Friends, it’s the first day of March!!!
I kind of like March.
You girls know that in my head, there is a running list of months I love and adore (they all have pumpkins or Christmas lights), and then a list of months I don’t care for (actually just one, I don’t love April…I have no good reason why…it’s just not my favorite), but for some reason, I think March is pretty okay. Spring Break (for us) is in March, our wedding anniversary is in March, baseball season starts in March, St. Paddy’s Day is in March…this morning, I’m super excited that it’s March.
Speaking of March, today is about February. Ha! It’s my FEBRUARY BOOK REVIEW!
Despite the shorter month, thanks to no electricity, two flights and lots of time on my hands, I ended up reading (almost) SEVEN books this month…and my feelings are ALL OVER THE PLACE.
It was either hot or cold this month…no in between.
In fact, I actually read more than half of one and quit it which is rare for me (if I’m going to quit, it’s typically after about a fifth of the way through).
So, I’m not necessarily here to give you a ton of book suggestions (since I didn’t love them all), but I’d sure love some fresh ideas from you.
With spring break coming up, I know I’ll read more and for whatever reason, I didn’t do a stellar job at picking books this month, so your help is greatly appreciated. That being said, I’m about to get flat out GIDDY at the end of this review 😉 .
Okay…let’s recap this line up of books starting with…
It’s All Under Control by Jennifer Dukes Lee.
I. Loved. This. Book.
This is a faith-based memoir written by a mom about her journey to let go of control of her life/family/work/everything. A blog reader suggested I read this one, and I could not put it down. I was texting friends that they needed to read it, I was making notes about it and finally, I ended up just buying the hard copy too (I had been reading it on my Kindle) because I wanted to keep a copy forever along with my Bible studies. This one was the perfect way for me to kick off the year/month/turning 40. If you are a Christian woman looking for a book filled with raw truth yet so much hope, grace and love, this book is for you. I wanted to underline the whole thing. It truly is one of the best faith-based books I’ve ever read and could easily be in my TOP THREE this year. It’s honest and direct but at the same time, encouraging and so loving. Read it!
I really love Katherine Center books. I think her novels are elevated chick lit. They’re always happy, upbeat, positive, but with a little more depth than your average beach book. This month, I read What You Wish For…and it was okay. The main character is a lovable, quirky school librarian who lives on Galveston island (where my Granddaddy grew up down in south Texas!). I loved the setting (it was sweet to read about Galveston, and I thought she did a lovely job painting it as a charming little beach town), and I thought the main character was cute, funny and a bit original…but overall, the story fell a bit flat for me. Though the plot covers some very serious topics, I almost felt they were handled a little too Hallmark-y/cheesy/unrealistic. I mean, it was a fine read, but I don’t know that I’m suggesting it today. I would really probably read her book How to Walk Away instead.
I’ve had several of you recommend I read Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward, so that was my third book this month.
This one was hard, y’all.
Typically, Ward writes novels, but this is her memoir about growing up in the New Orleans area as a young/early 20s Black girl and how four men she loved all died as a result of their environment (all in different ways). I loved her writing style. Even though the book was really hard to read, so tragic and terrible…it was written so well and kept me turning page after page to see how theses stories would unfold. She wrote each chapter a bit backwards and then would toggle back a bit forward so that you really saw present day mixed with the past. Many times, you read books about tragic events/circumstances and at the end, there’s a big victory/happy moment/all is well now epilogue, but really, this book doesn’t have that. It leaves you at the end not optimistic or cheery, but just with “this is how it is for many, it needs to change” kind of a feeling. I’m so glad I read this book, and I can easily see how it might land in my TOP THREE this year as it’s a story about lives I cannot forget. This book was published in 2014, but I found so applicable and relevant to 2021. If you’re looking for a memoir to really open your eyes, this is it. If you’ve read any of her novels and want to suggest some of those for me, I’d love those recs in the comment section too.
I’ve reviewed over 350 books on my blog, and I do believe this is the first book I’ve ever quit and told you about. (I do quit books from time to time, but I typically keep them to myself). I read fifty percent of The Right Swipe and couldn’t read another page. Why am I telling you? Well, because I thought the book had GREAT potential, the author came HIGHLY recommended, and I’m certain that I just picked the wrong one out of her collection, so I’d love to hear what other book I should read that she has written. I honestly would have read the entire thing and probably given the novel glowing remarks because it was a super cute, easy to read, funny chick lit that I could see us all reading on the beach this summer and loving except…the adult content was just too much for me (and I loved Game of Thrones and Bridgerton!). I’m almost 40, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I do tolerate/accept/whatever you want to call it adult content in moderation and/or when it’s pertinent to the story in a very real way…but this just seemed gratuitous. So, loads of potential, but I couldn’t continue on. If this is an anomaly and her other novels are not quite so “grown up”, then please let me know. I was really into the plot (two people who created/owned dating app companies start dating) and loved the characters, but I couldn’t finish it. This one is very rated R, so beware if you are thinking about reading it.
I adore Kristin Hannah books.
I love them.
