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January Reads {2020}

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January flew by and I did A LOT of reading! This year, I set my annual goal of 75 books again. I was short last year by TWO books! But, I’ m off to a good start for this year. I can’t remember the last time that I read 8 books in one month! I’m trying in the new year to read at least 5 books a month: one book off my own shelf, one historical fiction book, one YA book, one non-fiction book and one fiction book. I realize sometimes I can double up on my reading, like reading a YA historical fiction or a historical fiction book off my own shelf. I’m not very good at sticking with reading goals though, so we’ll see. We are almost two weeks into February and I only have one book read! I’m sharing my reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Book linkup. Here are my January reads:

2 stars:

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Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob & Jenna Torres – Around mid-December, after watching Game Changers on Netflix, our family decided to go vegan. So, being new to veganism, I decided to read this book. Some of the information was useful, but I found the author to be so condescending and having a “holier than thou” attitude about being vegan. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan.

3 Stars:

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer – Delilah is a high school loner who prefers to spend her time reading. When she discovers that she can speak to Oliver, one of the characters in her favorite fairy tale book, the two try to create a plan where they can be together. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. I own almost every one of her books so I had to get this book that she co-wrote with her daughter. I’ve had this for years and finally decided to read it off my shelf. This book is VERY YA and I wasn’t a big fan.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis – This book is geared towards women who want to achieve their goals. It overs motivation and advice in her tell-it-to-you-straight manner, but didn’t really tell me anything I haven’t heard or read before. I enjoyed Girl, Wash Your Face more and after listening to a few episodes of her podcast, I think I’ve had enough of Hollis.

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The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald – Abi Knight’s teen daughter is brain dead but being kept alive because she’s pregnant. The police rule her fall as an accident. But Abi is determined to find out what really happened that night to her daughter. This was a good, suspenseful read.

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Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson – This book opens at 16 year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony. The story then goes back to the past and tells the story of her parents and grandparents and how they all got to this moment in time. The chapters weren’t labeled and I found the jumping from different character’s stories to be a bit disorienting. Overall, I found the book to be an okay read.

4 stars:

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The Arrangement by Robyn Harding – Natalie Murphy is a poor art student trying to survive in NYC. She learns about being a sugar daddy from a classmate and thinks that she’s found the answer to all of her financial problems. Then she meets Gabe and ends up falling in love with him. So when he unexpectedly ends things with her, she doesn’t take it very well. This was a fast-paced, suspenseful read for me.

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Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid – Emira, is a 25 year-old African-American woman who makes a living babysitting two white Caucasian children. Unfortunately, she’s involved in a confrontation at a local grocery store, when the security guard thinks that she has kidnapped the toddler she is watching. The incident ends up being videotaped and mom Alix, attempts to make things right for Emira. I went into this book not knowing anything about it. I was pleasantly surprised at Reid’s writing and her take on race and privilege.

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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon – Anne Gallagher was very close with her grandfather Eoin. When he dies, she fulfills her promise to him and brings his ashes back to Ireland. During her visit she ends up being transported back to 1921 and is mistaken for her great grandmother, whom she looks just like. Anne adjusts to living in Ireland and during this time period meets Thomas, who helps her navigate this new world. This book is historical fiction and time travel. It started out super slow for me. I only stuck it out because this is my work book club’s current read. I am glad that I finished reading, because about half-way through the story picks up and had me hooked.

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December Reads {2019}

I ended my year of reading with holiday themed reads. If I read these types of books any other time of the year, I’d think they were cheesy and hate them. However, there’s something about Christmas time where, even though many holiday themed books rank high on the cheese factor, they are still enjoyable. Reading these themed books makes for a nice, light ending to the year. As always, I’m sharing these December reads with Steph and Jana’s SUYB linkup. Enjoy!

