In my opinion, Hoover nailed this one.  You’ll breeze right through it.  I had to know how it would end…and I bet you will too.

Next up, I had several of you ladies recommend, Cage of Stars to me.  Whoa.  This was a weird read for me.

I would love a little feedback from those of you who have already read it.  I think I’m about to screw this review up because my thoughts are all over the place.

This is a fictional story about a girl who witnesses the very brutal murder of her two little sisters.  Gosh, I’m not going to lie, I had a hard time with it.  I’m not a huge fan of kids dying in books…but this one was particularly graphic.  Even though I knew the book wasn’t real, I was disturbed by their deaths.  Also, I know this is going to sound weird, but the way it’s written seemed so real that not once BUT TWICE I went back to double check that it wasn’t a memoir.  The second time I checked, I kept telling myself I was being ridiculous because I’d already checked once, but that’s how well it’s written.  This author really had my mind believing the events that took place were real (the way she wrote it…it sounded so much like a memoir!).

Other thoughts about this book…I thought it started off really slow, picked up in the middle, and then the ending was very abrupt and unrealistic.  I questioned the point of this book many times.  I couldn’t ever quite place my finger on what it was.  In my mind, it almost felt like two different books crammed into one.  Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.  That’s okay though…because I loved these next books…

Ahhhh!  After I read How To Walk Away last month, I told you I was now in love with author Katherine Center and so many of you told me to read The Bright Side of Disaster.

Thank youuuuuuuuu!  This novel was so cute!!  Now, I don’t think I loved it quite as much as I did How To Walk Away, but I was really entertained!  This fictional tale is about a woman whose fiance walks out the day before she has a baby.  After that, she has to figure out her own life and how she’s going to move forward.  I loved the relationship between her and her parents (who are divorced, so each one is uniquely different), I loved her neighbor, her best friend…it was all so cute!  My only complaint is that it ended too abruptly for me.  I almost always need an epilogue in a book and this one totally needed one.  Other than that though, I have zero complaints!  It was charming.  I like charming…especially after reading about the murders of two small children…

This book right here,  The Dinner Listwas the most INTERESTING book I’ve read so far this year.

I feel like everyone is reading this book right now (it’s all over social media), so I hopped on the bandwagon and was not disappointed.  What I loved most about this book is how it didn’t explain itself.  It has a strange premise and they didn’t justify if one bit…it just was what it was…and I loved it.  When this novel opens, the main character finds herself at a dinner party in a restaurant with everyone on her “dinner list”.  You know that old game of “if you could have dinner with 5 people dead or alive, who would you pick?”.  Well, this book opens and she’s having dinner with those people.  I thought this book was crazy original and unique.

I have always had a “dinner list” in my head, but now that I’ve read this book, I’ve totally reworked it.  I never thought before about “what if these people do not get along, what if they’re bored together, what if it’s a dull evening because we’re not a good match up as a group?”.  Also, I never thought about this…on my “dinner list”, I would obviously want my sweet grandfather who passed away…but before this book, it never occurred to me that I would also need my grandmother (who is alive and well!) on my list too because how much would he want to see her if he was at this dinner party (and vice versa), right?  Doesn’t that give you chills?  I can’t “bring him back” to this dinner party and not have his bride there too.

So.  Good.

I just really reflected a lot as I read this book and was engrossed in the main character and her guests.  One chapter of the book is them at the dinner party and then the next is her thinking back to how she got there and why she picked each person and then it goes back to the dinner party and then back to her reflecting.  I really found this one brilliant, friends.  Read it!

In August of 2017, I read The Best Man (and loved it!), but had no idea that it was book one in a trilogy.  I read the second book this month called The Perfect Match.

Kristan Higgins books are some of my favorite…because they read like a Hallmark movie.  They’re sweet, a little predictable, easy to read and HAPPY!  You probably should read the whole series, but you don’t have to…this can be a stand alone book in my opinion.  This novel is about a woman who runs her family’s winery and is very worried she will never find love…and then she meets a British man whose US Visa is about to expire, but he wants to stay because he has a relationship with his former fiance’s teenage son.  So…they decide to get married because she feels like an old maid and he needs a green card.  Ahhh!  The makings of the perfect predicable love story 🙂 .  I ate it up.

Easy.  If you’re looking for an easy book to read that makes you smile, pick this one up.

Okay, the last book I’m reviewing this month is Elin Hilderbrand’s new one, Winter in Paradise.

