Happy, happy Monday, friends!
It’s BOOK REVIEW DAY!!!!!!
We haven’t had a Book Review Day since mid-December, and I don’t know about you, but I am R-E-A-D-Y to discuss all things BOOKS again!
Just to recap, here were my Top 5 Favorite Books of 2022…
#5: The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki
#4: Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
#3: Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
#2: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
#1: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Now, on to my JANUARY 2023 reads!
If I’m being super transparent, this month was “okay”. I’m really hoping you guys offer up some amazing suggestions for February because all in all, my January was a bit flat. There were so high moments, some low moments and some boring moments. New book suggestions greatly appreciated in the comment section today!
I read five books this month.
It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
So, if you’ll recall, I named Colleen Hoover’s book It Ends With Us MY 2nd FAVORITE BOOK OF 2016. I loved that book so much! If you haven’t read it, you certainly should. You can read my original review of it HERE.
Fast forward all of these years later and Hoover’s newest novel is the prequel to that one (sort of, but not really). This starts right before the epilogue of It Ends With Us. So, these events aren’t “before” the plot of It Ends With Us, it’s about all of the events that take place between the last two chapters of that novel (as time as passed between the two…this is that time). I’m being vague, but if I’m not, I’ll give away what happens in the first book.
So…what did I think about it?
It was good! I thought this was a quick read, much ‘lighter’ than the first one. It’s not super meaty (the first one has a heavy theme), but more frivolous and chick-lit. There is no real suspense in this novel or major surprise since we’ve all read the final chapter of the first book and know how it wraps up. Was it entertaining? Yes. Was it necessary? Not at all. It doesn’t advance the story in any real way. Just like the first one though, this novel is Rated R. I would say that if you haven’t read It Ends With Us, make sure you read that one first…and then if you have time, pick up this one. You’ll breeze right through it.
In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner
So many of you suggested I read this novel about two teens from Tennessee who get scholarships to a very prestigious boarding school in Connecticut. They go from their small rural town to this very upscale, wealthy school that’s more academically challenging but also socially challenging too. Out of all the books I read this month, this one was my favorite. I didn’t love, love, love it, but I liked it a lot and was always anxious to pick it back up. This has a little bit of everything…it’s sad but sweet. It’s meaty but light. It’s about adventure and then also returning home. It has a little love, a little humor, it’s a lot about family and what makes us connected. It was a good read. Thank you for suggesting it!
Another one you suggested for me to read this month was…
I Take My Coffee Black by Tyler Merritt
Well dang, I really love this man now.
I had zero idea who this guy was or why you all thought I should read his memoir, but now, I want to be his best friend.
In great detail, Merritt takes you from his childhood in Vegas as a military kid through how he avoided not being in a gang, how he survived and then thrived between different high schools, how he fell in love with musical theater, FOUND JESUS, moved to California, Tennessee and soooooo much in between all while being funny, charming, serious and crazy witty. This book covers everything from how he feels/deals/thrives/succeeds as Black man in America to his faith and how the Lord has lead him down roads he never would have suspected and also dug him out of pits life threw his way. He talks about addictions and love and friendship and career changes and heartbreak and hope…you guys, it was like going to church inside a country bar with a little Broadway thrown in for kicks. He was endearing and encouraging. I didn’t know who he was, but I loved him in the end. His memoir is excellent. Thank you for the rec!
My Hygge Home by Meik Wiking
Yes, please! I’ll take all the Hygge I can get in the wintertime!
I’ve blogged about my love of Hygge before. What is it? It’s basically the Danish word for a cozy lifestyle (sort of). It’s all about creating coziness in your home and contentment in your heart. This author is a Danish man who has spent his life thinking through different ways to bring Hygge into homes. He covers everything from actually doing things (the lighting in your home, the blankets on your bed, etc) to ways of life (the people you spend your time with, the food you eat). If you want to be inspired this gray winter, pick up this book. I promise you, you’ll be lighting the fire, making soup and inviting your girlfriends over. It’s just coziness.
Spare by Prince Harry
Here we go.
So, I read this one.
I went into this book trying to be neutral in my heart. I like the Royal Family. I respected the heck out of Queen Elizabeth. I watch The Crown. I know that Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are controversial. I don’t know? I was intrigued, so I bought the book. Here are my thoughts…
He clearly had a complicated life. Clearly. No one on Earth has any say over what family they’re born into, and needless to say, being born into the Royal Family had its perks but also its problems. And then his mom died when he was eleven. And he goes away to boarding school. Complicated. I loved hearing the “behind the scenes” stories on how they live day to day. I really loved his stories from when he served in the British military. I loved reading about how much he loved Africa. How much he loved his wife. I think all of that would have been a very entertaining book to read. I would have loved that book.
This book though?
Um, as much as I loved that other stuff, I didn’t love the airing of the dirty laundry or the throwing his family under the bus. I actually think I would have liked him as a person very much had the book not be filled with so much animosity. There were lots of jabs and fingers pointed at others…and very little self-reflection or accountability for any of his own actions. This is really a memoir about him being a victim. I think he would have written this and edited out about 50%, I would have finished and thought “wow, he’s a really good man with a complicated life”. Instead, I finished and thought “he sure is a bitter man”.
Everything he wrote that made his life and Meghan’s life so hard (the paparazzi, the pressure from the British public, the lack of attention from his father, having a mom that died when he was young, going to boarding school, having no real say whatsoever on what kind of life he was ‘supposed’ to have) was very “poor us”, but, please correct me if I’m wrong…didn’t those exact same things happen to William and Kate? Aren’t those their problems too? And yet, they’re very much painted as the villains while Harry and Meghan are the victims.
All “poor me” and “they’re so terrible”. Not a good look, Prince Harry.
And finally, about 7 or 8 times a year, I “quit a book” but never discuss it here. I don’t talk about it because I didn’t finish the book, so it doesn’t “count” as something I read this year. Why bring it up?
This photo. Dang. On my recent DAY IN THE LIFE post, I showed this picture and so many of you recognized the book as The Rose Code, so I feel like I should mention that it’s not included today because I did quit it. It wasn’t “bad”, it was just (in my little old opinion) very boring. I read and I read and I read and I always know something is off when I lose interest in picking up my book at night. So, one night, I begrudgingly picked it up and clicked out of the book on my Kindle to see how much I had left to read (hey, maybe it’s almost over?!). I was only 41% of the way through. Nope. Too slow for me. I quit it. So, that’s that.
I need to know WHAT DID YOU READ THIS MONTH?! I would LOVE some new suggestions from any genre!!! Comment, comment, comment please!
Also, don’t forget…
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.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2021 (all 59 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2022 (all 60 of them), click here.
That wraps up Book Day!
Sending you all so much love on this Monday!
I’ll see all of you back here tomorrow! xx
Erika Slaughter says
I’m finally ALMOST finished with The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder but I wouldn’t recommend it. A little too slow as well!
Carlye Marshall says
Have you read the Finlay Dunivan series by Elle Cosimano? It’s 3 books (the 3rd came out a couple days ago). Even though they are about murder, they are light, funny, smart and mysterious.
A single mom trying to make ends meet gets misunderstood by a stranger that she is a murder for hire. It’s so funny! I can’t wait to read the 3rd one!
It’s good to know that you also quit books. I used to force myself to finish a book once I started but now I realize life is too short to read boring books lol.
You should totally read wrong place wrong time by Gillian McAllister. It’s one of the better thrillers I’ve read in a while. The story line was very different which made it a very quick read.
Mix and Match Mama says
Amen! I used to do the same thing, but I stopped. If I don’t love it, why waste my time?
I agree, wrong place wrong time is so good!! Everyone add it to your “to read” list!
Vivien Wessels says
I totally agree regarding SPARE and also Rose Code. Diamond Eye was also dnf for me – extremely boring
I’m reading Diamond Eye and having the hardest time with it. People rave about it so I’m trying my best but man I’m struggling.
Dreamland by Nicholas sparks – a departure from his regular writing style & I really enjoyed it!
What happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline, another departures from her regular writing style, and I couldn’t put it down!!!!!
Elspeth Mizner says
The Hygge book sounds sooo good! I read Spare too, I really enjoyed a lot of the behind the scenes stuff too! I’ll be adding the Colleen Hoover book to my list too!
Love these posts! I am now on my third book of your 2022 top 5 list and really enjoyed the first two – Marjorie Post and Remarkably Bright Creatures. Carrie Soto has been harder to get into than the other two but just started it….
Mix and Match Mama says
Yay! I’m so happy you’re reading through my faves from last year!