3 stars

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25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander – Kate, a young widow, wants to make this the best Christmas ever for her 6 year-old son Jack. She creates an Advent calendar with a fun holiday activity each day for the two of them to do. But with hardly any money and a dead-end job, she needs a miracle to pull it off. She then meets Daniel, who is as lonely and sad as she is. The two end up befriending each other and help each other through the holidays. This was actually a pretty sad and depressing holiday read that touched upon a lot of tough topics. If you want a light and fluffy holiday read, skip this one!

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The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini – Basically, this story is about a group of quilters that pulls together to make sure the annual Christmas Boutique runs, after a major disaster occurs. I did not realize when I put this book on hold from the library that 1. it was about quilting (not really a topic of interest to me) and 2. that it was part of a series. Overall, it was an okay holiday read.

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Christmas at the Little Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan – Polly is busy with Christmas baking. Her best friend, Kerensa has a huge secret that Polly is burdened with keeping. Then Polly has to deal with her own personal family issues. Christmas is not looking so great for her, but can she make it a happy holiday for everyone? I really enjoyed then first book in this series, but found this book to be just okay.

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Let it Snow by Nancy Thayer – Christine owns a toy shop (shed) on Nantucket. When her landlord raises the rent, she and her fellow shopkeeper friends have to come up with a plan to save their businesses. She also meets Wink, a nine year-old little girl and Andy, her uncle, who both end up having a big impact on her.

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You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman – In this sequel to Class Mom, Jen Dixon is class mom of her son’s 3rd grade class. This year she is also roped into organizing the 5th grade school safety patrol. Her emails to the parents are filled with her usual snark and sarcasm, that is not appreciated by everyone. In addition, she’s also dealing with family issues, which leads to her feeling a bit overwhelmed. This book was a bit of a letdown, since I enjoyed Class Mom so much. It was an entertaining read, just not as funny as the first. This is also my only non-holiday read of the month, since I started this one after Christmas.

4 stars

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The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan – Three sisters, Hannah, Beth and Posy are reunited in Scotland with their adopted parents for the Christmas holiday. Each sister is dealing with her own personal issues, but spending time together as a family helps them all. This wasn’t too sappy of a holiday read.

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Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler – Emmie loves Christmas. She sets up a big, fun holiday-themed weekend scavenger hunt for her boyfriend Grant, but a different guy accidentally gets the clues. She ends up discovering that Sam, the other guy, loves Christmas as much as she does. When Grant finally does arrive in Christmas Point, he’s not very interested in all of Emmie’s special plans. She eventually has some decisions to make regarding their relationship. This was cute and sappy in a good way! Last year I read and really liked Schaler’s book Christmas Camp. This book didn’t disappoint either.

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November Reads {2019}

It’s December and I’m currently all about the holiday themed reads! But today, I’m sharing my November reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly book link up. I’ve been averaging 4-5 books a month and last month was no different, with five books read. Here are my November reads from least to most liked:

3 stars:

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The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger – This book revolves around four families that are great friends. They all have children in the 5th grade and met when the kids were babies. When a new public charter gifted school, Crystal Academy, plans to open, the parents end up going to extreme measures to try to get their kids into the middle school. The book is told from the perspectives of different characters in the story. It has been compared to Big Little Lies, which I really liked. Overall, I found this to be a decent contemporary fiction read and rate it more of a 3.5, if half stars were available on goodreads.

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Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Sawyer Taft’s estranged grandmother shows up at her door with an interesting proposition. Sawyer has to participate in debutante season and in exchange she will get a six figure award. Sawyer is immersed in an unfamiliar world of wealth and parties. As she upholds her end of the deal, she is also able to investigate her unknown birth father’s identity. This was a fun YA book that’s been compared to Pretty Little Liars.

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Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory – Vivian Forest is accompanying her daughter on a work trip and is visiting England for the first time. On her first day there she meets Malcolm Hudson. He ends up showing her around the area and of course, a romance begins. But this is a vacation…..can/will they do a long distance relationship? I didn’t realize that this was the fourth book in a series, so it can be read without reading the others. I enjoy a good contemporary romance, but this was just an okay read for me. I found it very predictable and a little cheesy. This was my first book by Guillory, and I think I’ll pass on her others.

