166: Just the Way You Are

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

I read a book by Pepper a few weeks ago (Jane by the Book) and really loved it, so I found another one on Kindle Unlimited and started and finished it yesterday. A pre-school teacher and a BBC star find each other via a weird ancestry, genealogical adventure.

He’s got a past that involves a crazy viper named Vivian. She’s got a past that gave her 3 cute little babies. Somehow they’ll make it work because true love conquers all.

A sweet read, a little heavy on the “God-Stuff” without anyone ever stepping foot in a Church though. I don’t tend to see that in reality. People who are very strong Christians, waiting for marriage, and also aren’t part of a Church community. Why is that left out?

Oh, also it’s set in the mountains of North Carolina – Virginia area, which was fun … along with Jane Austen’s England.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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165: Who Needs Reality?

Who Needs Reality? By Lia London

This book needed a little more reality, that’s for sure. A sweet romance between two kids (early 20s) who have been in love with each other since they were in middle school – but haven’t said a word about it.

She loves daytime soaps, so she drags him to try out for “Who wants to be a soap star?” Or something like that and they win round 1.

The dialogue is awful, the story line is ridiculous, and it took me a week to read this. I should have abandoned and just moved on … I blame it on the tiredness I’ve been feeling since I got 3 hours of sleep Sunday morning between my brother’s wedding and our annual stewardship conference. It was all downhill from there.

⭐️⭐️

164: Book Nerds and Boyfriends

Book Nerds and Boyfriends by Sarah Monzon

While away on my trip I didn’t read many books which was quite sad. But I did finish two Kindle books, this one being first. I started it on the train to Poughkeepsie and finished on the drive back to New York last Saturday. It’s super sweet.

There are three novellas in this book that are all intertwined by the end. I really liked it and thought it was a super sweet read!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

163: Jane by the Book

Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham

Y’all know my affinity for love stories. I’ve always told myself that it’s fine, whatever’s written – but lately I’ve found some things just linger in my mind longer than others, so I need to be more diligent about the type of fiction I read.

I’m sticking with love stories – but I just love a good love story – maybe because my own seems so hopeless or nonexistent right now … so stocking up on Kindle Unlimited books for this trip (I only packed 2 physical books for my 10 day trip that has TONS of travel – already today I’ve used like 9 modes of transportation … one I didn’t catalogue in my InstaStories were the stairs I climbed … with my overfull suitcase, heavy briefcase, and backpack of wedding appropriate dresses … two books may have been too many!). … also I’ve developed a love for run-on sentences apparently (and it took me 3 tries to actually spell sentences correctly … and even then, a final auto-correct was needed).

Anyway, if you’ve read this far after that monstrosity of a paragraph … this is a sweet love story about a girl and writer who fall in love in Bath, England over a century and a half old sleuthing expedition. It was a quick read – one plane and two short train rides to gobble up the whole thing.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

162: The Daughter of Time

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Meg recommended this to me saying, “It’s set in the 1950s in London. A man from Scotland Yard is flat on his back in the hospital when he begins to solve a more than 400 year old case. Without the internet.”

When I went to get it from the library, it was actually on the shelf, so I picked up the 200 page book and got ready to read. It’s a slower read with all the Lords and Kings and illegitimate sons to keep up with, but when I had 30 pages to go this morning, I decided to bring it along on my trip. I finished before we took off.

A great mystery. A fascinating look at history books. Who writes them? The victors!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

161: Educated

Educated by Tara Westover

I thought I finished this book on Tuesday night when I came to the end credits (a sure sign, right?), but I was wrong. After “disc 10” played from my USB drive, “disc 9” began. Then a lot of things in the concluding chapters fell into place. I had missed 4 or 5 critical chapters. So I finished those up on my way to the airport this morning.

The entire time I was listening to this book I was appalled. Appalled that a mother or a father could treat their daughter this way. That a brother could be so violent “in the name of the Lord” to his “sittle lister.” That a girl could be so violently treated as a child, have it seen by her parents, and then deny that it ever happened. He broke her wrist once, and “it was all in her imagination.”

That they did all this in the name of the Lord, in the name of religion made me even more angry. This is a true story of Tara. It’s a story of survival, a story of what determination and good mental health counseling can do (when you’re willing to tell the truth). Her father wouldn’t send her to school because all public schools are run by the Illuminati to let the government brainwash you (almost an exact quote) so he brainwashed her at home instead.

Taught her that even showing her neck was “whorish” to do. That Diet Coke was Satan’s drink. The only books they were allowed to read were the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s letters. She didn’t have a birth certificate until she was at least 9 and then it was only a “declaration of birth” not an actual certificate because no one knew what day she was actually born. They didn’t see doctors, her mother had the ‘medicine of the Lord’ that cured everything.

No one was truly healed. Yes, their ailments went away sometimes, but her father was at least bipolar. I think her mother had Stockholm Syndrome because the man who was her husband was a terrible man. Her brother was probably bipolar too – a mental illness that can be inherited. She learned that the Holocaust happened her first week in college at the age of 18. Her father continued to deny that it was true.

Countless times I yelled at the father or the brother or the mother or the sister in the car. Shouting “he’s hurting her” or “you’re ridiculous” or “stop brainwashing her” or “you’re lying.” What an amazing testament to what sheer determination to change your life can do!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

160: The Flatshare

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

What a delightful read! Tiffy was recently dumped by an ego-maniac (but she doesn’t know that’s what he is even though everyone else does) and is still living in his apartment. After he gets engaged to someone else, she needs to find a new place. Since she’s an editor at a very tiny, poorly paying publishing house, her options are few for an affordable flat.

Enter Leon, a night shift, hospice nurse, who’s only home from 9am to 6pm each day and gone on the weekends. So he’s rented out this flat for the other days. Tiffy inquires and comes around to meet him before moving in, but his girlfriend was taking his place because work. So she moves in without actually meeting Leon and they begin sharing notes back and forth to one another.

Their first meeting is quite comical, but because both of their pasts, it takes a while to get life sorted out so they can be together. Yes, they end up together – that’s not a spoiler, it’s a romance novel. There’s always a “Happily Ever After” for the main characters. This isn’t My Best Friend’s Wedding y’all … what ever did happen to Julia Robert’s character in that movie? Did she find someone? Did she “Eat, Pray, Love” her way around the world later? Did she get a “happily ever after”? So many questions.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️