Books I Read in March.

March was a good month for reading! I was knocked DOWN by a vicious bug (not Covid! We already had that in the fall 😅) that also brought down Charlie, but our recovery gave me a couple of days in bed for reading. Then, Charlie got sick again, which meant a couple more days home for reading. Spring Break gave me a week to fly through a couple more. Of course, I’m sort of always flying through books, aren’t I?

One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4.5 stars – Loved it. I wept! The love story (stories!)! It was an impossible situation to reflect on and I felt like the ending fizzled out a little for me after the build up of the middle. It was a little anticlimactic after the passion, but Taylor Jenkins Reid is just such an amazing storyteller. Read it and weep. Literally.

Notes on your Sudden Disappearance, by Alison Espach – 4.5 stars – Tragic and funny much in the Sorrow and Bliss was (which I also recommend). So sad, so beautifully written. One of those books that will stay with me for years. The grief, the joy, the being in between and the being left behind to live through it all. I would skip if death of a (teenage) child or fatal car crashes are a trigger for you.

Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 stars – Really good. This is the sequel to Ninth House, and it didn’t disappoint. That one ended on SUCH a cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait to read this book. I’ll be honest and tell you that much of the detail of the first book had left me, so I did have to go back and read a few summaries to remind myself. If you like fantasy, you should pick it up. I wouldn’t say it was scary, but more suspenseful. There will absolutely be a third after this one. I just think that Alex is such a badass. Love that about female fantasy main characters. They always rule the world.

The Diamond Eye, Kate Quinn – 5/5 stars – Historical fiction has to be REALLY good to hold my attention and this one did it. It’s not short, but I flew through it, staying up late into the night to read more more more. I LOVEd Mila, her story and was fascinated by the setting in Russia in WWII. The American part of the story was a little hokey to me, but Quinn pulled it all together by the end in such a nice little package. It was the kind of interesting and complex storyline that you really want in a historical fiction – with wonderful, real characters to root for and other truly despicable ones to hate. You can tell the author really did her homework on this one. So much of the story was true – including Mila herself! Have heard great things about Quinn’s other books too. Adding them all to my list!

Stepsisters, Susan Mallery – 2/5 stars – Guys it was bad. Skip it. Upon reflection, I can’t believe I finished the whole thing. There were just some parts that were…icky to me.

Dinner in One, by Melissa Clark – It’s not a cookbook that I would plan to buy, but was glad to get it from the library. I bookmarked the meatballs, a couple of the chicken recipes and the a few of the skillet meals to try. I am always looking for one pot meals, and this had some good ones if you’re looking for that too!!

That’s it for March! Can’t wait to see what April brings my shelves!

How To Read More.

One thing I’m often asked is “How do you read so much?” It’s true that I do work full time as a teacher, have three small children, cook dinner every night, and keep the house looking fresh (most of the time). Now friends, it would be laughable to list all those things without saying that I have a hugely present and supportive spouse who is my partner in all things of life. It’s not like I’m doing “it all” alone. But in between doing “it all” with my sweet husband, it’s true that I will forever find time to read. Every day, no matter what. Now, listing all those things sounds a little braggy – Look how productive I am! Look how full my life is!” But I don’t meant it that way in a bit. I just mean, that you can do it too, even if you feel like you have a list of to do’s that never get done (we all do), even if you have a small child hanging off of you (me too!), a partner you want to give your undivided attention to at the end of the day, or a kid who desperately needs you in the next room (MAMA MAMA!). You could find time.

