My Week in Books (5/20/19)

(#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.)


My sweet grandma turns 84 today! I can’t wait to head over to her house to celebrate her. She and my grandpa had a big hand in raising me and our bond is so unbelievably close. I feel grateful for our relationship every day of my life and hope I can be half the woman she is someday. Strong and determined and unpersuadable, she knows what she wants and she gets it! Someday, I’ll write you guys a little backstory of this amazing woman I get to call Grandma!

Last Week’s Reads:

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*** The Children Act by: Ian McEwan (Anchor Books) – Pub Date: September 9, 2014

This book just wasn’t for me, though it has a high rating on Goodreads and plenty of others seemed to really enjoy the story. I was bored by the story and thought the in-depth tangents about the court cases was distracting and unnecessary.

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019

The cover made me do it, but the story stole my heart. I truly don’t have the words to articulate the importance of this book; I will push this into everybody’s hands that I can. 

Jacob Tobia coming-of-gender story is raw, and powerful, and true. They start a conversation in this book that is begging to be had in America today. Throughout the book, they are reflective in ways I don’t usually see in books. For example, when reflecting on their relationship with their dad (who wasn’t very nice to them), they acknowledge his growth and accepted his reaction. It’s so easy to dismiss people that hurt us, but Tobias demonstrates what true growth, empathy, and compassion looks like. They show us how to mature.

Tobia is smart. Very smart. They went to Duke and that’s where they really gained their non-gender-conforming wings. They quickly became an activist for the LGBTQ+ community and gave a powerful voice to this group.

They are inspiring and I can’t wait to see more from them as they continue their work in LA. Please take the time to read this memoir. I guarantee it will leaves you changed for the better.

*** 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently by: Marc & Angel Chernoff (Tarcherperigee) – On Shelves: May 21, 2019

This one reminded me of a little bit of Tim Ferriss’ book, Tools of Titans, though ToT is by far better, in my opinion. It’s full of great reminders that we all know, yet need refreshed on every now and then. The only thing that bothers me about books like this are that it’s just regurgitated information. Many times, the author takes quotes from the internet or Pinterest and types them in a paragraph and calls it a book – it’s not. It’s a compilation of other people’s thoughts. There aren’t new ideas or commentary, so unless you want a coffee book table, you already know what this one has to say.

Piecing Me Together by: Renee Watson (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: February 14, 2017

A great companion piece to a book I read earlier this year, Dear Martin (read my review here), this book tells the stories of race, friendship, privilege, and identity from a young woman’s perspective. At times, it felt like the fictional version of what I imagine Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming (read my review here), to be like.

Jade knows she has to excel in school and get good grades if she is going to break out of the poverty cycle she currently lives in. College is her only ticket out. As she navigates her high school years, she is also confronted by racial issues that make her realize the differences between her journey and her privileged classmates.

This was another read aloud with my 11-year-old. Again, it was a bit on the older side for her at times so I was glad to be there to help navigate those conversations. I appreciated the content of the book to start conversations with her to help her realize the privilege she experiences and to gain some empathy for what others may have to go though just to get a good education. We live in a rural area, so the inner city happenings aren’t something she gets a change to understand, so I’m glad this book brought some of those issues to her attention.

*** City of Girls by: Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead) – On Shelves: June 4, 2019

Full review coming later this week, but suffice it to say: I LOVED THIS BOOK! I think you should pre-order it if you haven’t already; you won’t be disappointed!

Currently Reading/Listening:

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*** Ask Again, Yes by: Mary Beth Keane (Scribner) – On Shelves: May 28, 2019

Rave, rave, rave reviews everywhere I look! Excited to get into the story more! Coming off City of Girls, this book has BIG shoes to fill!

🎧 The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by: Balli Kaur Jaswal (William Morrow) – Pub Date: April 30, 2019

Saw this one available on the Hoopla app and immediately downloaded it. I still haven’t read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by the same author, but I know people loved it. I’m over half way through the audiobook and really loving the story, so I may have to add her first book to my TBR soon!

*** The Desert Sky Before Us by: Anne Valente (William Morrow) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

Two sisters that must overcome their differences while on a scavenger hunt road trip arranged by their by their suddenly deceased mother. One of the sisters has just been released from prison. This dysfunctional and emotionally raw story seem like a great set up for me!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by: Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead) – Published: September 22, 2015

Reading City of Girls reminding me of Big Magic – a book I previously read and loved. I decided to reread it as part of my morning routine…and in hopes for some inspiration to get back to more writing!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

My Week in Books (4/22/19)


(#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.)

{#partner #librofm) This week kicks off Independent Bookstore Day (read more here) – a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the United States on the last Saturday in April (this year it will be April 27th). To celebrate, wants to thank everyone who supports independent bookstores with five free audiobooks!

If you’re like me and live in a rural area where there isn’t an independent bookstore, allows you to still be able to support your favorite indie bookstore…which makes them my favorite place to buy audiobooks. is the first and only company to make it possible for customers to purchase audiobooks through their local bookstore of choice. This is an easy way to provide ongoing support to your bookstore from the convenience of your mobile device!