I felt the opposite about Spare. I think he did have a very hard life and it gave me more empathy for him and Meghan. William and Kate also face the same problems, but they can’t talk about it. If they could, maybe they would feel the same as Harry? We’ll never know because they aren’t allowed to. I didn’t feel he shared any information that we didn’t already know about the Royal family. I felt it was much less an attack on the Royal family than it was an attack on the paparazzi. I give him credit for taking a stand against them and not allowing his wife to face the same life as his mother did. The paparazzi doesn’t treat Kate that way because they love her. Also, I listened to this one and I loved hearing the story with him reading it.
Agree with all of this!
I totally agree with you Eileen.
I agree with this review 💯 . Also listening to memoirs is the only way I read them. Something about hearing from them directly! I enjoyed Spare and feel like we’re were given some more perspective for their decisions.
Yes!!! Me too! I think hearing him tell his story definitely paints a different picture than one might get by reading it. Just like misunderstood emails or texts! I didn’t get a “victim vibe” at ALL!
Marie Williams says
I’m from England and I won’t even read the book. I’ve seen all his press tour interviews and that was enough for me. Meghan treated the staff really badly and according to them, they left due to paparazzi and privacy, so they make a Netflix show and write a book and go on national TV. Yeah that’s the standard on how to create privacy. I’m sorry but totally a victim mentality. Shay was spot on 👍
I agree with your assessment of Spare!!!
Yes! I listen in audible and hearing his voice may have helped but I felt like it really disappointed me that the relationship between Harry and William really never is as strong as we are lead to believe. Also that William (or from Harry’s view really doesn’t seem to want to help Harry or tends to push him away. That whole aspect really was sad for me. I truly can’t imagine the weight on William’s shoulders but am disappointed he doesn’t seem to want the same relationship Harry wants.
Yes I agree with all of this! I found his honesty to be endearing.
I feel the same! Very well said!
I agree too. From what I know Meghan has been treated very differently than Kate. It’s all really sad
Yes!! Kate did not experience racism. We cannot equate her treatment in the press with Meghan’s.
Sarah L says
Yes! Totally agree!
Totally agree! He is Diana’s son protecting his family.
I agree with your assessment 💯. Thinking of the other memoirs I’ve read, his was quite tame in the stories and the frustration and fear was very much directed at that media.
I agree with Eileen and feel that this is a story of a man who lived through childhood trauma, was never given a voice, and is protecting his wife from the same trauma that killed his mom. I also think it is unfair to give a book review of Spare without referring the racial behavior of the paparazzi. There is a reason why Harry and Meghan were targeted and not William and Kate. Watch their documentary and you will see very explicit examples of this.
I agree completely. Kate is white and British, and simply did not receive the racial-directed hate from the paparazzi that Meghan did. The royal family was quick to throw Meghan under the bus for negative press to save their own faces, and instead saw her success and relatability to the Commonwealth as a threat instead of an asset. Harry and Meghan’s documentary was very enlightening about many of the challenges they faced with the royal family, and it was interesting to watch it in combination with reading “Spare.” To me, it did not seem like they were saying “poor me,” but they were just speaking candidly about their direct experiences (while they were not previously allowed the autonomy to speak out).
I don’t think it’s true that the paparazzi has treated Kate different. They have been very nasty with her (think using ultra powerful camera to take pics of her topless while in a backyard on vacay). I think though that Kate and Meghan have very different personalities and Kate is British and understands the culture more, dated William for several years, dealt with paparazzi all those years. William was very careful preparing her for royal life for years. It was a different scenario.
Well said, Eileen. I maybe wouldn’t make all of the same choices in the same way, but this book made me feel tremendous empathy for both him and William, honestly. With family that will trade stories with the tabloids that ends with people hating you and your spouse, who needs enemies? I agree that the others in the family have dealt with a lot in the press, but that doesn’t make it healthy or right.
Completely agree, well said! And it is SO powerful to hear him reading it on Audible! Highly recommend!
Marilyn Giuliano says
I totally agree. I feel the paparazzi treated Meghan and Harry completely different than they treated Will and Kate. Yes, they were all hounded by the paparazzi, but the hate and vitriol that was directed at Meghan was on another level.
I also agree with you. Great explanation:)
Erika Myhre says
I agree with you! I wish people would realize William and Kate are treated very differently and either can’t or are choosing not to speak out. I really wish people would have more empathy for Harry.
Yep same here. Didn’t you just want to hug that boy? It is a complicated life and clearly they were not treated the same as Wills and Kate. And the family did not back him at all.
The paparazzi did not love Kate in the beginning. I think she earned their respect.
We cannot assume William and Kate would feel the same. Pure speculation.
Chrissy Scheiter says
1000% agree with this. I also think they faced a different set of struggles due to Meghan being very different than what was expected of Harry. I very much liked this book and loved how much his love showed through for his wife and kiddos.
I also listened to Spare as I prefer audio for memoirs or biographies if narrated by the author. I agree with your review and feel great empathy for all he has endured. Plus, he’s the Spare thus it matters little that he left to live his life as he chose. He had that option while William does not. He had me when he said he feared what happened to his mom would happen to his family. Team Harry.
The element of race is also very real and very valid and should be acknowledged if we are “comparing” the two couples. The racist comments made toward Meghan and the blatant hostility that followed is not something Kate will ever have to face, so we can’t say how she & William would handle it. Bravo to Harry for defending his wife and calling out what should be called out.
Kristin B Lochhead says
I think the difference between Kate and William and Harry and Meghan is that Kate and William were “protected” because he is the heir. And Harry was thrown to the wolves (paps) because he’s the spare. It seemed like the institution was willing to allow the paps to expose and lie about Meghan and Harry because it distracted from William and Kate and Charles and Camilla. So while they were in the same situation, it was not at all being treated or handled the same by the Royal family.
Agreed! I felt he was put in a hard place and he he was in a position he wasn’t happy with, so took control over his life and has made changes. The book helped tell his story of this changed. I do think this is his side and probably not the only side but I really enjoyed his side.
Jen King says
Absolutely…I agree! I think he treaded lightly on the family stuff. The beef was with the paparazzi.
I agree with everything you said. How hard and traumatizing would it be to grow up with a Press that is constantly watching and narrating your life without having any say in that? I think it’s so important that people.be allowed to share their own version of a story and to maintain their voice.
I agree with you 100%. I think the death of his mother was something he could never get pass. His father told the boys they were not allowed to cry in public. Can you imagine being 11 years old and having to walk behind your mothers coffin while people are wailing and not being aloud to shed a tear? Yet, when the queen died, Charles showed emotion and she’d tears.. He learned so much as got older about what his mother went through. He didn’t want the same for his wife and children. Rightfully so! I’m proud of him for speaking up and protecting his family. I would have done the same.
Yes! The entire point is that when you are not the crown, your life is run for you all so that whoever is an heir EII, Charles, William) looks their best while you are hunted and haunted and hung out to dry. I thought it an excellent book!
I may have suggested these memoirs before, BUT if not I highly recommend The Elephant Whisperer, The Last Rhino, and Babylon’s Ark by Lawrence Anthony. The last two are my favorite and I read them out of order, but they do build a bit on each other so I recommend the Elephant Whisperer first. His wife had written a few books too since is passing that are sweet but not quite as gritty as the three by Lawrence.
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver!
Brandi Carson says
YES YES YES!! Read it in January and absolutely loved it!!!
The narrator is terrific on the audiobook
Jennifer Goodwin says
Any respect I had for Harry was lost the minute he and Meghan ran and aired their problems to Oprah. I may lose friends over that, but I’m okay with my opinion. 🤣 That being said, thanks for sharing your books!
I read and loved The Blackout Book Club this month and I feel like you might love it. It’s set in Maine during WWII and surrounds 4 women with different backgrounds and experiences who come together through a book club at a library slated to be closed. It’s so good!
Brittany B says
A Place To Hang The Moon is such a good book. It is a historical fiction novel (which I love) but it revolves around a group of siblings, which I think pulls you in even more. It would be a book your older kids might also enjoy. A great story from start to finish (plus a little history thrown in there). 👍🏻👍🏻
A Place to Hang the Moon https://a.co/d/beTu5Yj
My 13 year old LOVED this book!
Laura m says
I’m halfway through Code Name Helene and really enjoying it!
I also quit The Rose Code. I tried so long times and just could not get into it!
Yayyy book review day!! SO… do you recommend we read Harry’s book or not?! I feel like I could go either way after your review!
Mix and Match Mama says
It was suuuuper fascinating! I could not put it down!