I just had to check myself before I started writing this review because I know I am particularity hard on Hilderbrand…because she is MY VERY FAVORITE AUTHOR, so I have high standards for each of her books.  I love her. I love her so much…but this book was just okay.  It was just released this month, but it’s the first book in a trilogy (the other two books being released in 2019 and 2020) just like her Winter Street Series (that wrapped up last year).  I will read the other two, but if it wasn’t Hilderbrand, I wouldn’t.  Gosh, that sounds so harsh!  Am I the only one????

Here are my feelings: I miss that this book wasn’t set in Nantucket (it’s her very first book not to be set there, it’s set in St. John instead).  I personally don’t think she did a great job describing how wonderful St. John is compared to how she makes Nantucket sound.  I’ve been to St. John and it’s beautiful (there is a whole chapter in this book about how it takes place pre-hurricane, so that’s how she is referring to it and therefore, I am for this book), but the book is more about the people and less about the island (where typically the setting is one of her main characters).  Speaking of which, I didn’t love any of the main characters (I didn’t hate them…they were just all okay to me and not a single one of them stood out to me as super memorable).  I also didn’t understand how this was “winter in paradise”.  I don’t know if her publisher really wanted her to do another “winter” series following the Winter Street one…but it was super irrelevant to the plot.  Eh.  I probably need to check myself again.  Hahahaha!  I just love her books so much and look forward to their release all year long…so it bums me out when I’m disappointed.   I did not walk away from this one with all the happy feels that I typically do when reading an Elin Hilderbrand book.  I still want to be president of her fan club (someone sign me up!), but I can’t lie to you and say that I loved this novel.  Boo.

So, that’s my October Book Review!!  Next month, all Christmas books!!!  Everyone comment and let me know what you’re reading right now!!

Don’t forget!!  To see a running list of the books I’m reading this year, click HERE.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2015 (all 63 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
Happy book day!!
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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog October 30, 2018 at 4:40 am

    I always look forward to your book reviews, Shay! Thank you for being so thorough about the ones you read this month. The Dinner List sounds so good – added to my list! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Rebecca Rooney October 30, 2018 at 4:50 am

    I’m definitely going to give the Colleen Hoover book a go, I absolutely LOVED It Ends With Us!!! Also, I hate to sound like a know-it-all, but there’s 5 books in the Blue Heron series, not 3. Just want to make sure you don’t miss one because they’re all sooooo good!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 30, 2018 at 5:31 am

      You’re kidding me? On Amazon, it talks about three books! I will totally be reading all five!! They’re so cute!!!

      • Rebecca Rooney October 30, 2018 at 5:51 am

        The 3rd one is about Faith’s best friend Colleen, the 4th one is about Jack, Faith and Honor’s brother and the last one is about Connor, Colleen’s twin brother. Such a good series!! I read my first Kristan Higgins book because you recommended it (The Best Man) but now I’ve read all of hers because they are always such fun, happy little books!

        • Sonia October 30, 2018 at 8:46 am

          I was about to comment with this same thing, saying they’re 5 books instead of just 3. I swore I read all 5 books in like a week and a half. They were such fun reads!

  • Crissy October 30, 2018 at 4:54 am

    I highly recommend reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever to your kids. We read it every year together and such a great fun story that you and your kids will love!! Blessings

    • Mackenzie October 30, 2018 at 6:40 am

      Caution with this one! I love this book and thought it was thought-provoking as a child (read with my mom around age 9) but I feel it should only be read with parents. The main characters are “bad kids” who are community outcasts and model inappropriate behavior, but kind of come around through the pageant. If you search online there are some good book club sort of questions for parents to discuss with kids while reading.

      • Alexandra C October 30, 2018 at 7:42 am

        I remember reading this book in 4th Grade! We had to do a report on one of the characters and mine was on Ollie. That’s literally all I remember. I

  • Erika Slaughter October 30, 2018 at 5:09 am

    Okay, I’m calling in sick today so I can READ all day!! 😉

  • Kristen Thompson October 30, 2018 at 5:23 am

    I totally agree with Winter in Paradise! I’ve lurerall read every single one of Elin Hilderbrand’s books and I just wasn’t my favorite! But the way it ended…I just have to read the next one when it comes out!! I also love Kristan Higgins and that book is actually one of 5 in a series, not 3…so you have several more to enjoy! Have you ever read any books by Sarah Jio? She is one of my favorites! Always, her most recent book is very good as well as Good Night June. Thank you, as always for your book reviews! I always enjoy the books you reccomend. I am looking forward to the Colleen Hoover one as I just finally overcame a struggle with infertility and had a baby girl in June!

  • Sheaffer October 30, 2018 at 5:31 am

    I’m running out of things to say on book review days. That’s all. The end.

