Ten Favorite Books from the Last Two Years

I have a difficult time choosing my favorite books. I could enjoy a book for it’s fictional characters, the twist at the end, the impact it had on me, or the importance of the subject. Can I call a book that splits me open a “favorite”? The ten books listed below are all books I wish I could read for the first time again. I’ll call them books I recommend you read.

In no particular order…

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. 

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (5 stars)

  • Heavy is just that — heavy. Truly a gutting story, but grateful for Kiese sharing his story too. Really really important even though I found myself crying more than once while in these pages. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (5 stars)

  • A favorite of 2020 for me. The first half is kind of slow, but it is a beautifully written story of twin sisters, love, and life. A timely story of trying to be who you truly are. I loved it. 

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (5 stars)

  • This story follows the lives of 12 very different characters who are all connected somehow. It’s a long story that makes you want to take your time with it and I enjoyed every page. It is beautifully written, tragic, joyful, entrancing. I loved.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, Neil Smith (4 stars)

  • This took a little to get into, but I ended up feeling overwhelmed with emotion at the end. I read this during a road trip and I was just so invested. Something about the characters and the emotions really got to me.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars

  • I couldn’t put this down. I was enthralled with Evelyn Hugo and couldn’t wait to hear each husband’s story. Well-written and well-developed characters. 

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – 4 stars

  • My first ever audiobook since I wanted to hear him read it. Really happy I chose to listen because it made a road trip go by quickly and I laughed a lot. This one was worth the hype.

Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson — 4.5 stars

  • Wow. I wish I could read this for the first time again. That’s all I say.

Verity by Colleen Hoover — 4 stars

  • Read this in one sitting. A bit of a thriller, which I wouldn’t have expected from CoHo. Worth the attention it gets!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune — 4.5 stars

  • I loved the love in this. Made me tear up a few times. I don’t usually read fantasy books, but I loved feeling fully immersed in this world. 

Not all books are for everyone, but I personally think these 10 are worth your time. Do you have a favorite book I should read?

2021 Reads!

Prioritizing reading time again was one of the best things for me in 2020. I worked reading back into a regular schedule, frequented the library, and had great conversations about books. 

I want to keep a running list of the books I read this year, too. Just a quick star rating and short review for each book. No spoilers or lengthy descriptions. You can check out 2020’s list here

I will add the same preface as last year — I am a bit of a harsh critic. I do not give out 5 stars very often, but I will also give a minimum of 2 stars if I finish the book. Attitudes toward books are so personal, so if you want to chat with me about why you loved a book below or why you didn’t, please do. And if my opinion is different than yours, that’s okay.

My goal was 50 books and I hit 50 on December 29th.

Here’s what I read in 2021:

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly – 3 stars

  • I loved the first (Lilac Girls), so I had high hopes for this historical fiction story, but it took me a long time to get through. I did not feel as connected to the characters as I had expected. Still a well-written story. 

Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty – 2 stars

  • I know there are a lot of Jay Shetty fans out there, but this book was just not for me. I liked some of his concepts and his advice, but parts felt repetitive and a bit hypocritical. Seemed like a collection of other peoples quotes and stories. 

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins – 3 stars

  • I enjoyed reading this one. David is super inspiring. While I don’t agree with everything, like training through crazy amounts of pain, etc, this book felt really authentically him and I am glad he told his story. 

The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and Courage by Kelly McGonigal – 3 stars

  • I don’t need convincing that movement is joyful. Much of my life is centered around the joy of movement. But I did appreciate Kelly’s approach and the stories she shared — especially the parts around ultra running. 

White Ivy by Susie Yang – 3 stars

  • I am still unsure how I feel about this one. I read it in less than 24 hours and Yang is a talented writer. Ivy (the main character) isn’t exactly likeable, but I think this is what made the story so interesting. Ultimately, I got to the end and felt like…okay? A bit of a letdown. 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris – 4 stars

  • Second book of the year about meditation, but I much preferred it to Jay Shetty’s book. This one felt more relatable and less preachy to me. I will say I still do not have a regular meditation practice, but Dan’s words inspired me to do so. 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – 3 stars

  • Another book I feel conflicted about. I enjoyed the writing and felt connected to some of the characters. I won’t give any spoilers, but will leave it at this: the end did not sit right with me. 