Pamela Garrett says
I read Marjorie Post after your recommendation and I loved it…so interesting. I also read Spare and I couldn’t agree with you more…for 2 people who claim all they want is pricacy they sure are doing everything to be in spotlight (books, TV interviews, Netflix, etc) Thanks for your reviews…I always look forward to them
They want privacy from the British paparazzi. Being in the U.S., I believe they finally feel like they can share their experience and tell their side of the story rather than the media taking that away from them. They are still very public figures and always will be. Why not just let them tell their story? Take it or leave it, but I wish people would just have some empathy and keep the negative judgements to themselves.
My thoughts exactly, Erika.
I respectfully disagree. When they put themselves out there with TV interviews and documentaries and now the book, they in essence invited us all to comment. If they were really trying to live privately, why do all that? Additionally, did they really think throwing the entire family under the bus was appropriate and wouldn’t elicit comments?
Dawn Holtrey says
I agree Pamela. Interesting way to stay out of the spotlight and enjoy privacy. The way Harry compared Megan to Diana really irked me she’s no Diana!
Amy Heinl says
I read Spare and I loved it and had some different thoughts than you. I know you commented that William went through the same thing as Harry but there is a big age gap between them when their mothers death occurred and that really affects how one processes it. If something traumatic were to happen to Kensington and Ashby at the same time, they would each process it to where they are in life. So I appreciated Harry sharing his perspective and would love to read Williams as well one day
Mix and Match Mama says
I guess I would just hope Ashby gave Kensington grace for processing her life events differently instead of writing a book about her and her husband mentioning so many of their private issues…
This. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t so publicly put down your siblings…or reveal extremely personal things about your fathers coping skills from his own childhood (hello the Teddy bear). Every family goes through things and has trauma involved, but that doesn’t mean that every sibling decides one day to write a book taking away the privacy of what happens in that family. I found it intensely disloyal and unfair to William and Kate. You can certainly write about your experiences without deciding to take others down. Could have been a great book, missed the mark.
I couldn’t agree more, Maggie
Emily Harbarger says
There are so many complexities. I would want my siblings to address privately as well. He mentioned, I believe in the book but I know if some follow up interviews, that he tried on multiple occasions to address issues with his family without success. I also think that if the press was pushing a false narrative about me (at times fed by my family) that was derogatory and compromised my families safety, I would want to shout from the roof top my side of the story.
Alicia H. says
Amen. Well Said Emily.
Also listened to the memoir on audio and thought it was very well done. Kudos to ghost writer J. R. Moehringer, who knocked it out of the park with his vivid descriptions of time and place to immerse the reader in Harry’s life. As for spilling family secrets, Harry does a pretty effective job of demonstrating that the media has already spilled so much that telling his own story is the only way to the truth. IMO, if there’s another side to the story, it should also be told, but silence from William and Kate and Philip and Camilla isn’t helping anything at this point. The royal family’s motto of “never complain, never explain” seems to be at the core of the family rift. If this means never defending your loved ones, as it seems to, then I fully sympathize with Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away.
There’s just over a 2 year age gap between them. In Spare, Harry acts like William is much older and should be more responsible and mature, but they’re actually pretty close in age.
The difference between what William and Kate experienced and what Meghan and Harry experienced is the racism. Kate never had people saying she was from Compton, she never had people asking how dark her child would be, she never had people saying she was “tainting the Royal blood” by being biracial. I do understand what you are saying about it seeming like he is complaining but when you look at the way the press treats him and his family vs the other members of the Royal Family, I don’t see it that way at all! I think the fact that so many people (not speaking of you specifically just society in general) see this book as “woe is me” instead of “oh man! We’ve got to do something about the racism and bigotry of the press” shows how far we still have to go!
Mix and Match Mama says
I absolutely agree that that could have been the entire book…I thought it was only about 10% though at the end. I think that in itself could have been the book. There was way more poor me and mean Willy (in my opinion) than poor Meghan.
Danielle C says
As a black women living in our society I completely agree that we, all of us, have a LONG way to go. On all sides-not just race. But, just to play devil’s advocate here, how do we know similar things were not said about Kate? We don’t. Because Kate does not take it upon herself to blast her husbands family for saying things about her. At the end of the day, the options of others really shouldn’t make anyone so upset to the point they have to to go great lengths (such as Harry and Meghan) to prove a point.
I am so relieved to come to the comment section and see that someone pointed out the experience of racism. I think you must mention that complexity in order to have a fully comprehensive review of this book. While I appreciate Shay’s review, I am glad to see alternative points of view in these comments. I read the book and decided it’s not my place to judge the situation. Nobody (except for the royal family themselves) can possibly come close to relating to what Harry experienced. And for what it’s worth, it’s said that many other royals spread rumors of other family members through the press anonymously. At least Harry put his name to his truth.
I agree with you Sharon.
Sherrie Moore says
Totally agree Cara!
Your description of It Starts With Us really has me confused. I just read both of them back to back, and It Starts With Us picks up right where It Ends With Us leaves off… right at/after the epilogue, and then the events that take place after that… I could have guessed the ending, but it wasn’t given away. I would very much say that it is the sequel, not the prequel. But maybe I’m wrong on that somehow?
Either way, I enjoyed the book.. just not nearly as much as It Ends With Us! I’d agree that it was a less meaty book, but still a good read!
Mix and Match Mama says
Now, it’s been a really long time (years!) since I read It Ends With Us but we know—things happen at the end of the book (I don’t want to say) with two of the characters, right? If memory serves (which it might not), we know how this “ends up”? (Again, I do not want to spoil anything in the first book by naming two characters.)
I’m currently reading It Starts with Us and just finished It Ends With is. It Starts with us is definitely the sequel. Colleen Hoover even writes the following in the prologue: “This book is a sequel to It Ends with Us and begins right where the first book concluded. For the best reading experience, It Starts with Us should be read second in the two-book series.”
Yes, you are correct on that! But then It Starts With Us picks up from that.. it doesn’t occur between the last two chapters/before the epilogue. It pretty seamlessly goes from the epilogue to continuing into the next year-ish after that encounter! So you really don’t know how it ends.. you know how it starts! But you should read the last chapter and the epilogue again, haha! I think that would be enough to jog your memory of the ending of the first book 🙂
It’s funny because it’s something so minor, but this sat with me and confused me all morning.. I had to pull out the books again and make sure the first one ended how I thought it did! hahahaha
Tera Knepp says
I agree with you, Alana that it’s a sequel. I read them back to back in the same week. 🙂
I read Remarkably Bright Creatures and loved it! I have passed it along to several friends already. Thanks for the recommendation!
I finished Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult recently and really liked it.
Mad Honey was great!
Sara Wolf says
I read Mad Honey this month too and thought it was great. Not the “twist” I was expecting at all and very eye opening. Really made me think. I love Jodi Picoult!
I just finished Mad Honey, too! I thought it was very good. Did not expect that ending at all.
Susan Jeffries says
It is nice to know that you quit books too! I have decided that reading is for enjoyment now that I am waaaay done with college and grace school(: I want to spend my time reading what I love. Thanks for the recommendations as always. I will not be reading Harry’s book. There is nothing poor about him. That is a hard pass for me. I just started The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx. As a gen Xer, I loved Motley Crue. They lived some crazy lives! Happy reading!!
Does ready your book review count as reading?
Mix and Match Mama says
I don’t think your book review would ever be complete without a comment by Sheaffer. She always makes me laugh.
polly pover says
I thought Spare was brave! I viewed it more as critical of the paps than the Royal Family and I thought his sadness about lack of support from the Royal Family and particularly those closest to him came through. Also, not fair to judge his personal experience against that of his brother—he was really, really clear about the differences between being the “heir” and being the “spare”!
Mix and Match Mama says
I am sure though that being the heir comes with struggles and issues the spare would never understand. I feel like he offered zero grace for that. It all felt very “me, me, me”.
Sharon Henry says
Polly, I agree with you completely!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – currently reading and enjoying. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult if you’ve never read it.
Lisa N says
Did you see that Blake Lively is set to star in the It Ends With Us movie?
Mix and Match Mama says
I did see that!!!
Stacey Blackford says
Just a hit of trivia…
Jen Hatmaker is dating Tyler Merritt.
I so agree with you on Spare!!
For suggestions, I LOVED Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, it’s older but it’s SO good, about a Mt Everest climbing trip and there is a storm – I’m not a climber/outdoorsy person but it was fascinating and a page turner!!
Caroline Walker says
Read this years ago with my niece for a school project – very good book!
