Posts Tagged ‘Best Books of 2017’

The Best Books of 2017

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

top-ten-books-of-2017-from-momadvice

I am so excited to share my selections for best books of 2017. It is always incredibly difficult to narrow down my favorites and this year, in particular, is a tough one because of all the incredible books that came out this year. After reading 100 books this year (!!!), I am looking forward to sharing the books that I can’t stop talking about.

A Few Quick Reflections on My Year in Reading

GoodReads Goals

Joining GoodReads has been an incredible motivator to keep on track with my reading goals.  As you can see, I am reading more and more each year and trying to keep reading a priority and goal. I doubled the amount of books I read from 2014 to 2017.  How do I read so much? You might find this article helpful!

GoodReads Goals

It is also no surprise that this was my highest amount of pages read. GoodReads offers a great end-of-year report to reflect back on your reading which gives you an opportunity to reflect on your favorite books of the year.

Traditionally, I move my goals up for the next year, but I have decided to stick to 100 again for 2018. I felt a little rushed at the end and it impacted my book choices and enjoyment of the books because I wanted to just hurry up and read so I could make it across the finish line.  If I’m on a faster pace than I expect, that will just be a bonus next year!

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I announced our selections (starting with this one) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page. These will be added in a blog entry for January, but book club participants get the list a little earlier. It’s just one more perk to enjoy with this free club!

PS- I know I have had MULTIPLE requests that we offer another reading challenge sheet for the year. I am working on that for you so please stay tuned! I’m so happy to hear you found the 2017 reading challenge printable to be so much fun to work through! The feedback has been that it was challenging, but maybe a little TOO challenging so it will be a shorter one for next year with categories provided by our book club members- woohoo! 

Let’s get to it-

The Best Books of 2017:

The Heart's Invisible Furies

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

This book was just EVERYTHING and reminded me a lot of one of my all-time favorites , A Little Life. At almost 600 pages, I was worried if this book would hold my attention, but Boyne crafts the perfect boyhood friendship as it sprawls decades of time in this gorgeous and gripping saga.

You may be familiar with Boyne’s work, but I was not.  I picked this book up on a whim and devoured it in just a few days.

A faithful Catholic Irish family casts out their daughter when they discover she is pregnant.  Knowing she is not in a position to raise a child alone, she gives him up for adoption to his new parents…

That love to remind him that he is not their real son.

He is their adopted son.

This dark humor is layered so beautifully as the boy, Cyril, becomes dear friends with a boy named Julian. The problem is, as Cyril gets older, he realizes he has a deep and undying love for his best friend. Cyril must keep his sexuality under wraps and keep his affection for him a secret which ends up costing him a lot.

The book follows these two through the decades, beginning in 1945 and ending in Cyril’s elderly age. It finishes in the present day while tackling everything from being closeted to the AIDS epidemic to what it really means to be family.

I laughed and got a little teary-eyed following Cyril as he goes through this identity crisis and finds love. I was really swept away in this story and Boyne builds a beautiful supportive cast.

Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about Goodbye,Vitamin, but I noticed it had made its way on so many best-of lists this year that I just had to read it.

I am not a big fan of correspondence or diary entry books, but it works SO well in this smart, funny, and heartwarming story of a 30-year-old daughter who returns to live at home and care for her father with Alzheimer’s, following a break-up with her fiancée.

Told in sparse quips, Khong breathes fresh air into new ways to think about life and love lost. Sentences like, “You know what else is unfair, about Joel? That I loosened the jar lid, so somebody else could open him up,” or, “It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants,” beg you to read them twice.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing out loud and getting teary-eyed simultaneously through this one.  It’s an achingly beautiful read about growing up, seeing your parent’s struggles with health challenges, and the ability to find humor in even the worst situations. I loved it!

Castle of Water

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

I’m a sucker for a good love story and I can’t rave enough about the beauty of, Castle of Water. I knew that this would be on the top ten list of 2017 and I have a feeling, if you read it, it will be on yours too.

A small plane crashes in the middle of the South Pacific leaving two of the passengers stranded as they both washed ashore on a small island.  If you think this sounds a bit predictable, I did too, but Huckelbridge writes a story that is anything BUT predictable as the two castaways work together to try to remain alive in the face of numerous hurdles.

The writing is surprisingly witty and laugh-out-loud funny, while still giving you that ache in your heart at all they have lost. Being stranded on an island requires a writer to really drive this story with strong characters. This character development is the heart of the story as these two seem to lift off the pages.

While the ending didn’t bring all that I had hoped, it felt truthful to the storytelling and didn’t overshadow this beautiful story! Run, run, run and get this one!

