5 Books I’m Thankful For…


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

First, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the bookish community is the best corner of the internet! So many of you have become “friends” over the years as we’ve shared our love of books and reading. I appreciate every single one of you and I can’t wait to continue on this bookish journey for a long time!

Today I’m sharing #FiveBooksI’mThankfulFor…(though I could have gone on for days with this one)!

If You Want to Make God Laugh – I’m thankful for this book…it’s one of my favorites of the year! And I’m most especially thankful for Lauran (@bk.clubgirlofwi), who not only sent it to me, but had it personalized by the author herself! It was the sweetest surprise! Throughout the past several years, Lauran has generously shared books with me and we have grown such a special friendship because of it!

American Dirt – Speaking of authors, I’m especially grateful for this book! I had mentioned to Bianca Marais on #bookstagram that I wanted to read it, and without a second’s hesitation, she put her copy in the mail for me! (This may have been one of THE HARDEST books to get ahold of, so this is especially thoughtful on Bianca’s part!) Also, while were on the topic of authors, a special shoutout to interactive authors…it makes this whole experience just a little bit more fun!

The Goldfinch – I reread this book this year and I gained a new appreciation for it. The way it tackles grief is the best I’ve read and any book that makes me feel a connection to my mama earns its place with me. It’s long and gritty and raw and so.very.worth.it!

The Heart’s Invisible Furies – Another book that’s long and gritty and worth it in the end…I think about Cyril often and I’m feeling the itch for a reread of this one soon. Books that span a lifetime are some of my favorites and this book snuck into my heart, pierced me with a barb, and hasn’t let go of me since.

Know My Name – Last, I’m thankful for books that teach me something and this book was probably the most important one I read this year. Memoirs are special because they’re generally honest and vulnerable, showing their audience the obstacles they had to overcome. This one should be required reading for mamas, high school and college kids and administration….umm, everyone. It’s important.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list…I could continue listing many more people, books, and things. But suffice it to say…THANK YOU for being here! I’m grateful to you, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Also, since today kicks off the craziest time of year for shopping, don’t forget about my 2019 Gift Giving Guide for Bookworms! It’s got lots of ideas for the book lover(s) in your life!

Announcing: December #HWRbooks Selection


The Stationary Shop by: Marjan Kamali (Gallery Books) – Pub Date: June 18, 2019

From the publisher:

A novel set in 1953 Tehran against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square.

Some of my most trusted sources have read and loved this one already, and because I’d really like to get it read before 2019 ends, I figured it would make a good choice for our monthly read along!

Sure to be full of discussion points, I hope you’ll join me on Saturday, December 28th, 2019 for our online discussion. Just find my post that day over on Instagram (@happiestwhenreading), and the discussion questions will be in the comments section. You can discuss at your leisure and come and go as the comments roll in!

My Week in Books {11/27/19}

On a whim I decided to create a 2019 Gift Giving Guide for Bookworms…if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, please do! It was a lot of fun for me to create and I hope you get some good ideas! I know I’d be happy to have a stocking stuffed with these gifts.


Nonfiction November has come to a wrap and this year went better for me than last year. I tried to add some fiction reads into the month and I think that saved me from getting burned out. Here are the links to my posts:

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 8.41.54 AMThe Friend by: Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead) – Pub Date: February 6, 2018

“What we miss—what we lose and what we mourn—isn’t it this that makes us who, deep down, we truly are.”

While I went into this book pretty blind, I thought it had something to do with grief and a dog…sounds like a perfect read for me during the month of November. And while a lot of that is definitely true, I didn’t realize it also talked a lot about writing and telling our stories. This was a pleasant surprise to me! This book seems to be polarizing – one either seems to love it or hate it. I fall directly in the middle (probably ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫)…there were parts I liked (the writing is seriously beautiful at times, I loved the dog!, and I loved the twist), but there were also parts that didn’t work for me (for a book about a friend’s death and his dog, there was an awful lot of talk about writing).

