Quick Lit: November 2019

Dec 13, 2019

Hallelujah, I'm all caught up before the end of the year. It's a Christmas miracle! As I mentioned in October's post, I'll probably get behind again in 2020 after the new baby is born but we shall see. I was in the hospital with my son at the beginning of the month and got zero reading done while there. Then Kelly came to visit for a week, and I'm proud of myself for actually reading a bit during her visit. That rarely happens! All in all, it was a solid reading month for me. I finished 15 books, and I'm reviewing 13 of them in today's post. The other two are briefly mentioned at the end of the post! If you enjoy this feature, check out out over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

THE REAL DEAL BY LAUREN BLAKELY – I randomly requested this from the library based on the summary. A girl hiring a a guy to pretend to be her boyfriend for a family reunion weekend? I do love a good fake dating story! The hero and heroine felt like a real couple from the very beginning, so I did question that while reading. They have an easy banter and communicate well with one another, but the hero has a secret that provides the main source of conflict. That particular storyline really didn't work for me because it was so dramatic and didn't fit with the overall feel of the book. Otherwise, this one was cute. The relationship and associated emotions felt too instant for my taste, but I So Liked It overall and don't regret reading it. It's definitely steamy, however, so I skipped past a bit.

THE SEASON BY SARAH MACLEAN – Now that I've read all of MacLean's historical romances, I figured I needed to pick up her only young adult book. It definitely felt like a teenage version of her romances – a strong-willed, independent heroine falling in love and, in this case, solving a mystery. And it's not a steamy read, which is fitting for the genre. I turned on this audiobook while cleaning my house one day, and it was a pleasant listen. It's light on the mystery, and I did predict its resolution from the very beginning. So I'd be mostly likely to recommend this one to someone who wanted a fun, mostly frothy historical love story. It wasn't standout read, but I don't have any significant complaints about it either. I So Liked It but will probably forgot that I read it within a few months.

THE CLERGYMAN'S WIFE BY MOLLY GREELEY* – As a huge fan of Jane Austen, I have read a lot of books inspired by her novels. This book is a follow up, set after the events in Pride and Prejudice, and focuses on a secondary character: Charlotte Lucas, now the wife of Mr. Collins. We see her in Hunsford, making the best of her life as the vicar's wife, and patiently enduring her awkward husband and his obnoxious patroness. The story is very introspective and has very little action. Charlotte goes about her life and muses on what she's gained and lost in marrying for practicality. It was quiet and somewhat melancholy, but it was still refreshing to read a book that represents a reality for so many women of that time. It's not Austen, by any means, but I So Liked It.

SOMEONE TO REMEMBER BY MARY BALOGH* – This novella was an unplanned addition to Balogh's Westcott series, and one that I hadn't planned on reading. I've enjoyed the series overall, but wasn't very interested in this character or her potential love story. But when a copy arrived for review, I figured I'd give it a shot. Y'all, I was pleasantly surprised! The hero and heroine had their romance thwarted 36 years ago, so they're much older than the typical historical romance couple. I don't typically enjoy second chance romances, but it worked overall here. There was a sense of how much they'd lost by being apart (a reason I don't love this trope), but it was sweet to see them finally together in the end. There isn't a lot of plot or conflict in this short story, but I still So Liked It

THE BEST YES BY LYSA TERKEURST – I joined a small group through my church back in August, and this is the book we've been studying. By the end, it felt very repetitive – but I wonder if that had more to do with reading it so slowly over months. That being said, I did like some of the things TerKeurst had to say. I don't struggle with people pleasing, but I appreciated her thoughts on making wise decisions. Here's my biggest issue: a lot of the anecdotes/examples provided felt so silly and were geared towards moms (and wives). I wondered how readers wading through heavy decisions or different stages of life would be able to relate. This felt like a better choice for a book club than a church small group, but that's a personal preference. I was So Okay With It overall.

THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX & THE HORSE BY CHARLIE MACKSEY – My mom absolutely loves Charlie Macksey's Instagram account, so I became familiar with his artwork and the precious characters he created through her. When she found out he had a book coming out, she pre-ordered a copy for herself – and me and my sister, too. I think this qualifies as a graphic novel, even though there isn't really a plot to follow. Inside, you'll find pages of whimsical artwork paired with simple but profound words. It reminded me a lot of Winnie the Pooh. It took me less than half an hour to read, and it felt like I was being enveloped in a warm hug. It's short, sweet, and I So Enjoyed It. It's a little collection of wisdom being shared by unlikely friends who will steal your heart.

AMERICAN ROYALS BY KATHARINE MCGEE – Combine royalty and alternate American history, and I'm sold. This was exactly what I wanted it to be: dramatic, creative, romantic, and so much dang fun. I loved the relationships between siblings, romantic interests, friends and frenemies. There are four POVs, and they all worked for me. They had distinct voices, and each served a purpose. I had a favorite, of course, but I never wanted to skip past any of them. I loved how McGee invented an entirely different history for America, including how that would affect the present day. It explores the concept of a monarch's private vs. public life, including the sacrifices made out of a sense of duty to one's country. I So Loved It and hate that I have to wait for the second book after that ending!

THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER BY KATE MORTON – I'd sworn off Morton after I hated The Forgotten Garden, but Kelly has been diligently chipping away at my resolve. I finally decided to give her another chance, and I'm so glad I did! This book was lovely. Morton's writing was gorgeous and was the highlight of the reading experience. My initial confusion over the point of views was quickly resolved, and it was nice to see all the various threads of the story come together quite seamlessly in the end. Gothic fiction will probably never be my favorite, but Morton did it really well. The setting came to life in my mind, and I loved the slow reveal of what happened all those years ago (and how the people we met were connected to that legacy). I So Loved It and will read more from her backlist.

HUSBAND MATERIAL BY EMILY BELDEN* – I randomly requested this on NetGalley one day, hoping to find a new favorite contemporary author. When I went to start reading it, I realized that I'd just recently enjoyed the author's previous book, Hot Mess. That made me really hopeful! Unfortunately, this one didn't work for me. I struggled with the heroine and hated the guy who ended up being the hero. He did two things that would have been unforgivable for me, regardless of his motives. The numerous references to the heroine's Apple Watch + other trendy places/brands grated on my nerves. It didn't truly go downhill for me until after the first half, which is why I stuck with it until the end. By then, I was So Over It. I wish there'd been more depth to the characters and story!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, A COURT OF MIST AND FURY, A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN, AND A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT BY SARAH J. MAAS – What is there to say about this series that I haven't already said several times over? This was my fourth read of ACOTAR, my third of ACOMAF, my third of ACOWAR, and my second of ACOFAS – all within the past four years. I think that speaks for itself! When Kelly was here, we'd sit in my library every night and play silly bookish games. For example, "If you had to swap a character from the Throne of Glass series with one in the Court Thorns and Roses series, who would it be?" And so on! Yes, I know how nerdy that sounds, but I promise it's so fun. Since we kept talking about this series, I started to feel the urge to re-read. 

After I dropped her off at the airport, I downloaded the audiobook of the first and started listening. I told her it was my emotional coping mechanism. Within a week, I'd finished the whole series. I just adore this world and these characters so much! They feel like friends, and I never get tired of going on these adventures with them. My only dislikes? Knowing what's to come, the series feels like it gets off to a slower start upon re-read and I'm always counting down the minutes until Feyre goes under the mountain. And, predictably, I find the sexual content too graphic for my taste and wish I could remove those parts. It's always the biggest hesitation I have in recommending this series. But that being said, I really do love this series and am So Obsessed With It. Take me to Velaris!

In November, I also re-read two books. The first was Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the final book in the Throne of Glass series. Since I just reviewed this past February, I decided not to write another mini review of it. But I can add two updates: 1) the audio was excellent, as I've come to expect from narrator Elizabeth Evans and 2) I didn't notice any of the nitpicks that I'd initially had on my first read. So, I suspect my love for it will continue to grow with each re-read! I'm So Obsessed With It. The other book I re-read was Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Everything I wrote in my review from March still stands, including the fact that I'm So Obsessed With It. But I can add that the audio – which had a full cast – was wonderful and the perfect way to experience this book.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?

