Books I Read This Week 2020 – 30

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Clap When you Land (4 stars): I love Acevedo’s books. I’ve loved The Poet X and With the Fire on High. And I loved Clap When You Land. I love the rhythm of her books. I love her characters. I love the way her books make me feel. This is a very short book and Acevedo has a section at the end where she explains how she got inspired to write this story. Enjoyed my time with this one.


A Beautifully Foolish Endevour (3.5 stars): Sometimes you read a book at the wrong time for you. I think this was my issue with this book. I loved Green’s first book and really enjoyed the story and the writing. I was very much looking forward to the sequel. Even though I know he didn’t write it during 2020, this book is such a relevant book for 2020. The desire to escape and belong to a virtual reality is just so palpable this year when the real world is unfriendly to human activity.

And yet.

I felt like this book was too much, there were too many things crammed into it. There were too many POVs and not enough depth in any part cause there was just so so much going on. The social commentary was fantastic and I think there could have been two other books here instead of the one dense and shallow one.

Still love Hank Green and will continue to read anything he writes.


The Book of Hidden Wonders (4 stars): “In each room the crying sounded different. In the drawing room there were huge, racking sobs; in the bathroom quiet little whimpers.”

This is the story of Romily who lives in a ramshackle mansion in the English countryside with her artist father who writes picture books about Romily and her cat. These books a wildly popular and there’s a story that they contain a treasure hunt.

The book is a coming-of-age story for Romily as people looking for the treasure wander in the vicinity of her life, as her mother who abandoned her comes in and our of her life, as she befriends a local girl.

As the years pass, and Romily finally uncovers the treasure, she is left to pickup the pieces of her life.

Even though the book is quite sad, I really enjoyed my time with it. I loved the visual elements and each of the characters were unique and interesting. I wish I knew more about the dad. Some really really beautiful writing and imagery in this story.

with gratitude to netgalley and harlequin publishing – Park Row for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Reading People (4 stars): I have become obsessed with Personality Assessments a bit this summer so this was the perfect complimentary book for me. It is, in fact, the only book that has finally made me understand Myers Briggs enough to make my peace with it. I enjoyed Bogel’s writing very much. It’s the perfect combination of background history, information, and personal story. If personality tests interest you, too, you will love this book.


The Switch (4 stars): I read and loved Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare last year, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this story.

This is the story of Leena and her grandmother Eileen. Leena is deeply burned out and is required to take two-months off work when she blows a major presentation and Eileen is newly single and looking for both some fun and companionship in her life.

To help each other, they decide to switch homes for a while so Eileen can live in the bustling, urban London and Leena can relax in the quiet life of Eileen’s little neighborhood.

What I loved most about this book is how lovely both of the women were and how they each found ways to bloom where they were. Even though things don’t go as planned, of course, and they learn so much about themselves and what they really want, of course. And they get to see that the people they think they understood, maybe they didn’t understand as well as they thought. Even with all that, most of the moments of this story and happy, hopeful, and show you how strong both Eileen and Leena are.

How they have each other and other community to help and support them. And how they show up for the people around them, too. O’Leary knows how to create characters that stay with you.

This lovely book was made only more lovely by the narration of Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones who play their parts beautifully and really make these characters come alive.

with gratitude to netgalley and Macmillan Audio for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


His & Hers (4 stars): Holy Wow!

I’ve never heard of or read any books by Alice Feeney before but the premise of this book sounded interesting to me so I decided I wanted to give it a try. It’s about a journalist, Anna, who goes back to her hometown to report about a murder. And Detective Jack who is also trying to uncover the truth while he’s embroiled in it himself.

This is a fast paced novel where the chapters alternate between him and her and the whole time you’re trying to figure out what’s going on and who did it. I am not usually a fan of twists or weird ways the author tries to manipulate the plot in books like these to make it hard to guess.

But in this case, Feeney managed to keep me interested and surprised without making me frustrated. She does an absolutely excellent job of keeping the reader on his/her toes. If you like fast-paced mysteries, you will love this one.

If audiobooks are your genre, this one is narrated by two actors: Richard Armitage & Stephanie Racine, which makes the audio quality excellent.

With gratitude to netgalley and Macmillan Audio for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Nothing Man (3.5 stars): The premise of this book was absolutely fascinating to me. The chapters alternate between a book (within the book) where the author’s writing about a serial killer who’s murdered all of her family and others. The serial killer himself finds the book at a store and starts reading it so the alternating chapters are told by him as he reads this book and reacts to what he’s reading.

This book was great at first and great at the end with a bit of a slump in the middle, for me. As the details of the serial killer and the ways in which he killed all of his victims kept coming, I was pretty ready to put the book down but, of course, I kept wanting to see what was going to happen.

