Hey, hey, hey Monday!
I am trying really hard to stay upbeat and positive both here and in “real life” at home. I think, for the most part, I’m doing pretty well, but I just wanted you to know that yeah, I totally get that this sucks…I’m just trying to be light in a dark time. Just like you guys, so many things aren’t as they should be and our family is disappointed about things not going as planned over here too. I just keep telling myself that it’s out of my control, so I need to focus on the blessings I do have…but my heart breaks especially for my kids and things they’re disappointed in. As a mom, that’s so much harder than your own disappointments. Anyway, enough, dark, here’s some light…today is my MARCH BOOK REVIEW!
The good news though is that because I went on a trip and then also had so much extra down time, I read SEVEN books this month!
A few disclaimers/thoughts/things to mention before we start:
1: I really loved just about each and every book that I read this month!
2: There were more “rated R” books than normal. I try and always get my books from your suggestions and for whatever reason, this batch seemed more rated R than other batches. For those of you who don’t care, awesome, but for those of you who do care, keep reading because you still might want to read some of them (they’re that good!) and the last one is for everyone.
3: I read one book this month that if it’s not in my top three for the year, I’ll be shocked!
4: Please leave me more suggestions and recs today! All of these books were suggestions from YOU!
Okay, ready? Let’s go…
I kicked off the month with Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.
Hmmmm…okay, I thought this book was interesting. I would probably say that if I had to rank all six books for the month, I would put this one last, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it…it just wasn’t quite as entertaining to me as the other ones. I would actually love to hear your feedback about this novel because when it was over and I sat down to type my notes, I was drawing a blank. It’s definitely a story about racial tension and how completely unfair life can be just because you are at the wrong place at the wrong time…but I thought it could have been a bit “meatier”. The author goes back and forth between the two main characters, and I enjoyed both of them and their perspectives, but I kept waiting for just a bit…more. The book moves quickly and there’s really never a dull moment, so it’s not that it’s boring by any stretch of the imagination, I just thought it could have had a bit more substance to it. I’m going to go ahead and label this one R for language and subject matter. I don’t know, even as I sit here and type this, I know I’m being vague, but I think it’s because I thought the story was good, just maybe not as deep as I would have liked. Have you read it? What did you think?
When I wrote my notes for The Friend Zone, I put “just like a Hallmark movie but rated R”. Ha! This novel was cute, happy, quick to read, funny and without a ton of substance, but it made me feel happy when I picked it up. The two main characters have always been friends and stayed in the “friend zone”, but of course, as all great Hallmark movies do, it gives you the happiness but is also pretty predictable from the word go. If you just want an easy read, here you go. You will fly through this one as you fall for both characters (and their friends/family). I love, love, love me a happy book 🙂 . (But remember, it is rated R!)
Know My Name was one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. It was unbelievably hard and emotionally challenging for me to read, but I’m so glad I took the time to do it.
The author was made famous in the media a few years ago as the survivor of the Stanford sexual assault case and in this memoir, she goes into great detail about the entire process of not only the assault but how, in being a part of the prosecution’s case, her life was almost ruined. I have never been a victim of sexual assault before and yet this book was really hard for me to read, so if you or someone you love have been, I would proceed with caution. This memoir could be really validating and healing, but I can imagine that for some of you, it could stir up emotions and feelings you aren’t wanting to face right now. This book is definitely rated R for content but that really shouldn’t stop any of you for honestly considering it. There were many moments when I was reading that I had to stop and do something else because it’s very real, very raw and very graphic. Please know, the attack is, of course, extremely graphic, but it’s also the aftermath that really hurt me to read as well. When the book was all said and done, I had an entirely new perspective on whether I would prosecute or not if I were in her shoes. Before reading the book, I would have said “Of course, I would prosecute! Without a doubt!”, but then after reading the book, I had an entirely different perspective which would make me pause and really pray should I ever be in the same position…because her story is a lot about how the victim can become the villain. I think it’s so important to read hard books about real life from time to time.