November 2019: Recap + On My Shelves

Dec 12, 2019

Happy December, y'all! I'm pretty pleased with myself for getting all caught up on monthly recaps and Quick Lit posts before the end of the year. November was a good month, and I felt so motivated to check things off my list!

1. Home From the Hospital – As I mentioned in my previous recap, my son's appendix ruptured at the end of October so we spent some time in the hospital following his surgery. A few days into November, we were able to go home. I was both relieved and a little overwhelmed – it all hit me when we got home. He had 10 days of antibiotics, so I made a sticker chart to countdown and he earned a prize earned every night. 

2. Kelly Comes to Visit – Nick had to go out of town for a week right after we got home from the hospital, and I was feeling anxious about my son's recovery. It just so happened that Kelly didn't have to work during that same stretch of days because SHE! IS! A! NURSE! Yes, she cares for adults, but she's still exactly who I'd want in a crisis. So, my husband used his frequent flier miles to bring her down to Atlanta. It was the sweetest gift!

3. Starbucks Solo Night – Our son had strict instructions regarding his activity level for the first three weeks after his surgery, and he was bummed to miss out on wrestling and running and being wild. So, Nick planned a movie night with his brother and one of our nephews as a special treat. Our son was so happy! Since it was a boys night, I headed to Starbucks with my planner and computer. It was delightful, and I got so much done!

4. Mountain Vacay – We decided to spend a few days in the mountains during Thanksgiving week, and it was such a restful and relaxing time. Cozying up beside the outdoor fireplace on the back deck was the perfect time to start A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the sixth Outlander book. We also watched several movies, and I started working on some of my end of the year blog posts. It was such a fun time, even though my son and I caught colds at the end.

Read 15 Books | Favorites:
American Royals by Katharine McGee
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

“How lovely it felt to be liked, Matilda thought in some surprise.
One tended to imagine sometimes that only being loved was of any significance.
But there was something enormously touching, something genuine,
about being told that one was liked.”
Someone to Remember by Mary Balogh

“Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else.
Make sure your yes is worth the less.”
The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Kind,” said the boy.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

“Who said anything about forgetting?
The point of forgiveness is to recognize that someone has hurt you,
and to still love them in spite of it.”
American Royals by Katharine McGee

“People value shiny stones and lucky charms,
but they forget that the most powerful talismans of all are the stories
that we tell to ourselves and to others.”
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

November was the busiest blogging month that I've had in a while! I was motivated and productive, a winning combination. Hallelujah! I posted my July 2019 recap and August 2019 recap, but I'm most proud of the fact that I got caught up on my huge review backlog. I posted several Quick Lit mini review round-ups: May 2019, June 2019 Part 1 and Part 2, July 2019, and August 2019. And then I took a brief break from catching up to share two seasonal posts. The first was 19 things I'm thankful for in 2019, which was a great way for me to start reflecting on this past year. And finally, I shared what's on my Christmas wishlist this year, as a special edition of my So Obsessed With feature. Now, I'm really excited for the next month of blogging. So many favorite posts coming up!

I only posted on Instagram twice in November, which will probably be my new normal. For whatever reason, I just don't find that outlet as fulfilling as blogging – even though it's just as time consuming (if not more so). But I loved this photo I took while Kelly was here, since both of our books were royalty inspired! • @soobsessedblog

Favorite Song: "Walls" by ROZES and Mat Kearney
I love Mat Kearney, so I was so excited when Spotify recommended this song to me.
I can't stop listening, even though it makes me want a new Kearney album!

Favorite Album: Ocean by Lady Antebellum
I loved Lady A's CMA Awards performance with Halsey, which put their single on my radar.
Then the album released soon after, so I decided to check it off. I've really enjoyed it!

Iliza Unveiled (2019) starring Iliza Schlesinger – I watched Iliza's comedy specials for the first time last year, so I was thrilled when I spotted this new release on Netflix. Sadly, I was disappointed. It felt disjointed, some of the bits went on too long, and it's one I won't rewatch. I laughed a few times, but not like I'd expected going in!

