(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)
I intended to post last week from Arizona but it was just complicated without my laptop (I only took my iPad), so I decided to let it go…and do two weeks instead! So brace yourselves, this one is going to be jam-packed! Not only was I on vacation, but we came home to #bombcycloneparttwo, so I’ve had lots of reading time!
Last 2 Week’s Reads:
- 🎧 Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by: Brittney Cooper (St. Martin’s Press) – Pub Date: February 20, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Dr. Brittney Cooper may not have written this book with me (a privileged white woman) in mind, but these essays taught me so much and broadened my perspectives in ways I’ve been craving for awhile now. I’ve wanted to read some well-written work from some #ownvoices and this book was more than I hoped for. Though I listened to this on audiobook (Cooper reads it herself and it’s beyond powerful), I will pick up a hard copy at some point; it’s relevant and quotable and should be #requiredreading for everyone. Eloquent Rage forced me to confront my beliefs and it will stick with me for a long time. If you haven’t read it yet, please add it to your TBR and read it soon! Every person should!
- *** 📖 Lost Roses by: Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
- Despite not falling in love with this one quite like I did LILAC GIRLS, it’s still a solid read. Following three women – Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka – during the First World War, the character development is good and I found myself rooting for each of them. As a story, I think this one holds up well, but as a historical fiction novel, I found it lacking. There were references to the Russian upheaval that happened, but I wanted more. There are so few historical fiction novels about WWI, and I was really hoping this one would give me a better understanding of what was going on in the world, both politically and economically. I left this book with little understanding of why the war happened. It’s a fantastic story, I just had higher expectations of learning about WWI.
- *** 📖 When We Left Cuba by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- After reading Cleeton’s first book, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA (my review here), I had very high expectations for this one. I loved the political background I gained in Havana and fell in love with Cleeton’s writing style. It’s lyrical and poetic, making you feel like a participant in the story rather than a reader. Cuba came alive in that novel and all I’ve wanted to do since reading it is walk the Malecón and see the sights for myself. I don’t know if the disconnect with this book was due to it being primarily set in America – somewhere I’m more familiar with – or the storyline, but this story wasn’t nearly as strong for me. (That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though, just not as much as Havana.) The writing is still strong – Cleeton has a gift for crafting a story that immediately sucks you in. However, I kept waiting for something to happen that somehow just felt elusive throughout the novel, like it was just waiting on the next page, but then it never appeared. I felt like the political events were glossed over in a way I didn’t feel in Havana. The story could have been just as rich with all the political happenings that occurred during that time period, so this felt like a huge missed opportunity. I think I would have loved this novel if I didn’t have Havana to compare it to. Also, for those who’ve asked, I absolutely think this novel can stand alone. There’s enough background information provided from the previous book that you won’t be lost at all! As I’ve mentioned already, this is still a strong novel, but having had the Havana experience previously, I simply prefer that one over this one. I’ll be curious to see other reviews and if I’m alone on this assessment, so if you’ve read it, let me know!
- 🎧/📖 Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by: Cheryl Strayd (Vintage) – Pub Date: July 10, 2012 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- When I was on Sarah’s Book Shelves podcast a couple months ago, I mentioned that one of my reading goals was to try to get into audiobooks more. She recommended TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS and said it’s one of her favorites…and I’d have to agree! Silly me, I didn’t realize that the podcast, Dear Sugars, was what this book was about…I have listened to that podcast for awhile and I LOVE IT! Within a few minutes of listening to this book, I ordered the hard copy where it will live on my favorites shelf forever. I will be buying copies of this book to hand out to my friends…yes, it’s that good! Strayd’s advice is relevant to all and I think everyone can find nuggets of truth relative to their own situations in each of the letters Strayd answers. I’m sure my copy will be highlighted and underlined and perused many times for years to come!
- 📖 I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by: Mary Laura Philpott (Atria) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- This one reminded me of TELL ME MORE by Kelly Corrigan – one of my favorite books from last year. Philpott speaks honestly about being satisfied with a life that has given her everything she’s ever wanted – a thought that, at first glance, seems ridiculous, but a sentiment I relate to very strongly. With kids passed the toddler/early childhood stage, I found many of her stories relatable. Truly, at times, I felt like I was sitting across from one of my best friends, drinking a glass of wine and discussing marriage, motherhood, and stay-at-home-momming with an honesty and realness you only find with someone you’ve shared a whole lot of life’s ups and downs with. Also, there are moments of pure hilarity as I actually lol’d many times while reading on the plane home from vacation! This book is a gem and I every mother needs this one on their home’s bookshelves!