I’m glad I finally read this one, but it won’t make my all-time favorites list. Having said that, now knowing the twist towards the end, my curiosity it certainly piqued and I think I’ll try to reread it in the future so I can read the text through that lens.

Know My Name by: Chanel Miller (Viking) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019

Hands down, THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK I’VE READ THIS YEAR! And just to join in with everyone else: this book needs to be added to high school curriculum and every single mama (of girls AND boys) needs to read this. Miller writes from a place of raw emotion and she exposes a flawed system that protects rape culture and the perpetrators that cross boundaries. Our society is in a place where it can really make some impactful changes for the good, and this book highlights several of those places. Miller was gentler on Turner than I would have been and it just makes her message that much more powerful. Getting a glimpse into the emotional turmoil a survivor has to go through – especially when she is more scrutinized than the assailant – broke my heart. I understand the importance of being “innocent until proven guilty”; however, when the survivor’s life is so much more dissected – especially with the amount of proof the authorities had in this case – there’s a serious problem with the overall system and culture surrounding rape, white privilege, and validating women who bravely come forward.

*** Long Bright River by: Liz Moore (Riverhead) – Pub Date: January 7, 2020

My first book of 2020 already in the books! Immersed in a world of addiction and mysterious disappearances of street girls, Mickey searches for her missing sister, Kacey. Alternating between past and present, we gain a full understanding of what the sister’s to their current place. With a few twists and turns (some I saw coming and others I didn’t), I think this was almost more of a literary mystery than thriller. It was nuanced and thought-provoking and I think it’s going to be a hit this winter!

Currently Reading:Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 8.46.19 AMNothing to See Here by: Kevin Wilson (ECCO) – Pub Date: October 29, 2019

Recommended by my girl, Sarah from Sarah’s Book Shelves (regardless of our #booktwinness, Sarah will always be my girl! 😘), I grabbed this one from my Book of the Month box (Sarah was the judge, y’all!! 😱). I’m not super far into it, but it’s going to be a quick, easy, and entertaining read!

*** 🎧 Get a Life, Chloe Brown by: Talia Hibbert (Avon) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019

I knew this one wouldn’t work for me in print (it has too many Eleanor Oliphant vibes for me), but I have to admit: this one is an absolute delight in audio! I am LOVING the narrator, especially when she’s “Gigi”!

*** 🎧 The Deep by: Rivers Solomon (Gallery/Saga Press) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019

I’m not absolutely certain how I feel about this one yet. I’m about halfway through and had to take a break because it’s deep and sometimes hard to listen to due to the premise. I am fascinated by the story so I’ll continue, but I’m not quite sure just yet.

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

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*** Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by: Jia Tolentino (Random House) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

I’m so sorry, but I just can’t. This one was threatening to send me into a reading slump – a sure sign that I need to walk away. I liked what I read and think I’ll hang on to this one for awhile in hopes that I pick it up again. I’m just not sure I was in the right head space to appreciate this one.

🎧 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by: J.K. Rowling (Pottermore) – Pub Date: November 20, 2015

Ehh. I LOVE HP, but I’m just not feeling this right now.

(#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.)

2019 Gift Giving Guide for Bookworms!

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The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner and with Thanksgiving next week, I know many of you will be heading out to do some shopping. I’ve created a list of gift ideas that would be perfect for the bookworm(s) in your life!

one: Hamilton Beach Electric Water Kettle

I originally bought this kettle to quickly heat water or my tea while I’m drinking, but it’s quickly become a family favorite appliance. The kids use it to heat water for oatmeal, Raman noodles, and hot chocolate. We love this thing!

two: Novel Teas

After you heat your water in your electric kettle, grab one of these tea bags that are also printed with literary quotes. They’re the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the avid reader in your life!

three: Ceramic Mug

There are tons of ceramic mug choices on the internet and this is just one example. I know people can be fairly picky about their mug choices, but this would make an excellent gift.

four: Bookish T-Shirt

I love my bookish t-shirts; I’ve started quite the collection! Anything that’s soft, cozy, and funny is sure to be a winner!

