Monday, January 9, 2017

What I Read in November + December

Whew - a long overdue post on what I read in November + December! It's a bit of a long post because there's a bunch of books, but I wanted to finish out the year with these recaps because I know so many of you enjoy them.


Shepherding a Child's Heart // I really enjoy reading parenting books, and this was one I had asked for for my birthday last year. There are really good principles about training your children from a young age to obey and respond to parental authority, and I really liked it. This wasn't as much of a practical handbook as laying down foundations in your child's heart. 4 stars


What Alice Forgot // I've read several of Liane Moriarty's books, and this was by far my favorite. It was our November book club book, and I could not put it down. The story is about Alice, who wakes up thinking she's 29 and pregnant, when in reality she's 39 and has three kids and a falling-apart marriage. We had a lot of fun discussing this book during book club, and everyone really liked it. Definitely worth picking up! 4 stars


The Underground Railroad // This book won the National Book Award last year, was Oprah's Book Club pick, and was given rave reviews everywhere I looked. But, I didn't like it! I kept reading it waiting to feel really connected to the book or for this moment when I wouldn't want to put it down, but that just never happened for me. Yes, it's well-written and clever, but I didn't really enjoy reading it. If you want to read a book about slaves in the south, I would recommend The Kitchen House or The House Girl long before I would recommend this one. 2 stars


What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage // I've had this book for a while, and I wanted to read it because I hadn't read a book on marriage in a while. There were some really great truths and principles in this book that I found helpful, especially as good reminders 6 1/2 years into marriage. I did find the writing a little redundant, but I enjoyed it. 3 stars


A Certain Age // I am a big fan of Beatriz Williams, but for me this title fell a little flat. It just wasn't as compelling as some of her other stories. I did enjoy reading it, but I didn't really like it, so it doesn't get a high rating from me. 3 stars


All the Pretty Things: The Story of a Southern Girl Who Went through Fire to Find Her Way Home // This was one of those books that was popping up all over my social media, so when the publisher sent me a copy I was thrilled to read it in exchange for a review! I love reading personal stories and memoirs, so I enjoyed this book. I think there's value in reading about people who are very different than you, and that's how I felt about this book. I can hardly wrap my mind around the way that Edie grew up. It was an interesting read, and she definitely has a story to share. 3 stars


Winter Storms // I've read all of Elin Hilderbrand's books, because they are so easy to fly through and so enjoyable. This was the third book in her winter trilogy, and I enjoyed it just as much as her other books. It's not very long and was a breeze to get through, but the characters and story are engaging and very enjoyable. 4 stars


State of Wonder // I've always heard good things about Ann Patchett and recently finished Bel Canto, which I really enjoyed. This book was also very good - well-written, interesting characters, unique plot. It's safe to say I'm now an Ann Patchett fan and will continue to work my way through her books.  4 stars


The Trouble with Goats and Sheep // What I loved about this book was the child's perspective from which it is written. The way the girl perceives the things that adults do and how she explains them was so entertaining. I thought the plot was a little strange and left me wanting more, but it was an enjoyable read. 3 stars


Truly Madly Guilty // If you've read some of Liane Moriarty's books (like Big Little Lies or The Husband's Secret) and enjoyed those, than you will enjoy this one. There's the suspense of wondering what has happened to this group of people in the book, and the chapters alternate between detailing the actual event surrounding the book and the aftermath. I don't love books written in that way, so this was not as good as What Alice Forgot for me. It was interesting, and I'm glad I read it as it was on the Bestseller list, but it just wasn't my favorite. 3 stars


The Mothers // I was really anticipating this debut novel because I had heard good things about it, and I was not disappointed! I really enjoyed a book written within the American black church culture, something that I was pretty unfamiliar with. The writing is very good and the plot had a few unexpected twists. There is quite a bit of language in this book, just to warn you, but if you can look past that, it's a great read. 4 stars


The Mommy Group: Freaking Out, Finding Friends, and Surviving the Happiest Time of Our Lives // I didn't really know what to expect from this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was really nice to read a non-fiction book on motherhood/parenting that didn't really have an agenda. The book really just tells the stories of this group of moms in Brooklyn as they go through pregnancy, birth, and the first couple of years of their children's lives. It was refreshing, honest, and funny, and I really liked it. This would be a great book to give to a pregnant friend or a new mom. 4 stars


Today Will Be Different // I really loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette, so my hopes were extremely high for this book. And those hopes were unfortunately dashed, because I just did not enjoy this one! I liked the premise: a mother decides that her day will be different in a number of ways, and the book takes place in the 24 hours of that day. However, the plot was not compelling enough, and I didn't enjoy the main character. There were several lines that I found to be snarky and entertaining, but definitely not enough of those to warrant a good review. Disappointed in this one. 2 stars

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