4 stars:

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The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff – This book tells the story of two women, Noa and Astrid, who are trapeze artists in a traveling circus during WWII. This historical fiction book was last month’s read for my in-person book club and we all enjoyed it. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially books about WWII. I enjoyed this book’s unique perspective of the time period, as I didn’t even realize that there were traveling circuses during this time. Definitely a book that you need to be in the right mind frame to read, but in my opinion, worth the time.

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Something Like Happy by Eva Woods – Annie feels stuck in her miserable life. Then she meets Polly who is terminally ill, but living her 100 Days of Happy Challenge. She ends up recruiting Annie, which has drastic changes on both of their lives. Although not everyone may enjoy this book, I think there are takeaways that we can all use. This book is a good reminder to embrace life and live with no regrets.

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October Reads {2019}

It’s time once again to share my monthly reads with Jana and Steph’s monthly linkup. It seems like the number of books I’m reading each month keeps decreasing. However, I seem to be reading good books and I much prefer quality over quantity! Here are my October reads:

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3 stars

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Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle – This is the story of two women. One is on the run from an abusive husband. The other is missing. Not much can be said about this suspense/thriller book without giving spoilers away. It was an enjoyable read even though I figured it out before the end.

4 stars

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After the End by Clare Mackintosh – Max and Pip’s young son Dylan is terminally ill. But the two differ on the best treatment for him. Part one of the book tells the background story of their family and Dylan’s illness. The second half of the book is a little confusing. It shows what the future would be like for Max and Pip after both treatment decisions. This book is much different than the author’s usual suspense books. However, it is based on a similar situation that the author and her husband faced. It is an emotional, but well written novel.

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Someone We Know by Shari Lapena – Teenager, Raleigh, has been breaking into his neighbors’ houses and hacking into their computers. But when a woman in the neighborhood is found dead, it turns out everyone has secrets they are keeping. And what exactly, if anything, does Raleigh know? This was an enjoyable suspense read where everyone’s a suspect and it had me guessing until the end.

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Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell – This is the story of three women, Hallie, Flo and Tasha. They each have their own stories: Hallie has cystic fibrosis and is waiting for a lung transplant. She’s in love with someone she knows she can’t have. Flo has inherited an apartment, to take care of the deceased woman’s cat. However, the apartment owner’s grand daughter, Lena, is not happy about the arrangement. And Flo ends up falling for Lena’s brother Zander. Finally, Tasha has a boyfriend who loves thrills and adventure. She’s constantly worried that something bad will happen to him. Throughout the story, the three women cross paths. However, it isn’t until the end of the book when their stories merge. This was my first book by Mansell. I liked it and didn’t realize that she’s written so many other books. I’ll definitely be reading more by her.

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September Reads {2019}

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Today’s September reads post is short and sweet. Sadly, I was stuck in a reading rut and didn’t have much motivation to read. Part of the problem was that I made myself finish a book for my book club that I just wasn’t into. So it was very slow reading and not many books were read. The books I read were all over the rating scale. With only four books read, I had a 2, 3, 4 and 5 star read this month. Here are my September reads that I’m sharing with Jana and Steph’s monthly linkup.

2 stars

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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – In 1962 Pasquale is running his family’s hotel on the Italian coast. American actress Dee Moray ends up as a guest at his inn. The two end up forming a close relationship despite their language barrier. Present day, Claire Silver must listen to movie pitches for her movie producer boss. An unexpected visitor leads her on a path to connecting the past. This book ruined me this month. I would have given up on it, but it was my book club’s read for the month. It had been on my to read list, so I’m glad that I finally was able to give it a try. I was also the only one in the book club who didn’t love it. The story line didn’t interest me at all which made me want to do anything but read. However, I’m definitely in the minority with my opinion about this book. If it’s been on your to read list, I recommend you give it a try.