I just finished a book that was one of those where you just want to talk about it with everybody you know. Two of my friends recommended it after their respective book clubs read it. It’s called The Measure by Nikki Erlick. One day everyone on Earth wakes up to a box on their doorstep that contains a string that reveals the measure of their life – how long they will live. It follows 8 different people as they grapple with this new reality of knowing how long or short their life is going to be, and how it affects their jobs, relationships, future plans, etc. So so good!
I just commented on this book too- I need a Mix & Match Review. I cannot stop thinking about this book!
I am currently reading it and it definitely makes for such interesting topics for conversations. I am halfway finished and truly enjoying it.
I’m reading The Rose Code right now, and I do find it to be super slow in some parts. But then are times when I literally cannot put it down. I’m 87% finished with it, and my plan is to finish it today! If you haven’t read The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose, you should!! It’s crazy but so good. Erika would probably like it, too!
This is why I love the book reviews! I agree with Shay’s loves/dislikes 95% of the time, but I really liked The Rose Code (although agree it was long) – and I quit Becoming Mrs Lewis 🙂
Fascinating to me how personal reading can be – and I know sometimes timing of when you read a certain book matters too.
Yes!! I so agree with you! I actually had to take a break in between my last book and starting The Rose Code, because I just couldn’t stop thinking about that other book. 😂 It took a little while for me to get into, but I love it!
Oh yes me too. I liked Rose Code. There were parts where I couldn’t put it down. But I quit Becomjng Ms Lewis too.
OOh, I was so pleasantly surprised that it’s book review today! All the happy feels, esp on a grey Monday.
I’m having a moment with Kevin Wilson. Kind of like your thoughts on the octopus book (which I ADORED), I thought I wouldn’t like his books book about children who light up on fire when they’re mad? But “Nothing to See Here” was FANTASTIC. He somehow makes this crazy scenario seem believable, and his writing is so very good. So poignant. I am now reading his next novel “Now is Not the Time to Panic.” It’s absolutely amazing. About two struggling teens who find friendship one summer in the 90s and create a piece of art that has a lasting impact on the whole country. I think you would enjoy both of these! Short, very readable and so so original.
Have you tried Elizabeth Berg? She is amazing. She writes a lot about women, friendship, parenting etc. Her latest series (Arthur Truluv) is about an elderly gentleman and his lovely neighbors. You will laugh, tear up, and get lots of good food descriptions in her books! They feel like hygge. ‘Durable Goods’ is also a great one of hers. She also has a few books of essays (one is called “The Day I ate whatever I wanted-love that one).
And good for you for quitting books! Life is too short. Sometimes a book just doesn’t click for you and I think it’s perfectly fine to walk away and pick up something you enjoy!
Have a great week and thanks for the book review! Carrie Soto is on deck for me next…
I loved The Housemaid by Freida McFadden this month. Suspenseful but not scary or rated R.
Karah Stracener says
I love love love The Housemaid and I love Freida McFadden. She writes suspenseful thrillers but not too scary.
Night Road by Kristen Hannah was sooo good. Also Mad Honey by Jodi Piccolt.
Mix and Match Mama says
Oh my gosh, I still think about Night Road ALL THE TIME! Wow! That one will stay with you.
Night Road will stay with you forever, I Agree!! I was talking about this yesterday and I read it years ago! It’s just one of those…..
Yes to both! We may be book twins 🙂
Last night I finished reading Marjorie Post and LOVED it. Waiting at the library is Remarkably Bright Creatures and I hope to pick that up today. I did not finish Rose Code or Midnight Library and I did not like Where the Crawdads Sing UNTIL the last two chapters. I kept wanting to return it to the library but Jenna and Reese loved it so why didn’t I. It wasn’t until it was over that it made complete sense.
One of my college girls was looking for something “non-academic” to read, so on the side I am reading through The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson for about the 5th time while she reads it for the first; the books belonged to my mother in law and when she passed away that was about the only thing I truly wanted. We would read through them every few years and talk about them like they were distant relatives. There is a prequel that sets up a character who is woven into all of the books. The O’Malley’s are siblings that adopted one another when they aged out of a Chicago orphanage and they all legally changed their last name. Among the professions are a hostage negotiator, forensic pathologist, fire fighter and US Marshall. They are not believers and each have a reason why it is hard for them to believe. The forensic pathologist knows what happens to a body when it dies and therefore a restored body could not come back from the dead three days later. Anyway, I could go on and on about those books because they are my absolute favorite ever and I love that I have my mother in laws series of books.
Also, I think the best thing about your book review are the comments. I love coming back later in the day and everyone sharing their picks of what we should be reading. You do have the best blog followers!
I absolutely LOVE Dee Henderson and the O’Malley series books! Your post makes me want to re-read the whole series again (for the umpteenth time, LOL).
Kim Letteer says
Your view on Spare is 100 right on in my option. Couldn’t have said it better myself
My favorite book of January has been Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary. Don’t let space book weird you out. It was funny and so, so endearing! I’m almost finished with Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting. It’s been a fun read with a great cast of characters on their daily train commute into London!
Also, thanks to your recommendation of The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post (❤️), I’ve taken a deep dive down other memoirs/historical fiction of the elite families during that time. Such fascinating lives!
Last year, I quit Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network for the same reason. 🙁
Tara Hall says
I loved Project Hail Mary too and it was so different than any of the books I normally read, but I loved it! Very endearing as you said.
Project Hail Mary was so so good, one of my favorite books I read last year. But I’ve learned very quickly that if people don’t have a science brain, they’re bored to tears! 😂
The difference between what William and Kate experienced and what Harry and Meghan experienced is racism at the hands of the press. In my opinion, the book was less airing dirty laundry of the family and more calling out the media on their racist and dangerous actions. I commend Harry for loving his family enough to get them out of that dangerous situation and focusing on the safety and love their family unit has!
Mix and Match Mama says
That should have been the entire book…not just a snippet. That would have been a much better book.
I listened to The Spare and was glad I did since Harry himself narrated it. I was prepared for a much worse trashing of the royal family than there was. I thought he did a pretty good job and mainly focused on the British press, which just sound totally awful and out of control. None of us know what is actually true and what isn’t inside walls of homes, castles, or palaces, and to have people who work for you or are supposedly your friends willing to sell a story about you to the press would be a terrible way to live, so it’s difficult to judge when he decides to tell his side of the story.
I loved In The Wild Light, but I also liked The Rose Code. 🙂
You had the bad luck of picking up my least favorite of Kate Quinn’s books. I ultimately enjoyed the Rose Code but I agree it was really slow. If you’re up for trying her again, the Alice Network is fantastic.
I’m with you on Tyler Merritt. Every time I hear him on a podcast, he is fantastic. For any of your readers who listen to Glennon Doyle’s podcast, he and Jen Hatmaker were on an episode together and I was fascinated listening to him. His book is on my list.
I’m looking up that podcast right now!!! After I read Tyler Merritt’s book I bought the audio version b/c I wanted to HEAR him tell his story. Plus I heard there were a few bonus guests sprinkled throughout.
Two books I’ve read recently that I loved!
1. Pretty Little Pieces by Carmen Schober- def recommend! It’s a CLEAN romance novel which is nice as a Christian! It’s hard to find novels that aren’t grossly R rated in this genre.
2. The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. So good also! Don’t want to give it away but I couldn’t put this one down.
Debbie E says
I totally share your opinion on It Starts With Us. It was short and didn’t really add anything too much to It Ends With Us. I didn’t hate it but wished it was more like the first book.
I have also quit on 2 books despite so many people recommending them. They both are just so hard for me to get into. I have not deleted them yet thinking I may try again sometime but I really have no desire. The first is Ghosted by Rosie Walsh and the second is The No-Show by Beth O’Leary. I do not know why, but neither one of them is keeping my interest. Should I try again or just move on??
Both have really strong endings! Even with the ending, Ghosted is my favorite ever, but I LOVED The No Show. I recommend picking that one back up!
Kim Fleming says
If you haven’t read The Daughter of Auschwitz DO! The depth of the character is astonishing for a 5 year-old who became the youngest person to survive the treacherous place. She tells her story from a child’s view and as a reader you can’t bring yourself to think as her mother, and the anguish she had to go through. On another historical note, Five Presidents, by the ex-secret service icon Clint Hill was eye-opening. His inward look at five presidents starting with JFK allows you as the reader to see what happened behind the scenes and how our leaders have such different personalities.
Yes yes yes!! Agree with EVERY WORD you wrote about Spare!
I am going to recommend “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain. I know you didn’t care for “The Dream Daughter”, but this is a totally different book. Suspense, a dual timeline, and a few more twists and turns before you get to the end!! So good! ❤️ and my fav book of 2020!!
