Monday, January 31, 2022

Hello Monday- a little bit of weekending and the books I read in January

I'm linking up with Sarah and Holly for this weekly blog post. 

The weather here was beautiful this weekend! Even though it was cold, it was sunny, which is way better than when it's dreary. I loved being out and about a little here and there. I didn't do much Friday night, but I went out with my mom for a little while on Saturday. We went to one of our favorite stores.

There's this beautiful home décor shop nearby called John Mark's. He's a floral designer and there are beautiful arrangements and décor in his shop. This was the doorway going in. Gorgeous, right? We had an amazing service on Sunday with a guest speaker—Jonathan Evans, son of Tony and brother of Priscilla Shirer. He was so good! Then I had choir practice and went to pick up pizza before coming home. 

It was a good weekend.

Now, onto my favorite thing to talk about—books! I love sharing the books I read each month, but more than that, I love to hear what you're reading and would love some more recommendations! I find out about books mostly through emails. I've subscribed to a lot of pages that allow me to follow my favorite authors, and I'm always getting special offers and advance copies because of that and through launch teams that I've been on in the past. 

I'm jumping right in! (You can click on each picture to be re-directed to Amazon.) 

1.

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. 

Here's the review from GoodReads:

Join New York Times Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand on the stunning beaches of St. John's for the beginning of her thrilling new winter series-The Paradise. Winter Paradise, the first book in the Paradise series, has everything that readers have come to know and love about an Elin Hilderbrand novel, plus a healthy dose of intrigue. Irene Steele's idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband's death. He was found on St. John's island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life. Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John's only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband's death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John's. This exciting first book in the Paradise series will transport readers to a new beach locale-another world that Elin knows as well as her beloved Nantucket-and have them longing for winter.

I really liked this! I hope to finish this series in the next couple of weeks, since I'm waiting on them both from the Libby app I use from my library. 

2.

Share Your Stuff. I'll Go First: 10 questions to take your friendships to the next level., by Laura Tremaine.

Here is how GoodReads describes this book.

Part memoir and part guidebook, Share Your Stuff. I'll Go First. is the invitation you've been waiting for to show up with your whole self and discover the intimate, meaningful relationships you long for.

In spite of the hyper-connected culture we live in today, women still feel shamed for oversharing and being publicly vulnerable. And no matter how many friends we seem to have, many of us are still desperately lonely.

Laura Tremaine says it's time for something better. Openness and vulnerability are the foundation for human growth and healthy relationships, and it all starts when we share our stuff, the nitty-gritty daily details about ourselves with others. Laura has led the way in her personal life with her popular blog and podcast, and now with lighthearted self-awareness, a sensitivity to the important things in life, and compelling storytelling, Laura gives you the tools to build and deepen the conversations happening in your life.

Laura's stories about her childhood in Oklahoma, her complicated shifts in faith and friendships, and her marriage to a Hollywood movie director will prompt you to identify the beautiful narrative and pivotal milestones of your own life. Each chapter offers intriguing and reflective questions that will reveal unique details and stories you've never thought to tell and will guide you into cultivating the authentic connection with others that only comes from sharing yourself.

I thought this book was just okay and was a little let down, despite that great description. It was a lot to live up to and fell a bit short for me, but I'm still glad I read the book. 

3. The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren. (I would give this an R rating.)

GoodReads described this book as follows:

From the New York Times bestselling author behind The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

I have a love-hate relationship with their books. (Christina Lauren is the writing name for a pair of best friends.) This one was just okay to me and it seemed to go on and on.

4. The Wish by Nicholas Sparks.


From GoodReads:

1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she meets Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce gradually shows her how much there is to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduces her to photography, a passion that will define the rest of her life.

By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him.

As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined.

I rated this book with ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! Maybe it was the year that the backstory takes place, maybe it's that I haven't read one of his books in ages, maybe it's because I was shocked at one point, who knows. I loved this book and was thrilled when I was able to skip the line through Libby to read it before I'd expected.

5. One by One by Ruth Ware. 

From GoodReads:

Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

I thought this one was really good. I love reading books set in whatever season we're currently in and throw that in with the fact that this one felt like an Agatha Christie, and I was smitten.

6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. 


From Good Reads:

A murder . . . a tragic accident . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.
But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

This book was another ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! Now I'm going to watch this on HBO Max, which is how I even found this book. When I saw in the credits it was based on this book from this author, I quit watching and ordered the book.

7. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover. (Rated R.)

From GoodReads:

A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

I had heard this book was better than one of my favorite books of all time, but I have to disagree. It was really good, but no book that she writes will ever top It Ends With Us. I did really like this book, that being said, and I love how she wraps up a book. If you've never read a book by her, you should try one, but know they're all going to be rated R. I just skim over the parts I don't like to read.

8. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. 

From GoodReads:

A striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

This was for sure another ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for me! 

It was a great month of reading. I'd love to hear from you! What did you do this weekend and read this month? I'm always open for suggestions on books! I have several already waiting for me. Thanks for reading my blog, friends! Love to all. 



12 comments:

  1. I've read One by One, Big Little Lies and In Five Years and liked them as well. I had heard a lot of hype about In Five Years so I was worried that I wouldn't like it (I often times don't care for popular books as much as other people do (such as the Midnight Library and Where the Crawdads Sing)) but I really liked it. I am reading the Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton right now and it's good. I plan to write about the January books that I have read but if it happens it will definitely not be in January :). That shop looks amazing! Glad you had nice weather this weekend and got to see family. Have a great Monday!!

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  2. I feel the same way about a lot of "popular" books- I never seem to like them as much as others. I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it as much as I did. Have you read The Dinner List by the same author? I have it on hold through Libby, but who knows when it'll come available? I look forward to reading about your books from January! The Age of Innocence- is that the one that was turned into a movie? If so, I loved that movie!

    That shop was so much fun! I may go back in a week and buy two big containers that I saw and loved there. They were such a great price and I think they would look good on my mantle or the hearth. I hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing- adding a few of these to my list!

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  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE In Five Years!!!
    I just bought that Hoover book today - an online book club is doing that book for Feburary.

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  5. Holly- you're welcome! I hope you like them too!

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  6. Rebecca Jo, you'll have to let me know what you think of it! So many people say it's her best yet.

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  7. I loved Big Little Lies when I read it. By the way, the HBO show is pretty different from the book and definitely a very strong R rating! Have a wonderful week!

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  8. Tanya- The book is VASTLY different! I made it all the way through one episode and had to stop watching. I hate that! Thanks for that warning. Have a great week, friend!

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  9. I enjoyed Big Little Lies a lot! I read The Wish at Christmas and thought it was so touching. I also liked Elin's series; I know many criticized it since it left her Nantucket genre but I have a "thing" for the virgin islands and really liked the mystery aspect of it all.

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    1. Joanne, I love the second book too! I'm reading it now. I should have updated to say that the show of Big Little Lies is TERRIBLE! I couldn't watch it.

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  10. I love book posts!! I am reading In Five Years right now and I’m enjoying it. I love the Paradise series and Big LIttle Lies. I have the Christina Lauren and You Share Your Stuff on my TBR. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I do too, Sarah! It's how I get inspired for new books and authors. I'm on book 2 of the Paradise series and am loving it even more than the first! Thanks for hosting us each week!

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