3 stars

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My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni – Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years looking into the disappearance of her younger sister, Sarah. Edmund House was convicted and put in jail, but she’s not convinced he’s guilty. But then Sarah’s body is discovered and Tracy makes some discoveries that put her life in danger. This was just an okay mystery for me and didn’t make me interested in continuing the Tracy Crosswhite series.


4 stars

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Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson are neighbors and best friends. Their fathers, both cops, met on the job and moved their families to the suburbs. After a tragic accident, the two families who were once cordial to one another, are not the same. As the book progresses, we follow Peter and Kate and how their lives are shaped by the accident. This book was Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Summer Reads book pick. My husband listened to it on audio and I read it so we can discuss it with each other. This book gave me insight into mental illness and alcoholism and the effects they have on a family.

5 stars

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – It’s 1942 and Lale Sokolov is transported from Slovokia to Auschwitz-Birkenau. He is given the job of tattooist, marking his fellow prisoners with the numbers that will identify them. For over two years he survives at the camp, even falling in love. This book had been on my to read list for awhile. While the subject matter of the Holocaust is always difficult to read, I think that it’s important to remember. Like many books about this time period, it is based on a true story. It is well written and a highly recommended read.

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July Reads {2019}

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It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I haven’t read half of what I wanted to read! The good news is that I read eight books last month and almost all of them were four star reads! My library is hosting an adult summer reading BINGO game, so I enjoyed reading books to get a BINGO. Maybe I’ll even win a prize! I’m sharing my books with Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. Here are my July reads:

3 stars:

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The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda – Jane Harris lives in a beautiful home in a gated community and seems to have the perfect life. Overcome with grief after her older daughter Mary’s death, she’s barely left the house over the past year. With her younger daughter Betsy graduating high school, Jane is ready to get her life back. However, things aren’t as perfect as they appear and it is harder for her than expected. I like a good suspense/psychological thriller, but I wasn’t a fan of this book. Unlikable characters, unreliable narrator….I just wasn’t impressed.

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Startup by Doree Shafrir – Mack McAllister is trying to launch an improved version of his Mindfulness app and needs money from investors to do so. Katya is a writer for a tech blog, where Dan Blum is her boss. With two young children at home, Dan’s wife Sabrina decides to reenter the work force and ends up being one of the oldest employees working at Mack’s company, helping them with their social media. After a scandal breaks, Katya and Sabrina This was my in-person book club’s July read. I didn’t realize that Doree Shafrir, of the Forever35 podcast that I listen to, had written a book! While I found the look into the tech startup world interesting, the story was pretty “eh.” None of the characters were very likable and the ending left me wanting more.

4 stars:

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The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver – Lincoln Rhyme was a star criminologist until a work accident left him a paraplegic. He’s been called in to assist when a serial killer on a case he finds intriguing. With the assistance of police detective Amelia Sach, the pair work together to try to stop the killer. I watched this movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie years ago. I was trying to find a book to fit the “crime” category for my library BINGO game and decided to read this book, since I liked the movie. It was really good! I enjoyed the detailed forensics and what goes into a crime scene investigation. Now I want to watch the movie again.

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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams – Lily has known Budgie since they were kids spending summers together in Seaview, Rhode Island. During college, Budgie dated Graham Pendleton and Lily fell in love with his football teammate Nick Greenwald. Fast forward to Memorial Day, 1938 and Lily is back in Seaview to spend the summer with her family. When Budgie and Nick Greenwald arrive they get the small town talking, and not in a good way. Told between the past and present day (1938), we learn the story of what happened between Lily and Nick. This book has been on my to read list since 2013! Based on the title, I decided to make it a summer read. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable read.

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One Day in December by Josie Silver – Laurie doesn’t believe in love at first sight…..until one day she’s on a bus and she sees Jack sitting at the bus stop. After a year looking for him, her best friend and roommate, Sarah, brings home her boyfriend to introduce to Laurie…..and it turns out to be Jack. The story is told over ten years as we follow the three of them through their ups and downs. This was a cute contemporary romance and a perfect light summer read.