The King (2019) starring Timothée Chalamet and Joel Egerton – I didn't really know much about this movie, but we watched it one night in the mountains. It's weird because I thought it was boring overall – but I still liked it? I think it's because the ending was interesting, so I finished with positive feelings overall. Chalamet was great in it, too!

Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) starring Shia LaBeouf, Zack Gottsagen and Dakota Johnson – My family hyped up this movie and convinced me to watch it, even though I'm not a fan of LeBeouf or Johnson. They say I have no soul because I found it so cheesy and weird. They all found it funny and touching, so we're a house divided.

The Farewell (2019) starring Shuzhen Zhao and Awkwafina – This trailer intrigued me, so I decided to grab it from Redbox. It had more subtitles than I anticipated, and I'd intended to blog while watching it. Plus, it was a very slow, introspective film. I wasn't a huge fan, but my mood and expectations were part of the problem.

Ophelia (2019) starring Daisy Ridley, Naomi Watts, Clive Owen and George MacKay – I'm pretty sure that I read Hamlet in high school (or college?) but can't tell you anything about it. To tell the truth, I'm not a Shakespeare fan. I can't speak to this film as a retelling or reinterpretation, except to say that I didn't enjoy watching it at all.

The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show (2019) starring Kacey Musgrave and special guests – I enjoy Musgraves' music, so I was looking forward to this Christmas special. I liked the aesthetics and the music itself, but the script was so weak. Why was anyone trying to act? That didn't work for me at all! So awkward and forced.

New Releases: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, and The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

From My Mama: Down to Earth by Lauren Leiss

Audible: American Royals by Katharine McGee

Kindle: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

NetGalley: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn, Headliners by Lucy Parker and A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

Quick Lit: October 2019

Dec 6, 2019

Ah, I'm almost caught up on my Quick Lit posts! I wish I could promise to never get behind again, but I'm already anticipating another blogging break when this new baby is born. I remember those early days with my first, and I know that I'll probably still be reading but won't feel much like writing. So, please be patient with me when that day comes! But let's focus on October for now. I finished 14 books and have reviews for 12 of them today. I'd already reviewed one in September's post, and the other is briefly mentioned at the end of this post. If you enjoy short and sweet book reviews, you'll find links to similar posts in the comments on this feature over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

SERPENT & DOVE BY SHELBY MAHURIN – When I saw Steph raving about this book, I had to check it out. It didn't really appeal to me because I'm generally turned off by books about witches, but it seemed like a fitting way to kick off October. I picked it up one afternoon and was shocked when I'd finished all 528 pages by the end of the day. I couldn't put it down! So, here's the deal: you've got a witch on the run and in hiding and a man sworn to hunt witches... who end up forced to marry. I loved that this led to a very compelling enemies-to-lovers dynamic because that's one of my favorite tropes. The world and magic system could have been more fully developed for me, personally, but I still So Enjoyed It. This was an exciting debut, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel!

KULTI BY MARIANA ZAPATA – I've seen many readers recommend this book and others by Zapata, so I snagged it when the e-book went on sale. I'm not a huge fan of sports romances but decided to give it a shot. While this didn't end up a favorite for me, I still So Liked It. There's a big age gap in this romance (the hero is 12 years older than the heroine), which was addressed in a realistic way. I've seen this recommended most often for fans of slow burn romances, and it's definitely very slow. I personally felt that it dragged on too long. There was no reason for it to be almost 600 pages, especially since so much of it was the heroine's internal musings. Boring! I was debating a 4-star rating up until a very unnecessary sex scene was tacked on to the end. Fun but not worth the hype, in my opinion.

THE NOBODIES BY LIZA PALMER –  What do you do when an author you've loved in the past writes something that seriously lets you down? I don't even know where to start. I've read several of Palmer's earliest books and liked/enjoyed them overall. Nowhere but Home and Girl Before a Mirror, however, quickly earned spots on my favorites lists and made Palmer an author to watch for me. Though I skipped her 2017 release, I was excited to dive into The Nobodies. But if I hadn't purchased it, I would have decided not to finish it. I had issues with almost everything about it: the plot, the characters, the pacing, the writing, the conflict, the resolution, and more. Nothing worked for me. I'd go into more detail, but I'm So Over It and that's all you really need to know.