  • Eileen October 30, 2018 at 5:33 am

    I loved All Your Perfects!!!! One of my favorite books I read this summer. I really liked Winter In Paradise. I agree that I missed it being in Nantucket, but I liked the change of pace at the same time. I like that she left us with so much to still find out. I just found Katherine Center over the summer through comments on your book review day and read How To Walk Away. I loved it, so last month I read Happiness for Beginners. I didn’t love it as much, but I still really liked it. I also really liked Ghosted by Rosie Walsh.

  • Narci October 30, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Yeah!!! Book review day is my favorite kind of day!! You always have the best books! Now off to add these to my list to read!

  • Sally Hepworth October 30, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Oh YAY my favourite day! I haven’t heard about The Dinner List, I will download it immediately (I hate to be out of the loop!). Have you read the new Liane Moriarty book, Nine Perfect Strangers yet? It’s great, like all Liane’s books x

  • Elspeth Mizner October 30, 2018 at 5:51 am

    Great review, you gave me a lot of suggestions!

  • Lynn DePalma October 30, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Love book review day! Added more samples to my already growing Kindle sample list! Per your review I’m currently reading Crazy Rich Asian and enjoying it so far! Looking forward to watching the movie afterwards!
    The Dinner List looks really interesting, and I look forward to reading the sample and hopefully the book next!

  • Paula October 30, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Who is on your dinner list? That is a fun topic.
    I added the book to my kindle. 😊

  • Kathleen October 30, 2018 at 6:19 am

    I am in the middle of Winter in Paradise and don’t love it. I had trouble keeping the people all straight when I first started. I don’t love it but will finish it. I preferred her Xmas series.

  • Taylor October 30, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Such a good month for you! I have two Christmas books on my list this month: “Christmas at Tiffany’s” & “One Day In December”. I’ve heard great things about both!
    If you’re looking for a “winter” themed thriller to read, then you’ve got to read “Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena. It was short & to the point, loved it!

  • Maggie Kosciolek October 30, 2018 at 6:21 am

    I cried at the end of The Dinner List- like sobbed haha! It was so good. I have to disagree with you on Winter in Paradise- I could not put that book down and I can’t wait for the next one!! Excited to see what Christmas books you read

  • Kelly M Sites October 30, 2018 at 6:27 am

    I’m reading Daring to Lead by Brene’ Brown (outstanding) and getting ready to read The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Can’t wait. Fall reading is the BEST.

  • Beth Miller October 30, 2018 at 6:34 am

    I cannot wait to read All Your Perfects!!! I’ve had it on hold at the library forever, so apparently I’m not the only one waiting! I liked Winter in Paradise but agree it wasn’t her best. Colleen Hoover’s book November 9 is awesome too! I listened to the audiobook in one day!

  • Kristine Guider October 30, 2018 at 6:44 am

    So glad you liked All Your Perfects! I recently read How to Walk Away and really liked it, although I felt there were too many twists and turns at the end. I’m currently reading Kristan Higgins’ Good Luck With That. It’s really good! Also if you’re looking for a nonfiction pick, I’m halfway through In Praise of Slowness. It’s really interesting…I think you’d like it!

  • Valerie October 30, 2018 at 6:46 am

    You should read The Hate U Give! Loved it and it’s very eye-opening!

  • Julie October 30, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Awesome list…more to add to my ever growing goodreads list!

  • Julie October 30, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Great list…more books to add to my ever growing goodreads list!

  • Emily October 30, 2018 at 6:58 am

    So glad you finally read all your perfects. I don’t know you personally, but when I read it I instantly thought of you and Erika since y’all have talked about your struggles on your blogs. I also was let down by winter in paradise, but I lived in Iowa city for 4 years so loved that aspect of it. I have so many books waiting to be read but not enough time in the day with a 10 month old! I used to crank out a few a week!!

  • Sara R. October 30, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Colleen Hoover is my favorite!! You should read Hopeless and Finding Cinderella by her too because they’re sort of prequels to It Ends With Us. I sobbed at the end of It Ends With Us when I realized how they all tied together.

  • Melissa Terry October 30, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I LOVED the Dinner List and can’t imagine it won’t be on my Top 10 list. Thanks for the great suggestions-I always look forward to seeing your list!

  • Anne-Marie October 30, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I absolutely love your book reviews! Your taste in books are spot on with mine. I thought I’d return the favor and recommend Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Oh my goodness how I loved this book. I finished it in 4 days!

    • Lisa D October 30, 2018 at 7:59 am

      Oh yes, I also loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet! I just finished a true life story written by father and daughter John Baldwin and Mackenzie Baldwin called Almost Gone. I couldn’t put it down! The book recounts how the parents intervened to save their daughter and kept her from running away to marry a guy in Kosovo….a page turner.