And I am glad I stuck with it. There were some twists I didn’t see coming and other twists I did see coming. The whole book came together really well in the end.

I read an audio version of this book narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and John Keating and the two different voices really helped make the story more real.

with gratitude to netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 29

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Frends and Strangers (3 stars): Usually, I tend to love books where “nothing happens.” That generally means the book is focused on characters and that I get to see them and dive deeply to the characters’ experiences, thinking and choices and see their growth. In this story, even though “nothing happens” I didn’t feel the kind of depth I wish were there instead. I didn’t dislike the book but I also didn’t love it.


What’s Your Enneatype? (5 stars): I have never been a fan of the enneagram (or other tests TBH) but for some reason I really wanted to read this book so in preparation for it, I took 6 tests online just to see how consistent they would be, and of course, they disagreed with each other. But through the process, I found a number that I thought might be the most likely fit for me.

Thanks to this lovely and beautifully designed book, I was able to dig a bit deeper and the more i read, the most it resonated with me. I have since read several other books and have now become slightly obsessed with enneagram (like so many seem to be.)

This book is not a fully standalone book. It doesn’t have a test (but you can easily find several online for free.) and it doesn’t go into pages and pages and pages of depth for each number but it does have a lot of the basic and layered information for each number. So if you’re like me and wanted to take the plunge but didn’t think you could ever really find your number, this might be a good fit for you, too. And if you know your number and appreciate well-designed books, you will love this, too.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Kawaii Doodle World (4 stars): I got this book so that I could do some of these lovely drawings with my little one. The characters and decorations are really fun and the author does a wonderful job of both breaking them down and building them up so you can see how to make really simple drawings and then how to use those skills to create more complex scenes. It’s the perfect starter book if you or your kids are interested in drawing these cute doodly characters.

with gratitude to Quarto Publishing Group and netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Ordinary Hazards (3.5 stars): “It occurs to me that the expression ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ carries with it a false idea of forward progress.”

This book was hard for me to connect with it. At its core, this is a story about grief. Most of the story takes place at a bar, where the main character goes back and forth between being in the present day and recounting what’s going on in the bar and unwinds her story to tell us what happened until now.

The grief this character is feeling is so deep that there’s disconnection and numbing which made it very hard for me to connect with the character. If she’s not feeling her feelings, it’s really hard for me to feel them. I have to imagine them.

While I totally understand that this is an absolutely valid reaction to grief, I feel my feelings so much and so deeply that it was really hard for me to sit with this character with all that’s going on both in the past and the present and not be longing for more. I wanted to dig deeper. Deeper into her and her husband too (whom we get to know so little of really.)

I think while the story might be similar to some of Celeste Ng’s work, the feeling of this book definitely resonated more with the Claire Messud comparison for me. That empty feeling is so hard for me to reckon and connect with.

With gratitude to netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Dilemma (2 stars): I grabbed this because I wanted to continue to read something easy and fun and fast moving. I liked “The Breakdown” and thought it was really fast moving. Alas this one is wildly different. No major twists, no major revelations, just a husband and wife musing and worried about two different and major things, never talking to each other and then then when they do, they do, and nothing really happens. Very much unlike The Breakdown.


Know My Name (5 stars): I put off reading this book for quite some time. I live a handful of streets from Stanford and had, of course, heard of Chanel Miller’s story. I knew this book would completely break my heart and make me angry and sad. I didn’t know it would also make me hopeful. Chanel’s bravery and willingness to speak up didn’t result in a positive outcome for her but it did cause some tangible change for those who will come after her (because unfortunately there will always be more.) There are new laws now because of her. The judge is now gone because of her. These are permanent changes as a result of her willingness to speak up, her willingness to endure the pain and incredibly long journey of standing up for herself in court. I am so sorry for all she’s endured and so grateful for victims who’re willing to speak up and help the world become a juster place for everyone else in the process.


Self Care (3 stars): I am of two minds on this one. I liked both the punchy and seamless incorporation of jabbing fun at the wellness industry and social media. I liked the references dropped all over the book that make you smile (or chuckle) with knowing. It was laugh out loud funny at parts.

And yet, the characters were so one-dimensional and there were some dark issues that the book explores (especially towards the end) that just didn’t fit properly into this sarcastic and funny novel especially because they were not treated with the gravitas they deserve.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 28

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Party of Two (3.5 stars): I can’t help myself. I love Guillory’s books. I love her characters, I love the snippy dialogue, I love how both strong and human they are. Her women characters are always awesome and have strong friendships, solid jobs and skills, and self-confidence without being full of themselves with a mix of healthy vulnerability. For as long as she keeps writing, I will keep reading.


