What’s On My Bookshelf: November

It’s the last Thursday of the month which means it’s time to share what I’ve been reading this month.  I read a total of six books this month and they were all over the map in genre.  It was a good month of reading.  I get a lot of questions about how I have time to read with a busy life, four kids, and a job.  My answer is that I love books, so I find a few seconds here or there whenever I can.  While most people scroll through social media while killing time waiting in line, I’m typically reading a paragraph from a book on my phone.  You would be amazed how many books you can fit in during these little fringe moments over a month.


Winter Solstice

When I first heard there was a new book out in the Winter Street series I was a bit confused.  I felt as if the third book had wrapped things up nicely.  But I am unable to resist a Hilderbrand book so I had to check out this new installment.  This fourth and final book continues to follow the Quinn family through another holiday season.  If you haven’t read the first three novels, start with Winter Street and make your way through the series.  They are the perfect winter reads.


When Dimple Met Rishi

I have heard about this book from a lot of different places and I was drawn in by the adorable cover.  I typically do not read a lot of YA, but this one kept coming up.  The story is about a fresh out of high school girl who is pleasantly surprised when her parents agree to let her go to a summer computer coding camp. She then realizes they only allowed her to go because the boy they wish for her to marry will also be attending.  I listened to this on Audible and the story just flew by.  It is light, the characters are charming, and the cover makes me want an iced latte 🙂  If you have a teen girl to buy for on your Christmas list, this would be a fun read.


Origin

This is the newest installment in the Robert Langdon series (the same main character as The Da Vinci Code).  In this novel there has been a recent discovery regarding human existence which will answer the questions surrounding human origin and the future of the human race.  If you are a fan of Brown’s other books, you will like this one.  I found it to occasionally get bogged down a bit by too many details regarding art (we get it, the book is well researched), and much of the book calls religion into question which may be difficult for some to read, but overall I enjoyed the story, even if I did predict the ending early on.


Wonder

Owen’s third grade class read this earlier this year and planned to go see the movie together.  I made a point to read it before we went to see the movie.  This is another book I have heard about for years, but it was a middle grade book.  Why would I, as a 37 year old woman, read it?  Well, I am sorry I waited this long.  If you have a middle grade reader, immediately put this book on their Christmas list and read it together.  It can foster great conversations about what it means to be different, how important it is to choose kindness, and how to appropriately and compassionately approach those that may be different than you.  I also loved that this book digs into Auggie’s sister’s point of view.  It opened a discussion between Owen and I about how he felt about his sisters being considered “different” than the rest of our family and what he thought about all of the attention that it brings.  While there were some differences in the book and the movie (as there always are), the movie was extremely well done.  I don’t think there was a dry in the house among the parents or the third graders when it was over.


We’ll Always Have Christmas

It’s that time of year.  Time for cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies.  They are my favorite and this book was a Hallmark Christmas movie in novel form.  Cheesy, predictable, and with a happy ending.  What more can you want from a Christmas novel?  Grab your hot chocolate and cozy up by the tree with this one.


Merry and Bright: A Novel

Every time I’ve been to Target lately, this book has been calling to me, but every time I have resisted putting it into my cart.  Then I read another blogger’s review that compared it to You’ve Got Mail and you know I was hooked.  I immediately downloaded it onto my kindle app and I finished it within 24 hours.  The comparison is spot on, a girl meets a guy online only to discover he is her curmudgeon of a boss.  The story continues to unfold and is a dead ringer for my beloved favorite movie.  I loved every predictable minute of it.  And now I need to go watch You’ve Got Mail for the millionth time.

There you have it.  Six books.  One middle grade, one YA, one popular thriller, and three holiday novels.  A little something for everyone.  What book do you hope to find in your stocking this year?

Linking up with Carpool Book Club.