      • Paula October 31, 2018 at 8:01 am

        That looks intense & great.

  • Sara October 30, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Oops I meant All your perfects!!! Those other 2 Colleen Hoover books link to All Your Perfects! I need more coffee…

    • Ashley October 30, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      Sara…I immediately wrote down the two books you mentioned because I loved It Ends With Us. So glad I kept reading. I would’ve been confused! 🤪

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams October 30, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Good to know about EH’s new book. I’ve had some misses with her too (I know I know crazy). The Dinner List sounds so interesting. I am reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah right now and it’s making me question my survival skills in the wilderness right now lol.

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Sharon October 30, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Read Where the Crawdads Sing! Soooo good!

  • Lisa Carder October 30, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Love your book reviews! The only problem is I spend too much on books for my Kindle every month when you release your list—but your recommendations are always right on! Thanks for making finding a great book easy!

  • Alexandra C October 30, 2018 at 7:49 am

    I keep putting Winter In Paradise down then picking it back up. I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to read an Elin Hilderbrand book. I know my problem with it is that the next two books aren’t out yet. Real life can be so messy and reading offers a great escape and usually chick lit books are sealed up with a pretty bow. An incomplete trilogy is not. Knowing I’ll feel unsatisfied at the end of the book keeps me from really loving it.

  • Julie October 30, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I am a few chapters away from finishing “All your perfects.” It’s so fun to read, but for some reason I didn’t connect as well with Quinn? I LOVE her other main characters but Quinn just kind of bothers me sometimes. On my list is ‘The Size of Everything’ a memoir about a young girl growing up in a totally dysfunctional household. It sounds really good and inspiring despite what she went through. Also Liane M’s new novel! Oh, and ‘An unwanted guest’-scary winter thriller. Love your book reviews-I always find something good to add.

    • Lindsay D October 30, 2018 at 10:31 am

      I TOTALLY agree. I love Colleen Hoover, especially It Ends With Us, but also some of her others like November 9. I really couldn’t connect with Quinn either, and honestly I was reading the book just to get it over with.

  • Ahna Fulmer October 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hi Shay! I am new to your blog, so forgive me if you have already read and reviewed these books, but faves on my library shelf that fall into the must read category . . .
    1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – Powerful fictional portrayal of the story of Hosea from the Bible; PG-13. Definitely made me cry.
    2. The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers – Almost all of Rivers books are good, but this is another favorite. Also made me cry.
    3. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore – Non-fiction. This one didn’t make me cry, it made me weep.
    4. Answers to Prayer by George Mueller – Incredible true story about a British man who was lead to show the power of prayer by starting an orphanage and never publicizing their needs but documenting how God would miraculously provide (ok, I did NOT cry through this one, but maybe a tear of joy here and there)
    5. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – He is my favorite author, but this portrayal of how our choices on earth could be reflected for eternity is powerful and provoking.
    Hope there is one in that list you haven’t read!! Happy reading!

  • Emily October 30, 2018 at 8:09 am

    My favorite part of this post is reading that the next book review will be ALL Christmas; I can’t wait! I’ve read so many Christmas books, I’m having a hard time finding new ones!

  • Wilma October 30, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Would you please consider doing a post on your favorite children’s books?

  • Ahna October 30, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Hi Shay! I am new to your blog as I just started my own. Must reads on my library shelf include
    1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – Powerful portrayal of the Book of Hosea (made me cry)
    2. Atonement Child by Francine Rivers – All her books are good, and this one also made me cry
    3. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore – true story which didn’t make me cry it made me weep
    4. Answers to Prayer by George Mueller – True story about running a British orphanage on prayer alone (only tears of joy in this book!)
    5. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – My favorite author. This is a provoking portrayal of how the choices we make on earth could be reflected for eternity.

  • Caitlin October 30, 2018 at 8:43 am

    If you had to suggest one Erin Hilderbrand book to start out with for someone who has never read a book by her, what would you suggest?

    • Mix and Match Mama October 30, 2018 at 8:56 am

      The Identicals 🙂

  • Heather MacHugh Cooper October 30, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Hey! I havent’ read Elin’s New book but I saw her at my bookstore last week! Hello movie star moment right? Anyways….she share a lot of the why behind this book and it makes total sense. But I will be interested to see how the book reads. Did you know she does a tour/weekend in Nantucket?? 2019 is sold out but I will be looking at the next one! She spends winter vacay in St John and wrote this book for those that need to feel a little warm in the winter. I believe she didn’t have a lot of time to write this one….but I could be wrong! She will have a new book coming this summer so Nantucket will return for you. Did you know that her father died when she was 16 in a plane crash? Also, while at the event everyone there was raving about the blue bistro (her 3rd book) have you read it? I am just starting, they all say it’s their favorite one!!