Follow Me (3 stars): I kept putting this book off every time it became available at the library. Just couldn’t get myself to read it. But this weekend I finally felt like maybe it will do the trick. And it did. It was relatively fast paced, kept my attention throughout and I wasn’t expecting much so it delivered what I needed. I already read too many books on the harmfulness of social media so, to me, the overall message was meh.


Happy & You Know It (3.5 stars): This was another fast paced quick read that had a lot of the same topics I’ve read lately. Mommy bloggers, how social media is not good, rich mommies have nothing to do with their time, etc etc. But it was funny, kept me interested and had several surprises that I didn’t anticipate so it was a win in my book 🙂


142 Ostriches (3.5 stars): I had never heard of this book. I randomly borrowed it from the library because it looked fun. And it was a great story even if it wasn’t “fun.” This is the story of Tallulah who lives on her grandmother’s ostrich farm and her grandmother dies and leaves the farm to her. She doesn’t want to keep it. The book is about identity, parenthood, family, relationships and reckoning with all the familial dysfunction. I really enjoyed my time with it.


I Was Told It Would Get Easier (3.5 stars): Abbi Waxman has some funny one liners in this book. She also has some lines that really were too flippant for me. This is the story of a mom and a daughter on a college tour. The mom and the daughter alternate chapters so you can get to know both of them. The daughter’s chapters really did sound like a young adult so I think she did a good job there. The story was funny and had some clever bits. I doubt it will stay with me but I enjoyed the time I spent with it.


The Other Mrs. (3 stars): If twisty, creepy mystery books are your thing, you will like this offering from Kubica. I find that I enjoy these when I am in the mood for them. There were definitely a handful of twists in this one that I couldn’t guess in advance and I enjoyed the time I spent with it.


The Swap (1 star): I absolutely hated this book. Hated it. I hated the characters so much. I hated every single one of them and I hated the story. I kept waiting for it to redeem itself but it never did. I was so consumed by how much I disliked it that I almost want to give it a higher rating for its ability to elicit such a strong reaction from me. If you read the other reviews, you’ll see that many people liked this book. So you have to ignore my review for this one since I am such an outlier. I clearly should have just DNF’ed it.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 27

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Exciting Times (2 stars): I know Sally Rooney endorsed this novel and it’s supposed to be similar but, for me, it was nothing like it at all. The main character in this story has an apathy throughout, an attitude that just stopped me from feeling anything for her at all so she came off as full of herself and navel gazing to me. Not a great fit for me.


The Motion of the Body Through Space (3.5 stars): I’ve had a mixed relationship with Lionel Shriver’s books. Her biting sense of humor usually comes off like she is condescending to me and I can’t connect wth her characters. But I was curious about this topic and I am younger than the couple in this book but my husband has recently gotten obsessed with rock climbing so I wanted to see if i would enjoy it. Each of the characters in this story is dislikeable in their own ways and yet I felt for them (most of them, never felt anything but disdain for Bambi) and found myself engaged the whole time.


The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season (3.5 stars): This book was exactly what i thought it was going to be. A sweet story of complex, broken individuals who come together and take care of each other. I’ve read many books like this and they are like a cozy blanket on a cool summer night. Don’t you love the cover? Doesn’t it make you want to curl up with this book? It delivers perfectly on that promise.


Parakeet (2 stars): This is another darkly comic book that I should not have picked up. The reviews are raving. You might love it. For me, it was too absurd and I just could not connect to the main character ever. I did love the sibling and the very best part of the book, for me, was the sibling relationship. There were too many other things I really disliked however and it just didn’t come together for me.


This is How I Lied (4 stars): I had never heard of this author or this book. When I saw it available in the library, I randomly checked it out. And I am so glad I did. This story of Eve’s death was gripping with plenty of interesting characters, a gripping pace, and a satisfying ending. I am not a fan of unreliable narrators or dislikeable main characters or twists for twist’s sake. This book has some of each of them but not enough to ruin it for me. I loved it.


500 Miles from You (3 stars): Even though I enjoyed this story, I never connected with it as much as I did with Bookshop on the Shore. I didn’t connect with either of the characters enough. I did love the small town and I loved several of the characters in the story. Just didn’t love this one.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 26

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Library of the Unwritten (3 stars): I checked out and returned this book tens of times. I finally decided yesterday was the day to read it and it turns out I was wrong. While it started strong, it would not hold my interest and by the end, I was dragging my way through the story. On another day, in another mood, I might have loved it but yesterday apparently was not the day. If it was 2/3rds as long I think the story would have been tighter and considerably more interesting to me. I loved the premise of this book and loved the creativity behind it.


The Guest List (4 stars): Read this one in one sitting. I am not sure I am a big fan of the moving forward and backward in time thing so many authors like to do lately. Clearly something terrible will happen or this would not be a story. And i get that it’s there to keep me interested and keep my pulse going but, for me, it pulls me out of the story. Other than that, I really enjoyed my time with this story. I loved all the different twists that were believable and yet unexpected. I couldn’t stop reading.