What’s On My Bookshelf-August, September, October: Super Size Edition

Grab a hot cup of coffee and kick back for a super sized edition of What’s on My Bookshelf.  Since I took a blogging hiatus for a couple of months while we adjusted after bringing Collins home from China, I have my books from August, September, and October to share.  That’s eleven books in all.  I’m so excited because there are some GREAT books here.  So get comfy and let’s dive right in…

August

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Over the past year I have become a huge Taylor Jenkins Reid fan. One True Loves is a favorite of mine.  In her newest novel, Evelyn Hugo, an old Hollywood starlet, sets out to give her memoirs to an unknown writer.  She divulges the story of each of her seven husbands and who was her one true love of her lifetime.  This book was a bit of a different tone than the other TJR novels I’ve read and to be honest about halfway through I wasn’t sure it was for me.  But in the end I came around and while it definitely wasn’t my favorite book of the month, it was well written and an interesting story.

Everything I Never Told You

I may be the last person to have read this book.  I have heard about it everywhere.  The story is based around a teenage girl whose body is found in a lake (not a spoiler, it’s on the first page 🙂  This is a book I think will appeal to a wide variety of readers.  It has the element of mystery (what happened to her?), fantastic relationships, and is a definite page turner.  I was excited to pick up her next novel.  More to come on that later…

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

I am going to go ahead and declare this one of my top 5 books.  I listened to this on audio and found myself looking for reasons to mow the grass, take a walk, or clean so I could listen to a bit more.  To be honest, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended :).  There are parts that are a bit long and you learn a lot about tea, but the story was so unique and interesting.  The novel follows a Chinese girl growing up in a rural mountain tribe in China.  We are talking no running water or electricity.  The similarities to her tribal society and Native American cultures are strong.  When she must abandon her baby on the steps of an orphanage, her heart is broken.  The story then goes on to follow the main character as she ages and leaves her culture and family and her daughter who is adopted by an American family.  It is probably pretty obvious why this story struck such a deep chord with me.  I was jogging through my neighborhood with tears streaming down my face during the scene where she painfully leaves her innocent baby.  I have no delusions about my girls’ birth families and the situations regarding their decisions not to parent, but boy did this author weave an amazing story.  Add to that the transformation of the mountain tribe’s culture and views over the years and this is one unique and interesting novel that I would recommend for all of my fellow China mamas.

What Alice Forgot

For years I thought I had read this book.  So when someone was talking to me about it and I had absolutely no recollection of the story I realized that maybe I had not read it.  Imagine waking up and not remembering the past 10 years of your life.  You don’t remember your children, your friends, your past decisions.  This is an excellent story and if you are one the few that hasn’t read it, definitely pick it up.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

In all my life I’m not sure I have ever read an entire book in one sitting.  Well, I read this cover to cover on the plane to China without even a break to use the restroom.  This is the story of a cranky reclusive widower that owns a small book shop.  When a baby is unexpectedly left in his shop his life gets turned upside down.  The perfect little story if you have a heart for adoption and just a plain delightful little novel.

September

Summer on Blossom Street

Unfortunately this was my least favorite of my books these months.  I typically love the light and predictable nature of her novels but this one felt pieced together.  I did not feel as if any of the characters or stories were adequately developed and the thread connecting them all felt hastily thrown together.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it won’t stop me from picking up her other novels in the future.

The Husband’s Secret

What if you found a letter that made your entire world come crashing down?  This book explores how a husband’s secret, kept since he was a teenager, can impact everyone’s life.  If you like Liane Moriarty, you will love this book.

October

Two by Two

A friend in our China travel group passed this book along to me when she finished it on our trip.  I’m not typically a Nicholas Sparks fan.  I don’t like to feel like an author’s number one goal is to get his readers to cry.  But I did enjoy that this book focused on a man who finds himself in the middle of a major career change, newly single and raising his young daughter.  So many novels tell this story with a female main character, it was refreshing to see it from a male perspective.

