2017 Monthly Reads:
Glory over Everything, Kathleen Grissom
I didn’t think I could like a sequel more than the original, but I loved this book! It starts a little bit slow, but if you can make it through the first quarter, it gets really good (and picks up the pace). Grissom is so good at making you feel like her characters are friends, and she manages to bring some redemption to a few beloved characters from The Kitchen House.
Breaking Busy, Alli Worthington
This is a must read if you have ever struggled with anything to do with time management or decision making (so, all of us). Alli writes in a super accessible way about making time for the things that matter in life (she would know, she has five children and is a business coach), and her writing is full of wisdom and truth, while being lighthearted and fun to read.
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
This book is so beautifully written, and will absolutely break your heart. It is the story of a young slave and her young mistress, an aspiring Quaker and abolitionist, who form a friendship as children that is tested by 35 years of hardship.
Anything, Jennie Allen
I struggled with the format of this book, and didn’t make it past the first few chapters.
Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave
This book is beautifully written but didn’t really hold my attention. I made it through about half before abandoning it, mostly because I felt like I was dreading getting into bed to read at night. I think part of the issue is that when I first heard about the book, it was compared to All the Light We Cannot See (which I loved so much it almost ruined reading for me because I couldn’t find anything I loved more after I was done). I think the comparison was unfair- yes, they are both set in WWII and beautifully written, but that is about the extent of their similarities. I kept expecting this book to be something it wasn’t, and then struggled with get in line with what it was actually trying to explore. I loved the different perspective on WWII, especially the way that Cleave tackles issues of race and social status, but ultimately did not feel particularly attached to the characters, and felt like the plot was lacking some nuance (and/or whatever nuance there was got lost in all of lofty and beautifully constructed sentences). Basically, it wasn’t for me- but I would still recommend it! Just don’t expect it to be All the Light We Cannot See II.
Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin
This is a book about habits- specifically using your personality to help you form healthy and lasting habits. I’m a big fan of Rubin’s books, and this one did not disappoint- I can’t stop recommending it to people! Full review coming soon.
Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
I read this right before the HBO series came out, and really enjoyed it- it sounds like the show deviates quite a bit from the book, so I don’t know if I’ll watch it. While definitely a page turner (I read it in a day and half), I’m not sure I totally jived with the author’s style- I would be interested to read another one of her books to see if I felt differently.
Bringing up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman
As an American expat living with her British husband in Paris, Pamela Druckerman chronicles her entree into the world of parenthood with her daughter Bean, and eventually, twin boys. The difference between French and American parenting is so fascinating, and by the end of this book, I was fully converted (we’ll see how this works out with an actual child)- I especially loved hearing about how French children are taught to eat real food from a young age (and bake!), and how French parents don’t hover over their children at playgrounds!
The Paris Architect, Charles Belfoure
This book gave me nightmares (don’t tell Will, I had to finish it!). It’s the story of an architect in Nazi occupied Paris who is baited by a wealthy man to build hiding places for Jews in fancy apartments and homes around France. There is a lot of torture, and to be honest, the story telling is a bit clumsy. I’m more of a show not tell reader, so maybe this wouldn’t have bothered other people, but I could have used some nuance. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano
This book is exactly what it sounds like, written by an extremely glamorous french woman who works for viv cliquot as a food critic (I think? I kind of can’t remember now- she eats great food and drinks good champagne for a living). It’s an adorable, easy read peppered with recipes that will make you want to buck your current eating habits, don permanent red lipstick and breton stripes, and adopt every tip and trick she lays out. Fair warning though: If you are an American who goes to the grocery store 1 time a week or less and does not have a farmer’s market in her backyard, this is likely an unattainable goal. But you do you! I do have it on my list to make her leek soup this fall.
The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
Kate Morton is Queen of the Timeslip Novel. She has only written five books, and I don’t know what I will do when I get through all of them, she is my absolute favorite and I am addicted to her books. The Forgotten Garden follows the same formula of all of her novels, it’s wonderful, it’s will keep you up way past your bedroom, go read this book now.
Flight of Dreams, Ariel Lawhon
The author tells the story of the ill-fated final journey of the Hindenburg in 1937 using the flight manifesto to cast her novel with real life characters. I wanted to be more interested in this book, but ultimately found it a bit boring and felt like there was something crucial missing from the plot.
The Distant Hours, Kate Morton
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Living Happy, Meik Wiking
Not totally sure the substance of this book warranted a fully illustrated hardcover jacket as you could probably just read an article and get the gist, but it’s cute and will make you want to light all your candles and curl with a book and a hot mug of tea.
Simplicity Parenting, Kim Payne
The House at Riverton, Kate Morton
The Gospel of Ruth, Carolyn Custis James
Lost Women of the Bible, Carolyn Custis James
Chateau of Secrets, Melanie Dobson
A timeslip novel between a present day school teacher and a young french girl in Nazi occupied France during WWII. I could not put this book down! Dobson is a great writer, and she’s a Christian… which leads to some occasional major cheese. But I loved it. Also the title is terrible. I kept muttering when people would ask what I was reading because it sounds like some illicit romance novel for middle schoolers- which it’s not! I highly recommend.
The Rose Garden, Susanna Kearsley
Another timeslip novel, but this one is between the present day and the late 1700’s around the time of the Jacobean revolt. To be honest, I was pretty bored and not invested in most of this book, but I loved the ending.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
Even better than it was when I read it the first time!
Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance
Catching the Wind, Melanie Dobson
Can’t stop, won’t stop on the time slip novels…
The Orchid House, Lucinda Reilly
The Shape of Mercy
I’ve Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella
Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
Present Over Perfect, Shauna Nieuqist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
The Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah