Quick Lit: August 2019

August was an odd reading month. I wasn't in the mood to read much, and fiction didn't  really appeal to me at all. That rarely happens to me! I still managed to finish 9 books, which felt like a major accomplishment considering my mood. I'm reviewing 8 of those today and will mention the other one that I read at the bottom of the post. If you're interested in more Quick Lit posts, you'll find lots of links from other reviewers over at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

THE HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE AND MOCKINGJAY BY SUZANNE COLLINS – Near the end of July, I could feel my reading mojo fading. I wasn't in the mood to pick anything up, and the things I tried just weren't working for me. So I decided to re-read this series since it never lets me down. Plus, all three audiobooks were recently re-released with a new narrator, Tatiana Maslany. I'd couldn't tolerate the previous narrator and was so excited to finally get to listen to these favorites. The experience was so wonderful! Maslany was an excellent choice, and it was so easy to lose myself in these stories. This is one of those series that I just love more every time I revisit it. I could spiral into why I'm So Obsessed With It, but my re-read review from 2015 does a good job of capturing my love.

THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL BY STACEY LEE – Lee's debut, Under a Painted Sky, is one of my favorite YA historical fiction books. Her more recent books have been enjoyable but not super memorable for me, and this one ended up being about the same. I've seen some glowing reviews since then that made me wonder if my mood affected my read, but I can't say for sure. I loved learning more about the history of Chinese in the South following the Civil War, something I was very ignorant about prior to reading this book. I struggled with the story, however, because it felt like it was trying to tackle too much. There were so many things happening that it was hard to focus! The pacing was uneven for me, and the narration was just bland. I wanted to love it, but I was just So Okay With It in the end.

GRACE, NOT PERFECTION BY EMILY LEY – I have a print of the Emily Ley quote this title came from ("I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection") hanging in my house. But for some reason, I'd never felt compelled to pick up the book. My mom bought it for me after I spotted it in a store and flipped through a few chapters, and I read it in full a few days later. It's a beautiful little book full of ideas that are pretty simple but still inspiring. I think the message itself has broad appeal, but I'm not sure the actual delivery did. It's definitely coming from a privileged point of view, and the photos contradict the idea of not expecting perfection from yourself. I So Liked It and did takeaway some good advice from it. Plus, I'm now using Ley's Simplified Planner – so clearly I'm a fan.

A SIMPLIFIED LIFE BY EMILY LEY – After finishing Grace, Not Perfection, I grabbed this book from the library. I was interested to see if this on expanded on the ideas from the first or repeated them. In the end, it was a little bit of both. This one is a more tactical, strategy-based approach. Each chapter begins with the word Simplified followed by the theme: Space, Style, Meals, Schedule, Finances, Hospitality, Technology, Self, Motherhood, and Faith. Chapters contained tips and tricks related to each topic. I preferred this one, in many ways, even though the advice was very basic and superficial. But something about it was still motivating for me, even though I continued to be annoyed at how the photos conflict with the actual theme. But I So Enjoyed It overall, despite its flaws. 

DESIGN YOUR DAY BY CLAIRE DIAZ-ORTIZ – This book is tiny, clocking in at around 140 pages and smaller than a typical paperback. It wasn't on my radar until I read a post at Ashlyn Writes about her morning routine. Ashlyn talked about the PRESENT method, which she learned from this book. So, I decided to pick it up! It's a self-help / business book that seemed like a compilation of ideas that originated from others. Almost like a brief introduction to popular productivity tips, if that makes sense. A lot of the business advice didn't apply to me since I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I did take away some good strategies to help me accomplish my goals and evaluate how I'm spending my time. I So Enjoyed It, especially since it was just right for my mood at the time.

HELLO MORNINGS BY KAT LEE – This Christian book introduces a three-step morning routine that is simple and easy to start. Lee proposes that every day begin with God, Plan, and Move. God is reading your Bible, a devotional, or something that nourishes your faith. Plan is reviewing your calendar, including what's scheduled for the day ahead and what you need to accomplish. And finally, Move is to help you become more active – even if it's as simple as drinking a whole glass of water. Divided into three parts, the first explains the important of mornings, the second discusses each step of the proposed routine, and the third provides advice on building good habits. The book was short but still a bit repetitive. However, I So Enjoyed It and intend to implement things from it.

I also read Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale. The plot is Pride and Prejudice in broad strokes with details reminiscent of Bridget Jones' Diary (I know that's inspired by P&P, but it does have its own tone and style). I was looking for something to break my slump, but I think my mood made me more critical of how derivative this historical romance felt. It was fun in a way but didn't bring anything new to the table. I was So Okay With It.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. Some super interesting books here!

    Lotte |

  2. I totally agree that the previous narrator on the Hunger Games books was not a great choice! She sounded WAY older than Katniss was supposed to be.

  3. Hello Mornings sounds like a book I want to check out! I'm always trying to figure out my ideal morning routine, and even though I get closer every day, it'd be interesting to read something so specifically focused on that.

    And now I'm very curious to see what I'll think of The Downstairs Girl! I loved Stacey's other books, but I know we mostly felt the same about them... so I'm wondering if we'll feel the same about this one.


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