five: Book Darts

Do you ever read a quote in a book and want to mark it so you can find it again but you don’t want to mark up your book? These tiny metal darts are the perfect solution. I have them and I love them!

six: Libro.fm Audiobooks 

#partner | One thing that rings true for all book lovers is that there are so many books, but so little time. One way I’ve tried to combat this problem in my personal life is by listening to more audiobooks. It’s the simplest way to “read” a book while I’m doing chores around the house! Libro.fm is my favorite choice for audiobooks and is the only company that supports the independent bookstore of your choice! Follow the link above and enter my promo code (HAPPIEST) to get 3-audiobooks-for-the-price-of-1 ($14.99)! There’s no monthly obligation and you can also gift memberships and/or audiobooks on their website!

seven: Sudio Earbuds

#partner | When Sudio reached out and offered me a free pair of earbuds, I admit that I was skeptical. I had a different pair that I liked fine, but there were some minor inconveniences that I thought it would be nice to compare with a different pair. I immediately fell in love with my Sudio earbuds! (I have the Tolv design in white.) They fit nicely in my ear, they have incredible sound quality, and they last seven hours on their first charge! Use my promo code (WHENREADING) for 15% off your entire order.

eight: JBL Charge 3 Portable Speaker

There are lots of other options for wireless and portable speakers…the point is that these speakers are awesome for listening to audiobooks and podcasts when you’re getting ready in the morning. Just another bit of time where you can add a little more “reading” into your life. (Bonus: We have this speaker and use it for so much more than just listening to audiobooks. We use it to play music when we have friends over, my husband uses it in the golf cart when he’s golfing, and we take it to the lake. It has great sound quality and can play quite loud!)

nine: Book of the Month Subscription

I have been a member of Book of the Month for over three years now and I absolutely love it! They have a wonderful selection every month, and oftentimes the books are available to subscribers pre-publication! There’s nothing more exciting than seeing that little blue box on your doorstep when you get home from a busy day! (Note: If you use the link above to sign up, I will receive a free book.)

ten: Shelf Subscription from The Bookshelf

Once a month, the employees of The Bookshelf will send you a book in the mail. Your book selection is a total surprise, so it’s very exciting to open it up. You can choose to be surprised, or you can chose an employee whose book taste lines up with yours. Some past selections include: Ask Again, Yes; The Lager Queen of Minnesota; and Turn of the Key.


eleven: Books Are Magic Subscription

My husband and I went to New York City in June. I made him trek all the way to Brooklyn just so I could go to Books Are Magic…and it was totally worth it. It’s the most adorable bookstore. While there, my husband bought me a one-year fiction subscription. So far, I’ve been very happy with the selections. In addition to the fiction subscription, hey also offer options for nonfiction, poetry, young adult, middle grade, and picture books. Past selections include: Very Nice, Patsy,  and How We Fight For Our Lives.

twelve: All-New Kindle

Though it’s taken me awhile, I now love my Kindle and I’m not sure I want to go back to life without it. Why do I love it so much? Many reasons, but here are a few: I can read in bed without distracting my husband, the battery life is incredible (last weeks!), it holds thousands of books so its my go-to choice for vacations and I love not having to haul lots of books with me, and it automatically syncs all of my devices so I never lose my place regardless of what device I’m reading on (helpful because I read on my iPhone off and on throughout the day). I personally prefer the Paperwhite version that doesn’t connect to apps or the internet…if I had that option, I would get too distracted and read a whole lot less.

thirteen: Book Sleeve

I ordered a book sleeve from Tancy (you can also find her on Instagram at: @beyondbooked), and I love it so much! Tancy has great taste in her fabric options and the quality is amazing. There are various sizes to choose from so all of your books can be protected!

fourteen: Pilot G-2 Gel Pens

Everybody is particular about their pen choice, but these are my favorite and have been for years! I prefer size 10 and use all the colors for my calendars and book journals!

fifteen: The Book Lover’s Journal

I personally use a dotted journal to record my reading life in, but I saw this one and my own curiosity was piqued. I love the idea and may have to try one for myself.

