The Soulmate Equation

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Well this was a delight. It’s full of quick wit, commentary on online dating, the cutest 7 year old girl, and a great love story.

It’s got science and best friends who write romance. It’s full of great food and witty conversation. It’s everything I needed.

“‘You hush, I feel like I’m committing a crime even being in here,’ Fizzy whispered behind her. ‘I’m late renewing my library card!’l


Anxious People

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It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma with a beautiful commentary on mental health. I think. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around this very nonlinear story about a bank robber who becomes a hostage taker of eight people, or was it seven?

I did love how the book offers so many beautiful conclusions. I think the point the author is trying to make is twofold. First, we don’t really know the effect we’re having on others. Maybe this is the first and only time we encounter someone or maybe this one encounter leads to us getting married ten years from now. Second, we don’t know what else is going on in someone’s life. Everyone is more that what they portray on the surface.

It’s weird and fascinating and topsy-turvy. I think I really liked it. I might need five more read throughs before I get it though.

“This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is. Especially if you have other people you’re trying to be a reasonably good human being for.”


Things You Save in a Fire

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After reading How. To Walk Away I needed to re-read the firefighter’s story who showed up in the first chapter. Cassie’s who life changed on her 16th birthday. The beginning of her finding peace with herself is when her mother calls and says she needs help “for a year”

Out of duty or loyalty or just because Cassie’s devoted her life to being “one of the good guys,” she says yes. Her life in Austin has been falling apart anyway. She gets everything back in Lillian, at her moms. Everything she was missing that she didn’t even know she was missing.

It’s a story about heroes and love and forgiveness. And it’s delightful!

“It’s a strange thing to know about yourself, but there it is: I’m at my very best when things are at their very worst.”


Soundtracks (on Audio)

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I had an ARC of this book because I was on the launch team, so I read it months ago (and reviewed it). This week when I finished my previous audio book and had run out of podcasts in my feed I was interested in (so many are released on Tuesdays and I finish them by end of the day on Thursday), I thought “Let’s listen to Jon.”

I’m so glad I did too – the audiobook is short, but inspiring. I need more of this kind of content in my life – stop overthinking things. Start telling yourself a different soundtrack for your life. When I thought I’d broken my new house over the weekend (I sort of did, sort of didn’t – it was touch and go for a while if we’re being honest), I kept telling myself “See, what a terrible idea. Single women shouldn’t own houses alone, you were supposed to wait for a man to come along. Why’d you even sell your townhouse?”

Then I thought, “Katie, why are you talking to yourself like that?” After talking to a friend, they also said, “I wouldn’t have known to do any of that while replacing a thermostat. You know now – just call them and ask them to fix it.”

So I did – and Alvo came and he fixed it – and set up my new thermostat properly – which was different than the instructions because I have a heat pump, which I’m still not yet sure what that really is – but it’s different than my old house – so anyway – I started telling myself “You made a mistake. This is the first time you’ve ever done this. It’s okay.”

As I told Riley over and over last year, “You’re just learning, and when you’re learning, it’s supposed to be a little hard or you wouldn’t be learning new things.”

So back to the book – if you haven’t gotten this yet, what are you waiting for? I’ve got two on my shelf, you can come borrow one for the price of listening to me give you a tour of my new home!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (it was 5 ⭐️ on ebook and it’s 5 more ⭐️ on audio)

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

What a delight! Such great character formation and “finding oneself” as Quinn graduates from high school. She writes everything in lists in a journal she’s never without – until it’s lost and in the hands of someone who hates her.

Her secrets exposed – but if that didn’t happen, she wouldn’t have learned about how brave she is – so good come from evil. I loved reading about her journey, seeing her and Carter together, having her find a new friend in Olivia.

This is also a story about race, and what it’s like to be Black in Austin, when almost everyone around you is white. Not an experience I know – so getting into the head of this young woman was delightful. I loved reading her story, understanding a little more of a worldview I’ve never had. Highly recommend!

“Figure out what you want to do in life, Quinn. Pick a major. Pick an apartment. This undecided mess is just a luxury only rich white boys can afford. You are not that. You have to be better than that if you want to compete.”


How to Walk Away

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This is a re-read for me, and such a delight. We’re reading it this month for book club with something extra special for our meeting (hint: it’s a special guest). It’s just a little bit a love story – mostly it’s the story of the best day of Margaret’s life also being the worst day of her life.

She’s always been afraid of flying, preparing for a crash each time she was in the air – until the one day it actually happened. While in the air she got everything she’s ever wanted, and then a few minutes later, one gust of wind took it all away.

This book illustrates to me what happens in the midst of a tragedy – our true selves come out. Chip showed his true colors, so did his mom – surprise, they weren’t the heroes of the story. Kit also showed her true colors – and they’re pretty beautiful!

“I would forever be someone who made people uncomfortable.”


Here for It

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I needed something to listen to while I was at the house all day waiting for installations and deliveries and remembered this from my library borrows. It was a delight.

It’s a book of essays by a man who’s trying to figure out how to be a Preacher’s Husband and a Christian – all at the same time. Something not made too easy.

There were some great moments, even a few I texted to friends that were just such a delight. It took me a while to get back to the final hour, but I finished this morning while setting up my office.

This might also be good in print – but listening to the author was the perfect way to read, in my opinion.

“While I was growing up my mom said our interior design style was ‘deceased.’ Meaning someone died and gave it all to us.”


Arsenic and Adobo

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This was a surprising delight. A cozy mystery set in small town Illinois. It’s got a tiny bit of a love story but most mystery solving.

A sweet book filled with tons of traditions and family history!!

“Not many romantic comedies feature an Asian-American lead (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but all the hallmarks are there.”


The Guest List

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I’ve always loved mysteries so I was excited for this one from Book of the Month. I think I got it as a free add on in the new year. It was one of the best books of 2020 for them.

And it’s captivating. It’s sort of a mystery, but you don’t even know who’s been killed until there are about 30 pages left!

All of the guests have a secret, the inter tangled web of lies and deceit is fascinating. I think I need a sequel about what happens after the arrest.

Page turning and captivating!!

“Loath to stay, but also loath to step outside its sanctuary while the storm rages. And no one can leave the island. Not yet. The boats can’t come until the wind dies down.”


The Kate in Between

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Just brilliant!! Kate is someone you’re rooting for and want to win, but she makes a lot of bad decisions that your screaming at her for. She’s a typical 12 year old trying to figure out how to navigate life. She makes mistakes. She doesn’t understand long term consequences. She gets hurt, and so do her friends.

A page turner … also her dad! I want to know him in real life, maybe go in a few dates with. Do you always love the parents when you’re reading middle grade fiction? I mean, he’s the one closer to my age (but still a decade younger!).

But HER MOM! Ugh. A woman in her late twenties struggling through life trying to find her way. She doesn’t. Claire could write both the mom and dad’s story (separate obviously, they don’t belong together). I’d read that follow up!

“This is a story of good vs. evil, of expectations vs. reality, of cell phones vs. your own two eyes. If you feel like I already gave away the ending, don’t be upset. Surprises are great. Except for when they’re not.”