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours absolutely blew me away and is a book that brings ALL THE FEELINGS, if you are looking for a historical fiction escape that will absolutely crush you.

Wingate shares the story of two little girls who become a part of one of America’s most notorious real life scandals of children being kidnapped and sold to wealthy families by Georgia Tann, a director of a Memphis-based adoption organization in the late 1930’s.

I was unfamiliar with the scandal or the heartbreaking stories of children being separated from their families and the tragic things they had to endure while under Tann’s horrific care.

This fictional story is built around the stories of real-life orphans and will just rip your heart to shreds.  Moving backward and forward through time, the reader gets to solve the mystery of two unlikely women with a bond that could never be broken and the granddaughter that must unravel it all, even at the expense of her family’s high society position.

I predicted that this would be in my top ten reads this year. Beautifully written and researched, it pulled all the right heartstrings.

Note- triggers include physical and sexual abuse.

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You was Celeste Ng’s gorgeous debut (you can read my interview with her over here) and I couldn’t wait to see what she had next in store for us.  I was thrilled when the publishing house reached out to see if I would like to take a peek at her next book and this one did not disappoint.

This novel is a perfect read for Jodi Picoult fans as it explores the intertwining stories of a picture-perfect family and a single mother & child who end up disrupting what has always seemed ideal.

The book is set in a suburban bubble where a wealthy family, The Richardsons, reside. Always with good intentions, they love to help others and one of the ways they help them is by offering a rental home to deserving recipients at an affordable cost so that they can get back on their feet again.

Mia Warren is the lucky recipient of this rental, where she can make rent doing odd jobs so she can pursue her true passion for photography and art. When the Richardson family also happens to have an opening for a housekeeper, they bring Mia further into their lives as Pearl & Mia become fixtures in their home. Everything seems ideal about this family and Pearl, her daughter, immediately is drawn to them and their idyllic life.

Yet, when close friends of the wealthy family decides to adopt a Chinese American baby, sides are quickly drawn leaving Mia & Pearl on the opposing side. It is when the battle becomes fierce that secrets began to unravel and true feelings begin to erupt. And there are secrets….a LOT of secrets.

This is a heartstring puller that I devoured in a little over a day. It would lend itself really well to a lively book club discussion if you are looking for something fresh to add to your group that is guaranteed to get your book club members chatting!

The Book of Polly

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall

I love quirky stories that are big on humor and The Book of Polly was everything a good read should be. Beautifully developed characters, loads of hilarity, and Hepinstall’s choice of words and phrasing make these characters, truly, come to life.

Polly has an unexpected surprise in her late fifties and gives birth to her daughter, Willow. Polly is not like any mother that Willow knows at school and the reader experiences her pride and shame at just how little she does fit in. One of Willow’s biggest worries is Polly dying and when she ends up being diagnosed with cancer, it is like her worst fears coming true.

Polly’s not going to exit this world quietly though and Willow decides she wants to know more about Polly’s life from her younger years which lead them on an epic road trip.

I laughed out loud through this book and kept reading passages to my husband who laughed alongside me.  Fans of Be Frank With Me and Whistling Past the Graveyard are FOR SURE going to love this hilarious read! I just knew that this would be on the top ten list this year!

Saints for All Occasions

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

I have read a couple of Sullivan’s books and enjoyed them, but this book is unlike anything she has written before and is an exquisite escape that I think most readers will love. This story reads like Brooklyn had a baby with The Two-Family House so if you enjoyed those, don’t miss this one!

This story explores the lives of two sisters who come to America in the late fifties. One sister is wildly enjoying her newfound freedom while the other is promised to marry a boy she doesn’t love, but finds the responsible sister role to be an easier one. When Theresa, the “fun” sister, ends up pregnant, her sister comes up with a plan to save her reputation while making sure her son is loved and safe.

The book explores the past and present as each sister makes life-altering decisions that lead them down very different paths.  When Nora’s son dies, it brings the two sisters back together again while unleashing a load of family secrets in the process.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have read every single book that Taylor Jenkins Reid has written and I have loved each of them in their own way. This book is markedly different than anything she has ever written and is an absolutely spellbinding book filled with old Hollywood glamour, celebrity secrets, and the power of real and true love.

Evelyn Hugo is an aging starlet who has decided to hire a magazine reporter to write her biography. As someone who has been very private, it is the chance of a lifetime for a virtually unknown writer to be given the story that is worth millions of dollars.