sixteen: Bookish Socks

These are so cute! There are many options and these would make a great stocking stuffer!

seventeen: Gaston Luga Bags

#partner |Once again, Gaston Luga reached out and offered me a free bag in order to help promote their company. Again, I was hesitant, but curious because I’m always on the lookout for a quality bag to use when traveling. I want a backpack style because I’d prefer to have my hands free (I gotta have my coffee, y’all!). I accepted their offer and I am so happy with their product. I think the bag is chic and I can’t wait to travel with it for the first time. These bags are high quality and I really love it. There are many styles and colors available. Use my promo code (CARLAREADS) to get 15% off your entire purchase!

eighteen: Anchor Book Mark

No matter the size or type of book, this anchor book mark slides seamlessly between the pages and holds your book open! It’s easy to maneuver and the design is beautiful!

nineteen: Bathtub Caddy

I have yet to get one of these for myself, but I love the idea of a caddy that holds my hot tea, book, and a candle while I read and relax in the bathtub! I think I’ll ask Santa for one!

twenty: Pins and Book Print from Ideal Bookshelf 

I am so impressed with Jane’s work and I intend to own one of her prints someday soon! As I was looking at her designs, I also saw the pins she has available and thought they’d make such a cute addition to a gift and/or as a stocking stuffer!

My Week in Books {11/20/19}

This week has been tricky for me. Monday (November 18) was the 6th anniversary of the day I lost my sweet mama, so the motivation to read has been severely lacking. I’ve been emotional, more so this year than the last couple of years, and I’m not quite sure why that is. I guess the easiest explanation is that grief is weird and no one totally understands why it comes and goes when it does. I just ride the waves and take it one day at a time.

I wrote a post about all the grief books I’ve read and hope to read…I hope you check it out!

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:

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*** 🎧/📖 The Grace Year by: Kim Liggett (Wednesday Books) – Pub Date: October 8, 2019

Holy wowzers…I love dystopian books and this made my head spin! When young girls reach the age of sixteen, they are shunned for a year from their patriarchal community in hopes that they will lose their “power”. This year is referred to as The Grace Year, and none of them have any idea what happens during their seclusion because it’s not something that’s ever talked about. Parts of this book really stood out to me. For example, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Power all combined together. It’s just futuristic enough that I’m not nervous about it actually happening in real life (yet), and I admired the bravery that Tierney showed in her basic survival skills and knowledge of nature. I didn’t like the uneven timeline and wished it would have been spaced out more evenly. I also didn’t like the role of most of the girls or the poachers. I understand that they provided the antagonism for the storyline, but I thought they were poorly developed and lacked any credibility. The writing was excellent and I had a hard time putting the book down, but overall, I think the story fell a little flat and will (unfortunately) be a forgettable book for me.

In the Dream House by: Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press) – Pub Date: November 5. 2019

“But house idioms and their variants, in fact, often signify the opposite of safety and security. If something is a house of cards it is precarious, easily disrupted. If the writing is on the wall we can see the end of something long before it arrives. If we do not throw stones in glass houses, it is because the house is constructed of hypocrisy, readily shattered. All expressions of weakness, of the inevitability of failure. “Safe as houses” is something closer to “the house always wins.” Instead of a shared structure providing shelter, it means that the person in charge is secure; everyone else should be afraid.”

TW: This book is about domestic abuse in a queer relationship. Growing up, I lived in a very abusive home and Machado does an amazing job of capturing what it’s like to live within the four walls of a “home” terrorized by one person. I think this is an incredible addition to the abuse conversation, and encourage everyone to read – even if just to gain some understanding of how traumatizing and lasting domestic abuse can be.

I.could.not.put.this.book.down. So brilliant. So good. So heartbreaking. Will probably end up being my favorite memoir of the year. I doubt that any review I give would do it any justice, so just take my word for it: READ ASAP!

