Books I Read This Week 2020 – 36

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.


How Lulu Lost Her Mind (2.5 stars): I started and stopped this book several times. It might be more to do with the audiobook, which I thought wasn’t great. This is the story of a successful woman whose mom is sick and she decides to take her back to her hometown (in the south) to follow her wishes. Not much happens, it’s sweet but not super sweet. I think books like this require you to get invested in the characters and I just couldn’t get there.


The Night Swim (4 stars): I don’t usually write trigger warnings for books but I think this book requires Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault. There is quite a bit of graphic detail and the whole plot revolves around the rape of a young girl (two in fact.)

The book alternates between the main character and a podcast she does. It’s an interesting take on the alternating chapters idea.

There are several twists, some I could tell, some not. The book kept me engaged the whole time though I will say that by the end the subject matter was really getting to me.


The Idea of You (3 stars): Mixed feelings on this book. It is about an older woman dating a younger man (39 vs 20), the younger man is also a part of a famous boy band. There’s a lot of sex in this book and a lot of infatuation. It’s trying to also cover some more serious issues but I still didn’t see the depth I would have expected from a book like that so I felt like it wasn’t as fun as it could have been if it weren’t trying to be serious.


The Complete Urban Sketching Companion (5 stars): I consider the Urban Sketching books to be the best combination of eye candy and fantastically valuable information and this very comprehensive guide is no exception. In fact, if you’ve never read any of them and aren’t sure where to start, I’d say this is the best one to start with.

It’s comprehensive and covers buildings, cityscapes and people. It has color concepts, perspective, motion, depth, and so many other fundamentals of sketching in urban settings. It breaks down the sketch step by step so you know where to start, how to build, and how to put the finishing touches.

It also has all the delicious eye-candy I’ve come to expect from these books. Fantastic sketches, wonderful variety, and it’s sure to make you itch to go out and sketch. If only one could master sketching just by reading books!

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


Self-Knowledge (4 stars): Self-Knowledge is a super-quick read with concepts and exercises to help you think about and be aware of your behavior, choices, and self-regard. These are very simple exercises but of course the simplest exercises are often the most powerful.

Fiona Buckland’s narration was very even, not with a lot of emotion or inflection. I found it distanced me from some of the emotional and personal topics she was discussing. But it was clear and easy to follow.

If you like to work on yourself, increase your self-awareness and have not spent a lot of time asking questions around self-discovery, this short, simple book will be a great way to get started and be introduced to some of these questions to help guide you.

with gratitude to NetGalley and Publisher Spotlight Audio/The School of Life for an advance copy of Self-Knowledge.


Watercolor Techniques for Artists and Illustrators (5 stars): If you’ve ever wanted to get into watercolor painting, this is the book for you. It is the most comprehensive and complete book I’ve seen on the subject.

It starts with the basics: the tools, color theory&mixing and how to apply the paint. How to observe your subject. Basics of drawing and perspective and planning.

And then it gets into techniques which have a beginner, intermediate and advanced section. Tons and tons of techniques in this book. You can practice one daily or weekly and won’t run out for a long, long time.

And my favorite section is all the subjects. From people to pets to cityscapes to abstract to everything in between, this book doesn’t spare anything. It has examples, tips, advice and techniques for any subject. It has absolutely beautiful paintings and it makes you want to drop all you’re doing and pull out your watercolors.

I cannot recommend it enough.

With gratitude to netgalley and DK 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 – 35

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 Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals (4.5 stars): I am not sure why this book didn’t get more coverage. I absolutely loved it from the very beginning. It’s the story of Ariel who goes back home to her mom Mona’s animal sanctuary when she finds out that it is about to be sold.

It’s a coming-back-home story but has the animal sanctuary twist. There are also some political commentary so fair warning.

But what I loved about this book was the characters. There are several really interesting characters and they are so much joy to be around. I could definitely feel the small town feeling and I loved spending time with everyone in this book.

I really wish more people read this one.

with gratitude to edeweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy


In a Holidaze (4 stars): I’m just such a fan of Christina Lauren books. I know what to expect, and they never disappoint me.