The Second Home (4 stars): This story was exactly what i thought it was going to be: a layered story about family and the complexities of growing up. It was interesting how many times the parents were lauded to be the “perfect” parents and yet the kids each turned out to be broken in different ways. There are some really serious topics explored in this story so it’s not “light” reading in my opinion but it’s one of those books that I enjoyed reading. I’ve never been to Cape Cod but I loved the way the book brought it to life.


A Burning (4 stars): This was a provocative read covering topics around social media, politics, fame, government and how fairness/truth can in fact be subjective and of course distorted. How everyone has their own story and is always optimizing on their own needs. How people might be willing to help but not if it means true self sacrifice. I know this was in India but the topics explored and statements the author is making are definitely not unique to india.


Sad Janet (2 stars): One of the reviews I read called this a “cynical, misanthropic read” and I think that’s exactly why I didn’t like it. I don’t disagree with the sentiment that we do overmedicate people today. But I also don’t believe that medication is inherently evil. It’s a complex and layered issue. I don’t enjoy cynicism so there’s also that.


With or Without You (4 stars): “Did he really believe that you could shuffle the past and the present like a deck of cards, and everything would be okay again?”

For some reason, it took me forever to start this book. I had this idea that it would be really depressing and I was going to have a tough time getting through it.

But I was completely wrong.

The story takes a little bit of time to take off. Stella and Simon’s “before” life wasn’t that interesting to me. So by the time she falls into the coma, I still wasn’t really attached to them as characters. And I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go. I thought maybe it would be one of those stories where selfish man turns hero.

But this story isn”t as simple as that. It has layers and the characters make choices and there are consequences to the choices. Every one of the characters in this story is real, flawed, and grows in their own ways. This book is about relationships, about finding one’s self, about recovery, lost dreams, friendship, and so much more.

This is sad, astonishing, intense and realistic story about life, death, choices we made, opportunities, paths we get to shape up our lives! This is about heartbreak, loneliness, self-discovery, insecurities, love, trust, friendship!

It has unexpected turns and I found very little of it predictable. The characters managed to surprise me and each of them grew in their own ways. By the end of the book, I was rooting for every single one.

with gratitude to netgalley, edelweiss and Algonquin Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 25

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Feel Good Effect (5 stars): “You have only one life, it is only so long. I hope you’ll spend it feeling good.”

Sometimes a book comes at just the right time and is exactly what you need to hear.

I don’t know Robyn and do not listen to her podcasts (I clearly should!) I took an online class with her and Ali Edwards. And while the class was good, I took it at a time when it didn’t resonate with me as much as I wish it had. So I am not sure what drew me to this book. But I opened it up on Saturday morning just to read a few words and I ended up not moving from my chair until I’d finished it.

Robyn’s voice and her ability to break down concepts resonated 100% with me. This book is chock-full of information but it’s explained in an incredibly accessible way. The book has three parts: mindset, method, and life. Mindset is about ways of thinking and why it’s crucial to reframe your mindset where she explains the Feel Good Mindset. Method is where she talks about the four strategies and habits that help you get lasting results. And finally Life is where you take action and incorporate it all into your life.

For me, this book was like a good friend who is also very smart and kind explaining to me why all the ways in which my striving and my all-or-nothing thinking are not here to serve me in creating change in a lasting way. Robyn explains a lot of what I knew in a practical, consumable way and the best thing about this book is that it makes sense at my core and it gives me small, tangible ways to work towards a way to practice having the kind of life I want for myself.

Robyn’s book really resonated with me and satisfice might become one of my new favorite words.

with gratitude to netgalley and Crown Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review


Your Year in Art (4 stars): I am a big fan of doing something regularly and creating a routine and habit around it. The hardest part of doing something daily/weekly is generating ideas. Coming up with a list of 52 things to do so you can keep learning, expanding and exploring takes time and energy that could otherwise be going into creating.

This book can help with exactly that. The colorful, beautiful, and inspiring drawings in this book come with a different focus/challenge each week, keeping you learning and exploring. Each week is fun in its own way and the variety and depth here is sure to keep you going. The ideas are simple but the art can apply to everyone from a beginner to an advanced artist.

with gratitude to netgalley and Walter Foster Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Anxious People (5 stars): “All we’ve managed to find out about the boundaries of the universe is that it hasn’t got any,”

Backman really knows how to write. He has a particular style and it might not resonate with you but his books have so much heart that it’s not possible to not love his people by the time you finish his books.

This book is no exception.