MEET CUTE BY HELENA HUNTING – I wasn't planning on reading  Meet Cute because Hunting's previous release, The Good Luck Charm, didn't really work for me. But a reader I enjoy following on Goodreads highly recommended this one (and had DNF'd the other). So, I decided it couldn't hurt to try! If you suspend some disbelief on the premise, this was a really fun read overall. I thought one aspect of the storyline was so predictable, but didn't mind too much since most contemporary romances aren't reinventing the wheel. I liked the unexpected depth to the story since it deals with the characters' grief in a moving way. The dynamic between the hero and heroine was fun, and I particularly liked the  former celebrity/major fangirl aspect. That was hilarious! I So Enjoyed It overall.

HOTSHOT DOC BY R.S. GREY – This author's books pop up on Amazon frequently when I'm just browsing, so I decided to borrow this one from the Kindle Lending Library. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't stop once I started! Even though I was sucked into the story, it did feel a little unrealistic – and maybe factually incorrect? A throwaway line in the Epilogue was so inaccurate that it made the question the book as a whole. But someone with a medical degree would probably know better than me! Regardless of all that, I still So Liked It. It basically felt like Grey's Anatomy in book form, and I love that dumb soap opera. Ha! It didn't pack the emotional punch that Grey's does, but it was a fun read. I'm not sure I'll read more R.S. Grey in the future, but I'm glad I gave her a shot.

THE SKYLARK'S WAR BY HILARY MCKAY – While browsing Hatchards in London with Kelly earlier this year, I spotted this beauty in the children's section. The gorgeous cover and the "Costa Books Awards Winner" sticker on the front made me pick it up, the summary intrigued me, and the first page was just so good. I had to buy it! I finally read it in October, and it... did not go well for me. It was so slow that I was forcing myself to pick it up, and I wasn't invested in the characters at all. The writing started to grate on me because it felt like it was trying too hard to imitate a children's classic. And I kept wondering about the audience for the book. It's middle grade, but would a 9-12 year old really appreciate this depressing, contrived story? I have no idea, but I was So Over It personally.

THEN THERE WAS YOU BY MIRANDA LIASSON – Estelle recommended this contemporary romance to me and was kind enough to send me a copy for review. I'm always on the lookout for cute, small-town romances, and this one fit the bill! It's got one of my favorite tropes (hate to love) since the heroine (partially) blames the hero for her broken engagement. The beginning of the book does feel like it's setting up the series – introducing a lot of characters, the town, and some backstory – but the couple won me over as time went on. Plus, I enjoyed the family dynamics and was excited to find out the heroine's siblings will have their own books. I didn't enjoy the characters' negative motivations, but I So Liked It overall and plan on reading more from the series.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES BY L.M. MONTGOMERY – "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." I mean, how was I supposed to resist an October re-read of my forever favorite? I've had this audio edition, narrated by Rachel McAdams, waiting for the perfect moment to listen. And I timed it just right! This was the perfect way to close out the month, and it brought back all the memories. I believe I was in second grade when I met Anne Shirley, a kindred spirit through and through. This is one of the books that I credit with making me the reader I am today, and I always enjoy revisiting its pages. I find new moments to love and lines to cherish with each re-read. It just never gets old for me! I'm So Obsessed With It and would absolutely recommend McAdams' narration, too.

THE FIREBIRD BY SUSANNA KEARSLEY – I read The Winter Sea in 2017, and the historical heroine of The Firebird is the offspring of characters from that book. Thankfully, I remembered most of the important background info! I was immediately sucked into Kearsley's writing and found the contemporary and historical storylines to be equally engaging. That doesn't always happen for me! I thought both romances were well-developed and loved how they were paced. As with many of Kearsley's other books, this one contained a supernatural (ish?) element. In this case, the heroine can touch an object and see its past. I wanted the mystery to be uncovered in a more realistic way, but this element is part of Kearsley's style and charm. And honestly, I still So Loved It in the end. 