Currently Reading:

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*** Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by: Jia Tolentino (Random House) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

Still slogging through. I’m not going to lie…this is a hard one for me to want to pick up. I’ve thought about DNFing more times than I can count. It’s not that it’s good or not well done because it is. I just am not sure I’m smart enough to grasp what it’s saying. It’s well researched, but I feel like it’s all flying over my head. Has anyone else felt that way about this one?

🎧 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by: J.K. Rowling (Pottermore) – Pub Date: November 20, 2015

Meh. I’m just not into audiobooks right now. This isn’t due back to the library just yet, so I’m not throwing in the towel, but I’m not itching to listen either.

(#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.)

Grief: Be the Expert, Ask the Expert, Become the Expert

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Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey): Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).



Six years ago, I lost my mama to ovarian cancer. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. I have sought solace through books that talk about grief. Sometimes I feel utterly alone and books help me navigate my thoughts and feelings surrounding my loss.

I thought it might be nice to offer a resource of some of the best grief books I’ve found. I know there are a plethora of books out there, so if you have some I need to add to my list, please drop a comment below so I can make note of them!

Also, if you find yourself part of this club no one wants to be a member of, please know that your are not alone. Find someone who will kindly offer you a listening ear because I’ve found that talking about it and keeping it in the open really helps.



Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.30.44 PMMotherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by: Hope Edelman – This was the very first book I read after I lost my mama. While I can’t say it was a favorite of mine, I know it is the number one recommended resource for mother loss. It handles early loss well (for those who lose their mom when they’re younger in life), and that’s one of the reasons it wasn’t that great for me (I was thirty-four when I lost my mom). Also, minor detail, but I absolutely HATE the term Motherless Daughter…I still have a mother and I don’t like the disassociation I feel when I hear that.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.32.09 PMFatherless Daughters: Turning the Pain of Loss into the Power of Forgiveness by: Pamela Thomas – I have not read this one as my father is still alive, but I understand that not a lot of books are written with the father/daughter loss in mind and that this book kind of stands alone in that regard.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.33.20 PMOption B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by: Sheryl Sandberg –  If I had read this immediately after my mama had passed, I don’t think I would have found it as helpful. I personally needed some distance from her death to be able to appreciate what Sandberg was trying to say. There were many takeaways from this book that I still think about off and on – mostly about building resiliency because this life can be tough and the only way to survive well is to be tougher than the circumstances you’re dealt.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.34.03 PMBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by: Atul Gawande – One of the most important books I’ve ever read, I only wish I had read it before my mama had gotten sick and passed away. It tackles the uncomfortable – but absolutely vital – conversations regarding quality of life and what your personal wishes may be if and when the time comes to make major medical decisions. Instead of shying away from these conversations (as our culture tends to do), I appreciate Gawande opening up the dialog so that we can honor the choices of our loved ones.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.35.03 PMAfter This: When Life is Over, Where Do We Go? by: Claire Bidwell Smith – Bidwell Smith is somewhat of an expert in the grief recovery department, so if you’re seeking more resources, definitely check out her website. This was my first introduction to her and while I have my own personal set of beliefs, I still found this a fascinating journey through other cultures and belief systems that attempts to answer the question of what happens to us once we die.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.35.43 PMAnxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief: A Revolutionary Approach to Understanding and Healing the Impact of Loss by: Claire Bidwell Smith – It wasn’t until several years after I lost my mama that I began to experience anxiety and panic issues, so I was so incredibly grateful to find this book. It gave me an enormous sense of relief to know that my feelings were common and it allowed myself to work towards healing this aspect of my grief journey.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.36.24 PMThe Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by: Nina Riggs – At just thirty-seven years old, Riggs was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She writes this memoir as a tribute to her young boys, but also as a gift to the rest of us. Reminiscent of When Breath Becomes Air, she attempts to answer what makes a life well lived when your time on Earth is suddenly limited. It’s a good reminder for those of us who haven’t had to face our deaths yet to live life while we have it.



Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.38.19 PMThe Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt – I just reread this gem of a book, and what struck me the most this time was the way Tartt wrote about grief. From the pervasiveness of it to the roller coaster of emotions that accompany it, Tartt portrays grief with such an accurate lens. I felt like I was continually nodding my head and I respect the honesty and rawness with which Tartt handles the topic.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.39.08 PMAfter the Flood by: Kassandra Montag – At first thought a dystopian themed book doesn’t immediately seem to fit into the grief category. However, years ago when Earth first flooded, Myra’s oldest daughter, Row, was kidnapped and taken away from her. From that day forward, Myra and her younger daughter, Pearl, are on a mission to find Row again, no matter the cost. Perhaps I felt the grief tug even more because there was a strong theme of motherhood and the connection a mother has with her children, regardless of the distance and circumstances that may separate them.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.40.16 PMThe Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by: Balli Kaur Jaswal – When their mother dies, she leaves wishes for her three daughters to take a pilgrimage back to India to spread her ashes. The girls don’t have a strong relationship as the years and misunderstandings and distance has pulled them apart. But as they journey across India to their mother’s final destination, they will also find their way back to each other. As the girls journey through India, their mom’s little “scavenger hunt” teaches them the lessons she wishes to for them to carry on – specifically, the lessons of love, family, and forgiveness.


YA/Graphic Novels:

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.41.32 PMA Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness – I just finished this one last month and I loved it so much. I was literally brought to tears as I finished it up. I had all the feelings during this one and it will be a book I continue to return to over and over. (My 12-year-old daughter also read this and loves and endorses it as well!)

Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 8.50.14 AMHarry Potter Series by: J.K. Rowling – One of the main themes of this entire series is grief. From the beginning, Harry Potter’s parents are dead and Harry is raised between his evil aunt and uncle’s house and the magical world of Hogwarts. As the books progress, Rowling finds her stride as a writer and these books end up being so nuanced that you can pull many different themes out each time you read it. It’s my favorite series of all times, and my 12-year-old adores it as much as I do!

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 9.43.12 PMHow To Make Friends With the Dark by: Kathleen Glasgow – Glasgow is a such a gifted writer and it’s a wonderful thing to have a book that handles the grief process so well available for young adults.






To Read:

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A Grief Observed by: C.S. Lewis

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by: Max Porter

The Astonishing Color of After by: Emily X.R. Pan

The Garden of Small Beginnings by: Abbi Waxman

We Are Okay by: Nina LaCour

No Happy Endings by: Nora McInerny Purmort

The Friend by: Sigrid Nunez

How It Feels To Float by: Helena Fox

The Unwinding of a Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by: Julie Yip-Williams

The Year of Magical Thinking by: Joan Didion

When Death Takes Something From You Give It Back: Carl’s Book by: Naja Marie Aidt & Denise Newman (Translator)

Modern Loss: Candid Conversations About Grief. Beginners Welcome. by: Rebecca Soffer, Gabrielle Birkner, & Nikki Reimer

Once More We Saw Stars by: Jayson Greene

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by: Erika L. Sánchez

The Undying by: Anne Boyer

H is for Hawk by: Helen Macdonald

Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death, and Surviving by: Julia Samuel


I hope this list helps…and please send me any recommendations you have for grief-related books (fiction/nonfiction/ya/graphic novels/ANYTHING!). I would love to keep updating my list!




My Week in Books {11/13/19}

Here we are at another weekly recap post…does it feel like we’re just barreling towards Christmas at a crazy speed? I can’t even wrap my brain around Christmas shopping and the New Year (2020, whaaaaaat!?!?)

Speaking of Christmas gifts…head over to my Instagram page and enter to win my free 3-month membership giveaway from Libro.fm! The post you need to find to enter is this one:


That post has all the details you need to enter. I’ll announce the winner on Instagram on November 21, 2019! (As always, you can use my promo code: HAPPIEST to get 3-for-the-price-of-1 on audiobooks. Use this link to sign up!)

What have you been reading (and loving) this week?