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – 4 stars

  • My first Colleen Hoover and I enjoyed it even more than I expected. A well-written story of complex characters and tough issues. Brought out a lot of emotions. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 4 stars

  • I couldn’t put this down. I was enthralled with Evelyn Hugo and couldn’t wait to hear each husband’s story. Well-written and well-developed characters. 

Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker – 3 stars 

  • I have so many thoughts on this. I am glad I read it. Coming from someone who just wants to choose to drink less in social situations, this landed with me most of the time. But at the same time, it felt written for well-off white women and seemed to make breaking addiction seem ‘easier’ than it is. I haven’t been there, so I guess I can’t really say, but I do think it is worth noting AA is a free option for recovery and that is valuable even though she doesn’t agree with the program. 

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams — 3 stars

  • This was really slow in the first half. I loved the focus on words and was glad I kept reading, but it took me a while to get through.

Sky Runner by Emelie Forsberg — 2 stars

  • One star for Emelie being a cool person and one star for the amazing photos. It actually pains me to give this 2 stars since I read it for a book club where I’m going to get to chat with the author, but this read like a magazine to me. I wanted more. And I found quite a few typos/grammatical errors throughout which was distracting. Beautiful to look through though.

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas — 4 stars

  • Really glad Angie gave us this prequel. If you haven’t read The Hate U Give yet, I would still read it first, but you could also read Concrete Rose on it’s own. Angie tells a story so beautifully. 

Confess by Colleen Hoover — 4 stars

  • I just really enjoy Hoover’s writing. Another quick fictional story that I couldn’t put down. Not my number one Hoover book, but still one I enjoyed reading. 

Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen — 2.5 stars

  • I like Rachel. This is a quick read as a good intro to yoga, but I didn’t like how the photos cut into the text so often. Weird breaks. I’d say you could skip it. 

Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi — 3 stars

  • A unique set of stories based on time travel. Worth reading, but I didn’t love it quite as much as I thought I would.

Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo — 3.5 stars

  • I definitely would read So You Want To Talk About Race first. I learned a lot in this one, but it seemed a little scattered I guess?

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig — 3 stars

  • Another book I saw all over social media that I found to be a bit overhyped. I liked this. I liked the idea and the way it makes you think about your own choices is fascinating, but the character development fell a little flat for me.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah — 4 stars

  • I am a big Kristin Hannah fan. I was excited for her new novel, but it felt a little slow compared to others of hers. A really heartbreaking story, but I enjoyed it.

How do we know we’re doing it right? by Pandora Sykes — 3 stars

  • Essays on modern life from Sykes. This was an interesting collection, but nothing felt really new.  

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin — 3 stars

  • Not my favorite Emily Giffin, but I still flew through it. Was in the mood for a quick fictional story.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert — 2.5 stars

  • Quick read with a couple quotes I’ll come back to, but not that impactful overall for me.

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – 4 stars

  • My first ever audiobook since I wanted to hear him read it. Really happy I chose to listen because it made a road trip go by quickly and I laughed a lot. This one was worth the hype.

Mind of a Survivor by Megan Hine — 4 stars

  • I listened to this on runs for an athlete book club and really enjoyed it. Practical advice and really cool experiences to learn about.

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall — 4 stars

  •  So well written. A lot to think about.

Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson — 4.5 stars

  • Wow. I wish I could read this for the first time again.

How Far Can You Go? by John Maclean — 3 stars

  • 4 stars for the inspiration that is John. 2 for the writing (sorry!). I had the chance to chat with him on a book club video chat and he truly is an inspiration, but I enjoyed hearing from him more than reading the book.

