Thursday, December 15, 2016

Quick Lit - December

It's again that time of the month when I link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and briefly (ish) write about the books I've been reading.   A few of these were on the shorter side which why I was able to somewhat easily get through 12 in 30ish days...  As always, I love to hear what you've been reading and enjoying (or not enjoying) lately!  I'm very active on Goodreads, let's be friends!

This was a book that made me feel not quite smart enough to read it. Mr. Vanauken wrote it to tell the story of his marriage and how he coped after his wife died (that's not a spoiler, I think it's on the jacket cover). As gruesome as it sounds, my favorite part was the scenes where his wife actually dies because he wrote about it so beautifully and you could really feel the love he had for her. I also liked reading about their methods for keeping such a close bond throughout their marriage although their vow to completely engage in all of each other's interests was a little much. He also shares many letters he exchanged with C.S. Lewis which he seems rather proud of. Overall, I feel smarter for having read it. 3.5 Stars

These are all lumped together because they are a novella series mostly about the same characters. Robin Jones Gunn has long been one of my favorite authors and I've read almost everything she's written so I don't know how I missed these for so long. The first two are about Miranda who is an accountant (represent!) who travels to rural England to figure out who her father is. She does figure that out and then comes back in book #2. The third book takes place in the same small town with most of the same characters popping up again but with a new lead. They were all rather enjoyable and Christmas-y and perfect for early December reads. Plus, they averaged around 200 pages each so that made it really easy to get through them in a couple days. I would consider rereading these every Christmastime. 4 Stars (All!)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan 
This was a cute story – a young woman is losing her job in England and decides to pursue her somewhat crazy dream of opening a mobile bookshop, in rural Scotland. I enjoyed the story well enough but it feels like everything worked out a little too perfectly for her, no real challenges. I haven't been a fan of much of the British chick lit-ish I've read. I don't know if it's just the few I've picked up or the prevalent writing style over these...they just don't jive well with me.  3 Stars

This book came pretty highly recommended and hyped by many bloggers and reviewers. I did enjoy it and appreciated the message even more. The title pretty much sums up the whole thing – slowing down life to focus on the things that really matter: family, friends, etc. I don't think we're at a point of life right now where life is especially frantic but I still liked and needed the message. It's so easy to get caught up in the things that don't really matter, sacrificing the stuff that does but that's just crazy. It's mostly a series of essays and I liked that she often admitted she doesn't have this whole thing figured out and that there are plenty of things she struggles with too. Nobody is perfect but we should at least be trying to get our lives in order and live our best life. Great message, especially this time of year.  4.5 Stars

Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn
Apparently RJG dominated my reading this past month. Ok, here is what you need to know. This story is about Christy and Todd as they begin their journey to becoming parents. If you don't already know who Christy and Todd are, or care why they are having a baby, then you probably won't be interested in this book. BUT I've been reading about Christ, Todd, and their other friends for 20 YEARS. That's not an exaggeration. I read my first book about them when I was 12. And after 36 (I think, by my best count) books that cover 6 series, I'm a little invested in their fictional lives. And, I thought this was the best book about them since The College Years. Best written and I didn't get annoyed with any of their life choices like I did through much of The Married Years. I want to do a whole blog post about these series but for now, just end with, I'll read everything Ms. Gunn writes about them, even when it's Christy and Todd: The Nursing Home Years.  4.5 Stars

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
I don't really know why I added this to my to read list when I'm not particularly a fan of hers, I've seen a few movies and enjoyed them well enough but I don't follow her career or even any of her social media feeds. But I guess I've enjoyed books by other comedic ladies so I figured I'd read this one. It was mostly memoir but in a fairly humorous way. And I did laugh out loud a few times but also didn't come of reading it necessarily liking her any more? She also talked about her sex life more than I cared to read about which, take with that knowledge what you will. If you like and follow her then you'd probably be interested but for a casual fan I'd probably pass. 3 Stars

I have not read all her books, most notable the one she is probably most known for, Me Before You. But I was intrigued by Christmas-y short stories, especially if they included Paris. It was really one long “short” story (~150 pages) and then a bunch more that were 10-20 pages. Obviously the first was the most memorable and kinda felt like a story that she couldn't quite flesh out to full book length but also ok that it was only 150 pages. The rest were mostly enjoyable and most had a little unexpected twist. I haven't liked many short stories compilations I've read so I was pleasantly surprised to like this one. 3.5 Stars

Evangelli Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis 
I was intrigued by this book but was a little relived when the church homily when I was in the middle of reading this was that every religious book isn't going to be for everyone.  That made me feel a lot better about not LOVING this.  There were a lot of good points, I mean he wasn't made the Pope for lack of smarts, but also not something easy to digest in large, 40-50 page, chunks.  I think this is a book I would have been better off taking in smaller pieces, reading over the course of a month or so, or reading in a group setting and studying together.  I am glad I read it and parts have stuck with me but not something I'll be rushing to reread.  4 Stars

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees 
I picked this up after seeing it mentioned by multiple bloggers and IG accounts I follow. I'm always up for some easy practical shopping advice and ways to work my closet better. This gave that but it also wasn't anything hugely revolutionary. Probably also didn't help that I didn't actually DO any of the exercises she suggested to find my style and actually clean out my closet (something I do pretty regularly already). I think this would have been more helpful to me a few years ago but now I've been following some style bloggers who have pretty much taught me the same things. Still, I liked it and it was enjoyable enough.  3.5 Stars

What Light by Jay Asher
This is a Christmastime set YA book that I read because it looked festive and a light and easy Christmastime read.  Which is exactly what it was.  It wasn't fantastic or amazing or one of my all-time favorites but do I regret reading it?  No.  Also, one of the cleanest YA books I've read that wasn't Christian Fiction.  So there is that.  3 Stars

Best thing I read this month, enjoyment factor wise I'd give it to Sandy Toes.  What about you? 

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