To thank everyone who supports independent bookstores, is gifting its members five free audiobooks. All you need is an account – which is free, does not require any credit card information, and does not require any commitment. What do you have to lose?

And just to sweeten the deal a little bit more…get your 5 free audiobooks at and use HAPPIEST to also get 3-for-1 audiobooks when you join as a member! Then on Saturday, April 27th, you’ll also receive an email from with a link to collect your five free audiobooks!

It’s that simple! And it’s a decision you won’t ever regret!

Last Week’s Reads:

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  • *** The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by: Helen Hoang (Berkley) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • I’m truly not a fan of romance, but Hoang creates quirky love stories unlike anyone else. I loved The Kiss Quotient last year, so I was excited to read the second book in the series. I was a little disappointed that this wasn’t a continuation of Stella and Michael’s story; we’re introduced to new characters in this book. This one didn’t hold up as well for me…There are still plenty of blush-worthy moments, but overall this one lacked engagement for me. I didn’t connect with the characters as deeply and I was just super frustrated with their lack of communication. Readers of Hoang’s first book will recognize and appreciate her writing as it is similar and if you’re looking for a quick and light summer read, give this one a try!
  • 🎧 Life Will Be the Death of Me:…And You Too! by: Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019
    • This book was the last thing I expected it to be. While I’ve never read any of Handler’s previous books, I know enough from her tv shows etc, to have made some presumptions about what this book would be about: drinking, joking, and pointless…BUT I WAS WRONG!! It’s so much more than that! Handler veers off from her regular course and gets real, honest, and vulnerable. This book is raw because she tackles grief, difficult family relationships, and her intense hate for the current administration and the direction of our country. She acknowledges her real sense of privilege and examines how to use her voice to initiate change. I was unexpectedly blown away by this book. I listened to it on audiobook and I think that made it come alive in a totally different way than it would have in hard copy. I saw a new side of Handler and have a greater respect for her now.
  • Finding Dorothy by: Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) – Pub Date: February 12, 2019
    • Finding Dorothy is a true gem of a book you don’t want to miss! This is historical fiction at its finest – a sweet, whimsical, {mostly} happy story that had my heart from the first page. Alternating between 1939 in Hollywood, California and the late 1800s throughout the US’s midwest, this is the story behind the massive book, and eventual movie, hit The Wizard of Oz. I remember growing up and loving the movie {minus the #flyingmonkeys 😳}. It was so fun to go “behind the scenes” to see the inspiration behind that childhood memory. Historical fiction seems to center around WWII a lot of the time, so if you’re looking for a change of pace – and something a little less depressing – give this one a try. It’s truly magical and will give you all the feel-good vibes!
  • Normal People by: Sally Rooney (Hogarth) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019
    • I honestly don’t know what to say about this one. For me, it was a case of #bookstagrammademedoit…which usually works for me. But this one really didn’t. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it – I mostly feel very meh about it. Some of my most trusted sources LOVED this one (Sarah’s Book Shelves, Katie from @basicbsguide, Tyler Goodson, Novel Visits, ItsBookTalk, Annie B. Jones), so I’m not sure where the disconnect was for me. Was the writing good? Yes. Did it keep me turning the pages? Yes. Did I care about the characters? Very much so. This book had all the makings of a book I usually fall for – great character development, deep and emotional feelings, coming-of-age, layers upon layers that need to be peeled back in order to see the full picture – so I’m very confused by my ambivalent feelings. But at the end of the day, this book really didn’t make me feel anything – not one way or the other. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I Tried, But Wasn’t Feeling (aka: DNF):

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  • 🎧 White Elephant by: Julie Langsdorf (ECCO) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019
    • I DNF’d this one around the 20%-(ish) mark. I was really into and thought this was going to be a great read for me, but when I came back to it the next day, all I could think was, “Really!??! All this about a tree?” and from that point on, I could not get reengaged. Possibly a downfall of reading it on audio – maybe the hard copy would have kept me engaged – but I just couldn’t get back into it.

Currently Reading/Listening:

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  • Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim (Sarah Chichton Books) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019
    • After reading two books that fell rather flat for me (The Bride Test and Normal People), I was in need of a page-turner. Miracle Creek is all over #bookstagram and now I know why! This courtroom drama is engaging, intense, and brilliantly executed. I cannot believe this is a debut novel! I’m about half-way through and can’t imagine it not being among my favorite reads of the year!
  • *** The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by: Melinda Gates (Flatiron) – On Shelves: April 23, 2019
    • Full review to come tomorrow on its Publishing Day!
  • Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: February 14, 2017
    • My daughter and I are still making it through this one. We are both enjoying it very much, but the end-of-the-school year always keeps us running more than usual. We’re hoping to get some reading in time this week to get it finished!

