This month I finished a lot of books that I’ve been reading throughout the entire year. So within the first 5 days of December, I finished 6 books … only one of them was from start to finish. December is my time for reading sweet Christmas love stories, you know the ones, where the magic of Christmas brings everyone a happy ending. I can’t help it! I got a lot of recommendations from this site and promptly added them all to my library holds list. Many of them were really good, one went back to the library after 20 pages. You can’t win them all – but as Anne Bogel says, “Life’s too short to read bad books.” (unless your book club is making you or work is forcing you too…)
Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown: As you know I’m a huge Brené Brown fan. She’s transformed my life quite a bit and this book is one of her best yet. It takes a lot of the great concepts from her previous works and puts them into one place. I appreciated that!
It’s Ok to Start with You by Julia Marie Hogan: I wrote about my quest to get better at self-care a few weeks ago, and this book was my catalyst for doing so. A friend and I did this as a buddy read, and I’m glad we did. It dug up a few things that I need to work on (dismissing my inner critic, seeing my worth), and I am working on them.
Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish: This was our December book club pick. We chose it because it sounded interesting, and by the end of it, I was interested. The first half to two-thirds was really slow for me. The writing is very flowery and excessive in parts. I also don’t know how much I appreciated them diving in to what Annie would be thinking at this moment. I’m not sure we go to know Annie as much as we got to know what her friends think of her. And after someone passes, we always glorify everything that they did and look back with rose colored glasses. I’m not advocating for being mean about the dead … but when I pass, don’t set my faults on a pedestal and worship them (not for very long anyway). But the last third was great, tears in my eyes while reading in public great!
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah: I listened to this on audio and it was great! Trevor reads it, which I always appreciate a memoir being read by the author. His life in South Africa was nuts. His mother’s life was even crazier – and there were some parts that make me just so angry I couldn’t help but yell while driving down the road. The only thing I missed was how he got here and is now the host of The Daily Show. The book seems to end before that really begins.
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat: It took me a year to read this book. It is really good, but really deep and sometimes way over my head. I tried to just read a few pages a night – but then other books keep coming up as more interesting for me so I would put it down for months at a time. I finally made it my weekly resolution to just finish and that I did.
Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results by Judith E. Glaser: I am in the process of being certified as a CIQ (Conversational Intelligence) Coach. During the process, Judith was the person presenting and she lost her battled with pancreatic cancer. There are a lot of things I find fascinating about her, and there are also many that I just do not get. I won’t get into them here – but this book and the science behind it pair nicely with Dare To Lead.
Christmas at the Chalet by Anita Hughes: Felicity, the main character, of this book is quite annoying. She doesn’t realize that her spending one-on-one time with a handsome doctor is going to be perceived as cheating on her boyfriend (who is lame and refuses to propose to her, but that’s beside the point). A sweet Christmas read with an annoying lead. Also the next most important character is also super annoying … at least she’s not cheating on her fiancé, so there’s that. I also don’t have a fascination with fashion, so the beautiful dress descriptions are kind of lost of me … I’m not sure I know what all of those words mean. If I had a picture, then it would be a different story!
Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber: I’m falling in love with all of Debbie’s books and think I just might need to reserve them all from the library and make finishing all of her books one of my 2019 goals. Sweet love stories, not racy (but still romantic), great writing, and easy reading. This is her most recent release and it was delightful!
Christmas Camp: A Novel (Christmas Camp #1) by Karen Schaler: And here continues my sweet Christmas stories … just seeing now that this is a series, so I can’t wait to read the next one, presumably next Christmas. A sweet story about a widower who runs 10 weeks of Christmas Camp every year that is intended to turn grinches into santas by the end! Of course a woman who hates Christmas is forced to attend by her boss, meets a handsome man, and then falls in love with both him and Christmas (surprised?).
Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis: I spent 2018 listening to David and Matt talk about this book chapter by chapter, week by week. I slowly fell in love with Jack, and one of the hosts if we’re being honest – so I felt it was time to actually read the book. So my book friends at work and I read it as our December read. It was fantastic and I wish my book darts had come in before I started reading because there are a lot of dog-eared pages from this book.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling: This is a re-read for me, and I’m listening to it on audio this time around. I originally picked it up because the title is something I say all of the time. Why not me to be getting married this year? Why not me to have a few kids? Why not me for that promotion? And the truth of it is that the question is pretty foolish. There are a lot of things that I love about Mindy and her brand – and there are a lot of things I’m not that into. This book was filled with both of those things.
Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny: Another homerun from Louise Penny! I’ve read the whole series now and can’t wait for the most recent one to come up on my holds list (I started at #234 I think and now I’m about #115, so a little bit of time to go…). This is a great series that absolutely has to be read in order. You’ll miss so much of the character development and story line if you hop around or begin at the end. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but it is mine – and this is my blog and my reading recommendation, so there!
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber: Another book by Debbie – this one being her 2018 Christmas release. Super sweet, delightful, and left me wanting more.
The Adults by Caroline Hulse: Okay, not amazing – but a fine read. No better or worse for having read it. Also I think the most ‘adult’ person in the book was the seven year old child!
Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor #2) by JoAnn Ross: Another sweet Christmas read that was a tad bit racy – probably a PG-13 romance story. There were a lot this season – but that’s probably because I got that list from someone who loves romances that are more racy than I typically prefer. I did love it though and proceeded to reserve #1 in the series to read next (see below).
Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan: This is my 3rd Kelly Corrigan book this year, and I loved listening to it from her voice. It’s the story of her time in her early 20s when she was the nanny for a family who lost the wife/mother earlier that year. They are in Australia. It was good, and insightful. Also I think I’m probably going to be the glue in any future relationship rather than the glitter. You’ll have to read to book to get what that means!
Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie, Dan Stevens (Narrator): This is my first Agatha Christie book ever! I can’t even believe that. Another one will be my first book of 2019 that I’m going to start reading as soon as I finish this post. I listened to this on my way to PA for Christmas. It was great! I didn’t realize it was part of a series, but I don’t think I’m going to run out and get the others.
Sin Bravely: My Great Escape from Evangelical Hell by Maggie Rowe: I’m not sure where I got this recommendation, but I’m glad I read it. I’m not recommending it though. I appreciated that it was an exploration of mental health and Christianity – which is why I started reading. However, I would venture to say that the Christianity everyone tells the author about is ridiculous and not at all what I live out as a Christian. An interesting perspective to say the least.
Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor #1) by JoAnn Ross: Loved the first book in the series and am excited about the coming books in this series. I predict that each of the brothers will be married off throughout the series – but I’ll still read them because they are delightful!
The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy: Not sure where I got this recommendation, but about 2/3rds of the way through I sent a friend a note saying that the only reason I was continuing to listen was because I was 9 hours into a 10.5 hour drive. Right after that the book got good. Still not sure I’d recommend it – but I’m glad I listened. I appreciated the perspective into a life that is very different than mine.
Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah: A sweet book, and yes predictable as a blogger I read today said – but aren’t all of the Christmas books predictable? Aren’t most books? I mean, there are really only a few story lines that can be told – but the way it is told is the reason to continue to read!
The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan: Yes a Christmas romance – but more than that it’s a story of how a family thrives after tragedy. This was a good read, and I hope there’s more from Sarah about these sisters!
Christmas on Main Street (Shelter Bay #6.5) by JoAnn Ross, Susan Donovan, Luann McLane, Alexis Morgan: Sweet, some a little too racy (again, gotta remember the source of the recommendation), the 3rd one was super sweet and worth the whole read.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: This book reinforces the idea that if the boy is mean to you it means he actually likes you. And that’s celebrated! It’s so ridiculous! It was a fast read, but I wouldn’t recommend.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul: This book of essays was enlightening. I learned a lot about immigrants, Indian culture, and life as a brown girl. Things I know nothing about. I really appreciated it.
Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus Through Mary with Blessed John Paul II by Brian McMaster: Each year for Advent I do the 33 day consecration renewal, and this was this year’s book choice for the reflections. This was one of the best consecration preparations I’ve read, I really liked it!
Well, that’s 26 books this month and brings my 2018 total to 210. I’m 120% of my goal of 175 books. I can’t believe it, not really – that’s a lot of books. Also, December was my best reading month of the year. Quite a delight to be honest. Sharing my reading goals for 2019 tomorrow so come on back! Catch up on previous editions of “what I read”:
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November.