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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 by Eva Woods
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 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 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
Read With Me This Year:
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
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