This is the story of a bank robber who ends up having to run away from the robbery and ends up taking a bunch of people at an open house hostage. Backman tells you that part from the very beginning.

As it seems common in his books, the characters don’t seem all that lovable on the surface. Some are downright annoying. And yet, as he often does, he slowly unwinds the story to show you how we are all connected to each other with invisible strings that tie together all of humanity. How we are each only a handful of steps removed from each others’ lives.

How each of us is struggling and striving to make a life for ourselves in different ways and coping with loss, grief, fear and anxiety.

“But she found ways to cope, to tunnel her way out of herself, to climb down. Some people accept that they will never be free of their anxiety, they just learn to carry it. She tried to be one of them.”

As is always the case, you can’t help but fall in love with each of his characters and they, of course, fall in love with each other too. Each other’s humanity. Each other’s frailty. Each other’s flaws. They see the beauty of each other and help each other. And in return they end up less alone, and more healed.

As if all that wouldn’t be enough, the writing in the book is also so beautiful:
“the sky doesn’t seem to bother even attempting to impress us, it greets us with the color of newspaper in a puddle, and dawn leaves behind it a fog as if someone has been setting fire to ghosts.”

And here’s the other magical thing about Backman: he leaves no loose ends. Everything ties up in this book, even the things you didn’t remember, he does. Everything comes full circle. There are surprises, sadness, happiness and of course hope. So much hope.

I cried big, fat tears as I finished this one. I am so so grateful I got to read it, especially in the middle of all that is going on in the world right now, I needed a book with this much hope and heart in my life. Thank you, Frederik Backman.

with gratitude to netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review


The Science of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion (5 stars): You can never go wrong with a Kristin Neff’s work. She is phenomenal. This SoundsTrue audio class was no exception. I wish she had more publicly accessible work. Like Brene Brown and Tara Brach and Kelly McGonigal, Kristin Neff’s work speaks to me and I have to revisit it regularly to train my mind and unlearn+relearn.


Stray (4 stars): This was an honest, raw memoir about Danler and her upbringing, the poor choices she’s made along the way in her life and how she is reckoning with all of it. It isn’t trying to paint a pretty picture of anyone (including herself) and it isn’t drawing out life’s lessons for the reader, it’s not a redemption story either. I think books this honest and real (and yet not melodramatic) are rare.


Little Eyes (3 stars): I read this because one of my friends really loved it. I didn’t know what to expect and hadn’t read any of the blurbs. It was somewhat hard to follow on audio. While I enjoyed parts of it, I could never fully get into it and I felt the author was trying to make too many points at once. Didn’t love it but I did enjoy how weird and unusual the plot was and I did enjoy the exploration of both the up and down sides of such creepy/unusual technology.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 24

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


A Good Marriage (3.5 stars): If you’re in the mood for a mystery, you will enjoy this one. For me, it was a good mix of fast pace, character development, plot twists, and an overall good story. I really enjoyed it. For me, it had the right mix of fast and slow, plot twisty and character-driven.


The Knockout Queen (4 stars): This was an unexpected novel. It’s not sweet and fluffy the way the cover or title might imply. This is about two teenagers growing up though difficult family and personal situations and being bullied at school. The writing is honest and brutal. I felt the gamut of feelings reading this, laughing out loud, crying, cringing, angry and everything in between. Life is so complicated and tough and people can be so cruel and this book doesn’t spare us much. It’s a controversial book and some loved it and some hated it. I was completely surprised by it and find myself still thinking about it two days (and two books) later.


Something to Talk About (3 stars): I really enjoyed this sweet story. The whole story is about the build up so not the one for steamy scenes but i really enjoyed all my time with it.


The Vanishing Half (4 stars): “There were many ways to be alienated from someone, few to actually belong.” I was really looking forward to this story and it did not disappoint. Brit Bennett is such a fantastic writer, she has an excellent way with words. This story about roots, racism, family, identity and motherhood was really layered. I really enjoyed not just Desiree and Stella and how we got to know so much more about them but I found myself more fascinated with Jude and Kennedy and how their sense of identity and belonging changed because of the choices their parents made. Britt Bennett is a fantastic writer and after two great books, I cannot wait to read more from her.