Evelyn’s love life has been something that Hollywood has often been speculated on, but no one could ever guess who captured Evelyn’s heart and how she was able, at times, to make her relationship work with the love of her life. Unfortunately, living in the spotlight often gets in the way of real living. This couldn’t be truer in Evelyn’s life and she is ready to divulge all of her secrets to Monique, in exchange for her writing her biography and publishing it upon her death.

I cannot rave enough about Reid’s ability to write real and relatable love stories. Each of her love stories has connected with me in some way and this book is no exception. I was swept away in Evelyn’s retelling of her life and Reid weaves smart plot twists in the end that I have a feeling you will really enjoy. In fact, I’m still thinking about them.

You must add this book to your book stacks stat!

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George

If you haven’t read Alex George’s first book, please do add it to your reading list- it’s beautiful! In his second novel, George weaves a gorgeous coming-of-age story, set in the late 70’s, that chronicles the life and friendship of two boys that find each other in their eighth grade year. This friendship blossoms as a tragic event unfolds in each family’s life and brings them closer together.

It’s hard to say more about this so you can be surprised by these tragic twists, but the setting and characters are so beautifully written that your heart will quickly be wrapped up in this sweet story.

This book reminded me a lot of Ordinary Grace, in what appears to be a simple story, but is told with such beauty, heart, and soul that you can’t help but fall in love with this book . Be sure to have a box of tissues as you read this one as this book dives deep into heartbreak and loss.

born-a-crime

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Although I have been a big fan of his work on The Daily Show, I have an entirely new respect for Trevor Noah and the survival skills he used during his youth in apartheid South Africa, thanks to his incredible memoir, Born a Crime.”

Noah is truly, “born a crime,” because his birth is seen as a criminal act since he was born to a white father and black mother. To keep him from not being rounded up for an orphanage, he often was sidelined indoors instead of playing outside with his peers. His mother also employed survival techniques, like pretending to be his maid instead of his mother, to just be able to play at the park with her son.

The reader is taken through the story of his childhood that, even in its darker moments,  Noah manages to add heart and humor to each and every story. This brave little mischievous boy’s story will pull at every heartstring and illustrates why he is now so passionate about politics and the world.

DO get this one on audiobook to appreciate every nuance and accent that Noah can bring to the table. It’s like listening to the most polished standup comedy routine to hear him read this out loud.

As soon as I finished it, I just wanted to listen to it all over again.

2017 Honorable Mentions (you know I can’t just narrow my list down to ten, right?)

Words in Deep Blue

The Animators

This is How it Always Is

I Liked My Life

The Sound of Gravel

The Hate U Give

Ginny Moon

All Our Wrong Todays

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Child Finder

Amy Allen Clark

Need More Book Ideas? Here are my top ten lists from the past seven years!!

My Top Ten Books of 2016

My Top Ten Books of 2015

My Top Ten Books of 2014

My Top Ten Books of 2013

The Best Books Read in 2012

My Top Ten Books in 2011

The Top Ten of 2010

Top Ten Books of 2017 from MomAdvice.com

For more great suggestions, check out the NPR Book Concierge– swoon! It is heavenly stuff!

Tell me, what your favorite books were in 2017 or share your links to your own round-ups!

Anything I should be adding to my library bag?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below! Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads or on IG or hang out with me in the book club!

This post contains affiliate links. I promise to only recommend what I truly love!

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December 2017 Must-Reads

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

December 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are getting some time to relax the rest of this week! I had to read eight books this month to stay on my pace for my 100 book goal for 2017 and, YOU GUYS, I DID IT!! I’m feeling really proud of myself this year! Don’t mind me while I toot my own horn!!

Stay tuned for my top ten of the year, happening later this week! I’m excited to hear what your favorite books were in 2017 too.

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I announced our selections (starting with this one) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page. These will be added in a blog entry for January, but book club participants get the list a little earlier. It’s just one more perk to enjoy with this free club!

Here are 8 must-read books that I tackled in December!

Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I haven’t heard a lot of people talking about Goodbye,Vitamin, but I noticed it had made its way on so many best-of lists this year that I just had to read it.

I am not a big fan of correspondence or diary entry books, but it works SO well in this smart, funny, and heartwarming story of a 30-year-old daughter who returns to live at home and care for her father with Alzheimer’s, following a break-up with her fiancée.

Told in sparse quips, Khong breathes fresh air into new ways to think about life and love lost. Sentences like, “You know what else is unfair, about Joel? That I loosened the jar lid, so somebody else could open him up,” or, “It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants,” beg you to read them twice.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing out loud and getting teary-eyed simultaneously through this one.  It’s an achingly beautiful read about growing up, seeing your parent’s struggles with health challenges, and the ability to find humor in even the worst situations. I loved it!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

A Stranger in the House

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

If you have read, The Breakdown, you might not enjoy this thriller as much since I felt like the two had such similar plotlines. That said, this one was a great reprieve during my heavier reads that I appreciated this month.

