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January 2017 Book List

New year, new books! I’m taking a little break from the twin posts to share a few books I’ve been reading lately. (This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.)

I’m Judging You
 by Luvvie Ajayi

I grabbed this book off the library shelf because I liked the title. And I loved this book!  It’s a collection of essays by a blogger.  She touches on all sorts of topics- internet etiquette, real life etiquette, social norms, racism, sexism, friendship- the whole gamut.  And it is funny!  It can be a tough read, I didn’t agree with everything she said.  And she touches on some uncomfortable topics, especially the racism and sexism.  But that is good!  I read to enjoy myself but I also like to read to grow.  This book made me think and evaluate how I feel and how I impact those around me.  As I said, I didn’t always agree with everything she said.  But I didn’t feel attacked by her opinion.  The title is “I’m Judging You,” but I didn’t leave reading this book feeling like a bad person.  It challenged me to think more and aim to be a better person, but didn’t leave me feeling angry at the author for ferreting out my flaws.  I recommend this one to anyone.  It also gave me some great ideas for topics to discuss with the kids as they get older.

The Girls by Emma Cline

This is sort of a fictionalized version of what happened with Charles Manson in the sixties.  It is the story of a young girl who is kind of ignored by her divorcing parents and falls in with a group of girls who seem exciting.  They live on a ranch with a charismatic man and they all do a bunch of drugs.  The story is interspersed with narration from the girl as an adult, telling her story to a teen.  I think some of the commentary on what it feels like to be a teenage girl was spot on.  Feeling like your worth is solely in the judgment of others, wanting boys to notice you, trying to fit into a group- all things I think almost every teen has gone through.  I think the writing was a bit overly descriptive, I felt bogged down and annoyed by all the clutter.  But then again that is what I imagine life on the ranch was like, so maybe it was by design.  I wish we knew more about the narrator as an adult, but overall I enjoyed the read.

The House of Secrets
 by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

This is a history based thriller that flows a lot like Dan Brown novels.  A main character trying to solve a mystery about a historical figure (Benedict Arnold in this one). a secret figure operating in the background, and lots of questions.  This book focuses around Hazel, a college professor who is in a car accident with her brother and father.  Her father was the host of a reality show called House of Secrets, one of those history channel type shows where they go around trying to solve ancient mysteries.  He dies in the crash and Hazel loses her emotional connection to memories, making her forget things.  It is interesting to think about how our emotions color what we remember and how we interpret situations.  I enjoyed the fast paced style of the book and I always enjoy reading about a mystery with a historical basis.  The thing is, when the twist is revealed I didn’t quite get why the secrecy was needed.  I don’t want to give it away what the mystery is, but suffice to say I don’t think all the fuss about it was needed.  People would have understood.  This was a fun book for a vacation read.  If you like Dan Brown style books you will like this one.

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

This book follows two time lines.  The first is Haley who has returned to her old hometown and has taken on the challenge of reopening the town wedding shop.  This shop has a big history in the town, which we see from the other timeline.  This is Cora’s story, taking place in the 1930s.  She’s a working woman in a time most woman didn’t own businesses.  We follow the ladies through their romantic challenges and just general life challenges as they try to decide the direction they want to go.  This is a Christian novel.  I chose it because I was looking for a nice Christian fiction book to read, but honestly felt like the religious parts were a bit forced and felt like an add on.  They are nice if you are looking for that, but if that part doesn’t interest you it is easy to gloss over them.  This is actually just one book in a three part arc, but it stands alone just fine.  I am interested in reading the other two books, but I haven’t exactly run out to get them.  I think that says a lot.  This is a nice book.  I really liked the descriptions of the shop itself and all the wedding dresses.  I liked that it sparked me to remember my own engagement time and wedding.  It was slightly predictable, but one of those books that made me feel good while I read it and left me feeling happy when I was finished.  I like books like that.

As always, I’d love suggestions of other books to read!  Happy reading!


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