Learn to Paint in Acrylics (4 stars): One of the best ways to learn to do something is to do it regularly. To create a routine around it. This book is a fantastic way to do that. It has all that you need to know to get started. It explains paint, brushes, surfaces, basic color theory and design principles. And then there are 50 paintings. You could do one a day, one a week, or even one a month. They are each simple and yet look great. I especially loved the chess piece, the wrapped candy, and the pretzel. These are simple and fun and great way to start your journey into acrylic.

with gratitude to netgalley and Quarry Books for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Colorful Fun Embroidery (3 stars): This book has really cute and lovely projects and there is a full range from quick ones to more complicated ones. The best part of these is that you don’t have to go and learn different stitches, you can jump in and do many of these with just the basic stitch. The projects are all colorful and very fun. I did wish there was a bit more variety in the projects, almost all of them are script-focused so if that’s not your thing, there aren’t many for you. My very favorite one was a simple rainbow pendant. If you’ve wanted to embroider but weren’t sure where to start, this is an excellent book to grab.

with gratitude to netgalley and Pen & Sword for an early copy in return for an honest review


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 23

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Love Poems for Anxious People (4 stars): If you haven’t read the poems in these sweet, delightful series, I highly recommend them. As an anxious person, I was definitely looking forward to this one and, like the others, it did not disappoint.


The Bookshop on the Shore (3 stars): This was a sweet book about what it means to be family, the secrets we all keep, community/belonging and taking chances. Jenny Colgan is a great storyteller and I enjoyed the time I spent with it.


The Kingdom of Back (3 stars): What an unusual story for Marie Lu. I’ve read several of her other books but none had the blend of history and magical realism this one has. I really liked listening to story but I felt like I couldn’t feel any empathy for Nannerl, I had a lot of sympathy but no empathy so it made it harder for me to connect with the story. Still enjoyed it.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 22

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Secrets of Love Story Bridge (3 stars): this was a quick, sweet read. If you’ve read Phaedra Patrick before and liked it, you will enjoy this one, too. It’s a sweet story of loss, learning to trust, family, and secrets.


Beach Read (4 stars): If you’re looking for a fun, sweet, funny read while stuck at home, this is one to put on your list. I am sure it was meant to be read on the beach but alas, this year, we’re going to have to read at home. It’s light and sweet and delightful.


The Silence (3 stars): this was an interesting read. For fans of Jane Harper, this has the same suffocating atmosphere in Australia that she often captures well. There’s a mystery, family drama, some historical components and the atmosphere is definitely a part of the story. A few twists but well-timed. I did like this story even though it was a bit too suffocating in the time of a pandemic.


The Eighth Detective (4 stars): “Yes,” said Grant. “And that’s what differentiates a murder mystery from any other story with a surprise at the end. The possibilities are presented to the reader up front. The ending just comes back and points to one of them.”

I have so many mixed feelings about this book.

The structure of this book is interesting. It’s basically about an editor who visits a mathematician at a remote island because she wants to publish his collection of short stories. The stories are each about a murder mystery and the chapters of this book alternate between the short story from the manuscript and the two characters discussing each story.

Here’s what didn’t work for me: there is very very little discussed about each of the two characters. I understand there are reasons for that but I tend to read books for their characters so this was exceptionally hard for me. The short stories themselves weren’t all that well-written in my opinion and since they have to be pretty short (so we can have so many of them) they are not all that engaging. For me, there were parts that really felt like a chore to read.

But then if you’re patient enough to make it to the end, there are twists upon twists and some clever reveals. You end the novel with quite the smile on how clever it was being. But you only get the reward if you’re patient enough.

With gratitude to netgalley and Henry Holt & Company for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Family Next Door (3 stars): It took me a while to get into this book. For the longest time I couldn’t keep track of the characters who all seemed the same and i had no idea where it was going. I kept wondering if i should put it down. But then I kept reading, and it got interesting. This is about a neighborhood where most of the families are having troubles of their own, secrets they are keeping. Some of them intertwine and others don’t. It’s a reminder that things are never what they seem.


A Bad Day for Sunshine (4 stars): I have never heard of this author. I have never read any of her books. Not sure what made me pick this one up, maybe the cover? I am so so glad I did. It was funny, quirky, sweet, and a joy to read. Some mystery, some romance, some just laugh out loud funny.


You Deserve Each Other (4 stars): I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read another romance this week. I’ve read several in the last few weeks and I usually can only handle 1-2 after I need to switch but most of the other novels feel heavy and too much right now while my brain is tired. So i picked it up and started laughing pretty quickly. Yes it’s another cute romance. And it was fun.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 21

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Yes to Life (4 stars): I love Viktor Frankl’s writing. I love the way he thinks, I love the way he can break things down to their essential parts and help me remember what’s at the crux of my life. He’s one of the handful of names that’s on my list to read relatively regularly so I can continue to have perspective.


The Imperfects (4 stars): I really enjoyed my time with this family story. It has all the elements of a family saga, historical fiction as well as a little mystery. I liked the characters and the story moves slowly but managed to hold my interest the whole way. It has a lot of characters which are sometimes hard to keep track of. It also has a handful of twists along the way. But at its heart this is a story about family.


