Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quick Lit - November

It's that time of the month where I link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and share all/most of what I've read in the past month!  Some good, some mediocre, and, if I'm lucky, at least one great book.  As always, I'm very active on Goodreads and you can friend me there to see what I'm reading!  I love seeing what others are reading!  What's the best thing you read in the last month?

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Not the best YA I've read.  The summary I read compared it to two YA authors I have enjoyed...although now I'm realizing I haven't liked all of either of their books so that might a good sign of how I'd kinda/kinda not like this book.  It reminded me of All of the Bright Places and maybe a little (tiny) bit of Eleanor & Park in the format but not the wonderful "this is what first love feels like" feeling.  I don't know, I'm still a little mixed about it.  3 Stars

The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley
I read this book because I had read her previous book (Life After Yes) and enjoyed it.  This one...I think I enjoyed less.  It was told from the perspective of three friends/acquaintances over Thanksgiving weekend, each person getting a different day.  I loved that it (mostly) took place in New York, and in Central Park at that.  I liked the different perspectives although I kinda felt like when a person wasn't the narrator of a chapter they mostly disappeared and there wasn't many details later about what they were doing during that time.  I think this book was fine.  2.5 Stars
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic: Lessons in Everyday Elegance by Jennifer L. Scott
I have read two previous books by this author on similar topics (here and here) and they are not fine litarture by any means but I've enjoyed them, this one probably the most of the three.  Not a huge take away but nice things to think about while reading, and they are all pretty quick reads.  Plus, I really like the little insight into life in France. 3 Stars

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
I added this to my "To Read" list over the Olympics last summer.  Of course women's gymnastics is one of the best sports (although maybe not the only one that brought me to tears...multiple times) and so reading a book behind the scenes of elite gymnastics was intriguing.  It was a bit of a let down though.  The mystery took up a lot of the story and there were too many characters who were obviously shady from the start.  It was interesting and kinda intriguing but not "oh my goodness I can't put this down".  3 Stars

Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi
When we were in New York in the spring we went to Milk Bar and bought cookies.  I had seen various Milk Bar recipes on various blogs and was intrigued.   I decided to read the cookbook.  I still psyching myself up to make one of their fancy layer cakes but I did mark many recipes that I am willing to make now.  There was more information in there than I expected about the science of cooking and the purpose behind certain ingredients.  That was really interesting too.  But really I was just there for the recipes.  I hope to try some soon!  4 Stars

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Oh man, I really liked this book.  It's YA which can be hit or miss for me but this was a hit.  Not Eleanor & Park level but maybe the best YA I've read this year, or at least one of them.   It's about a girl whose mother dies (not a spoiler) so she goes to live Italy.  She meets some boys.  She figures out some things about her father.  She eats gelato.  I was just completely charmed and read it really quickly because it was so enjoyable.  If you like YA I'd recommend this one. 4 Stars

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist
A completely different kind of cookbook than Momofuku.  It was a lot of wonderful stories with recipes thrown in.  It made me want to be a better cook, not just someone who can follow recipes fairly well.  Like being able to whip up a whole meal from scratch without recipes.  Her journey and stories have a religious aspect and she goes through some tough times as well as plenty of happy ones.  She lives in Chicago and writes about her family lake house on Lake Michigan in an area we are a little familiar with so it was almost like reading about a neighbor.  I really enjoyed this book.  4 Stars

Winter Storms by Elin Hilderbrand
I have so enjoyed this trilogy of books; the second book, Winter Stroll, made my best of 2015 list.   Like all of her books, it's about people living on Nantucket, these stories being about a family who owns a inn there.  The previous two (from what I remember) were entirely told during the Christmas season, filling in gaps of what happened earlier in the year.  Only about the second half of this book was set in December which was nice to get more back story on the family's life but also felt a little jarring since it was a different format than the other two.  I was also thrown a little when a character mentions another book by the same author, within the story.  Felt like a little 4th wall breaking down and it took me out of the story for a minute.  But those quibbles aside, these books have been so enjoyable, so cozy, and perfect for getting in the Christmas mood (...in mid-November...).   If you've read and enjoyed any of her other books I would definitely recommend this trilogy.  4 Stars

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
I love pretty much every book I've read about living with less/minimalism.  This one wasn't anything particularly new but I enjoyed the format and agreed with most of what she had to say.  I also appreciated the parts about simplifying our products, not just our possessions.  Such as information about chemicals we bring into our homes through cleaning products and cosmetics.   I think I might finally be convinced to try some essential oils too.   It was an easy read, less than 200 pages.  3.5 Stars

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
This book has been mentioned many times on the "What Should I Read Next" Podcast as being amazing.  So I read it.  I wasn't blown away but I think that's largely a problem of too high of expectations.  It was a lovely book but I was was expecting to be completely WOWED and I wasn't.  If you read it after this not completely glowing review maybe you will really like it.  I think it was just over-hyped for me.  3 Stars

My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, A Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman
This year I ran more miles than I have any other year in my life.  But that is still nowhere near the number of miles this man ran as he first prepared to run a marathon with his daughter and then to do an Ultra Marathon (50 miles) on his own.  And I was happy with how many miles I ran...  He's middle-age (50s) and ran a few marathons in his 20s.  His collage-age daughter asks him to train and run one with her.  So the book starts with that, getting back in the running routine and how good it was for him mentally and physically.  Then he decided to train for an Ultra which just sounds insane (and he talks about 100+ mile races too which are just...beyond insane...).  Training practically in the middle of the night, all the pains with essentially running a few marathons a week.  He both made it sound doable and appealing and yet not something I ever want to do.  It was humorous and made me glad to be a running, although on a much, much, much shorter scale.  Definitely recommend to any runners or anyone who wants to read about crazy people running.  4 Stars

Today Will be Different by Maria Semple
This book was verrrrrry close to being put down many times.  Then it was pretty solidly a 2 star book until the last 50 pages.  I thought the premise had a lot of promise.  It's the story of a worn down wife & mother who is determined to make this the perfect day.  Today will be different from all the other days.  She'll pay perfect attention to her kid, she'll be the perfect wife, she'll do all the things she aspires to do all the other days.  I get that.  But then she was kinda annoying.  She needed some sense knocked into her a few too many times.  The end redeemed it but I don't think I'd recommend.  2.5 Stars

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