I have always loved to read. I vividly remember going to story time at my local library as a young child, completing summer reading challenges through middle school, actually enjoying reading the classics in high school English class, and escaping into books on long solo plane rides as an adult. Reading has been an escape and a challenge I have enjoyed throughout my whole life. Some years I read more than others, but I have set a Goodreads goal for 4 years in a row. It keeps me accountable and helps me prioritize reading time.
I set a goal of 35 books for 2020 at the end of last year (obviously not knowing about the pandemic that was about to hit). So, it’s now the beginning of May and I just finished book 24 of the year. Think I’ll have to change my goal to 50. I’m loving the extra reading time!
I like to share what I’m reading in hopes you find some good reads from my finds. And I love getting book recs, so please send them my way! I’ll keep updating this blog post with my short reviews (very – or you’d be here all day) and star ratings for each book as I finish them. Also a quick note, I am a bit of a tough critic in that I hardly ever give 5 stars. But I also will always give a book 2 stars unless I DNF it. So, I really enjoy all my 3 and 4 star rated books, but those 5 stars are saved for books that impact me in a big way. And as always, if you want to chat with me more about a book below, please reach out!
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (4 stars)
- Emotional book to start the year with. I’m a sucker for a good dog story! The characters in this story were really well developed and I definitely shed some tears.
- Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl by Jeannie Vanasco (4 stars)
- This was heavy and honest. A look at sexual abuse from someone you know. It made me uncomfortable, but I was glad I read it. Probably would have given it less stars if I read it later in the year, but sharing my star reviews from right after finishing the book.
- Less by Andrew Sean Greer (2 stars)
- Could not get behind this at all!! It won awards and was recommended to me by a few people, but I was so bored. The main character seemed so entitled and I never felt a connection to him. I finished just because I thought it might get better, but honestly I didn’t care for it.
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller (5 stars)
- I could write an entire blog post on the importance of this book. Hands down one of the best books I have ever read. Chanel’s way with words is stunning, especially in the way she shares such traumatic experiences. I am so grateful Chanel chose to share her story. The power and honesty in this book. I think every single person should read it.
- City of Trees by Sophie Cunningham (3 stars)
- A nice collection of essays. I liked that it focused on Australia and I share her affinity for trees.
- The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (4 stars)
- I need a good fictional story every so often. I enjoy Jojo’s writing. This wasn’t my favorite of her books, but I did enjoy it. Strong female characters.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (3 stars)
- I really enjoy historical fiction and this book had high praise from so many people. I found it to be a bit of a let down. It wasn’t bad, but I have read many better WWII era historical fiction novels.
- The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma (2 stars)
- This is an oof from me. I liked the concept, and I learned a couple good takeaways, but honestly those could have been summed up in about 10 pages. I had to force myself to finish this one. A lot of it felt scattered and unnecessarily lengthy.
- All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church (4 stars)
- I chose this one randomly from the library shelf and I’m glad I did. The abuse was tough to read about, but I really liked the main character. She was strong and resilient. Interesting story!
- Empty Bottles Full of Stories By Robert M. Drake, R.H. Sin (2 stars)
- I usually like poetry, but this fell flat for me. Nothing spectacular.
- Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan (4 stars)
- This book was so perfect for me and my stage of life. I am going through a lot of what the author went through when moving to London without knowing anyone. It was relatable and enjoyable.
- This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman (4 stars)
- This story is about the last death penalty death in NZ. Sad, and hard. But I liked learning more about some history over in this part of the world. Well written.
- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (3 stars)
- An erotic, romance novel I could not put down. I liked both main characters and thought the story was enticing. Super quick, enjoyable read.
- Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes (3 stars)
- Cute collection of stories. I like Jojo (clearly). The Paris stories in the collection were definitely my favorite. She can do a lot in just a few pages.
- Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi (4 stars)
- Another random library pick up that had me glued to it. This story is about a 17 year old alcoholic. Tough, but a little bit sarcastic and humorous. Definitely recommend!
- The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman (3 stars)
- An interesting story of friendship and love. Quick read and I liked the characters.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear (4 stars)
- I actually purchased this book because a friend told me it was ‘life changing’. I’m glad I did. So many great takeaways and i know i will refer back to it often.
- Alpha Girls by Julian Guthrie (3 stars)
- I was so excited about this read, but found it really hard to follow. This is the story of four different women who worked in the Silicon Valley world. I think these women are amazing, but the chapters jumped around from one perspective to the next, one year to the next, and I thought it was confusing. It made it difficult to connect with the women.
- The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (3 stars)
- Quick ‘murder mystery’ type fictional story with a ton of music references. Not evolutionary, but I found it enjoyable. Loved all the music notes!
- The Grownup by Gillian Flynn (3 stars)
- I’m a big Gillian Flynn fan. This short story was well written and made me want more. I think that was the point.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman (3 stars)
- Another novel that was recommended to me by many, that I found disappointing. It was good. But I didn’t get sucked in the way I expected. The first half felt a bit boring. I am glad I finished it and the story is important, but I did not fly through it.
- All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffin (4 stars)
- Read this in less than 24 hours. I really like Emily Griffin’s writing style. This book was from different character perspectives as well, but in an easy-to-follow way. Just a realistic, fictional story.
- The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts (4 stars)
- Wow. Such a hard read, but a great read. A look at the work of Sue Lloyd-Roberts before she died and both the terrible and incredible things she saw along the way. Tough to get through, but powerful, well-written and important.
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (4 stars)
- I loved Nightingale, so I was excited to read this one. It lived up to the Kristin hype. A story of love, life and struggle out in Alaska. I shed a few tears. I love her character development.
And that’s it for the year so far. I’ll keep adding to this list as I finish more books! Xx.