Little Fires Everywhere

Just go ahead and read this book.  It was so good.  It opens with the Richardson house burning down then returns to the previous year and the events that lead up to the fire.  I don’t want to give too much of the story away.  Let’s just say that the characters are excellent.  The relationships are interesting.  And I don’t think Mrs. Richardson is supposed to be a likable character, but I found myself relating to her in many ways.  Put this on your reading list today.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

A friend texted to ask me if she should read this if she hasn’t watched the most recent Gilmore Girls reboot.  That’s when I realized it was on my Kindle but I never got around to reading it.  If you are a Gilmore Girls or Parenthood fan then this would be a fun memoir for you.  It is a quick and easy read with fun insights into some of my favorite shows.

Of Mess and Moxie

And my current read: Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything.  Not only do I love Anne Bogel’s blog and podcast I’m loving her book.  As an only child parenting four VERY different little people, the personality frameworks in this book is causing all sorts of light bulb moments for me so far.
I am such a fan of Jen Hatmaker and all that she writes.  While I think For the Love was such a great and fun book to follow, this one was a great blend of Jen Hatmaker’s humor and heart.  This would be a great gift for a girlfriend.

Whew!  That was a lot of books.  Thanks for sticking with me and hopefully you found something you can add to your list.  See you back tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

In case you missed it:

What’s On My Bookshelf-July

What’s On My Bookshelf-June

What’s On My Bookshelf-May

What’s On My Bookshelf-April

What’s On My Bookshelf-March

What’s On My Bookshelf-February

What’s On My Bookshelf-January

linking up with Carpool Book Club

 

 

What’s On My Bookshelf: July

It’s the last Thursday of the month which also means it’s time to share what I read in July.  Also, it’s my boys’ FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!  Where did the summer go?

Enough whining about the end of summer, let’s get to the books.  Here are the five books I enjoyed during July…

The Bookshop on the Corner

The title of this book grabbed my attention.  It reminded me of my beloved favorite movie and The Shop Around the Corner.  This book is about a gal who leaves her job as a librarian and moves to a small town in Scotland to open a bookshop in a van.  Think a food truck for books.  I loved the premise of the book, but agreed with a friend that thought the first half was delightful and the  second half focused too much on a cheesy love story line.  All in all I enjoyed it and want to check out some of the author’s other novels, but it wasn’t my favorite book of the month.

The Mother’s Promise

I have heard a lot of great things about Sally Hepworth’s work so I decided to pick up this one.  While a book about a single mother diagnosed with cancer and trying to raise a teenage girl struggling with anxiety isn’t the normal trope I gravitate toward, I have to say Hepworth handled the subject matter well.  It was real and relatable.  While the topic is inherently sad in nature I did not feel as if the story was written solely to manipulate my emotions and make me cry.  The characters felt real.  I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

The Identicals

Probably my favorite novel of the month.  I love Elin Hilderband and her newest novel did not disappoint.  It follows twin sisters, one raised by her mother on Nantucket and one by her father on Martha’s Vineyard.  Circumstances occur and they subsequently switch islands for a while.  While the plot summary sounds cheesy and and bit like The Parent Trap, it was a delightful story.  Perfect for an end of summer read.

Rich People Problems


This is the follow up book to Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend.  A different twist on typical chic-lit.  While the list of characters is huge and terms frequently thrown in in several different Asian languages can be cumbersome.  These books are quite entertaining.  Like to watch a train wreck of over the top, over privileged families (I’m looking at you friends who love the Real Housewives ;)?  Then this series is for you.  They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think they are a hoot.

Secrets in Summer

Nancy Thayer writes fun summer novels on par with Hilderbrand.  This book takes place on Nantucket and is about a girl who discovers her ex-husband and new family have rented the house behind hers for the summer.  I loved the characters in the book, especially her elderly neighbor Mimi.  The perfect way to end July.

That’s it for this month.  I’m already part way into Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  So far, so good! And I’m taking a departure from my typical genre and listening to The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.  All I want to do is discuss this with someone!  August is already looking like a great month for books!

Linking up for Carpool Bookclub