  • Lauren D October 30, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Last December Elin did a book signing at a local library and she also gave a talk. She said that she negotiated with her publisher – they wanted another series, but she wanted it set somewhere else. She also said, fun fact, (SPOILERS), that when she wrote The Perfect Couple that she originally had the bride be the one killed. They made her rewrite it!

  • Rhonda October 30, 2018 at 8:57 am

    I felt the same way about Winter in Paradise. I found myself skimming through sections, couldn’t get attached to any of the characters, even the scenery seemed boring. I was pretty disappointed. Katherine Center’s The Lost Husband was so enjoyable!! I highly recommend. I think it is my favorite of all her books. I’ll be picking up The Dinner List next!

  • Erika October 30, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for all of your recommendations this is my favorite day of the month!!! I just finished The Great Alone and loved it! I can’t wait to read All Your Perfects, especially since I really loved It Ends With Us. Have you read Small Great Things? I don’t remember seeing it on any of your recent reviews, but it’s a popular one right now. I have found myself thinking about the story and the characters non-stop since finishing it. It’s a hard read at times, but a good one!

    • Tanya McLamb November 1, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      I second Small Great Things! It is one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve read it. So good!

  • Brianna October 30, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I was actually waiting to read your thoughts on Winter in Paradise before buying it. I love Elin Hilderbrand too, and was a big fan of the Winter Street series but the location and plot of this one just didn’t excite me. I might skip this one, thanks for your review!

  • Deana Lewis October 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

    For your Christmas book list you should definitely add 3 novellas by Robin Jones Gunn: 1 Finding Father Christmas 2 Engaging Father Christmas and 3 Kissing Father Christmas. As a bonus, they’ve all been made into movies on the Hallmark Channels (I think the Mysteries one). So sweet and so good. Of course, the books are better than the movies! Enjoy! 🙂

  • Laura Paredes October 30, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Hi Shay! I always love and look forward to your book reviews! Read that you’re reading all Christmas books in November, give One Day In December by Josie Silver a try and also Alaskan Holiday by my favorite author Debbie Macomber! Would love to see your reviews on these two books.

  • Tabitha Coker October 30, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I totally agree about Hilderbrand. I love her and I HATE to be disappointed, but I was.

  • Jenna Hand October 30, 2018 at 9:41 am

    A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. It’s a little hard to follow because of the way it’s formatted. It begins with the main event and then goes back in time as you read on and you find out what led up to the event and everyone’s back story. It is such a good read and so thought-provoking. Really makes you think before judging others.

  • Carol October 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Book Review day…my favorite of the month!
    Once again I highly recommend to all The Invisible Bridge….a love story, a story of a time in history that will make you see both and bitterness (particularly in light of the news ths week).

  • Jamie October 30, 2018 at 9:46 am

    It’s not Christmas, but I just finished “Next Year in Havana” by Chanel Cleeton. It was so good! If you haven’t read it you need to put it on your list.

  • Jen October 30, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I just listened to “Make Something Good Today” by Erin and Ben Napier from Home Town on HGTV and it was fantastic!!

  • Stephanie October 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Love book review day. I have read four of the six books this month (the only two I haven’t read are Cage of Stars and The Bright Side of Disaster). I agree with your opinion in every review. One of the reasons I didn’t love The Lovely Bones was because of the murder of a child, too much for me, so I guess I will pass on Cage of Stars. If you need a recommendation then Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos; it’s an older book (published 2008), but it’s oh so good.

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick October 30, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I love the Blue Heron series! I think I still need to read book 5? Or 4? I can’t remember. And YES on Winter in Paradise. I like it a lot but I thought the exact same thing about the title! I got absolutely ZERO winter vibes from that book. I think I would have liked it better if they gave us the whole story in one book instead of leaving us with a cliffhanger until the next one comes out. But I still really enjoyed it. Just didn’t want it to end there!
    That Inspired Chick

  • Jayne October 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I just recently finished Falling Free and MInistry of Ordinary Places, both by Shannan Martin. They’re both so good – life-changing, in fact. I highly recommend them for an inspirational lift.

  • Marisa Tompkins October 30, 2018 at 10:29 am

    I just finished Eat Cake, Be Brave and really loved it. It’s by Melissa Radke and she tells the story of turning 41 and making the choice to live BRAVE. I laughed and cried and if your an audible fan she reads it and that is always a treat to hear from the writers voice.