Writers & Lovers (3.5 stars): This story was interesting in parts, well written and thought provoking but then it also was navel gazing at parts. The writing was so strong that you could feel the anxiety of the main character through the book itself. The grief of losing her mother. The uncertainty of life. A writer writing about a writer is always interesting to read and this well-written book was no exception.


Pew (4 stars): “Since I had woken up on that pew, the meals had been endless and I wishes I could have reaced back and given one of them to those days of hunger in the past, or that I could have moved this plate to a place – there must have been such a place where someone else was hungry.”

This was such an interesting and unusual book. The main character is a person who wakes up in the pew of a church one morning and one of the church members takes the person into their home. We don’t know the gender or the race of the person as each of the characters in the book tries to figure it out desperately. They name the person Pew for where the person was found because Pew won’t talk to anyone and won’t tell them anything.

The writer does an excellent job of showing how the discomfort of being in the presence of someone who doesn’t talk can overtake other people with their need to fill the void. I also liked the Shirley Jackson-esque Festival towards the end. The unsettling, eerie tone accompanies the whole novel and crescendos in the release that is the festival.

No revelations, no twists, no surprises, this is merely a thought-provoking well-written novel.

Thank you to netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.


Big Summer (3 stars): I have mixed feelings about this story. Jennifer Weiner usually writes about friendship and her stories are often deeper than they look like they would be and there’s often some element of someone with a weight issue. All of those elements exist in this story, too. There’s also some unexpected mystery which I found to be weird and odd and out of character. I didn’t dislike it but it detracted from the story, in my opinion and took away from the depth usually present in her stories. Still enjoyed my time with it.


American Dirt (3 stars): I kept putting off reading this book because there was so much controversy over it and I didn’t want to promote or encourage false representation. I finally read it for my book club and maybe because I’d already heard so much about it, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 20

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


The Sight of You (4 stars): “I know Tamsin’s world is one of optimism. Of straight, sunlit paths; of long, sweeping bends. She refuses to believe in cliff edges and dead ends, darkened corners.”

Oh man, this book wrecked me.

This is a lovely story about what we do for those we love, how hard it is to live under the pressure of choices that are hard on both sides. The ways in which we make our lives so much harder than they have to be and the things we do in order to protect people.

In the end, this is a sweet story about love. It almost felt like Four Weddings and a Funeral in the way the story is written, sweet friends, close families, lots of baggage but also lots of love. Lots of real life moments.

It’s sweet and will touch your soul leave you a little broken and a little hopeful at the same time.

thank you edelweiss and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Girl Gone Viral (3.5 stars): Another lovely story from Alisha Rai. I have come to really enjoy this writer. If light romance is your genre, you will love her books as they are full of diverse characters with interesting backgrounds and depth of character. These books are fun to read.


Dear Emmie Blue (4 stars): “Here, I am looked after. And maybe that is why it feels more like home than anywhere else has ever felt. Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being looked after and understood. Of being loved.”

This book looks like it’s a lighthearted romance on the surface of it all. A serendipitous moment that connects three people for life. And it is a romance. And it has lighthearted moments.

But it has serious moments, too. It hints at the seriousness of life and how our lives are full of good and terrible moments. How things that happen to us can change the course of our lives. How secrets and misunderstandings can live forever feeding the stories we make up about how things are.

‘Eliot laughs, rubs the stubble on his chin with his hand. “Um, no. Definitely not,” he says, his smile lopsided. “It’s all just—life, isn’t it? Disordered and chaotic and out-of-nowhere, and we have to plan and navigate our way around it the best we can.”’

I will say that I guessed the ending of this story long before it came. I was still happy to read it all the way through. I still fell in love with the characters and I loved every minute I spent with this story.

with gratitude to netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Grin and Beard It (3.5 stars): Another lovely one from the Winston Brothers. I really enjoy these books. The character development, the funny quips, clever lines, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Can’t wait to read more of the series.


All Adults Here (4 stars): I know this story got mixed reviews and I know many people said that the author put the kitchen sink and all of today’s issues into one book. But I didn’t feel that way at all. I loved every minute I spent with this story and I didn’t want it to end for a moment. I loved the realness of the story. The way it’s hard to communicate. How hard it is to be a mother and to try so hard to do right by your kids. To mess up anyway. I didn’t relate to any of the characters and yet I related to all of it so much.


How to Save a Life (4 stars): This is the story of Dom who reconnects with his ex-fiancee after ten years. And on the night of their first date, after they reconnect, she passes away in a terrible accident. The next morning, Dom wakes up to find he is re-living the day and tries to do things differently but alas is met with another tragic ending. Dom tries again and again, desperately hoping to save the love of his life.

I requested this story because Lauren Oliver’s “Before I Fall” is one of my favorite books. And this is practically the same premise. This story didn’t connect with me as powerfully as Oliver’s mostly because her book is about high school and it was so resonant for me personally.