BEGINNER'S LUCKLUCK OF THE DRAW, AND BEST OF LUCK BY KATE CLAYBORN – This series wasn't really on my radar until I saw Estelle mention in an Instagram story that the first was on sale for $0.99 for Kindle. I knew she enjoyed them and have gotten so many great recommendations from her in the past, so I decided to buy Beginner's Luck and give it a shot. I had no idea I'd end up reading it almost immediately and buying the second and third in the series in quick succession. 

This series follow three best friends who randomly win the lottery together and find their lives forever changed because of it. Each friend gets her own book, and each book is told in dual POV (the heroine and hero each get their own chapters, which I loved). I was a little skeptical of the lottery angle but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was barely mentioned in each book aside from the way it enable each heroine to pursue her own specific dream. In the Prologue for Beginner's Luck, there's a few lines that give you such a good sense of what to expect from this series. The characters are discussing what they'd buy if they happened to win:

        Kit said, "A house," but what she thought was, home.
        Zoe said, "An adventure," but what she thought was, forgiveness.
        Greer said, "An education," but what she thought was, freedom.

I just loved that so much – and it definitely gives you an idea of what to expect from each woman's book! You'll send them working towards the dream they've said out loud, but you'll also get to watch how that leads to (or interferes with) the unspoken desire of their heart. Each book was around 250 pages, which felt like the perfect length. The romances in each felt fully developed, every story packed an emotional punch, and there was just enough drama/conflict to keep me hooked without ever dragging on too long. They are contemporary romances, so just note that there are a few steamy scenes in each. I've said next to nothing about each individual book, but I think my overall feelings give you enough details to decide if these will appeal to you.

If you love books with strong female friendships and swoony romances, this series needs to be on your radar. I joked with Kelly that I'd just started to find my reading mojo and then almost lost it again because of the major book hangover I had when I was done. I was leaning towards a 4.5 rating for all three books, but I've got to give them a So Obsessed With It. The more I think about them, the happier I feel. And I see a re-read in my future!

I read one other book in October! The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare was a cute addition the series, though my least favorite so far. The animal rescue/rehoming story didn't appeal to me, and I struggle with how modern Dare's historical romances feel. I still So Liked It, but it's definitely one where I skipped a lot because of the steaminess. 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?

October 2019: Recap + On My Shelves

Dec 5, 2019

I'm almost caught up – the end is in sight! For the most part, October proceeded exactly as I'd expected with lots of fun fall adventures and family time. But then, it took a very unexpected turn at the end of the month.

1. House Projects – With the baby expected in February, we've been extra motivated to get some things done in and outside our home. That's included purging and organizing every room, as well as doing some more decorating. Two huge things we checked off our list in October were replacing all of the blinds with bamboo shades and having a fence installed in our backyard. Perfect timing with cooler weather! Each change makes me love our home more.

2. Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch – The weather was gorgeous on Columbus Day + Nick had the holiday off work, so we decided to check an adventure off our fall bucket list. We headed to a farm about thirty minutes of us with a great corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayride, market, and other fun activities. It was a great day! I love that we've made this a priority each fall, and it's so fun to compare photos from year to year. Excited for the baby to join in 2020!

3. Fall Festival – Our neighborhood feels a little bit like Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls, in the best way possible. There's always a monthly calendar with tons of social events to participate in, and October was one of our favorites: the fall festival! The day was a little overcast and chilly, but we still loved the petting zoo, bounce houses, and checking out all the vendors who participated. This community is so cool, and I'm so happy we moved here!

4. Talented Medical Professionals – My son woke up sick one morning, and we thought it was a stomach bug. We knew something wasn't right after a day and headed to the pediatrician. He ordered an ultrasound and then sent us on to a children's hospital in Atlanta. Our son's appendix had ruptured, and he needed surgery. Surgery went well, and he was so incredibly brave during it all! After five days in the hospital, we headed home. I will probably write more about this in the coming weeks. But needless to say, I'm so thankful for our pediatrician, the surgeon, and all of the nurses who took such wonderful care of my son (and us!) during such a scary experience.

