Friday, March 31, 2017

What I Read in March

My Not So Perfect Life // Sophie Kinsella books are my go-to when I want a quick, light read. Her stories are silly, yes, but they are the perfect escape book, and I sometimes even laugh out loud. After wrapping up last month with a slightly depressing book, this was the perfect book for me to fly through during a Saturday afternoon. The story is about a girl who doesn't love her life but portrays a perfect though inaccurate life on her social media. She of course falls in love and has struggles but everything turns out in the end, but if you don't mind a predictable book, this one is really enjoyable. 4 stars

Small Admissions // This was not my favorite book of the month: the story had too many moving (and disconnected) parts for my taste, and overall it just fell a little flat. It's about a woman who winds up working in admissions at an uppity day school in Manhattan. There are a few funny scenes in the book, but I didn't love it. 3 stars

The Magician's Assistant // If you've been reading my monthly reading recaps, then you know that I've been reading a lot of Ann Patchett books. This is her first book that I was disappointed in. The story was very odd, and I never really connected with it. I wanted to finish the book to see what would happen and find out if the book would get any better, but it never really did. It was disappointing, but it doesn't erase the fact that I love all of her other books that I've read so far! 2 stars

Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want // You might remember that just last month I read Love Does by Bob Goff. His wife, Maria, just came out with this book the beginning of the month, and I was curious to read it as well. I didn't find Love Lives Here as good as Love Does; Bob had more fascinating stories and also told them in a way that was a little more engaging than Maria's writing. That being said, I did enjoy reading about Maria's marriage, family, and home. She clearly loves people, and I thought she gave a good perspective on loving well right where you are. If you're fans of Bob & Maria Goff, you will enjoy this book! I did receive this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a review. 3 stars

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live // If you enjoyed books like Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project or Better than Before, then you will probably really enjoy this book! Melody explores what it means to put down roots and really love where you live. In each chapter she shares her own personal experience, extensive research, and then action steps and tips for readers to settle and love where they live. It was one of those books that I kept talking to Caleb about. It triggered some really interesting conversations between us, and I found the entire book fascinating. It also hit particularly close to home for me because Melody moves to Blacksburg, Virginia and doesn't love it. Her big experiment that this book is based on takes place there, and it was so fun to read about familiar places and feelings (I went to college in Blacksburg and also lived there after getting married, and I didn't particularly love living there either). Such a great book, I highly recommend! 5 stars

Paris for One and Other Stories // I don't typically read short stories, but I am a fan of Jojo Moyes so I gave these stories a try. They were perfectly enjoyable to read, and I can imagine if you really like short stories you would enjoy these! The stories are all about women in their everyday lives, though each of the stories is quite different from the others. My favorite was "Crocodile Shoes", which I found quite clever. Worth reading if you don't have time for a longer book or really like short stories, but not a must-read in my opinion. 3 stars

The One-in-a-Million Boy // This was my book club's book for this month. I had heard rave reviews of this book here and there, so I was really excited to read this one! I thought it was such a beautiful book. It was well-written, and I found myself underlining phrases and passages that just struck me. I don't often do that in fiction books, so I really enjoyed that aspect of it. Beyond the writing, the story was clever and interesting and I read most of the book in one sitting (yay for nap time!). The story is about a young boy and his relationship with a 104 year-old woman, but it's also about the boy's parents and the old woman's long life and dreams and regrets and so many other things. This was a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it! 5 stars

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World // If you're not familiar with Tsh Oxenreider, she has a blog and a podcast that are all about living simply - focusing on what's important and "living holistically with your life's purpose". I love this approach to life, so I really enjoy her work. This is the first book of hers that I've read, and in it she breaks down life into five different areas (food, work, education, travel, entertainment) with thoughts on and examples of how their family has decided to life more intentionally in these areas. I loved hearing her perspective. It gave me a lot to think about and a lot of her thoughts really resonated with me. I really enjoyed this book! 4 stars

No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending // This was one of those books that got better the further I got into it. The first part of the book is the author's story: her difficult childhood as her parents divorced, her teenage years as her mother began to hate her, and her young adult life as her biological father (and convicted criminal) stalked her. Her story didn't resonate with me, and I found it a little disjointed to read. However! I really enjoyed the second half of the book where she actually dives into what it means to lament and pour our hearts out to God, and what that looks like practically. I thought she did a great job walking through passages of lament in Scripture and explaining how important it is to lament and cry out to God. If you've experienced something difficult in your life or are dealing with deep feelings of hurt or pain, or even if you're struggling to forgive, the second half of this book would be a great read for you!  I did receive this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. 3.5 stars

Exit West // I got this book in my first Book of the Month Club box, which is a really fun book subscription! Anyway, I chose this book out of the five options for March. If you're not familiar with the story of this book, it's about two young people who live in a country on the brink of war. There's rumors of secret doors that whisk you away to other places - presumably better, safer countries somewhere else in the world. The whole concept was clever, and it's a timely book to read with all that's going on in the world with refugees and immigration. It was interesting and I'm glad I read it, but at times it was a little slow. 3 stars

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe // I LOVED this book! As I said above, I'm a fan of Tsh Oxenreider, and this is her memoir of the year she and her family spent traveling around the world. I've been looking forward to reading this book for months, and I was lucky enough to get an early copy from the publisher! It comes out in a couple of weeks, but go ahead and pre-order it here! Their family visits countries in 4 different continents, and each chapter of the book is dedicated to each particular country they visit. I couldn't put this book down! I love traveling, and I loved how Tsh's wrote about the places I've visited and the many, many places I haven't (yet) visited. Each chapter covers both the touristy things they did in each country, but also the time they spent just doing life in that culture. Tsh also spends a lot of time writing about what home means and how you can feel at home in more than one place in the world, yet at the same time long that for that one place that feels like home. If you love to travel, if you love hearing about different cultures, if you want to learn how to travel with kids, read this book! 5 stars

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included, so if you click on any of the titles above and purchase the book(s), I may receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting the blog + my reading habit.