I’ve been sharing my reading life book by book on Instagram and thought I would catalog them here as well. So here are my 1st 50 reads of the year. You can see pictures of each book in my highlights over there if you want.
Book #1: And Then There Were None
A fascinating who done it, and without the epilogue I would never have figured it out!
Book #2: Before the Fall
I listened to this on audio beginning my long drive from PA to NC after Christmas. It’s a mystery with a twist of a plane crash. Anne Bogel says not to listen while flying, but while driving it kept my attention. The narrator was great and until the final character’s life “before the fall” was described in almost full detail, I had NO IDEA the story behind the crash!
Book #3: The Secret Book, and Scone Society
A huge thanks to my work/book friend Sarah for this recommendation. A cozy mystery, four firefly female leads, a bookstore, and amazing comfort scones … it does not disappoint.
Book #4: 11 Birthdays
Nothing like a sweet middle grade dystopian novel to start the weekend off right. It’s Groundhog’s Day, but instead of celebrating a rodent, they’re 11 and there’s nothing like a day on repeat to fix a broken friendship.
Book #5: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons
this is our January read for my IRL book club and I really enjoyed it. It’s a book about a book club and how the women get to know one another, learn to trust each other, and work through the messiness of their life. A delightful read with multiple narrators and lots of books discussed!
Book #6: The Thrill of the Chaste
This has been my before Mass book since the middle of advent and was amazing. Dawn writes so beautifully about chastity, virtue, and the single life. I’ve needed this encouragement as I was through the current dating scene, which is awful, awful, and just more awfulness!
Book #7: The Catholic Table
Emily Stimpson Chapman writes beautifully about food and Faith! I think more sentences are underlined than not after my reading. Rethinking how I think about food, my struggle with weight, and the virtue of what I eat and who I am because of how I eat. Had no idea what we were getting into when I chose this as Lisa and I’s buddy read … so glad she agreed to come along with me.
Book #8: The Diary of a Bookseller
After reading an Instagrammer’s review of this book and seeing Anne Bogel’s pictures from her visit to Wigtown, I promptly set out to read this book. The ordinariness of life and the strangeness of people are present on every page. What a delight to read!
Book #9: The Noel Stranger
Starting this one night, finished at the mechanic the next morning. A sweet, rom-com book where no one sleeps with anybody (that’s the highlight of this book though, the bar was LOW). Predictable (except for just one part that was rather confusing but what the whole story hinged) on) which is fine, but there are only SO many stories to tell.
Book #10: Winter in Paradise
This is my first Elon Hilderbrand book and I think I liked it. Read it super quick (started one night and finished final 50 pages before work the next day). It ends with a LOT of unanswered questions, so good thing it’s a planned trilogy.
Book #11: The Whispered Word
Elderly Adams did it again in the second book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series. Filled with my favorite things: strong female leads, book references and quotes I understand, books scones, other baked goods, mystery, and romance.
Book #12: Dear Fahrenheit 451
I heard about this book on an episode of What Should I Read Next a while ago and it was on the cart right out front in the library last week so I grabbed it right up. Delightful letters to books from a librarian. Although I only put 1 book on my hold list from those mentioned, I had read a number of them already.
Book #13: Something in the Water
Throughout this whole psychological thriller I couldn’t help but think “why are you so stupid?” Erin gets into a giant mess with her husband on their honeymoon in Bora Bora and it all goes downhill from there. She survives because of another criminal proving that proper preparation is the key to being a criminal mastermind.
Book #14: The Saturday Night Supper Club
A sweet romance filled with great food and a strong female lead … be still my heart. I want more Alex and Rachel! Their story feels ready, pure, and Christian without being over the top, no one talks like that. Can’t wait for the next book in this series!
Book #15: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
It’s peculiar all right … and a book that wasn’t for me. If it weren’t our February book club pick that I’m hosting, not sure I would have finished it. Just peculiar. (Also people in our book club loved it!)
Book #16: All We Ever Wanted
This book was so good and though provoking, especially on audio. What are the consequences of foolish actions? Who pays the price when kids do stupid things that have lasting consequences? It ends with more questions than answers.