Friends, if American Dirt isn’t in my top three books of the year, I will be SHOCKED. I absolutely loved it, didn’t want to put it down, and told everyone I know to read it. I think this was the number one rec by you guys last month, so thank YOU for telling me to read it because it was amazing. As much as I love those light little chick lit books, when I read novels like this, I’m reminded why I love to read so much. This is a fictional story that will suck you in on the very first page. It’s about a mom and her young son who live a really nice little life in Mexico but all of a sudden find themselves on the run from a Mexican cartel and have to escape to America. This book has everything in it…it’s suspenseful, it’s about love, it’s endearing, it’s tragic, it’s about being a mom, it’s politically provocative for sure and it’s so well written. I know a lot of people see the border as black and white, but I think it would be hard for you to read this and not see the gray area as well. This is another book where you wonder if “doing the right thing” (not bowing down to the drug cartel) is really the better choice? It will make you think because honest to goodness both this book and the one before it made me wonder if the “right” choice is always the “best” choice (I mean, I know it is, but GEEZ it can be so hurtful it almost kills you). This book just reached in and spoke to my soul…especially as a mom to a young boy, I kept thinking “what would I do?”. I loved it. Again, probably rated R for content (I hate labeling books, but I know so many of you are passionate about not buying books that are rated R, so I will keep doing it!), but how can a book about running from a drug cartel not be rated R?! The subject is so intense yet so relevant.
Whew! Okay, after two REALLY hard to read books, I needed LIGHT in my life, so I read…
…here’s the thing. Christina Lauren is a relatively new author for me (it’s actually two authors writing as one). You guys introduced her to me last year and since then, I think I’ve read maybe five of her books. While I love them because they’re easy and light, super quick reads…I’m starting to grow a little annoyed with each one. (Don’t hate me!) Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was such a quick read, and I needed something light/easy/happy after the previous two books, but at the same time, I knew how the story would end when I read page one. They’re just maybe a bit too predictable without a lot of substance and always rated R. Am I just being moody now? Did the previous two books ruin me to light fluff? I sure hope not and please keep recommending them to me, but this one just felt a little blah. Basically, Josh and Hazel are best friends who try and fix each other up with other people. I bet I don’t even have to say anything else and you can guess the rest of the story 😉 . It was cute enough, but I didn’t have all the happy feels when it was over about recommending it to you.
I wanted to throw in a suspenseful novel this month for those of you who like things a little dark, so I read The Wives.
Okay, I thought this was the perfect plot for me. Erika is the yin to my yang and can only read chick lit in small doses while I can only read scary in them. I thought this one was just suspenseful enough for me (I don’t like them super dark and twisted), but the plot moved forward enough and didn’t get too wacky/complicated/crazy. Erika hasn’t read this one and maybe she would think it was a wee bit lame (she likes them twisty), but I thought the pace was perfect. It’s about one man and his three wives. They’re not polygamist per se because maybe they know about each other or maybe they don’t, but that’s the gist of it. I don’t want to say anything else about the plot as it is a mystery. If you like any sort of Gone Girl-type book (that’s like a whole genre in and of itself now!), then here’s another one for you 🙂 .
Well, well, well, I don’t say this lightly or just because she’s a friend of mine, but Melanie Shankle’s new book, On the Bright Side, is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I loved every single page. (I love all of Melanie’s books, but this one right here really spoke to my heart!!) This memoir covered a lot of things personally relevant to me: being a mom, being a wife, being a friend to someone dying of cancer, having a great group of besties who support one another, being a dog lover, being tired, wondering if you’re doing it all right…it was the perfect mix of all things important to me written in one book with funny stories and lots of wit. Melanie just has this way of being super real while also being super encouraging with her faith. If “church-y and preach-y” bother you, then you will love her. She loves Jesus, but she doesn’t mind sharing stories about how she learned hard lessons after too many tequila shots. She’s just very REAL. I think you’ll find this memoir encouraging, funny and uplifting no matter what stage of womanhood you happen to be in.
Whoa! Seven really different books this month! I’m super, super grateful to all of you because they’re all your recommendations!
Okay…what should I read next??? Please comment and share!!
Happy Book Day!! xo