- *** 📖 The Parrot’s Perch by: Karen Keilt (She Writes Press) – On Shelves: April 16, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
- What an insanely intense book this is! Thrown in Brazilian jail for an unknown crime, Keilt and her husband endured forty-five days of torture, rape, and humiliation. Even though this book was a page turner, there were many times I had to take a break from it because Keilt’s writing made it feel all too real. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it’s an incredible insight into the corruption within the Brazilian law enforcement and an on-going investigation into the human rights violations the country apparently participates in quite regularly. There is strength and resiliency within these pages, and ultimately, some hope along with tragedy. How something this absurd could happen is terrifying. I admire Keilt’s courage and perseverance. Trigger warnings: torture, rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, abuse.
- *** 📖 Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by: Mira Jacob (One World) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Everybody needs to read this book! This is a graphic memoir of conversations with a six-year-old that will leave you mind-blown. Touching on race, immigration, and the current US political situation, Jacob incredibly packs a ton into a small amount of space. I felt gut-punched by the end and had to spend some time unpacking what I’d just read. It’s incredibly powerful and I know this will be a book I return to over and over again.
- *** 📖 The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by: Melinda Gates (Flatiron) – On Shelves: April 23, 2019
- I’m a few chapters into this book and already completely blown away! I’m inspired and I can’t stop thinking about the social actions necessary that Gates writes about. If you’re looking for a book that honors the role women play in society and fights to help them gain empowerment, this book is a must read! I have a GIVEAWAY happening right now for an ARC of this book over on my Instagram page (@happiestwhenreading)…head over and get yourself entered!
- 🎧 Life Will Be the Death of Me:…and You Too! by: Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019
- I’m an hour into the audiobook of this and cannot stop listening. This is Chelsea Handler like we’ve never seen her before – raw, honest, and vulnerable. There’s a lot of truth bombs in here (which is a downside of listening to it on audio), but I’d highly recommend listening to this one. Handler narrates herself and she is incredible – at times, she gets choked up and it humanizes her in a way that breaks down the comedic barrier I’m so used to her having. I have a feeling this will be one of my favorites books of the year!
- *** 📖 The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by: Helen Hoang (Berkley) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
- I LOVED The Kiss Quotient last year so of course I had to continue on with the series…though don’t make the same mistake I made – this is NOT a continuation of Stella and Michael’s story! I’m only about 20% in but it looks as if Hoang has created another quirky love story!
- 📖 Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: February 14, 2017
- The latest book my daughter and I are reading together. We’re not too far into it but we’re both enjoying it!
I Tried, But Wasn’t Feeling (aka: DNF):
- 📖 It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by: Megan Devine (Sounds True) – Pub Date: January 1, 2018
- DNF @ 15% – I love a book about grief. After losing my mama to cancer, I seek them out and almost always find something relatable in them. But this book felt repetitious of other books I’ve read previously. Maybe I’m further along in my grief journey so this one didn’t quite speak to me, but I made the decision to stop reading.
- 📖 Warlight by: Michael Ondaatje (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 8, 2018
- DNF @ 30% – As one of my most anticipated reads from last year, I was a little let down by this one. I think I could really enjoy it had it been at a different point of my reading life. It’s had strong reviews so I’m sure it’s just a matter of timing for me.
- 🎧 White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by: Robin DiAngelo (Beacon Press) – Pub Date: June 26, 2018
- I DNFd this one FOR NOW…I will pick this one back up as soon as I can get my hands on a hard copy. This one is too important and too intense for me to be able to focus on it through audiobook. What I heard is convicting and good, and I want to be able to devote more attention to it!
Likely to Read Next:
- Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books) – On Shelves: April 16, 2019
- I’m hearing the best things about this book! I chose it as one of my Book of the Month selections (here’s my referral link) and I don’t think I can hold off reading it much longer!
- Normal People by: Sally Rooney (Hogarth) – On Shelves: April 16, 2019
- Another BOTM book full of hype and recommended by some of my trusted sources. Sounds like it’ll break your heart – an element I love in a book!
- The Ash Family by: Molly Dektar (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019
- I’m cautiously curious about this one. Cults? Off-the-grid living? I’m intrigued…but after seeing mixed reviews, I won’t be afraid to DNF if it’s not working for me.
Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?