(#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.)
Library books are taking precedence lately…and it’s killing my September TBR (aka: Hopefuls) and my buddy reads! I don’t really mind because it’s saving me money and I’m using my local library – both wins!
Only one more discussion of The Goldfinch is left! I can’t believe we’ve tackled this tome and lived to tell about it! 😉 The movie adaptation was just released last Friday and if you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts (no spoilers, please!). (You can follow the hashtag here: #HWRgoldfinch and follow me on Instagram: @happiestwhenreading)!
Anyway, on to books! What have you been reading (and loving) this week?
Last Week’s Reads:*** The World That We Knew by: Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019
To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting heading into this book. I’ve read Hoffman’s other books (Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic) and I really enjoyed them. I love how she incorporates a magical element into her stories. While Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic gave me more Holloween/witchy vibes, this book was completely different. Set in WWII, a mother creates a golem (in Jewish legend, it’s a clay figure brought to life through magic) to protect her daughter from the Nazis. I’m already a sucker for books based on the WWII time period, so this was the perfect blend of magical realism and historical fiction. I quickly grew attached to the characters, especially Lea and Ava. Along with other characters (main and secondary), I was even introduced to parts of history I’d never heard about. (Unfortunately, there were parts that felt forced on Hoffman’s part…almost like she digressed from fiction into nonfiction narration, and I didn’t love when this happened.) Overall, I felt like this was a wonderful addition to WWII historical fiction. I’m now adding Hoffman to my autobuy author list because I’ve really enjoyed every book I’ve read by her so far!
Lock Every Door by: Riley Sager (Dutton) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019
I read Final Girls and mostly felt meh about it – the plot and the writing. I dragged my feet picking this one up, but my library hold for it came in so I gave it a try. I’m glad I did…I really enjoyed this one! Ever since visiting New York earlier this year, I’ve really enjoyed books set in NYC. It makes the reading so much more enjoyable. This book was the perfect mini escape for a few days and if you’re looking for something light, try this one out!
Only one more week left of The Goldfinch for our buddy read (#HWRgoldfinch). I’m curious how this is all going to wrap up. And, if I’m being honest, I’m ready to put this book away. I have never taken so long to read a book! Having said that, the discussions have added so much to my reading and understanding of the book and I have loved every second of it! I can’t wait to see the movie that came out last week!
If you want to get in on the buddy read, find me on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading) You can also find the discussions we’ve had so far here:, Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4, Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-9, and Chapter 10, and Chapter 11! Please jump into the conversation!
Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention by: Donna Freitas (Little Brown) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019
The #metoo movement has brought toxic masculinity to the forefront and I suspect stories like this one will become more and more common. I have this conversation with my husband all the time – that life as a woman is very different than it is for a man. When I’m out in public (even with my husband, but especially when I’m not with him), I am constantly aware of my surroundings. Groups of men, men alone, body language, making sure I’m not in a parking lot alone at night, carrying my keys as a weapon as I walk to my car…all of these things I do subconsciously, ALL THE TIME. I have already started conversations with my daughter (11-years-old) about these things and how she HAS TO be aware of her surroundings and to trust her gut always. It’s just the reality of being a woman in a world where men are believed and protected over women.
While that was a little bit of a tangent, it’s relevant to Freitas story and it was what happened to be on my mind the whole time I was reading it. Freitas was stalked by a professor at her college – also a priest – and when she finally reported him to the Human Resources department at her college, she was not believed. Instead, the professor was promoted! Nothing about this is surprising to me – we see it over and over again in the media. That’s what makes stories like these so important – in hopes that they help change the narrative around harassment of any kind towards women.
The Most Fun We Ever Had by: Claire Lombardo (Doubleday) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019
Gosh, I put this one on the back burner to catch up on my read alongs. I remember liking the first 100 pages I read and am eager to jump back into this dysfunctional family!
Disappearing Earth by: Julia Phillips (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019
This is my pick for my monthly read along (#HWRbooks), and the first section was a total slog. I’m trying to keep an open mind because it’s MY book pick and I don’t want to fail my readers, but this is definitely not a favorite so far.