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The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth – Ever since Lucy married Ollie, she was never close to her mother-in-law, Diana. Five years later and Diana is found dead in what appears to look like a suicide, but is not. Now everyone is a suspect and who had motive to want Diana dead? The book alternates between Diana’s past and present day. I thought the book gave an interesting look at family dynamics and parenting privileged kids. I’ve enjoyed every Hepworth book that I’ve read and this one didn’t disappoint.

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The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms – When Amy’s husband reappears in her life after three years and wants to spend some quality time with their children, Amy is left with a lot of time on her hands. She ends up in NYC for the summer on #momspringa living an exciting life. But when summer ends she has to figure out if she really wants to return to her old life. I know a lot of people read and posted about this book in past linkups and weren’t huge fans. As a mom of an 11 and 13 year old, the overwhelm and under appreciation is real! I could relate to Amy in that respect and for the first time ever, took a short two day solo trip to a wellness spa this past June. Overall, this was a relatable, fun read for me.

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Verity by Colleen Hoover – Lowen is given a job to finish writing the remaining books of bestselling author Verity Crawford. Going through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an autobiography that she wrote with lots of revelations that she’s not sure Verity’s husband, Jeremy, is aware of. As Lowen starts falling for Jeremy she wrestles with sharing what she’s discovered. I recommended this book for my work book club’s July read and everyone loved it. This was the first Hoover book that any of them had read. I’m a huge fan of Hoover and have read almost all of her books. This book is so much darker than her normal stuff. It was a bit disturbing but also hard to put down.

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June Reads {2019}

Happy summer! Reading on the beach is my favorite summer reading spot and I’m fortunate to have been able to enjoy a good amount of this over the past couple of weeks. Today, I’m sharing my June Reads with Steph and Jana’s monthly SUYB linkup. June was not a great reading month for me. I only read four books, which was disappointing. However, we’re not even half-way through July yet and I’ve already read four books! Yeah for summertime! Here are my June reads:

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3 stars:

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Passion On Park Avenue by Lauren Layne – Naomi Powell is the successful CEO of the jewelry and accessory subscription company, Maxcessory. She discovers that her new neighbor Oliver is the boy who used to torment her when she was younger. Naomi also becomes friends with Claire and Audrey when the three discover they have something (or should I say, someone) in common. This was my first Lauren Layne book. It’s the first book in a three book series, that I will likely not continue. However, I may give one of her other book series a go if I’m in the mood for a romance. Overall, it was an okay, cute romance novel that fits the bill if you’re looking for a light summer read.

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Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Weiss – Meredith’s father was supposed to be in prison for nine years, until she turned 18. But now at 15, he is being released and her newly, safe world is disrupted. Trigger warning – this book deals with child sexual abuse/rape. It was a dark and disturbing read that sickened me to think that there are adults who sexually abuse their own children. I want to believe that “in real life” it wouldn’t be so easy for this father to come back into his daughter’s life like this one did.

4 stars:

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Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue – Jende and his wife Neni are Cameroonian immigrants, trying to make it in America. It’s the fall of 2007 and they are living in Harlem, when Jende gets a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Jende and Neni think they are, “living the dream” but then Lehman Brothers collapses and everyone is affected. The many themes of this book including immigration, social class and relationships made it a great book club choice, for the local book club that I recently joined.

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Run Away by Harlan Coben – Simon and Ingrid haven’t seen their daughter in forever. Addicted to drugs she’s gone into hiding with her boyfriend. But Simon sees her one day playing the guitar in Central Park and follows her. This time he’s on a mission to find her and bring her home, but he ends up going down a dark and dangerous path. I’ve been a Coben fan for awhile and know that when I pick up one of his books it will be a quick, suspenseful read. This one didn’t disappoint.