The story starts quickly with a husband (Tom)  coming home for dinner and finding that his wife appears to have left abruptly from their home, leaving behind her purse, phone, and identification. When he gets a knock at the door, he is horrified to find the police are there to take him to his wife who has been in a car accident.

His wife, Karen, has suffered a concussion and has no recollection of where or why she had left her home that evening. Charged with reckless driving, the police suspect there is more to the story and begin an investigation into Karen’s life that lead them to uncover deep secrets about her past.

This one wasn’t as satisfying as, The Couple Next Door, but it still kept a great pace and held my interest!

3 Out Of 5 Stars

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

If you are looking for a sweetly satisfying YA book, When Dimple Met Rishi, was such a good one. This quirky love story is about a girl, Dimple, who is interested in computer programming and not interested in pursuing the ideal Indian husband (much to her mother’s disappointment).

When she enrolls in a summer program, created for aspiring web developers, she discovers that there is a boy enrolled in the program, named Rishi that has been the arranged marriage prospect that her family has secretly been plotting.

Say what?

It is through this unlikely connection that the two find each other and a deep friendship blossoms between the two that bring them together in unexpected ways. Fans of Eleanor & Park are guaranteed to love this sweet love story between Dimple and Rishi. This book was a treat on audiobook with the beautiful accents and two incredible narrators.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Manhattan Beach has been on almost every top book of 2017 list ever created and now I see why. If you are looking for a compelling historical fiction read, I would highly recommend this one.

This is the first historical fiction novel from Egan, but reads almost like a thriller as you piece together the disappearance of a father. Anna Kerrigan, on the cusp of twelve years old, accompanies her father for a visit to see Dexter Styles. It is a mysterious relationship and visit that she is encouraged not to share with her family.

Later her father disappears and Anna finds herself working for the Brooklyn Naval Yard. She becomes their first female diver and is breaking the mold of what roles women have in assisting in the war. One evening she finds herself at a nightclub where she sees Dexter Styles again and begins to wonder if he might be the key to understanding her father’s disappearance.

If you enjoyed Saints for All Occasions, I think you would enjoy this one too. It surprised me as much as Sullivan’s book as Egan weaves together this compelling plot so vividly that you will have trouble putting it down.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Soulful Simplicity

Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver

I received a copy of this book from the publishing house. All thoughts & opinions are my own.

Soulful Simplicity embraces the power in simplicity and it is done effectively through Carver’s own journey towards a simpler life.

If you aren’t familiar with Courtney, she is the creator of the Project 333, the capsule wardrobe project that I began embracing a few years ago. Her journey towards this simpler life began with her MS diagnosis and the need to scale down her life, home, and belongings in order to make her health a priority.  Through this journey she discovered how wonderful the practice of minimalism is and how powerful it can be for everyone, even if you haven’t been faced with health issues.

Carver tackles the art of saying no, the rejection of busy, the whittling of clutter, the beauty in a smaller wardrobe, and so much more.  Her lifestyle and message speaks loudly during this time of resolutions and serves as a great reminder, to those that are already pursuing a minimalist life, that there is always an opportunity to do better with what we have.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Something Like Happy

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

Fans of Firefly Lane and Me Before You, will love this story of unlikely friendship so beautifully captured in, Something Like Happy.

Annie has been mourning a terrible loss and is in a negative place where she just feels stuck. When she meets Polly, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, she finds that this woman just won’t take no for an answer to friendship and is determined to make the most of every day.

With the given diagnosis, she believes she has one hundred days left where she wants to pursue one hundred new ways to be happy… and she wants Annie to help her with this mission. What Polly doesn’t know is that Annie needs it as much as she does.

This book is the feel-good kind of book that you need in your stack to remind you that we all could use a little happy in our life, the power of forgiveness, and the beauty in the healing of old relationships. Equally parts charming and, at times, a little cheesy, I loved this fictional escape.

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Idaho

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

This was one of the big buzz books this year that I had been looking forward to diving into. There is so much to love in Idaho. The book has a very poetic feel with well-developed characters as it explores a horrific family tragedy and all that are left in the aftermath of this event.

Ruskovich has such a beautiful way with words that you find yourself quickly swept up into the story of these characters as you try to understand the motive behind the tragic death of a child. Unfortunately, the nonlinear narrative made it difficult to follow along with the story and the conclusion of the story was unsatisfying. Although I don’t need my endings neat and tidy, I hoped for a resolution that made the reading journey worth it. It isn’t that kind of read though and Ruskovich shares that most endings in real life are rarely neat and tidy.