  • sonja October 30, 2018 at 10:30 am

    LOVE a sneak peek list of the Christmas books you’ll be reviewing so we can either put our name on the list for them at the library! Christmas is coming! Can’t wait! XO

  • Melanie M. October 30, 2018 at 10:31 am

    One of my favorite authors is a Christian writer named Vikki Kestell. She has a series called A Prairie Heritage. Based on some of those characters, she is writing a series called “Girls from the Mountain”. Her newest book is coming out in 2 weeks and I already have it pre-ordered. Her writing and her character development is outstanding.

  • Tabitha October 30, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Do you know what Christmas books you’ll be reading? I started reading Christmas books last year around the holidays and I fell in love. I want to start reading the holiday books immediately!! I really enjoyed Nancy Thayer’s Christmas in Nantucket books. I would love your suggestions.

  • Laura Paredes October 30, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Hi shay! I don’t think my other comment went through but I wanted to give you two suggestions for Christmas reads. One Day In December by Josie Silver (I am currently reading this one) and Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber (she is my favorite author). Would love to see your review on these books. By the way, I love your book reviews and have been reading them for over a year now and have picked up more than several books based on your reviews!

  • Jantzen Haley October 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I’m a newer follower, so not sure if you’ve ever read any of her books, but Karen Kingsbury is one of my absolute favorite authors! Several of her books have been turned into movies on Hallmark, most recently “The Bridge” in two parts. She is a Christian fiction author, which sometimes has that Hallmark feel to it, but she does a great job of talking about hard, real life stuff, and it’s nice to read a good clean love story every now and then. Her latest book was just released, titled “When We Were Young.” The premise is a young married couple who is Instagram famous, and social media has created a web of problems for their marriage. Still reading it, but it’s hard to put down. Highly recommend any of her books!

  • Julianne October 30, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I love your lists and read almost every one of your picks! Thanks for this fun little book club on the interwebs!
    The library is my way of reading everything I want to without the expense of all the books. I’ve requested all the ones I want this month and most are on a waiting list. You know they will all come in during the crazy holiday season and then I will have to choose: Book or Hallmark Christmas movie? AHHHH.

  • Meg October 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Reese’s latest pick, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS, was absolutely wonderful and I cannot recommend it enough. Also really enjoyed the Dinner List!

  • Katie M October 30, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Read ANYTHING by Jodi Picoult! That would be my suggestion! She is to me what Elin Hilderbrand is to you hahaha! I find her absolutely brilliant & her writing is fantastic! My favorites: Small Great Things, Leaving Time, My Sister’s Keeper, The Storyteller, or Handle With Care.

  • Laurie S October 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    I highly recommend Debbie Macomber’s “The Cottage by the Sea”. It’s a story of renewal of the spirit, affirmation of the heart, love, friendship… It brought me to tears and also made me smile. She addresses all the emotions… Love me some Debbie Macomber!

  • Jackie Chan October 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Shay! Have you read Stillhouse Lake? I just finished it and it was so good, I couldn’t put it down!!

  • Lori October 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I can’t remember if you have read/recapped this, Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. It was a GREAT read!!!

  • Wendy October 30, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Hey Shay! I just have to say that I have loved a bunch of Colleen Hoover’s books (it end so with us, November 9) but am I the only next one who can’t get over the fact that some of her main characters are in HIGH SCHOOL?! I absolutely cannot read a racy, R-rated novel about a high schooler!!! No ma’am. They go right back to the library!

  • Steph C October 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Bless you & your book reviews! Between you & Erika, I have a to read list that is brimming with great choices!

  • Tanya October 30, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I’m the same way with reading about kids getting harmed in books. Sometimes it’s just too much to handle, and I’m not necessarily a sensitive person. That’s disappointing to hear about the EH book, but I’ll probably still read it.

    I posted my monthly reads yesterday.
    Tanya – The Other Side of the Road

  • Michelle October 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Shay, Do you read all these on your Kindle or do you buy them, check out from library……? I always look forward to your reviews at the end of the month!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 31, 2018 at 5:30 am

      I have become a devout Kindle reader. Every one of these were read on my Paperwhite 🙂 .

  • Rebecca October 30, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    You must add the The Bronze Horseman to your list ASAP!! Hands down, favorite book (and series – there are 3) of all time! It follows a woman throughout her life – beginning in WWII all the way through Vietnam/Cold War times. The detail the author goes into and the way she is able to tell the story leaves you feeling so connected and invested to the characters. This is a series I will read and reread again! Can’t recommend enough.

  • Amanda October 30, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I totally agree with you on Winter in Paradise. I wanted to love it, but I just liked it. I adored the Winter Street series. I had my hopes up because I enjoyed the Winter Street series so much, and wanted this series to start off like that. I was really disappointed.