Yes! That was an excellent book!
Lara Kessler says
Loved that one, too!!
Have you ever read The Rosie Project? It’s not new but I thought it was so sweet and a little different!
Mix and Match Mama says
I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t read it!
WhittyWife (Lindsay) says
Shay, you read it years ago. https://mixandmatchmama.com/2015/12/2015-books-in-review/
I remember because I read it maybe 3 or 4 years ago based on your rec. I remember assuming I wouldn’t like it, but I did! It was quirky and fun. 😊
Mix and Match Mama says
You’re the best, Lindsay! Thank you!
“Never Marry Your Brother’s Best Friend!”
I haven’t read this one but Amazon
just suggested it to me based on my previous book purchases.
It made me laugh, and I had to share! Might be perfect for you!
Shay, didn’t you marry your brother’s good friend???
Mix and Match Mama says
I married his friend…and…what about it?
I think she was teasing with her comment because the comment above hers mentions a book called “Never Marry Your Brother’s Bestfriend.”
Mix and Match Mama says
Ohhhhh! I was like “I’m so confused here”. Ha! Well, my brother’s best friend is Clay who would have been an absolute riot to marry though I’m positive I would have driven him crazy. 😉
I have had several discussions with friends talking about the pros and cons of “Spare.” Most friends tend to agree with your opinion. I do agree that others in the royal family have also been victimized by the press and public opinion BUT personalities are not the same. I see it in my own family…some are highly sensitive and more prone to take issues personally. They are more easily depressed and are full of anxiety about things others of us just shrug off. We can’t expect Harry and William to react the same way to things that happened to both of them. Then don’t get me started on the racism issue. I hope that we’ve reached a point where those of us who are not black, understand the racism that has tainted everything for generations in our country and in the British Commonwealth. Yes…they were victimized and he lays it all out.
Jen, thank you for this comment. I was speaking with a friend this morning and mentioned this issue. Mental health is a real issue in this book. I think within the first 15 minutes of reading, I recognized that he was a person who has really struggled with his mental health and is still struggling, I am glad he is getting help. I liked the book. I appreciate that Harry is trying to control the narrative. The book is his story, his perspective and in his voice. There were so many things at play in this story, mental health, loss, racism, strained family relationships, monarchy rules, etc etc. To not acknowledge all of the challenges would be irresponsible at best. Anyway, agree with your comment!
You should try the Finlay Donovan book series. They’re so funny! I can’t even start Spare because I know I’ll be annoyed. Remarkably Bright Creatures was so good! Thanks for the recommendation.
Finley Donovan is Killing It was a laugh out loud, fun pool read! She’s so relatable ❤️
Love the Finlay Donovan series – the newest one comes out this week!! I absolutely adored Remarkably Bright Creatures and really enjoyed both Carrie Soto Is Back and Demon Copperhead. I highly recommend The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman and Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel – very different styles but all such great reads!!
I watched the Harry & Meghan Netflix documentary, and something they said there really stood out to me and I think is relevant to your post. Assuming, as you said, “those exact same things happen to William and Kate,” (which many would disagree with), that doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it ok. Just because something terrible happens to someone else doesn’t make something happening to you less terrible. And I think it’s totally valid to feel a certain way about a life very few would chose to have. I’m not going to pass judgment on his feelings. That’s not a good look.
Yes to this!! I completely agree. There is so much judgement passed around that people forget about validating someone else’s experience or just having some empathy for them.
Yes to all of what you said Kate.
I haven’t read any of these yet! We’re doing Spare with my book club and I’m excited to talk about it. I am a CRAZY loyalist, and although I have zero reason to be loyal to W & K (aside from them sharing middle names with my kids 😉), for some reason I am. So I’m trying to be open minded…
Books I recommend for this month are—
Greenwich Park, Meet in the Margins, and With Love from London
Just finished ‘The ruthless elimination of hurry’ and really enjoyed it!! Very convicting.
Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron is a great memoir, but you might also cry!
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani is a good read!
The Reading List by Sarah Nissan Adams is so so so good! Sweet story about an unlikely friendship.
Our favs of the year are usually spot on, but I veered far off from you this past year! 🤣 I put down 4 out of your 5 favorites halfway through because they didn’t happen to hold my interest. My 3 favs of last year were ones you did enjoy too though- Nora Goes Off Script, The Bodyguard, and The Nightingale!
From this past month, Spare really got me out of my book funk but so did All the Dangerous Things and also The Last Housewife. The last two are “thrillers” but not too scary, murdery, or horror books at all- they’re dark, but they’re more enthralling character studies! I for sure think you could handle them and definitely enjoy them!
The Bodyguard by Katherine Center was such a fun book!! ❤️
Shannon Foltz says
I loved this book!
I occasionally quit a book as well, but The Rose Code was one of my book club’s favorites last year! I agree the first part is a little tedious but it gets so good and there are a few twists at the end that I didn’t see coming!
Abigail M. says
Have you read Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain? It’s older, but soooooo good!
Lara Kessler says
Please continue to include the books you quit with your book reviews! I have similar book tastes to you and like to know which books aren’t worth my time.
Mix and Match Mama says
I always feel terrible. I know authors work so hard on their books that it makes me feel sad to say I quit some of them. Agh!
I have It Ends With Us on my list to read this year! I will definitely keep your review in mind for It Starts With Us. And thank you so much for the Prince Harry book review! I’ve really been wondering about it, I’ve seen so many mixed reviews. I think I’m going to skip it! I really like Harry and Meghan and never got upset with them when they felt it best to step back from the Royal Family, but I have to agree with you even without reading the book, there’s a lot of victimizing on their end and no real accountability for anything they may have done to contribute to it. It’s very sad.
I’d recommend The Midnight Library by Matt Haig! Please forgive me if you read it and I may have overlooked it on your lists! I actually have my review of it up on my blog today. I gave it three stars because it was a little heavy (that’s just a personal thing for me!) and hard to get through the beginning, but really liked the way it came together and a much lighter ending and was worth the read for sure!
Make Life Marvelous
Nicole Wilder says
I always love reading your book reviews and get many of my books from your lists. I usually agree with your top recommendations, too. I will absolutely not be purchasing Harry’s book, I don’t want to give him any of my money. I also won’t watch the Netflix special and I didn’t watch the Oprah interview. I know many people may disagree with me, but I think Meghan and Harry are terrible. I’m sorry that he had a complicated life and if he felt like he needed to extract himself from that life, then by all means, do it! But to write a book and do a documentary exposing family secrets like that and making millions off of it?? NO. Kate had naked pictures of herself published in a magazine..they dealt with it and moved on. They aren’t out there complaining and whining, they are out there doing their job with dignity. Being in the spotlight or being a celebrity comes with a lot of perks but it also comes with a loss of privacy. Do I think that is right? No. But that’s just how our society is. If he’s mad about it, keep suing the press like he does, but don’t throw your family under the bus like that. I have had family issues in my life, but I would never expose my family members like that! Sorry this is so long, but I just feel very strongly like Harry is a whiny baby victim and nothing more. 🤷🏼♀️
I 100% agree with you.
100% This. All of this!!! I actually did watch the interview with Oprah though-Mainly because I love Oprah! But I also felt terrible for Meghan and Harry at first. I truly thought we had all gotten the wrong perception of the Royals. After the interview however I decided I was done. And after reading most of the reviews of Spare and the Netflix documentary, it doesn’t seem like I am missing out on much.
I think the difference between him and a normal celebrity is that he didn’t choose this. He was born into a fish bowl and lost his mom in a tragic way. He had to console others as a grieving child instead of getting support. You of course are entitled to your own opinion of him, but calling him a whiny baby isn’t accurate in my opinion.
I absolutely agree!
So Spare…. I enjoyed it and found it very intriguing… my takeaway was I pray Harry finds Jesus because all this “stuff” is heavy and hard and Jesus makes it manageable. Love book day btw!
Mix and Match Mama says
Amen and amen.
100% agree about Spare. My favorite book this month was A Quiet Life. It will be a fave for the year. Thanks for all the recommendations.
A Quiet Life was my favorite of the month as well!
I also read In The Wild Light because so many suggested it here. I loved it! So many nuggets of excellent writing throughout. I want all 4 of my teen daughters to read it! Read Emily Post as well and enjoyed it but it moved slowly for me. Currently reading Remarkable Bright Creatures – so many have loved and recommended this book! Thanks for your book reviews – one of my favorite ways to get ideas for my next reads!!
Oops – I meant Marjorie Post!!