This story had a lot of touching moments and surprises. Even though I guessed the ending well before the end, I still felt attached to the characters. In fact, I wanted to know more. In a story like this, the plot makes it hard to do a lot of character development since the events of a day you relive are reasonably restricted. I still really enjoyed my time with this one and recommend it if the premise is as intriguing to you as it was to me.

with gratitude to netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Books I Read This Week 2020 – 19

Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I also have an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.


Sorry for your Trouble (4 stars): “We were transients. We were sheltered and stubborn in our view of life. But had we been able to stand outside of our circumstances we’d have known who we were and had become. Such changes are not easy to evaluate when they’re occurring.”

This was my first Richard Ford collection. There are a collection of nine stories in this book, two of which are novella-sized. The stories take place in Maine, New Orleans, and Ireland. Richard Ford’s characters are real, his writing is beautiful and his words are crafted in such a way that makes you stop in your tracks and makes you want to slow down and savor every word.

The characters in this novel aren’t an enviable lot. There’s so much apathy on the surface of these stories. So many different situations that would easily be full of melodrama in other novels but here they are quiet, almost uncaring in the midst of so much tension.

I am not usually a fan of short stories, I have a hard time getting attached to the characters in so many words. And yet, so many of these characters have stayed with me. But, of course, none of them can compete with the exquisite language in this book.

With gratitude to netgalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Happy Ever After Playlist (3 stars): This was a sweet, cute novel. The beginning felt a lot stronger, to me, than the middle/end. Especially the dialogue as they were flirting with each other. Light, sweet and easy to enjoy.


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires (3.5 stars): I am not even sure why I read this book. Vampires and horror are not the genre that speaks to me and nor do I like campy or ironic or black humor. But I read so many good reviews that I felt compelled to give this a try. And it was quite well done. Especially the beginning was very strong. I felt like the middle and end started to fall apart a tiny bit but it did finish strong and, much to my surprise, I liked it quite a bit.


The Other People (4 stars): I read this book in one sitting. If mystery is your genre and you’re not just into the twisty, unreliable narrator thing (which i definitely am not) you will like this high quality, well written mystery. I read one more book in a very similar theme this year but this one was well done and the creepiness factor was just right.


If I Had Your Face (4 stars): I went into this story knowing nothing about it and read the whole book in one sitting. Even though I don’t disagree with the reviews that desired more depth and felt like each of the characters could have had a novel of their own, I still loved the story. I felt fascinated and sad and horrified in different parts and found myself wanting to know more and more, which to me, is a good sign for a book. While it felt short, it didn’t feel shallow or flimsy, to me.


The Margot Affair (4 stars): “You think I’m a bad person, don’t you? Why are you always worried about being good or bad? Who taught you that? It’s a way of deferring responsibility for your actions.”

This book is the story of Margot, who is the high school daughter of a somewhat famous actor, Anouk. Her dad is a local politician but he’s also married to someone else and Anouk is his long-time lover. The story starts as a story about this family and Margot navigating her life in this more unusual set up.

“At Juliette’s, it felt as though my lungs were filled with more air, and the heaviness in my limbs would evaporate until I grew light enough to hover right above the ground, able to breathe at last.”

Craving a different relationship both with her mom and her dad, for different reasons. Fascinated by the world. Going through fleeting moments of overconfidence and neediness as many teenagers tend to do. Leading up to her betrayal and the aftermath, I really enjoyed this part of the story.

“Sadness is a fleeting emotion, Anouk said, just as happiness is.”

The second part of the story is mostly about Margot and an older couple she befriends and dives into female relationships a little bit but most of the characters in the story are only visible to the reader through Margot’s eyes and her feelings and thoughts. I enjoyed the limited view this posed even where it was clear we were getting a filtered view of things.

“My role isn’t to explain everything to you. I can’t explain your father to you, and you can’t understand what it was like. A marriage is a closed world. Anyone who thinks they can explain it to an outsider is a fool.”

There’s so little that really happens in this story. It’s mostly a character study, which is my favorite kind of novel especially when the writing is as visual and expressive as it is here. Even though it’s not an uplifting story, I don’t think it was depressing either. It felt like a slice of life, with some ups and some downs. As most of life is.

“What happened to daughters like us? Would we flee our families, wanting to be far away, wishing to carve out a life that was ours alone, far removed from where we came from? Or were we always destined to return? I wanted to absorb her into myself so I was never alone. I wasn’t afraid.”

I really enjoyed my time with this book. I savored the writing and the characters. It definitely felt French, to me, but the themes, of course are so eternal: marriage, motherhood, belonging, secrecy and friendship. The stuff of life.

with gratitude to netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


And there we go, grateful to be reading.


Books I Read this Week 2020 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2020 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.