  • Choose a book over scrolling. I am definitely a creator online, but I am not much of a consumer. I have maybe 4-5 people I like to look at on instagram, and I give myself 15 minutes every night to scroll Pinterest, but other than that – I don’t watch reels, I don’t scroll feeds. I don’t watch stories like a tv show. Put the phone down, and pick up a book instead.
  • Get multiple versions of the same book – get the print copy, the audio, and the e-book. I mostly do a combination of listening to books (while shelving, driving, or running) and reading the print copy (at night, in bed, on the couch, or while monitoring my kids). And for goodness sake – don’t pay for any of it! Get them all from the library. It seems greedy to use all of the versions, but if no one has it checked out then you should. Libraries buy books so that people will use them. Just return as soon as you are done and you don’t have to feel guilty.
  • Bring your book with you wherever you go. Get a purse or backpack large enough to carry the print copy. Or learn to enjoy reading the e-book version.
  • Place holds at the library. I just shared a long list of holds that I have at the library. Having a stack of books that you’re excited to read always helps.
  • Only read good books. Now…by this I mean – Put a book down if you’re not interested. No one is giving awards for finishing books in adulthood. If you’re not into it, move on.
  • Read whenever you have a moment. Waiting for the pasta water to boil? Pick up your book. Waiting in the school pick up line? Pick up your book. Kids have soccer practice? Pick up your book.
  • Try not to reserve your reading time only to when you know you won’t be interrupted. After school, I generally get dinner going and then I take the boys out to play and bring my book with me. I know that they’re going to need help, and that I may only get two pages read, but it’s still reading time. Who knows – maybe you’ll get through a whole chapter!
  • Read instead of watch tv. This is similar to scrolling. You could choose to read a book instead of watch tv at night. My husband and I will watch a show together while folding laundry after the boys go to bed, but then I usually get my book out and he’ll switch to sports. I personally am not bothered by the tv being on when I’m reading, but I know that’s hard for some people. You could try to get your husband to read with you instead of watching tv! Or just go lay in bed!
  • If you work – read at lunch. Read at breakfast too! I have always brought my book to school with me and read while eating. It’s the half hour of my work day that centers, grounds and calms me. I look forward to it.
  • Get up early to read for a few minutes. Occasionally I am lucky enough to wake before the children and I will enjoy my first few sips of coffee with a quiet house, a simple breakfast and my book.

There you have it! My tips! I hope you find a pocket of your day for reading. Fit it in whenever and wherever you can. Reading and books are one of life’s greatest gifts in my very humble opinion.

Books I Read in January.

Oh gosh, I love books. I love thinking about them, reading them, talking about them. Every month I’m going to put my book reviews here so you can easily refer back to book suggestions. Click on the title to take you to amazon to see a summary of the book but as always, check your library first!! You can read all of these for FREE, and they often have the ebook if you’re more comfortable reading on a kindle or even on your phone. I’ll also put my top pick so that if you only get to one book during the month – you have an easy choice. I also always post book reviews and books that I’m thinking about on Mondays on my Instagram account.

My top pick for the month: The Paper Palace, by Miranda Cowley Heller (5/5)

I loved this one. Definitely my favorite of January. I’ve heard mixed reviews, and some definite red flags are the underlying themes of sexual abuse of minors. If you read a lot, then you know that this is common as it is in the world, but I could see why it wouldn’t be for everyone. I thought it was just such a well done story. I’d put it up there with The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both of those books have such a strong sense of place that I loved along with a family drama. Reminded me a little of Good Company – especially with the struggles of marriage and how your past and your untruths can catch up to you in the long run. Highly recommend reading this one. My favorite of the month.

It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover (5/5)

Still thinking about this book even weeks after I finished it. I’ve heard that every one of Colleen Hoover’s books are amazing. I read Verity by her last year (which I also loved) and this one is so different, but has that same feel where you are just In. The. Story. I love reading books about relationships and thinking about the human experience. She does this so well.

The Maidens, by Alex Michaelides (4/5)

I just…have a lot of thoughts on this book and I don’t want to give anything away, so if you read it – send me a message. I did love the nods to Greek mythology, so if you like that sort of thing, then you may like this. Not too scary, but definitely in the suspenseful mystery genre. I did NOT see the ending coming at all. I’ve heard that The Silent Patient is much better, so read that instead if you’re looking for this genre.

Such a Quiet Place, by Megan Miranda (3.75/5)

I enjoyed the close-knit community with secrets storyline, didn’t predict the ending, but also felt a little meh about the book overall once I finished it, and the ending was absolute garbage. Read if you like unreliable narrators with a bit of suspense/mystery.

The Lost Apothecary, by Sarah Penner (3/5)

Suspenseful in a non-scary way. Enjoyed the chapters being told from alternate perspectives and the setting in London. But I also found myself wanting to skip some of the chapters to get to the actual action. Some of it was a little repetetive, and if you are a big historical fiction junkie, I wouldn’t call the storyline exactly believable. It was all a little too…convenience. I’ve read better books, but I did take the time to finish the whole thing, so it couldn’t have been that bad. Another note – I did try to listen to the audiobook to get through it faster and it was truly horrendous. If you are short on time, save yourself and skip this one altogether.