The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn — 3 stars

  • A thriller for the mix. A quick read where I wanted to get to the end. Part of it felt predictable, but I still enjoyed it.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid — 4 stars

  • Really enjoyed this. The focus on the sibling relationships being my favorite part. I have loved other TJR books more, but still even compared, enjoyed this one too.

Growing Up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay — 3 stars

  • A collection of short stories in the form of a full length novel. Some stories were outstanding, but I felt that the way they were put together was a little confusing. I found it hard to go from one to the next and “reset” to take in a new person’s story. Worth reading, but took me a while since I felt like I had to have a lot of breaks in between stories.

Inward by Yung Pueblo — 3 stars

  • Some poems were great, but overall it felt very repetitive to me. I also had seen a lot of the poems on Instagram already. 

Land’s Edge by Tim Winton— 3 stars

  • A nice short story that makes me appreciate Australia even more. Just something about the sea.

Breath by James Nestor — 3 stars

  • Interesting. I love this topic. I wish this had a little more evidence and everyday life examples.

How To Build A Goddamn Empire by Ali Kriegsman — 4 stars

  • I really enjoyed this — a book I will come back to again and again. Thank you, Ali!

Verity by Colleen Hoover — 4 stars

  • Read this in one sitting. A bit of a thriller, which I wouldn’t have expected from CoHo. Worth the attention it gets!

Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover — 3 stars

  • Not my favorite CoHo book, but still good. Just enjoy her writing.

The Way of the Runner by Adharanand Finn — 3.5

  • Really enjoyed getting to learn more about running in Japan. Now I want to run an ekiden!

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover — 4 stars

  • Just a CoHo fan. I read this while in lockdown still (my third CoHo in a short time) because I wanted the easy reading escapes. I wanted a bit more from the backstory on this one, but still really enjoyed it.

Be.: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself by Jessica Zweig — 2.5 stars

  • The frameworks were a good reminder and helped me think about some things I’m working on, but most of the message actually felt pretty inauthentic. I shouldn’t have read this so close to reading Ali Kreigsman’s new book because I loved that one so much and couldn’t help but compare them.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave — 3 stars

  • Quick read. First one I read after returning to the U.S. I guess I was expecting a bit more from it, so I felt a little let down, but still a good read.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng — 4 stars

  • I’m late to the party with this one, but really enjoyed it. 

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore — 3.5 stars

  • I liked this. Was an interesting perspective that felt different than other time travel stories.

Everything We Didn’t Say by Nicole Baart — 3 stars

  • Slower than I expected. I liked the writing, but it felt like a lot of the characters kind of got lost in the story.

Out and Back: A Runner’s Story of Survival and Recovery Against All Odds by Hillary Allen — 2 stars

  • There’s no doubt Hillary is inspiring. I would love to chat with her in real life. And I saved some quotes from this that I’ll refer back to. But as a book, it felt repetitive and a bit scattered.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune — 4.5 stars

  • I loved the love in this. Made me tear up a few times. I don’t usually read fantasy books, but I loved feeling fully immersed in this world. 

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Gooddall and Douglas Abrams — 3 stars

  • I really like Jane’s work and the overall message of this book was nice, but I found the delivery pretty boring. It reads as a conversation, but a conversation that doesn’t flow well? I was kinda disappointed.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune — 4 stars

  • This one felt a bit slow the first half, but I enjoyed his writing and the overall message. I liked The House in the Cerulean Sea more. This one was a bit darker. 

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero — 1.5 stars

  • 1.5? This was not good. I was in the mood to set new financial goals for my business as we enter a new year and was hoping to feel inspired from reading this. It fell really flat. I liked a couple quotes, but didn’t feel like I walked away with any real advice. 

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life, from Someone Who’s Been There by Tara Schuster — 3 stars

  • It was hard to rate this one. 3 stars I think? I didn’t enjoy this all that much. Felt a little preachy — like it worked for me so it HAS to work for you!! But I did feel inspired to start a few of the rituals that I don’t do already. And some parts were funny. I think in general I need a bit of a break from self-help books. A lot of what I read this year didn’t do much for me. 