Her book The Great Alone was the third best book I read in 2018 (and one of the best books I’ve EVER read!). And Night Road? Well, every parent of pre-teens should read that book. So, I was super, super pumped to read her newest novel The Four Winds.
I think Andrew summed it up best for me…I finished the book while we were in bed watching TV/reading one night and as I closed my Kindle, I said “Ugh, I did not like my book.” He said, “What was it about?”. I said, “The Great Depression.” and then he laughed and said, “That’s like reading a book about the Titanic or Hindenburg and expecting a happy ending.”.
Well said, Andrew.
Okay, this novel is about a woman and her family who live in West Texas during the Great Depression…the story opens with her as a young, unmarried woman and then progresses as she gets married, has children, and does whatever it takes to save her family. I mean…I’m sure it’s very accurate. I’m sure the story she told (fictional) was very similar to so many real stories during that time period, but oh my word, the whole thing just wore me out emotionally. You know, The Great Alone is a hard book to read. It’s tragic and painful, it’s raw and uncomfortable…but at the end, it left me optimistic about life in general and the strength of the human spirit. At the end of this book, I was just sad.
Needless to say, it’s not my fave. It very much might be one you would like though? Not everyone loves a good “happy ending/life is great/let’s watch the Hallmark channel now” book as much as I do, so maybe this one is for you. It was not for me. I hate that because I was really excited to read it.
What do you do after you read a book that was just “okay”, one really hard book, one book you quit and a book that super bums you out? You say “to heck with it” and read a newly released slightly controversial book since you’re already in a bad mood…
Oh geez. I read Good Apple by Elizabeth Passarella.
This memoir is trending right now, and the reactions I’m seeing on social media are all over the place. I read over and over that it’s sure to offend, sure to upset and sure to basically piss everyone off (excuse my language…but yeah, that’s what I was reading). So, in my “I haven’t picked the right book yet this month, I might as well tip the scale and really read something terrible”, I read this book…AND I LOVED IT.
I didn’t see it coming.
In this newly released memoir, the author (a married mom of three young kids) is a Southern Christian girl who is permanently living her life in New York City as a Democrat…and apparently, this is upsetting the masses on both sides of social media (and in her own family). I for one thought the book covered SO MUCH MORE than politics and was so freaking fascinating. I live a very suburban life down here in Texas, so I thought the whole “her living in NYC in a very small apartment with her family” was suuuuuuuuper interesting. She goes into great detail about how they live life in close quarters, what it’s like day in and day out, how her kids’ public schools work, doing everything via public transportation and so much more. She sucked me way in. I thought it was more than fascinating to read about how, after 20 years, some people still see her as an “outsider” there, but others embrace her as a New Yorker. I loved when she talked about her parents (her dad was Jewish), family roles and expectations, her miscarriages (she’s had two), how much she loves Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages (me too!), the fact that she’s an Enneagram 8 (me too!!!) and she even has an entire chapter dedicated to When Harry Met Sally (I mean…COME ON!). I loved it all. Yes, she talks about politics and yes, I even enjoyed those chapters too because she was really honest, open and transparent (it was refreshing!). I really loved the whole thing and honestly? It might be one of my top books of 2021. I’m so glad my bad mood sent me to her book 😉 .
Finally, I ended my book with another reader recommendation and friends, BRACE.YOURSELVES. I am about to gush like a crazy woman. I owe so many of you an apology because I did not get it.
I get it now, The seventh book I read this month could easily be in my TOP THREE as well…
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron.
Who am I? Ha!
Okay, here’s the deal, last spring I knew nothing about Enneagram numbers. Nothing. BUT one of the most frequently asked questions of Andrew and me last year was to tell you our numbers. So, we each took the quiz, and it said we were both high 8s. Okay. Cool. We’re both high 8s. That’s awesome. Exceptttttt…every time you would ask me our numbers, and we would say “8”, I would get fourteen billion DMs saying things like “how are you happily married?”, “there’s no way you’re an 8, you seem too nice”, “don’t you fight all the time”, “you’re a 2, not an 8”.
I was confused.
It says I’m an 8. It says he’s an 8. What’s wrong with being an 8?
So, I read this book.
Friends, I am TOTALLY AN 8, and that’s not a bad thing!
I think anyone who personally knows me, knows I’m a total 8, and since they know my hubby too, they probably get how we’re great together because we could only respect/tolerate/love another 8 as spouses. So, I’m way sucked in. I think one day, maybe we’ll do an entire post on Enneagram (seriously, what’s happening to me?!) because I’m that fascinated, and there’s way too much to cover in one book review, but just know, I loved this book, I loved that it’s pretty faith-based and relates to how to use your number to witness to more people, I loved that it covers “wings”, I loved it all! If you have other recs on Enneagram books, send them my way please!! Seriously, we’ll cover this more later together!! In the meantime, read this book!!
Okay, what are your thoughts? What did you read this month? Have you checked out my TOP THREE BOOKS OF 2020 yet? What should I read in March? I need a whole lot of new and fresh suggestions please!!! Comment and share!!
Don’t forget, I keep a running list of every book I’ve read in 2021 right HERE!
Happy March, friends!!! xo
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.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2019 (all 54 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2020 (all 54 of them), click here.