Currently reading the Mitford affair by Marie Benedict . Love this crazy wild ride
Sarah Shaneyfelt says
The ONLY reason why I even finished The Rose Code was because it was for the book club I’m in. Otherwise I would have quit it too. And I bought it on my kindle and kept wondering when it would end—it was so long!!! Have you read The Alice Network by the same author? I could not put that one down!! So so good
Mix and Match Mama says
I really thought “surely, I’m done!” and when it said 41%, I was like “I’m out”.
I just read The Measure for book club. I loved it. Reviews at book club were split – most people loved it or hated it! I loved it.
We also read Hester. I don’t usually love historical fiction but this one was really good. It’s based on The Scarlet Letter. I had to go back and google to remember that book from high school 😂 but I really enjoyed Hester!
An oldie and first time for me. Lonesome Dove. Long read, wonderful story. I was sad to see it end.
I think you will love The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander! It’s set in a village in England, it’s like a Hallmark movie in book form, and it’s about a love of books bringing a small village together! Oh, also, the main character has a super special relationship with her grandmother. I’m telling you – you will love it! You will see the ending coming a mile away, but you will thoroughly enjoy the journey to get there.
I think the next time someone asks me about my opinion of Spare, I will just direct them to your post to read and say… “Ditto.”
Thank you for bravely sharing your opinion on it too btw…
I read the bookish life of Nina Hill by abbi waxman after reading your rec. I loved it and quickly read the rest of abbi waxmans stories and loved them! So if you’ve not read any of her other books, I’d recommend those:)
Mix and Match Mama says
It’s super cute!!!
(You should finish the Rose Code 😊)
Also there is a book called The Measure by Nikki Erlick. I’d love to know your thoughts on it. I feel like you’d hate it OR it would end up in the top 3 of 2023.
Also, I think I empathized with Prince Harry in the Spare a little but it really made me wish (HARD!) for a Prince William memoir. Will never happen, I’m sure, but wouldn’t that be fun 🤩
Totally agree on Spare – I reviewed it on Bookstagram and had a lot of the same thoughts. It’s so interesting how divided people are on Harry and Meghan – more interesting than Harry’s complaining! Reading Remarkably Bright Creatures now on your recommendation. Have you read Louise Penny’s books? They are so hygge to me.
Lauren P says
Did you watch Harry’s Netflix special? I was curious about his book but wasn’t sure how much of the content was the same or if new information was included in the book that made it worth reading.
Currently reading Remarkably Bright Creatures based on your rec and loving it!
Mix and Match Mama says
I didn’t watch it. Maybe I will now???
Sarah M. says
I actually wrote about The Spare on my blog today too! (www.torontosam.ca).
I did not get the impression he was bitter. And as for “me, me, me”, it was his book so it should have been about him. I felt like he has been trying to give his family the benefit of the doubt for years but they never reciprocated. They were willing to put up with the mistreatment but they have more of an incentive for that.
I completely agree. I thought I would feel more like Shay does, but I ended up with your agreeing with your viewpoint. I also felt like there was more of a racial component, on the part of the British press, than I previously thought.
The Personal Librarian. It’s historical fiction. I can’t put it down it’s so good.
Remarkably Bright Creatures was FANTASTIC. It starts With Us was a super easy read and fine. Honestly, it felt like that extra 10-15 minutes in a movie you wish you had to tie up loose ends and see a happy ending.
I bought Spare and keep just passing it by. I know he’s hurt, I have watched the interviews, but it feels a bit like grumbling which I am not a fan of. I like to focus on the blessings God gives and not continuously go over the hurt, resentment, jealousy or how unfair life is. Life nor families are perfect. How we respond is what matters. Where we gain strength and learn to love better matters. Just my cents without reading it yet. Maybe I will, but not yet.
kristen pasco says
Aw I had a totally different opinion of Spare. I just want to give the guy a hug. And even though it was definitely an airing of dirty laundry, I thought he did it very fairly and was even more gracious to William and his dad then he could’ve been. The British papers have been telling malicious lies about him his whole life and often these stories were supported by or even leaked from the palace. This was his chance to defend himself and tell his side of the story since the palace wouldn’t defend him.
Did you know that Beatriz Williams wrote under the pseudonym “Juliana Gray”? She has at least 2 series that I know of under that name. I picked up “A Strange Scottish Shore” but haven’t started it yet. Just a thought!
Mix and Match Mama says
What?! No way!
Do you not keep your percentage at the bottom left corner of your kindle? I keep it on minutes per chapter which is super helpful whenever I’m deciding whether to read “one more chapter” at night before going to sleep!
Mix and Match Mama says
I don’t. I know it’s weird because when I read an actual book, I can tell how far along I am in it…but on my kindle, I find that darn percentage distracting, so I don’t keep it on there.
Hi Shay – have you read Born a Crime by Trevor Noah? I am listening to the Audible book and it is phenomenal. I am reading The Lincoln Highway right now and I can already tell that it will be in my top 5 for 2023. In some ways the style reminds me of the Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell for anyone who read that one and loved it. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood is a smart, quick rom com that was entertaining as well!
I had The 100 Years of Lenni and Margo and West with Giraffes in my top 5 from 2022. Have you read those? I can’t remember.
Thank you so much for continuing the book reviews and being so transparent about your thoughts on whether the books have an “R” rating. Due to health reasons my sweet 80 year old mother has not been able to get out and about as much as she would like and has been having a very tough time mentally. She misses her friends and being active, I have been sending her books at least monthly (sometimes more often – she is flying through them!) and I get most of the suggestions from your blog and the comments. While “R” ratings don’t cause me to skip a book, my mother really does not care for them and you (and your community) make identifying good matches for her so easy. She LOVED Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Marjorie Post (and many others) that I never would have thought to send her. You guys are the best!
Just looked up Born a Crime – I think I will get it! Thanks for the recommendation.
Elizabeth Kelly says
Oh my golly- I completely agree about “The Rose Code”! Soooooo long and not much happening. I had a friend recommend it and wanted to like it so I held on and kept reading, but in the end felt like it was a waste of time. I’ve warned others. haha
Lindsay D. says
I enjoyed reading “The It Girl” by Ruth Ware.
I think I have suggested this but ok multiple times but I am going to keep suggesting it until you read it. Lol. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is amazing and definitely a place to visit if you go back to The Netherlands!
Tracy Graham says
I’ve read several good ones lately… maybe you have already read these, I don’t know. Mad Honey (by Jodi Picoult), If It Bleeds (my first Stephen King book ever—this is 4 unrelated short stories in one book), The Maid (by Nita Prose), and currently flying through The Measure (by Nikki Erlick). Loving it so far… hoping for a good ending because I’m really enjoying it.
Glad to know you DNF (did not finish) books on occasion! I used to feel so guilty not sticking out a book but have realized that my time is much better spent on a book I enjoy so there is no shame in DNFing a book! Currently reading (and loving) Marjorie Post. Read and loved Remarkably Bright Creatures (also in my top 3 from last year). Other favorites from last year: This Tender Land (one of my all time favorites), The People We Keep, A Man Called Ove (saw the movie, A Man Called Otto this weekend, based on the book……SO good), and The Nature of Fragile Things (historical fiction that reads like a thriller). I just finished a really good memoir, Between Two Kingdoms.
I wasn’t planning to read Spare because Harry and Megan are covered so heavily in the media I just felt like I didn’t need to know anything else. I’m super excited to read Tyler Merritts book after reading your review. I became aware of him because I am a Jen Hatmaker fan and they are dating. He seems like a really great person! I just started reading Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti and so far it’s so good!!!
Sara Wolf says
I am almost finished with “I Take My Coffee Black” and completely agree with you! So good and he’s someone I just want to hang out with. I picked it up because it was recommended by someone here in your comments section (where I get loads of recommendations!) Book review day is always a favorite!
I’m here to suggest “Wrong Place Wrong Time” by Gillian McAllister. I thought it was clever and could not put it down. So different! Hope you enjoy it!
Valerie Patton says
SAME! I could NOT finish the Rose Code. I love a series by S.J. Bennett about Queen Elizabeth and her assistant solving mysteries in the palace. Very fun and depicts life in the palace. The first one is The Windsor Knot.
I’ll “spare” you my thoughts on Spare, no desire to read, but can’t wait for the 6th season of The Crown, sooo good!!
Just read The It Girl, Ruth Ware and The House Across the Lake, Riley Sager, both were really good! Lessons in Chemistry I really liked as well!