I would recommend reading this one for the beauty of the storytelling,  while keeping in mind that the conclusion won’t necessarily be the satisfying ending you probably had hoped for.

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Class Mom

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

Class Mom ended up being a great way to end my reading year thanks to its quick wit and humor. When Jen Dixon is recruited to be the kindergarten class mom, she takes the bull by the horns with hilarity as she corresponds with the parents about what is needed each week. This isn’t her first rodeo, with two college-aged children, and she doesn’t mind being blunt and to the point about what people need to be volunteering for.

Anyone who has volunteered at school and dealt with the pettiness of the helicopter parents is sure to appreciate this hilarious book.  Big Little Lies fans will appreciate the classroom parent drama and are sure to laugh out loud at the correspondence between these parents!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2017 Must-Reads

February 2017 Must-Reads

March 2017 Must-Reads

April 2017 Must-Reads

May 2017 Must-Reads

June 2017 Must-Reads

July 2017 Must-Reads

August 2017 Must-Reads

September 2017 Must-Reads

October 2017 Must-Reads

November 2017 Must-Reads

December 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

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November 2017 Must-Reads

Monday, December 4th, 2017

November 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

I hope your week is off to a great start! I just got back in town and realized that I’m a bit behind on our monthly book reviews. Forgive me! This time of year is as crazy for me as I’m sure it is for you. I am hoping this list will be worth the wait and give you some fun new books to pick up for the upcoming holiday break! I can’t wait to hear what you are reading too.

Oh, don’t forget if you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club!

Not enough variety? Print out our Reading Challenge Worksheet to finish out your year!

As always, I’m looking forward to sharing what I enjoyed in my stack this month. Unfortunately, the holiday season slowed my roll a bit so I’m excited to hop back in it this evening with a big mug of tea in front of our Christmas lights. I hope you have lots of evenings planned like this too!

Here are 6 must-read books that I tackled in November!

When We Were Worthy

When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

PSSSTTT- This one is on sale today for $1.99!!

Chamberlain & Picoult fans are sure to be captivated by this heartbreaking novel.

Worthy is a claustrophobic town that only seems to care about football and winning. When three cheerleaders are involved in a fatal car accident, the town wants someone to pay…no matter what.

Of course, nothing is exactly at what it seems and every character holds a few secrets of their own that could send the whole town into a tailspin. These views are all played out by the various viewpoints in the story from the mothers of the victims to the girl who should have been in the car with her friends. The numerous viewpoints can be a bit confusing at first, but I hit my pace after a few chapters. Whalen’s creative use of wordplay and language makes this an enjoyable read, even in the thick of my confusion.

If you want to feel a little lazy about not reaching your goals, Whalen states in her acknowledgement that she lost the use of her right hand, after an accident, and had to struggle to finish this since this happened to be her writing-hand. Basically, we all have NO excuses now!

When We Were Worthy was a solid escape! Thank you to Lake Union Publishing for sending a copy to me to review!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Green’s next novel was the one that I had looked forward to the most this month. For me, this wasn’t my favorite and I found myself struggling to finish this one.

Tackling the subject of mental illness is, of course, very brave. Green crafts a character whose OCD tendencies and spiraling thought process really are beautifully done with a very raw glimpse into what it would be like to have these thoughts controlling you.

Unfortunately, this was the strongest glimmer and the YA mystery adventure, as the characters try to pursue a fugitive billionaire for cash reward, ended up being weak and didn’t hold my attention.

As a YA read, it is a great one for your kids. As an adult (not the intended audience, I can acknowledge this), it was a bit too YA for me!

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Castle of Water

Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

I’m a sucker for a good love story and I can’t rave enough about the beauty of, Castle of Water. I know that this will be on the top ten list of 2017 and I have a feeling, if you read it, it will be on yours too.

A small plane crashes in the middle of the South Pacific leaving two of the passengers stranded as they both washed ashore on a small island.  If you think this sounds a bit predictable, I did too, but Huckelbridge writes a story that is anything BUT predictable as the two castaways work together to try to remain alive in the face of numerous hurdles.

The writing is surprisingly witting and laugh-out-loud funny, while still giving you that ache in your heart at all they have lost. Being stranded on an island requires a writer to really drive this story with strong characters. This character development is the heart of the story as these two seem to lift off the pages.

While the ending didn’t bring all that I had hoped, it felt truthful to the storytelling and didn’t overshadow this beautiful story! Run, run, run and get this one!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Bonfire

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

I do love a good thriller and Bonfire is an excellent debut novel from actress, producer, and writer Krysten Ritter.