Reading a book about Christmas in August was my favorite way to spend a few hours. This is the story of Maelyn who is at a Utah cabin with her family and another few families who’ve spent Christmas together for ever. The book starts off as a Groundhog’s Day trope which really worried me because I’ve read several books this year where the main character gets to re-live the same day and none of them were executed well so I got really worried.

But as it turns out she only gets to re-live a small number of times here and there’s something new and fun in each instance. So it’s not the main focus of the book, which for me, was a good thing.

This is a story about how it pays off to be yourself, to go after the things that make you happy and to take chances each and every time. Life is short and don’t compromise your joy because you’re too scared.

It’s fun, funny, inspiring and sweet. Everything I’ve come to expect from Christina Lauren and they deliver again in this wonderful holiday novel.

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


The Silent Wife (3 stars): Ok so this was book #10 in a series where I have read none of the book. But it had high ratings and I was craving a mystery so I read it anyway. It was about a serial killer (not the most uplifting topic but mysteries rarely have that.) It was the kind of mystery I like, where you get to know the characters and there’s a lot of room for not just the plot but character development. It’s about 2x longer than the recent usual twisty mystery books and the author uses all that space for her characters. Enjoyed this one.


The Worst Best Man (3.5 stars): Loved this super fast read. It was fun and funny. The hate to love trope isn’t usually my favorite but I just liked these characters and had fun with the story.


Stranger in the Lake (2 stars): Meh, this story was mostly boring. About a woman who marries a man whose ex-wife drowned in their lake and then now they find another body in the same lake and she had seen her husband talk to that woman the day before. Is he the bad guy? I mean if he were, wouldn’t it just be too obvious for a plot?


The Comeback (4 stars): “I’d like to say I didn’t understand what I was agreeing to, but I think it would be a lie– even back then I knew I was giving a part of myself away.”

This is a really well-written story about an actress who achieves early success thanks to a director who takes her under his wing. It’s the story of how he also sexually abused her and used her and took advantage of her.

It’s not as dark as it might sound and it’s really well written. What I liked the most about this book was the tone (which I don’t think I’ve ever written in a review before.) It had this perfect tone the whole way through where you felt the low level discomfort and unease the character had the whole time. Sometimes it escalated and I was on the edge of my seat and other times I could breathe more easily with her.

I was rooting for her 100% of the time. Really well-done.


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 – 34

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.


Bear Necessity (4 stars): Love love loved this quirky book. I am now a bit apprehensive when a blurb says a book is quirky or is compared to Nick Hornby whom I love and adore, but this book mostly lived up to its promise. It’s sweet, touching, and undeniably quirky. I loved the characters and really loved all the layers of emotion without any of the melodrama of losing a mom/wife. It was a really enjoyable read.

with gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


She’s Faking It (3 stars): I wanted something light and fun and this book definitely fit the bill. I felt like it started strong and sort of fizzled a bit toward the end but I enjoyed it all the way through and loved the author’s voice and the fun characters.


The House of Deep Water (4 stars): I am not sure why this novel doesn’t get higher ratings. I really enjoyed this multi-generational saga that shows the complexities of being in a family, going back to your hometown and trying to grow up despite challenges. This is a novel about strong, complex women and the hardships they endure. It has themes around family, racism, abuse, teen pregnancy, poverty, and isolationism. It’s a slow, well-written book that grows on you. I loved the time I spent with it.

with gratitude to edelweiss and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The End of Her (3 stars): I have been looking for a good, strong mystery novel to get lost in and I hadn’t heard of this one but it got high ratings so I wanted to try it. It was fast-paced and kept me reading but in the end I didn’t love it. I felt like the character development was weak and the twist wasn’t that twisty and I was like meh.


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 – 33

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.


Pull of the Stars (3 stars): So I don’t want to rate this low as it wasn’t in any way a bad book and it has a lot of interesting bits, especially as I read it during a pandemic. However, unlike Donoghue’s other books, i did not get attached to any of the characters while reading this and just didn’t feel any connection to the book as a result.