Read 14 Books | Favorites:
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

“Our lives reflect our hearts.”
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

“Home was complicated, layered. Home was people you loved but also places you knew well
and liked to go to, things you had around you that made you feel safe and comforted.
Home was too much for one person to be to anyone.”
Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn

 “That’s the truth about making mistakes, about making the wrong choices. You live with them,
and if you’re lucky you get enough perspective to see where you went astray.
You figure out what you can do to repair the damage,
and you figure out how to do better going forward.”
Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn

“When I’m with him—walking streets I know with my eyes closed,
sitting on a couch where I’ve sat hundreds of times before—
it feels like something’s changed in the way time moves.
Every second is that second before the runners spring off the block at the start line,
or the second before the bass drops in a song you love.
He makes the whole world sit in that beat of suspended animation.
And every time I’m with him, part of me is always thinking: Please, please, please. Press Play.”
Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn

“When one door closes, another one opens.
I might just have to do a little breaking and entering to get the right one for me.”
Kulti by Mariana Zapata

“I think it’s interesting that you have a thing for the teenage version of me
but you’re not all that fond of the real, adult version.”
Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

“I’m not good with fragile things,” he said. “I’m careless, and I break them, and I lose them, but I…”
He broke off, as though to gain control of some emotion,
and when next he spoke his tone was gentler than she’d ever heard it. “I’d take care of you.”
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

 “There are times when our victories have a cost that we did not foresee,
when winning brings us loss.”
The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

After a three-month hiatus, I was missing this space. I have complicated feeling about bookstagram, but I can't give up blogging! No matter how many views or visitors I get here, it always feels worth it. And I appreciate every single reader who sticks around during the ebb and flow, especially since consistency is touted as a tenet of success.

In October, I felt my blogging mojo return and realized that I should probably explain where I'd been the past few months. And so, I chatted about my second pregnancy in a personal discussion post. After that one, I shared my June 2019 Recap. I'd hoped to post at least once more, but my son's surgery and hospital stay changed all of that.


Favorite Album: new skin by VÉRITÉ
I don't know if I like this album as much as the previous one, but I still had it on repeat.
My favorite song right now is "gone," followed by "ocean."

Peaky Blinders, Season 5, starring Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson, Helen McCrory, Sam Claflin and more – Nick and I binged the first four seasons of this show in January, and I've been anxiously awaiting the release of this season. While it wasn't my personal favorite, I still enjoyed it overall. I loved seeing Sam Claflin, as well as the return of a character I didn't expect to see again. These characters are so self destructive, but dang if it isn't great to watch.

The Good Place, Season 3, starring Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and D'Arcy Carden – This was another show we started to binge in January! We didn't like it enough to want to watch week-to-week, so we just waited for the third season to hit Netflix. It's still a little too ridiculous for us, but it was a nice change of pace after the heaviness of Peaky Blinders. I look forward to season four!

Downton Abbey (2019) starring Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, and more – I couldn't contain my excitement when the movie was announced! I went to see it with my parents, who were also fans of the show, and we were in agreement: this movie didn't need to exist. Many others feel differently, but I didn't like it at all. It was so cheesy and scattered! We kept making eye contact in the theater and suppressing laughter. 

Going Out of Business Sale: For the Love of Discipline by Sara Wallace, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday by Valerie Woerner, Memory-Making Mom by Jessica Smartt, The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin, Finding Holy in the Suburbs by Ashley Hales, and Mercy Like Morning by Jane Johnson 

Book Outlet Haul: The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery, Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn, The Long-Lost Home by Maryrose Wood, The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd, and Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson 

Used Books: From Twinkle, With Love and There's Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon, Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright, Winter Solstice, September and Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher, Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh, Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries, and The Season by Sarah MacLean

Gifted: The Golden Road and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn, and The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Kindle: Beginner's Luck, Luck of the Draw and Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn

Quick Lit: September 2019

Dec 3, 2019

I finally started to find my fiction mojo in September, though I still didn't finish a ton of books compared to previous months. As much as I love reading, sometimes other things grab my attention more – and that's normal! I finished 8 books in September, and I'm reviewing 7 of those today (plus one October read). The eighth book is mentioned at the bottom of this post. Visit Modern Mrs. Darcy for more people participating in the Quick Lit feature.