Book #17: Sprint
Read this to prep for a big project with a diocese for work. Wanted to make sure we were all speaking the same language for the big meeting coming up. Already took a big idea from this book and put it into action! Great for people who want to solve problems at work or at home! Plus Jake and co-authors are quite witty!
Book #18: Great Catholic Parishes
Another book for work, trying to glean as many ideas about what my parishes can do as possible. This was well researched, not preachy, not formulaic, and inspiring!
Book #19: Made for Love
A truth filled book about all of the dynamics of sexual relationships and the moral teachings of the Church. Fr. Mike does a great job walking through the Church’s teachings, human experiences, and how we are all called to more and we were made for love.
Book #20: Holy Ghost
Virgil Flowers is one of my favorite fictional detective stories. Love reading about MN and no nonsense crime solving!
Book #21: Fire Sermon
I’m not sure what prompted me to pick this book up, maybe I didn’t quite hear what it was about when it was mentioned on the From the Front Porch podcast. It’s praised as what’s a Christian woman to do when she falls in love with a man who isn’t her husband, why does her God and her guilt force her to stay and prevent her to leave. This is not a study of the hardships of Christian sexual ethics … she has no idea what those are. Christianity and sexual ethics are so grossly misrepresented in this book. Not recommending anyone read it.
⭐️ (if even that)
Book #22: My Sister, the Serial Killer
How many murders make you a “serial” killer? 3. Her sister has always been the more beautiful one, the one men wanted, the one who could do no wrong. Now she’s tied to her sister’s murders so if she takes her sister down, she goes down too. Then the man she’s been in love with for a year falls for her sister, and she knows her sister will just try to kill him. What should she do?
Book #23: Attachments
Work email filters make for a delightful love story. If this were the story of my life Sarah R would play Jennifer, I’d be Beth, and now we just need to cast Lincoln!
Book #24: The Bookshop on the Corner
This is one of my favorite reads of 2019! So delightful and bookish and amazing!! Thanks Jenny Colgan for an amazing devotion to a reader who loves books!
Book #25: Kingdom of the Blind
Can’t believe it was only a little more than a year ago that Stephanie W. Told me about Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache. 14 books later and each one is better than the last. My only fear is that this one ends a bit “happily ever after” and that there will be no #15 in the series! Read this! BUT start at the beginning with Still Life, you won’t be sorry.
Book #26: Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win
What costs do ambitious women pay for pursuing their dreams? This book explores all of that including the media, what people think, politics, marriage, and motherhood. Excellent!! This was a buddy read with my friend Lisa.
Book #27: The Proposal
I started this book one night at 10pm and got sucked into Nikole and Carlos’ quick romance. Although this was a light-hearted fast romance the last 50 pages were filled with recovery from an emotional abusive relationship and some attachment disorders. So delightful!
Book #28: The Rosie Project
I avoided this book for years because for some reason I thought it was non-fiction about Rosie O’Donnell, which it is NOT. I fell in love with Don and Rosie and couldn’t help but to laugh out loud during the evening I spent reading this! What a delightful read!
Book #29: The Rosie Effect
Oh Don! What a sweet heart who just needs a little help sometimes. This is the perfect sequel to their love story. And who doesn’t love a baby!
Book #30: The Art of Forming Young Disciples
As a former youth minister I’m glad I got out of the game before reading this because I’m not sure I’m up to the task. This book is excellent and lays out a how along with a why. Youth Ministry is failing teens more often than not, so let’s do something about it.
Book #31: Brunch at the Bitter Sweet Cafe
Another home run in this series where we see Melody and Rachel pursue their dream and Mel finds love. Sweet romance with a dash of good Christian ladies inserted. My favorite kind of book! Oh and this includes a baked goods and books Instagram that I wish I was following!
Book #32: Dietland
I heard about this book on the Unladylike podcast interview about dieting and the culture surrounding it. Very intriguing and it’s so important to think about the way we tell women they should think about their bodies. We’ve got some work to do in this area, lots of work!
Book #33: Hip to be Square
I heard about this title on a back episode of What Should I Read Next where the guest wanted sweet, Christian love stories. This and teh 2nd one in the series were some of her favorites so when the library didn’t carry them I found used copies on amazon. A sweet love story where the characters were actually seeking what God wanted for them … LOVELY!!