Last Week’s Reads:Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.06.25 PM

*** The Body: A Guide for Occupants by: Bill Bryson (Doubleday) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

My goodness, this book was fascinating. I’m not super into the science or medicine or the human body, but I was so intrigued with this book that I had a hard time putting it down. Bryson goes through all the major systems of our body and gives the most incredible facts. I found myself talking about this book with my kids as I drove them to school in the morning. For a subject that could easily fall in the dry category, Bryson delivers the information in a way that kept me turning the pages!

Sabrina & Corina: Stories by: Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

“She said people will find the loveliest part of you and try to make it ugly. “And they will do anything,” she always said, “to own that piece of you.”

I saw this book on many lists for #LatinxHeritageMonth and the cover immediately caught my eye. I requested it from my library and even though it’s not nonfiction, I immediately dove right in. I am always in awe of authors that have the ability to write short stories that convey connection and have a defined goal. These stories were immersive and each time they ended, I wanted more! While story collections can be hard for me, I found that Fajardo-Anstine creates them so well. I wish she mastered the endings a little bit better as I often found myself a little bit confused with some of her conclusions, but overall this was a great read. Also, Colorado is the main setting and reading about local places was an added bonus!

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by: Dani Shapiro (Knopf) – Pub Date: January 15, 2019

I am blown away by this story; I read the whole thing in one sitting! Imagine thinking you’re innocently taking a DNA test only to discover that the man who raised you and you thought was your father wasn’t actually your biological father? This is exactly what happens to Shapiro, and as she navigates this new world – where she feels like a stranger to herself – she takes us along for the journey. I had previously read Shapiro’s work (Hourglass, see my review here) and I didn’t love it, so I was hesitant to pick this one up. I’m sorry I waited because this one is much more cohesive and better told. While I have no experience with anything Shapiro experiences in this book, she made me feel as if I were part of the story. Her writing grabbed me and I am so hopeful for her future with her new family.

🎧 *** Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love, #1) by: David Yoon (Penguin Teen) – Pub Date: September 10, 2019

Frankly in Love started off strong for me, but quickly fizzled as I kept reading. At first, I loved the dialog amongst the characters, but after awhile it just felt cheesy and repetitive. I loved the deeper dive into racism and how Frank and his friends addressed it and acknowledged that their own parents harbored some deep-seated racist attitudes  towards others, but it soon felt like it went just kept going on and on and on. I guess I would have done better if the book was just a tad bit shorter (or maybe if I had read it in print instead of listened to the audiobook? Though I did love David Yoon’s narration…audiobooks just get boring to me more quickly than books in print, generally speaking.) And (without spoilers), the buildup to the climax was so huge that I felt pretty disappointed with the final wrap-up. Overall, I just wanted so much more from the story, and it ended up falling flat for me.

Currently Reading:

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.11.10 PM*** Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by: Jia Tolentino (Random House) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

Just starting this one and it’s too soon to tell, but I’m nervous I’m getting in over my head. Tolentino is smart and that’s extremely obvious right off the bat! I’m just not sure if I have the awareness to keep up, but I’m going to give it a good try. I’m thinking this may be slower going than I anticipated, but I don’t anticipate giving up!

🎧 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by: J.K. Rowling (Pottermore) – Pub Date: November 20, 2015

I keep hearing that Jim Dale, the narrator of the Harry Potter series, is amazing! I’ve been on the library wait list for ever, so imagine how happy I am that the first book finally became available. There’s also a podcast (Harry Potter and the Sacred Text) that dissects each and every chapter of the Harry Potter series, pulling out themes and having discussions to help the reader dive deeper. I really want to try to to do both…🤞🏼

DNF (aka: Not For Me):

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.14.29 PMSouthern Lady Code by: Helen Ellis (Doubleday) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

I just wasn’t enjoying this one. The author felt a little pretentious to me and I couldn’t get over it. I DNF’d around 30%.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by: Abbi Waxman (Berkley) – Pub Date: July 9, 2019

This is totally a case of wrong timing for me. I’m just not in the mood for a quirky lead character. I DNF’d around 10%.

(#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.)