  • Jamie October 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    I say this every month (lol) but I really think you would enjoy Charles Martin’s books! Particularly “When Crickets Cry”, “Water from my Heart”, or “Unwritten”. So so good. I recommend them all the time and everyone loves them!

  • Susie Harrold October 30, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Cage of Stars is in my top 5. (!) I am such a fan of books that make me FEEL something. That’s why Me Before You is also in my top five. If a book can make me laugh out loud, if it can make me cry, or if I find myself caught up in thinking about it a week after I finished, that’s what really hooks me. I think it takes a really special talent for an author to be able to evoke those feelings in a reader. The fact that you kept going back and seeing if it was actually a memoir adds to the incredible way she draws you in. I agree with you about the sad content, but to me it was as if she took us through the whole grief process and showed how she came out on the other side. I think it’s two flippant to say that when I when something like that happens that you get over it completely, and at the end she alluded to that when she says that it’s something she’ll always have to deal with. ” I don’t know that I’ll ever be as completely happy as someone can be who’s never been creased through the center by agony; but I don’t think I’m altogether the worse for it, either.” It was moving not only that she was finally able to forgive, but that she shed a light on mental illness in a way I had never understood. This book will always be special to me because of those feelings. I wish you liked it, but love that you have it a try!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 31, 2018 at 5:29 am

      Isn’t it funny how some books reach people and then not others? I just thought the middle part of the book was too unbelievable (and didn’t flow like the beginning). I thought it was very disjointed…but I’m glad you liked it! A lot of people did!!

  • Kelly October 30, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I just finished The Lost Husband by Katherine Center. It was a great read. They are making a movie based on the book and I can’t wait. I would definitely recommend adding it to your list!

  • Chelsey Boren October 30, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    I’m too nosey, what was the 7th book?? 😂

  • Linda P October 30, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Love your book review days! Just finished “Sold on a Monday” by Kristina McMorris. I highly recommend it!

  • Rayne Osborn October 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Where the crawdads sing, next to Castle of Water my favorite read of 2018

  • Sarah October 30, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    I love book review day! I’ve recently read several that you have recommended and loved them all. But a couple that I don’t remember you reviewing are Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and Beneath a Scarlet Sky. Both are so good!

  • Christina October 30, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    When you become president of the Elin Hilderbrand book club can you please tell her to bring back the Winter Street series or at least a spinoff with some/all of the characters. I finished that series about a month ago and I’m still missing it.

  • Katie October 30, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Have you tried Jenny Colgan’s books? They are too cute and a few have good Christmas sequels!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 31, 2018 at 5:28 am

      Yes! I really like her too!!

  • Alice October 30, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    What do you mean when you say “rated R”? Is it for sex, language, violence? It would be helpful to know more specifically what it is because “rated R” is pretty general and everyone can have a different tolerance for each of those things.

    • Mix and Match Mama October 31, 2018 at 5:27 am

      I would say this book is rated R for language and sexual content.

  • Amy W October 30, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Read Where the Crawdads Sing! Beautifully written with a mystery woven in. Highly recommend!!

  • Amy Heinl October 31, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Love your book review and like you the next 2 months will be filled with Christmas Books. I kicked mine off with Debbie Macombers new one Alaskan Holiday and it was so hoid. The main character is a,sous chef and spends the summer in a rustic Alaskan town. She gets stuck when she is supposed to leave at beginning of fall and gets stranded there for winter. The characters in this town are very vibrant, loveable and funny . It was so good and I am hoping Hallmark makes this one of their Christmas movies next year. These are what I bought so far to read this holiday season and can’t wait to get into them : A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson, The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March, Catching Christmas by Terri Blackenstock, and First Flurries by Joanne DeMaio

  • Becc October 31, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Can’t wait for Christmas book review day!!! Not a Christmas book, but Where the Crawdads Sing was amazing!!

  • Paula October 31, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Can we have a heads up on some Christmas books you are reading. December can be so full of activities, it will give us a jump as well

  • Gina DeHoogh October 31, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Listen… you should read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. It’s adorable. And it’s her very first book, so hopefully she’ll start kicking them out faster! Enjoy!

    • Mix and Match Mama October 31, 2018 at 10:18 am

      I have!!! I really liked it!!

  • Jocie October 31, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    I only read 3 books this month: “The Lying Game” and it was ok, not my favorite but not bad! Then “Everybody, Always” which was great but not if you are looking for fiction! Lastly, “Then She Was Gone” and LOVED it! Recommend for sure!

  • Stacie November 2, 2018 at 11:10 am

    You have to add Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino to your book list. I loved it!