Book #34: Altar Call
This sequel was delightful except for all of the times I wanted to yell at the lead to “just dump that man he’s not for you and also he’s a jerk” … the only thing is that is ends at the beginning of the most beautiful love story of the whole series, is there another book for Mari & Marcus’ adventures?
Book #35: To All the Boys I Loved Before
Just as sweet and delightful as the movie and I can’t wait to start book #2 to see more of Lara Jean and Peter!
Book #36: P.S. I Still Love You
Another installment in the Lara Jean and Peter Kavinski love story. What a sweet read! Ready for book #3!
Book #37: Blueprints
What a fun audio listen while driving. I may have taken the long way a few times and also sat in the car at stores and home just to finish! I want to find my Chip/Charlie and purchase a home designed by Jamie!!
Book #38: Always and Forever Lara Jean
This 3rd and final in the series was a little too teen angsty for me. Glad to have a conclusion but glad the series is over. Now I just want to rewatch the Netflix movie.
Book #39: Close to You
What a love story! I imagine if I knew more about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings I would have enjoyed this even more. Can not wait to read the sequel!!
Book #40: Now a Major Motion Picture
A super cute YA love story with some amazing family drama mixed in and a feminist fantasty movie all set in Ireland. Delightful!!
Book #41: Commonwealth
Compelling, plot drive, weird timeline … all excellent. Started this one night and finished on the plan the next morning. Such a good book club read (although most everyone else disliked it)!!
Book #42: The Kiss Quotient
Stella and Michael are hard not to love. A great (although not PG) love story that truly sees the other person for who they are!
Book #43: How to Find Love in a Bookshop
A few weeks ago Anne Bogel shared a list of books about books, and I couldn’t resist putting this little gem on my hold list. What a delightful story about a girl, the bookshop she inherited, and the people who fall in love all throughout the village because of it!
Book #44: One Thing I Know
Did I stay up way too late reading this book even though I had just 5 hours of sleep the night before? Yes I did. Lucas & Rachel are a delight of a couple and couldn’t be more perfect for a great love story. It’s a good thing they have people in their lives telling them ‘how it is’ even when they don’t ask, otherwise they would mess everything up with their own insecurities. Go read this book!!
Book #45: Then There Was You
Did I start an amazon kindle unlimited trial just to read this book? Yes, I did. Did I stay up late reading? Yup. Did I read this instead of working this morning? You betcha! My birthday present to myself!! Kara Isaac is my new favorite author and the only bad part is that she only has two more books that I haven’t read!
Book #46: Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It
I’ve got my own Eat, Pray, Love story so I was intrigued by the premise of this book. It was okay on audio. If you don’t like Gilbert’s original work this isn’t for you. It also won’t make you want to read that book.
Book #47: All Made Up
The only negative thing about Kara Isaac is that she’s only written 5 books, and I just finished the 4th one. Love stories about women of faith who find everything they’ve always dreamed of. A little like my own dreams. Kara meets the love of her life at 35, I juts turned 34 … so maybe the Lord has a great love story in mind yet.
Book #48: Girl, Arise
Did I devour this book in one sitting while stuck in steerage on a 4.5 cross country flight with a very tall man practically sitting in my lap? Why, yes Clare, I did! It’s the perfect companion to The Catholic Feminist Podcast and I can’t wait to discuss it with Lisa for our buddy read this month. Can you be Catholic and a Feminist? Yes, and I would argue (& Clare might too) that it’s really the only authentic living out of feminism and Catholicism that Jesus and the Scriptures offer. Too far? Maybe, but I can make big claims because “Jesus, y’all”!
Book #49: God Is Not Nice
Thanks to my friend Sarah for passing this book along. Challenging, informative, and big … changing how I see who God is and what He’s out to do in my life. He’s not “nice” but He’s good.
Book #50: Matchmaking for Beginners: A Novel
A little magical realism, some love, a couple of weddings, a feisty old lady, and a Park Slope building all make this book a delight. I felt like I was on a visit to my brother and Amy which made this even a more delightful read. Time for a trip to Brooklyn’s small-town of Park Slope to live out a little magic.