Thanks to you my TBR stack is always growing 😍
My favorite read of the month was Colleen Hoovers Regretting You. Perfect romance – Valentine read that has some substance. I also read A Love Letter to Whiskey. I did love it – it’s definitely “spicy” and a bit of an emotional ride but it’s a pretty long book at 500+ pages.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
The Goddess Effect
Completely agree with you on Spare. Every chapter was a struggle to continue to read.
I completely agree with your review of Spare. Meghan has many traits of a narcissist, most notably separating Harry from his family. It seems that Harry has many narcissistic traits as well, most notably the victim mentality. Of course, we don’t know how much control Meghan had about what went in the book, but I suspect quite a bit. Sad!
I have recommended this book before, but it’s one of my favorite books of all time, so here goes again. It’s Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber, and it’s such a well written autobiography about her journey to England where she found Jesus. I think you’d really enjoy it!
Yes! So many good things tainted in Spare by the self-centered attitude. I feel like he didn’t give anyone grace and I have a hard time with him speaking against family. Especially since he knows it is unlikely they will have the opportunity to defend themselves. It feels very icky and about making money.
I know it’s older but I still love The Martian by Andy Weir!!! I STILL think about that book!
Try Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary! I loved it even more than the Martian!
Yes! It’s not even my genre, but I love both of these books!
I just finished “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” this morning and absolutely loved it! A fantastic story made even better by a very well done audiobook narration.
One more comment: This may have already been mentioned, but Tyler Merritt is the boyfriend of Jen Hatmaker (blogger, author, podcaster), who you may know about or perhaps know personally since she lives in Texas (I know, Texas is pretty big, lol)! I’m looking forward to reading Merritt’s autobiography – sounds good!
Mix and Match Mama says
You will LOVE him 🙂 !
I truly felt the same way you did about Tyler Merritt after reading his book 🙂 The poor people I work with had to hear about it for at least a month – ha!
Maybe you and Erika could pick your podcast back up and ask him to be a guest 😉
Mix and Match Mama says
Andrew is tired of talking about him…I mean, listening to me gush about him. He’s just SO FABULOUS in this memoir!
Hey there! I read just a couple of books this month…The wife’s house and carrie Soto is back…loved the latter shay! Thanks for the rec.
I just finished, The Cloisters by Katy Hays. I really enjoyed this book. I can’t decide if it it’s a psychological thriller or not, because it’s not scary, but it makes you think. I wasn’t a big fan the authors first book, The Lost Apothecary, but I thought The Cloisters was great!
Meagan Booker says
I really enjoy the love of my life by Rosi Walsh. You don’t see it coming and there’s lots of twists and turns that keep you interested. Enjoy! Lmk what you think
Looking for a review on the kindle paper white. I’m such a sucker for a REAL book but the weight of carrying them on vacation or out and about is getting to me. When I thought Kindle I knew the person I needed to reach out to was Mrs. Shay. I want to think I have read a review on your blog but I can’t seem to find it. If you don’t have one or if tou have other thoughts *maybe a topic idea for another post* 😉 Please Help!
So many good ones! I recently read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and really loved it!
Yes! That was surprisingly good!!
I loved the book These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant. The title and cover make it seem like a thriller but it’s not!
Also, I can’t remember if you’ve read This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. That’s another great one!
Thank you for your book review!!
I’m currently reading the biographical novel about Michelangelo, “The Agony and the Ecstasy” Its a hefty book but very well written and engaging
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer was SO good- reminds me of Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale a little but great read!
Mix and Match Mama says
It was my very favorite book of the YEAR in 2019!!!!
Oh my goodness the Prince Harry book! There is so much there I could talk for AGES! I have lots of mixed feelings about it, and generally having liked all the royal family including H and M, I felt it painted them in a less flattering light. Also, did you not think he shared a lot of stories that were not his to share? Like how William felt about his Dad marrying Camilla, if William drove through the tunnel in France….etc. I feel like he was really overstepping there by intruding on others’ privacy when that was SUCH a concern of people doing that to him!
As for recommendation, The Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel was one of the TOP THREE BOOKS I have ever read!!! Oh my goodness!!!
Kate never experienced racism like Meghan. I applaud them for calling out the disgusting behavior of the press and his family’s complicity. It’s easy to think they should be quiet and take it, but the average person wouldn’t last a second in their shoes. If that’s all people get out of this book (that it’s all woe is me) the whole book just went right over your beads.
Correction: heads not beads!
Emily C says
Hi Shay! Love your book reviews and getting more ideas from the comments! I recently finished “The Invisible Husband of Frick Island” by Colleen Oakley. Easy read, PG rated, took a few chapters for me but halfway through had me really wanting to know how this ends.
Just started The Book Thief, and loving it so far!
Emily C says
O, and forgot to mention a book thats a bit older,…”The Book of Negros”, if you haven’t already read that one……absolutely amazing, emotional, and thought provoking!
Laci Uhrbom says
Verity by Colleen Hoover!!!
Loving Lucy Clarke books for non-gory, not scary suspense/thrillers…. Just finished “The Blue” and “One of the Girls”
Dana Rudder says
Take my Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. It is a story and a part of history (maybe current) you will never forget. Please read!
I live for book review days, but I think you totally missed the whole point of “Spare”. Prince Harry consistently pointed out throughout the book that will and Kate suffered the same experiences via the paparazzi and press, but that it was consistently dismissed as the price to pay for being a royal. He refused to buy into that narrative and instead chose to create his own narrative, which I find admirable. He often stated that he understood Will and kates response because they had more to lose with being next in line to the throne, but that doesn’t mean he has to put up with abuse like he did. I found the book to be a powerful example of not buying into the status quo, even when it means having uncomfortable conversations or being accused of throwing your family under the bus.
VICTORIA ADAMS says
Deanna, thank you for this comment! I thought you summarized this well.
Yes…I totally agree!
Wow, I looooooved The Rose Code! Different strokes I guess… 😀
The Shadows of Pecan Hollow was my favorite in January!
Patti Stanford says
Hi loved your review. Spare broke my heart and I agree with you 100%. I think he needs a good therapist to help him with anger issues, and not a therapist-to-the-stars but a serious one. This book was like the email you write in anger but should not push send on. I do love them all though. And their babies are such cutie patooties!
My best books I recommend this month are The Incredible Winston Browne by Sean Dietrich, Foster by Claire Keegan and The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
Najla Alghaziani says
Oh Shay! I absolutely love and appreciate your honest reviews and I couldn’t agree more about Spare! Thank you!
Kelly Murphy says
Hi! I love reading your monthly book reviews! I just finished The Grace Year by Kim Ligget and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and loved them both!
These were my favorite reads from January in no particular order:
Where the Wind Takes Us by Kelly Harms
The Last Invitation by Darby Kane
They Turned the World Upside Down by Charles Martin
Alissa Vlcek says
Maude – by Donna Mabry
This book covers all the emotions. Historical time period and a true story. Strong woman!
Pam Harmon says
I SO agree with you on Harry’s book. I want to like him so much, but this really changed my opinion of him 🙁
I highly recommend- Greenwich Park- one of my favorite books from last year! I’m currently reading Home Front by Kristin Hannah and it’s pretty good. My friend gave me Mad Honey and she loved it so I’m reading that one next!
Heather Albrecht says
I’ve read some really great books! Most I found here, so thank you for the book reviews!
Here’s what I read in January
Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
The book of lost names by Kristin Harmel
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
It Ends with us and starts with us
Brooke Miller says
I read Delta County, Summer of 99 and then Midnight in Delta County and really enjoyed them. I recommend reading in that order. Easy reads, kept me guessing.
polly pover says
Shay, thank you for this very spirited and participatory conversation about Spare!! This will bring attention to the issue of systemic racism in our society and surely provoked serious thought around that in many of your readers!!
I don’t understand how any of the things that happened to Harry and Meghan were racist. Both the British people and the press LOVED Meghan in the beginning. They loved that she WAS biracial- they felt it was a breath of fresh air. But things seemed to turn when Meghan’s (alleged) behavior started to irritate people- accusations of treating staff poorly, being a diva, etc. As for wondering about the color of the baby’s skin- couldn’t that have been innocent? Like, will the baby have daddy’s eyes or mommy’s, which hair color and features, etc. If I was having a child with someone whose skin tone differed from mine, I’d be curious about what our child would like, too. None of that necessarily equals racism.
I literally just finished Matthew Perry’s memoir today – Friends, Lovers & The Big Terrible Thing and have to recommend it. It’s a tough read about addiction but very moving and Matthew Perry is so raw and unfiltered. So many “Friends” gems too.
Also recommend Gillian McCallister’s “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” – great thriller!
And then an oldie but goodie, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. Light and such a great read.
Read “We came. we saw. We left”. As a family who loves to travel you will appreciate it. So funny. So honest.
