My reading slowed down a bit in October. I blame the fact that we have been kind of running non-stop since Oktoberfest and then with work being a bit more stressful, I’m finding I’m making a little less time for reading. I’m hoping to improve on that soon! Anyway, I have four reads to share that I mostly read in October and actually one from this month already that was such a fast read I finished it in a couple of days so decided to share it now.
The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson
Great fiction read, I pulled it off the shelf because the colorful cover caught my eye, but I read the synopsis and it sounded interesting. In this book we meet Nina Popkin, whose adoptive mother has just passed away, so she sets on a journey to find her birth mother and any information about her family. She learns she has a sister and that it happens to be a girl she went to high school with and grew up just blocks away from named Lindy. At first Lindy has no interest in a relationship with Nina or searching for their mother. Lindy has a busy life running her own hair salon and raising three children with her husband, but eventually Nina wears her down and Lindy realizes just how much she needs her. Together they go on a journey to find their history and learn a great deal about themselves along the way.
Every few chapters the view point changes from Nina to Lindy and even to someone else important but I don’t want to give away too much so I won’t tell you who it is. I will tell you that I felt like it was a pretty decent page turner and that overall it was an enjoyable read and I’d recommend it. 4/4 stars
Then Came You – Jennifer Weiner
I listened to this one as an audiobook. At first I was extremely invested in it and had more than one driveway/parking lot moment where I had to listen to find out what was happening next…but then by the end I was getting tired of the story dragging out and I just wanted it to end already. The overall story is interesting and intreiguing, I just feel like it maybe drug on a bit too long.
This book tells the story of surrogacy through the various women involved and affected by it – the egg donor, the gestational carrier and the mother of the child and also in this case, the stepdaughter of the mother of the child. Each chapter is from a different woman’s view point. Each one has a problem she is trying to solve. Jules chooses to donate her egg to make some money to send her dad to rehab. Annie decides to carry the child to make extra money for her struggling family of four. India cannot seem to keep a pregnancy and desperately wishes to raise a child with her wealthy older husband. And finally, India’s stepdaughter Bettina feels something isn’t right about India and it is a mistake for her father to be married to her and having a child with her and sets out to prove it. The book starts out with each woman’s story being very separate from each other, but circumstances begin to eventually pull them all together.
There is a bit of a twist that I kind of saw coming and the ending also kind of didn’t surprise me that much. As I said, it did hold my interest for quite a long time, just after awhile I was ready to find out how it all would end and at points it even became a bit soap opera-like. Overall though, it was an entertaining book to listen to. I enjoy Jennifer Weiner and would probably try just about anything she’s written. 3/4 stars
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Full transparency here. I abandoned this book halfway through. I found it on a day I was feeling kind of down and had even been in one of those “I don’t fit in anywhere’ kind of moods, we all have them right? So when I saw this book and that it was about finding your place in the world and learning to be brave and be who you are I thought, ok, yes, this is speaking to me. The first chapter was amazing and really set things up and I was ready to embrace my unique self and then….it got political. I have no problem with politics. But the next chapters were Brown kind of talking about how to stand your ground and being brave about standing up for what you believe in politically. She had an entire section on what to do if your family dinner table is divided politically. She had another section on what to do if you have friends who don’t align with your political views. After a few chapters of this stuff I had to put it down.
I pretty much surround myself with like minded people. So I didn’t feel like this really applied to me. I am also thankful that for the most part, my family is also pretty liked minded to myself and also, we don’t really get political at family meals. I also didn’t agree with some of Brown’s approach to how to handle it if you are alone in your views and just overall found myself very disappointed. But this book did show me something important – I picked it up on a day that I felt like maybe I didn’t belong anywhere, but after realizing that I didn’t need this book for the reason that Brown wrote, it showed me that I do fit in just fine and have people around me that are like me after all and I’m 1.5/4 stars
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This book was a super fast YA read and I loved it. I really enjoyed The Sun Is Also a Star by Yoon as well, so when I saw this on an end cap at the library I snatched it up right away. Right away we are introduced to Madeline, a 16 year old girl who is allergic to everything and must stay inside her home and away from the outside world. Her story is told from her point of view and also includes drawings and emails and other little anecdotes. Madeline’s world is rocked when a new family moves in next door and she befriends a boy her age named Olly. She eventually convinces her day nurse to let Olly come visit her and soon she realizes just how much she’s willing to risk because the one thing she swore she’d never let happen has happened – she falls in love.
There’s a pretty significant twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but I will say I kind of had a feeling was coming, but only because I’ve kind of read books like this before and I saw the signs. I wasn’t disappointed by it though, I was kind of glad it happened. If it hadn’t I think I might have been more disappointed. This book didn’t have quite as much depth as The Sun Is Also a Star, but I believe Yoon wrote this one first. At any rate, I enjoyed it and was pleased I was able to finish it so quickly. It really is a page turner and I couldn’t put it down. I am calling myself a fan of Nicola Yoon at this point! 4/4 Stars
There you have it! Have you read anything good lately?