This follows the story of an environmental lawyer, Abby Williams, who has been assigned a case in her hometown of Barrens, Indiana.  She has been tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the company that supports and has its hand in every pie in town, to discover if any of their business practices have been causing health problems for the town’s residents.

Returning home is never easy and Abby has left behind a lot of secrets of her own and many stories of the bitchy mean girls that seemed to have it out for her. With loads of suspense the past and the present come full circle, as Abby becomes more and more unhinged and unreliable as the book’s narrator.

Fans of dark thrillers will love this gritty suspenseful page-turner. Don’t discredit this writer for her Hollywood creds,  it’s definitely worth your time!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Seven Days of Us

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

If you are craving an escape from the holiday crazy, I can think of no better suggestion than an evening with, Seven Days of Us.

The entire Birch family must come together for seven long days to be locked down into quarantine for the holidays. Olivia, their daughter, is a doctor and has been treating an epidemic abroad and they need to insure that no germs are spread. The family hasn’t been together this long in years and, as we all do, everyone falls back into their old roles. Children become children again, parents resume fighting, and they all must learn to live with one another again.

Each of these family members is carrying a secret that holds detrimental consequences for the entire family. Told from their alternating perspectives, the chapters begin to twist together as these secrets are revealed.

Even in the predictable moments, this made for a highly entertaining read and is a great way to unwind over the holiday weekend. It made me smile in many of the same ways of some of my favorite holiday films. I think you will love this one!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

The Last Ballad

The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

This new novel, from Wiley Cash, was inspired by true and heroic events of the first union and all that the crusade leaders had sacrificed to be a part of the movement. The main character, Ella May, is unable to keep her children clothed and fed on the wages she is given. With no man to help her, she receives a union flier that changes the path of her life. Within the first organized event, Ella May is asked to share her experience and becomes a poster child, of sorts, for the movement. Unfortunately, there are consequences for anyone who does not follow the protocol and Cash takes us through this difficult time in history through several different character’s eyes.

This one moved a little slower for me, but I blame the timing more than the writing. I had not paused to consider what this would look like, in the late twenties, and the heroic measures taken by those seeking fair wages. If you are looking to dive into a historical fiction book with some meat, this is a solid one!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

 

 

Book of the Month December Selections

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!

This month’s special:

Gift a subscription to Book of the Month and get a free book for yourself (!!!)

December Selections:

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2017 Must-Reads

February 2017 Must-Reads

March 2017 Must-Reads

April 2017 Must-Reads

May 2017 Must-Reads

June 2017 Must-Reads

July 2017 Must-Reads

August 2017 Must-Reads

September 2017 Must-Reads

October 2017 Must-Reads

November 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

September 2017 Must-Reads

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

September 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

September was a GREAT reading month for me and I have loads of 5-star recommendations for your stacks. This month I tackled 11 books, thanks to quite a few quiet days in my little she shed. If you are a reader, that place is MAGICAL for quiet reading.

If you want to see more of what I am reading,  please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club!

Not enough variety? Print out our Reading Challenge Worksheet! I’m having a blast working my way through it!

Here are 11 must-read books that I tackled in September!

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

If you are looking for an absorbing story, you definitely will want to dive into, Watch Me Disappear.

The story centers on a mother who goes on a solo hike in the Desolation Wilderness and vanishes from the trail. Although her body is never found, they conclude that she fell to her death, never returning again to her husband and daughter.

When her daughter begins having visions of her mother, she starts to believe that she is still alive and guiding her to where she is. When she reveals her mother’s secrets to her father, her husband also becomes convinced that there is more to this story.

Prepare for a very twisted and unpredictable plot right up until those final pages. Brown captures her reader in this clever thriller and won’t let go until you have made your way through the entire spider web of mystery.

If you are looking for a fresh book club pick, I would highly recommend this one as it explores the subject of finding and sometimes the losing of our identities as mothers.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

I was not a big fan of All is Not Forgotten, but I wanted to give this author another try with her latest novel (and BOTM selection), Emma in the Night. I am so glad that I did because this was a another highly enjoyable thriller this month.

One night fifteen-year-old Cass and her seventeen-year-old sister, Emma disappear without a trace, other than a deserted car. Three years later, Cass returns alone and must share her story of being kidnapped and isolated on a mysterious island.

The story that Cass shares though, doesn’t add up. On the case is forensic psychologist (and expert in narcissistic personality disorder) Dr. Abby Winter. As she starts trying to make sense of the holes in the story, she discovers some shocking twists.

