One of my personal goals for the year was to challenge myself to read 100 books. Easier said than done even though I love reading, I still have to work, have a life and pursue my other interests as well. I suppose that is why it is a challenge. I did a little spotty math, and if my calculations are correct I have to read eleven books each month for the rest of the year to meet my goal. I’m happy to say for the month of July and August that I have reached that goal! Below I’ve listed the books I’ve read this August with a short review, hope you enjoy!
‘Four Ways to Click: Rewire Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships’ by Amy Banks, Leigh Ann Hirshman, and Daniel J. Siegel left a lot to be desired. Perhaps the audio book format I listened to it in was at fault, but it was dull and un-imaginative. Spend a few minutes brainstorming ways to form relationships and then how to keep them… and you will have this book in a nutshell. The science that is included is frankly boring, which is extremely unfortunate, and the methods of personalizing it for oneself are ridiculous.
‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne is a tough one for me. As a HUGE Harry Potter fan I have a hard time accepting this book as canon. If I look at it as fan fiction it is genius. The entire plot is out there with so many holes in the believably of it because of the canon that books 1-7 give us. I feel like the script – I cannot speak for the play not having seen it – lacks the heart and life that J.K. Rowling gave the books. I am a little loathe to call it the ‘8th story’ but I’ll read it again after a few months to see how I feel. 🙂
‘The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels’ by Ree Drummond is such an entertaining listen on audio book- I’m still thinking about it weeks after having finished it. Basically it is Ree’s love story of how she met, fell in love with, and married her husband. We hear her thoughts, slightly more personal than one might think- but not too much so- from just before she met her ‘Marlbolo Man’ to a little after the birth of their first child. You have to listen to it on Audiobook, Ree narrates it herself and thus it is perfection.
‘The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)’ by Erika Johansen is a fantastic follow up to the first book. I spent much of the beginning of the book a little annoyed at our heroine, while still respecting most of her decisions, but the ending is spot on and wraps up the rest of the novel nicely. I can’t say much without giving the entire plot/ending away so I’ll just say that I’m looking forward to reading the last book in this series due out in November!
‘Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God’ by Francis Chan is a fantastic and guilt-inspiring book. I would recommend it to a Christian at any stage in their walk because it is eye opening on several levels. It is probably the most convicting spiritual book I’ve ever read. It challenges you and asks you to examine what really matters to you. With that said, it does have some flaws – it is not always gospel centered at heart, and often focuses on the self and not the church. SO read it- but with a grain of salt and in prayer.
‘Love & Gelato’ by Jenna Evans Welsh. I loved, loved, loved, loved this book. I loved the stuffing out of it. Yes it is a ‘teen’ novel. Yes, it is a typical ‘oh- I really love the boy right in front of me instead of the hunk’ novel. Yes, it is predictable. Despite these things it was fantastic. It reminded me of my trip to Italy in 2007 and made me want to go back SO BAD. It was so stinking cute, and while predictable… but sometimes not- it is interesting in a way that made you want to keep reading. I would actually purchase this novel. Seriously.
‘Margherita’s Notebook: A Novel of Temptation’ by Elisabetta Flumeri was not what I was expecting- but in a good way. Judging it by it’s cover (which sometimes works but not in this case) I thought it was a memoir, which I am ALL over. Nope. It was fiction- but not a let down at all because it was a fun read and all the talk of food made me want Italian food. In fact, I’m pretty sure the person who checked this book out from the library before me cooked Italian food while reading it because the pages smelled of basil and Tuscany.
‘Flyover Lives: A Memoir’ by Diane Johnson was such a let down for me. It held such promise with the background of the author coming from the Midwest (home for me) connections with Europe, history and a heavy background on the author’s ancestors. All of these things I am interested in, but it felt so rambling, scattered and worst of all- Johnson comes off as elitist with a heavy dose of ‘I’m the best!’ It started off so well. Bummer.
‘The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor, #1)’ by Roseanna M. White was a very well written and interesting work of fiction. I’ve never read a novel by White before but the mix of history, romance and mystery was delightful to read. I was reminded strongly of Anastasia’s story in the plot, but this only added to the story. There are two more novels in this series and I can tell already this would make a fantastic mini-series or even tv show. It is the perfect thing to fill the hole missing now that Downtown Abbey has wrapped up. Somebody call Hollywood!
‘Hard Choices’ by Hilary Rodham Clinton was very interesting to listen to, and nice to hear her side of how she got to certain places in her life, and the thinking behind decisions she made. It focuses on the time just after she lost the 2008 primary up until her daughter Chelsea has her first child and Clinton is still undecided weather or not to run for president in 2016. I appreciated listening to it on audio book, although I would have loved if Clinton had read the entire novel and not just the forward.
‘Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle’ by Fiona Carnarvon was incredibly interesting to read, and such a fantastic time capsule of Lady Almina’s life and her wonderful impact on Highclere Castle, otherwise known as Downton Abbey. We hear of her support of her husband, how she found her true love of nursing during WWII after opening up their home to convalescing and wounded Veterans, and how her husband- along with Howard Carter discovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. A thoroughly lovely read.
That’s books 43 through 53 of 100! Stay tuned at the end of September for a wrap up of all of the novels I read in the next month!
Click here to see my goals for 2016