What I Read…

Linking up with Jana & Steph for Show Us Your Books!

Happy Tuesday. I hope you read something wonderful lately.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer | Christian | ★★★★★/5
I don’t usually read self-help books OR Christian books, but I think this fell on my radar thanks to Lauren Akins’ Live in Love podcast. Either way, I had it on my Amazon wishlist and my m.i.l. bought it for me.
The book’s focuses are a) slowing down so you can b) be a better apprentice to Jesus. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for a Christian gal who tries to resist the hustle culture, it was a fantastic read. I thought I was doing a decent job of living slowly. I intentionally never say the words “hurry up” to M and I try to plan ahead so I don’t feel rushed. Turns out, there are many habits I could add, change, or eliminate to foster a little more joy and a little more room for Jesus.

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins | Thriller | ★★★★/5
This was a bookclub pick. My favorite mysteries/thrillers are the ones where the people are trapped and cut off from civilization. This one checked that box. It was… interesting, though. The beginning felt forced, the characters hid their crazy a little too well, and the were some plot-holes. But it kept me reading and gave us something to talk about in the zoom call. More likely a 3.5 star rating, but I’m glad I read it.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood | Romance | ★★★★★/5
I’d call this one a slow burn, but I never got bored. SO many people raved about this book & I see why. Olive was cute, Adam was sultry, and their chemistry was 🔥 (pun intended). I prefer my female protagonists a little more confident than Olive, but I know she was a product of a life that kept dealing her blows. Some people complained that Adam was bOrInG, but I like the strong & silent type. And women in STEM are always welcomed.

ERIN’S BOOK CHALLENGE 16.0

| 5 points | Freebie: The Love Hypothesis (Hazelwood)
| 10 points | Title starts with the letter C: Carnegie’s Maid (Benedict)
| 10 points | Published in 2020 or 2021: The Wedding Game (Quinn)
| 15 points | One of the following in the title: you/your/etc.: Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. (Tremaine)
| 20 points | Set on an island: Reckless Girls (Hawkins)
| 20 points | From an indigenous or First Nations author: There There (Orange)
| 25 points | A memoir/biography/autobiography: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman(Massie)
| 30 point | One of these in the title: Ace/King/Queen/Jack/Joker: Queen of the Tearling(Johansen)
| 30 points | Poetry or a book written in verse: The Poet X (Acevedo)
| 35 points | By or inspired by Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Book Club (Fowler)

25 points right now.

What did you read this month?

-Aud

What I Read…

It’s the first Show Us Your Books link-up in the new year! (Lots of love & appreciation to our hosts, Jana and Steph!) I’m currently in the middle of four books right now, but I have two ready to go for today.

I started/finished one last year, then finished the second one in 2022.

The title sends you to GoodReads, the “buy it” goes to an affiliated link on on BookShop!

Off Season by Jennifer Weiner | Horror/Suspense | ★★★/5
This was a strange one… It’s a short story and one that almost reminds you of The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. It was quick and definitely creepy, but it felt like it was missing something. I’m not sure what I was wanting, but it didn’t fully deliver.
highlight for trigger warning: animal violence

A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss | Romance | ★★★★★/5
What a way to kick off the year, right?? There wasn’t anything mind-blowing in this cute little novel, but I didn’t have a single complaint. It was slow and cozy, not too much spicy in the bedroom department (which never bothers me but I know some people dislike that), and the characters were lovely. Honestly, it’s a perfect fall-to-winter read. Apparently I’m a Jenny Bayliss fan!
Buy it!

Moo Reads

The child is o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d. with reading. And no one is mad about it 😊
*titles go to an affiliated link on BookShop!

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle
M has the first page memorized. We love the lights on the last page the most, though!

Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
Again, M has certain parts memorized. We love all the construction sounds in this one.

Home for the Holidays by Sesame Workshop
I wasn’t going to give M this one until next Christmas, but she saw Elmo on it and we’ve read it every single night since. It’s a beautiful book with a bunch of different winter celebrations in it!

I didn’t tackle any books for Erin’s Challenge so I’m not including that this month. I created an account on The Story Graph, though. You can follow me or be my friend here.

What did you read?

-Aud

What I Read… in 2021

Very OK with saying “goodbye” to 2021. Hopefully there’s more health, wealth, and reading in the new year. Honestly, just the first of those three would be fantastic.

Number Of Books You Read: 20
Genre You Read The Most From: Thriller/Mystery

*Last year I read 13 books, so I like the way I’m trending. My GR goal was 15 so I reached that one. Next year we’re upping it to 20.

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2021?

We Are the Brennans [Tracey Lange] & Malibu Rising [Taylor Jenkins Reid]

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You’d Love But Didn’t?

Bringing Down the Duke [Evie Dunmore]

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Great Train Robbery [Michael Crichton] – I thought I’d like it more…

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read?

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina [Zoraida Córdova]

 5. Best series you started/sequel/series ender of 2021?

Finally finished the Cursebreakers Series- A Vow so Bold & Deadly [Briged Kemmerer].

6. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I usually say thrillers are out of my wheelhouse, but I read quite a few this year. I read a nonfiction race/social justice book, though, and that was a first for me: White Fragility [Robin DiAngelo].

 7. Most action-packed/thrilling/un-put-down-able book of the year?

I honestly couldn’t put down We Are the Brennans.

8. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?

Book Cover

9. Most memorable character of 2021?

I find myself thinking about the characters in Malibu Rising fairly often.

 10. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

I really loved reading The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina.

11. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2021?

Definitely No Bad Kids [Janet Lansbury] and One and Only [Lauren Sandler]

12. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?

Off Season [Jennifer Weiner] – 26 pages
A Vow so Bold & Deadly – 408 pages

13. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Marimar & Rey (The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina)

14. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Malibu Rising

15. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Wife Stalker [Liv Constantine]

And now the graphs…

What was your favorite book of 2021?

(Thank you for hosting this link-up, Steph & Jana!!)

-Aud

Book Challenge by Erin 16.0

Sadly, I didn’t finish any books since the last Show Us Your Books link-up. I’ve started three, but I haven’t found the motivations to finish them… I’m going on a little trip this month so maybe I can finish something while I’m on the road. Fingers crossed, anyway.

I don’t have any reviews, but I figured I’d link up with my list for Erin’s 16.0 Book Challenge. I didn’t read a single thing from the last one, but I’m a dreamer dammit. So here I am, linking up with Steph and Jana, sharing some books that I hope to get to in the next five months.

| 5 points | Freebie: The Love Hypothesis (Hazelwood)
| 10 points | Title starts with the letter C: Carnegie’s Maid (Benedict)
| 10 points | Published in 2020 or 2021: The Wedding Game (Quinn)
| 15 points | One of the following in the title: you/your/etc.: Share Your Stuff. I’ll Go First. (Tremaine)
| 20 points | Set on an island: The Unhoneymooners (Lauren)
| 20 points | From an indigenous or First Nations author: There There (Orange)
| 25 points | A memoir/biography/autobiography: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Massie)
| 30 point | One of these in the title: Ace/King/Queen/Jack/Joker: Queen of the Tearling (Johansen)
| 30 points | Poetry or a book written in verse: The Poet X (Acevedo)
| 35 points | By or inspired by Jane Austen: The Jane Austen Book Club (Fowler)

Hopefully next month I have a handful of reviews. As far as today goes, it’s mostly a wishlist.

Have you read any of these? Where should I start?

-Aud

What I Read…

Happy Tuesday & happy belated 7th Anniversary to the Show Us Your Books link-up!

I’m so glad Steph and Jana started this series seven years + 1 month ago. I have found so many wonderful reads thanks to them and the community they’ve cultivated. I missed their anniversary link up, but I still wanted to give them a shoutout!

I hit my GoodRead’s goal of 15 books this year! A small but satisfying achievement. Next year we’re upping it to 20 books.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney | Thriller | ★★★★/5
I chose this as my BOTM pick because nothing else caught my eye. Honestly, it was a left-field choice for me; I’ve mentioned I don’t read a ton of thrillers. I tend to try to figure out the twists the entire time I’m reading- I never just enjoy the ride. In this one, I DID figure it out early on, but kept reading because a) I was sucked in and b) I wanted to see if I was right. The characters were shady (but not unreliable) and the setting was spooky, so it had all the components of a good thriller IMO. It was a solid 3.5 star read for me, but I round up.

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena | Thriller | ★★★★★/5
There was nothing mind-blowing about this one to make it 5 stars, but I also had 0 problems with it, flew through it, and enjoyed the ride. So… I had no reason not to give it top marks. No one was likable- especially the dad. You were a little glad that the dead people were dead. And you also wished some of the non-dead people were dead. LOL. *Fun fact- I am Audrey and I also have a brother named Fred. He’s not a dick like the Fred in the book, though.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling | Romance | ★★★★/5
I found this one as cute as nearly everyone said it was. Based on the description, I was a little worried it’d just be a comedy of errors with nothing going right for the pair. I’m glad I was wrong. I liked Rhys, loved Vivi, and adored her little family and town. I could’ve used more backstory on some of the people/situations, but it was a solid little Halloween romance.

As M grows and cultivates her personality, I’ve started reading parenting books on behavior, discipline, and happiness. I take all parenting books with a massive grain of salt.

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury | Parenting | ★★★/5
All parenting books should be taken with a grain of salt… and the understanding that every kid is different and will react differently. There were things in this book that I found very valuable: remaining calm when your child is not, talking to your kid like they’re a real human, allowing them the big emotions with the safe boundaries. But then there was stuff that made me go “Ehhhh”, too. I’m interested in listening to her podcast, though.

Moo Reads

A Mischief of Monsters by Roger Priddy
This one is a new fav in our household. Lots of sounds and colors. M LOVES it.

I meant to have more M reads, but time got away from me. She’s been a reading machine lately, so I’m sure this category will get bigger soon!

What did you read this past month?

-Aud