I’m definitely reading a lot less than I have in the past (it’s hard to have both reading and needlepointing as hobbies… but I just got an audiobook from the library!). However, I’m definitely still reading! I’ve been a bookworm since I can remember and I know that will never stop.
The books I’ve read in the first quarter of 2019 have quite a range of genres and topics. I also listened to a few of them since I did so much driving at the beginning of this year with my trips to Utah, Aspen and Santa Fe. I didn’t write reviews for all of them, but I’m including the whole list here and in order of when I finished reading (or listening) to each one.
Feel free to share your book recommendations in the comments. While I have quite a “to read” list, I’m always open to more suggestions!
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman - 4 stars
I don't generally read suspense novels because, well, they make me anxious. However, I chose this novel in audiobook form because I figured it would keep my attention on a couple very long road trips and it certainly did! I love the main character and how the story is told only from her point of view. I also loved the character of Eddie Bishop. The whole theme seemed to be that people are often so much more (and different) than you may think from the outside - that we shouldn't judge people because they've been in jail or because they're some amazing guy that you think is perfect. The suspense part also kept me intrigued and guessing the entire novel, which is hard to do with me! I definitely recommend.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate - 4 stars
Another one out of my normal genres, I chose to read Before We Were Yours because it came highly recommended by several people. I had also never heard of this particular part of our American history and really wanted to learn more. I found the whole story fascinating and sad at the same time, which is expected based on what these children went through. Honestly, I thought the author could have shared more of their stories but I also understand she was only telling one family’s story and from the limited perspective of those people within it.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - 4 stars
ANOTHER book I would never normally pick up! However, I again heard such great reviews that I figured I should give it a try and I was pleasantly surprised (plus it wasn’t too long). The novel was a very interesting look at one person’s battle with cancer and how that person dealt with the idea of life and death from the inside.
Confess by Colleen Hoover - 3.75 stars
More of a “fun read” than the other two, Confess was a nice break from the three above as it was more about romance than anything else. I also loved the concept of Owen’s art studio and hearing everyone’s “confessions.” More proof that we are never alone in circumstances we go through or our own inner dialogue, fears and wishes.
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella - 3.5 stars
Another cute Sophie Kinsella novel, although this time about a couple farther into the marriage and faced with the idea of just how many years they have left together. I only gave it 3.5 stars because it was cute and interesting but just not quite a “4 star” novel.
Becoming by Michelle Obama - 4 stars
I had a hard time starting out with this one as I don’t love nonfiction, but once I got into it and especially once the presidential race began, I flew right through this memoir. It was incredibly interesting to learn all about Michelle Obama’s life both before and in the White House and helps me appreciate her even more (if that’s possible).
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin - 3.5 stars
I really liked Nina's character and the picture that the author painted of her life in Nashville. I could definitely feel the emotions between characters, which I think takes great writing. The author was really able to express the mixed emotions that come with knowing someone you love is doing something wrong or being faced with your own wrongdoings. However, I only gave the book a 3 (more like 3.5) because I felt the book was a bit scattered. While I appreciate very much the topics that this book touched on, I felt like there were far too many. I kept getting pulled in all different directions and wished I could have heard more on each story on its own rather than trying to fit in all into one.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 5 stars
An always enjoyable re-read (or listen in this case…).
100 Days to Brave by Annie F Downs - 3 .25 stars
This certainly took me more than 100 days to get through… but I’d heard good things about this devotional so I decided to give it a try. I’m sure most devotionals are this way but some days really struck a chord with me while others I didn’t relate to at all. For the most part, I enjoyed this devotional and got some really great journaling out reading it. However, I think in the future I need something that builds on the days before it a little more as I’m not sure I felt like I’d grown by the end.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - 4 stars
I absolutely loved this movie and didn’t realize the movie came from a book (let alone a series!) until afterwards, so I was really looking forward to reading this novel. While it is looooooong, it is also very interesting and entertaining. I thought the movie did a pretty good job of depicting the original story and enjoyed both!
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green - 3.5 stars
My boss actually gave me this book because I mentioned I deal with anxiety… thanks, Charlie. Not sure what I’m supposed to take from that BUT I did enjoy this novel. Reading what Aza was thinking was, honestly, a bit sad but I also appreciated seeing her perspective and the spirals her mind went into because it helps us all better understand those we know who deal with anxiety and depression (and even helped me recognize my own, less extreme, spirals from an outside perspective). I also loved the characters, especially Davis. He was broken in his own way but so kind and thoughtful and just what Aza needed to shift her own life. My only reservation was just how knowledgable these high schoolers were about certain things... as though they spent all their free time studying and reading things that had nothing to do with school. Most of the kids I knew growing up definitely didn't have such extensive knowledge on such subjects! Overall all though, a great book and an "easy" read to get through. I never once felt bored.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn - 4 stars
I ended up liking this book a lot more than I expected. I'm not generally a huge fan of "scary" novels because I live alone and get easily freaked out, but this one was much more of a mind-bend type of suspense where you're guessing what's really going on throughout the entire novel. I also enjoyed hearing the entire story from the protagonist's point of view. I came to like her character very quickly and the insight into all of her thoughts - she felt very realistic and relatable despite the fact that what she was going through at the time is not something most people experience.
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