Friday, June 8, 2018

Alex and Eliza

Alex and Eliza (Alex & Eliza #1)Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book - after all, I thoroughly enjoyed Chernow's biography of Hamilton and loved reading Miranda's libretto and background book on the musical. But the charm and wonder of the respective real life and fictional characters was lost in this story. There were brief glimpses, but mostly I just felt bored or in a hurry to press forward. If I hadn't been so determined to finish (or stuck in a doctor's office for three and a half hours), I'm sorry to say I might have moved on without finishing.

Glad to be on to the next. Happy reading and happy summer--

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to BeGirl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I stepped into summer, I needed something light-hearted and encouraging. Hollis' "Girl, Wash Your Face" is exactly that. I honestly had no idea who Hollis was in terms of her social media presence, etc, but you know need to know her brand to enjoy her content. She's smart, real, and funny - all the characteristics you need for someone who is going to draw life lessons from her personal experiences. The content isn't new, but her delivery is great and I will revisit her ideas as I define this new chapter of my life.

Happy reading and happy living--

ps. This is probably too sedate of review - third trimester tiredness fog has definitely settled in, but if it helps, I've told at least half a dozen friends to read this in the last two days...so I really, really liked it.

pps. Hollis also harbored a not-so-secret belief that she would marry Matt Damon. As someone who signed my handwritten notes to friends as Mrs. Damon in high school, I loved her anecdotes about this.

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lastting Connections with Your Kids

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your KidsThe Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If we're honest, I have no interest in parenting books. Each kid and each parent are so different that I can't quite wrap my head around blanket statement advice on how to get my future children to sleep on a schedule or to be polite to others. I'm sure there is some naiveté in that view, but for now I am not pouring through parenting books like many other first time mommas. Enter "The Read-Aloud Family" - it is the only parenting style book I have purchased and read because when I heard Sarah Mackenzie interviewed about connecting with your kids and how to make kids life-long readers, I felt like she was speaking my hopes and dreams for my future family.

I loved this book. I loved how simple and straight forward the suggestions are for how and why we should read with children. I love that she has dozens of book recommendations for readers of all ages, including Little Mann who will fall into the 0-3 bracket. The ideas in Mackenzie's book are not revolutionary, but they are rooted in real life and so they can be applied to most individual situations - whether you have toddlers or teenagers and whether you have children who are readers or children who run whenever you say it's time to read for their assigned 20 minutes a day.

I truly cannot wait to use her ideas with my son. It feels a little strange to read to him before he's here (I've tried it a couple times), but I am ready as soon as he arrives.

Happy reading to you and your family--

There Are No Grown-ups

There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age StoryThere Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because I read an excerpt published in the New York Times and was totally hooked. I resonate with the idea of looking around and expecting what I call "certifiable adults" to enter a room, only to realize that my peers and I are the adults. Druckerman's book focuses more on being in your 40s, but I, as a 30-something, still found her thoughts and anecdotes relatable. That said, I don't think Pamela and I are meant to be future BFFs who are going to go do dinner while our husbands are out at a basketball game. Our world views are wildly different on some subjects, and so a few of her chapters that are meant to be progressive, especially the ones on sexuality and her husband's birthday, read as juvenile or too one-sided.

All that said, this is probably a 2.5, but it was a perfect escape as I wrapped up the school year. I cannot recommend it to my more conservative of friends. If you liked her book on French parenting ideas (I didn't realize this was the same woman until part way through the book because I haven't read that one yet), then you will fall right back into her narrative style. If you're turning 40 this year, it might be an ideal read, but Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck" is more my style.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Asking for a Friend

Asking for a Friend: Three Centuries of Advice on Life, Love, Money, and Other Burning Questions from a Nation ObsessedAsking for a Friend: Three Centuries of Advice on Life, Love, Money, and Other Burning Questions from a Nation Obsessed by Jessica Weisberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. The premise is awesome. Americans, myself, included thrive on the advice of strangers, but I found myself losing focus as Weisberg talked through some of her chosen advice givers. The short version is that most advice givers of the last three hundred plus years were self-made. They had no real claim to their expertise, but Americans listened anyway. That said, there are some great anecdotal stories along the way, but they didn't make me any less eager for the book to end.

On to the next. Happy reading-

ps. Probably a 2.5, but you know...no half stars....

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Hiding Place

The Hiding PlaceThe Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm so glad to have finally read The Hiding Place. While the writing style wasn't perfect, the story is beyond incredible. I'm so inspired by Corrie and her family's efforts to live their faith and to serve others. They're wonderful examples of what it means to live what you teach and a powerful reminder that there is always reason to hope.

Happy reading-

Soulful Simplicity

Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much MoreSoulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is not a subtle trend in tendency to pick up books on living intentionally. I started following Courtney Carver because of her association with The Minimalists. Her experience of paring down possessions and obligations in order to lead a fuller life resonates so much with me. As we prepare to bring a baby into our home, I keep thinking about the weight of non-essential things and the weight of superfluous to do's. I want more than that for my little family.

Happy reading--