Fans of The Roanoke Girls will enjoy this twisted family story that will keep you page flipping until the wee hours of the morning.

3 Out Of 5 Stars

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

I became a fan of Denfeld’s writing after reading , The Enchanted (you can read my interview with Rene over here) and couldn’t wait to see what she had in store for us next. Denfeld weaves a shocking and disturbing story of a little girl that has gone missing in a rural part of an Oregon forest and the one person who believes she can change this girl’s story.

Naomi is a private investigator that has a knack for finding missing children. Her knack for this is partly based on her own mysterious disappearance from her family and her inability to remember her own story.

When Madison Culver goes missing, the family reaches out to her and believes that she may be their last hope. Madison has been missing for over three years and authorities have given up on finding the girl, believing she may have died under a blanket of snow.

Madison is alive though and being held captive, made to live her life as a wife, despite being a child. Her circumstances are horrific and the only relief she feels is through the fairytale she has created, allowing her the separation from herself to endure these moments.

These two stories are interwoven together in an incredible page-turner that I was unable to put down. I read this in a single afternoon and couldn’t wait to see how Denfeld pulled all of this together. The story is haunting, raw, and so very real.

Warning: this book contains physical and sexual abuse towards a child.

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

I read a lot of thrillers this month so I was looking for a more lighthearted escape and I found it perfectly in Robin Sloan’s latest novel, Sourdough. If magical realism isn’t your thing though, you may not enjoy it as much as I did.

The story centers around a woman who works in the tech field, specializing in robotics, and ends up being gifted a sourdough starter…even though she has never made bread before.  Lois begins exploring the world of bread making and begins cooking beautiful loaves of sourdough bread, thanks to this magical starter. What she doesn’t know is how much this new creative outlet is going to change the path of her entire life.

This book was enjoyable from start to finish, even in those farfetched bits of the story. I will say, however, as a gluten-free girl, the cravings for bread became unbearable at times.

If you are looking for a little magic and just great old-fashioned storytelling, I think you will appreciate Sloan’s latest novel a lot! In fact, I passed this one on to my eleven-year-old and she’s been enjoying it as much as me!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

There is a line in The Burning Girl, which basically summed up exactly how I felt about this book. Messud writes, “Everybody wanted a story, a story with an arc, with motives and a climax and a resolution.” That is exactly what I had hoped to get out of this novel, but it seemed to be missing all of these key elements for me.

If you are looking for a coming-of-age story that shares the beauty and innocence of childhood or the way that friendships between girls can be so quickly and easily intertwined, then you might enjoy this one for that. In those elements, much like Walking on Trampolines, that is where this story truly shines. Messud captures this beautifully and made me think about my own childhood friendships and how quickly innocence can be lost.

If you are looking for a thriller though with a great plot and twisty turns, this won’t be the book for you. If you go into it with a mindset in place that this is just about childhood friendships, you might enjoy it more.

3 Out Of 5 Stars

The Empath's Survival Guide

The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff

Empaths are people who take on other people’s emotions, energies, and even physical symptoms of others because they feel things so deeply. I recently became aware that this has been contributing to a lot of my own health issues (both mentally and physically) and I needed guidance on how to feel empathy towards others without compromising my own well-being. The Empath’s Survival Guide is an incredible book on learning ways to manage these gifts, but also your ability to create space and boundaries in your life so that you don’t compromise yourself in the process.

There were so many good things that I got out of this book from visualizations to honoring the ways that I’m wired and also how to deflect negative people and energy. It helps establish better routines for unwinding and learning what does and does not work for empaths.

Not sure if you are one? This test might help! In the meantime, I can’t recommend it enough if you are struggling. This would also be a great read for the HSP (highly sensitive person) club too!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

I have a deep affection for great Young Adult literature and this month’s book club pick was absolute YA perfection. I guarantee that you won’t be able to put this one down.

This is the story of two friends, Rachel & Henry, that ended up growing apart for two reasons- Rachel moved and she left a love letter to Henry that never received a response.

Rachel moves back though and has hard feelings against Henry for never responding to her letter. She also is battling a personal battle that no one in town knows about. As luck would have it, she ends up getting a job at the local bookshop, owned and run by Henry’s family.

It is here, amid the books, that secrets are revealed between the pages as Rachel & Henry find friendship and love again in one another.

I’m surprised I’m not hearing more about this fantastic book! It is a bookworm’s dream and gives you lots of great book ideas to dive into once you finish reading it.