And please start sharing what you don’t finish. We need to know what to avoid!
I have not read Spare – I can not make myself feel sorry for Harry. While it would be interesting to know some of the behind the scenes information, I can’t get behind the victim mentality and lack of respect shown to his family – or making money by sharing your version of the family’s dirty laundry knowing they can not respond. My husband passed away when our girls were 10 and 12. They have always been so close and supportive of each other since that time – they are now 25 and 27. As their mom, it would break my heart if their special bond was broken. Especially if the rift was largely due to one of their spouses. Meagan knew the responsibilities she would have when she married Harry. I feel that she has instilled this victim mentality in him and destroyed a brotherly bond. I can understand the tension between Harry and his father, but he should always support William – and Kate.
I do love your book reviews and look forward to your posts every month. Thank you for your honest reviews ❤️
I’ve just spent the last hour reading everything here – thank you for taking the time each month to do these! I have four books right now that I just “can’t finish”…and wrote down books to put on my list, ordered one, and put many on hold 🙂 Looking for something to get lost in!!
Glad you loved Tyler Merritt – he taught me so much about being a Black man as well as how to have a great attitude and lean on the Lord for direction in his life. What a neat guy!!
I think Boo Mama and Big Mama from the Big Boo Cast could do an entire podcast just with the comments about Spare here – ha!
Emily Gardner says
Have you read anything by Clare Mackintosh? My book club just read her most recent one “The Last Party” – it was good, but not my favorite from her. They are all thriller-ish…this one was a whodunnit afterwards, so nothing overly scary or anything like that. My book club’s favorite of hers is one from years ago called “I Let You Go” – highly recommend!
I have just discovered the books of Sarah Addison Allen – they are romance with some whimsical magic-type stuff. Not a good description but they read fast – have really captivated me! Start with Garden Spells.
Appreciate your candid take on Spare!
Jennifer H. says
I just finished The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. Both were quick reads. I have the sequel to Pyjamas so that is next on my list. Part of My World by Abby Jimenez was super cute too!
Linda E says
I feel the same way about Matthew Perry as you do about Prince Harry. Skip the memoir. I did listen to Crying in H Mart and thought it was a beautiful about a daughter coming to terms with her mother’s death. The narration was particularly beautiful since there were numerous Korean references.
You have to read Kristin Hannah, “The four Winds.” It is one of my top 5 books of all
Times. It talks a lot prosperity, hardship, overcoming the odds…it pulls on all the heart strings and it just makes you appreciate what the Lord has blessed you with even more than what He already has. Please…please read.
Mix and Match Mama says
I did read that one. I’m trying to think back on what it was about…it doesn’t stand out to me as much as The Great Alone or Night Road does. It’s set during the Dust Bowl? Is that right?
Reading The Life We Bury right now and it’s really good! Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is a good one too 🙂
Regarding Spare, I agree with you. As suggested here, I now always listen to memoirs. At first, yes I wanted to hug him. I felt sorry for him. As the book progressed, I got annoyed. It was a lot of complaining. It started off good. I did feel incredibly sad hearing that he and Willy were never close. I always end imagined them having a tight bond.
For your next read, I highly recommend the Finlay Donovan series by Elle Cusimano! Book 3 came out today. You must read them in order as it’s a continuing story. If you’re interested, the author was featured recently on the Friends & Fiction YouTube show. She explains how she got he idea for the series. I enjoyed the discussion as I’m a fan of the series.
I must have ditched about 4 books this month! I couldn’t get into them. I used to never abandon a book. Now, I just don’t want to waste my time with a story I’m not interested it. So thank you for making me feel that’s ok. I really feels like defeat.
Kelly McClure says
Your book review says are one of my favorite days of the month! I just finished One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke. Loved it!!
I heard a podcast that recapped Harry and Megan’s saga as this – you either are all about them or find them whiney. And that’s obviously true here in the comments…ha! I watched the documentary and found them annoying and a little entitled. They have moved to America to do their own thing and that’s what they’ll do. However, I doubt I’ll read his book. I know it will be more of the same “poor me” rundown.
I am finishing The Measure. It is a very thought-provoking book! So good!
Cassandra Nunez says
I loved when Harry spoke about his time in the military and also loved T.J. Maxx being thrown in there! 😂 I could have done without all of the talk about his todger! 😵💫😂
I think the most interesting part is that he regarded all of his love interests in the same way. I personally don’t think there was anything special about Meghan, I just think she was the one who enjoyed the spotlight…until it didn’t serve her. I think he would have given up everything for anyone, not just her. 🥴
His father holding the purse strings and the house they were given that needed renovations…sounds like they’re not doing too shabby in their Montecito compound! 😆
Overall, I felt that brokenness undertone in his writing and felt like he has a lot of healing to do.❤️🩹
Courtney Martin says
I loved Shania’s memoir if anyone hasn’t read it! So inspiring ❤️Spare is on my list
One of my 2022 favorite books was “Take My Hand” by Doren Perkins-Valdez.
Jennifer Speer says
Someone may have mentioned this already – Tyler Merritt is dating a Jen Hatmaker. That’s how I originally heard of him.
Mix and Match Mama says
I didn’t learn that until after I read his book!
Currently reading We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz and it’s been attention grabbing. November 9 by Colleen Hoover was a page turner, too.
Love your reviews! Agree on Spare — I felt the same way! For a chick lit, rom com recommendation— I enjoyed Georgie, All Along this month
I’ve been reading your blog since Sean was the Bachelor and have enjoyed it even when we have differing reviews, but I just find your review on Harry’s book in poor taste. You say he portrays himself as a victim and doesn’t take accountability for his actions, but he literally does though? He literally spells out how he blundered, takes the blame for it, and works to better himself. Are you sure you read the book in its entirety?
And you say he and Will had the same upbringing. but is Will also married to a Black woman? I think not. To say that he and Will have the same challenges just shows how racially biased you and your review are. I really wish you would educate yourself on racial bias, but step one would be admitting a weakness, so I won’t hold my breath.
And let’s not even forget about the fact that Harry served his country for 10 years, which is more than your entire (nuclear) family has done, yet you don’t once thank him for his service? That just proves that people like you, when they say they support the military, are just providing lip service. (And yes, I realize he was in the British army, not the American one, but they are allies and England fought in a war America started.) He did brave things, but you just wanted to diminish him because either you worship the royal family (note that the original linguistic meaning of worship is to give someone too much value, and you have certainly done that), don’t agree with Harry’s politics, or both.
Mix and Match Mama says
Listen, Harry is super polarizing. I’m “new” to the whole Harry thing and my only perspective is his memoir, so maybe I should read something else? That being said, he says in the book not to read anything else written about him…so that really limits me on learning more about him from authentic sources. I actually mention in my review how I liked the military chapters. That could have been an entire book. I think the racial issues could have been an entire book. I think his marriage could have been an entire book. I liked half of the book (I say that). I didn’t love the other half. I’m going to assume you really love Harry which is awesome. I don’t think you have to put others down to make your point. Articulated points stand alone. You are very passionate about Harry, so if you have other resources, please share them with me. It’s my understanding that outside of some interviews (edited by producers) this book is supposed to be “the source” for his perspective.
My husband and 2 sons are all in the military. Am I allowed to say I think Harry is a big whiney baby? Because I do.
I just finished The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) and it was excellent. It was one of Obama’s favorite books of 2022 and it did not disappoint. Great book club book if anyone is looking for that. Not an easy read but well worth the brain power it took to keep track of all the characters. A fun audio book book because each character was a different reader. Ended up loving it and looking forward to my book club discussion in a couple of weeks.
Thank you to you and your readers for all the rec. Just finished Carrie Soto and loved it. Adding Remarkably Bright Creatures right now.
Jamie T says
Love your reviews!! I have a cute chick-lit easy read suggestion. Marlowe Banks redesigned. Very cute. Can’t wait for February!
Mix and Match Mama says
Just looked it up! I need a light chick lit right now. Thank YOU!
Charlotte Place says
Thank you for recommending I Take My Coffee Black—what a powerful, amazing book! Should be required reading for every American, for every Christian American for sure!!
Mix and Match Mama says
YES, YES, YES! I just loved him so much! It was such a great read!!
Grace C says
I want to recommend “City of Tranquil Light” by Bo Caldwell. It’s fiction but based on some real life figures. Takes place in China and is just so good. I really think you will enjoy it. It’s also a bit different than any of the books you normally read/recommend.
Erin Masters says
Have you read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi? It is a memoir, a quick read, but SO beautiful! I recommend it to everyone!