The End of Everything (4 stars): “At some point, in a cosmic sense, it will not have mattered that we ever lived. The universe will, more likely than not, fade into a cold, dark, empty cosmos, and all that we’ve done will be utterly forgotten.”

It took me forever to get through this book. To be fair, I am not good at physics and even though I’ve read a few Brian Greene books, I am far far away from the amount of knowledge it would help to have before reading this book.

That didn’t stop me from working hard to make my way through it. It’s written in common, easy language and tries to add both some perspective and levity but at the end of the day, this is a book about astrophysics and there’s no way that’s not going to be dense (unless you simplify it so much that it’s pointless.

Katie Mack manages to make it both readable and keeps the physics serious, real, and interesting.

If physics is your thing or you’re just fascinated like I am, this is the book for you.

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


One to Watch (2 stars): Meh. I know everyone loved this book but I just didn’t connect with it at all. Maybe because I don’t ever watch those shows on TV. I loved the idea of the book much more than the reality of it.


Once Again (3.5 stars): This was a fast-paced story that I couldn’t put down once I started. There are several interesting elements to the story:

Zac – the dad and scientist, who is working in an astrophysics lab and making a huge discovery which results in some sort of time shifting in the universe. His chapters were mostly about science and it was dense/hard to understand what was going on. I didn’t worry too much, just read what I could understand and didn’t stress too much about the details. I did feel like we didn’t get to know Zac as much as I wish I could have but he’s not the focal point. He’s just an instrument that makes the plot possible.

Erin – the mom whose daughter is abducted 500 days ago and she’s really the main character of the story as time shifts she gets another chance at rescuing her daughter and goes to heroic ends to make that possible. As a mom, I could relate the most to her, of course. And she’s the reason I kept reading and reading.

there are a few minor characters: a police officer (whose chapters didn’t really feel like they served a major purpose,) the abductor (did not enjoy reading these of course,) and then a few other scientists, some characters at school etc. but none of them got their own chapter.

The story is go-go-go the whole time (except during the science chapters) and it just didn’t seem possible for me to put it down. I don’t know that I will remember the book forever and I did think it has a lot of flaws. I tend to love character stories and this was decidedly a plot story but i still couldn’t put it down.

with gratitude to netgalley and Alcove Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


Pretty Things (4 stars): I always find myself putting off reading the longer books in case they are not good and I am now stuck reading them for a while (yes I know i could put them down but i rarely do) and yet the longer books tend to be my favorites. Maybe it’s because the characters take time and grow and do unexpected things.

I put off reading this book for many, many weeks and when I finally read it, I enjoyed it a lot. The characters in this book grow and end up doing unexpected things. I enjoyed it.


Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop (3.5 stars): When I saw the blurb for this book, I loved it and really couldn’t wait to read it. Once I started it, I loved that it takes place right in my neighborhood and really enjoyed the familiar places it mentioned. But, alas, maybe because I had such high expectations, this book was fun but not great. I enjoyed the time I spent with it but I felt like the blurb had so much more potential.


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 – 32

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 End of the Day (4 stars): “Whatever their differences might be, they were alike in one, now obvious way: they were both men who left her bruised. “

I love Bill Clegg’s writing. I know several people thought this was a slow-moving novel, but not for me. Maybe because I knew that, I sat down and committed to reading at least 30% of it in one go. Most stories pick up by the 30-40% mark and this was no exception. By that time, I’d met most of the characters, gotten attached to them and was curious enough about the plot (and how the characters connected) that there was no way I was putting it down.

“He is yours and so he is also mine, whether I like it or not, but let’s not pretend to have the same experience of him, she told Hap later, after they became engaged.”

The characters in this story seem to far away from each other that, at first, it’s impossible to imagine how they might be connected. And yet, the story beautifully, patiently weaves them together and you’re left seeing the whole quilt in a way that makes each square more precious.

I loved Clegg’s writing, his characters that slowly made their way into my heart with their exquisitely flawed lives and choices. None of the characters were utterly likable and yet they were each so relatable in their own ways and easy to sympathize with. The wanting, the grief and the sadness of their lives was so palpable.

I enjoyed this quiet book very much.