Reading Challenge Category Completed- A story that takes place in a bookstore

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Rabbit by Patricia Williams

Rabbit by Patricia Williams

If you read only one memoir this year, please let it be this one. Rabbit is the true story of Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) and her life growing up in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. Williams is one of five children and witnessed how her mother was able to work the system to help her family survive…and how her children were used  just for these purposes.

Patricia becomes a mom of two children at fifteen and must learn strategies for her family to survive when she is only a child too. She becomes a master at hustling and dealing crack to keep her family fed.

This book is unflinching in its honesty about how quickly Patricia had to grow up and the unbelievably difficult situations she survived from being sexually abused to even being shot. She survived it all though and shares her story with equal parts heart and humor, even in the face of all of her adversities.

I read this book in a single sitting and can’t recommend it enough!

Warning: this book contains physical and sexual abuse towards a child.

Reading Challenge Category Completed- A book written by a comedian

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Put Tell Me Three Things with I’ll Give You the Sun and you, basically, have the formula for an unbelievably good read…which is EXACTLY why I loved this book so very much.

Sixteen-year-old Simon is gay, but hasn’t told anyone yet. He has found love though through an email correspondence with another guy that has helped him talk out some of his feelings. If only he knew whose heart he had captured…

When these emails get in the wrong hands though, he has to step out of his comfort zone and share about who he really is with those he loves.

This book is absolutely charming and Simon is a guy that you end up rooting for throughout the book. With a lot of wit and humor, Simon’s story is a heartwarming tale of acceptance, even in an unaccepting world.

I’m so excited to hear that this one will be coming to the big screen so be sure to read it before you catch the film! It is a really beautiful coming-of-age story!

5 Out Of 5 Stars

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

I’m a huge fan of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry  (if you haven’t read it- just do it right now!). Young Jane Young is a fun and timely departure into the world of politics and would make a perfect book club selection.

In this story, a politician becomes involved with a young intern who has been keeping an “anonymous blog” with juicy details of her scandalous affair. When the affair is brought to light, Aviva must move and try to start fresh with a new identity. She changes states, her name, and even steps out of politics to become a wedding planner. She is constantly dodging her past though because the story became national news.

You might think this one doesn’t sound that interesting (we’ve heard this story before, right?), but Zevin smartly plays it out from many viewpoints (her mother, the wife, the daughter, and Jane’s own view). With this unique perspective we are able to see the story in a different way and the slut-shaming that can occur when political scandals happen.

This book examines the many different roles of women and the double standards that occur in the political arena.

I really loved it and I think you will too. It is a quick page-turner with a lot of meat for discussion!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

My Absolute Darling is THE BOOK that everyone has been talking about so I snagged the audiobook to dive in. Had I known more about the story, I might have skipped the audio version of this one because it was about the sexual and physical abuse of a teenage girl at the hands of father.

Almost sixteen hours of abuse, to be exact, if you are listening to the audiobook.

Turtle (nickname) has been living alone with her father for years. He is a survivalist and teaches Turtle many skills she might need to survive in the wilderness. Her childhood is anything BUT normal, particularly the sexual relationship she has with her father.

When Jacob becomes her friend at school, Turtle gets to peek into Jacob’s normal life (clean house, dinner around the table, two parents, etc..) and she finally is able to see how dysfunctional her own life is. Thanks to her survival skills, taught by her abusive father, she begins to dream of an escape and of a very different kind of future.

When the storytelling is on it is ON. Tallent’s writing has been compared to many great writers and received a lot of accolades and praise from some of my favorite authors. When the writing was off though it was OFF. This book was lengthy and the torture of this girl goes on, and on, and on, and on. I don’t want to discredit Tallent’s writing, but I do think the subject matter just made this a difficult book to read.

That said, it was kind of like watching a train wreck and I kept wanting the safety for this girl so I kept listening and listening.

I would classify this one in the horror genre- it was an absolutely brutal story. Keep that in mind if you decide to pick this one up!

4 Out Of 5 Stars

The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out

If you are a BOTM member, this month looks AH-MAZING!! You can use this link though, if you aren’t, to get 1, 2, or 3 months for just $9.99.

October 2017 Book of the Month Selections

October BOTM Selections & Deals

Try 1, 2, or 3 months for just $9.99 each

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Get John Green’s new novel FREE when you join Book of the Month

Get Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King FREE when you join Book of the Month

Amy Allen Clark

Read With Me This Year:

January 2017 Must-Reads

February 2017 Must-Reads

March 2017 Must-Reads

April 2017 Must-Reads

May 2017 Must-Reads

June 2017 Must-Reads

July 2017 Must-Reads

August 2017 Must-Reads

September 2017 Must-Reads from MomAdvice.com

What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though.

 

 

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