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May — 4 stars

  • I really enjoyed this. A good perspective on seasons of life. This was a gift from my MIL and I opened it right before seeing my first snow in about 3 years, so it felt fitting. 

That’s 50! I read a lot of great books and a lot of not-so-great, but I’m happy to share. Here’s to 50 new adventures in 2022.

2020 Reads!

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!

Happy reading.

XO,
Dale

 

  • 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 Giffin (4 stars)
    • Read this in less than 24 hours. I really like Emily Giffin’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.

  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (4 stars)
    • This wasn’t a page turner. If anything it took me longer to get through than most books because I felt pressure to go to sleep instead of reading (lol). But there was a lot of really useful information here. Great for me to share with my athletes as well. I always say sleep is the best recovery tool and this books proves that. 

  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle (4 stars)
    • I gave Untamed 3.5 stars (rounded up on GoodReads) out of peer pressure I think. Everyone LOVED this book this year. I was hyped. I actually purchased this one instead of getting it from the library because I knew i would love it too, but i actually didn’t. I feel like i had heard most of it through Glennon’s podcast interviews before reading. Not saying there weren’t good parts, but this was a majorly overhyped book for me.

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (3 stars)
    • I think I read this a long time ago, but it was nice to read again. A book you can revisit and feel differently about in a different year. Definitely a classic worth reading. 

  • Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper (5 stars)
    • “If your rage can do anything for you, I hope it can do for you what it has done for me — help us to build the world we want to see.” My favorite quote from Brittney in this book. I loved her words. Such an important read. 

  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (4 stars)
    • Rupi is good at what she does. I love her way with words and find myself re-reading her poems all the time.

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (5 stars)
    • 4.5 stars. A book everyone should read. I highlighted so many parts of this book and want to share it with everyone I know. These are the discussions we need to be having. 

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (4 stars)
    • Conflicting reviews from my friends and I on this one, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a quick, relatable fictional story that still addressed important real-life issues. I couldn’t put it down! Overall, I wanted a bit more from the characters, but I did enjoy reading it. 

  • Tell Me Why: The Story of My Life by Archie Roach (4 stars)
    • I took awhile to read this one. Archie’s story is heartbreaking. This year I really wanted to learn more about the Indigenous People of Australia and Archie really paints the pictures of what his life here has been like. He’s an inspiration. 

  • Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (5 stars)
    • Heavy is just that — heavy. Truly a gutting story, but grateful for Kiese sharing his story. Really really important even though I found myself crying more than once while in these pages. 

  • The Yield by Tara June Winch (3 stars)
    • I am a word nerd, so I was drawn to The Yield because of the dictionary style Aborignal culture was shared. You hear from three different perspectives and it’s a unique way to tell a story. I finished wanting a bit more from it, but I like her style.

  • The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin (3 stars)
    • I couldn’t put this one down, but ultimately I did not enjoy it. I like Emily’s books and I was so excited for this one. I flew through the first half, but I just really did not like how she wrote about 9/11 or any of the characters. I was missing the connection piece with this. 

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (5 stars)
    • A favorite of the year for me. The first half is kind of slow, but it is a beautifully written story of twin sisters, love and life. A timely story of trying to be who you truly are. I loved it. 

  • Food Fix by Dr. Mark Hyman (4 stars)
    • Another book I think everyone should read. It reads kind of like a textbook, but it SO educational. It is upsetting. It is hard to get through. But I really appreciate Dr. Mark’s perspective and his approach to health. I always leave books like this wanting to change our entire food system — and that’s the point. 

  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (5 stars)
    • Another favorite for me. This story follows the lives of 12 very different characters who are all connected somehow. It’s a long story that makes you want to take your time with it and I enjoyed every page. It is beautifully written, tragic, joyful, entrancing. I loved.

  • Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner (4 stars)
    • I was sucked in. Sometimes you just need a quick, fictional read. This story dealt with some current issues and I did like the characters. I was actually surprised by the turn it took. 

  • The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (4 stars)
    • I do not typically read murder mystery or thriller style books. But I borrowed this one from Julia and ended up really enjoying it. I was hooked from the start and want to read the next one. 

  • Something Special, Something Rare (3 stars)
    • This is a collection of short stories by Australian women. I loved some of them and wanted more from the author and others were a bit boring. Overall, 3 stars. 

  • Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams (2 stars)
    • Maybe the worst book I read this year? Sorry, but I could not get behind this. It felt drawn out and like the author was really trying too hard. Also found quite a few typos which annoys me. Seemed like it was trying to be so ‘millennial’ by mentioning buzz words, etc. 

  • The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady (4 stars)
    • This book brings you to Antarctica! What a story. I was hooked and so so impressed with Colin. Really grateful he shared his story with the world. Just wow. 

  • All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (3 stars)
    • I generally like Jennifer’s stories. I was craving another quick fictional read, so I went for this older one I hadn’t read about addiction. It was okay. It kind of felt like I had read the story already or seen a movie of it. 

  • Educated by Tara Westover (3 stars)
    • Another 2020 disappointment for me. This book was raved about by so many people. And I do agree it is an inspiring story, but after so many other incredible stories of trauma, hardship and overcoming I read this year, this one fell short for me. I admire Tara for sharing her story, but I didn’t feel connected. 

  • North by Scott and Jenny Jurek (4 stars)
    • I love a good ultra running story. I’ve been a fan of Scott Jurek for awhile and I was so happy to escape to his world for a little bit. Also really loved hearing his wife’s perspective throughout. Her feat was just as impressive as his if you ask me. Really enjoyed this. Made me want to go out and run another ultra. 

  • Where We Belong by Emily Giffin (3 stars)
    • Another Emily book that I read really quickly. I wanted a ‘by the pool’ fiction read for our fake honeymoon and this fit the bill. A sweet story about adoption and relationships. Nothing spectacular, but a good, quick read. 

  • Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, Neil Smith (4 stars)
    • This took a little to get into, but I ended up crying at the end. I read this during a road trip and I was just so invested. Something about the characters and the emotions really go to me. I loved it. 

  • Brain Wash by David and Austin Perlmutter (2 stars) 
    • A non-fiction book about taking care of yourself.I wanted to like this, but I felt like I didn’t learn anything new. It is great information, but I wasn’t surprised by any of it. Just seemed pretty common sense. But doesn’t mean it isn’t good advice to follow. 

  • Home Body by Rupi Kaur (4 stars)
    • Rupi’s newest. I really really enjoyed it. Her friendship poem had me in tears. Again, she is just so good at what she does. 

  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (3 stars)
    • I liked Queenie. The writing was enjoyable and it was a quick story to get into. I finished wishing I had a bit more from the characters, but I did like it. 

  • Braving the Wilderness:The Quest for True Belonging by Brene Brown (3 stars)
    • This one was disappointing for me. I love Brene. And I probably should not have read this one of her books first. I get what she was trying to say, but it kind of seemed like an afterthought book to me. It came out in 2017 and with a 2020 lens on it, it just felt a little off to me. 

  • Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (3 stars)
    • A good dose of inspiration to live in the now. This is a reminder I have been needing. A little bit preachy, but I liked what he was saying for the most part. 

  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (4 stars)
    • A book of prose telling the story of two teenage girls. I loved the style, the way feelings were described and the uniqueness. I felt like I got to know them. 

  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (3 stars)
    • Read this one in less than 24 hours. I really wanted to know what happened and I enjoyed getting to the end, but the end left me a little let down. No spoilers, but I was just bummed to get to the end. It’s a little like reading a romantic comedy, but not in the way you’d expect. 

       

And that’s it for the year so far — all 55 of them.  I’ll keep adding to this list if I finish more the end of the year! Xx.

 

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