Likely to Read Next:

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  • *** The Farm by: Joanne Ramos (Random House) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • Women who are in desperate need of money go to the farm and become surrogate mothers. That’s about all I know about this novel, but I’m intrigued. With Handmaid’s Tale (which I LOVED) vibes, I’m hoping this is a good one!
  • *** Juliet the Maniac: A Novel by: Juliet Escoria (Melville House) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • Again, I don’t know much, but Tyler Goodson gave it four stars and that’s enough for me to give it a shot! With themes of teenage mental illness, I’m interested in what this book has to offer!
  • Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • First of all, this is a case of “The Cover Made Me Do It”…it’s incredible! But beyond that superficial aspect, I’m excited to read this emotional memoir about a “boy” that has fought gender stereotypes. I admire people that revolutionize our way of thinking and I believe Jacob Tobia will rock my world! 

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

My 2 Weeks in Books (4/15/19)

(#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:

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  • 🎧 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.

Currently Reading/Listening:

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  • *** 📖 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):

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  • 📖 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:

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  • 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?




Upcoming March Releases I’m Excited About!

March 5:


  • Gingerbread by: Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead)
    • I’m not usually a fan of fantasy/fairy tale retellings; however, I continue to see rave reviews about this one! I’m curious to check it out!
  • A Woman is No Man by: Etaf Rum (Harper)
    • Kourtney (one of my #bookstagram friends who also co-hosts the page, Salt Water Reads) suggested this one and she has yet to steer me wrong. (She also highly suggested The Kiss Quotient – one of my favorite books from last year.) It’s also received glowing reviews from a few other trusted people I follow.
  • The Island of Sea Women by: Lisa See (Scribner)
    • So many people loved See’s previous book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneUnfortunately, that one never made it onto my #tbr, so I’m going to give this one a try. Many love her writing style and I’m excited to see for myself!



  • When All is Said by: Anne Griffin (Thomas Dunne Books)
    • I’m always intrigued by the concept of who forms us, who influences us, and who has the biggest impact on our lives. This book is about a man who toasts the five most influential people in his life: his older brother, his troubled sister-in-law, his daughter, his son, and his wife.
  • Before She Knew Him by: Peter Swanson (William Morrow)
    • After enjoying The Silent Patient (my review here) from last month, I’m willing to give another psychological thriller a try. I generally shied away from thrillers, but I think the added psychological component works for me.

March 19:


  • Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams (Orion Publishing)
    • You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about this one! It’s everywhere! While I have yet to read Americanah, it has been compared to it. And everybody I know loves Americanah…so it sounds like I need to get on the bandwagon for both of these!
  • A People’s History of Heaven by: Mathangi Subramanian (Algonquin)
    • This one sounds so beautiful. Described as having themes of love and friendship, community, strong female characters, and fighting for your people and your home against outside forces that threaten to destroy them…it sounds like a wonderful book!
  • If, Then by: Kate Hope Day (Random House)
    • Four neighbors begin to see themselves in parallel realties…and I’m intrigued!
  • The Things We Cannot Say by: Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House)
    • We all know I love good WWII historical fiction and this one sounds so good! From the Goodreads synopsis: “Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.”

Phew! That was a lot, but those are my most anticipated March releases!

What’s on your “must read” list for March?

My Week in Books (2/11/19)


(#partner #free books. Thank you, Random House and Farrar, Straus and Giroux via NetGalley , for free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

Last Week’s Reads:

“Throughout my life, the most consistent way I’ve revealed who I really am is through whom I’ve chose to love.”

As a Black woman working for the Feds in the 1980s, Marie Mitchell is sick of being passed over for high profile cases simply because she’s not a man. The United States is on the verge of the Cold War, but her big chance finally comes when she is given a mission by the CIA to go to West Africa to help infiltrate the President of a small country.

This is Wilkinson’s debut novel and she shows a lot of promise. Her writing is good and it’s well-researched. However, I found the storyline a little confusing. She switched from first- to third-person without any real transitions and I often found myself rereading passages because I was confused.

The storyline is intriguing, but I wanted to enjoy this story more than I did. I was invested enough to see it to the end and I definitely wanted to see how it all wrapped up, but even that left me underwhelmed.

Unfortunately, this book wasn’t a big hit with me.

It’s impressive how much Taylor Jenkins Reid packs into this teeny, tiny short story. The story is told solely through letters – a wife finds letters to her husband from his mistress, so she begins writing letters to the mistress’ husband, who then begins to write her back. If you feel like you’re in the middle of a love triangle (err, square), you are…and it’s a quick and wild ride! In the end, you’re left with feelings of hope, sadness, despair, and wonder. If you need something quick to occupy your mind, grab this one! At only about 100 pages, I was amazed, once again, at TJR’s ability to pull at my heartstrings…I love her writing!

Unfortunately, this is a DNF for me at about 40%. I gave it a valiant effort because I liked the premise – siblings must cross war-torn Syria to lay their father’s body to rest. The writing is slow and meditative – not always a problem for me – but in this instance, it just didn’t work. I slowly found myself not caring.

I loved this book and still can’t stop thinking about it – read my full review here.

Currently Reading/Listening:

Likely to Read Next:


Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?