Y’all, I didn’t read very many books this month, not very many at all (see all that space in the header image!). And I’m feeling it! Reading is an escape for me, a way to recharge myself, a sign that I’ve relaxed, been a home a bit, and am my best self. Just last week while I was on the 2nd leg of a 4 leg, 12 day trip with 4 states, 6 cities – I was saying to someone, “I’m just not my best self today.” I couldn’t even figure out that Rodeo Drive and Rodeo Goat are spelled the same, but pronounced differently. One of those places has amazing burgers, out of this world fries, and a dessert called goat balls that are indescribable. The other has a lot of things I cannot afford!
But anyway – I did read some books this month. In the midst of these books a friend lived with me for 3 weeks, I visited a friend in Chicago, stayed at my aunt’s house, went through my first work Kaizen, did 4 work trips, visited 8 cities, slept in a lot of beds (alone, but all over the place), and cried a few tears for the season finale of When Calls the Heart (one of the 2 tv obsessions I still allow myself to have). I also read these books:
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo: This was interesting and has a lot of mixed reviews. On September 11th two young people meet and fall in love. They also lose themselves over the course of the book, marry other people, and cannot figure out if they should be together or not. The character development for the female lead is pretty shallow, which was why I wasn’t in love with this book. I also don’t really like how she treated her husband and later children, more like a burden than part of her life.
The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1), by Jennifer A. Nielsen: I got this recommendation from the What Should I Read Next podcast, episode 124. I’ve been catching up on a lot of lost middle grade books from my childhood like Little House and Anne of Green Gables, so I figured I’d take this one on. It’s not from my childhood, but I really enjoyed it! Not enough that I want to read the trilogy though. I recommend it and appreciated the story line. There’s a huge twist at the end that you might see much earlier than me, but I was surprised and loved it!
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: Think Breakfast Club meets White Collar meets ‘High School Today’ then you’ll have the plot of this book. Overall fine, not great. I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it – and I’m not lying.
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L’Engle: Again trying to catch up on all the books everyone read as a child that I did not. I liked this, but not enough to read the next 4 in the quintet. I also don’t think I’m going to go see the movie because I have this thing about it changing how I see the story in my mind. Even though I loved the books and movies of Harry Potter, I’m still sad that my mind’s version of them was overtaken by the Chris Columbus. [That wasn’t the best review, was it? If you haven’t read it, read it!]
Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen: I really appreciated this book. A story of New York living, wealthy living, and neighbors. I don’t know how to describe it fully, but I really appreciated it. I thought there was good character development and a good storyline. The main issue in the story is about parking, which as we know doesn’t seem like a big deal – but it really is.
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh: This is my 3rd Clare book this year, and I’ve really loved them all. I like her writing style. It’s a great thriller without me needing to have all of the lights on while reading it. This book is broken up into three parts, each ending with a surprising twist! Definitely a must read!!
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell: I finished this book because I’m a ‘compulsive book finisher.’ I don’t like to let things be unread, unless I really dislike something. This was a long read, even though it was less than 250 pages, but so slow! The thoughts are interesting, the stories are good, but the explanations are tedious. I don’t recommend. You could probably find a 250 word review (not this one) that gives you all of the information I learned in 250 pages.
Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict: I went for a walk with a friend last weekend before I left for this 12 day trip, and she said, “here take this book when you return stuff to the library and ask them to check it out in your name, you’ll like it.” So I did that, and I loved it. It was so sweet, historical, and didn’t end with them falling in love and living happily ever after (sorry for that spoiler, still worth the read … you’d be really upset if it did end that way). The story is of this woman, Clare Kelly, who is pulled into service after another woman with the same name dies on the boat over from Ireland. She becomes a savvy business woman, a woman of honest and integrity (aside from the fact that no one knows her true identity), and changes the course of history (if this is to be believed the best encounter). It’s also set in Pittsburgh, which is a city that is close to my heart!
Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton: I saw Diane on Ellen a few weeks ago and wanted to read a book of hers. She has some very interesting life experiences I admire such as never marrying and adopting two children after she turned 50. I think she is fascinating and has a sense of style that is uniquely hers. She doesn’t live her life for other people, but does what she believes is right, and I admire that. I didn’t love this book as much as I love her – but still appreciated the window into her world.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: When I got to my aunt’s on Saturday, she shared that she got this book at the library for me to read while I was here. I’m glad she did! It was so good!! So beautiful and heartbreaking. She captures the history in a way that makes you angry we ever let the war happen. And to remember the unsung heroes that history has forgotten. Isabelle and Vianne are fictional representations of the many women who were left behind and forced to survive. Definitely read this!!
Here’s to a more book-filled May!