WELL MET BY JEN DELUCA – I'm not a huge fan of wearing costumes, and the Renaissance Faire sounds like torture to me. But I couldn't resist this rom-com about two enemies who engage in a bit of flirtation... and maybe more... while working at their town's annual Renaissance Faire. The second I hear "hate-to-love," I can't wait to get my hands on a book. I went into Well Met with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by it! The first 100 pages or so very really slow for me, but I continued on and was soon hooked. Hello, delightful banter. I liked the secondary storyline involving the heroine's relationship with her sister and niece, as well as the hero's journey to deal with what he's lost and how he moves forward. The setting ended up being a nice touch, too. I So Enjoyed It!

EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER BY LINDA HOLMES – I went into this one expecting a new favorite and instead was so disappointed. I did not click at all with the dialogue in this book, but I can't really put my finger on why. It just felt so stilted and fake to me! I kept picturing the characters as 10+ years older than they actually were, too, which didn't really help matters. The Maine setting never really came to life for me, and I had a lot of issues with the story. Both characters are dealing with some heavy stuff (the loss of a spouse and loss of a career), but it felt like they were trying to fix each other rather than actually face their own issues. I found both characters flat and their chemistry together was almost nonexistent. I was So Over It personally, but many other readers have loved it.

WOOING CADIE MCCAFFREY BY BETHANY TURNER – I randomly grabbed this Christian fiction book at the library and had very mixed feelings on it. I'm about to semi-spoil one aspect of the story, just FYI. I liked that it was trying to deal with sex before marriage, a topic often ignored in this genre (or at least the books I've read). And the guilt and remorse that the characters express felt very realistic to me. However, I was so dang frustrated with the characters! JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER. It baffled me that they'd been dating four years but were completely unable to communicate (about their future, their feelings, and the significant events that derailed both of those things). I was So Okay With It, and this review goes into more detail about many of the frustrations I felt, too.

THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY BY ALIX E. HARROW – I owe this new favorite read entirely to Kelly! She first spotted it on Instagram and sent it my way so we could fangirl over the cover and summary. When she visited at the beginning of September, she convinced me to pre-order it with her. I took it to the beach with me at the end of the month, and I loved every second I spent savoring it there. The writing is so lyrical, the world so intricately constructed, and the concept so creative. I loved the way the story unfolded, even though I predicted a twist or two. It's the type of book you want to read slowly, to soak up the magic and mystery. It's a love letter to readers and the places that books can take you. I'm So Obsessed With It and will be opening this Door again in the future.

THE CITY OF BRASS BY S.A. CHAKRABORTY – I borrowed this audiobook, narrated by Soneela Nankani, from the library and was so glad I did. The world is so layered and complex that it was a little hard to follow in the beginning but, at the same time, I appreciated hearing all the names and terminology spoken aloud. While the story and characters are interesting and well developed, I felt like the world and its rich history is where this book truly shined. The Middle Eastern folklore was fascinating, and the political maneuverings and conflicts kept me guessing. The pacing was a bit uneven – with some dramatic, action-packed scenes and then others that felt like reading about the history of this place and its people. But all in all, I So Enjoyed It and will be picking up the second book. 

UNSPOKEN, UNTOLD AND UNMADE BY SARAH REES BRENNAN – It's been five years since I first read this series, so I decided to re-read at the end of the month. My original series review is still one of my favorites I've ever written, though it is long. Just be forewarned! However, I had a few thoughts to add since then so figured I'd write a little something short and sweet. I'm still So Obsessed With this series – but I don't know that I would have loved them as much if this had been my first read. I think I discovered them at exactly the right time in my reading life, and now I partly love them for the memories associated. They're darker and more angsty than I remembered, and the conclusion was a bit anticlimactic... and yet they're still favorites. I recommend them, but with that footnote.

The only book that I didn't review above was Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean, the second book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series. The heroine was fantastic, and I loved watching her outwit her opponents. MacLean is too steamy for me personally, however, so I did skip over quite a bit. But the story itself earned a So Enjoyed It

What have you been reading lately?
© So Obsessed With • Theme by Maira G.