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May Reads {2019}

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It’s time for me to share my May reads with Jana and Steph’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. May was a decent reading month for me in terms of numbers, with seven books read. However, four of the books were only three stars, so not wonderful in terms of quality. I did read three non-fiction books this month which is more than I usually tend to read. Here are my May reads:

3 Stars:

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Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This book, told in interview style, describes the building and demise of Daisy Jones and the Six, a seventies rock band. I know that I’m in the minority here with my rating on this book. I love Taylor Jenkins Reid. The format was okay with the interview style/different perspectives. However, I didn’t find the story line interesting.

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Girls Just Want to Have Likes by Laurie Wolk – As a parent, I am really struggling with technology use and social media, especially with my 13 year-old. Wolk gives tips and advice on how to build a foundation and boundaries with technology and social media use.

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Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center – Helen is divorced at 32. She needs a change and decides to go on a wilderness survival course in Wyoming. Right before she goes she learns that her brother’s best friend Jake will also be going. I’ve read a couple of other books by Center. This one was okay but not my fave.

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You Are a Bad Ass Every Day by Jen Sincero – I’ve read Sincero’s other Bad Ass books. This book was more of a resource of inspiration rather than a reading book. I like her other books better.

4 Stars:

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Educated by Tara Westover – At 17, Tara attends Brigham Young University, without ever having a formal education, growing up, “off the grid.” One of seven siblings, she had a traumatic childhood filled with abuse and parents who believed more in their religion than their children. This book starts off very slowly. This was my second attempt at reading it, after originally giving up about fifty pages in. After so many rave reviews I had to give it another try and am glad that I did. Westover’s story is very powerful and it’s amazing that she was able to overcome such odds.

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Where the Crawdad Sings by Delia Owens – Kya, also known as the Marsh Girl, has lived on her own since she was about nine years old. When a well-known community member is found dead in the marsh, Kya becomes the number one suspect. This book started out very slow for me. Since both my mom and a colleague raved about this book I decided to stick with it and am glad that I did. Owens is a descriptive writer, where at times it felt like too much for me. But it was a great overall story.

5 Stars:

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I know I am so late to the GOT party. But I finally finished the first book in the series after starting it January 1. This was one of my goals of 2019 and I did it! In the meantime, my husband and I are watching the series and are up to Season 3. I enjoyed the first book more than the show. There’s just so much more detail in the books that they can’t put in the show. But I think they did a great job of editing and making it all work. I have started the second book but with all my other reading, it’s not one of my reading priorities.

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April Reads {2019}

It’s time once again to share my April reads with Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup. I read six books in April and unfortunately, only two of them were great reads. My reading hasn’t gotten much better, as we are almost half-way through May and I only have two books read. Here’s to hoping I can up my reading game!

2 Stars:

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All the Wrong Places by Joy Fielding – This “suspense” book take a look at the world of online dating. The topic is relevant for today and I’m surprised that I haven’t read any other suspense type books that take on this topic. This book had a lot going on, however, I didn’t feel like there was any resolutions and was disappointed with the ending. I used to really enjoy Joy Fielding. However, I have not enjoyed her more recent books, including this one.

3 Stars:

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Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin – Rubin’s latest book offers tips and strategies to help create order and organization. I am a huge Rubin fan, but this is my least favorite book of hers. I didn’t really learn anything new in this book. I listen to her podcast Happier and I feel like she’s talked about almost everything that’s in the book.

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The Me Without: A Year of Exploring Habit, Healing and Happiness by Jacqueline Raposo – Each month Raposo gives up one thing – social media, sugar, spending, etc. to see how it affects her. Suffering from a chronic illness and deep in debt, she wants to see if taking away things will help her. This was another okay non-fiction read for me this month.

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The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani – After her third miscarriage, Jaya decides to travel to India to see where her mother grew up. Her mom never talks about her family or childhood so Jaya hopes to learn about her family’s past. Through Ravi, her grandmother’s family servant, Jaya discovers, “the storyteller’s secret.” This book was slow at times. However, I enjoyed learning about the Indian culture.