  • Laura November 3, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I love your book reviews, but I couldn’t be more thankful for this months. I read All Your Perfects (on audio) and oh my goodness I cried. There were parts that related so much to my life. I ended the book with so much admiration for my husband. Thank YOU so much! Now I’m back to reading your book review in search for my next book! ❤️

  • Heather Otto November 4, 2018 at 11:23 am

    All Your Perfects is going to be one of my favorite books of the year. I like your preface though that it is definitely rated R. This book won’t be for everyone for that reason!

  • Kristin Christmas November 5, 2018 at 10:57 am

    You have made me fall in love with reading again. I have ALWAYS had a book (Kindle) in my hand my whole life. I have been in such a genre rut the last few years. I have literally just read through your 2018 list one book at a time….and OH MY GOODNESS…THANK YOU!

    My all time favorite books of all time are by author Lori Wick. I feel like you have probably read her at one time. If not, definitely start with Pretense.

    Thank you for your blog. It is a highlight for me everyday.

  • NancyS November 5, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I get your comments about Winter in Paradise — perhaps it’s because this is the first book in St. John and we’re so used to Elin writing about Nantucket? St. John is one of my favorite places and I loved all the detail she provided about places there but thought it was strange that she kept referring to the locals as West Indians. I thought the story itself was ok, and just a tad predictable (but I’ll definitely go for #2)!

    • Mix and Match Mama November 6, 2018 at 8:47 am

      I thought that was odd too, Nancy!

  • Laura November 6, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Where the Crawdads Sing was beautifully written and I definitely recommend. After reading How to Walk Away I’ve read almost all of Katherine Centers books – the Bright side was cute, so was Get Lucky, and I thought Happiness for beginners was good but not her best. I’m going to read the Lost Husband this month. My fifth grader read The Miscalculations of Lightening Girl and insisted I read it too – so cute!!! I think you and Kensington would both love it 🙂

  • Alicia November 6, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Since we seem to have similar taste in books I thought I would suggest the author Christina Lauren. I have loved all of the books I have read by these two women. My first was “Roomies”, “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating”, “Autoboyography” and just finished “Love and Other Words”(a 400 page book that I read in one sitting!). Once you start your list for next year you might add one of these. They are fast reads that are great when you need a light read.

  • Tina November 9, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I read Where the Crawdads Sing and it was awesome! Check out my October book review.
    https://simplehomegatherings.com/october-book-review/

  • Tristan November 10, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Read Kate Morton’s new book, The Clockmaker’s Daughter! It’s a historical fiction! Her books are my all time favorites.

  • Jennie November 12, 2018 at 11:39 am

    So, I haven’t read any of Elin Hilderbrand’s books before, despite your raving. But you commenting that your next review would be all Christmas got me into the spirit (plus Southern Living posted their “30 Christmas Books You Should Read Right Now” list!) and I read the entire Winter Street series last week. Holy cow, was I unprepared for all of that emotion! But I loved it and couldn’t put them down…she really wrote them with cliffhangers, eh? 😉 After that I read The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans and also loved it! Now I”m reading his The Mistletoe Promise, which apparently was already adapted into a Hallmark movie. <3 I might even have to break my "no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving" rule because I'm just in the spirit! My mom passed two years ago and I haven't had much joy during the holidays since…so I'm embracing it this year! Thank you, Shay!

  • Michael November 12, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I’m with you on Winter in Paradise. She is one of my absolute favorites and although I was excited to see a book NOT on Nantucket, I missed it. Reading her books set there, even though the characters are different, is like returning home after a long time away. It’s comforting. I’ll read the series but I agree, nothing particular stuck with me on this one. I liked the concept of the second family bit, but I’m in the dark as to how this will be stretched over 3 books.

  • JENNY Vuong NG November 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Have you read Lindsey Kelk’s books yet? Just started, she reminds me so much of Sophie Kinsella

  • shelley bussell November 12, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    I have used your blog for book recs for years! thank you so much! I just finished Rush by Lisa Patton if you like The Help its a MUST read! I Loved it so much!!!

  • Alli November 13, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I wanted to let you know!— I just finished Christmas in London by Anita Hughes, one you had recommended a while ago and LOVED it! She just came out with another christmas novel, Christmas at the Chalet! I can’t wait to read.

  • Amy Divita November 14, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Our book club just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It is amazing – I think it’s right up your alley. The writing is superb! The story is a perfect combination of Sadness, Love, Mystery — it’s so good!

  • Renee November 17, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I loved Winter in Paradise. Maybe because we were in St John two weeks before the hurricane. Now, I can’t wait to read the next one in the trilogy.