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


The Trouble with Hating You (4 stars): Even though I’ve already forgotten most of it, I read this is in one sitting and enjoyed every single moment i spent with it. It’s fast moving, funny, and truly enjoyable.


What You Wish For (4 stars): There’s something sweet and magical about Katherine Center’s books. They are like cozy blankets and a warm cup of tea on a cold night. At a time like this, her books are exactly what we all need. The delicious dialogue, the wonderful characters and sweet sweet stories. Love her.


The Butterfly Lampshade (3.5 stars): I love Aimee Bender. Her previous book was one of my very favorites and this one was also up there for me because her use of imagery, her ability to blend the surreal with the real, and the 3-dimensional characters she has even in her smaller characters are really all i want from a book ever. This book about mental illness was not as wonderful as The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake so if you haven’t read any of her, i’d recommend that first.


Midnight Sun (3 stars): There was almost no chance I wasn’t reading this book. I’ve been waiting for it since she originally started writing it 15 years ago. My first 30 minutes with the audiobook felt like I wouldn’t actually be able to go through with it but then I remembered the familiar characters and got lost in the lovely world again. By the end, it was definitely feeling a little too long, but I am still glad I got to revisit this with all the memories it brought back.


The Book of Wild flowers (4 stars): If you enjoy looking through a book of absolutely beautiful flower drawings, you will love and adore this book. I loved every single drawing in the book. It’s incredible how many varieties of flowers can be found in nature and how delicate and beautiful each other. I have a soft spot for the poppies and sunflowers.

with gratitude to netgalley and Dover Publications 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 – 31

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.


Vesper Flights (4 stars): “The switch in recognition is eerie: I go from seeing rushing patterns in the sky to the realisation that they are made of thousands of beating hearts and eyes and fragile frames of feather and bone. I watch the cranes scratching their beaks with their toes and think of how the startling flocks that pour into reed beds like grain turn all of a sudden into birds perching on bowed stems, bright-eyed, their feathers spangled with white spots that glow like small stars. I marvel at how confusion can be resolved by focusing on the things from which its made. The magic of flocks is this simple switch between geometry and family.”

Helen Macdonald has such a beautiful way with words. When you couple her love of animals and nature with her ability to observe the smallest details and her eloquence with words, you get these beautiful stories. These stories of nature, of birds are to be savored which means that you slow down as you read them and marvel in the beauty of nature.

“They used to think that we record a short term memory, then archive it later, move it to a different part of the brain to story it long term. But now they’ve discovered that the brain always records two tracks at once. That it is always taping two stories in parallel. Short-term memories, long-term memories, to tracks of running recollection, memory doubled. Always doubled.”

If you like nature and especially birds, this book is sure to sweep you away and make you appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. You will not be disappointed.

with gratitude to netgalley and Grove Press for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.


The Biggest Bluff (3.5 stars): I’m not a huge poker player but I really enjoyed my time with this book. It was quite interesting to see how you can go from someone who doesn’t play to someone who can achieve quite a lot with concerted effort, a LOT of practice, guidance from the pros, and self-mastery.

I find most nonfiction to be a little longer than necessary and this was no exception. It was still interesting the whole time


Faking Friends (3 stars): Fun, lightweight read about relationships, friendship, finding yourself and standing on your own two feet. I will say that while I enjoyed it as I was reading it, when I look back upon it, I am not feeling the warm fuzzy feelings you get with most of these light reading books. The characters were all pretty not-awesome and the way everyone treated each other was quite awful.


The Girl from Widow Hills (3 stars): Read this one in one sitting. Mystery with a twist in the end-ish. I liked the story and enjoyed my time with it. I seem to go between romance and mystery and some literary through this pandemic so this was my mystery of the week. It was fast paced and an easy read. I wish the characters were a bit more developed but nonetheless i enjoyed it.


The Henna Artist (4 stars): I really loved this story. I put off reading it for a long time because historical fiction never feels like my preference but then i always like the books.


Full Disclosure (3 stars): I really liked this YA novel about a girl with HIV. I had not read a novel with the main character (especially YA) having HIV. I also really enjoyed what I felt to be a more accurate representation of teenagers in general.


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 – 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.