4 Stars:

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No Exit by Taylor Adams – Darby Thorne gets stuck in a snowstorm on her way home to Utah to visit her dying mother. She’s forced to take up shelter in a rest stop with a couple of other people. When she sees a young girl locked up in an animal cage in the van parked next to her, Darby tries to figure out how she can help her. With no cell phone reception, in the midst of a major storm, this proves to be a very difficult task. This was a fast-paced read, with lots of twists. This is one of those books that I think would make a good movie.

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The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice #1) by John Flanagan – My son is participating in our library’s Battle of the Books summer competition. I have been trying to read the books that he has to read to help quiz him. This was the first book that he read. It’s the first book in a fantasy/adventure series. In the kingdom, it’s time for the teens to be given an apprentice to study under. Will really wants to be picked for Battle School but is selected to be a Ranger’s apprentice. This book started slow for me, as it set up all of the background. But the second half of the book really picked up. My son wasn’t the biggest fan of this book and likely won’t continue the series.


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March Reads {2019}

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I’ve not been very active on the blog recently, but I couldn’t miss Steph and Jana’s monthly Show Us Your Books linkup. While I haven’t been in the mood to write very much, I have been reading up a storm. I read eight books in March, most of which were really great reads! Here are my March reads from least to most liked.

3 Stars:

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The Little Book of Life Hacks by Yumi Sakugawa – This is a fun little non-fiction book with beautiful illustrations. However, there’s so much information and much of it is nothing new.

4 Stars:

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All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung – Nicole was born to Korean parents and adopted as a newborn. Raised by a white family in a small town in Oregon, she doesn’t know much about her adoption. But now, pregnant with her own child, Nicole hires someone to help her contact her birth parents. She learns things about her biological family, while discovering family secrets and making new connections. Adoption is complicated. Although I am adopted myself, I didn’t relate to her situation. She was born in the United States to Korean parents, where I was born in South Korea. I do wonder about my medical history, which is a difficult part of being adopted and what started her search for her birth parents.

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An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – Jessica Farris signs up for Dr. Shield’s psychology study and becomes Subject 52. She must answer a series of questions about morality that become more invasive. She is soon being manipulated by Dr. Shield and that this study is more than she had bargained for. This was a great suspense read that had plenty of twists to keep me guessing until the end.

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Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt – Alice meets Kat at the airport during a delayed flight. The two discover that they live near each other and become fast friends. But then Howard, Kat’s husband, dies in what appears to be a murder. The police start looking at Alice as a suspect and Kat suddenly becomes unavailable. Alice must prove her innocence and discovers that she didn’t really know her “best friend.”

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Cravings by Chrissy Teigen – I read her second, more recent cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More first. I really enjoy her down-to-earth writing style and the recipes are actually things that I want to cook.

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The Lies We Told by Camilla Way – This story has two story lines – present day where Clara’s boyfriend Luke disappears. His computer e-mails show that he’s had a stalker for some time. Over twenty years ago, Luke’s sister Emily disappeared. Now, she has suddenly returned and wants to help find Luke. The second story line takes place in the past where Beth and Doug realize that their daughter Hannah is not like other children her age. She seems troubled and aggressive. Of course the two story lines end up connecting in a series of plot twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I really enjoyed this book years ago when I first read it. This was my work book club’s March pick so I decided to do a reread. It was still as good as I remembered. I love Louisa and her quirkiness. This book also brought me a good reminder to make sure I get out there and try new things and enjoy life.

5 stars:

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Becoming by Michelle Obama – I don’t read many memoirs. I knew that I wanted to read this book though and had been waiting patiently, for what seems like forever, for it to come in from the library. I really enjoyed learning about Michelle’s past and what life was like for her balancing being the First Lady while still trying to keep life as normal for her daughters. She’s always been so down-to-earth and this book is so open and honest.