It was a busy month for me — wrapping up my time at one job, spending a week getting all the things done while I was “funemployed,” and then starting my new job. It’s been BUSY and I have had wayyyy less reading time, but am still so proud of getting through as many books as I did this month. Just goes to show that making reading a priority is the best way to read more, even if there are a million other things going on and you don’t think you have time!
Here’s what I read this March!
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I Think You’re Wrong But I’m Listening: A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Steward Holland and Beth A. Silvers
review: I was given a free copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my review! I’m so glad this book exists. It’s such a grace-filled, helpful, balanced, and convicting guide to how to handle these heated and intense political days. Coming from different parties, Sarah and Beth cover the spectrum of thought while giving such wise counsel on how to really unpack our thoughts and beliefs to form clear and researched opinions and then share, debate, and act in ways that are loving, humane, and constructive. I loved the faith angle too, although it wasn’t so overwhelming that those without a Christian background couldn’t also relate. I especially loved the applicable questions at the end of each chapter to help you work through things on your own and find a more comprehensive and grounded position politically and personally. Major praise for this one! Thanks, @pantsuitpolitics— we needed this.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
review: This is my second book from this author this year, but I’m unimpressed overall. This one felt messy, with way too many characters and overplayed “drama” that really just felt like it was trying too hard to be mysterious when it ultimately wasn’t a strong mystery. You all know I love spoilers so I knew the ending as i was reading, and honestly felt like the support for the conclusion wasn’t really there throughout the story. Not a bad read, but not a favorite either!
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
review: Thanks to Random House for the free book! // I LOVED this one. TJR has done it again (literally HOW does she write such incredible and unique books?! love when an author isn’t just churning out versions of the same story!). I seriously kept thinking “wait is this about a real band?!??” because it was just so well-written and engaging. It’s written all in an interview style, similar to a long form magazine profile or a documentary style, and I really loved it! Some “A Star is Born” vibes for sure (big fan) and a whole lot of sex, drugs, and rock n roll and I just FLEW through it but didn’t want it to end (and loooooved how it did). All the stars for Daisy and The Six!
More Than Words by Jill Santopolo
review: I looooved The Light We Lost from Santopolo and was so excited to read this new one from her! I didn’t love it quite as much and didn’t find the main character as compelling, but it was a good story of love, loss, choices, wealth, and self-discovery that I enjoyed regardless! The plot didn’t feel especially fresh or new, but it was well-told and made for an easy read, even if it was a bit predictable.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
review: Got the email that this hold was ready for me. Went to the library. Picked it up. Sat down. Read it cover to cover. LOVED IT. major Fault in Our Stars + Everywhere, Everywhere vibes, but better?! Loved the characters. Loved learning more about life with cystic fibrosis. Loved how endearing and moving and real it was. Big fan.
The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin
review: Thanks to Random House for the free book! // This was a fun one, a look at two women in the age of silent movies and Hollywood’s golden age through the many years of their friendship and careers and love lives. I wish it would have been about a hundred pages shorter to speed things up a bit and move the character development along a bit quicker, but I enjoyed it. Parts were frustrating (the ways boys clubs ruled the industry and men got away with abuse and such) but it felt true to the time, so it made sense. I wished for a bit more action, but as a character focused novel, it worked!
God’s Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved by Sue Monk Kidd
review: Back in November, I visited Austin, TX and grabbed this book in a cute little church coffee shop... and I juuuuust now actually finished it. I’ve loved her fiction books but have especially loved her faith/memoir writing (like When the Heart Waits). This one is a really personal account of her journey into discovering more of God’s love in her life— a love that is so much less about doing and more about being. It did feel a little dated (it was first published in the 80s), but I found it refreshing to have less references to technology and a more simple and natural approach to slowing down and experiencing more of God’s love through solitude, family, nature, prayer, etc. I wasn’t wowed by it (and clearly wasn’t super motivated to keep reading it often), but did find many encouraging snippets throughout and found it to be a good reminder to slow down, be still, and know that God is God.
The Liar’s Child by Carla Buckley
review: Thanks to Random House for the free book! // I couldn’t put this one down, and I finished it and was like 🤯😧🤔 but overall, i don’t think I would highly recommend it. The plot felt a lot like a Nicholas Sparks book I read ages ago, with more intrigue (that didn’t even seem super suspenseful or thrilling) and unanswered questions. The characters felt pretty stereotypical (especially the sullen teen) and there were way more loose ends for me than actually compelling plot points. None of the characters are especially interesting or likable, and knowing how it now ends, I’d say it isn’t really worth your time.
The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz
review: Thanks to Crown Publishing for the free book! // I FINALLY finished a book for the first time in over a week!!! Starting a new job is no joke, and I’ve missed my reading time. This one was suuuuch a good thriller. I didn’t guess the twists at all, felt really engaged in the unfolding of everything, felt frustrated by the lack of answers (in a good way, as I think you should in good mysterious thrillers!), and was surprised by the way it concluded. Some of the dialogue and descriptions felt forced and some of the writing felt a little off, but overall, I enjoyed this one!
Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown
review: My love for Queer Eye is REAL so I was stoked to get Karamo’s book from the library this week! It was a great afternoon read and told his story from the beginning until now, giving context to the kindhearted and wise “culture expert” we see on the show. I think Karamo is better on screen than he comes across on the page, but I enjoyed getting to know more about him and hear his story— there’s so much i didn’t know and appreciated him so vulnerably sharing with the world. We need more role models like him, especially with his unique perspective as a gay man of color coming from immigrant parents who is a father and a public figure.
How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim
review: Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for this one! // I didn’t expect to like this one and for some reason had in my mind that it would be cheesy Christian fiction, but I quickly fell in LOVE with it and legitimately didn’t want it to end. It’s a loose retelling of the book of Ruth which I just finished up studying with my bible study, funnily enough, and it was SO VERY GOOD. The characters, the twists, the sense of place, the hints of biblical themes... all so well crafted. Her writing is beautiful and moving and i was so completely immersed in the story from the beginning until the end. It wasn’t what i expected at all, and it totally blew me away. If you loved Redeeming Love, you’ll love this one — highly recommend.
Running Home by Katie Arnold
review: Thanks to Random House for this one. // I absolutely adored this memoir. ADORED IT. It is so beautifully written and is such a completely fascinating look at running, ultramarathons, family, pushing yourself, and ultimately, love. I haven’t even run a whole mile, so the thought of running 30, 50, 100... it’s WILD but was so fun to read about. I’m so blown away by the strength (literally) that it takes, and the endurance, and the sacrifice, and the sheer willpower. The writing here just wowed me— it is so, so, so well done, moving and poetic and compelling and just beautiful. High praise for this one.